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There were 22 results from your search for keyword(s): 'The Left'.
- "Traditional" theory is always in danger of being incorporated into the programming of the social whole as a simple tool for the optimization of its performance; this is because its desire for a unitary and totalizing truth lends itself to the unitary and totalizing practice of the system's managers. "Critical" theory, based on a principle of dualism and wary of syntheses and reconciliations, should be in a position to avoid this fate.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 12
- After the rupture with the PCF as recorded in the still magnificent document 'Du temps que les surréalistes avaient raison' (1935), the Surrealists joined with Georges Bataille in 1935 to form a radical left non-party formation named Contre-Attaque: Union de luttes des intellectuels révolutionnaires, not only to challenge the Party but to explore 'the continuation of politics by other means' (Bataille). in so doing, both Bataille and Beton are clear that the creation of the Front Popular in 1935 would not in itself be sufficient to bring about the kind of radical transformation of values that would alone suffice: it is not merely a rejection of capitalism and the bourgeoisie that would be required, but a fundamental change in the values and conceptions of reason that had informed Western and European self-understanding, the very values which, Nietasche and Valéry had argued in a manner definitive for the Surrealist generation, were also the basis of European nihilism.
From chapter: Failure and Community: Preliminary Questions on the Political in the Culture of Surrealism, M. Stone-Richards
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 302
- All three, the Hausmeister, Max, the park attendant, were aware that Ulrich's father had worn a monocle, and that his name was Ulrich von Hargenau, and that he had died for his fatherland, another euphemism, and that Ulrich and his brother had dropped the von, a gesture that was universally regarded with suspicion and a quite irrational anger. As a rule, people did not drop their von. The Hausmeister, Max, and the park attendant also knew that Ulrich had been up to his neck in left-wing politics, and that as recently as nine months ago he had been involved in a long drawn-out trial in which his evidence had been used by the prosecution to build an airtight case, enabling them to lock up what everyone considered a bunch of ill-mannered agitators. In some quarters there was more outrage about their alleged bad manners than their left-wing rhetoric.
Source: How German Is It, p. 34
- An embittered traveling textile salesman who had been imprisoned by the Jacobins and later spied on by the secret police apparatuses of Napoleon and the Bourbon Restoration, Fourier felt that he understood the ways that the Enlightenment's revolutionary ideals could be hijacked to serve tyrants and capitalists. The alienating tedium of work, the criminal waste of overproduction, and the ugly violence of destitution and class oppression seemed to multiply rather than diminish under this new world order. Fourier was disgusted by the degree to which people's lives could be ruined by an emerging class of professional profiteers and financial speculators and prophetically foretold of a coming age of inequity and misery built by the opaque mechanisms of a so-called 'free' market.
From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 272
- Aragon's increasing orthodoxy would culminate in his break with the movement in 1932, following the legal and intellectual fracas surrounding the publication of his propagandistic poem "Red Front" in 1931. Conversely, the resistance to orthodoxy expressed by writers and artists such as Crevel, Dali, Breton, Giacometti, and Tzara signified an unflagging commitment to revolutionizing intellectual as well as social conditions. Whereas Sadoul and Aragon would emphasize the literal, institutional complicity of the popular media with police work, these other surrealists would instead stress ideological complicity as the target of revolutionary labor. Drawing on Breton's call, in the Second Manifesto, for surrealist activity to prompt a rise de la conscience -- meaning both a crisis of conscience and a crisis in consciousness -- there emerged a counter-Stalinist tendency in 1930s surrealism, which would insist on the Sadean pursuit of revolutionary action on the ideological front, and not merely on the social front. This meant an interrogation of the most intimate structures of human consciousness, pursued not in opposition to organized political action but as an extension and a possible modality of it.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 160
- Breton sets up a quasi-Hegelian dialectic, in which the 'thesis' of life is continually faced with the 'antithesis' of death, resulting in a holistic synthesis of the two that marks a continual life-cycle. But unlike Hegel's insistent rationalism, Breton sees this synthetic totality as emerging as much out of irrational forces as out of rational logic. In fact, it is his observation of the synthesis of the contradictory poles of the rational and irrational in Alvarez Bravo's photographs that attract Breton to them. That Breton hopes to harness the energies of this particular dialectic is evident in his choice of Alvarez Bravo's extremely disquieting image of a murdered striking worker as the title image to his essay. Rather than locating the worker's death purely in relation to the materialist circumstances of trade union politics, as Trotsky would have done, Breton (through Alvarez Bravo) places it evocatively within the much larger sweep of Mexico's long history of anti-imperialist struggle.
