Cover of Obelisk i inne eseje (2009), a Polish translation of Bey’s essays.
Hakim Bey: Repopulating the Temporary Autonomous Zone, by Simon Sellars. Originally published in Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Volume 4, Number 2, 2010, pp. 83-108.
The poet and essayist Peter Lamborn Wilson is widely known for his anarchist manifesto “The Temporary Autonomous Zone” (TAZ), developed across a series of essays written from 1981 to 1988 and published in collected form in 1991 as T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. The essays were attributed to “Hakim Bey,” Wilson’s infamous avatar, and the writing itself was a potent brew of mysticism, historical narratives, autonomous Marxist politics and French critical theory. The overall aim was to highlight indeterminate zones within late capitalism, everyday occurrences that refuse, whether by accident or design, to be incorporated into dominant narratives. This enabled the TAZ to become an extraordinarily influential (and divisive) text in anarchist circles, and in various pop-cultural movements.
But has that moment passed? Can the concept hold any meaning for observers in the early 21st century? This essay will argue that, although the cultural capital of the TAZ has undoubtedly become degraded through overuse, the circumstances of its cultural reception are indeed worth returning to, and remembering. Repopulating the TAZ can reward us now (as it did at inception) with valuable insight into the perceived role of critically engaged literature and philosophy as an activator of political potential, illumining a debate regarding the supposed (in)compatibility of left theory and politics that continues today.
THE TAZ AND CYBERCULTURE: “LIFE IN THE TRENCHES”
The TAZ may have remained a fringe work if it wasn’t for “cyberculture,” which proved among the more resilient memes in alternative art and culture from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The original electronic networks that became the prototype for today’s commercial Internet were developed in the 1980s, a development of the first interconnected computer channels produced in the 1960s for US military purposes. As François Cusset summarizes: “These networks embodied, for some, a space for resistance, a social dead zone, a territory that was still imperceptible, in whose shelter they could build a new community and undermine the ruling powers … the first groups of hackers emerged [forming] in Bruce Sterling’s words, a veritable ‘digital underground’.”
In cyberculture’s incandescent popcult moment, the gritty noir futures of cyberpunk science fiction, built upon the template forged by the ascending reputations of novelists William Gibson and Sterling, and extrapolated from present-day technological developments, were cited as metaphoric portrayals of a real world in thrall to the nascent Internet and to the implications for mediated life it held. Cyberphile magazines like Mondo 2000 (and later, Wired and 21C) spliced cyberpunk attitude with digital culture’s bleeding edge, carrying advertisements for dialup modems, CD ROMs and pixel-art software in between articles and interviews exploring every facet of cyberculture: From body modification to the emergent politics of the net, from new strains of cyberpunk fiction and rave music to the “bumper sticker libertarianism” leaking from cyberculture’s startling new cachet.
Fermented within this heady “frontier” atmosphere, manifestos were abundant. John Perry Barlow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation drew up a Declaration for the Independence of Cyberspace, demanding that the net – “the new home of Mind” – be forever self-governing, forever free from corporate and governmental restriction. Douglas Rushkoff produced a book-length vérité document of “life in the trenches of cyberspace” (or “Cyberia”), where “cyberians” “believe the age upon us now might take the form of a categorical upscaling of the human experience onto uncharted, hyperdimensional turf … Whether or not we are destined for a wholesale leap into the next dimension, there are many people who believe that history as we know it is coming to a close.”
But with its call to “dowse” for potential freezones within the globalised economy, couched within an explicit terminology that drew upon Sterling’s work and the jargon surrounding the “Web” and the “net,” the TAZ quickly became the clarion call. “Bey,” the so-called “anarchist Sufi,” seemed to deliver precisely the kind of liberated mind state that Barlow had so dramatically hoped would be delivered, and that Rushkoff had so eagerly tried to imagine. Effectively, the TAZ became a blueprint for a full-scale ecology that could be inhabited by true believers.
INSIDE THE TAZ: “AN INTENSIFICATION OF EVERYDAY LIFE”
Previously, Wilson had formed the Autonomedia publishing house with the academic Sylvère Lotringer, publishing works by Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard as well as the influential magazine Semiotext(e). In 1989, he also conceived and co-edited (with Robert Anton Wilson and Rudy Rucker) Semiotext(e) SF, an anthology of science fiction and speculative fiction that featured writing from the three editors alongside Sterling, Gibson, J.G. Ballard, Ian Watson, William S. Burroughs, Colin Wilson, Robert Sheckley, Philip José Farmer and others. In light of this literary background, what exactly is the TAZ: Another experiment in speculative fiction, an academic essay, or a serious political manifesto?
The TAZ is largely informed by Guy Debord’s treatise on the Society of the Spectacle, which describes how the simulacra of mass communications and advertising fill all available social space. For Debord, rebellion is inevitably turned into product, a dynamic force generated within an all-encompassing media landscape in which “modern conditions of production prevail, all of life [presenting] itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”
For “Bey,” the dream of real-world revolution (opposition in its most literal sense) remains unobtainable within the terms of the “Spectacle,” that is, within the late-capitalist era of interlocking communications technology, mass media and corporate control. All revolutionary movements, he reckons, will succumb to the Spectacle’s natural state of absorption once the “revolution” has been fomented, set in train, and triumphed:
Absolutely nothing but a futile martyrdom could possibly result now from a head-on collision with the terminal State, the megacorporate information State, the empire of Spectacle and Simulation. Its guns are all pointed at us, while our meagre weaponry finds nothing to aim at but a hysteresis, a rigid vacuity, a Spook capable of smothering every spark in an ectoplasm of information, a society of capitulation ruled by the image of the Cop and the absorbent eye of the TV screen.
This was a process already occurring with cyberpunk itself, as the Mondo 2000 crew was to archly note in a 1995 interview:
“The term ‘cyberpunk’ has been used to describe music, lifestyles, and artistic sensibilities, but it really describes one narrow school of science-fiction writers,” [Chris] Hudak says. “God, it was a good word … poetic, efficient, and romantic. Distance and passion. Machine and man. Technology and attitude. Cyberpunk. Great fuckin’ word. And what the hell; we stole it.” …
When did cyberpunk die? I ask.
“1993,” smirks somebody. “The release of the Billy Idol record.”
