PATHS OF VICTORY / against the culture of war

We are living in fascist times. The time is long passed to be polite enough in the debate to not use that word. If we are going to pull ourselves back from the brink, we must talk about it openly. The major systems of our society- economic, political, legal, educational, cultural- are corrupted and broken. While our society as a whole seems to stumble along with business as usual, it stumbles on the brink of collapse. One more stress or crisis could collapse the whole thing. The groundwork is being laid so that when such a crisis occurs the structure of society can be fully shifted into a corporate police state.

With all of the anti-democratic, totalitarian, fascist legislation passed in such a deceptive and heavy-handed way in the past few years (Patriot Act, Clear Skies, No Child Left Behind, Military Commissions Act, secret domestic surveillance, etc…) it is impossible to imagine these people don’t fully understand the path they are taking us down. It is their intention to consolidate their police state economic power over all of us in the world’s greatest scam. A corporatist system to enforce the dictates of global capitalism and dehumanized consumerism.

It has been a long road that is leading us towards this dystopic endpoint, but the rich variety of alternatives that have coexisted with the road are not yet extinguished. It is not too late to actualize the ideals of a shared, healthy, humane community. How do we take the power of determining our reality away from the fascists and decide for ourselves, as a community, what we want and how we will go about it? How do we come together as a society to actualize such a vision- preferably before the next disaster strikes? And, yes, what role does ART play in this struggle?


When times are as abusive and threatening as these, we owe it to our society -we owe it to ourselves- to not deny the social/cultural role of art as being engaged with its times. We must seek to have our art function as a facet of resistance to this mass-lobotomizing of consciousness, this mass-dehumanizing of the soul.

Immersion in the mainstream culture’s all-pervasive refusal to take seriously the idea that anything can change leads to immense disempowerment. Combine this with a heavy dose of militarism, the capitalist ideal of everything being bought and sold, and a society structured on relationships of domination and submission. This all adds up to a hopeless acceptance of the status-quo. If the majority of the population in the Unioted States are not ignorant of the reality we face, but rather feel hopeless to stop it; then we must conceptualize the art we create as one aspect of a liberatory culture. A culture of empowerment and nonhierarchal social relations counterposed to the culture of disempowerment and fascism. A culture where “all the bullshit” is unacceptable. Where the fabric of our daily lives encourages us not to submit to being lied to and manipulated, used and spied upon. The creation of this liberatory culture (the seeds of it already exist in various forms and subcultures) is a necessary step for the nurturing of a mass movement strong enough and large enough to stand up to these fascists. A movement to come together and assert the peoples’ right to govern their reality.

I am not proposing that there is one particular form of “political art” or “street art” or “mass art” that will lead the way to a revolution against the status quo. I am proposing that we must see the work we create- in all its many forms and different strategies- as working together. As different facets of a larger cultural whole rather than ghettoized and alienated subcultures. Our goal should be to further expand and nurture the sentiments which so many already feel and feel powerless in the face of. Engaging the larger population with respect as equals.

selected references:

* The Center for Constitutional Rights has some important information about the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This is the latest piece of legislation laying the groundwork for a full police state. Those involved in writing the legislation have specifically singled out ant-globalization activists, leftists, and anarchists as potential terrorist allies.

* Fox News propaganda working to normalize the idea that dissenters should be beaten and brutalized.

* Vandana Shiva speaking about seed saving, localized agriculture, localized culture and many other interconnected topics around the dehumanization of global capitalism:

* Naomi Klein’s website with resources and information on disaster capitalism and the shock doctrine.

* Lucy Lippard writing about the state of art and politics at the beginning of the 80s:

I hope we’re not just doomed to follow the bouncing ball through endless cycles of romanticism/classicism, subjective/objective, feeling/intellect, etc. If the 60s proved that commitment didn’t work, the 70s proved that lack of commitment didn’t work either. The 80s decade is coming into a legacy of anxiety, of barely articulated challenges to boringly predictable mainstream art. It is going to have to restore the collective responsibility of the artist and create a new kind of community within, not apart from, the rest of the world. The danger on all esthetic fronts is the kind of factionalism that already divides the politicized minority within the art world. Too many of us spend our time attacking everyone else’s attempts at relevance while paranoically guarding our own suburban territories. There is an appaling tendency to insist on the need for theoretical understanding of the artists position in a capitalist society and simultaneously to destroy by “logic” every solution offered.


One Response to “PATHS OF VICTORY / against the culture of war”

  1. Bonds Article Says:

    Got a little bit confused while reading :S

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