Saturday, December 27, 2008

Burn the money and dance!

a text by the Madrid Surrealist Group and their friends
translated by Bruno Jacobs & Eric Bragg

A group of about 40 people joined the gathering in Madrid against the G-20 summit in Washington on Saturday, the 15 of November, with the intention of telling capitalism to fuck off, criticizing through action the cornerstone of its filthy artifice: money, that bloody trash which won’t survive the fall of the system and of which it is its totem and taboo. Therefore we burn it in advance of future bonfires that will sooner or later purify the old world, and we distribute the following leaflet in order to contribute as best we can to starting that fire.

Burn the money and dance!

Now they tell us that there is a crisis and they lie to us, just like when they announced prosperity from mutant cows fattened with transgenics, chemicals and plastic. Because economic recession and expansion are a farce, these two movements of growth and contraction of the same wave of servility, exploitation and fear which knocks you over and strangles you, me, us, wage-slaves, who live a crisis that is eternal, as to live means to pay for every realized act and for every nurtured dream, and from this we must dare to desire and act outside and against the market.

Now they will tell us that the crisis has a concrete and reasonable cause, that only one part of the system failed, that greed broke the bank and that to err is human, but it doesn’t matter because the biblical wiseman Balthazar has arrived with his bag full of promises in order to reforge capitalism and repaint the bricks that lead to the Emerald City; and then Oz and its spectacle must continue, and this is entertainment. And they will continue to lie to us because there is no cure for capitalism: it is the crisis that reproduces itself, destroying men, women, cultures and continents until the ultimate consumption of the planet.

Thus it is necessary to destroy once and for all this recession, the prosperity and the economy that preoccupy certain people to such an extent. Therefore we burn money, totem and taboo, heart and blood, capitalism’s ultimate abstraction and reality: so as to accelerate the crisis that destroys the wealth of their nations, so that the recession recedes until it suffocates in its own financial vomit, so that the economy dissolves and that life reappears. Because the currency that is so highly worshipped is just as false as everything else – a pestilential cloud that we will have to dispel until the daylight returns.

Maybe it will be said that this money doesn’t belong to us, that it is part of the gross interior product of the national income and of the state treasury, those cursed monstrosities that overshadow what were once human relationships of collective production, of exchange and of gifts. But haven’t we perhaps earned it from the sweat on our brow? Isn’t it ours in exchange for the work and the time that we have sold for cheap? Therefore we would like to grant ourselves the happy luxury of destroying it, a luxury, however, that is within reach of any pocket because it is only a matter of getting fed up and of daring. And if we grant ourselves the free caprice of destroying it, it is simply because we haven’t found a better use for it or that it is worth the trouble, and everything that could be done with that money, saving or investing it in order to make it grow and multiply as if it were a virus, or spending it in order to buy state of the art trash, consuming insipid distractions, earning laughable pensions, paying blood-sucking mortgages or financing campaigns in order to demand lamentable reforms are just so many other excuses that tie us to the economy and strengthen it at the same time. The time has come to cut such an umbilical cord: we deny capitalism and therefore we reject its money.

Thus we burn it, casually incinerating the economic train together with the pieces of paper that form its freightcars, and all its commerce. And we take leave remembering, as if there were any remaining doubt, that there will be dancing but not money in the world that we always keep within our hearts.

Crisis! More crisis!

1929… 1973… 2008… the third time’s a charm!

Burn the money and dance!

The Chronic Critics

Click here to read the original Spanish version of this text.

Friday, December 12, 2008


The ne plus ultra of social oppression is being shot at in cold blood.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Cliquez ici pour lire ce texte en français.
Haga click aquí para leer este texto en español.

The phantom of liberty

always comes with a knife between the teeth

The ne plus ultra of social oppression is being shot at in cold blood.

All the stones, torn from the pavement and thrown at the shields of cops or at the façades of commercial temples, all the flaming bottles that traced their orbits in the night sky, all the barricades erected on city streets, dividing our areas from theirs, all the bins of consumer trash which, thanks to the fire of revolt, came to be Something out of Nothing, all the fists raised under the moon, are the arms giving flesh, as well as true power, not only to resistance but also to freedom. And it is precisely the feeling of freedom that, in those moments, remains the sole thing worth betting on: that feeling of forgotten childhood mornings, when everything may happen, for it is ourselves, as creative humans, who have awoken — not those future productive human machines known as “obedient subject,” “student,” “alienated worker,” “owner,” “family wo/man.” The feeling of facing the enemies of freedom — of no longer fearing them.