Bey’s solution to mainstream recuperation of revolution is to study closely “past and future stories about ‘islands in the net’“ in order to look for folds in the information matrix where spaces can be opened out to radical potential and then closed again before commodification recuperates. Beginning with an evocation of 18th-century “Pirate Utopias,” the TAZ maps out the “information network” created when sea-rovers and corsairs secreted themselves on remote and uninhabited islands, trading booty and equipment and creating mini-societies that were defiantly set up to exist beyond the reach of established law. Onto this historical superstructure, Bey mapped psychospatial coordinates from Sterling’s novel Islands in the Net (1988), described as:
a near-future romance based on the assumption that the decay of political systems will lead to a decentralized proliferation of experiments in living: giant worker-owned corporations, independent enclaves devoted to “data piracy,” Green-Social-Democrat enclaves, Zerowork enclaves, anarchist liberated zones, etc. The information economy which supports this diversity is called the Net; the enclaves (and the book’s title) are Islands in the Net.
Within this stereoscopic overlay of past with future, pirates with hackers, Bey divines resistance as embodied in everyday instances or moments that refuse to engage directly with the Spectacle, that lie outside of simulation and recuperation, inhabiting “cracks and vacancies” only to disappear and reform elsewhere, thus avoiding detection and invasion. Such spaces he terms “temporary autonomous zones” – “an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerrilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to reform elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it.” Ultimately, he claimed, the TAZ was “a tactic of disappearance,” a sympathy with autonomist Marxism that is clarified when compared with Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s account of the latter:
The city is a jungle. The urban guerrillas knew its terrain in a capillary way so that any time they can come together and attack and then disperse and disappear into its recesses. The focus … was increasingly not on attacking the ruling powers but rather on transforming the city itself … The great struggles of Autonomia in Italy in the 1970s, for example, succeeded temporarily in redesigning the landscape of the major cities, liberating entire zones where new cultures and new forms of life were created.
Bey suggests that “psychic nomadism” could help to locate any potential TAZ. This is a tactic that draws on Deleuzoguattarian rhizome theory to follow unexpected tangents, charting a course by pursuing “strange stars, which might be luminous clusters of data in cyberspace, or perhaps hallucinations … unexpected eddies and urges of energy, coagulations of light, secret tunnels, surprises.” Although the TAZ flirts with cyberspace imagery, as in this quote, and devotes a section to the potential counter-cultural value of the “net” and the “Web,” Bey insisted that the aim was not to transcend the flesh in favor of the type of clichéd virtual reality found in the cheapened versions of cyberpunk that so irked Mondo 2000. Instead, the goal is to seek out the kind of autonomy already existent within consciousness:
The Web does not depend for its existence on any computer technology. Word-of-mouth, mail, the marginal zine network, “phone trees” and the like already suffice to construct an information network … The Web is like a new sense in some ways, but it must be added to the others – the others must not be subtracted from it, as in some horrible parody of the mystic trance. Without the Web, the full realization of the TAZ-complex would be impossible. But the web is not the end in itself. It’s a weapon.
It is heavily ironic, then, that the TAZ would become so associated with cyberculture, as Wilson has made no secret of his Luddite tendencies. Indeed, in the preface to the TAZ’s second edition, published in 2003, Bey reiterates this in no uncertain terms, taking aim at those who took the book’s small section on the Internet to be the philosophy’s main theme:
I think perhaps the least useful part of the book is its section on the Internet … What’s left of the Left now seems to inhabit a ghost-world where a few thousand ‘hits’ pass for political action and ‘virtual community’ takes the place of human presence … The TAZ must exist in geographical odorous tactile tasty physical space … otherwise it’s no more than a blueprint or a dream.
For Wilson/Bey, the net was only ever “envisioned … as an adjunct to the TAZ, a technology in service to the TAZ, a means of potentiating its emergence”. Instead of a mediated life, Bey wanted “an intensification of everyday life,” looking for instances that might be found, say, in a no-car zone in the city, where pedestrians appear might reclaim the streets for a brief moment, or, in a more serious register, when a mob at a demonstration holds its own against the police, forming a zone that not only is unable to be breached, but that can also break apart and reform elsewhere. Bey further idealized the “TAZ as festival,” celebrating those moments where the elements of spontaneity, joy and community are inbuilt as the template for what a temporary autonomous zone could and should hope to achieve:
Participants in insurrection invariably note its festive aspects, even in the midst of armed struggle, danger, and risk. The uprising is like a saturnalia which has slipped loose (or been forced to vanish) from its intercalary interval and is now at liberty to pop up anywhere or when… “Fight for the right to party” is in fact not a parody of the radical struggle but a new manifestation of it, appropriate to an age which offers TVs and telephones as ways to “reach out and touch” other human beings, ways to “Be There!”
Onto this “festal culture,” he grafted Stephen Pearl Andrews’s metaphor of the dinner party as the model for anarchism, where a spontaneous and basic desire to create “mutual aid” is embodied in the desire for “good food and cheer, dance, conversation, the arts of life; perhaps even for erotic pleasure, or to create a communal artwork.”Individuality is admitted within the group, which comes together as a result of mutual attraction, forming a celebratory space where friendship and community are the only “authority,” what Andrews calls “the seed of the new society taking shape within the shell of the old.”
Thus, the TAZ was armed with a potent mix of radical politics, modish French theory and memorable phraseology (the manifesto’s high, ornate narrative style follows on from the classification “Bey” itself, which is a Turkish title equivalent to “chieftain”; “Hakim,” intentionally or not, connotes hackers and hacking). It carried the right amount of cultural cachet: Aside from anarchism, it also became a major rallying cry for the embryonic rave generation in England – indeed, for any movement looking to reterritorialise perceptions of time, space and identity.
