Kiez Notes Extended: Sovereignty, Autonomy, Solidarity, Commoning, Livelihoods



The XLterrestrials were gathering notes from a bunch of different events this past week, a whirlwind of information, loads of perspective and a bounty of networking comrades…

We felt as though we uncovered some major strategical insights for our current dire situations, and we’ll try to compile some thoughts and some sketches of the view we had from the various perches into which we were fortunate enough to have been welcomed into.


To Begin…

some key words: Solidarity, Sovereignty, Autonomy, Municipalism, Commoning, Livehihoods … and last but not least… Climate Breakdown.

Places/Projects: Urbanize Festival, Prinzessingarten, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg Kantine, Unteilbar march at Alexanderplatz, Grossbeerenstrasse Besetzung, Syndikat, Kiezladen, Google Tracker, ZAD


PART 1 : On The Polity of Snails ?



There are many simultaneous urgencies…

And it would be valid to analyze and take action from many angles and entry points. In our own heads and immediate territories, we are mostly pre-occupied with a local struggle against the transnational tech companies ( like Google … Amazon … and the whole Surveillance Krapitalism ) which pose unprecedented threats to our ways of life in urban settings, and finding ways through community “kiez” organizing to resist the onslaught of an anti-collectivity via the dominant technological landscape… the “anti-nature” regime, if you will.

The myth of the net sphere as a revolutionary new commons has been thoroughly shattered ! But more on that later.

In the Bezirksamt Kreuzberg Kantine with its panoramic view of the Btropolis ( Berlin ) below, we listened to a fascinating session for Urbanize Festival, an array of overly level-headed and progressive-left sociologists and urban planners carefully considering the methods of reclaiming all our rights to our city(ies) in our increasingly gentrified and neo-liberalized predicaments. A new Municipalism !

We do not like to emphasize the technology battles over others, but it seems crucial to be aware that a giant-scale disruption game is underway, with its high-speed deliveries of social + environmental calamity, and should not be underestimated.

Imagine you are frantically fixing all the backed-up plumbing created by krapitalism and the neoliberal agendas… and a newer horde of Gojiras are already at the center of your town trampling everything in their path.

The normal polity, those usual processes of the state governance, will not be coming to the rescue.  Are we just re-arranging the deck chairs in the mousetrap !?

No, municipalism surely has its place to take back and/or construct our “rebel cities” ( i.e. David Harvey ), but we must include a wide variety of other interventionist methods. And perhaps on micro-scales rather then the global ! ( i.e. John Berger, ZAD and The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination )

It occurred to us to insert into the dialogues the questions of SOVEREIGNTY and LIVELIHOOD. Without protecting livelihoods, neither neighborhoods nor cities can achieve sovereignty. Companies like Google and Amazon and the entire infrastructures of net culture are sucking the entire economy ( and value ) into their offshore coffers.

( ” Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.[1] It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation. )

Well, we weren’t really attempting to propose any reinforcement of ( colonial ) Westphalian models… and perhaps would have been better to stick to AUTONOMY.

But neither are sufficient to counter the social upheavals going on… and cities are more or less constructed out of interdependencies. ( CSAs + Landwirtshcaft will also be essential to rural + kiez autonomy and sustainability )

And yet, the responses from comrade Gala I. from Barcelona and their version of Municipalism ( including its strategies for the alt. Smart City ) seemed a little too tied to a wide-open globalization and the rules of market krapitalism and open knowledge (i.e the Data Regimes ), with no methods to protect citizens and refuse the monopolistic power of Silicon Valley tech and the like. It was clearly avoiding the obvious conflicts!

And it revealed that even one of the more progressively mobilized cities has no hope of providing any sufficient regulation or reigning in of the disruptive digital putsch. Thus, only the grassroots, a city from below, Stadt von Unten, can fight off the new tech colonialism.

The people must reject their new oppressors, and not wait for the polity of snails and diplomats  to manage the crises. No insult meant to snails, we love snails, especially in our highly-politicized compost and permaculture ! But it is unlikely they will play a role on the front lines.

And in the end we will all be compost, so the real snails, the ones in our soils, ARE victorious ! ” ¡Hasta la victoria siempre! ” … Take it slow… but not too slow !



( foto: the sun setting under the not-so-transparent fortresses of the nation-state and their transnational accomplices )

And what about CLIMATE BREAKDOWN  you ask ?!! Yes you probabyl should be reading this from bottom to top…

Rebecca Solnit’s message that the Future Is UNWRITTEN… is loaded with the fiery message TO ACT… despite its appearance in the opinion pages of The Guardian…


to be cont.

One Response to “Kiez Notes Extended: Sovereignty, Autonomy, Solidarity, Commoning, Livelihoods”

  1. jr Says:

    Thank you for your notes! Philosophically the problematic implications of “autonomy” and “sovereinty” might not be very different, i.e. there is always some interference from without. Raisig the issue of “sovereinty” made sufficiently clear that opening the flood gates to big tech robs the polity of it’s capacity to ‘govern itself’. Now on first sight this may be little more than lamenting the neoliberal primate of economy over politics at that, but this pimacy at least should be understood by every one to get in the way of any substantial democratization of the city. No democracy with rents going through the roof and every one working 24/7 to meet the profit expectations of investors. In the case of the panel at Rathauskantine it is the same people overtly desiring democratization and finding them selves unable to close the door on big tech. The comment therefore was shrugged off with a hint at capitalism forcing municipal governments to “attract investors” or implement austerity policies. Goes to show: The real movement for democratization cannot avoid to practically address the problem of the quite literally dominant mode of production. It cannot avoid doing so in order to clearly assess the situation, to produce an adequate analysis and not lead us astray, to have a lasting impact, to not tear out it’s own guts and even to be taken seriously beyond it’s first appearance. Democracy is a practice directly opposed to capitalism, or it is a bad joke. Cheerio! ps. Realistically to some degree wide spread displacement is already taking place and will hardly be avoided in Berlin. The question then become: How to organize and move within this process as not to be scattered by a forced movement of deterritorialization, how to find ourselves in the struggles against displacement and to reterritorialize consciously and collectively?

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