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Two Anti-War Surrealist Texts

The first text, "War Metamorphosis," was written by a small international convergence of surrealists via the internet, which included several members of the Portland Surrealist Group. The second text, "Another Stupid War" was distributed by the Surrealist Movement in the United States.

"Can we be asked to toss onto the dunghill this unlimited capacity to say NO which is the entire secret of human progress in order to watch and wonder at what is going on without us at the other end of the world?" -André Breton, Preface to "The Political Position of Surrealism"

War is not "inevitable." Surrealism has always known that the worst is NEVER inevitable. Liberated imagination, unbound by profit and power, can reintegrate a world divided by cynical conspiracies. Does the parade of rotting suits in the White House REALLY know something we don't, besides how to make crime pay? When America's friends - Israel, Indonesia, Turkey, and the rest of the pack - invade neighbors or feed their own people to the mangle, the U.S. cries "encore," and showers the stage with gifts of money and guns. Thus with Iraq when Saddam Hussein was America's Friendly Spook. But time made the lovers restless, and now Iraq is a blood-clotted doormat on the path to future conquests. Some 200,000 killed in the orgy of Desert Storm, perhaps a million and a half more (mostly children under the age of 5; but we LOVE the children!) felled by genocidal sanctions, and yet more by persistent air strikes that form the decade's wallpaper: What is the U.S. without its objects of corrupt desire?

And being pals with the U.S. is as slippery a proposition as being a Mafia stoolie. Since Hussein passed from being a Friendly Spook to being an Invaluable Monster his days have been numbered, and now his number is up. The U.S. smokes all proposals for a non-violent resolution (as it had barricaded all routes to a peaceful settlement in 1990.) Even as we write, another Iraqi proposal for the unconditional return of weapons inspectors is angrily denounced as a "stalling" tactic before it is even considered. It will quickly be forgotten amid the banquet of oily sensationalism scented with patriotic spices, that the White House feeds its media teat-suckers to regurgitate, lap up, and regurgitate again. Imagine trying to stall the war! Brazen! Incomprehensible!


Remember: The U.S. is NOT some "new kid on the block" who must over-compensate for his anonymity by pissing bullets at each social "slight," but THE practitioner of concentrated power, the Big Boy. Expedient "provocations" are exploited at regular intervals as a diversion for a bored audience.. Here and there, dreams have been flattened to a desert where peace cannot exist even as a mirage, where decency "digs in" underground and predators nourish themselves on what is most abandoned. We know (without any "experts") that a politician's mouth is a spigot of lies; AND we do not wish to drown! It will take many hands DREAMING IN UNION to turn off that filthy fountain. AND it is not too early to begin.


We know the U.S. indulges periodically in scratching its itches, not bothered by where the infection actually lies. Iraq constitutes a threat to imperial complacency: the West dreams it is on the right side, demanding a revolving collection of those on the wrong side. Yet WHO passes out weapons like flowers? WHO mugs world labor? WHO houses the most corporate thieves and killers? WHO is afraid to see itself as it passes a shop window? WHO holds the deepest and most dangerous myths about itself and kills religiously for those delusions? The answer is clear: if the U.S. is to bomb nations based upon their potential for damage, then it should begin at home, as an act of charity to the world about which it pretends to care.

But what hands feed this beast? You already know the answer, though you are moving into denial: the oil companies, the military/industrial complex and the rest of the usual suspects that bankroll the White House joined in this murderous game of red light/green light by an anaesthetized servant class of pundits and intellectuals, whom we single out for blame because of the betrayal of a particular trust. Info Containment has become the greatest tool for the maintenance of power, and those Ministries of Truth, which were historically dedicated to countering government and business malfeasance, now dine with the Swine and lick up slop fallen from their lips. THAT (only slightly digested) becomes our breakfast news. But we demand full disclosure, by force if necessary, and (as always) array ourselves against the forces of miserablism and the trivialization of desire. So, we are suspended in permanent crisis by our Invaluable Monsters. It is past time to return to our senses and reason our way out of this mess.


... Complacency and obedience are untenable positions when war is prospected;
... War on Iraq is not inevitable unless the U.S. demands it be; The U.S. is contemptuous of any peace which threatens profit and power;
... The U.S. breathes war, being the largest arms dealer in the world, being the world's strongest military force, being an economy that relies on military spending for the development of its technology sector, and being the club-happy cop that readily employs violence to expand the economic prospects for itself and its partners-in-crime;
... The U.S. has a bloodlust for Iraq, having made it the first spectacular casualty of the New World Order, crushing it underfoot for a decade, and mechanically plotting to rain yet more horror on its people;
... The U.S. is deceitful, having opportunistically presented Saddam Hussein as a friend and then again as a monster, having exploited and brutally dashed the hopes of Iraq's Shi'ites and Kurds, having sabotaged the UNSCOM weapons inspection team by loading it with spies, and having supplied disinformation to its own media for the sole purpose of advancing war;
... The U.S. has perversely accomplished all this while claiming to command a moral high ground;
... America's sidekick Britain is just as reprehensible;
... Australia or any other country which fails to oppose the war does so to their escalating disgrace;
... Bush and Blair pretend to hold the positions of ultimate responsibility and so should be held responsible even though they are puppets of their respective political machines;


that it is no longer enough to denounce the murderous policies of Bush and Blair. We demand these men be bodily dragged from their seats of power, weighed down with a red stone for every lost life that can be laid at their feet, and thrown into the most unforgiving depths of the sea.

And then the free radicals of imagination shall refresh that sea.

