Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Could the Reports Claiming that Barack Obama has Communist Party Ties be True??

[This photo image of communist revolutionary Che Guevara is said to come from one of Barack Obama's campaign offices. Could this be true?

Research reveals that "Ernesto "Che" Guevara (May 14, 1928October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla leader. His stylized image also later became a countercultural symbol worldwide. As a young medical student, Guevara travelled through Latin America and was transformed by the endemic poverty he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to conclude that the region's inequalities were a result of monopoly capitalism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social revolution under President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara’s radical ideology."

"Later, in Mexico, he joined and was promoted to commander in Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, playing a pivotal role in the successful guerrilla campaign to overthrow the U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.[1] After the Cuban revolution, Guevara served in many prominent governmental positions, including President of the National Bank and “supreme prosecutor” over the revolutionary tribunals and executions of suspected war criminals from the previous regime. Along with traveling to meet world leaders on behalf of Cuban socialism, he was a prolific writer and diarist: his published work includes a manual on the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to incite revolutions first in an unsuccessful attempt in Congo-Kinshasa and then in Bolivia, where he was captured with help of the CIA and executed."


ELECTION 2008Report: Obama mentored by Communist Party figureInvestigations show ties to radicals who shaped him, helped launch his political career
Posted: May 22, 200811:40 pm Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Barack Obama had extensive ties with extreme anti-American elements, including agents of the Moscow-controlled Communist Party USA, in Hawaii and Chicago, according to two new reports released yesterday in Washington, D.C., by two experienced internal security investigators.
Investigative journalist Cliff Kincaid and Herbert Romerstein, a former investigator with the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities, presented evidence Obama was mentored, while attending high school in Hawaii, by Frank Marshall Davis, an African-American poet and journalist who was also a CPUSA member.

The authors, in a separate report, document Obama's ties to radicals in Chicago who helped launch his career.

In a paper entitled "Communism in Hawaii and the Obama Connection," the authors document that in 1948, Davis decided to move from Chicago to Honolulu at the suggestion of what they describe as two "secret CPUSA members," actor Paul Robeson and Harry Bridges, the head of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen Union, or ILWU.

In Chicago, Davis had worked for the Chicago Star newspaper; in Honolulu, he was hired as a reporter for the Honolulu Record, both identified by Kincaid and Romerstein as "communist front newspapers."

In his autobiography, "Dreams from My Father," Obama discusses the influence a mentor identified in the book only as "Frank" had on his intellectual development.
Obama described Frank as a drinking companion of his grandfather, who had boasted of his association with African-American authors Richard Wright and Langston Hughes during the time Frank was a journalist in Chicago.

Romerstein, in addition to having served as investigator with the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities, served in the same capacity with the House Committee on Internal Security and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was the head of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation for the U.S. Information Agency. Romerstein is also co-author of the influential book "The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors," which included extensive documentation of the communist activities of Roosevelt administration staffer Alger Hiss.

Kincaid is the founder and president of America's Survival Inc., an independent watchdog group that monitors the U.N. and international terrorism. He is also editor of Accuracy in Media's AIM Report.
Are you a member of the Communist Party?

Kincaid and Romerstein quote Kathryn Takara of the University of Hawaii, who wrote a dissertation on the life of Frank Marshall Davis, confirming Davis was a significant influence on Obama when the senator attended Punahou prep school in Hawaii from 1975 to 1979
A transcript of a 1956 hearing before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee discovered by internal security affairs researcher and writer Max Friedman showed Davis took the Fifth Amendment when asked by the subcommittee if he was or had ever been a member of the Communist Party.

In the second report, "Communism in Chicago and the Obama Connection," Kincaid and Romerstein present evidence supporting their contention the SDS organization from which the Weather Underground organization and radicals Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn came, received financial contributions from the CPUSA, which in turn receive its funding from Moscow.

Obama's run for the Illinois state Senate was launched by a fundraiser organized at Ayers' and Dorhn's Chicago home by Alice Palmer. Palmer had named Obama to succeed her in the state Senate in 1995, when she decided to run for a U.S. congressional seat.

Nine years before Palmer picked Obama to be her successor, she was the only African-American journalist to travel to the Soviet Union to attend the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, according to an article Palmer wrote in the CPUSA newspaper, People's Daily World, June 19, 1986.

"There has been no explanation of why Ayers et al. played a role in launching Obama's political career," Kincaid wrote.

Kincaid and Romerstein present documentation that Tom Hayden, another major figure in the SDS, is today one of four principal initiators of the "Progressives for Obama" movement, which calls for ending the war in Iraq "as quickly as possible, not in five years."

According to Kincaid and Romerstein, U.S. Peace Council executive committee member Frank Chapman "blew the whistle on communist support for Obama's presidential bid and his real agenda" in a letter to the People's Weekly World after Obama's win in the Iowa Democratic Party caucuses.

"Obama's victory was more than a progressive move; it was a dialectical leap ushering in a qualitatively new era of struggle," Chapman wrote. "Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface.

Kincaid and Romerstein wrote, "The clear implication of Chapman's letter is that Obama himself, or some of his Marxist supporters, are acting like moles in the political process. The suggestion is that something is being hidden from the public."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Isn't It Surreal How Obama & Clinton Are Employing Psychology Tactically to Evoke Unconscious Voter Emotions and Illusions??


Unconscious Votes: predictions of political psychology have held up pretty well on the campaign trail.

By Sharon Begley


May 17, 2008

"Give the democrats of West Virginia points for honesty. As Hillary Clinton romped to a landslide of 67 to 26 percent over Barack Obama in the primary, 20 percent of voters in exit polls said that race was an important factor in their choice—triple the percentage of earlier primaries. Of those, 80 percent voted for Clinton, making clear what they meant by "important." Obama's "black supremacist" minister concerns her, one woman told my colleague Suzanne Smalley. Another found Obama's "background, his heritage" suspicious. Both said they'd vote for John McCain over Obama."

"The 2008 campaign has been subjected to more psychological analysis than Woody Allen. The top Democratic candidates asked psychology researchers for input, as did the national party, several state parties and the House and Senate Democratic caucuses. The 2007 book "The Political Brain," by psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University, became a must-read for strategists, and so far it looks as though they got their money's worth: key predictions of political psychology have held up pretty well on the campaign trail. Voters are driven more by emotions than by a cold-eyed, logical analysis of a candidate's record and positions; witness the legions of anti-immigration Republicans who pulled the lever for McCain. Ten-point plans (Clinton) don't move voters as powerfully as inspirational oratory (Obama). And unconscious motivations are stronger than conscious ones. This last finding might explain the growing role of racism in the campaign as well as the persistent "happiness gap" between liberals and conservatives—both of which will matter in November."

"In March, when I wrote about research showing that people ignore race if another salient trait is emphasized, scientists agreed that Obama had to convey that "he is one of us." That "us" could be Democrats, family men, opponents of the Iraq invasion, enemies of politics as usual. Instead, opponents (and the media) began playing up his "otherness"—not wearing a flag pin, belonging to a black church, having an exotic name. And Obama began slipping, losing support among blue-collar white voters in particular."

