Bastards of Utopia

A remixable Documentary

Riot Cops

The riot cops arrive and surround the free store.  Inside, the members of the collective reach a decision to cooperate with the police and abandon the squat. Read More

During this discussion, one activist suggests the collective register as an association, thereby possibly securing legal rights to the squat’s occupancy.  Registering as an association implies a role as part of civil society, an entity many Zagreb anarchists detest because civil society is often perceived as the primary mediating force between the public and private spheres.

During the nationalist and authoritarian HDZ regimes of the 1990s, civil society was seen on the left as a domain of essentially progressive institutions opposed to ethnic exclusion, militarism, and state centralization.  By the 2000s, however, the social coordinates that gave civil society its positive, even heroic, position as resistance were significantly altered.

The organizational structure of many NGOs in Croatian civil society is also a point of contention for many anarchists.  Day (2004) suggests civil society actors embrace the logic of hegemony: belief that meaningful social change-and social order itself-can only be achieved through the deployment of universalizing hierarchical forms, epitomized by the nation-state.  He delineates between old social movements, new social movements, and the newest social movements by explaining how the newest social movements depart from the logic of hegemony and embrace a logic of affinity.  This departure is dependent on the shift from a counter-hegemonic (or reformist) politics of demand to a non-hegemonic politics of the act.  Politics of demand influence or use state power to achieve social change, thus altering the content of structures but not their form.  In contrast, politics of the act implies a tendency to work outside state forms and express chosen ends in the means used to achieve those ends.  Day acknowledges the micropolitical capillary nature of macrostructures and how processes of power shifted attention to a politics of the everyday and individual transformation.