Those who work their lives away should have little reason to celebrate the pillar at the southwest entrance to the Lloyd Center Mall. This insidious column of giant coins inscribed with capitalist proverbs, pompously titled "Capitalism" as if we didn't already get it, appears more like a snide parody of the totem pole than an invention of the creative imagination.
It is indeed capitalism -- atomizing us through forced labor -- that is at the center of today's social order. A web of blood and sweat founded on empty promises, capitalism deceitfully veils the suffering it churns with ideas of prosperity and consumption, encoding us with delusions of potential grandeur. No amount of shopping can save you from the misery it produces. No quantity of property will make your life or your neighbor's any more complete. For what is capitalism but a huge lethal diversion from our real desires, our real lives?
Obviously a product of official art, this pillar of coins pays homage to the misery of the people. It is a symbolic representation of the neurotic, expansionist, war-mongering, class-based character of the American dream. In disgust, we, surrealists, cordially invite each and every insurgent worker and dispossessed to convene on this stick in the mud, and utilize it -- until further notice -- for a more appropriate purpose: as a target for spit!
The exploitive social relationship it praises relies solely on our cooperative subordination. Its destruction will depend on our joint insubordination! In honor of the material hammers of the imagination we call for a jailbreak out of this open-air prison of work and grief, and into a society of poetry, laziness, and love!
The Portland Surrealist Group
May Day 2004