Tag Archives: ontological anarchy

Recent Traditionalists blog post links to Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy

Recent Traditionalists blog post at “Anarchist Traditionalism: Hakim Bey” links to Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy and is a bit of analysis related to the previously mentioned interview with Peter Lamborn Wilson at “In Conversation with Hakim Bey“.

“Arthur Versluis’s recent interview (see below) with the American anarchist Peter Lamborn Wilson, who also writes as Hakim Bey, suggests that Lamborn Wilson’s anarchism is a leftist form of Political ‘Soft’ Traditionalism.” [via]

“Although some critics of Lamborn Wilson dismiss his work as no more than an attempt to justify his own practice of ‘man-boy love,’ in my view that work is too substantial and influential to be so dismissed.

In the Versluis interview, Lamborn Wilson makes clear that what he now values in Traditionalism is its critique of modernity, not its ‘proposal’ for responding to modernity. As an anarchist, Lamborn Wilson gives the state–and especially the all-powerful contemporary state–a prime position in his own critique of modernity. His own proposals lead in a number of directions, none of them revolutionary in the normal sense, given his perception that the state always manages to co-opt revolutions. He stresses that his proposals should be taken in a poetic as much as a literal sense. The most famous of them is the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ),’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 re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it’ (TAZ, quoted in Sellars 2011).” [via]

The Situationists and the Occupation Movements

Ken Knabb has posted a new essay “The Situationists and the Occupation Movements” over at The Bureau of Public Secrets. If you’ve been following my posts about the attention that the Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy section and specifically T. A. Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism have been getting, this is an essay that may also be of interest. In a previous post, I pointed out that the Situationists should also be considered as a resource and an inspiration for the Occupy movement, not just, to extend that a bit, for Parkour and Dark City; and, here’s a great essay that speaks to that very connection.

“One of the most notable characteristics of the “Occupy” movement is that it is just what it claims to be: leaderless and antihierarchical. Certain people have of course played significant roles in laying the groundwork for Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations, and others may have ended up playing significant roles in dealing with various tasks in committees or in coming up with ideas that are good enough to be adopted by the assemblies. But as far as I can tell, none of these people have claimed that such slightly disproportionate contributions mean that they should have any greater say than anyone else. Certain famous people have rallied to the movement and some of them have been invited to speak to the assemblies, but they have generally been quite aware that the participants are in charge and that nobody is telling them what to do.

This puts the media in an awkward and unaccustomed position. They are used to relating with leaders. Since they have not been able to find any, they are forced to look a little deeper, to investigate for themselves and see if they can discover who or what may be behind all this. Since the initial concept and publicity for Occupy Wall Street came from the Canadian group and magazine Adbusters, the following passage from an interview with Adbusters editor and co-founder Kalle Lasn (Salon.com, October 4) has been widely noticed:

We are not just inspired by what happened in the Arab Spring recently, we are students of the Situationist movement. Those are the people who gave birth to what many people think was the first global revolution back in 1968 when some uprisings in Paris suddenly inspired uprisings all over the world. All of a sudden universities and cities were exploding. This was done by a small group of people, the Situationists, who were like the philosophical backbone of the movement. One of the key guys was Guy Debord, who wrote The Society of the Spectacle. The idea is that if you have a very powerful meme — a very powerful idea — and the moment is ripe, then that is enough to ignite a revolution. This is the background that we come out of.

Lasn’s description is a rather over-simplified version of what the situationists were about, but the Adbusters at least have the merit of adopting or adapting some of the situationist methods for active subversive use (which is of course what those methods were designed for), in contrast to those who relate to the situationists as passive spectators.”

I encourage you to check out the rest of that essay.

Hakim Bey and the Occupy Wall Street movement

In the past few days there was a big increase in traffic to Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy, especially to the T. A. Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism and Part 1 – T. A. Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism pages. Presumably, this is due to these pages being referenced by people talking about the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together movements around the country.

For example, some tweets I’ve seen with links have suggested the Occupy Wall Street movement is a “peaceful temporary autonomous zone (TAZ), pirate utopia, encampment of guerrilla ontologists” [via]. I’ve also seen suggestions that the Hakim Bey material is a “key” [via] to Occupy Wall Street, or that that in Bey’s work can be found the “ideological roots of the Wall Street Occupationists” [via].

While I always encourage people to check out material on the Hermetic Library site, and I think it’s great that people are talking about the materials; there’s certainly a couple other things that come to mind for me, which I wanted to mention. Certainly a never ending list of recommendations could be made, but I’ll limit myself to a small handful.

I’d like to suggest that people check out the work of John Brinckerhoff Jackson, especially because of his work around discovering the “vernacular landscape”. When I was reading his work I also posited the existence of an “imaginal landscape”, so you may be inclined to check out one of my personal papers, Sigils of Imagination.

For me, I find myself also thinking about Rebecca Solnit’s Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West, and want to suggest that to you. The struggle over who and what ideology controls landscape is not a new one to the United States, and this work is for me an interesting and powerful exploration of that.

I’d also highly recommend checking out a variety of other resistance movements, both in the US and Europe. One could look at the history of strikes in the US, the history of the Diggers and Levellers in the UK, or at the history of peasant revolts generally in Europe.

But, I also wanted to recommend to you another online repository of texts which I think may be of interest to those checking out the works of Hakim Bey as possibly influences on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ken Knabb’s Bureau of Public Secrets is a pretty extensive collection of Situationist International materials, both in France and elsewhere. You can also may find Ken Knabb’s published works interesting, such as Situationist International Anthology and Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb.

Of course, you may also be interested in the Marxists Internet Archive, which is a venerable online repository of materials of possible interest.

Update 2011nov15 @ 4:36pm:

I note now that according to a tweet by @OWSLibrary and confirmed by the history page of their blog the first book entered into their catalog was, in fact, Hakim Bey’s T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism.