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>that's why anarchists should better understand the importance of starting their own "monasteries" that seek autonomy from the dominant system, and trust each other into it

Yes, exactly. Slow collapse may be happening again now, but what are springing up spontaneously are gangs, Islamist territories, local strongmen , ethnic autochthony movements and so on. Dispersal of power but with shit politics and localised domination. Hence why we need to build our own projects and maybe try to promote post-left approaches.

I need to read Chew more closely I think. But the situation with medieval monasteries is complicated. The expanding church absorbed local pagan traditions as saint-cults, and each time resistance emerged to/within the church, it took the form of a new cult. Many of these were absorbed as monastic orders, others were suppressed as heresies after carving out their own territories for awhile. They cover the whole range from ultra-authoritarian proto-Calvinists like the Jesuits, through to quasi-anarchist antinomians like the Anabaptists, Adamites, Beghards. The Franciscans were pretty radical at first but got recuperated I think. I daresay the church-monastery relation was a patron-client structure, the central power sought loyalty on a few axes in return for supporting otherwise-autonomous groups. Also the medieval church was basically the welfare state of its day, running most of the education, healthcare, poor relief, orphanages, elderly care, proto-psychology, etc, In any case there were multiple stages to this, beginning with the fraying of Roman power, the reliance on recuperated barbarians as border-guards and the ultimate implosion of the empire, growing autonomy of peasants, the rise of clans based on warlords, and then the rise of feudal lords based on the provision of castles to protect from bandits. Nine-tenths of the population were rural into the late Middle Ages and there's evidence of animism, syncretism, local customary polities and other forms of self-determination in the "less developed" areas like Ireland and Andalusia, well into the nineteenth century. It can be debated how much power the kings, lords, priests, merchants and so on actually had; I suspect the Scottian arts of resistance were in full flow and the peasants were much freer in practice than on paper.