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Thursday, September 22, 2005 

Ode to Another Putrescent Donkey

Three years ago a small group of Surrealists declared “war is not inevitable… the worst is never inevitable,” that the “liberated imagination, unbound by profit and power can reintegrate a world divided by cynical conspiracies.” Today, as the war in Iraq continues, Surrealists cannot vomit contempt into the face of Bush and his allies quite fast enough to relieve the nausea. Stronger purgatives are being called for, some involving rash actions that fly beyond the usual exhalations and eloquences.

What the ministers call the War on Terror (or whatever new advertising slogan they attach to it this week: BUY BIGGER BLOOD MOPS!) is just one more war waged by global capitalism against all potentials for a world purged of its stain. Within Money Central, prisons (not just Abu Ghraib but also Sing Sing) and poverty serve to contain those who might be disagreeable, who might demand more reality than those who sell it think healthy. And those who see religious fundamentalism as an alternative, rather than a bedmate to capitalism, are no less confused by the Spectacle than those who see no alternative at all, who feel that the fight (hardly begun) is already dead in the dirty water. Capitalism and fundamentalism are the same side of the coin in a moldering currency of legal murder, delirious torture and friendly tyranny. Freedom? Well that’s the small change in the big pocket and it might yet be shaken loose. Those who fight against the occupation in Iraq, against Baa’th party loyalists, and against capitalism and fundamentalism, come closest to a freedom that might prove contagious.

Worldwide, Surrealists urgently imagine, and lust for, the overturning of the conditions that force millions to fight for the triumph of capitalism rather than for its abolition. These conditions are no more than a metastasized form of human interplay, a form that seems to crush all potentially liberating discourse. The ability to reclaim life is thwarted by the factory of the poverty draft, steroidal machismo, and ugly pep rallies of a national pride that ships its cheerleaders off to the bonfires. All these atrophying anomalies, these aneurysms in the real flesh of human life, must be cut out along with the social classes, the delusional borders, security checkpoints and lilting body counts which have become the droning, narcoleptic stuff of everyone’s lives. And more importantly they can be abolished.

This is a NO of total, pandemic refusal, a resistance forged from the derailed vehicles of human imagination, an all-out screaming insubordination against a diseased global regime of bosses and managers that rake profit from the oppression unto deaths of all of us workers as well as students, the unemployed and the badly paid, the mothers and fathers, the dreaming lovers, the children abandoned to a lifetime of senseless employment.

Alongside this NO whispered or shouted in a voice we share with those who continue to enlarge the struggle against the Iraq war, against all imperialist war and against capitalism wherever it lies down to rape, Surrealists counterpose a no less central and urgent YES: a YES of radical imagination which insists upon revolt in the name of all possible worlds that it can conjure up against the drumming of the As Is. We say YES to the advances of love, to the desires now crushed by duty, to erotic liberties, to explosions of poetic beauty in everyday life which we call the Marvellous. Above all, we say YES to genuine, unpackaged, and communal freedom! Not a free market or a free West, or a free offer, but the freedom for all to live, to dream, to passionately blaze! To build planets revolving about new suns, the exhilarating freedom that swoops and glides fearlessly through every possible sky! If freedom isn’t free then what good is it?

The following surrealist groups, individuals, and fellow travelers have endorsed this statement:

From THE LONDON SURREALIST GROUP: Stuart Inman, Merl. From THE PORTLAND SURREALIST GROUP: Brandon Freels, Morgan Miller, M.K. Shibek, Andrew Daily (in exile). From THE ST. LOUIS SURREALIST GROUP: Richard Burke, Susan Burke, Andrew Torch. From THE LEEDS SURREALIST GROUP: Stephen Clark, Bill Howe. SINGLE ENDORSERS: John Q. Adams III (Texas), Eric Bragg (Bay Area), David Dunbar (London), Parry Harnden (Canada), Dale M. Houstman (Blue Feathers group, Minneapolis), Bruno Jacobs (Stockholm), Riyota Kasamatsu (Nagoya, Japan), Don LaCoss (Wisconsin), Unru Lee (Oakland), Karl Lind (Portland), Robert Lindroth (New York), Martin Marriott (Seattle Surrealist Group), Andy Parnell (Wales), Ribitch (Bay Area), Ron Sakolsky (Denman Island, British Columbia), James Sebor (New York), Tim White (Australia). Additional endorsement has come from the Haywire Workshop in Canada and the Greek surrealist groups in Athens and Ioannina.

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