"According to Benda, “the mission of the parallel polis is constantly to conquer new territory, to make its parallelness constantly more substantial and more present. Politically, this means to stake out clear limits for totalitarian power, to make it more difficult for it to maneuver” . This parallel polis was envisioned as primarily cultural, as in the arts, but also social. It simply had to do with giving up on the lie and living in truth. .. As Ivan Jirous writes in “Parallel Polis,” “Those who take part are active people who can no longer stand to look passively at the general decay, marasmus, rigidity, bureaucracy, and suffocation of every living idea or sign of movement in the official sphere”.
"We have many ways to build our own parallel polis. We can extricate ourselves as much as possible from the technocracy and their flunkies in government and simply live. At Stella Matutina Farm (where I live), for example, we rely almost entirely on traditional tools (with the exception of a few modern contraptions like my chainsaws). We mow some of our grass, but the cattle take care of most of it. And what we do is not an anomaly: most sustainable farmers employing no-dig methods operate pretty much the same way—and even our tiny 1.5 acre garden supplies an enormous amount of food.
But even more, our idea of a parallel polis extends to the social sphere, in particular in the ways we celebrate the Christian year. We observe all the feasts, but our biggest celebration occur at May Day and Michaelmas. At May Day this year, when our state was still under various mandates and most social activities were suppressed by government and, alas, the Church, a friend asked if she could invite some of her friends who were starving for conviviality. Surprisingly, over fifty people—mostly families—showed up to dance around the maypole and feast together. This is what a parallel polis looks like. It may not be much, but it certainly fits what Jiří Dienstbier described as something contributing to “the continual renewal of the meaning of authenticity”. Bureaucracy may be death by a thousand papercuts, but the parallel polis—by which I mean “a sophiological structure” — bestows life by a thousand tiny, some might even say “insignificant,” gestures. Even our recent forays into house church can be seen as an example of this."
- Václav Benda, et al., “Parallel Polis, or an Independent Society in Central and Eastern Europe: An Inquiry,” Social Research 55, nos. 1-2 (Spring/Summer 1988): 211-46, at 219.