THE TAZ TAKES OFF: “ALMOST A POETIC FANCY”
An indication of the TAZ’s sphere of influence can be gleaned from a simple literature review. Besides numerous academic essays and popular-culture articles, there is a startling array of books that make some use of the concept to think through all manner of methodologies, ideas and ideologies. These diverse titles include:
- From Kung Fu to Hip Hop: Globalization, Revolution, and Popular Culture (“I am partly inspired by Hakim Bey’s concept ‘TAZ’ … I am, however, using his concept in a much broader sense than he does (which is focused on clandestine movements without confrontation with the State).”);
- The Cultural Roots of British Devolution; Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration (“I ride [in Critical Mass] because I find the mass creates a temporary autonomous zone … a place where bicycles do have the right of way – and not just on paper.”);
- Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking (“In setting aside one’s own … national cultures [with the use of sign language], one enters what has been characterized elsewhere in postmodernist writing as a Temporary Autonomous Zone.”);
- Campsite: Architectures of Duration and Place (“Hakim Bey … describes [the] conflation of camp and virtual space. His formulation of the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) as ephemeral ‘uprising’ builds on the possibility that such camps rely on clandestine, sometimes virtual, nomadic routes.”);
- Blossom of Bone: Reclaiming the Connection Between Homoeroticism and the Sacred; Stonehenge: Making Space (“Hakim Bey defines what he calls The Temporary Autonomous Zone: ‘pirate economics’, living high off the surplus of social overproduction.”);
- Hurricane hits England: An Anthology of Writing about Black Britain; Women Poets of the Americas: Toward a Pan-American Gathering; Faith in America: Changes, Challenges, New Directions (“I could not partake of The Pirates of the Caribbean [at Florida’s Disneyworld] without thinking of the notion of ‘pirate utopias’ as historic zones of freedom, anarchy, and temporary autonomy, as proposed by cultural theorist Hakim Bey.”);
- Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop outside the USA; Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (“for a gloss on sincerity as political manifesto, see Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.”);
- Black Men on Race, Gender, and Sexuality: A Critical Reader (“Standing there in that temporary autonomous zone, I experienced Washington, D.C., as a free person, for the first time.”);
- On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality (“The idea here goes far beyond that expounded by Hakim Bey in his useful but overly-celebrated TAZ, The Temporary Autonomous Zone.”).
Most of these titles pay lip service to the concept, but the review is useful insofar as it demonstrates one important principal that Bey had outlined as a precondition for the TAZ to take root:
Despite its synthesizing force for my own thinking, however, I don’t intend the TAZ to be taken as more than an essay (“attempt”), a suggestion, almost a poetic fancy. Despite the occasional Ranterish enthusiasm of my language I am not trying to construct political dogma. In fact I have deliberately refrained from defining the TAZ – I circle around the subject, firing off exploratory beams. In the end the TAZ is almost self-explanatory. If the phrase became current it would be understood without difficulty … understood in action.
As self-prophecy, this is remarkably prescient. Judging by the above examples, the phrase did “become current,” able to be “understood without difficulty,” but perhaps in a way that was not intended: redolent with loaded meaning – “anarchy” and “freedom” – but without any meaningful signification. The TAZ as vague referent stoked the ire of detractors such as the “anti-civilization” activist John Zerzan, who bemoaned Bey’s “hip-sounding, three-word solution… in capital letters.” However, the sense Bey intended is better captured by Colin Ward, who, despite initial skepticism, concluded:
Plenty of us must have been in situations when we reflect that we all have certain experiences that seem to us to be the way things would happen if we were living in an anarchist society … once the phrase Temporary Autonomous Zones lodges in your mind you begin to see it/them everywhere: fleeting pockets of anarchy that occur in daily life. In this sense it describes a perhaps more useful concept than that of an anarchist society, since the most libertarian societies that we know of have their authoritarian elements, and vice versa.
In this reading, the “three-word solutions” in the above examples are less “hip” posturing and more a recognition of an intrinsic dynamic rooted within and informed by fundamental spatial, temporal, and ontological experiences of capitalist society.
Accordingly, commentators began to map a full-scale ecology of difference using the TAZ as foundation. As mentioned, rave culture in the UK was particularly strident in applying the concept to its rhetoric of liberation of sound, space, and consciousness. At the most basic level, this was a perfect fit: The well-documented history of the nascent rave scene (from the late 1980s to the early 1990s) is told through a series of narratives detailing running battles involving party organizers and partygoers versus the police and the state, with illegal parties consistently broken up and moved on only to regenerate and reform elsewhere.
According to James Ingham: “Bey’s characterisation is a pretty exact description of the political situation of the illegal party scene.” Ingham used the concept to articulate his own concept of “cultural geography”: The sense of “suspended memories” and feeling of autonomy he perceived as being instilled in participants at warehouse parties in Blackburn during 1989-90. He saw in the TAZ the ideal framework for what he describes as a “sensory experience of the [illegal] space … an outcome of both repetitive music and altered perceptions … often characterised as a suspended moment, a floating feeling.” For Ingham, this perception of time and space is (relatively) fleeting, temporary, and, ultimately, profoundly liberating:
[The music relies on an] highly complex technological-physical interface: the mix, the DJ, the drugs, the body and the crowd, without which there would have been no TAZ in Blackburn … The musical interface creates a narrative for both the individual and the social gathering, an ever-changing narrative that is charged from the “emotional tension” caused by anticipation and experience playing off each other. It was this narrative that drew people to the warehouse parties and generated the value of a TAZ in their participants.
Indeed, the concept came to be a default setting for music writers attempting to articulate what was so significant about this moment in time. Documenting the “free party” scene in the early 1990s, Simon Reynolds enthuses:
The … movement constitute[s] an uncanny fulfilment of the prophecies of Hakim Bey. In his visionary prose poems … the anarcho-mystic writer called for the rebirth of a new “festal culture” based around “spiritual hedonism” and tribalism … The illegal free rave, with its lack of entrance fee or security, is a perfect real-world example of Bey’s “temporary autonomous zone,” aka TAZ… [Bey’s] “cracks and vacancies” sounds like the abandoned air bases and derelict government buildings taken over by traveller sound systems for a few days or weeks.
But it wasn’t only in the spaces of “spiritual hedonism” that the concept gained traction: It of course became a viable blueprint within anarchist circles, even though, as Reynolds implies with the term “prose poems,” the TAZ as manifesto is very much a literary application: Social criticism, to be sure, but an exercise in imaginative, creative writing nonetheless (recall Wilson’s own words: “almost a poetic fancy.”) According to Jeff Shantz, the TAZ injected much new energy into anarchism, especially among younger adherents, who “took Bey’s call for ‘poetic terrorism’ as inspiration for the waves of ‘@-zones’ (anarchist community centres) which emerged in inner-city neighbourhoods across North America in the 1990s.”
In addition, “the debates it inspired in the pages of Anarchy magazine and various ‘do-it-yourself’ publications within the anarchist milieu were among the most lively in decades.” Shantz himself devotes considerable space to the TAZ, which he considers to be the “most extensive and exhilarating theoretical expressions of explicitly anarchist future-presents.” But not everyone came to the party: “Others (most notably Murray Bookchin) condemned Bey for supposedly offering up apolitical ‘post-modern’ bohemianism in the guise of anarchism,” a stigma of supposed inauthenticity that Bey would continue to wear over the years.
FIRST BACKLASH: “WORD-SALAD POSTURINGS”
Peter Lamborn Wilson at Living Theatre, NYC. Photo: amc.