It is thus for good reason that those who wish to get on with their business as if nothing happens, as if nothing has ever happened, are worried. The phantom of liberty always comes with the knife between the teeth, with the violent will to break the chains, all those chains that turn life into a miserable repetition, serving to reproduce the dominant social relations. Yet from Saturday, December 6, the cities of this country are not functioning properly: no shopping therapy, no open roads leading us to work, no news on the government’s forthcoming recovery initiatives, no carefree switching from one lifestyle TV show to another, no evening drives around Syntagma Sq. etc., etc., etc. These days and nights do not belong to merchants, TV commentators, ministers and cops: These days and nights belong to Alexis!

As surrealists we were on the streets from the start, along with thousands of others, in revolt and solidarity; for surrealism was born with the breath of the street, and does not intend to ever abandon it. After the mass resistance before the State murderers, the breath of the street has become even warmer, even more hospitable and creative than before. It is not in our competence to propose a general line to this movement. Yet we do assume our responsibility in the common struggle, as it is a struggle for freedom. Without having to agree with all aspects of such a mass phenomenon, without being partisans of blind hatred and of violence for its own sake, we accept that this phenomenon exists for a reason.

Let’s not allow this flaming breath of poetry to loosen or die out.
Let’s turn it into a concrete utopia: to transform the world and to transform life!
No peace with cops and their masters!
All in the streets!
Those who cannot feel the rage may as well shut their traps!

Athens Surrealist Group, December 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


“Strike a man across the knee
and watch him twist in pain!
These are the things that give me joy,
and these are the rules I live by.
If I can't have a poke, give me 70p,
and I'll buy you laughter for free;
but open your pants, and I'll promise you this:
That you won't be a sailor no more, no more,
No you won't be a sailor no more.”

Whenever Betty sang me this tune, I turned my face to the Sun, letting it dry the sweat upon my brow and rejoice in its supremacy. But I wasn't a religious man, so it gave me no pleasure to worship a celestial body, great as it was, and she put her hand in the trifle when I wasn't looking. She licked it off while I wiped myself down, so we were both of us left with the remnants of two very different, but equally sticky, bodily fluids. It endeared her to me immediately. Some labelled our friendship as fake, as being based only on a mutual love of biscuits and toast. I didn't hearken such toss-pottery.

When we were 17, Betty and I fucked each other for the first time. First her, then me. She needed courage, an example to follow; so I gave her the thumbs up and we fell into the world, together. That was a lifetime ago, before she fired rockets at bat caves on a midsummer's night, before she found ecstasy in sculpture and boredom in rice. I couldn't fathom her any longer and made my own fun, and, after a while, I sought a Betty-less world, for all time.

Oh, laugh now, laugh at my stubborn idiocy, then laugh at my madness, my empty, pointless soul, and please, do spit in my face, too, for luck, won't you?
We all do foolish things: boiling chips, eating one's feet, throwing acid at rocks: it's a conundrum and a peculiarity of us humans. But you're letting me stray from the point.

Point is, or was, that in a world without my Betty creature, everything was shit. Shit food, shit feet, shit rocks. I carried that burden of shit for nigh on fifty weeks. Then one day I found her floating face down in the local fish pond, tights around her neck, the stupid bloody fish nibbling her toes. I killed them, took out her body, exhumed it, mummified it, had a grand tomb erected, put her coffin in there, and began my new life, tending her in life forever more, fending off invading rodents, keeping the air nicely cold, cleaning graffiti, crying silently into her overly-elaborate coffin. I was existing, but at what cost? I was no better or worse than a Vestal Virgin who lost her virginity to a girl wielding a cucumber sixty years ago. I had my memories but I didn't have my mind.

I resided there a total of 5 years. My beard and nails grew long, like statues of Hitler. Butterflies and even jesus feared me. My power was growing too. Five power points, eight...ten...I could hardly keep count. No rats came near any more. They knew. Rats always know, don't they? Clever little bastards.

