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The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Southeast Asia

Discussion in 'General political debates' started by Harrison, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Harrison

    HarrisonExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Nov 11, 2009
     
    So I'm reading this book by James C. Scott. Has anyone else / is anyone reading it?
    It's insane. Basically it's about the geographical region of Zomia in Southeast Asia and the peoples in it. The region stretches over all of SEA but is mapped horizontally across elevation instead of in terms of borders. Zomia only exists above a certain elevation within the hills and mountains and is home to nearly a hundred million people.

    Anyways, there's no state control whatsoever in Zomia and there never has been. Oh, and did I mention that nearly a hundred million people live there? Those there subsist on swidden agriculture and do so completely autonomously.
    This completely destroys the false narrative that civilization and pacification of lawless peoples are just steps in a linear timeline of human history. Not only has this region been outside state control for all its existence, but refugees from civilization have often fled there to abandon life in hierarchy. Civilization itself can't really climb hills or high elevations (whenever there are fringe people's, they always exist at high elevation, where civ's influence can't reach) so Zomia has remained out of reach.
    Anyways yeah, this book is awesome, and if folks are looking for something to read this is a good choice.

    One of the points I wanted to bring up that I've gotten out of it is that Western anarchists are often prone to say "when anarchy hits" or "when we have anarchy". I don't think this is an accurate statement at all. Anarchy can never really come or hit, In terms of Western society, anarchy is always there in small fluctuations, until WS's inevitable collapse. But this especially kills that notion because anarchy has existed in this region since, well, since forever. There is already an ever changing anarchist society of almost 100 million people in Southeast Asia. Anarchy exists anywhere that the influence of a coercive authority cannot reach.
     

  2. THEBLACKNOVA

    THEBLACKNOVAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Aug 11, 2011
     Mexico
    I have not read the book... But i have heard the author speak in this video i posted below VVVVVV :D

    Everyone should hear what he has to say. I believe he also points out that their society has evoled to be not controlled or reachable by a state, and people have joined it escaping the state ;)

    Anarchist anthropologist points out there have always been and they continue to be autonomous societies functioning out side state control. I have heard an anarchist anthropologist talk about Libya and the Arab Spring point out that as Mummer Gaddafi's control of the state collapsed, tribal societies did not put their arms down but are regaining control of their lives outside of the state...

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGZRVDp2Tyk&list=UUODV7n3N_GPRu9X0kfOs5-Q&index=5[/video]
     
  3. nmara

    nmaraActive Member Forum Member


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    Dec 1, 2012
     
    i actually didnt know this, proves that anarchy can coexist with other countrys that have governments too
     
  4. PoshyX

    PoshyXExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Nov 17, 2012
     
    i find it hard to believe (not that i don't) that such a society exists in modern society, where people feel it necessary to depend on a state in some way, shape, or form. why haven't i heard of this place before?
     
  5. Harrison

    HarrisonExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Nov 11, 2009
     
    Civilization doesn't like anyone to know that there are folks living outside its control who are happier than those living within it. Most modern peoples do depend on the state, but no one will ever want to talk about those who don't. It used to be considered that such peoples are just relics who've always lived outside the state. But anthropologists who've gone to Zomia actually found that a lot of the people living there are descendants of or are themselves runaways who fled civilized society to escape war/famine/epidemics/slavery etc. That's what destroys the narrative of civilization. Society in zomia developed alongside civilized society and even in some ways because of it.
    I mean they haven't been living off the radar or anything, civilization has always known people were there, outside state control. Southeast Asia is a happening place for autonomy though I reckon. Slavery too. Well it's a happening place for a lot of things. Southeast Asian history is insanely complex.
     
  6. THEBLACKNOVA

    THEBLACKNOVAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Aug 11, 2011
     Mexico
    And when a state finds communities existing outside of the state and capitalism it moves in to try and incorporate them into the existing "capitalist economy" using whatever means are necessary. If the state needs to eradicate an entire community, that poses a treat as an example of living outside the state and capitalism, the state will exterminate that community, as it posses a threat to its control on what is possible.
     
  7. lordkevin

    lordkevinNew Member New Member


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    Dec 26, 2012
     
    Thanks for the nice post dear...
     
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