Graham's Reviews > TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone

TAZ by Peter Lamborn Wilson
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Feb 06, 10

it was ok

I don't really know how to review this one, and I really wish I didn't have to give it a star rating so I'm just gonna give it a three because there are some five-star moments to this and some one-star (if you're gonna think about it like that).

On the most literal level, this work is a compilation of tracts on ontological anarchism that were originally published in the mid-1980s. There's a strong debt to Dadaism and the Beats (especially the latter, though that could just as easily be through the shared interest in subject matter like "pirate utopias" and Hassan-I-Sabbah), and a strong current of techno-utopianism which seems a little quaint in retrospect (Bey's proposition that the nascent Internet might be a means of achieving a social space ungrounded by government).

I don't even know what I'm doing reviewing this. It's not exactly a manifesto, Bey would probably bristle at such an idea, with its implicit connection with telling people what to do. If you're into a sort of free-spirited, amoral, mysticism-soaked pseudo-ideology, this is perfect for you. If you're looking for a more traditional, throw-down-the-gauntlet set of political ideas, you'd probably agree with Murray Bookchin that this is a loosely-defined call to "lifestyle anarchism" and should probably stay away.

I'm not too aligned with either side, so I'd say it's an interesting document of a single spot in time, indebted to some good ideas, putting forth some other good ideas, but ultimately lacking in any sort of conventional coherence.
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