Hakim Bey, one of the leading figures in cyberpunk culture, has died

Hakim Beyreal name Peter Lamborn Wilson, was a writer, essayist and poet who spent many years between India, Pakistan and Iran, a country where he also had the opportunity to deepen Sufi thinking. During his nomadic life, he wrote a series of essays that defined new theories for alternative cultures from the idea, iterated from pirate community, to build liberated areas where people can live and experience a different way of living.

Bey, born in 1945 he died, probably of a heart attack, on Sunday, May 22 (but the news has only just been published) in his apartment in Saugerty, a small town of about 20,000 inhabitants in the state of New York. His health had not been good for some time.

His most famous book “TAZ”., published in Italy by Shake versionshas inspired many writers and artists, but above all it has been the theoretical support for the idea behind the culture “rave” where some places for days or weeks became accurate, Temporary autonomous zones where one can experiment with new forms of freedom and aggregation. A developed and futuristic idea of ​​festivals like Woodstock or, in Italy of Naked king of the 70s (we’re talking about Robinson at newsstands this week with an interview with Andrea Majid Valcarenghi it off Naked king was the founder), but also of small wild and illegal festivals in the forest or organized and huge like Burning manwhich has become a new phenomenon that continues today: young people from all over America and around the world gather in a Nevada desert in Black Rock City. Here are the only allowed forms of transfer of ownership of goods, food and water barter and giving, cell phones do not work and new ways to be with strangers and / or groups of friends are being experimented with.

Hakim Bey’s theorizations also contributed to the creation of new municipalities and other alternative forms of housing which has involved creative militants from around the world from the early nineties onwards recent American uprisings. One such example in Italy is the municipality Mutonicreated by the artist collective Mutoid Waste Company two km from Santarcangelo di Romagna on the Marecchia river, which has created a world of “Mad Max” where utopia and dystopia meet.

Loved and hailed by many protagonists in the alternative scene such as Allen Ginsberg and Tim Learydefined
“A Fascinating Book” by William S. Burroughs, TAZ it has also been criticized by other authors such as Murray Bookchin for his position “mysterious – individualistic – irrationalist”.

Among the books published by Bey in Italy, in addition to TAZ, there are also “The Republics of the Pirates – Moorish Pirates and European Descendants of the Mediterranean” which tells how Muslim pirates from North Africa in the period between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries decimated European shipping and enslaved thousands of prisoners. During the same period, however, thousands of Europeans converted to Islam and joined the “holy war”. The question that Hakim Bey asked in the essay is: “Were they the scum of the seas, or did they abandon and betray Christianity for a form of social resistance?”. A study on The private republic of Saléin Morocco, according to the researcher, “the most advanced political form among the pirate societies of the period”.

Wikimedia Commons

Finally, “Free Capitol Hill Zone” or “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone “ which means “CHAZ”declared in Seattle in an area near the East Police Department district abandoned by law enforcement to create a “de-escalation” of the protests in the period triggered by the killing of George Floyd by the police. Duration from June 8 to July 1 before evacuation. Participants made a giant mural that showed movies on the street, arranged concerts and areas of freedom of speech. This is probably the most startling application of Beys theorizing.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Book: Hakim Bey, “The Temporary Autonomous Zone” Shake Edizioni, 224 pages, 12 euros

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