Here's a fragment from today's blog by Big Gav. Big Gav writes:
While on the topic of non-authoritarian philosophies, the recent saga of the Swedish file sharing Vikings at The Pirate Bay prompted this revivial of Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zone.
Then he quotes Hakim Bey:
THE SEA-ROVERS AND CORSAIRS of the 18th century created an "information network" that spanned the globe: primitive and devoted primarily to grim business, the net nevertheless functioned admirably. Scattered throughout the net were islands, remote hideouts where ships could be watered and provisioned, booty traded for luxuries and necessities. Some of these islands supported "intentional communities," whole mini-societies living consciously outside the law and determined to keep it up, even if only for a short but merry life.
Some years ago I looked through a lot of secondary material on piracy hoping to find a study of these enclaves--but it appeared as if no historian has yet found them worthy of analysis. (William Burroughs has mentioned the subject, as did the late British anarchist Larry Law--but no systematic research has been carried out.) I retreated to primary sources and constructed my own theory, some aspects of which will be discussed in this essay. I called the settlements "Pirate Utopias."
Recently Bruce Sterling, one of the leading exponents of Cyberpunk science fiction, published 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.
The medieval Assassins founded a "State" which consisted of a network of remote mountain valleys and castles, separated by thousands of miles, strategically invulnerable to invasion, connected by the information flow of secret agents, at war with all governments, and devoted only to knowledge. Modern technology, culminating in the spy satellite, makes this kind of autonomy a romantic dream. No more pirate islands! In the future the same technology-- freed from all political control--could make possible an entire world of autonomous zones. But for now the concept remains precisely science fiction--pure speculation.
Aaarh matey, the stuff of dreams be that line, "the decay of political systems will lead to a decentralized proliferation of experiments in living." Imagine having a veritable smorgazbord of intentional communities to pick and choose from for where to live. Better yet, imagine being able to freely move from one to another whenever you wish to experience a new way of living.
I'm indulging my pirate fantasies this morning before knuckling down to work.
P.S. You can read more on rhizome networks at Jeff Vail's blog.