"It may seem paradoxical, but to stop the bleeding Obama needs to talk about race more often and more explicitly. "Only 3 or 4 percent of people today consciously endorse racist sentiments," says Westen. "But there are residues of prejudice at the unconscious level, and they aren't difficult to activate if you know how to do it. Our better angels on race tend to be our conscious rather than our unconscious values and emotions." It is those conscious brain circuits that Obama needs to keep activating, says Westen, "by talking about racism openly and attacking those who say white America will never vote for a black for president. Appeal to people's conscious values." That has a good chance of keeping unconscious racism at bay, brain studies show. Even more effective, combine direct talk about racism with an "I am like you" message, which leads the brain to focus on categories other than race. "Make it about 'us'," says Westen. "Talk about how we feel angry if a black fireman gets promoted ahead of us for no reason but affirmative action. Talk about how it's natural to look at someone different from us and ask, does he share my values, can he understand me?""

"Intelligent adults don't like being told that something as important as their vote is strongly shaped by emotions and the unconscious. But if "The Selling of the President" didn't prove the point 40 years ago, an upcoming study showing the tight embrace of ideology and emotion might."

"In a 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center, 47 percent of conservative Republicans described themselves as "very happy," but only 28 percent of liberal Democrats did. That led columnist George F. Will to write that "liberalism is a complicated and exacting, not to say grim and scolding, creed. And not one conducive to happiness." But political psychologist John Jost of New York University suspected that something else might explain the happiness gap. He and Jaime Napier analyzed data on people's self-reported level of contentment and their political views. The right-left happiness gap existed not only in the United States but in nine other countries, too. In part, that's because conservatives are more likely to be older, married and religious, all of which increase happiness."

"But those traits explained only part of the gap. What accounted for the rest was how people viewed social and economic inequality, the scientists will report next month in the journal Psychological Science. People who agreed that "it is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," for instance, and "this country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are," were happier than those who disagreed. The latter tend to be liberals, who are less likely than conservatives to see inequality as the result of a fair and legitimate system in which, say, people are losing their homes to foreclosure because they greedily got mortgages they couldn't afford/didn't deserve, not because they were misled by lenders. As foreclosures and gas prices rise between now and November, hitting have-nots harder than haves, the happiness gap will only grow. And if poli-psych teaches us anything, it is that profound unhappiness with the status quo leaves voters open to profound change."

What Do the 'Chicago 7', Surrealism and Barack Obama Have in Common? They Aren't Really Healers: Each Romanticizes Radical Counter-Cultural Change!!

"Chicago 10 is a 2007 partly animated film written and directed by Brett Morgen and tells the story of the Chicago Seven. The film features...an animated reenactment of the trial based on transcripts and rediscovered audio recordings. It also contains archive footage of [ANTI-WAR RADICALS] David Dellinger, Abbie Hoffman, William Kunstler, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, and Leonard Weinglass, and of the protest and riot itself. The title is drawn from a quote by Rubin, who said, 'Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist. Because you're discrediting Bobby Seale. You can call us the Chicago Eight, but really we're the Chicago Ten, because our two lawyers went down with us.'" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Seven

"The Chicago Seven were seven (originally eight, when they were known as the Chicago Eight) defendants charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot and other charges related to protests that took place in Chicago, Illinois on the occasion of the 1968 Democratic National Convention...The 1968 Democratic National Convention, held in late August – convened to select the party's candidates for the November 1968 Presidential election – was the scene of massive demonstrations protesting the Vietnam War, which was at its height. Thousands of people showed up with signs and banners, music, dancing and poetry."

"The original eight protester/defendants, indicted by the grand jury on March 20, 1969, were Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. The defense attorneys were William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The judge was Julius Hoffman. The prosecutors were Richard Schultz and Tom Foran. The trial began on September 24, 1969, and on October 9 the United States National Guard was called in for crowd control as demonstrations grew outside the courtroom. Early in the course of the trial, Black Panther Party activist Bobby Seale hurled bitter attacks at Judge Hoffman in court, calling him a "fascist dog," a "pig," and a "racist," among other things. Seale had wanted the trial postponed so that his own attorney, Charles Garry, could represent him (as Garry was about to undergo gallbladder surgery); the judge denied the postponement, and refused to allow Seale to represent himself, leading to Seale's verbal onslaught. When Seale refused to be silenced, the judge ordered Seale bound and gagged in the courtroom, citing a precedent from the case of Illinois v. Allen. (This was alluded to in Graham Nash's song, 'Chicago', which opened with: 'So your brother's bound and gagged, and they've chained him to a chair'). Ultimately Judge Hoffman severed Seale from the case, sentencing him to four years in prison for contempt, one of the longest sentences ever handed down for that offense in American history at that time."

"...On February 18, 1970, all seven defendants were found not guilty of conspiracy, two (Froines and Weiner) were acquitted completely, and five were convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot. Those five were each sentenced to five years in prison and fined $5,000 on February 20, 1970...All of the convictions were reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on November 21, 1972, on the grounds of bias by the judge and his refusal to permit defense attorneys to screen prospective jurors for cultural and racial bias (Case citation 472 F.2d 340). The Justice Department decided not to retry the case. During the trial, all the defendants and both defense attorneys had been cited for contempt and sentenced to jail, but all of those convictions were also overturned. The contempt charges were retried before a different judge, who found Dellinger, Rubin, Hoffman and Kunstler guilty of some of the charges, but opted not to sentence the defendants to jail or fines. Of the eight police officers indicted in the matter, seven were acquitted, and charges against the eighth were dismissed."
In his 'mash-up documentary' Chicago 10, Brett Morgen wants to erase the distance between 1968 and 2008

By JR Jones

Chicago Reader

February 28, 2008

"As a Chicagoan in my early 40s, I find that the 1968 Democratic convention and the ensuing conspiracy trial are at my fingertips yet far beyond my grasp...Chicago 10, an electrifying new 'mash-up documentary' by Brett Morgen, vividly reconstructs the battles on the street and in the courtroom, and it couldn’t come at a more opportune moment...Then as now, a big-hatted Texan had led the country into an ill-considered war and was about to shuffle off into history with U.S. forces still mired in a foreign civil conflict. Then as now, the Democratic Party was embroiled in a hotly contested presidential race, with two antiwar upstarts, Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, vying for the nomination against Vice President Hubert Humphrey. If Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to duke it out through the summer, this year’s Democratic convention could be the most chaotic since then. (Coincidentally the gathering, scheduled for August 25 through 28 in Denver, will precisely mark the 40th anniversary of Chicago’s four days of violence.)"

"The 1968 convention changed the city, the Democratic Party, and the nation. The overkill on Michigan Avenue may be a source of shame now, but at the time a majority of Americans supported the first Mayor Daley and the police for cracking down on protesters. After more than a decade of civil rights demonstrations, antiwar marches, and rioting in U.S. cities, the political pendulum had begun to swing back to the right, and Richard Nixon rode it straight into the Oval Office with a campaign that promised to restore law and order to the country. The bloodshed in Chicago also fractured the American left into a liberal wing that still believed in nonviolence and a radical wing that resolved to pursue more aggressive tactics. With Humphrey’s defeat, the great era of American liberalism, which had started with Franklin Roosevelt’s election in 1932 and peaked with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, began its long, steep decline."

