For as total and overwhelming as it appears, the dystopian often contains a seed of its radical opposite: utopia. Red Wedge, as a publication dedicated to the revolutionary imagination, believes this wholeheartedly. It is a necessary truth. We also believe that we need to hold tight to it. Now more than ever.
Modern life for millions is a nightmare. Climate change is threatening our very notion of a stable and natural reality. The far right is ascendant in a growing number of countries. Neoliberalism, in all its exposed cruelty and indifference, continues to stride along on the back of its most effective mantra: “There Is No Alternative.”
Should we even bother with dreams of optimism, of anything better? We don’t have a choice. And we would also be derelict in our responsibilities if we didn’t also talk of the hope that does exist, in the here and now. We see the return of socialist ideas and revival of organization, most dramatically among young people in the United States and Britain but also found in the growth of far-left groups around the world. A movement against misogyny and sexual violence is taking hold. Teachers, lecturers, students are refusing to let the idea of education be dictated by profit.
Despair can eclipse hope, but when it becomes so all-encompassing that the only option is that of struggle, we find it has wormed its way back into our psyches. We can’t afford to give up the dream, but we will also be woefully unprepared if we don’t face and examine the nightmare, even acknowledge the ways in which the threat of oblivious spurs us forth to create something better. As the song says, “from the ashes of the old…”
Red Wedge’s fifth issue, scheduled for release this May, is devoted to unpacking these questions. The title of the issue is “Bad Dreams.” And it will feature a lineup of work we are excited to show you, as we believe that it can help further foment an understanding of how art and aesthetics mediate between our hopes and our fears, our terrors and triumphs:
- Michael Löwy speaks to Red Wedge on Marxism, the surreal, and critical irrealism
- Sarah Grey reviews Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway
- Jordy Cummings on improvisation and utopia
- Kate Bradley on history, misogyny, and the work of Isabella Whitney
- Joe Sabatini unpacks Marxism and the uncanny in ETA Hoffman
- Alexander Billet looks at space and time, music and crisis
- Ramona Wadi reviews the photography of Giancarlo Ceraudo and Argentina’s death flights
- Trish Kahle looks at Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement and climate catastrophe fiction
- Fiction from David Renton
- Poetry from Crystal Stella Becerril
- Art from Marissa Angel, Olivia Mansfield, and Adam Turl
“Bad Dreams” will also see us make a couple of logistical changes that we hope will help the issue get into more hands at a quicker pace. By now the final copies of issue four, “Echoes of 1917” are finally going out. This and the previous issue has shown us that, while we absolutely intend to go quarterly as soon as possible, the pressures of putting together a full issue every three months is, for at least the next year, more than we can quite pull off. So, for 2018, we will be producing three issues. All who have purchased a subscription through now will still receive four issues as promised. But now, provisionally at least, Red Wedge is released three times a year.
We are also moving our printing and distribution to CreateSpace, a print-on-demand service that will allow us to get each issue sent off in a speedier and more efficient fashion and is better equipped to fulfill international orders (so as not to keep our readership waiting, and to fix the shipping problens that have plagued most issues). For now, pre-orders can still be made through the Red Wedge shop, but in May, when the issue formally comes out, they will be available for purchase primarily through CreateSpace and Amazon.
“Bad Dreams” is a step forward for Red Wedge. As with all of our content, it is aimed at deepening a new left’s understanding of and relationship to art, aesthetics, and human creativity. We think it deserves to be in as many hands as possible. Subscribe if you haven’t already. Become a patron. Or, at the very least, order a copy of issue five.