From chapter: Robin Adele Greeley, For An Independent Revolutionary Art: Breton, Trotsky, and Cárdenas's Mexico
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 216
- Breton, in his book Arcanum 17, written in Quebec toward the war's end, and thus after the publication of Down Below, responds to the news of the liberation of Paris with a warning that extends Carrington's crisis in consciousness into the postwar historical moment: the end of the Second World War was not necessarily the end of fascism. We must not, he urges, confuse liberation with liberty, or the remission of an illness with the onset of health. "Recovery," in both Breton's and Carrington's accounts, refers not to the simple relieving of symptoms but to "a constant renewal of energy." As Breton writes, "Liberty is not, like liberation, a struggle against sickness, it is health."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 242-243
- Breton...writes: "The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd. Anyone who, at least once in his life, has not dreamed of thus putting an end to the petty system of debasement and cretinization in effect has a well-defined place in that crowd, with his belly at barrel level." Interpretations of these lines from the Second Manifesto have fueled attacks against surrealism in general, most notably Jean-Paul Sartre's charge that the movement, like Breton's statement, represented a feeble attempt to organize "revolution" around the inner dictates of the individual -- a vulgar and politically bankrupt fusion of Leninist and Freudian rhetoric. Yet Breton is not invoking the "inner dictates of the individual," nor is he simply mobilizing this act of terror as a rhetorical flourish. He means it literally, but stresses that "my intention is not to recommend it above every other because it is simple, and to try and pick a quarrel with me on this point is tantamount to asking, in bourgeois fashion, any nonconformist why he doesn't commit suicide, or any revolutionary why he doesn't pack up and go live in the USSR." Surrealism's struggle lay in reconciling its radical break from the "ideology of continuity" with its awareness that even radicalism tends toward the continuous and the familiar whenever it expresses itself in forms, such as gunshots, that are merely extensions of preexisting violence...
The group's analyses and debates about the status of violence in the modern world extended to the very question of using revolutionary violence as a political strategy. To what extent could political violence ever be distinguished from crime? How did anti colonial violence differ from terrorism, from ethnic cleansing, or from colonial wars of invasion? Such questions, central to the activities of the surrealist group throughout the movement's history, show the surrealists' dedication to a public intellectualism that confronted the most fundamental principles of revolution and avant-gardism.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 7
- But the Public Broadcast System takes our tax money. It owes us something, no? If we can't get the real story about Big Oil, at least we deserve an apology.
I was waiting for the PBS Frontline reporter to say, 'BP has kept the truth locked in its files for years – and so have we at PBS AND WE ARE ASHAMED. Send us back your Ken Burns DVDs for a refund.'
But no, they didn't apologize; they asked for more money! And we will send it, leveraging Chevron's and ExxonMobil's payola. As P. T. Barnum once said, there's a PBS donor born every minute.