"...The Democrats are still feeling the aftershocks of ’68 today. Back then, only 13 states held Democratic primaries, and Humphrey skipped them all, taking advantage of the party machinery to wrap up the nomination. That fueled the rage of the demonstrators, and as news of their being beaten and gassed filtered into the International Amphitheater, delegates approved a convention plank to reform the nominating process...After the landslide defeat of the liberal George McGovern in 1972 and Ted Kennedy’s failed 1980 primary challenge to President Carter, whom Ronald Reagan easily defeated that November, party centrists struck back by creating unelected, uncommitted “superdelegates” to check the insurgents. Superdelegates helped shut down Gary Hart, who ran against establishment candidate Walter Mondale in 1984, and they may yet do the same to Barack Obama. For Chicago, the convention is a stain that will never wash away. The second Mayor Daley brought the Dems back in 1996, neatly contained pesky protesters at sanctioned demonstration sites, and smoothly orchestrated Bill Clinton’s coronation as the uncontested nominee—yet just the words 'Democratic convention' still conjure images of cops busting heads and Richard J. Daley shouting at Senator Abraham Ribicoff after the senator took the convention podium to denounce “Gestapo tactics on the streets of Chicago.”
"...You won’t learn any of this from Chicago 10, because Morgen isn’t interested in measuring the distance between 1968 and 2008—he wants to erase it. When his movie opened the Sundance Film Festival a year ago, he told the audience his objective was to 'mobilize the youth in this country to stop the fucking war.' Archival footage shows the MC5 rocking out in Lincoln Park, but the music is Rage Against the Machine’s version of “Kick Out the Jams,” and other key moments feature tunes by Eminem or the Beastie Boys. Scenes of the conspiracy trial are drawn from court transcripts, but Morgen has dramatized them with motion-capture animation that turns yippie activists Hoffman and Rubin into freaky superheroes. 'The idea of ‘yippie’ was that politics needed to be fun,' Morgen told USA Today. 'If you want to mobilize people, it’s not fun just walking around with a placard over your head. Turn it into a party, turn it into a concert—and that’s what they did.'”


"After graduating from Harvard Law School, and serving as president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama taught at the University of Chicago Law School for about a decade, and I know him from his time as a colleague here."

The Right is Terrified of Obama, citing University of Chicago Law Professor Cass Sunstein

By Harold Henderson

The Daily Harold

September 25, 2006

Marxism mailing list archive

To: Marxmail marxism@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Marxism] How Barack Obama and MoveOn support Senator Byrd
From: lshan lshan@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 11:53:33 -0500

"I just received a message from MoveOn calling for support to Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia for his opposition to the Iraq War. Eli Pariser quotes Byrd as follows: 'I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is 'in the highest moral traditions of our country.' This war is not necessary at this time.' Byrd's position is for getting the UN in and the U.S. out. However, unlike Kerry, he did vote against the $87 billion appropriate in October 2003."
Most interesting is Barack Obama's letter of support. Obama does not have a single word about Byrd's opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. His skillful reference to Byrd's opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq consists of:

'He [Byrd] has spoken out passionately against a Bush foreign policy that has alienated our allies throughout the world.'

Thus Obama connects to the antiwar opposition through MoveOn and Senator Robert Byrd, while never stating opposition to Iraq invasion and occupation for himself."

However, at one time, Obama posted the following on his web site:

"I don't oppose all wars ... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne...What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Roves to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income ... to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone thru the worst month since the Great Depression...That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics .... "

That apparently was enough for Obama. On June 5, 2003, Chicago activist and writer Bruce Dixon noted:

"For a while the whole speech could be found on Obama's campaign web site, a key statement of principle for a serious US Senate candidate in an election season when the President's party threatens the world with permanent war and pre-emptive invasion, and cows US citizens with fear mongering, color coded alerts, secret detentions and the abrogation of constitutional liberties. Although Obama may have appeared at meetings of other citizens opposed to the war or let them use his name, no further public statements from the candidate on these important issues have appeared."

"Then, a few weeks ago, Barack Obama's heartfelt statement of principled opposition to lawless militarism and the rule of fear was stricken without explanation from his campaign web site, and replaced with mild expressions of 'anxiety'. 'Dixon quotes the 'new' Obama from Obama's website:

'But I think [people are] all astonished, I think, in many quarters, about, for example, the recent Bush budget and the prospect that, for example, veterans benefits might be cut. And so there's discussion about that, I think, among both supporters and those who are opposed to the war. What kind of world are we building?' And I think that's - the anxiety is about the international prospects and how we potentially reconstruct Iraq. And the costs there, then, tie in very directly with concerns about how we're handling our problems at home."

Dixon comments: "His passion evaporated, a leading black candidate for the US Senate mouths bland generalities on war, peace and the US role in the world. Barack Obama, professor of constitutional law, is mum on the Patriot Act, silent about increased surveillance of US citizens, secret searches, and detentions without trial. His campaign literature and speeches ignore Patriot Act 2, which would detain US citizens without trial, strip them of their nationality and deport them to - wherever, citizens of no nation."
from Brian Shannon


Surrealism, Freud and Trotsky

Columbia University Professor Louis Proyect

(February 2002)

[LOUIS PROYECT HAS BEEN QUOTED IN WIKIPEDIA AS MAKING THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT: "The answer to global warming is in the abolition of private property and production for human need. A socialist world would place an enormous priority on alternative energy sources. This is what ecologically-minded socialists have been exploring for quite some time now." Louis Proyect, Columbia University] See: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Global_warming .
"Surrealist leader and poet André Breton was a life-long Trotskyist...Surrealism emerged in the aftermath of WWI. Along with the Dadaism that prepared the way for it, it was a rejection of bourgeois values, especially the rationalism that supposedly accounted for the wholesale destruction of life and property just concluded. It attacked the pretensions of high art, while retaining many of the painterly flourishes of earlier generations. When Marcel Duchamp painted a moustache on the Mona Lisa in the Dadaist "L.H.O.O.Q" in 1919, he captured the spirit of this movement. In many ways, it was to the radicalization of the 1920s as people like Abby Hoffman and the Fugs were to the 1960s radicalization."

"While Surrealist painting tended to avoid any obvious engagement with the class struggle, the writers were deeply involved with radical politics. Breton and Louis Aragon were prominent CP [Communist Party] intellectuals. As the Stalin-Trotsky fight divided poets as well as activists, Aragon became an apologist for Stalin, while Breton chose Trotskyism. Trotsky, who saw proletarian art and socialist realism as inimical to the goals of the 1917 revolution, found a natural ally in Breton and wrote a manifesto for artistic freedom that Breton circulated under his own name. Even if Surrealist fiction and poetry had the same cloistered and solipsistic quality as the paintings, Breton and others issued thousands of proclamations taking positions on the Spanish Civil War and other burning questions."


"Reflecting the multifaceted character of the 1960s radicalization, and long before it "corrected" itself with the turn toward industry, the American Trotskyist movement published Franklin Rosemont's Breton collection titled "What is Surrealism: Selected Writings". Along with books like Frank Kofsky's "Black Nationalism and the Revolution in Jazz," it was a short-lived bid by a sectarian group to show that it was hip. No such pretensions exist nowadays."

