Colonial domination, because it is total and tends to over-simplify, very soon manages to disrupt in spectacular fashion the cultural life of a conquered people. This cultural obliteration is made possible by the negation of national reality, by new legal relations introduced by the occupying power, by the banishment of the natives and their customs to outlying districts by colonial society, by expropriation, and by the systematic enslaving of men and women.
Three years ago at our first congress I showed that, in the colonial situation, dynamism is replaced fairly quickly by a substantification of the attitudes of the colonizing power. The area of culture is then marked off by fences and signposts. These are in fact so many defense mechanisms of the most elementary type, comparable for more than one good reason to the simple instinct for preservation.
The very idea of “President’s Day” has always been a farce. But in the age of Trump the idea of celebrating the American presidency’s unchecked power just feel bitterly ironic. Red Wedge isn’t the only one feeling this irony; today, in several cities, “Not My President’s Day” rallies are taking place.
When our editorial board adapted the text below and designed its accompanying image, it was intended as a reward for our fall fundraising drive (which we are in the process of mailing out as we write this). It is now available exclusively to anyone who joins the Red Wedge Patron program at ten dollars or more each month.
In 1969 a group of artists, critics, museum workers and others formed the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC). One of their many achievements was to force the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to have a free admission day – to democratize access to the musuem’s collection. So it is fitting that last night, during MoMA’s “Free Friday" (February 17), a group of a few dozen protesters – joined at times by hundreds of other attendees – erupted in protest in MoMA’s lobby – demanding the removal of Larry Fink from the board.Fink, CEO of BlackRock, Inc., is also a member of President’s Stratigic and Policy Forum – a collection of “business leaders” who advise the revaunchist Trump administration. The protesters have rightly taken a position against any normalization of the Trump presidency.
black on black on Black on
an interruption – no,
a reminder to the Columbus-ing ass fuckboys
(and girls) that
We need money to make all of this happen. In years past, we’ve accomplished this by undertaking fund drives for a few months, soliciting our readers for one-time lump sums so that we can continue operating for the next year and/or pay for a particular project. It is, frankly, an exhausting and nerve-wracking way to fund a publication. Which is why this year we are going to try a different approach.
The question “what can a poem (actually) do?” has been a part of the philosophical debate about art for a long time. It is impossible to know when it was first asked, but I’m willing to bet that it had something to do with the onset of the Industrial Age, and the coming of age of Capitalism. That the lack of a definitive answer, or any recognizable material profit tied to its production hasn’t stopped people from either writing or reading it, is probably answer enough, but in the Fall of 1977, I moved from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies to Winnipeg, Manitoba – the MidWest of Canada. My step-father was working with the Canadian government and so, we were migrating.
To rise to and consolidate power 20th century fascism invoked crude race and national origin myths. This is part of what led Breton to pose the problem of counter-mythology, a different set of stories; stories that would animate resistance – that would bring the weight of the past crashing down on the enemies of socialism and the working-class. As Walter Benjamin wrote, the hatred and sacrifice needed for revolution is nourished “on the picture of enslaved forebears.” For Breton this was bound together with Surrealism and its intersections of chance and plan, individual and collective psychology, dream and consciousness, individual and collective action. As our contemporary far-right movements have gained ground they have brought back the “belligerent gods.” And among the neo-fascist “alt-right” there is a return of esoteric occult fascism in the “Cult of Kek” and its Pepe the Frog fascinations. So, just as before, we need our own animating counter-mythologies – our own stories for living and fighting in this world – for ridding it of the “myths of Odin."
“After one has enjoyed the first taste of Marxist criticism, one will never again be able to stand ideological hogwash.” – Ernst Bloch, Spirit of Utopia, 1918
The relationship between art and society has always been a central question for artists, thinkers and activists on the Left. In the twentieth century, it was commonplace to believe that art has the power to change the world. It was this conviction that motivated Georg Lukács to defend the literary realism of writers like Thomas Mann over the stylistic innovations of a James Joyce. For Lukács (1977: 33), literature was “a particular form by means of which objective reality is reflected,” and as such it was “of crucial importance for it to grasp that reality as it truly is.” By displaying social reality in all its contradictory complexity, Lukács believed, art could serve the interests of class struggle and social emancipation.
The comic “La Trompestad” by Michelle Sayles is the perfect illustration of what it feels like to live in the first week of Donald Trump's America. Although we may feel defeated, we must remain vigorous in our fight against Trump and his administrations' spectacle of “alternative facts”. Michelle Sayles is an artist and community organizer living in Burlington, Vermont. You can find more of her work on her blog. – Craig E. Ross
Here we are. Inauguration Day for Donald Trump. We are through the dystopian looking glass. And now “resistance” isn’t just something that would be nice if it happened. It is a necessity. From working people, from students, from community members, and yes, from artists. By any means necessary.
Trump took the White House for two reasons. 1) The failure of the Democratic Party. And 2) The mobilization of bigotry. America’s “political center,” in the form of the Democratic Party, was unable and unwilling to explain the crises of neoliberal austerity, to mobilize people on the basis of social class and solidarity. This political failure is also a cultural one – of avant-garde and popular culture alike.