John Armitage argues that the TAZ concept is extremely problematic in that it fails to consider the importance of class struggle, while also misrepresenting libertarian philosophy as well as the “politics of everyday life.” For Armitage, Bey’s attitude towards cultural politics is “intellectually conservative,” a “political obscurantism” that inverts real-world events to fit an all-purpose theoretical framework. He quotes, and agrees with, Richard Barbrook, who takes Bey to task for:
unashamed support for reactionary political positions. For instance, Bey claims that the seizure of the Croatian city of Fiume by D’Annunzio’s supporters in 1919 was a forerunner of contemporary “Temporary Autonomous Zones” … Yet, the Fiume incident not only pioneered the style and ideology of Italian fascism, but also led directly to the imposition of totalitarianism on Italy.
But this is a somewhat deceitful citation, as it neglects to mention Bey’s own admission:
D’Annunzio, like many Italian anarchists, later veered toward fascism – in fact, Mussolini (the ex-Syndicalist) himself seduced the poet along that route. By the time D’Annunzio realized his error it was too late: he was too old and sick. But Il Duce had him killed anyway – pushed off a balcony – and turned him into a ‘martyr.’
Yet by focusing on D’Annunzio’s later fate, Armitage and Barbrook ironically prove Bey’s central thesis: That revolution will always be annexed by the super-absorbent powers of the State. For “Bey,” we must therefore return to those moments when there is suspension between the old world and the new, suspension of old beliefs and ideologies, of political consciousness, realizing and reinhabiting an indeterminate zone where rigid attitudes towards social organization are challenged and, in many cases, overturned, however fleetingly. Honoring the spirit of suspension, then, means foregoing the ideal of permanent revolution in favor of ongoing temporary revolution that continues to replicate, indefinitely, the rolling suspensive zones suggested by the Fiume incident. Whatever one’s own views regarding the validity of this tactic, taking Bey to task for adhering to the logic of the framework he himself has set in train seems misguided.
In any case, Bey finds an echo (if not in the idea of suspension, then certainly in the tactic of reappraisal of historical circumstance) in the philosophy of Slavoj Zizek, who returns to the roots of Stalinism as a tool to unwork the current deadlock between competing Marxist ideologies: “Even if we conclude that the Stalinist terror was the necessary outcome of the Socialist project, we are still dealing with the tragic dimension of an emancipatory project going awry, of an undertaking which fatally misperceived the consequences of its own intervention ….” The validity of Zizek’s views on the matter of Stalinism has been a topic of some debate. Yet what is certain is the force within his position that urges the need to look to historical “hinges” where future outcomes take severe turns, but inside of which, paradoxically, redemptive potential lies. This same forceful argument underpins the TAZ and demands that it be assessed and debated on similar terms.
Additionally, what if it is indeed the case that, as Shantz writes, “Despite the novel twists Bey applies, and the controversy his ideas engendered in some anarchist circles, TAZ, or something very much like them, have long been a part of anarchist culture and politics [my emphasis].” Shantz cites the examples of the Wobbly union halls in the 1910s and 1920s; Spain’s “revolutionary community centres” in the 1930s and the “numerous squatted cultural centres of Europe from the 1960s to the present.” He concludes: “Wilson/Bey’s inspiration is drawn from the many heterotopias and intentional communities of history – pirate utopias, the Munich Soviet of 1919, Paris 1968, autonomist uprisings in Italy during the 1970s.” Thus, Armitage and Barbrook, by choosing to highlight D’Annunzio’s later fate, and ignoring the many examples of “temporary autonomous zones” that do not compromise their beliefs (as opposed to being crushed by the ruling powers), are as guilty of selective reporting as Wilson is in their accusation.
Finally, Armitage’s critique is based mainly around the idea that Bey has in some fundamental way failed to address the dynamics of Internet activism as it was evolving at the time: “How useful are ontological anarchy and the TAZ as political tools of cybercultural analysis and tactics?”. But, as mentioned, the TAZ was only ever associated with cyberculture by default, something Bey railed against in the 2003 preface: “What a joke. Time magazine identified me as a cyber-guru and ‘explained’ that the TAZ exists in cyberspace.” If the TAZ became a “hip-sounding, three-letter solution” as a result of this masscult indoctrination, than that is less to do with the author and more to do with a process, by which, as Geert Lovink argues:
Certain aspects of the late eighties “Californian” mindset had to be cultivated and taken out of their political and cultural context. And this is what happened to Hakim Bey’s notion of TAZ … We could therefore easily state that TAZ has been boiled down to a late eighties concept for Internet plus rave parties. The restless souls however can easily jump over this tragic reading of the history of ideas, and open other chapters full of yet unknown, unlikely futures.
This process of “boiling down” is one crucial reason why the TAZ attracted such heat. But it is not the only reason. At this juncture, it is worth returning to Wilson/Bey’s statement: “I am not trying to construct political dogma.” Yet despite that pronouncement, Bey was highly visible in the real world, debating anarchist principles on radio, in person and on the Internet, challenging and provoking long-standing views. In this light, negative reactions to the TAZ seem plausible: The author seems to step outside of the text with a flesh-and-blood presence advocating the concept as a serious political doctrine, and therefore a doctrine that can be opposed. But how seriously are we supposed to take a writer offering up this particular biography:
Hakim Bey lives in a seedy Chinese hotel where the proprietor nods out over newspaper & scratchy broadcasts of Peking Opera. The ceiling fan turns like a sluggish dervish – sweat falls on the page – the poet’s kaftan is rusty, his ovals spill ash on the rug – his monologues seem disjointed & slightly sinister – outside shuttered windows the barrio fades into palmtrees, the naive blue ocean, the philosophy of tropicalismo.
Asking that question is not to imply that the ideas within the TAZ are not “serious” or “political,” rather it is to assert that Bey’s satirical biography is more Burroughs than Bakunin. Burroughs’s work undoubtedly contains deep insight into the nature and function of capitalist society, and could even serve to inspire activism under some circumstances, but to attack “Hakim Bey” for failing to provide a watertight treatise on class struggle free of “political obscurantism,” as Armitage does, seems as absurd as criticizing Burroughs’ most infamous character, Dr Benway, for neglecting to follow ethical medical procedure. Moreover, the “high” style of Bey’s writing seems to confirm that “Hakim Bey” is not just a pseudonym, but as much a character as the creation of any novelist (the oratory seems to say “follow me; do as I do,” at least if the ambiguities in the text are glossed).