Josie Malinowski

The Illusionist

by Patrick Hourihan

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Chance report

Last night I dreamt that I was with a Lamia. It looked exactly like a small slender cat, but was really a snake, which is how I knew it was a Lamia. It bit my finger and, with its teeth still in me, turned into a lamprey. The bite hurt like hell and bled a lot.
Then I was looking for a bus stop, or else I had got off the bus at the wrong stop, and was walking around a north-western English town. I went up a steep hill and saw a group of middle-aged women washing their laundry in cold water in the open air. The water was in shallow stone pools which lay at the level of the women's hips. I thought I would be able to get past the women and back onto the road in the right direction, and so began to walk along narrow alleys with brickwork on either side, but found myself walking through cold water up to my waist, and I realised that I would not be able to get through that way and would have to turn back. Away behind the women I could see a great expanse of open water all the way to the horizon.

When I went to bed last night, I had not seen the news about the flooding of Venice. In fact I suddenly remembered this dream this morning only when a friend mentioned to me the images of people in the Venetian piazzas, walking through water "up to their waists".



The Night Lady

Once upon a time there was a home in the old Italy countryland,
Where by a wall, there was a cupboard filled with plates and
That used to most times of the year, shake without any grace
And let drop every plate and glass on it against the floor to break.
That house, who everyone in town thought to be possessed by
Became one time the home of a man,
Who in time, at the shaking and breaking became scared,
Dreamt that by that wall was a Lady Woman imprisoned,
She being therefore the cause of the terrible shaking and breaking.
So then that man, without fear, took with him a large knife and inserted with fiery into the wall and left it there.
But soon one night he dreamt again with the Lady Woman,
And she beg him to release her from the knife and she will go.
The man then did so: the knife that stayed inside the wall got taken away and the Lady Woman flew away and there was no more since then any more shaking or breaking. End.

The Glove

Once upon a time there was man who walked by the river side of town
Every afternoon in the summer.
But one day he saw a body floating close to the bank…a dead man body.
The walker man hurried up and called up the police and the police came and the walker man helped the policemen to retire the dead body out of the water and to bring it to dry earth. In sort, the body was taken away and the walker man never forgot about the happening. What the walker man did not forget was that the dead man wore gloves on his hands.
Many weeks after the occurrence that became news everywhere, the walker man went outside his home to cut the grass, and by his surprise, he found a glove, and that was the very same glove that the man at the river bank was wearing! The walker man took it and threw away in the trash wishing not to see it again. Many weeks again after that, the walker man cut the grass in his garden again and found a glove, the very same one that dead man wore! Then feeling sacred and supersticious, then he took the glove with him and decided to go to the river bank to return possibly the glove where he thought it belonged. The glove flew over the water and felt on it and shrank. The walker man returned home and he never ever ever saw the glove again. The end.

This story is a real story told by a retired History teacher who happened to be the Walker Man.

Carolina Díaz San Francisco

Monday, December 01, 2008


The contributors to this year's Festival album are:

