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<nettime> Oleg Kireev: Review of Hakim Bey-"Chaos and anarchy" in Russia
geert lovink on Wed, 15 Jan 2003 03:29:13 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Oleg Kireev: Review of Hakim Bey-"Chaos and anarchy" in Russian

From: "Oleg Kireev" <kireev2000 {AT} cityline.ru>

politics. culture. anarcho-orientalism

Hakim Bey: "Chaos and anarchy" in Russian.

In the 1920s revolutionaries would expect the soon coming of worldwide
communism. In the 60s, however, their dreams reduced to mere creation of
resistance fronts in Third World countries. In the melancholic 80s the only
thing people talked about was "temporary autonomous zones", which included
squats, Internet, pirate radios. The concept belongs to Hakim Bey, the
notorious oracle, mistificator and founding father of anarcho-orientalism.
While paying due respect to Hakim Bey, I personally used to believe that the
term "anarcho-orientalism" was connected not to him, but to Peter Lamborne
Wilson - but it was only on the appearance of the first Russian compilation
published by Gilea and edited by A.Tsvetkov and A.Tarasov that I found out
that Hakim Bey and P.L.Wilson are one and the same person.

Peter Lamborne Wilson writes in a calm, almost scientific way - about some
wild pre-agricultural tribes, which subsisted on gathering and hunting. They
had neither a state, nor work nor violence. Although wars were frequent,
they served as an instrument of counterbalancing and exchange which led to
disintegration of centralized power. Of course, herbal drugs were an
important issue in the life of such prehistoric societies.

The history of Russian acquaintance with Hakim Bey is short, but intensive.
Back in the 1997 the omnivorous Alexander Dugin, known for calling every
European intellectual his ancestor, surprised his readers by promoting Hakim
Bey. "The New Nestor", an almanac published by Dmitry Kostenko, reacted with
the following passage:

"... The core of Hakim Bey's teachings can be reduced to the following

1. Every anarchist must wear a turban.
2. Every anarchist must smoke hashish.
3. Every anarchist is obliged to sodomize a boy under 15 on a daily basis.

Alexander Dugin monstrously distorted Hakim Bey's revolutionary teachings,
and thereafter his fundamental statements came to resemble the following:

1. Every Russian patriot must wear a turban.
2. Every Russian patriot must smoke hashish.
3. Every genuine Russian is obliged to sodomize a boy under 15 on a daily

Unlike his alter ego P.L.Wilson, Hakim Bey does not write, but rather sings
and dances. "Digital Amsterdam" "autonomous zones" host almost all of his
works, among which there is, for example, a tractate consisting of
pseudo-advertisement aphorisms and slogans, such as "Marxism-Steirnerism",
"Tantrical pornography", "The chains of law are broken", "Imaginary
Shiites-fanatics". Gilea's book edition calls this "poetical terrorism" and
explains in the following way: "Weird dancing in all-night computer-banking
lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre
alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of
stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects."

The text is often complex, though conscious and definite to the last letter,
and sometimes it is reduced to surrealistic word arabesques. Gilea's
surprisingly adequate translation features such exquisite shadings of
meaning as "All over the world people are leaving or "disappearing"
themselves from the Grid of Alienation". Comments in the book are not at all
academic, on the contrary, they are sometimes so verbose that they argue
with the author.

There's another proof of the fact that Russian anarchists have an advanced
understanding of Western ideas. There was no need to publish "Temporary
autonomous zones" in the first edition - everything's already clear - so
they proceeded right to "Permanent autonomous zones", dated 1993. And I
think that then we were already familiar with both "poetical terrorism" and
"sabotage art". Didn't Osmolovsky and Pimenov write about that? Didn't their
"insane spy" conduct the same sort of jihad? The intonation is quite
similar, and one can even feel the taste of paganism and Chaos. So the
theory of cultural borrowings again doesn't seem to work, and perhaps it is
more appropriate to suggest that the same "waves" drift about our

By the end of the 80s "new age" became outdated. It is more or less
understandable what the left felt when the collapse of the Wall gave way to
unlimited expansion of the market and capitalism rushed to the East. But it
could already be seen that the next frontier of resistance would be Islam,
that's why in Hakim Bey's works revolution and jihad appear as synonyms for
the first time.

In "Temporary autonomous zones" he writes: "Certain cracks in the Babylonian
Monolith appear so vacant that whole groups can move into them and settle
down". This illusion dispelled in just three yeas. And now we witness the
disappearance of squats, pirate mass media, Internet, the third world, the
then Temporary and Permanent autonomous zones. "Although the founder of
aikido could dodge bullets, no one can stand aside from the onslaught of a
power that occupies the whole extent of tactical space."

Like Hakim Bey, we must again introduce both Temporary and Permanent
autonomous zones.

Oleg Kireev

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