Source: Vulture's Picnic, p. 203-204
- Despite [Breton and Trotsky's] effort to find a common platform in 'For An Independent Revolutionary Art', one that would combine theory and practice, what begins to emerge instead, both in the manifesto and in other related essays, are the fundamental differences in their basic conceptions of imperialist capitalism and how to combat it in order to set up a socialist sate...[Surrealism's] interactions with trotskyist groups...stem back to the heated arguments between Breton and Pierre Naville in the mid-1920s. Saville, originally a member of Breton's coterie, left Surrealism for the Communist Party in 1926 after experiencing one of Breton's notorious personal attacks. That year he published a pamphlet, La Révolution et les intellectuals. Que peuvent-faire les Surréalistes?, in which he argued that Surrealism and Marxism were incompatible, as the Surrealists were too individualist and bourgeois to contribute to the collective, 'disciplined action of class struggle' necessary to overthrow capitalism. Breton responded in December 1926 with Légitime défense, which rebutted not only Naville's attack but also the refusal of the entire Communist Party to take Surrealism seriously.
From chapter: Robin Adele Greeley, For an Independent Revolutionary Art: Breton, Trotsky and Cárdenas's Mexico
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 205-206
- Harvey wondered again if in real life Job would be satisfied with this plump reward, and doubted it. His tragedy was that of the happy ending.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 481
- How right-wing, Maxine wonders, does a person have to be to think of the New York Times as a left-wing newspaper?
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 105
- In glaring contrast [to the IWW], the left groups we ran into -- the many varieties of social-democratic, Stalinist, Trotskyist, and Maoist organizations, as well as others that appeared to be foundering somewhere in-between one or more of these ideologies--were repulsively middle-class, authoritarian, dogmatic, narrow-minded, sectarian, humorless, and utterly incapable of even the smallest original idea. Most of them were hung up on electoral politics, and spent an inordinate amount of time denouncing sects even smaller than their own...
We recognized the IWW as "Joe Hill's union" and the direct heir of 1880s "Chicago Idea" anarchism--a fundamentally anti-authoritarian group that left open lots of room for individual and small-group improvisation; the only group in which we could develop our wide-ranging inclinations: to rethink revolutionary theory, to explore the subversive possibilities of popular culture, and above all to pursue our passion for poetic action: that is, for life as adventure. We knew that IWW perspectives had a place for all these, and that no other group would even tolerate them.
Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 17
- It was through the critical rejection of all existing political, social and moral codes that Fourier said he first caught a glimpse of the mechanisms of 'passionate attraction' -- natural impulses and cadences that occur on a level below the threshold of thought processes and which persist regardless of civilization's attempt to repress them through the artificial constructs of moralization, rationalization, guilt, fear and intolerance. If one were to recalibrate his or her life to that unified rhythmic pulse buried under the noise and tumult of modern life, and work toward building social formations that were similarly fine-tuned to these rhythms, then human life would evolve into a new, more natural harmonious order of cooperative unity, free passion, profound fulfillment and ludic pleasure.
From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 273-274
- Like Freud's depiction of the dream-work as the condensed and distorted projection of unconscious wishes, Desnos's poetic and cinematic marvelous eluded the conventional censorship of commercial narratives. It described instead a space beyond good and evil that Desnos attempted, in turn, to reconcile with the real. This reconciliation, he argues in a 1924 essay, is the "revolutionary" goal of surrealism, and, more specifically, of surrealist ethics as "the sense of life and not the observance of human laws." Yet whereas Breton argued for the inextricability of socioeconomic revolution from a surrealist liberation of the mind, Desnos's understanding of revolution privileged the latter aim...Desnos writes:
"They are a gang -- from the priest to the professor -- who invoke the spirit, who make a living from it, and who make it serve the lowest ends. It's against them, and against this deformed spirit, that the surrealists mean to fight. 'You claim to ruin bourgeois painting and yet you make paintings. Go and destroy the Louvre,' people told me on the way out of the surrealist exhibition. If we destroyed the paintings in the Louvre we would be individualists. Likewise you don't just go out and shoot fascist delegates. But you fight the capitalist spirit. Right now it's less a matter of carrying out revolution than of preparing for a battle of opinion."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 128-129