Alana Dill
Andrew Torch (St Louis Surrealist Group)
Aniano Henrique (SLAG)
Annie Bonnin (Paris Surrealist Group)
Apio Ludicrus
Ayşe Ozkan (SET– Surrealist Action Turkey)
Bill Howe (Leeds Surrealist Group)
Brad Walseth
Bruno Jacobs
Bruno Montpied (friend of the Paris Surrealist Group)
Carolina Díaz San Francisco (SLAG)
Cins (SET– Surrealist Action Turkey)
Dan Stanciu
Daniel C Boyer
David Nadeau (La Vertèbre et le Rossignol)
David Ruhlman
Dominique Paul (Paris Surrealist Group)
Eric W Bragg
Fantom (SET– Surrealist Action Turkey)
Gale Ahrens (Chicago Surrealist Group)
Guy Girard
Iulian Tănase
Ivan Horáček (Prague Surrealist Group)
J Karl Bogartte
Jan Richter
Jan Švankmajer (Prague Surrealist Group)
Jill Fenton
Joanna Gerson
Joel Baird
Johannes Bergmark (Szczecin Surrealist Group & Stockholm Surrealist Group)
Josie Malinowski (SLAG)
Juan Carlos Otaño (Surrealist Group of Río de la Plata)
Kateřina Piňosová (Prague Surrealist Group)
Kathryn Paulsen
Mair (SLAG)
Marianna Xanthopoulou (Athens Surrealist Group)
Marie-Dominique Massoni (Paris Surrealist Group)
Martin Stejskal (Prague Surrealist Group)
Mattias Forshage (Stockholm Surrealist Group)
Meghan Andrews
Merl (SLAG)
Michaël Löwy (Paris Surrealist Group)
Michel Zimbacca (Paris Surrealist Group)
Michèle Bachelet (Paris Surrealist Group)
Miguel de Carvalho
Mike Logan
Nacho Díaz (SLAG)
Nano (Szczecin Surrealist Group)
Nikos Stabakis (Athens Surrealist Group)
Noé Ortega Quijano (Madrid Surrealist Group)
Onston (SET– Surrealist Action Turkey)
Oscar McLennan
Parry Harnden
Paul Cowdell (SLAG)
Perşembe (SET – Surrealist Action Turkey)
Přemysl Martinec (Prague Surrealist Group)
Rad (SET– Surrealist Action Turkey)
Radim Němeček (Prague Surrealist Group)
Rafet Arslan (SET – Surrealist Action Turkey)
Renay Kerkman
Richard Burke (St Louis Surrealist Group)
Richard Waara
Rik Lina
Ron Sakolsky (Inner Island Surrealist Group)
Sasha Vlad
Seixas Peixoto
Shellie Sclan
Stephen Maddison (SLAG)
Steve Davies
Susan Burke (St Louis Surrealist Group)
temi rose
Valmonte Sprout
Vicente Gutiérrez Escudero (Madrid Surrealist Group)
Wedgwood Steventon

The next Festival is scheduled for 2010.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Cliquez ici pour lire ce texte en français.
Haga click aquí para leer este texto en español.

The collapse of the international banking system will have come as no surprise to anyone with a basic understanding of the workings of capitalism. It therefore came as a complete surprise to the bankers, whose knowledge of the world is limited to the figures flashing across their desks, and who judge their success by the number of other people’s promissory notes they can cram into their pockets. Every one of the IOUs and unlimited credit notes they have used to enrich themselves constitutes a claim against future value. It was fictitious capital when they were bloating themselves on it – but now it has to be paid for with real money, out of our pockets, as governments fight to prop up an economic system. They can imagine no alternative, despite the fact that the system clearly doesn’t work.

Surrealists can only welcome the prospect of revolutionary upheaval. But we also need to prepare for it by weighing our courses of action carefully. What will happen next, and how might Surrealists respond most effectively? There are, of course, precedents, notably the Great Depression of the 1930s. What can we learn from the past? What are the similarities between now and the 1930s, and what are the differences?

When 1929 crash took place, the European empires were in decline and the US was emerging as the world’s largest economy. The vicious nature of the reaction that followed during the 1930s is well known: the eruption of fascism across Europe, the growth of nationalism and, ultimately, the devastation of the Second World War. The decade also saw the rise of Popular Front movement in France and Spain, which promised left-wing “unity” but instead delivered only disappointment and outright betrayal. Rather than hastening the overthrow of capitalism, the Popular Front sought merely to soften its worst crises, diverting the revolutionary energies of the Left into “unity” not just with non-revolutionary forces but even with sections of the ruling class itself.

The situation today is both similar and different to that of 1929. This crisis is unfolding against the background of the decline in US imperialism and the emergence of China and India as new imperialist powers. Capitalism was already global in the 1930s, but today it has reached unprecedented levels of international integration. Toxic debts have been packaged up, sold, and hidden in every corner of the international financial market. Thus the current economic collapse will take the world in the same reactionary direction as the 1930s, but in doing so will pose an even greater threat to humanity. The wars of Afghanistan and Iraq – scenes of US imperialism’s desperate fight for survival – are only the beginning. Meanwhile, in the face of the threat to capitalism, Britain’s erstwhile Labour “rebels” and the US’s Democrats alike have been only too quick to fall into line in the name of unity. And just as in the 1930s, we can expect to see increasing efforts to “unite” different class and political tendencies into a popular front movement to stave off any revolutionary hastening of the collapse of capitalism. The failures of the Popular Front in the 1930s should stand as a stark warning to those on the Left who are trying to revive it today. It is truly alarming to see just how many so-called radical movements – the SWP in Britain, the LCR in France, the Links Partei in Germany, Rifondazione Communista in Italy – are already cheerleading that revival in Europe. Many of them actively support and take inspiration from Chávez and his allies in Latin America, who are already far advanced in their push to divert the popular desire for revolution into support for Latin American nationalism and capitalist reforms.

