Back out of the maze
This is a thread that needs unraveling, whether to do things within this system or to have to step out of it completely? This has been a long lasting debate among those who hypothesized and aimed to find a way to really change their lives, or to change the lives of others. Despite of our tendency to prefer those who struggled for their lives rather than manage the change of the lives of others, the debate contains valid rational arguments we need to consider.
What inside and outside "the system" may mean different things for different folks. The readily available example is this of a reformist believing that this system can become better for those in the bottom of the pyramid of each society and this can be achieved by having people with the right mindset in power positions that can affect such changes. This was never true but it has been interpreted this way by those who have and want again to have a chance at that sweet power position. The reason such ideologies reached such positions was simply because there was a powerful class or social movement that provided the grounds for them to be elected or promoted to positions so the pressure from below can be relieved. A safety valve so the "system" of inequality can remain in tact, even though temporarily accepting a set back of distributing rights and resources to those in desperate need. Eventually nothing really changed, and those perceived changes were a temporary maneuver by those in control so they can retain both wealth and power. Especially during the 90s the powerful and the wealthy have gone on a rampage to sweep back more than a century's worth of hard earned benefits, rights, and living standards.
There is though a different view on what inside and outside means. The traditional radical revolutionary has focused in totally overthrowing a state (a government) and reconstructing one from zero. Unless this is achieved such revolutionary will not be satisfied that anything changed. So the question directed to them is it they want to change peoples' lives, their daily interactions and social relations, or they just want to be in control of the centralized power known as the state? The reason we ask is there is a difference between those who want to change their lives and social relations among themselves and those who want to enforce the change on others, by getting control of the state.
Our friends in Southern Mexico have shown us there is a different way, to disregard the evil and manipulating government and change the lives of the participants of change just for themselves, without enforcing changes on non-participants. Without of course doing something that prevents others from following their example. They have done so by creating a "crack" within the domination of the state, within its borders, by taking land and what lives on top of it, on their hands and management. They live inside the geography of the state but without allowing it to intervene in their alternative way of living. This wasn't ofcourse easy, or was achieved without a fight, because states as expected do not want to allow an inch of space beyond their control. They naturally act as to take over control of other states' jurisdiction. This tendency is well documented.
On the other hand there are those who believe that by making a small initial sacrifice and reduction in values and principles, to find a legal solution to start what they perceive as autonomy, to purchase land as a legal entity, and build within it is a solution for them. It would still be a capitalist solution for those who have the resources to do this legally within the system, to abide by its laws, its taxation, its hypocritical building/living codes that are portrayed as "protecting the public" and for the "benefit of all", paying the pimp is empty of political content. Those are solutions for those affluent enough to live within capitalism without having to be productive in capitalist terms. This means to trade in a market and have a balance above zero. For many this would have been a status of a solution to their problems alone, to have the resources to experiment in such ways. Still, they can't decide on their own how to build, how to irrigate, how to deal with utilities, others decide and they must abide within that framework, of the "protectors".
We need solutions for those who don't have such luxuries to experiment and risk to lose more than they have. It is what defines us and them. We see that in large urban centers around the so called "underdeveloped world" there are millions living in the fringes of a city, in congested, hostile physical confitions, in sharp grades on the foothills of mountains surrounding a city, in swaps, floodlands, near deserts, in sacks made of trash, odd pieces of building materials, etc. Still the state finds grounds to raid such districts, to relocate them, destroy what they've built, and literally take away the little of personal possessions they have. The state sells those raids as protecting the general welfare, cracking down on crime, drug sales, or chase people away from property that is either considered "state property" or "private property" those residents have illegally utilized. This goes on and on and over and over again. Sometimes after years the same people are chased around the borders of a city they eventually return to an original location and start building sacks again. Literally surviving off the trash of the city, of the remains of a different class of citizens, a cast they can never attain.
What is sad is the overwhelming majority of people living in such conditions do not seek collective solutions with those all around them, they are all daydreaming of individual ways to escape those communities. The one track is organized crime (an internal essential mechanism of modern capitalist societies) which under the risk of life or death, prison or escape from it, those pursuing such escape routes most likely end up dead, in prison, or back at the impoverished and insecure environment they tried to escape. Very very few survive this path to actual escape, still within the confines of violence that surrounds them. The other track is to seek a higher education or training that will place them in the labor market in such level as to be able to escape, alone. The few that make it leave everyone they know behind and justify that there is an option for everyone to follow their sacrifice, so those left behind deserve the misery they live in. Mentally to defend their individualistic sacrifices they end up in worse condition than gangsters themselves. The same will also defend the system of inequality more than their wealthy bosses, their managers, and state administrators.
To have social relations within the community determined by the very same values and principles the community opted when it was founded. To be surviving without the blakmail of market forces, or state regulations, but to participate in the decision process that locates solutions to survival problems. To not depend on resources from outsiders, but self restrain to the resources and production abilities of the community itself. To have eliminated the possibility of one human exploiting the work of others, and eliminate the possibility of one human oppressing another in exchange for survival resources. An economic and a political freedom only attained through a system that preserves and defends equality for all. To present problems and solutions of collective nature to a community having a mutual benefit to solve problems, within the resources and abilities of the community, without relying on pre-fabricated industrial solutions that can be purchased. To protect the environment of the community so living can be sustainable, instead of exploiting and depleting the environment to sell to a market hungry for earth products, leaving it sterile for future generations to survive in. To defend the health of the land in as much as the livelihood of its members living on it, and to decide for it without having to satisfy the needs of a global community and its market needs to destroy the land. Because land is what autonomy is build on, and land and life are connected as one.
It is the defense of this land and its sustainability that legitimizes the struggle for autonomy and communalism. To be able to construct where all others are aimed to destroy and exploit. It is not a coincidence that this late stage of capitalism is focused on private control of sustainable lands, water and other earth resources. Only when you take the land away from people will people become subservient, exploitable, and stably oppressible/controllable.