"...'Of contemporary psychology, surrealism retains that which tends to give a scientific basis to research into the origin and mutation of ideological images. In this sense it has attached a particular importance to Freud's investigations into the processes of dreaming and, more generally, to all of Freud's work which is the clinically based exploration of unconscious life.' While the Marxist elements of surrealism remained underdeveloped, Freud's "insights" informed nearly everything that both the writers and painters produced. It is important to understand that surrealism did not take a literal-minded and clinical approach to Freud's theories. For the most part, it did not look at psychoanalysis as a means to achieving mental health, something largely unattainable in bourgeois society in any case. Instead, they saw it as a way of tapping into the deep psychic reservoirs that can produce memorable art. More to the point, mental illness--and hysteria in particular--was a normal response to the insanity of capitalist society. Their notions on this relationship anticipated not only R.D. Laing but the postmodernism of Deleuze-Guattari and Lacan."
Surrealism in the United States
By Columbia University Professor Louis Proyect

October 27, 2002

"A few months ago I posted an article about []Surrealism, Freud and Trotsky []
(http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/culture/breton.htm) that relied heavily on Franklin Rosemont's collection of Andre Breton's writings titled "What is Surrealism."

"This Pathfinder book belongs on the shelf of anybody who is interested in the intersection between revolutionary politics and avant-garde art and literature. Now thanks to Autonomedia Press (and especially editor Jim Fleming--a Marxmail subscriber who sent me a review copy), we have a volume that belongs on the same shelf. I refer to []Surrealist Subversions: Rants, Writings and Images by the Surrealist Movement in the United States.[] Edited and introduced by Ron Sakolsky, this volume contains articles that originally appeared in the journal of Rosemont's Chicago Surrealist Group titled [] Arsenal/Surrealist Subversion,[] and kindred publications."

"In my first article, I mentioned that surrealism had taken root in the USA in the 1940s largely through the auspices of a magazine titled VVV. Among the editors was Martinique poet and playwright Aimé Césaire who articulated a surrealist version of Black Nationalism that influenced many black intellectuals, including esteemed contemporary African-American historian Robin D.G. Kelley whose articles can be found in [] Surrealist Subversions.[] Another editorial board member at VVV was Philip Lamantia, who was to become best known as a leading figure of the new poetry of the 1940s and 50s that included the beats and the San Francisco Renaissance writers. It would not be much of a stretch to argue that Lamantia represents a link in the chain between the counter-culture of the 1930s and that of the 1960s. He eventually hooked up with Arsenal, along with fellow beat poet and African-American Ted Joans. It is also not too far of a stretch to see Rosemont's journal as constituting a link between the an important sector of the contemporary radicalization that began in the 1960s with earlier strands going back to the 1930s and earlier, with the left wing of the beat generation constituting an important bridge between the two epochs."

"Ron Sakolsky's introduction does a fine job of identifying both the importance of Franklin Rosemont in keeping the surrealist tradition alive and the particular circumstances of his conversion to this radical cultural movement that will be instantly recognizable to anybody from the generation of baby boomers who rejected everything that American consumerism stood for."

"... Among the most intriguing articles in Rosemont's collection is Robin D.G. Kelley's []Freedom Now Sweet: Surrealism and the Black World.[] His recently published "Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination" expands on many of the themes first found in this 1998 lecture delivered at the U. of North Carolina. Kelley says:

"'Surrealism may have originated in the West, but it is rooted in a conspiracy against Western Civilization. Surrealists frequently looked outside of Europe for ideas and inspiration, turning most notably to the "primitives" under the heel of European colonialism. Indeed, what later became known as the Third World turned out to be the source of the surrealists' politicization during the mid-1920s. The Paris Surrealist Group and the extreme left of the French Communist Party were drawn together in 1925 by their support of Abd-el-Krim, leader of the Rif uprising against French colonialism in Morocco. In tracts like "Revolution Now and Forever!" the surrealists actively called for the overthrow of French colonial rule. That same year, in an "Open Letter" to writer and French ambassador to Japan, Paul Claudel, the Paris group announced: "We profoundly hope that revolutions, wars, colonial insurrections, will annihilate this Western civilization whose vermin you defend even in the Orient." Seven years later, the Paris group produced its most militant statement on the colonial question to date. Titled "Murderous Humanitarianism" (1932) and drafted mainly by Rene Crevel and signed by (among others) André Breton, Paul Eluard, Benjamin Péret, Yves Tanguy, and the Martinican surrealists Pierre Yoyotte and J. M. Monnerot, it was first published in Nancy Cunard's massive anthology, Negro (1934), and recently reprinted in the "Surrealism: Revolution Against Whiteness" issue of the journal Race Traitor. The document is a relentless attack on colonialism, capitalism, the clergy, the Black bourgeoisie, and hypocritical liberals. Arguing that the very humanism upon which the modern West was built also justified slavery, colonialism and genocide, they called for action: "we surrealists pronounced ourselves in favor of changing the imperialist war, in its chronic and colonial form, into a civil war. Thus we placed our energies at the disposal of the revolution, of the proletariat and its struggles, and defined our attitude towards the colonial problem, and hence towards the color question.'"

"...Although Richard Wright's "Native Son" has most often been associated with the proletarian novel of the 1930s, Kelley makes a convincing case that surrealism was also a strong influence on the African-American author and CP'er. He notes that Wright discusses the importance of surrealism in his unpublished "Memories of My Grandmother," especially as an aid to understanding African American folk culture. He found the blues structure to be analogous to the surrealist's use of the "exquisite corpse," a term that captures the mystery of the chance encounter or what Breton called "objective chance." (Trotsky was never comfortable with this aspect of surrealist thought and told Breton, "Comrade Breton, your interest in phenomena of objective chance does not appear clear to me. Yes, I know well that Engels referred to this notion, but I ask myself if, in your case, it isn't something else. I am not sure you aren't interested in keeping open [his hands described a little space in the air] a little window on the beyond." For Kelley, the connections between surrealism and black culture revolve essentially around the imperative to reject Western Civilization, especially those aspects which lead to the annihilation of precapitalist society and beliefs either through forced cultural assimilation or through the open use of weapons of mass destruction, like the poison gas the Spanish government used against the Rif rebels in Morocco in the 1920s. Kelley writes:

"'Wright's engagement with surrealism seems to parallel that of many other Black intellectuals. They have found in surrealism confirmation of what they already know--for them it is more an act of recognition rather than a revolutionary discovery. Ted Joans wrote Breton that he "chose" surrealism because he recognized its fundamental ideas and camaraderie in jazz. Wifredo Lam said he was drawn to surrealism because he already knew the power of the unconscious having grown up in the Africanized spirit world of Santeria. Aime Cesaire insists it was surrealism that brought him back to African culture. In a 1967 interview he explained, "Surrealism provided me with what I had been confusedly searching for. I have accepted it joyfully because in it I have found more of a confirmation than a revelation." Surrealism, he explained, helped him to summon up powerful unconscious forces. "This, for me, was a call to Africa. I said to myself: it's true that superficially we are French, we bear the marks of French customs; we have been branded by Cartesian philosophy, by French rhetoric; but if we break with all that, if we plumb the depths, then what we will find is fundamentally Black.'"