So how might we as Surrealists make sense of this situation? We have unshakeable confidence in Surrealism’s ability to attract serious revolutionary enthusiasm everywhere. For that reason it is now more important than ever for us to be clear about our political choices. In particular, we must never forget the political implications of Surrealism’s internationalism, and remain implacably opposed to all forms of nationalism, including those forms which make false promises to ameliorate recession, protect jobs, or even oppose globalisation. Our enemies are at home, and we must beware of being co-opted into their ideological offensives, whether it’s acquiescing to the bank bail-out, supporting Obama, or invoking the chimera of “Islamo-fascism”.

One thing we can know for certain: there are more shocks and crises of capitalism to come. We can anticipate those crises, and the revolutionary flashpoints and opportunities to which they will lead. If we are serious about our Surrealism, and about revolution – and we are – we will seize on the potential of every moment, will seek out and build on every opportunity to change the world, with all of the means at our disposal. Our politics must burn no less passionately, or urgently, than our poetry.


Click here to read this post in English.
Haga click aquí para leer este texto en español.

L'effondrement du système bancaire international n'aura pas été une surprise pour tout ceux qui ont compris le fonctionnement du capitalisme. Mais c'en est une pour les banquiers, dont la connaissance du monde est limitée aux chiffres qui s'inscrivent sur leurs écrans, et qui mesurent leur succès au nombre des billets à ordre dont ils peuvent bourrer leurs poches. Chacune des lettres de crédit illimité qu'ils ont utilisées pour s'enrichir n'est jamais qu'une traite tirée sur leur valeur à venir. Ce capital fictif dont ils se boursouflaient la baudruche, il leur faut aujourd'hui le convertir en argent véritable, en le pompant dans nos poches, tandis que les gouvernements s'activent pour renflouer le système économique. Ils ne peuvent imaginer d'autre solution, alors qu'à l'évidence que le système ne fonctionne pas.

Des surréalistes ne peuvent que saluer la perspective d'un soulèvement révolutionnaire. Mais nous devons aussi nous y préparer en évaluant soigneusement nos possibilités d'action. Qu'arrivera-t-il demain, et comment les surréalistes pourront réagir avec la plus grande efficacité ? Il y a bien sûr des précédents, comme la Grande Dépression des années trente. Quel enseignement pouvons-nous tirer du passé ? Quelles sont les similitudes entre les années trente et aujourd'hui, et quelles sont les différences ?

Quand le krach de 1929 s'est produit, les empires européens étaient sur le déclin et les États-Unis émergeaient comme la plus grande économie du monde. La violence de la réaction qui s'est ensuivie est bien connue : l'irruption du fascisme à travers l'Europe, la montée du nationalisme et finalement le désastre de la Seconde guerre mondiale. Mais la même décennie vit apparaître le Front populaire en France et en Espagne, qui après avoir apporté la promesse d'une unité de la gauche n'aboutit qu'à la déception et à la trahison. Plutôt que se hâter de renverser le capitalisme, le Front populaire ne chercha qu'à en adoucir ses pires aspects en détournant les énergies révolutionnaires de la gauche dans une union avec non seulement des forces non-révolutionnaires, mais même des fractions entières de la classe dominante.

