Democracy of fleeing – squats, communes, autonomous zones and other demons of liberal propaganda

Lecture by Jan Sowa

In the mainstream of the public debate, both the conservatives and the liberals try to construct a peculiar symmetry in which the left-wing extreme – anarchist and neo-communist – would be equally dangerous and contemptible, as is the nationalist-fascist right-wing extreme. Even a sketchy glance at the actual actions and demands of the radical left-wing makes it possible to comprehend the absurdity of a similar juxtaposition: while the fascists send refugees and Jews for a certain death in gas chambers, as well as celebrate the birthday of Adolf Hitler, the anarchists protect poor people from evictions and cook meals for those in need. No left-wing hate list similar to right-wing Red Watch never has been emerged, and the physical object of the radical left-wing’s attacks is the capitalist infrastructure, not specific individuals or groups of people. Practical experiments with egalitarian self-organization, which take place in squats and other similar autonomous centres, historically speaking, refer to practices that could be called “democracy of fleeing”; they consist in an attempt to carve out an autonomous area of the social reality, which in its functioning would anticipate future forms of democratic life. Their historical sources are the pirate communities and radical religious movements that, since the 17th century have at least tried to undermine the elitist-capitalist consensus.