"Since the Chicago Surrealist Group had such a strong orientation to black culture, helped no doubt by the Black Nationalist explosion of the 1960s, it should come as no surprise that their work overlapped to a considerable degree with the work of scholars associated with "Race Traitor," especially David Roediger who not only writes important scholarly examinations of the problem of racism in the working class like "The Wages of Whiteness" but who has contributed frequently to various journals in his capacity as a committed surrealist."

"...Although I agree with many of the insights found in this collection, I tend to differ on one important question. For Rosemont and his comrades, anarchism is attractive because it lacks the stodginess of the Leninist tradition. Since Lenin conceived of the revolutionary party as the political equivalent of the division of labor being introduced into the modern factory system, it is no wonder that a young radical like Rosemont might find this type of activism off-putting. For traditions such as anarchism, Toni Negri-style autonomism and Guy DeBord's Situationism, there is a strong tendency to see the organizational forms of today prior to the revolution as anticipating somehow the future classless society. For example, in the section titled "Dreaming Revolution," we find an article by Martha Sonnenberg titled "New Desires, New Revolutionary Potentials."

"'The development of movements of Black people, of women, of prisoners ms important to the potential of surrealism....They are living illustrations of how concepts which, at one point in time, exist only as ideal thoughts, can become real and materialized in people's lives. The destruction of old concepts of beauty, of reason and logic, of emotion, of sexuality, of age and time, and the creation of new ones in their places, is being accomplished by mass numbers of people. New definitions of human relationships and of human capacity, which surrealists in the 1920s and 30s were struggling for on a theoretical and artistic level, are being lived by people today. These movements are the realization of the potentials of the past, just as they create new potentials to be fulfilled in the future.'"

"Alas, I am afraid that this is far too much to expect from revolutionary politics. I tend to think of the revolutionary movement as the equivalent for our class of the vast array of institutions that govern and enforce the bourgeoisie's class rule, from the army to the CIA to the various think tanks that promote the inevitability of capitalism. One does not get involved with such outfits in order to have fun, but in order to advance the interests of the class you are loyal to. This is the function of the revolutionary party we need so desperately."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Does Obama's Call for 'Change' Target Popular Fears & Self-Doubt, Encourage Collectivism & Aim to Incite a New '60's-Type Counter-Cultural Revolution?

Surrealism and the Political Physiognomy of the Marvellous

By Raymund Spiteri

in Surrealism, Politics and Culture, Raymund Spiteri and Donald LaCoss Eds. (Ashgate Publ. Ltd. (c) 2003) Chap. 3, at pp. 52-54.

[Physiognomy is "a theory based upon the idea that the assessment of the person's outer appearance, primarily the face, may give insights into one's character or personality. The term physiognomy can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object or terrain, without reference to its implied or scientific characteristics. Physiognomy is not a strict science, but rather a method of analysis that proponents say indicates a variety of correlations in its subjects. Hence, physiognomy is not used as the basis of biological or psychological theory. Physiognomic applications can be considered folk science or pseudoscience, and were once used with other tools of scientific racism, in order to promote discriminatory ideas...[S]cientific correlation physiognomy...[reflects the belief that there are] rough statistical correlations between physical features (especially facial features) and character traits due to a person's physical preferences that are caused by corresponding character traits, such that gene mixing causes the correlations; this type of physiognomy is therefore allegedly based on genetic determinism of character. Although this form of physiognomy has generally been disproven as well, the concept has been revived as personology, which is premised on the (widely deemed pseudoscientific) idea that different physical makeups correlate with different behaviors."] Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physiognomy .]


“In his perspicacious [acute mental vision or discernment] essay of 1929, Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligensia,[1] Walter Benjamin identified the political import of Surrealism in what he called ‘profane illumination’. He located an instance of this illumination in the Surrealist experience of the marvellous, exemplified in the urban narratives of Andre Breton's Nadja (1928)and Louis Aragon's Paysan de Paris (1926).

According to Benjamin, Breton 'can boast an extraordinary discovery in Nadja:

'He was the first to perceive the revolutionary energies that appear in the 'outmoded' in the first iron constructions, the first factory buildings, the earliest photos, the objects that have begun to be extinct, grand pianos, the dresses of five years ago, fashionable restaurants when the vogue has begun to ebb from them. the relation of these things to revolution...'

...Benjamin distinguished here between revolutionary 'experience' and revolutionary 'action', fully aware that Surrealists continued to hesitate in the face of the discipline of political militancy. Although this distinction echoed previous critiques of Surrealism's political position - notably that of Pierre Naville, a former editor of La Revolution Surrealiste, who posed a stark choice between anarchistic revolt and communist revolution in La Revolution et les Intellectuels: Qu'est-ce que faire les surrealistes? (1926) - Benjamin differed in that he did not simply advocate joining the Communist Party as the only solution.

When Benjamin returned to this theme at the close of his essay, he located the articulation between political action and the experience of the marvellous in what he called the 'image-realm'...Surrealism's political lesson was 'to discover in the realm of political action a realm reserved one hundred percent for images'. His description deserves to be quoted at length:

'[...] in all cases where an action puts forth its own image and exists absorbing and consuming it, where nearness looks with its own eyes, the long sought image-realm is opened, the world of universal and integral actualities where the 'best room' is missing - the realm [...] in which the individual, or whatever else we wish to throw to them, with dialectical justice, so that no limb remains unrent. Nevertheless - indeed, precisely after such dialectical annihilation - this will be a realm of images and, more concretely, of bodies. For it must in the end be admitted: metaphysical materialism ]...] cannot lead without rupture to anthropological materialism. There is a residue. The collective is a body, too. And the physis that is being organized for it in technology can, through all its political and factual reality, only be produced in that image-realm to which profane illumination initiates us. Only when in technology body and image-realm so interpenetrate that all revolutionary tension becomes bodily collective innervation, all bodily innervation of the collective becomes revolutionary discharge, has reality transcended itself to the extent demanded by the 'Communist Manifesto.''

Benjamin advances a materialist account of the imagination in this passage. The image-realm is opened at a moment of political and cultural crisis in which hegomonic articulations - that is, the traditional oppositions between action and contemplation, individual and collective, mind and body, technology and nature, etc. - collapse and the conceptual constellations of technological society are rearticulated through the space of images and bodies. Significantly, the image-realm performs a double function: it not only constitutes the collective as a political agent, but it also furnishes the matrix through which the collective articulates its political struggle and challenges the hegemony of official culture...Benjamin's discussion of the image-realm helps illuminate the vexed question of Surrealism's relation to revolutionary politics."



Surrealism, Politics and Culture

By Raymond Spiteri and Donald LaCoss (Eds.)

(Ashgate, Aldershot and Burlington (c) 2003)

BOOK REVIEW BY Neil Mattheson (2004) in

Papers of Surrealism Issue 2 summer 2004

"In their introduction to this collection, Raymond Spiteri and Donald LaCoss take issue with what they view as the prevailing wisdom on Surrealism’s involvement in politics..."