La situation actuelle est à la fois semblable et différente de celle de 1929. Cette crise se déploie avec pour arrière-plan le déclin de l'impérialisme américain et l'émergence de la Chine et de l'Inde comme nouveaux puissances impériales. Le capitalisme était déjà global dans les années trente, mais de nos jours il a atteint un niveau inégalé d'intégration internationale. Les créances pourries ont été accumulées, vendues et dissimulées dans tous les coins du marché financier mondial. Aussi l'effondrement économique actuel va-t-il entraîner le monde dans la même direction réactionnaire que dans les années trente, tout en faisant planer une menace encore plus grande sur l'humanité. Les guerres d'Afghanistan et d'Irak, où se déroule le combat désespéré de l'impérialisme américain pour sa survie, ne sont qu'un début. Entre-temps, face à la menace pesant sur le capitalisme, les « rebelles » de l'ancien parti travailliste anglais et les démocrates américains se sont empressés de s'aligner au nom de l'unité. Exactement comme en 1930, nous pouvons nous attendre à assister à des efforts croissants pour « unir » tendances de classe opposées et des courants politiques différents dans un mouvement de front populaire afin de étouffer toute accélération révolutionnaire de l'effondrement du capitalisme. Les échecs du Front populaire dans les années trente devraient valoir comme avertissement pour tous ceux qui à gauche tenteraient de le faire revivre aujourd'hui. Il est vraiment inquiétant de voir combien de mouvements soi-disant radicaux – tels que le Socialist Workers Party en Grande-Bretagne, la LCR en France, le Links Partei en Allemagne, Rifondazione Communista en Italie – sont déjà en train d'orchestrer ce retour en Europe. Nombre d'entre eux s'inspirent de Chavez et de ses alliés en Amérique latine et les soutiennent activement, alors que ces régimes ont déjà largement détourné le désir populaire de révolution au profit d'un soutien au nationalisme latino-américain et au réformisme capitaliste.

Or comment, en tant que surréalistes, pouvons-nous rendre compte de la situation ? Nous avons une confiance inébranlable dans la capacité du surréalisme à susciter un enthousiasme révolutionnaire authentique. Par conséquent il est aujourd'hui plus que jamais pour nous essentiel d'être clair sur nos choix politiques. En particulier nous ne devons jamais oublier les implications politiques de l'internationalisme surréaliste, et rester opposés implacablement à toutes les formes de nationalisme, incluant celles qui font de fausses promesses pour combattre la récession, protéger le marché du travail, voire s'opposer à la globalisation. Nos ennemis sont chez nous, et nous devons veiller à ne pas être embrigadés dans l'une de leurs offensives idéologiques, que ce soit dans l'acquiescement au renflouement des banques, le soutien à Obama ou l'invocation de la chimère islamo-fasciste.

Nous pouvons être sûrs d'une seule chose : dans le capitalisme bien d'autres chocs et bien d'autres crises sont encore à venir. Nous devons les anticiper, et nous préparer aux situations d'explosion révolutionnaires que ces crises peuvent déclencher. Si nous prenons le surréalisme et la révolution au sérieux – et nous le faisons – nous nous saisirons du potentiel historique de chaque moment, nous chercherons à peser sur chaque possibilité de changer le monde, par tous les moyens à notre disposition. Notre politique ne brûle pas d'un feu moins impérieux et passionné que notre poésie.

Traduit en français par Joël Gayraud


Cliquez ici pour lire ce texte en français.
Click here to read this post in English.

El colapso que se ha producido en el sistema bancario internacional, no es para sorprender a quienquiera posea un conocimiento elemental del funcionamiento del capitalismo. Por lo tanto fue de una total sorpresa para los banqueros, cuyo conocimiento del mundo se limita a las cifras que parpadean en sus escritorios y juzgan sobre su éxito por el número de los pagarés de otras personas con que ellos puedan forrarse los bolsillos. Cada uno de los pagarés e ilimitadas notas de crédito que han usado para enriquecerse, constituye un reclamo de futuras ganancias. Representaba un capital ficticio cuando engordaron con él, pero ahora debe ser pagado con dinero real, extraído de nuestros bolsillos, es así como los gobiernos luchan para apuntalar un sistema económico. No pueden imaginar otra alternativa, a pesar del hecho de que claramente el sistema no funciona. Los surrealistas no podemos sino celebrar la perspectiva de una agitación revolucionaria. Pero también tenemos que prepararnos para ella, sopesando cuidadosamente nuestros cursos de acción. ¿Qué ocurrirá en consecuencia, y cómo podríamos los surrealistas responder más efectivamente? Existen, por supuesto, antecedentes, en especial en la Gran Depresión de 1930. ¿Qué podemos aprender del pasado? ¿Cuáles son las similitudes y diferencias entre 1930 y la actualidad?

