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Thursday, May 01, 2003 

No More Murderous Necrophiliacs

In the recent lead up to Bush’s war many radicals referred to the entire enterprise as surreal. Though well intentioned, I paused to contradict my comrades. Fascist, phantasmagoric, horrific: yes. But surrealist: no. It is easy to forgive their confusion, however, as an entire industry has been built from the marketing of murdered surrealism. Academics, critics and professional artists, the peddlers of the pablum obscuring this miserable spectacle falsely called life in late capitalist society, have built careers assassinating surrealism’s revolutionary content. In its stead, they offer yet another plastic aesthetic, a cheap psychedelia, devoid of revolutionary impact, another faux rebellion to coat the walls of Pearl District lofts and designer handbags.

These cops of the imagination serve alongside their blue-jacketed counterparts. While the police shoot us down in the street, the aesthetic vultures hover to repackage the corpse as the latest hip accoutrement to modern living. Thus the cultural commissars willfully represent surrealism as little more than silly nonsense and Salvador Dali.

Those of us not seduced by the spectacle’s lethal sway know better. In our hearts, armored by our imaginations and powered by our fury, we assert again that surrealism stands in total revolt, complete insubordination to the current order. Despite the best efforts of the culture vampires, their conjuring tricks will no longer conceal surrealism’s revolutionary tradition, nor the hollowness at the center of modern life.

In response to their obfuscations we hold up two examples of surrealism at its most potent:

Benjamin Péret, poet and revolutionary. When approached by a priest, he spat in his face. When presented with the opportunity to live his poetry, he traveled to Spain to stand by the working class, and address lead poems to the fascists.

André Breton, poet, theorist, guide. When a petty capitalist meant to profit from the popularity of Lautréamont by opening a Bar Maldoror, Breton and his associates, warmly welcomed on opening night, promptly laid waste to the establishment. In this tradition, in opposition, surrealism’s living descendents declare total war on the forces of recuperation and the order they serve. You attempt to rob and enslave us in the present, but from our history and dreams we will fashion weapons to collapse this society in on itself. You have been warned, your necrophilia and recuperation have been noted, and you will share the fate of all cops, be they religious, political, economic, or artistic.

Andrew Daily

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