Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Tribe and Village
by Hakim Bey

The traditional tribe had room for everybody. So if you are an intellectual then you become a shaman, if you are an artist you might become a maker of spoons or painter of the outside of the tent or whatever. If you are a violent son of a bitch you get to be the war-chief, when there is a war. And if there is not a war everyone make sure - keep that guy out of trouble. There is room for every kind of marginal person in the tribe. It's not true that the tribe is restrictive to the individual.

But the point is, it's true for the modern world where the village or the tribe is in fact under attack by the center. The little village in east Tyrol or wherever - if any intellectual was born in one of those villages of course he would move to Vienna - no question about it. Because this village is under attack from Vienna. Vienna sucks out all its energy, takes all the taxmoney. I mean I assume this is true, because it's true in every other country I have ever been in. So I am simply using Vienna as an example. I say that Iran is an example. Teheran just sucks all the money and energy and all the artists, intellectuals. And anyone got to be nineteen years old and had two ounces of brains - went to Teheran.

So the village is a bad place to be now, because the village is under attack. On the other hand there is of course a reaction against this. People are leaving the city and not wanting to go to the suburbs, because the suburbs that's a failure, a historical failure, and so they go to the village. As someone also pointed out, with the net you don't have to be so isolated in the village. It's not the same as having a brilliant coffeehouse where you can go and meet all the people and really interact in the real world. But it's something anyway. I know people in Wisconsin, Wyoming or places like that who have gone back to the village but they are on the net - a sort of "satisfactory balance" between what the village is good for and the village is not good for.

Consider the Zapatistas as a tribe doing something very postmodern and also the Winnebagos in Wisconsin (that I happen to have some knowledge about).... Or a tribe of Indians who have a casino and make a lot of money so instead of spending a lot on booze they got organized and they have a 100% employment in their tribe and they are using the net - Their language has never been a written language so they are using the net to become literate in their own language. So they are leaping over the whole imperialist alphabetical stage of literacy and jumping - maybe, I don't know - over the whole industrial age into the postindustrial age in some strange way. So the net can be very good for tribal activists.

And these Zapatistas are also very much represented on the net. They don't put it up themselves, because they don't have the machines,but people in Mexico City will do it and translate all their stuff into English - instantly the same day that it came out -and put it on the net. So the North American press wasn't doing shit , wasn't covering the story at all. If you wanted to know the story you had to go into the net. That was interesting. The situation is going on in Mexico. I don't know what's happening with the net. I mean now the books are coming out, some serious assassment of what is going on, but for a few weeks the net was the only source, in North America. On my radio show I was putting as much as I could on the air.

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