"Robert Short’s classic account The Politics of Surrealism, 1920-36, written in 1966 and reprinted in this collection, plays a pivotal role within it. Short’s crisply written and much-cited essay is posed as the orthodoxy which the rest of the collection seeks to challenge or expand upon, though in many ways it refuses to be confined to that role. While Short’s account is one of the heroic ‘failure’ of the Surrealist political enterprise, it is a failure premised upon the movement’s attempt ‘to associate its intellectual, artistic and moral preoccupations with the aims of international Communism.’ But as Short also makes clear, this failure and the breach with organised communism did not mean that Surrealism abandoned the political path. In fact, political participation continued throughout the history of the movement, as for example in Surrealist anti-fascist activity, involvement in the Spanish Republic as well as Surrealist participation in the short-lived revolutionary movements Contre-Attaque and the Féderation internationale de l'art révolutionnaire indépendant (FIARI). The Surrealists’ failure was therefore quite specifically that of failing to attain their goal of bringing together ‘spiritual revolution’ with that of international communism, such that, after 1935, the ‘group’s artistic and political activities were definitively separated.’ Short is also acutely aware of the slippery problem of defining Surrealist political activity and suggests that the term ‘politics’ might be a misnomer in this context, given the movement’s broad restriction of its activity to the stage of agitation and that the Surrealists either ‘rejected or were incapable of the sustained application which commitment demanded.’"

"...In his own contribution to this volume, ‘Surrealism and the Political Physiognomy of the Marvellous,’ Raymond Spiteri draws upon Walter Benjamin’s concept of the ‘image realm’ in order to explore some of Surrealism’s complex involvement in revolutionary politics and to analyse the tangled interrelationship of culture with politics. Spiteri juxtaposes two ‘failed encounters’ of Surrealism within social space – Breton’s short-lived encounter with Nadja in October 1926, and the group’s tortuous attempts between 1926 and 1927 to join the PCF – and treats Breton’s writing of Nadja (1928) towards the end of 1927 as a kind of ‘working through’ of those two encounters. Spiteri’s analysis of Nadja focuses upon Breton’s deployment of photographs in that volume, which provides, he argues, a concrete example of Benjamin’s notion of the ‘image-realm,’ where the images ‘seem to trace Surrealism’s trajectory across the social space, suspended between the fields of culture and politics.’ However, Breton’s appeal to the concept of the ‘marvellous’ ultimately fails to bridge the gap between imagination and action, and fails to transform latent possibility into concrete revolutionary action. A close reading of Nadja, Spiteri concludes, reveals Surrealism’s ‘profound ambivalence’ towards political action, but that the encounter can nonetheless be conceived as successful to the extent that it facilitates the manifestation of the ‘political’ within Surrealism. Surrealist political activism, Spiteri argues, ‘rarely managed to escape the orbit of culture’ and its engagement with revolutionary politics consequently ‘assumed the form of a series of missed or failed encounters.’"

"...Robin Adèle Greeley, in her analysis of the relationship established between Breton and Trotsky in Cárdenas’s Mexico in 1938, points to the neglect by scholars of the historical and ideological impact of Trotsky’s thinking upon Surrealism. Greeley’s essay takes as its focus the manifesto ‘For An Independent Revolutionary Art’ (1938), drafted by Breton and Trotsky (though signed, for reasons of political expediency, by Breton and Rivera), in order to tease out the very different attitudes towards the role of culture held by the two men, with Breton according to culture a far more autonomous status in relation to the economic order than did Trotsky. For Greeley it is ‘Surrealism’s dedication to cultural theory’ that marks its ‘fundamental opposition to Trotsky’s more orthodox Marxism,’ and we could add that it is surely Breton’s unbending insistence upon individual liberty and cultural autonomy – ‘Aucune autorité, aucune contrainte, pas la moindre trace de commandement!’ – that pre-determined the failure of the movement’s rapprochement with organized politics."

"...With regard to Surrealism’s postwar political record, Donald LaCoss in his essay ‘Attacks of the Fantastic,’ challenges the arguments of the movement’s opponents in 1945, that Surrealism had abandoned political activism and had instead immersed itself in escapist utopianism, mythological themes and an obsession with the occult. LaCoss views Breton’s turn to utopianism as integral to Surrealism’s postwar radical politics and focuses in particular upon the role of Fourier’s thought in that project, considered not in terms of any practical ‘manual’ of social subversion, but rather for the work’s ‘potentially liberating effect upon the imagination.’ What also appealed to Surrealism in Fourier’s thought, LaCoss argues, is Fourier’s concern with the psychosocial – his concern with behavioural motivation and with creativity."

"...In the concluding essay of this collection, ‘Failure and Community: Preliminary Questions on the Political in the Culture of Surrealism,’ Michael Stone-Richards returns to the key question of the way in which the political is to be framed in relation to Surrealism. For Stone-Richards, considering the failure of Breton and Bataille in 1935 to present in Contre-Attaque a valid alternative to organised communism, Surrealism’s ‘failure’ needs to be viewed within the context of ‘the larger failure of European political culture’ during the 1930s (totalitarianism, Stalinism, Nazism), and the political thought of Breton and Bataille must also be seen as part of ‘the re-thinking of the conditions of the political’ of the time (for example in the work of Heidegger) in an effort to get beyond the present impasse. Drawing upon Jules Monnerot’s La Poésie moderne et le sacré (1945), a text admired by Breton, Stone-Richards also points to the centrality of the collective experience to the Surrealist movement, ‘an association,’ says Stone-Richards, ‘based upon solidarity, and election,’ where such solidarity serves to create an ‘ethical space’ enabling movement towards ‘a possible political realm. Stone-Richards further contends that, following the debacle with the PCF, ‘Surrealism gradually defined for itself a more ethically-based notion of protest ... which opposed itself to institutionalized forms of politics,’ as for example in the assumption of an attitude of ‘refusal.’ Thus, while this enables the customary accounts of the failure of Surrealist politics in this period (Short, Lewis) to be criticised as ‘too simple,’ such a judgement demands a re-configuration of our conception as to what constitutes ‘the political,’ more particularly a shift from political activism into the territory of what is more usually considered the realm of ethics."


"Although T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and Ezra Pound had introduced symbolist techniques into American poetry in the 1920s, surrealism, the major force in European poetry and thought in Europe during and after World War II, did not take root in the United States. Not until the 1960s did surrealism (along with existentialism) become domesticated in America under the stress of the Vietnam conflict. During the 1960s, many American writers -- W.S. Merwin, Robert Bly, Charles Simic, Charles Wright, and Mark Strand, among others -- turned to French and especially Spanish surrealism for its pure emotion, its archetypal images, and its models of anti- rational, existential unrest. Surrealists like Merwin tend to be epigrammatic, as in lines such as: 'The gods are what has failed to become of us / If you find you no longer believe enlarge the temple.' Bly's political surrealism harshly criticized American values and foreign policy during the Vietnam era in poems...Mark Strand's surrealism, like Merwin's, is often bleak; it speaks of an extreme deprivation. Now that traditions, values, and beliefs have failed him, the poet has nothing but his own cavelike soul..."
See: American Poetry Since 1945: Experimental poetry, in An Outline of American Literature, From Revolution to Reconstruction, By Kathryn VanSpanckeren,
University of Groningen (last updated May 2005), at: http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/lit/ch7_p4.htm .