Cuando tuvo lugar el colapso de 1929 los imperios europeos se encontraban en decadencia y Estados Unidos se perfilaba como la economía más grande del mundo. La violenta naturaleza de la reacción que siguió durante la década de 1930 es bien conocida: la irrupción del fascismo a través de Europa, el crecimiento del nacionalismo, y, en última instancia, la devastación de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. La década también vio el surgimiento del movimiento Frente Popular en Francia y España, que prometía la “unidad” de la izquierda, pero solo produjo decepción y absoluta traición. En lugar de acelerar la caída del capitalismo, el Frente Popular simplemente trató de suavizar sus peores crisis, y desviar las energías revolucionarias de la izquierda en el marco de una “unidad” no sólo con las fuerzas no revolucionarias, sino inclusive con sectores de la misma clase gobernante.

La situación actual es a la vez similar y diferente que la de 1929. Esta crisis se está desarrollando en el contexto de la declinación del imperialismo norteamericano y el surgimiento de China y la India como nuevas potencias imperialistas. El capitalismo ya era global en la década de 1930, pero hoy ha alcanzado niveles sin precedentes de integración internacional. Las deudas tóxicas se han empaquetado, vendido y disimulado en cada rincón del mercado financiero internacional. Por lo tanto, el actual colapso económico arrastrará el mundo hacia la misma dirección reaccionaria de la década de 1930, pero al hacerlo se plantea incluso una mayor amenaza para la humanidad. Las guerras de Afganistán e Iraq –escenas de la desesperada lucha del imperialismo norteamericano por su supervivencia–sólo son el comienzo. Mientras tanto, frente a la amenaza para el capitalismo, en Gran Bretaña antiguos "rebeldes" laboristas y en los Estados Unidos los demócratas por igual, muy rápidamente han caído bajo la línea en nombre de la unidad. Y al igual que en la década de 1930, podemos esperar ver aumentar los esfuerzos por "unir" diferentes clases y tendencias políticas en un Frente Popular, para evitar cualquier aceleración revolucionaria del colapso del capitalismo. Los fracasos del Frente Popular en la década de 1930 deben servir como una dura advertencia para los que, en la izquierda, en la actualidad, están tratando de revivirlo. Es verdaderamente alarmante ver cómo muchos de los llamados movimientos radicales –el SWP en Gran Bretaña, el LCR en Francia, los Links Partei en Alemania, Rifondazione Communista en Italia– ya están tratando de reanimarlo en Europa. Muchos de ellos con el apoyo activo y la inspiración de Chávez y sus aliados en América Latina,que han avanzado mucho en su esfuerzo por desviar la voluntad popular revolucionaria con su apoyo al nacionalismo latinoamericano y al reformismo capitalista.

Entonces, ¿cómo podemos los surrealistas dar sentido a esta situación? Tenemos una inquebrantable confianza en la capacidad del surrealismo para fomentar un serio entusiasmo revolucionario en todas partes. Por esta razón, es ahora más importante que nunca para nosotros ser claros acerca de nuestras opciones políticas. En particular, nunca debemos olvidar las implicancias políticas del internacionalismo en el surrealismo y permanecer implacablemente opuestos a todas las formas de nacionalismo, incluidas las que hacen falsas promesas para mejorar la recesión, proteger los puestos de trabajo, o inclusive las que se oponen a la globalización. Nuestros enemigos están en casa, y debemos cuidarnos de ser cooptados por sus ofensivas ideológicas, consentir a la banca la libertad bajo fianza, el apoyo a Obama, o la invocación de la quimera del "Islamo-fascismo".

Hay algo que podemos saber con certeza: habrá más sacudidas y crisis del capitalismo en el futuro. Podemos anticipar esas crisis, y los focos revolucionarios y las oportunidades a que dará lugar. Si somos serios respecto de nuestro surrealismo, respecto de la revolución –y lo somos– vamos a capturar el potencial de cada momento, buscar y construir en cada oportunidad el cambio del mundo, con todos los medios a nuestro alcance. Nuestras políticas deben quemar no menos apasionada o urgentemente que nuestra poesía.

Spanish translation by Juan Carlos Otaño

Monday, October 06, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Pig in My Soul

I looked inside, and found a pig in my soul,
where previously I thought there was just a hole.
In chains, tightly drawn round her trottery ankles,
so that the wound would fester and rankle,
she squirmed in slow breaths and fought for her life,
and asked me to spare her a thought.