[taken from www.zazie.at]



"Will all great Neptune's ocean this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red murder." --Shakespeare, Macbeth, II.ii

Those who defiantly survive police-state violence tend to develop a wracking, dark humor. In 1970, our friend and surrealist co-worker Haifa Zangana was jailed in Saddam Hussein's horrendous Qasir al-Nihaia political prison as an enemy of the State. In her grim but poetic memoir, Haifa recalls the taste of blood in her mouth and the sight of blood on her thighs, the hot tears she shed for friends executed by security police, and the cool gorgeous springs of water in her ancestral homeland of Kurdistan that were plugged silent with cement by Hussein's troops. Yet today, she says with a tough, sad chuckle, she finds herself (objectively at least) on the side of the dictatorship that tortured her and against the Western governments who vow to "liberate" Iraq.

We understand Haifa's wise and bitter smile. At present, the people of Iraq are confronted by the prospect of a Bush-league emperor's ambition to depose their CIA-appointed despot through a U.S. invasion and military occupation, a scheme we are supposed to believe is motivated by moral indignation and high-minded righteous regard for democratic principles. Such malevolent hypocrisy would almost be funny if the implications were not so catastrophic. Since 1968, Hussein's Ba'athist regime—an unrelenting torturocracy—has been showered with support of all kinds, including massive shipments of weapons and incalculable U.S. tax dollars. After Kuwait, the U.S. effectively rehired Hussein to continue butchering anti-State separatists, feminists, and anti-capitalists in order to "stabilize" the region for exploitation by globalized capitalism. U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice proclaims that attacking Iraq now will aid "the march of freedom"; tellingly, Rice is the first such Advisor with a 136,000-ton Chevron Corporation oil tanker named after her.

George Bush and Saddam Hussein are not exactly Tweedledee and Tweedledum, but the similarities between them—ideologically, morally, and as figureheads of State—far outweigh the differences.

Indeed, the Executive Branch of the Bush-Cheney regime and the ruling circle of the Ba'ath Party are clearly the most tender and intimate of enemies. We are not surprised to learn that portions of a recent televised speech by the most ignorant President in U.S. history, in which he expressed his "feelings" about "Iraqi culture," were in truth lifted almost verbatim from a 1990 speech by none other than Saddam Hussein, who was then directing his own invasion of Kuwait. And we would not be surprised to learn that Saddam Hussein has in turn plagiarized juicy bits of double-talk from speeches by one or another U.S. President.

Make no mistake: The proposed "regime change" in Baghdad is solely about replacing a fractious death-squad subcontractor with a more passively compliant one. A New World Order "police action" aimed at Iraq would provide U.S. capital with easy access to twenty- two percent of the world's available petroleum, meaning less dependence upon the doddering feudal oil oligarchy of Saudi Arabia. In our era of turbo-globalized and genocidal capitalism, the oil extraction industries are one of the hinges on which international class relations turn. Any bombs that fall on the people of Iraq in the next few months will also be a dire "message" pointed at petroleum workers in such places as the Caspian Sea basin, Angola, Nigeria, Colombia, and Venezuela. It is no accident that the "interim" government in Afghanistan that replaced the Taliban ruling clique is led by a former consultant to the Unocal oil company who is protected round-the-clock from assassination by a contingent of U.S. Green Berets.

Carnage apologists, militarist demagogues, war profiteers, and their fundamentalist Christian cheerleaders charge that those who are unable or unwilling to fathom the hateful logic of their policies are plainly guilty of the terrible crime of being "unrealistic." For our part, as surrealists, we readily affirm that we despise the so-called "realism" that is based solely on the clumsy hypocrisy, swaggering boorishness, and ecocidal greed of a few cowardly billionaires along with their political/ military/ journalistic yes-men. Quite simply, a "realism" sustained by nothing more than shamelessly arrogant celebrations of degradation, persecution, and miserabilist obfuscation deserves only con-tempt, scorn, and ridicule.

We say: Neither ruling-class war nor imperial peace! The grubby, counter-revolutionary opportunism of "realistic"realpolitik is no excuse for industrialized mass murder. When the U.S. government's stooges of Capital try to blackmail us with the pseudo-choice of being "either with us or against us," we wholeheartedly refuse. In this as in all intercapitalist rivalries, we support neither side. Heeding our imaginations, we pursue an alternative set of terms. We do our best to ignore the flags and sneer at the superstitious calls for some war god's blessings, and focus instead on our solidarity with the working people of Iraq.

With sorrow, but also with anger, Haifa Zangana reminds us that siding with the oppressed "does not mean we are unaware of the complexity of the situation."

Unalterably opposed to yet another sleazy capitalist oil war, we uphold the tried and true values of class war: the self-emancipation of the workers of the world from wage-slavery. To quote one of the oldest and soundest watchwords of the working class movement: The real enemy is in "our own" country! And despite that enemy's penchant for euphemistic pseudonyms ("free enterprise," "globalization," etc.), his true name is Capitalism.

We say:

No to Bush's war-plans and globalization's death industry! No to the outlawing of workers' movements! No to "austerity programs" and the "structural readjustment" dictates of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank! No to misery and miserabilism in all their forms!

Yes to revolt! Yes to freedom now! Yes to international working class solidarity! Yes to life, imagination, the Earth—and their marvelous possibilities!


[taken from www.surrealism-usa.org]

homepage: homepage: http://www.zazie.at/Portland/00_WebPages/Index.htm

who are you people? 30.Sep.2004 13:30


who are you people? ok, we all do not want war. we all want peace. we want the USA out of Iraq. How are you surrealists going to help solve these problems?