See: The Surrealist Movement in the United States

"The Surrealist Movement in the United States includes the Chicago Surrealist Group and its many participants scattered from coast to coast. Formed in the summer of 1966 with the encouragement of André Breton and the Surrealist Group in Paris, as well as the surrealists of many other countries, the Chicago Surrealist Group has carried on its wide-ranging research and agitation uninterruptedly ever since; the group has long been recognized as one of the most active, innovative and prolific in the international surrealist movement. As the Chicago-based group attracted more and more collaborators from other cities, its publications increasingly appeared under the name Surrealist Movement in the U.S. Radically different from other websites "about" surrealism—the great majority of which contain nothing but misinformation—this site is the voice of the Surrealist Movement itself."

See: Surrealism: Revolution Against Whiteness

"With an unbroken continuity from 1924 down to the present day, the surrealist movement has helped develop not only a revolutionary critique of whiteness but also new forms of revolutionary action against it...As a historically constructed social formation, the notion of a "white race" appears as ideology, mirage, hoax, con-game, racket, swindle: an altogether malevolent piece of duplicity and horror. But for those who buy it and sell it, whiteness is what Richard Wright once called a powerful "psychological reality," a commodity fetishized into a pattern of belief, custom, law'n'order. Millions of those who are deceived into thinking they are white are unhappy about it, but don't quite know how to divest themselves of this debilitating delusion. How to quit being white—how to release the latent but repressed yearning to abandon the absurdity of whiteness and to become truly human at last—is one of the burning questions of the age."

"For many Europeans and Americans of European descent, being surrealist has been one way of not being white—indeed, a way of actively undermining the white mystique and of sabotaging the repressive machinery that props it up. From the surrealist point of view, traditional anti-racist strategies—education against prejudice; support for civil rights; boycotts; picket lines; etc.—however important, clearly are not enough. The fact that white privilege is an inherently irrational phenomenon is proof that it cannot be overcome by rational means alone. Nothing less than surrealist revolution can abolish whiteness once and for all. Surrealist intervention in this domain has always emphasized the active imagination, in keeping with John Brown surrealism's fundamental aim: the realization of poetry in everyday life. Of course it also involves revolutionary criticism, integral subversion, aggressive humor, and direct action. In poetry as in life, surrealism embodies the utmost fraternization and solidarity across the color-line as well as relentless struggle against the very existence of the color-line, and against all those who enforce it or tolerate it. "

"As we emphasized in our declaration on the Los Angeles Rebellion of April-May 1992,* whiteness corrupts and derails every impulse toward freedom, so that no solution can be found to any social problem without solving the problem of whiteness. Everyone knows that white supremacy is the single biggest obstacle to working class emancipation. It is also the major stumbling-block in the way of women's equality, for white supremacy is inherently androcentric. There are of course female white supremacists—a large part of today's "women's movement" is afflicted with this malady—but such women truly are no more than cheerleaders of the white male power structure. Can anyone doubt that overcoming whiteness is indispensable to women's liberation?"

"Similarly, it is no accident that the people most responsible for devastating the Earth's wild places, poisoning the air and water, driving uncountable species of animals and plants to extinction and otherwise wrecking the planet, are those who think of themselves as white. Only when humankind is free of the stifling burden of whiteness will we be able to develop a non-exploitative, ecologically sound relationship to the Earth and all its inhabitants. With rare exceptions, however, the organizations that currently pass themselves off as the "environmental movement" in this country are as devoted to white supremacy (and to capitalism) as the giant corporations whose depredations they pretend to oppose."

"As surrealists, we are especially interested in how the 'white problem' turns up in language, images, myth, symbols, popular culture, everyday life, the whole field of human expression. However, our goal at all times is to attack and abolish whiteness and its institutions—to attack and abolish the whole social/ political/economic/cultural system that has made whiteness the hideous emblem of the worst oppression the world has ever had to endure."

"With this presentation of the concrete experience of surrealists past and present in the worldwide struggle against white supremacy, we hope above all to provoke and inspire readers to develop their own abolitionist imaginations in new directions, and more generally to stimulate discussion and debate with all who uphold the motto 'Treason to Whiteness is Loyalty to Humanity.'"


Chicago, April 1998

Surrealism Aimed to Revolutionize Life and Art, is Part of 20th Century American Culture: Does Obama's Rhetoric Reflect Such Imagery of 'Change'?


Ceci N'est Pas Surrealism: Even if you don't know Surrealism, it knows you

By Carol Kino

Slate Magazine

February 19, 2002

"[...There's a major difference between the little-s and big-S surrealisms: Our everyday use of the term shows how much we owe to the artistic movement of the same name, but it also glosses over its aims and accomplishments. If nothing else, the current explosion of historical Surrealism may help clarify the matter.

Even those who know something about Surrealism (the movement) often get it somewhat muddled. Because the best-known Surrealists are Salvador Dalí (he of the melting watches) and René Magritte (famed for "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" and men in bowler hats), many believe today that their goal was to concoct wacky, fantastical imagery. Au contraire. Like many early 20th-century art movements, Surrealism aimed to revolutionize life and art both—in this case, by accessing the subconscious and recording the results.

...Guillaume Apollinaire coined the term "surrealism" in 1917 to describe a spontaneous verbal creation—one that was beyond, or "sur," reality. In the next few years, several creative types vied to expand the term into a full-fledged movement that would incarnate the Zeitgeist. But the one who won out was André Breton, a minor poet and surgeon who published his first "Manifesto of Surrealism" in 1924. In it, Breton denounced "the reign of logic" and applauded Picasso and Freud (whose work at that stage was barely known in France). He gave Surrealism a historical pedigree, which included the Marquis de Sade, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, and Arthur Rimbaud.

...In fact, Surrealism, together with its precursor, Dada, is generally regarded as a reaction to the climate of despair that surrounded World War I, when it seemed as though Europe's social and technological advances had culminated in nothing greater than its own self-destruction. With Dada, which began in New York and Zurich, artists protested with "actions" and other activities designed to disrupt the status quo (like Marcel Duchamp's classic gambit—displaying a urinal as art). Surrealism, which began in Paris, took this radical impulse in a more positive and creative direction.

...Surrealism, which began in Paris, took this radical impulse in a more positive and creative direction. Surrealism was more of a religion or philosophy than an artistic style. Its artists—including Dalí, Max Ernst,

Yves Tanguy, and the poets Jacques Prévert and Paul Eluard, among others—valued any technique that would allow them to make work automatically, the better to freely associate and thereby reach into the collective unconscious. Collage was a favored method. So was Exquisite Corpse, derived from a party game: One person would begin a drawing or a sentence, cover it, and pass it on to others to be continued and completed. They also developed many other automatic methods, like decalcomania, in which watercolor was pressed between two pieces of paper to make a Rorschach-like blot, and frottage, a pencil-on-paper rubbing of an object to which one felt attracted.

...Perhaps because of Breton's medical background, the movement also had a quasi-scientific bent: Its first office was called "The Central Bureau of Surrealist Research," to which the public was invited to voice their views and find out more. They even passed out advertising fliers that bore slogans like "Parents! Tell your children your dreams" and "If you love love, you'll love Surrealism."
...the truly fascinating thing about Surrealism is that American cultural life as we know it today would not be possible without it. Most of our visual culture, including music videos, television, and advertising, remains permeated by its typically disjunctive imagery, its knee-jerk desire to shock, and its fixation upon sexuality and the subconscious. Tabloid front pages, with their dummied-up composite photographs, frequently resemble Surrealist collages. Movies, too, owe much to the movement...

