Watching the ongoing destruction of la ZAD in France, I’ve been thinking about how anarchists take up physical space. Examples include protest occupations such as la ZAD and Olympia Stand, insurrectionary infrastructure projects such as the Breakaway Social Center in Chicago, as well as longer-term land projects. We can also include theoretical frameworks for what anarchist space might look like in works such as Land and Freedom or How to Start a Fire. In a tradition that’s often manifest in discreet, fleeting actions and spectacular protests, there’s no shortage of experiments to establish anarchic spaces.
What do you think of taking up space as an anarchist strategy? What are better or worse ways to do this? What are its potentials and limitations? How do we get space? Once we have it, how do we defend it? Do we stand and fight like in la ZAD, or do we stay mobile and avoid confrontation with state forces as in Olympia?