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A permanent autonomous zone (PAZ) is a community that is autonomous from the generally recognized state or authority structure in which it is embedded. PAZs are not controlled by any government (as recognized by other governments) or by any religious authority.
The phrase permanent autonomous zone has been applied to groups such as:
- An autonomous, collectively run community center
- A community living space: communes, squats, self-sustaining villages, treehouses
- Independent schools and/or free schools, self-education centers
- A community garden or greenspace, efforts to preserve nature
- A non-authoritarian news organization, publisher, low power or pirate radio station, infoshop, internet service provider, or other non-profit group that provides a service to the community
- Collectively run organizations or networks that promote non-hierarchical principles and localized autonomy
- Any continuous space, group, co-op, or individual effort accessible to a community that is founded on anti-authoritarian principles and autonomy within an egalitarian community.
- The Rojava Revolution is an ongoing social revolution in Northern Syria based upon regional autonomy and influenced by anarcho-communist principles, as exemplified by the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.
- The Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (independent Zapatista communities, MAREZ from their name in Spanish) in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Established following the 1994 Zapatista uprising, these communities operate, in practice, outside of Mexican law. They are governed internally by "Good Government Councils" composed of community members and also often by weekly general assemblies open to all members of the community. Each community also sends delegates to a regional council in order to report decisions made in their respective communities.
- Freetown Christiania, is a partially self-governing neighbourhood in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, which has established semi-legal status as an independent community.
- Dreamtime Village, is a hypermedia permaculture eco-village project in southwestern Wisconsin, where the PAZifesto was first written & published as a broadside in an edition of 500.
- PAZ Ecovillage, is an oasis of biodiversity in the Chihuahuan Desert near Terlingua, Texas that represents a Permanent Autonomous Zone that is dedicated to self-reliance, self-expression, sustainability, freedom, and peace from the conventional standards of society by utilizing the path of least resistance; the natural environment, conserving its resources, and living in cohesion with the Earth while maintaining a general consensus based community of dwellers and free thinkers.
- The Zone to Defend (or ZAD (French: zone à défendre) in French), a militant occupation that is intended to physically blockade a development project, notably the one located in the commune of Notre-Dame-des-Landes in France.
- Black Bear Ranch, an intentional community governed by consensus in Siskiyou National Forest of northern California.
- The Paris Commune
- The Ukrainian Free Territory
- Shinmin Prefecture
- Revolutionary Catalonia
- Free Derry