Since the earliest development of states, groups of people who didn’t fit in either escaped or were exiled. They often established self-governed communities. As nation states and capitalism developed, and particularly as new regions were incorporated into the emerging capitalist world-system, the problem was not simply how to escape these states but how to escape capitalist relations.
Well-known historical examples of escape include Russian Cossacks, pirates, and escaped slaves. Contemporary examples of territorial escape include the Zapatistas in Mexico, land occupations, and even political prisoners. Structural escape has been identified in urban communities in the heart of Jamaica, in the shack-dwelling areas of African cities, and on the outskirts of large South American cities. Numerous studies exist of each of these examples but no one has brought them together in a single analysis.
Join CIIS faculty Andrej Grubacic to uncover the splendid and relatively unknown history of pirates, Cossacks, runaway slaves, and Occupy Wall Street activists and their impact on the past and future of the capitalist civilization.
Andrej Grubacic is the Chair of the Anthropology and Social Change department at CIIS. Andrej started his academic career as an historian of 16th century Anabaptist "world turned upside down" at the University of Belgrade in what used to be Yugoslavia. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, for reasons that were both political and intellectual, he left the country, and shifted his scholarly focus to the study of long term, large scale social change. At the Fernand Braudel Center in SUNY Binghamton, he initiated a research project on utopistics, a study of possible alternatives to the capitalist world-system. His interest in world systems analysis and anarchist anthropology has influenced his research perspective, which includes experiences of self-organization, voluntary association, and mutual aid on the world-scale.
His ongoing research on exilic spaces in the modern capitalist world system considers how spatial expressions of concentrated mutual aid are produced and reproduced on the outside/inside of capitalist civilization. Exilic spaces and practices refer to liminal and non-state areas relatively autonomous from capitalist valorization and state control. His principal research focus is on the autonomous "cracks" peopled by Don Cossacks, Atlantic pirates, Macedonian Roma, Jamaican Maroons, and Mexican Zapatistas. This research is included in his UC Press book Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid (2016). His research interests include anarchist anthropology of exilic societies, world history and world-systems studies, anarchist and Marxist political economy, activist ethnography, militant research, and radical oral history.
Andrej is a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the Global Balkans Network. He is associated with Retort, a group of antinomian writers, artists, artisans, and teachers based in the San Francisco Bay Area.