Ambience of Belonging

Ambience of Belonging

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May 27, 2013

Watching the violent clashes worldwide between indigenous peoples and modern states, one might be inclined to wonder what’s at the root of the problem. Is it just philosophical values, control of territories and historical injustice, or is there more to it? With food riots and other uprisings becoming a regular global occurrence, it might be wise for us to step back a moment to get a grasp of what is happening in our world.

In his February 2, 2012 speech at Pennsylvania State University — School of International Affairs, Stan Goff put neoliberalism into an historical context that makes the political destabilization associated with the imperial food market comprehensible.  In The Roles of Finance Food and Force in US Foreign Policy, Goff illustrates the links between financial warfare, world dominance and the industrialization of agriculture.

In his essay NoGoZone, Hakim Bey examines the state as the last spectacular locus of the world of simulation, and proposes that it will be forced to practice social triage in letting go of real control of zones that have been abandoned. Officially, he notes, the specto-state will continue to claim jurisdiction and proprietorship of these zones, but in reality these zones will have been sacrificed.

Constituting organic non-authoritarian entities, No Go Zones as real-life experiments, says Bey, will need to re-invent a spirituality of freedom. Whether we dread it or romanticize it, he asserts, the No Go Zone is on the way.

Whether we envision No Go Zones in the form of dystopia as represented in the movies Brazil or City of God, or utopia in the form of revitalized micro-nations on North American Indian reservations or in anarchic Italian social centers, creating autonomous zones of survival is fast becoming our most urgent task.

As Zapatista autonomous communities struggle to survive attacks by Mexican police and vigilantes, speakers for the Zapatista movement of liberation are reaching out to the world to prevent further massacres by the stormtroopers of Free Trade. When the choice is between assimilation and annihilation, one has to reconsider non-violent restrictions as criteria for solidarity. As privileged members of the first world, do we have a right to insist that the people of the Fourth World not defend themselves?

Assuming hypocrisy and betrayal are eternal human attributes, subverting spectacle becomes increasingly more of an art than a science. As such, our creativity and imagination are as essential as our understanding of the science of mass communication.

As a social artist, I am always on the lookout for community development opportunities that create a cultural context for social renewal. While that revival might take the form of media, medicine, music, politics or style, the common attribute of generating an ambience of belonging is the essence of this art.

Reinvigorating and refreshing such things as hippie culture are thus vital social projects.

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