...What's even more surprising is that the Surrealists may well be responsible for the most purportedly rational aspect of the modern world: our obsession with polls.

...This happened nearly 10 years before statisticians like George Gallup began to quantify public-opinion gathering as a science and nearly three decades before Masters and Johnson started their grand study of human sexual relations. Of course, in recent months, we have come to value the common good over individualism and are perhaps more bent on rediscovering humanist values rather than challenging what's left of the status quo. Curiously enough, however, Breton foretold this, too. In 1960, he reflected: 'The sickness that the world exhibits today differs from the one exhibited in the 1920s. ... In France, for example, the mind was threatened back then with coagulation, whereas today it's threatened with dissolution. ... It's perfectly obvious that such a situation calls for different reactions from today's youth.'


Friday, May 23, 2008

Is Obama's Presidential Campaign Slogan 'Change We Can Believe In' Tied to the Transnational Surrealist Movement of the Early 20th Century?

"I'M ASKING YOU TO BELIEVE. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington...I'm asking you to believe in yours".

Barack Obama Campaign '08 Website, at: http://www.barackobama.com/index.php

"I want to campaign the same way I govern, which is to respond directly and forcefully with the truth,"~ Barack Obama, 11/08/07, at: http://factcheck.barackobama.com/

Mr. Obama's logo has received accolades from members of the public interested in its 'symbolism'. At least one citizen has remarked,

"Yesterday afternoon, I waited at a red light behind a car with an Obama bumper sticker, and I was really impressed with Obama's logo. The capital O in his surname becomes an encompassing circle, which symbolizes both social communion and the integration of the self. The rising sun symbolizes birth and rebirth; the beginning of a season of growth; the banishment of darkness. Consider how fitting it is that the synoptic gospels state the women found the empty tomb at dawn in the springtime. The encompassing circle also fits with this, as it symbolizes the birth canal, through which new life enters the world. The plowed field symbolizes nature's bounty (which obviously belongs equally to us all) and reminds us of our debt to those who work to bring that bounty to our tables. It evokes quiet pride in the hearts of small town and rural Americans and strikes a chord of back-to-the-land longing in the hearts of post-hippie environmentalists."

See: Raymund Eich, Houston, The Transhuman Comedy -Raymund Eich's freelance futurism for fun and profit, at: http://www.sff.net/people/raymund/2008/04/obamas-logo.html .

It seems that the Mr. Obama and his campaign have focused more on conveying empty 'symbolism' and fostering 'belief' in any 'possible' future other than that which it deems likely to follow from the present, than on sharing with the American public the reality of today and the likely options for probable future outcomes. In other words, Mr. Obama has intentionally not been very clear about what 'changes' he envisions and why they are necessary. What is his true agenda? What are his ultimate objectives? Why has he not been forthcoming about his 'new' ideas for 'change'? What is Mr. Obama truly hiding through is opaque and oblique references to 'change you can believe in'? How many of Mr. Obama's idea's are actually 'new'?

One of the most remarkable aspects of the radical 'change' advocated by Mr. Obama is its unlimited and undefined breadth and scope - for all intensive purposes GLOBAL in magnitude. In fact, the radical 'change' called for by Mr. Obama appears to be common 'change for change-sake', NOT 'change' for the betterment of the U.S.

To reiterate, it is arguable that 'Obama Change' is merely for 'change from the status quo' - in culture, science, economics, law and politics. In this regard, 'Obama Change' can be compared with and linked back to the popular 'Surrealist Movement' of the early 20th century which encompassed the political, social and economic spheres of transnational society. Most people are familiar with surrealist art. For example:

However, as is clear from a recent article appearing in the French magazine Le Monde Dipomatique, the Surrealist Movement is much, much more than just art. Rather, it is comprised of a transnational political movement that sought change at any cost for any reason against any status quo.

"It is almost impossible to paint a true picture of surrealism, one that respects the breadth of its debates and the limitlessness of its boundaries, reconstructs the movement in all its aberrant and contradictory glory and does justice to the depth of its artistic, social and political speculations. It is easy to lose our bearings, limit the scope of word or gesture, and let the door of fantasy swing closed. If its magic cannot be depicted for what it is - fleeting, shifting, fugitive - what is left? Since surrealism was not only an artistic movement but also a moment in political history and a passionate human adventure, how can it slot neatly into the curatorial or academic category of art history? The formal, aesthetic view will triumph and the political dimension be pushed aside as irrelevant to formal considerations. This obliteration of the faintest trace of surrealism’s political programme is contrary to the nature of the movement and the works it inspired."

...To sweep the movement’s active ambitions aside is to destroy both the dream and its harvest and render them ineffectual, or diverting. As André Breton wrote in The Political Position of Surrealism (1935): “Those modern poets and artists . . . who consciously aspire to work towards a new and better world must at all costs struggle against the current that seeks to sweep them away to a place where they become mere entertainers whom the bourgeoisie can define as they please (just as they tried to redefine Baudelaire and Rimbaud as Catholic poets once they were dead).”

"Once surrealism receded into history, critics lost sight of its black cloak of revolt and humour, its adolescent rage and imperious desire to change the world. During the late 1920s surrealists fiercely opposed colonialism and discussed whether to join the communist party; throughout the 1930s they fought against fascism and Stalinism; during the second world war they were involved in the French resistance; in the 1950s they joined the anarchists; in 1960 they signed the Manifesto of the 121 (supporting the right to refuse to fight in the war in Algeria); they were involved in the revolutionary events of 1968. Successive surrealist groups gave their hearts to (or at least participated in) all the major political debates of the 20th century, including Jean-Paul Sartre’s call for engagement. By ignoring surrealism’s revolutionary vocation and the political commitment of the painters and poets who made it live, museums, collectors, critics and historians have forced it into the narrow mould of a movement whose sole purpose was to manufacture works of art."

"...Surrealism’s heritage, if it must have one, surely lies in this duty to reject, in its unique way of looking at the world, in a philosophy that reconciled action and dream. It has nothing to do with the triviality of a deliberate and profitable scheme to produce artworks..."

"...Our days are numbered, our identity is fixed, our imagination and our sexuality are limited; the horizon is closing in on us when it should be opening out to let the night of dreams encroach on day. A sense of wonder cannot be taught, it can only be created from endlessly renewed freedom and fury. Perhaps it has become almost an obscenity to mention revolution or class struggle. But there are still disturbing echoes to the words that Breton wrote in 1925, in issue 4 of La Révolution surréaliste: “Our hands cannot cling tightly enough to the rope of fire that stretches up the black mountain. Who is this who wants to use us and make us contribute to the abominable comfort of this world? Let it be known: we want no part in mankind’s attack on mankind. We have no civic convictions. In the current state of society in Europe, we remain committed in principle to any revolutionary activity whatsoever, even if its roots are in class struggle, provided only that it goes far enough.”

See: Vincent Gille, Surrealism in the Real World, Le Monde Diplomatique (May 19, 2005), at: