Stab Magazine | Jay Nelson, A Toyota Hilux, And The Case For The Temporary Autonomous Zone

Jay Nelson, A Toyota Hilux, And The Case For The Temporary Autonomous Zone

Forget #Vanlife, are you familiar with Pirate Utopias? Ontological Anarchy? Poetic Terrorism? You should be!

style // Jun 27, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sure, you’ve unfollowed friends for irritating #VanLife posts, but are you familiar with the Anarchist writer, Hakim Rey

Perhaps you’ve encountered a patchouli- and nag champa-soaked copy of his “cult best-seller,” TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism on the nightstand of a co-ed from the closest liberal arts college? Or had it thrust upon you from some dedicated Burner fresh off his desert vacation from the Default World? 


Regardless, San Francisco surfer, artist, and woodworker, Jay Nelson is well-versed. Broken into three sections—”Chaos: The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism,” “Communiques of the Association for Ontological Anarchy,” and “The Temporary Autonomous Zone”—the book lays out a theory around, amongst other things (“Poetic Terrorism, anyone?*), creating impermanent spaces where community and ideas can exist beyond “formal structures of control.”

So-called Pirate Utopias—”a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen (sic), before the State can crush it.”

Sound like madness? Here’s another taste:

“Are we who live in the present doomed never to experience autonomy, never to stand for one moment on a bit of land ruled only by freedom? Are we reduced either to nostalgia for the past or nostalgia for the future? Must we wait until the entire world is freed of political control before even one of us can claim to know freedom? Logic and emotion unite to condemn such a supposition. Reason demands that one cannot struggle for what one does not know, and the heart revolts at a universe so cruel as to visit such injustices on our generation alone of humankind…

“To say that “I will not be free ’till all humans (or all sentient creatures) are free” is simply to cave into a kind of nirvana-stupor, to abdicate our humanity, to define ourselves as losers.”

It’s a wild ride of a book, certainly. 

In true Anarchist fashion, you can read TAZ for free here, and click into the edit above, featuring Jay repurposing a Toyota Hilux into a vehicle fit for some coastal Australian piracy. 


*Examples of “Poetic Terrorism”:

Weird dancing in all-night computer-banking lobbies. 

Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays.

Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks.

Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects.

Kidnap someone & make them happy.

Pick someone at random & convince them they’re the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune — say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an ageing circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. Later they will come to realize that for a few moments they believed in something extraordinary, & will perhaps be driven as a result to seek out some more intense mode of existence.


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