My Own Private Utopia

Believe it or not, dearest motherfuckers, these can be depressing times for an upstart genderfuck anarchist like myself and not just because I have depression. On the 52nd Pride Month, this bastard nation seems to be divided up along partisan lines between mouth frothing open bigots who think people like me are out to castrate their children and do-gooder, virtue signaling, rainbow capitalists hocking sweatshop t-shirts with pink triangles on them and calling it progress. It’s in maddening times like these that I like to escape to daydreams about distant utopias; imaginary futures where the world makes more sense and doesn’t hurt so goddamn much to think about.

It’s probably my hobby of utopian daydreaming that lead me to panarchy; a school of stateless thought that looks to a future of a diverse array of anarchist societies rather than preaching the virtues of a single monolithic vision for the future. Panarchy calls for the coexistence of an endless selection of competing utopias that can be based on quite literally anything so long as they remain completely voluntary in nature. You get to pick your government the way you would a church or a social club. So who do you wanna be? How do you wanna live? Do you want to be a Moorish Islamo-anarchist marauder in a pirate paradise on the high seas? Or a primitive communist agrarian, toiling off the grid on a rice paddy collective in the year zero. The possibilities are endless. But I’ll tell you my two favorite utopian daydreams if you promise not to judge.

The first is one I’ve been toying with for years, long before I burst out of the closet shooting, but it’s still one of my favorites. I call it the Emerald Belt Project. The basic idea is that once western civilization collapses, a population of outlaw pilgrims can recolonize some of the more abandoned cities of the Rustbelt and turn massive vacant factories and warehouses into colossal hydroponic indoor grow operations for cannabis and opium with the Great Lakes as a ready source of irrigation, all of which would be organized under the direct democracy of green syndicalism. We could produce enough dope to put both the Emerald Triangle and the Taliban out of business and we’d use the money to foster a true workers paradise of collective high rises, community gardens, and stateless welfare along with a civilian militia well armed and trained enough to take on even the hardiest of post-apocalyptic neo-Nazi marauders.

I feel like it’s a pretty solid idea even if there are a few bugs to work out, but after I obliterated the closet and embraced my identity as a Queer heathen sadomasochist, I began dreaming of a very different utopia, a place designed for radical sex freaks like me. I call it the Red Light Republic and the idea is essentially the Castro reimagined by Marshall Sahlins. It would be a neon bathed tribe built around chosen families of consenting adults. Each family would operate by consensus and run their own theatre troupe in the form of bordellos, cabarets, bathhouses, and boutiques devoted to every known kink in the book. Disputes would be decided in weekly tribal gatherings presided over by elected tribal elders but decided by the community itself. Unreconcilable conflicts could be decided in ballroom style performance art competitions voted on by the entire community. Some people would join the Red Light Republic just long enough to get on their feet and start more conventional lives elsewhere while others would become lifelong citizens and respected elders of debauchery. It would be a tribal nation of peace loving libertines devoted to art and beauty in all its most transgressive forms.

I love both of these daydreams equally. Given the chance I would be hard pressed to choose between the Emerald Belt Project and the Red Light Republic, and the beautiful thing about panarchy is I might not even have to. Panarchist societies can exist totally free of borders or geographically fixed locations, creating a world of overlapping utopias. In a panarchist future it would be completely possible for six stateless governments to share the same apartment block. The Republic of New Africa could waltz down the hall to the Brotherhood of Mormon Fundamentalists and barrow a cup of sugar or an AK-47. It would be completely possible for my dream of the Red Light Republic to evolve out of the Emerald Belt Project as organically as it did in my own mind. Any group of people, no matter how small or marginal would always have the right to secede from the majority to explore their own vision of utopia. Creativity would finally reign supreme over stagnant dogma.

This is why utopias should always remain a valid concept in radical spheres of thought. As long as they remain as fluid and up for interpretation as panarchy itself, they remain a source of inspiration for people like me who can’t conceive of belonging in the modern world. They encourage us to dream of a better world and debate the details until it can become a reality. So what do you say, dearest motherfuckers? Come dream with me. After all, even in this wretched world, dreaming is free.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.