But if the character of “Bey” was satire, it was also a highly successful provocation. While there is no denying the complexities of, and differences between, contemporary anarchists, what is certain is that when dogma-anarchists attacked “Bey,” they held up a mirror to themselves, reflecting brightly the inflexibility of their own position. This is illustrated by Zerzan, who was moved to write: “I’ve become increasingly annoyed by [Bey’s] word-salad posturings.” For Zerzan, Bey’s “Primitives & Extropians” essay is a “pathetic exercise” that blatantly retreads the “patented” TAZ formula – that is, a “stylistic mantra about the glories of inconsistency and hip-sounding, three-word solutions in capital letters.” He rages against Bey’s “inconsistent, messy, open, impure, non-exclusive” text, without considering the fact that Bey might be a “fictional” narrative voice who, namedropping Sterling, Gibson and Philip K Dick, even admits that he “begin[s] to tilt a little toward my old SciFi enthusiasms.”
From where does Zerzan’s anger spring from? In an essay entitled “The Case Against Art,” he writes: “Art is always about ‘something hidden.’ But does it help us connect with that hidden something? I think it moves us away from it.” For Zerzan, art is a profound corruption of the natural world of the senses, a “symbolic activity” akin to shamanism that results in alienation and stratification, outsourcing memory and perception and mediating all mental functions so that we are confronted with nothing less than “the Fall of man”:
The world must be mediated by art (and human communication by language, and being by time) due to division of labor, as seen in the nature of ritual. The real object, its particularity, does not appear in ritual; instead, an abstract one is used, so that the terms of ceremonial expression are open to substitution. The conventions needed in division of labor, with its standardization and loss of the unique, are those of ritual, of symbolization …
The agent, again, is the shaman-artist, enroute to priesthood, leader by reason of mastering his own immediate desires via the symbol. All that is spontaneous, organic and instinctive is to be neutered by art and myth.
Peter Lamborn Wilson. Photo via.
It is no surprise that Zerzan would take umbrage with a shamanic “character” who masters his desires “via the symbol” – namely, Bey’s program of “poetic terrorism.” What is surprising is that many aims within Zerzan’s own philosophy are actually mirrored within the TAZ. Most obviously, Zerzan also “masters the symbol” – he cannot fail to do so, enabling “human communication by language” from within the technology of writing. This is an obvious contradiction that his philosophy can never resolve, thus it has no recourse but to appeal to the mysticism of primitive telepathy as an ideal that can sidestep this impasse, seemingly the type of mysticism he would decry in Bey. Zerzan also recognizes that the “spectacle” is an effective framework for understanding the nature of a society in which “the representation of representation” means that daily life is nothing less than an aestheticized experience:
Daily life has become aestheticized by a saturation of images and music, largely through the electronic media, the representation of representation … the distance between artist and spectator has diminished, a narrowing that only highlights the absolute distance between aesthetic experience and what is real. This perfectly duplicates the spectacle at large: separate and manipulating, perpetual aesthetic experience and a demonstration of political power.
Therefore, he requires “a sensual life in nature unmediated and unbounded by representation.” This is a striking corollary to Bey’s assertion that the “TAZ desires above all to avoid mediation, to experience its existence as immediate.” These supposed polar positions become blurred further when Zerzan suggests that the “things that sustain a city are still part of the problem. Maybe in its place we’ll see fluid sites of festival, reunion, play [my emphasis].” This, too, seems indistinguishable from Bey’s identification of “The TAZ as festival … Because the State is concerned primarily with Simulation rather than substance, the TAZ can ‘occupy’ these areas clandestinely and carry on its festal purposes for quite a while in relative peace.” The question therefore remains: Is Zerzan responding to Bey, or is Bey anticipating Zerzan?
With his “princely” Turkish title, “Hakim Bey” can now be confirmed as a deliberate intervention designed to mock, flush out and highlight the obstinacy of much revolutionary debate, underlining the disunity that causes various factions to retreat into “fiefdom,” never uniting towards a common goal but forever condemned to infighting. This outcome is further proven by “social ecologist” Murray Bookchin, who, in his book Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm, tilts at various versions of anarchism that do not tally with his ideal conception of a “social anarchism that seeks freedom through structure and mutual responsibility, not through a vaporous, nomadic ego that eschews the preconditions for a social life.”
Here, Bey endures the most sustained and scathing attack to date on the TAZ (derided as “lifestyle anarchism”), while the hapless Zerzan, despite his disavowal of Bey’s work, himself falls squarely within Bookchin’s sights, dismissed as “sanctimonious”, selfishly using anarchism as his own “primitivistic demimonde.” It is not Bey’s message, then, but Bookchin’s that loudly proclaims: “Follow me; do as I do.”
Bookchin repeatedly uses Wilson’s pseudonym as a title, as in “The Bey … minces no words about his disdain for social revolution … Having eliminated the classical revolutionary aim of transforming society, the Bey patronizingly mocks those who once risked all for it.” Taking umbrage at a self-satirizing pseudonym indicates the direction his attack would take. As in Zerzan, there would be no time for, indeed no room for, literature, artistic creativity or abstract thought in this version of the anarchist utopia. The arts in Bookchin’s reading, as in Zerzan’s (although the twain never did meet), are something to be despised, mistrusted, a gross distortion of the real world of politics and direct action.
This is also indicated by the straight literal interpretation Bookchin applies to the text. When Bey asks, “Why bother to confront a ‘power’ which has lost all meaning and become sheer Simulation,” Bookchin retorts: “Power in quotation marks? A mere ‘Simulation’? If what is happening in Bosnia with firepower is a mere ‘simulation,’ we are living in a very safe and comfortable world indeed!” The argument is akin to the uproar that followed Baudrillard’s announcement that the “Gulf War did not take place,” with certain commentators accused Baudrillard of disregarding the lives of those killed in the war, while themselves steadfastly ignoring (or simply failing to identify) Baudrillard’s main thesis. The self-defeating nature of such an attack is usefully summarized by Ward, who, in his short piece on the TAZ, states:
“Bookchin and I have opposite ways of coping with people whose ideas have some kind of connection with our own but with whom we disagree. His is to pulverise them with criticism so that they won’t emerge again … As a propagandist I usually find it more useful to claim as comrades the people whose ideas are something like mine, and to stress the common ground, rather than to wither them up in a deluge of scorn.” Of course, Bookchin in his later life broke with anarchism, no longer considering himself part of the movement, but no matter. The fight did have some value, as even Bey acknowledges: “I should mention that the book has been attacked as ‘dangerous’ and ‘unsavory’ – e.g., by Murray Bookchin – and this probably helped to boost sales somewhat.”