- More telling still is the way that the radical revolutionaries defined -- or invented -- their enemies in relation to their special vision of the revolution. The men who dominated the Committee of Public Safety, Robespierre and Saint-Just, like the editor of L'ami du peuple Jean-Paul Marat, invested the people with a republican virtue that was often too sublime for the real world. They framed issues in absolutes and opposites: Robespierre's rhetoric invoked 'all the virtues and all the miracles of the Republic' against 'the vices and the absurdities of the monarchy'. Counter-revolutionaries were labelled monsters, ferocious beasts, vultures, leeches, or -- if allowed human status at all -- brigands, and were found even more frequently amongst the lower orders than amongst the aristocracy. There might be a monarchist or a 'non-juring' priest (one who refused to accept the Civil Constitution of the Clergy) under every bed. Along with these negative or visceral identifications went the positive identification of revolutionary justice, in the form of lynching. Marat argued from the outset that such killing was an imprescriptible right of the sovereign people: the natural violence required to resist oppression and preserve liberty against tyranny. Altogether this provided an ideological charter for the most extreme action, without compunction or remorse.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 39
- Our indifference to the usual labels was inseparable from our rejection of the traditional left's ideological pigeonholing, and its pitifully narrow vision of life and the world. None of us regarded revolutionary theory as dogma to be memorized, or a "finished program" that needed only to be carried out. Theories at best were inspirations to play with, challenges to be taken up, suggestions to build on, or take apart, or push into unexpected directions. This open-ended outlook, largely inspired by the IWW hobo intellectual tradition, is also characteristic of surrealism.
Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 41
- The Committees of Public Safety and General Security, even more than the Convention from which they sprang, represented the progressive avant-garde of the French Revolution. They pioneered representative democracy and equality before the law. It was their adoption of terror that first imprinted the word 'terrorist' in the political lexicon, and transformed the Revolution in the eyes of many outsiders from a liberating to a destructive force. At the same time, their rationalism itself drove them to rework the justification of political violence. They had to find justifications for violent killing, especially lynching -- the most problematic kind of violence because the most threatening to an ordered society.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38
- The Reign of Terror was informed by the Enlightenment assumption that the social order can be changed by human agency. For a long time, those who were prepared to defend the terrorists did so on the grounds that their action was rational, because inevitable, in the circumstances. Certainly the Revolution as the Jacobin elite saw it was under threat in 1972-3, confronted with both external and internal enemies. But this argument is weakened by the fact that the Terror reached its height, with the truly terrifying law of 22 prairial Year II (1794) -- depriving the accused of the right to counsel or to call witnesses, and empowering the revolutionary tribunal to execute suspects on the basis of moral conviction -- at a time when both of these threats were receding.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38-39
- We disdained what we called the "traditional Left" as little more than a "loyal opposition" of the old order. We saw ourselves as the radical negation of that order in its entirety, left-wing and all. We rejected, as if by instinct, the stifling ideological compartmentalizations which seemed to us to typify the overall bureaucratic sterility of so many leftist orthodoxies. Their indifference to "culture," for example -- except as the direct expression of a "political line" -- convinced us that their vision went no further than a "planned economy." What excited us, on the contrary, were the limitless possibilities of the free imagination in conditions of playful anarchy.
Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 15
- What distinguished the Rebel Worker group from all the other groups that claimed to be against capitalism? What made us so different? The answers are obvious: humor, poetry, and breadth of vision -- which are a large part of what make a revolution revolutionary. Our critique focused not only on Capital, work and the workplace, but also and above all on everyday life. Our aim, as our Philadelphia correspondent Judy Kaplan put it, was "to be revolutionary in everything."
Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 38
- [I]t was not the Surrealists' belief in the practicality of the utopian mythologies of Fourier's peculiar socialism that led them to advance his schemes; rather, Theory of the Four Movements and Incoherent Industry were hailed by the Surrealists for their potentially liberating effect on the imagination, and their ability to do so in a way that far exceeded any other available remedies of the day which insisted on closed political systems.
From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 271