Memphis Minnie's Blues Link


"The machinery for dreaming planted in the human brain was not planted for nothing."
-Thomas DeQuincey






The Forecast is Hot continued

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Love Above All

No revolution worth dreaming about can be made—much less sustained or extended—by a sexually repressed proletariat. In love, surrealism's surest method of knowledge, lies the secret energy of revolutionary social transformation. Verifying Marxist, feminist and psychoanalytic critiques of the bourgeois family, surrealist "mad love" shows the way to its sensuous supersession. What the workers' movement needs is not didactic propaganda, which more often than not serves only to deaden the sensibility, but rather authentic eroticization and the rediscovery of what the greatest of the utopians, Charles Fourier, called the laws of Passional Attraction. All the characteristics of today's oppressive social system—exploitation, unfreedom, coercion, violence, lies—are obstacles to love, and only those who love can overturn them and create a free society. The erotic embrace refutes all justification for slavery and misery. By fomenting sexual insurrection, surrealism stimulates not only desire, but desire for revolution, desire for freedom. The emancipation of love can be achieved only by lovers themselves!

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The critique of what Breton called miserabilism—"the depreciation of reality in place of its exaltation"—became a central theme of Chicago surrealism in the 1970s, and remains so to this day. Historically Breton identified it as "the offspring of the perfect coupling of those two vermin, Hitlerite fascism and Stalinism." Encompassing all the ideological excrescences of the "accumulation of misery" which, according to Marx, always accompanies the accumulation of capital, miserabilism relies chiefly on the brutal debasement of language (and all signs), especially via television, advertising and other vehicles of state-approved disinformation and degradation. As a product of declining capitalism, this "plague," as Breton termed it, "permits as many variations as there are categories of misery." Whatever accommodates and justifies the existing squalor belongs to the miserabilist New World Order: not only the many neo-Stalinisms and fascisms, but also such very different phenomena as Warholism, religious revivals, the so-called men's movement and the plethora of ultra-commercialized pop therapies.

Undermining such rationalizations of the unlivable is one of the most urgent emancipatory tasks of our time. Indeed, the degree to which any activity today can be called truly revolutionary is precisely the degree to which it contributes to the struggle against miserabilist mystification.

The first step is to discredit and demolish the toxic ideologies that immobilize and stifle the poetic imagination—for example: the work-ethic, dependence on the institutions of power, religious faith, reactionary racial mythologies and ossified notions of gender.

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The Exaltation of Play, Gateless Gate to Objective Chance

Human freedom cannot be won by miserabilist means. Unlike the tradition-bound "Marxist" admirers of "business as usual" who want "Jobs for All," surrealists demand "All Play and No Work!" To stimulate surrealist collective creation is the principal reason for the creation of surrealist collectives, and we have found play to be the modus operandi that works best. As in "Time-Travelers' Potlatch," play questions conventional relationships, overturns definitions, puts pleasure before duty, frees the imagination, reinforces desire. Alchemically, play could be considered the open entrance to the shut palace of objective chance—a free-for-all approach to the infinite variety of unexpected self-revelation, and the basis for a new, revolutionary poetic morality. What at first may appear to be only a moment's "time out" from the Old Order becomes an "Open Sesame" to the revolutionary life—a concrete prefiguration of the life of poetry made by all.

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