Session 2

Keskiviiko 23.04 klo 13-16

Morning: Autonomous cultures: anarchisms and self-reliance

Life in society but by one's own rule.

Autonomous, from what?
Government (hierarchal authority), State politics, Captial (money), other poeple?

αυτόνομος autonomos: "one who gives oneself his/her own law": self-government.. ability of a rational individual to make an informed and uncoerced (unforced) decision.

To do this, it means being self-reflective and taking responsibility for ones own actions.

"In the past few decades, a large movement of Autonomism has emerged amongst the anti-capitalist Left, merging with pieces of Marxism, social democracy, Anarchism, the Inclusive Democracy project, and the Anti-Globalization Movement."

Autonomism (Autonomia)
Related autonmist-Marxist workers movement originating in 1960s N. Italy, :


Philosopher of 'Autonomy': Cornelius Castoriadis

In human collectives there is a creative potential which Castoriadis calls "the instituting social imaginary.".. the creation of new forms of being.. languages, instititions, music,.." p 125

"Th[e] radical imagination of human beings must therefore be tamed, channeled, regulated, and made to conform to life in society and also to what we call "reality." That is done via their socialization, during which they absorb the institution of society and its significations, internalize them, learn language, the categorization of things, what is just and unjust, what can be done and what is not to be done, what must be adored and what must be hated. When this socialization takes place, the most important manifestations of radical imagination are, up to a certain point, stifled, its expression is made to conform and becomes repetitive. Under these conditions, society as a whole is heteronomous."

"For, each person's self-understanding is a necessary condition for autonomy. One cannot have an autonomous society that would fail to turn back upon itself, that would not interrogate itself about its motives, its reasons for acting, its deep-seated [profondes] tendencies. Considered in concrete terms, however, society doesn't exist outside the individuals making it up. The self-reflective activity of an autonomous society depends essentially upon the self-reflective activity of the humans who form that society." ('Figures of the Thinkable: Imaginary and Imagination at the Crossroads' p 151)

"The individual autonomous, that is to say, lucid concerning her desire and concerning reality, and responsible for her acts: holding herself accountable for what she does."

(Wikipedia): "He defined an Autonomous society in contrast to a Heteronomous one. While all societies make their own imaginaries (institutions, laws, traditions, beliefs and behaviors), autonomous societies are those that their members are aware of this fact, and explicitly self-institute (αυτο-νομούνται). In contrast, the members of heteronomous societies attribute their imaginaries to some extra-social authority (i.e. God, ancestors, historical necessity).


Anarchist concepts

Political philosophy of diverse and heterogeneous schools of thought which are united by a common opposition to hierarchal or compulsary rule.

However while there are often no Founders, schools are based on different organisational principles or practice, supporting a wide diverse range from extreme individualism to collectivism and communism.

Exercise: Anarchist dinner party


The highest type of human society in the existing social order is found in the parlor. In the elegant and refined reunions of the aristocratic classes there is none of the impertinent interference of legislation. The Individuality of each is fully admitted. Intercourse, therefore, is perfectly free. Conversation is continuous, brilliant, and varied. Groups are formed according to attraction. They are continuously broken up, and re-formed through the operation of the same subtile and all-pervading influence. Mutual deference pervades all classes, and the most perfect harmony, ever yet attained, in complex human relations, prevails under precisely those circumstances which Legislators and Statesmen dread as the conditions of inevitable anarchy and confusion. If there are laws of etiquette at all, they are mere suggestions of principles admitted into and judged of for himself or herself, by each individual mind.

Is it conceivable that in all the future progress of humanity, with all the innumerable elements of development which the present age is unfolding, society generally, and in all its relations, will not attain as high a grade of perfection as certain portions of society, in certain special relations, have already attained?

Suppose the intercourse of the parlor to be regulated by specific legislation. Let the time which each gentleman shall be allowed to speak to each lady be fixed by law; the position in which they should sit or stand be precisely regulated; the subjects which they shall be allowed to speak of, and the tone of voice and accompanying gestures with which each may be treated, carefully defined, all under pretext of preventing disorder and encroachment upon each other's privileges and rights, then can any thing be conceived better calculated or more certain to convert social intercourse into intolerable slavery and hopeless confusion? (S. Pearl Andrews The Science of Society)


Individualist anarchism

  • Stirner's egoism
  • Anarcho-capitalism

Social anarchism

  • Collectivist anarchism
  • Anarchist communism
  • Anarcho-syndicalism
  • Anarcha-feminism
  • Green anarchism


  • Anarcho-pacifism
  • Free market anarchism
  • Religious anarchism


Permanent Autonomous Zone (PAZ)

"is a community that is autonomous from the generally recognized government or authority structure in which it is embedded. PAZs are not controlled by any government (as recognized by other governments) or by any religious authority."


Temporary Autnomous Zone (TAZ)

Concept developed from historical interpretation of Pirate Utopias by American political writer and poet, Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson)

Criticism by Murray Bookchin in mid 1990s that TAZ promotes individualist lifestyle politics..

Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism - An Unbridgeable Chasm

However this point of view has been also dismissed as divisive to the anarchist movement.


Social Centre Movement

(Wikipedia):"Social Centres are community spaces. They are buildings which are used for a range of disparate activities, which can be linked only by virtue of being not-for-profit. They might be organizing centres for local activities or they might provide support networks for minority groups such as prisoners and refugees. Often they provide a base for initiatives such as cafes, free shops, public computer labs, graffiti murals, legal collectives and free housing for travellers. The services are determined by both the needs of the community in which the social centre is based and the skills which the participants have to offer.

Social centres tend to be in large buildings and thus can host activist meetings, concerts, bookshops, dance performances and art exhibitions. Social centres are common in many European cities, sometimes in squats, sometimes in rented buildings."



"The Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE) is a self-funded community resource centre for grassroots organisation, encouraging people to take more control of their lives. We do not provide solutions, but believe in joining together to support each other."


Call for Decentralised Days of Action for Squats and Autonomous Spaces'

Social Centre Information in Finland:

Turku: Jokikatu Autonomous Centre
Saturday, April 19th, 2008

"The Autonomous Culture Center Jokikatu is alive and active! The house was squatted 11.4. During the first weekend hundreds of people visited at the Free Culture Festival, which was organized in Jokikatu. All kinds of culture happenings have taken place at the house, from puppet theatre to punk-gigs. Painting, writing, free movies and food also… Surprisingly the city has agreed to let us use the house and we are very happy about it."

Autonominen Kulttuurikeskus Jokikatu:

Autonominen kulttuurikeskus Jokikatu sightseeing 1+2+3/3

Projekti Sosiaalikeskus:


Christiania Freetown, Copenhagen, Denmark

"Christiania, du har mit hjerte/Christiania, you have my Heart",
Documentary Film by Nil Vest, 1991

'What is Mystery': Michael Baers, Christinia, 2006.

Kulturkrigen - Trailer - The Culture War

Christiania and Ungdomshuset Township Rebellion RATM

Christiania Researcher in Residence scheme

Home, Stewart (2007). The End of Copenhagen?


Other materials

An Anarchist FAQ

Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism

Interview with founder, Chuck Munson

AK Press

'The Unknown Revolution 1917-1921' by Voline (1882-1945)

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