a l a m u t

The natural social model for ontological anarchism is the child-gang or the bank-robbers-band. Money is a lie--this adventure must be feasible without it--booty & pillage should be spent before it turns back into dust.

signing the articles

Bey's use of pirates--"Pirate Utopias"--as one of the central motifs of TAZ is, if nothing else, picturesque. Pirate culture seems closely related to TAZ culture though; simply by "signing the articles," pirates could join a crew and participate in (for the 17th century) a surprisingly democratic venture.

Consider the following articles:

1. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized and use them at pleasure unless scarcity makes it necessary for good of all to vote a retrenchment.
2. Every man to be called fairly in turn...If robbery was only between one another they contented themselves with slitting ears and the nose of the guilty, and set him on shore somewhere where he was sure to encounter hardships.
3. No person to game at cards or dice for money.
4. Lights and candles to be put out at eight o'clock.
5. To keep their piece, pistols, and cutlass clean and fit for service.
6. To desert the ship or their quarters in battle was punished with Death or Marooning.
7. No striking another on board, but every man's quarrels to be ended on shore, as sword or pistol.
8. No man to talk of breaking up their way of living till each had a share of 1,000 pounds. If...any man should lose a limb or become a cripple...he was to have 80 dollars out of the public stock, and for lesser hurts proportionately.
9. Captain and Quartermaster to receive two shares of a prize; master, boatswain, and gunner, one share and a half, and other officers one and a quarter.
10. Musicians to have rest on the Sabbath day, but the other six days and nights none, without special favour.

(from 'Wild Women and Salty Dogs')

Given the limited opportunities that were available to most of the social class who became pirates (Anne Bonney, a child of a wealthy plantation owner, is a notable exception), then the chance at fortune, however slim, must have been gladly taken by many.


Although today the term "buccaneer" has become synonymous with "pirate," the buccaneers were different. When Spain began colonizing the Carribean, they let loose wild pigs on the islands, so that marooned sailors wouldn't starve to death. A person could make a life for himself (generally not herself) living off the descendants of these pigs, roasted over the fire from the buccan tree. A pirate utopia indeed--work sublimated to a state of play, a return to a nomadic hunter-gatherer existance.

Bonney and Read

Gender roles were apparently mutable for the pirates as well; the celebrated case of Anne Bonney and Mary Read, where two pirates--each a woman disguised as a man--met and became friends (or lovers, depending on how the story is recounted) may be an anomaly, but the sailors aboard the pirate ship Revenge apparently had no problems with the presence of Bonney and Read among them. Whether this is because Bonney's lover was the captain ("Calico Jack"--if nothing else, pirates had good nicknames) or because they judged Bonney by her apparently formidable fighting skills is unclear. Bey mentiones "'Calico Jack' Rackham and his crew of pirate women [moving] on to wilder shores" when the British fleet arrived in Nassau, ending that "beachfront resort of shacks and tents devoted to wine, women (and probably boys too, to judge by Birge's Sodomy and Piracy), song (the pirates were inordinately fond of music and used to hire on bands for entire cruises), and wretched excess..."