SECOND BACKLASH: “OPPORTUNISM, NOT GOOD WILL”
“Hakim Bey” remains a deeply divisive figure, no less controversial now than “he” was then. Much of this recent resentment, highly visible online, arises from accusations leveled against Wilson’s private life, especially in Robert P. Helms’s widely circulated series of articles. Helms asserts that Wilson’s earliest writings appeared in publications released by NAMBLA and other “man-boy love” organizations (including, he claims, an early version of the TAZ). For Helms, “the pedophile writings of Hakim Bey indicate a general deceit in his philosophy, and are evidence that his concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone is inspired by opportunism, not by good will. He presents arguments for human freedom while actually wishing to create situations where he is free to put his deranged sexuality into practice.”
This, in turn, has inspired a new backlash against the TAZ, in which it is claimed that Wilson’s version of anarchism serves to justify pedophilia. Much of the opprobrium directed towards him stems from a perception of pedophilia as solely concerned with the grooming of pre-pubescent children for sexual purposes, and even rape (also from a muddling of the distinction between pederasty and pedophilia). In this respect, it is apposite to draw upon the research of Steven Angelides, who has written at length about the moral panics surrounding contemporary representations of pedophilia:
It scarcely mattered that that many gay and paedophile support groups … had been articulating clear distinctions between paedophilia, incest, homosexuality and child sex abuse [and] that research revealed a much smaller proportion of homosexual men engaged in sex with prepubescent children than did heterosexual men … any space for subtle distinctions between children and adolescents and between the concepts of paedophilia and child sexual abuse was almost completely eroded.
It is clearly farfetched to suggest that Bey/Wilson is advocating sex with pre-pubescent children, as there is nothing in the texts to suggest this. Regarding pederasty, and regardless of one’s own views on the moral legitimacy of such sexual desire, it should also be recognized that Bey is not the first high-profile writer to admit to a sexual attraction towards adolescent boys. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg made no secret of it, yet by and large their readers do not seem to be able to have trouble separating this from their consumption of the work. Instead, the question of sexuality within Bey’s work should be analyzed within the framework of the academic writing Wilson has published under his real name, such as his non-TAZ overview of early pirate utopias:
A Foucaldian history of sexualities would indicate that such phenomena as pederasty or androphile homosexuality are behaviours rather than categories. Seen as categories, such phenomena can only be called social constructs rather than natural states of being. The imputation of “normalcy” or the privileging of one sexual behaviour over another is truly a double-edged sword for any homosexual theory, since these are precisely the terms used by heterosexual theory to discredit and condemn all same-sex love. In any case, the word “homosexual” belongs to the late 19th century, and the concepts of androphilia and pedophilia are even later refinements. The 17th century knew no such words, nor did it recognize any categories which might have been expressed in such words.
As with Angelides, who applies a similarly Foucaldian perspective to the history of sexual categorization, the outcome seems clear enough: To stimulate discussion surrounding the terms and definitions in place around pedophilia, and the sexual agency of adolescents, even if in Wilson’s case this means deploying a fictitious alter-ego able to express and re-internalize a controversial viewpoint that his own “objective” academic discourse could never do. Recall the notion of the “Bey” character as provocation. In the TAZ, he lists the slogans of the fictitious “Association for Ontological Anarchy,” some of which gesture towards the illicit sexual desire under question such as “YOUNG CHILDREN HAVE BEAUTIFUL FEET.” Others, he writes, are “‘sincere’ slogans of the A.O.A. – [and] others are meant to rouse public apprehension & misgivings – but we’re not sure which is which.”
It is that last assertion that really summarizes the objections to the TAZ, and indeed its value. Quite simply, detractors of “Bey” and Wilson were not sure which is which. Thus, the reactions to Wilson’s supposed sexual attitudes seem more to do with institutionalized homophobia brought to a head by Bey’s satirical intervention than they are to do with reasoned objections to a taboo subject that, historically, by many accounts, has not always been so. This intervention raises an important implication, one that a purely academic discourse could not to the same degree: If the TAZ, and any kind of alternative politics, can serve to reassess questions of race, disability, nationhood and gender, why can it not be used to reassess sexuality? Inevitably, the reactions of Helms and his supporters do not bode well for a movement seeking to overturn government and society on the grounds of historical irrelevance.
REPOPULATING THE TAZ: “WITHOUT PASSING ROUND A POISONED CHALICE”
Peter Lamborn Wilson. Photo via.
Today, Bey/Wilson looks back on the TAZ with a mix of fondness and distance. In the 2003 preface, he writes: “T.A.Z. feels to me very much a book of the 80s, a strangely romantic and more erotic era than the 90s or the nameless decade we now inhabit”. Yet he qualifies this with an acknowledgment that today more than ever, when national boundaries appear more porous than ever, when late capitalism has triumphed and society is the spectacle, “the TAZ seems more relevant than ever … it sometimes appears that the TAZ is the last and only means of creating an Outside or true space of resistance to the totality”. Indeed, a case could be made that the TAZ, by virtue of the number of discourses that make use of it (as cited earlier: Queer theory, theories of race, notions of deafhood), has succeeded in reaching more people than “social anarchism,” “anarcho-primitivism” or plain “vanilla” anarchism. In so doing, it has become a lightning conductor for an ongoing debate regarding the meeting point of philosophy and politics that shows no sign of slowing or resolving. Why is it such a conductive work? The answers do not lie within dated cybercultural tropes, self-defeatist anarchist infighting or emotive sexual politics, but within a rethinking of the TAZ as an ongoing and influential node in the ever-evolving strand of alternative politics.
With a similar approach, Patricia Pisters reconsiders arguments against political readings of Deleuze and Guattari’s work, and her views are worth repeating, as the arguments she challenges – “towards the relationship between politics, cultural theory and philosophy” – are applicable to Wilson’s own writing, which is, of course, inherently Deleuzoguattarian in its operating principles. Pisters notes that: “According to Richard Rorty, the academic left in general has become powerless because it does not engage in ‘real’ politics … [a] major objection … against the academic left is the level of abstraction of many academic discourses… ‘after reading … you know everything except what to do’.” However, she insists that the real political value of Deleuzoguattarian philosophy is the attention it pays to the interplay between “conscious and unconscious political activities,” of which art and artistic expression forms a part, all the more powerful in its ability to shape reality, or at least an understanding of reality, in ways that are outside of societal norms:
With the many concepts that Deleuze and Guattari have invented, it has become clear that ‘politics’ in contemporary society really takes place at the microlevel of beliefs and desires. It is this invisible level that is most important in a culture that increasingly depends on the visible, to the point where ‘capital becomes cinema’ … All theory and philosophy can do is to give tools to sharpen our perceptions and sensibilities for grasping the complexities of the various political lines that constitute the individual and the social. With this modest mission it might be possible to see where philosophy and politics can meet again, without the risk of passing round ‘a poisoned chalice’.
