War vs Real Estate

One man's war is another man's real estate. It may be simply that people who don't believe in property want your property, but it may also be that they don't care much about gradation or specificity. It could, perhaps, be better said that those who don't believe in property are over-extending their fear of becoming property. Reasonably, they might argue, rather, for an Autonomous Zone. Not blind to the fact that this zone might be claimed through legal measures, they might be willing to concede to its being a Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ). But just what is temporary autonomy? Are we talking about 3 minutes? The duration of a dinner party? The time it takes to cross the South Pacific by ship? A prison sentence?

One does what is within one's power to ensure that the autonomous zone is as autonomous as possible for as long as possible. It is only practical that this be accomplished with the voluntary effort of more than one person.

What separates a Permanent Autonomous Zone and a Temporary Autonomous Zone is only a relative matter. Only an insane person believes that an institution could last forever. The PAZ is really short-hand for what Hakim-Bey called the ‘Semi-permanent Temporary Autonomous Zone.'

That such a zone could maintain any degree of permanency implies that it willfully faces resistance to its autonomy from the outside. It doesn't matter if an outside force calls this impingement ‘invasion' or ‘the cultivation of free land;' those who inhabit that space will treat impingement from outside as an act of aggression.

It's not surprising that so many tribes and ancient cultures held war as a prime feature of their identity-it was what ensured their permanency and their autonomy (if not sovereignty).

In the modern world, war is often seen as something which will lead to mutually assured destruction. In the ancient world, they not only didn't have the technology to engage in such an outlandish, unreasonable kind of war, but they wouldn't have had any reason to even bluff-the territories were too small. Even empires were comprised of large clusters of neutral peoples within their perimeters.

But even if we were to get rid of planet-destroying weapons (perhaps through some ritual act, like launching them all toward a symbolically significant star), world peace is a sadly untenable goal. As long as there are human beings, there will always be violence. Weapons of mutually assured destruction are precisely a product of pacifism: the west believed it needed one final, all-consuming threat big enough to keep people from acting aggressively.

It doesn't work.

There has always been war. There will always be war. Wars will come and go. Invasions will uproot peoples and tribes and disasters will lead to endless dislocations and repatriations.

However, it is possible to fracture violence-to minimize it, to sap it of the ideological trappings which cause it to grow bigger than it needs to. It is possible to stay out of other people's wars, to organize mass self-defense and to pick our battles, so to speak. The non-aggression principle would only work if aggression were to exist in a vacuum. In truth, the aggression of past events ripples forward in an endless chain and will continue to do so forever.

Nothing is permanent in this life. As a sorry translation of a passage from the writings of Heraclitus would have it, ‘A man never steps in the same river twice.'

Nation states have offered us sorry excuses for Permanent Autonomous Zones. The state considers it real estate when they steal land out from under you. One must discover what one values and find like-minded people to protect it with you, since states are as temporary as everything else in life. Your union with this group of like-minded people may not be permanent, but whatever time you have together to defend it is good enough. Whatever you put into the world finds form and will always be a model for the future.