Indeed, with this “modest mission” in mind, it is time to return to the TAZ, to the text itself, regardless of the author’s personal history, and to once again unpack the insights it holds. Bey/Wilson’s concept is not an aberration but a crucial element enmeshed within a continuum of deeply held philosophical, political, biopolitical, physiological, sexual and even metaphysical debates. It is no less relevant today, as Benjamin Noys highlights:
If, according to Sun Ra, ‘space is the place’, then what type of space is the place we want to be? From Hakim Bey’s mystical-Stirnerite ‘Temporary Autonomous Zone’, to Alain Badiou’s post-Maoist invocation of ‘independent spaces’ subtracted from the State, from the ‘offensive opacity zones’ of the neo-Agambenian anarchist group ‘Tiqqun’, to Masteneh Shah-Shuja’s libertarian communist ‘zones of proletarian development’, the answer appears to be the ‘zone’, or its equivalent, as the space of liberation.
Without further mentioning Bey, Noys seems to confirm the inherent characteristics of the TAZ when he suggests that we need to rethink the “zone of liberation” in a way that refuses to “leave radical politics with only consolatory and symmetrical fantasies of inexplicable and yet somehow total revolution.” That “revolutionary fantasy” is also something that Bey, as we have seen, took great pains to repudiate.
Taking this cue as a sign of ongoing relevance, then, let us now repopulate the TAZ, re-examining it in the spirit with which it was created: As a satiric mirror to our own foibles. The trick in so doing, as Bey knows all too well, is never to flinch.
1 François Cusset, French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States , trans. Jeff Fort (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 250.
2 As Darren Tofts writes about a collection of cyberculture essays edited by Mark Dery: “Mondo 2000 did a lot to generate the cyberphilia (take anything and bung ‘cyber’ in front of it) gripping anyone who has anything to do with computers, modems and William Gibson novels … [In response] Dery has assembled writers with considerable experience of cyberculture as lived experience beyond, in [Vivian] Sobchack’s terms, ‘bumper-sticker libertarianism’.” Darren Tofts, “Flame Jamming,” 21C, no. 4 (1995): 91.
3 John Perry Barlow, “A Declaration for the Independence of Cyberspace,” 1996. http://homes.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html (accessed 23 October 2009).
4 Douglas Rushkoff, Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace  (Manchester: Clinamen Press, 2002), xxii.
5 For Semiotext(e) SF, Wilson had written a poem, “The Antarctic Autonomous Zone,” that covered some of the themes of the TAZ within a slightly fantastical setting.
6 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle  (Detroit: Black & Red, 1983), paragraph 1.
7 Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism  (Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 2003), 99.
8 Jack Boulware, “Mondo 1995,” San Francisco News, 11 October 1995. http://www.sfweekly.com/1995-10-11/news/mondo-1995 (accessed 23 October 2009).
9 Bey, T.A.Z., 97.
10 Bey, T.A.Z., 96-7.
11 Bey, T.A.Z., 100.
12 Bey, T.A.Z., 126.
13 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude (London: Penguin, 2006), 80-1.
14 Bey, T.A.Z., 106.
15 Bey, T.A.Z., 108, 132.
16 Bey, T.A.Z., xi. Wilson also made his sympathies clear at the time of Robert Anton Wilson’s death: “Bob was a Futurist and I am a Luddite, but after a long series of letters back and forth we agreed to disagree on the subject of technology, since neither of us wanted to put ideology in the place of camaraderie … In later years … we lost touch because Bob decided to colonize the Internet and I decided not to.” Peter Lamborn Wilson, “‘Liquor and weed for him were bardic fuel’ – Peter Lamborn Wilson’s obituary for Robert Anton Wilson,” Arthur, 5 December 2007. http://www.arthurmag.com/2007/12/05/peter-lamborn-wilsons-obituary-for-robert-anton-wilson (accessed 16 October 2009).
17 Bey, T.A.Z., xi.
18 Bey, T.A.Z., 110.
19 Bey, T.A.Z., 104.
20 Bey, T.A.Z., 105.
21 Bey, T.A.Z., 104.
22 M.T. Kato, From Kung Fu to Hip Hop: Globalization, Revolution, and Popular Culture (Albany: Suny Press, 2007), 237.
23 Chris Carlsson, Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration (Edinburgh and Oakland: AK Press, 2002), 109.
24 Paddy Ladd, “Colonialism and Resistance: A Brief History of Deafhood” in Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking, ed. H-Dirksen L. Bauman (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 51.
25 Charlie Hailey, Campsite: Architectures of Duration and Place (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008), 196.
26 Barbara Bender, Stonehenge: Making Space (Berg: Oxford and New York, 1998), 200.
27 Charles H. Lippy, Faith in America: Changes, Challenges, New Directions (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2006), 10.
28 John L. Jackson Jnr., Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005), 278.
29 Anthony Paul Farley, “Sadomasochism and the Colorline: Reflections on the Million Man March” in Black Men on Race, Gender, and Sexuality: A Critical Reader, ed. Devon W. Carbado (New York and London: New York University Press, 1999), 79.
30 Ward Churchill, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality (Oakland and Edinburgh: AP Press, 2003), 296.
31 Bey, T.A.Z., 97-8.
32 John Zerzan, “‘Hakim Bey,’ Postmodern ‘Anarchist’“ (1996) in Running on Empty: The Pathology of Civilization (Los Angeles; Feral House, 2002), 146.
33 Colin Ward, “Temporary Autonomous Zones,” Freedom, Spring 1997. http://raforum.info/spip.php?article1079&lang=fr (accessed 23 October 2009).
34 James Ingham, “Listening back from Blackburn: Virtual sound worlds and the creation of temporary autonomy” in Living Through Pop, ed. Andrew Blake (London: Routledge, 1999), 112.
35 Ingham, “Listening back from Blackburn,” 117.
36 Ingham, “Listening back from Blackburn,” 126.
37 Simon Reynolds, Generation Ecstasy (New York: Routledge, 1999), 169-70.
38 Jeff Shantz, Constructive Anarchy: Contemporary Anarchism in Action (Free Press, 2006) 105-6. http://www.freewords.org/freepress/book/14 (accessed 23 October 2009).
39 Shantz, Constructive Anarchy, 27.
40 Shantz, Constructive Anarchy, 106.
41 John Armitage, “Ontological Anarchy, the Temporary Autonomous Zone, and the Politics of Cyberculture: A Critique of Hakim Bey,” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 4: 2 (1999): 115.
42 Richard Barbrook, quoted in Armitage, “Ontological Anarchy,” 119-20.
43 Bey, T.A.Z., 125.
44 Slavoj Zizek, “No sex, please, we’re digital!” in On Belief (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 39.
45 Jeff Shantz, Living Anarchy: Theory and Practice in Anarchist Movements (Bethesda: Academica Press, 2008), 129-30.
46 Armitage, “Ontological Anarchy,” 119,
47 Bey, T.A.Z., xi.
48 Geert Lovink, Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical Internet Culture (Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 2003), 238.
49 Bey, T.A.Z., 23-4.
50 In 2005, for example, online feedback was sought for a “working list of authors, writers, and artists whose work is being considered for inclusion” in a proposed book entitled North American Anarchist Thought Since 1960. Burroughs appeared on this list, as did “Bey,” Zerzan and Murray Bookchin. http://libcom.org/forums/north-america/north-american-anarchist-thought-since-1960 (accessed 23 October 2009).
51 Zerzan, “‘Hakim Bey,’ Postmodern ‘Anarchist’,” 144.
52 Zerzan, “‘Hakim Bey,’ Postmodern ‘Anarchist’,” 146.
53 Hakim Bey, “Primitives & Extropians,” Anarchy 42 (1995). http://www.t0.or.at/hakimbey/primitiv.htm (accessed 23 October 2009).
54 John Zerzan, “The Case Against Art.” http://www.primitivism.com/case-art.htm (accessed 23 October 2009).
55 Zerzan, “The Case Against Art.”
56 As Zerzan admits: “Of course … one is subjected to that very criticism … We are all part of this: these contradictions are here, like it or not. I could go live in a cave, as some people have suggested, but I am trying to be a part of the dialogue, trying to make some kind of contribution here. So that is just the nature of the reality that we are in.” Zerzan quoted in Arthur Versluis, “Interview with John Zerzan,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 2/1 (2008): 156.
57 According to Zerzan: “Thinking of a world without language entails an enormous speculative leap. From where we are now it is extremely difficult to posit or fathom a life-world based on non-symbolic communication, though of course some of that exists even now. Freud guessed that a sort of telepathy held sway before language; lovers need no words, as the saying goes. These are hints in the direction of unmediated communication. I’m sure you can think of others!” Zerzan quoted in Anonymous, “Interview – John Zerzan.” http://www.primitivism.com/zerzan.htm (accessed 23 October 2009).
58 Zerzan, “The Case Against Art.”
59 Bey, T.A.Z., 109.
60 Zerzan quoted in Lawrence Jarach, “A Dialog on Primitivism: Lawrence Jarach interviews John Zerzan,” Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, no. 1 (2002). http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/dialog.htm (accessed 23 October 2009).
61 Bey, T.A.Z.,
62 Murray Bookchin, Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm (Edinburgh and San Francisco: AK Press, 1995) 54.
63 Bookchin, Social Anarchism, 64, 60.
64 Bookchin, Social Anarchism, 20.
65 Bey, T.A.Z., 127.
66 Bookchin, Social Anarchism, 20.
67 Namely, that the conflict was more an event mediated by spectacle and technology, so that nothing is as it seems, rather than a “war” in the traditional sense with clearly defined winners, losers and outcomes
68 Ward, “Temporary Autonomous Zones.”
69 Bey, T.A.Z., ix.
70 Robert P. Helms, “Paedophilia and American anarchism – the other side of Hakim Bey.” http://libcom.org/library/paedophilia-and-american-anarchism-the-other-side-of-hakim-bey (accessed 23 October 2009).
71 On Zine Wiki: The Independent Media Wikipedia, for example, a disclaimer is added under the entry for “Hakim Bey”: “This article is included for purposes of encyclopedic completeness only. Zine Wiki does not endorse or condone the views of Hakim Bey,” before declaring: “He remains a controversial figure within the anarchist mileau [sic], due to his advocacy of paedophilia, and his position as propagandist for child rape, sexual abuse and exploitation.” http://zinewiki.com/Hakim_Bey (accessed 1 November 2009). While such sites are not renowned for independently verified data, or indeed objectivity, it should be noted that the Internet’s “echo chamber” effect means that such allegations have been repeated often online for it to become an issue surrounding the work.
72 Steven Angelides, “The Emergence of the Paedophile in the Late Twentieth Century,” Australian Historical Studies, 126 (2005: 93.
73 Peter Lamborn Wilson, Pirate Utopias: Moorish Corsairs & European Renegadoes  (Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 2003), 185-6.
74 For example, Angelides writes: “As a discourse, paedophilia, like that of modern homosexuality, is a decidedly Western invention of the late nineteenth century. Yet unlike homosexuality, paedophilia was not at this time the object of particular concern … In stark contrast to the discourse of homosexuality … an individual practicing intergenerational sex in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was infrequently labeled a ‘paedophile’.” Angelides, “The Emergence of the Paedophile,” 272.
75 Bey, T.A.Z., 27.
76 Bey, T.A.Z., 28.
77 As Zizek writes: ‘One of the clearest lessons of the last few decades is that capitalism is indestructible. Marx compared it to a vampire, and one of the salient points of comparison now appears to be that vampires always rise up again after being stabbed to death. Even Mao’s attempt, in the Cultural Revolution, to wipe out the traces of capitalism, ended up in its triumphant return’. Slavoj Zizek, “Resistance Is Surrender,” London Review of Books, vol. 29, no. 22, 4.
78 Bey, T.A.Z., x-xi.
79 Patricia Pisters, “Introduction” in Micropolitics of Media Culture: Reading the Rhizomes of Deleuze and Guattari, ed. Patricia Pisters (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2001), 8.
80 Pisters, “Introduction,” 25.
81 Benjamin Noys, “Space is the Place,” presentation at the ‘Is Black and Red Dead?’ Conference, The Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, University of Nottingham, 7–8 September 2009. http://leniency.blogspot.com/2009/09/space-is-place.html (accessed 23 October 2009).
82 Noys, “Space is the Place.”