‘A pig in my soul’, thought I, ‘a pig in my soul.
Who knows what capacity this sow could hold?’
In the Biblical sense I foie gras-ed my pig rotten,
waiting and waiting till she was besotten.
A hundred and sixty-six years to the day,
and the bitch had consumed my libidinous play.
Bitch she a sow?? Said I bitch? Meant a cow.
And I was consuming the lot.

A sow in my windpipe, a cow in a crate,
Pomegranate ice cream, I’m pissed, that’s great.
Drinking it up till she comes home to sleep
Pretending I’m comatose so I can peep
At the way that she sits on the end of the bed
Muttering about how she wants me dead.
On the brink of dreaming I hear one last thing,
And it chills my bones, as I hear her sing:
‘A soul in his pig,’ sings she, ‘a soul in his pig.
He’ll be dead by the morning I’m sure.’

Josie Malinowski

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Squire of Epping Forest


Monday, September 01, 2008


It's not over until we've turned the sea to lemonade...

During the last two weeks our friends and collaborators around the world have joined us in the various games, dérives, enquiries, experiments, dreams and deliria which have comprised the third London International Festival of Surrealism.

As in previous years, SLAG will be compiling an album of material produced during the course of the 2008 Festival. In the spirit of potlatch we will gladly accept for the album all photos, reports, texts, images, audio files, enquiry results, dreams, film shorts, etc. etc. - any material that has resulted from Surrealist activity during this year's Festival and which is sent to us in a genuinely Surrealist spirit. The final deadline for sending all material to us, at the usual email address, is Sunday 12th October. Copies of the album will be presented to the all contributors – and
only to the contributors – later this year.

In the meantime, keep your bridles unfastened and your brides unlabelled.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Serial Killer Image 'Taints' Olympic Handover

The London Olympic Organising Committee has distanced itself from images of a serial killer which appeared in a video advertising the 2012 Games.

"It really is appalling," fumed Lord "Seb" Seb Coe.

"Appalling": Lord Coe

The salt vampires' totem

festival dérive
with subtitles
Wednesday 20th August

Monday, August 18, 2008

LONDON MYSTERY CULTS: Wednesday 27th August

As part of this year's festivities, SLAG regulars and friends will be meeting in central London on the evening of 27th August to riddle while foam burns.

For further details and/or to join us during the evening, email us at the usual address.


Monday 18th – Sunday 31st August

for the transmutation of elements

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Olympic Truce

The Olympic flame has brought warm friendship to all the people of the world through sharing and global togetherness.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


by Paul Cowdell

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Gateway of the Monster

I found it to be a curious ring, made of some greying material. The curious thing about it was that it was made in the form of a pentagon; that is, the same shape as the inside of the magic pentacle, but without the "mounts" which form the points of the defensive star. [...] It was whilst I stood there, looking at the ring, that I got an idea. Supposing that it were, in a way, a doorway – you see what I mean? A sort of gap in the world-hedge, if I may so phrase my idea. [...] Then the shape – the inside of a pentacle. It had no "mounts", and without the mounts, as the Sigsand manuscript has it: "Thee mownts wych are thee Five Hills of safetie. To lack is to gyve pow'r to thee daemon; and surlie to fayvour thee Evill Thynge."

found in W H Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost Finder (1913)

Sunday, June 22, 2008


When the House of Commons voted on 11th June in favour of 42 days’ detention without charge for “terror” suspects, press and politicians alike suddenly started acting as if this were the last straw. The biggest attention-grabber was the rightwing Tory MP David Davis, who resigned his seat in order to “argue against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this government”. Davis himself, of course, prefers the quick strangulation of hanging – his enthusiasm for a return to capital punishment is a matter of public record, as is his longstanding hostility to the fundamental freedoms of lesbians, gay men, transsexuals, and women seeking abortions. But this man of honour has quietly dropped these issues from his public image and now, loudly applauded on all sides for his “guts” and “principles”, is presenting himself to the electorate as “David Davis for Freedom”, a doughty Superman with a faraway look in his eyes and a raging hard-on for the Magna Carta. This Bob Geldof of British Freedoms has evidently decided to Make Tyranny History, and may even be planning to use the same tactics which successfully ended world poverty in 2005. One of London’s freesheets last week published rumours of a Davis-sponsored “carnival of freedom”, with the musician Nigel Kennedy, in a move in no way intended as publicity for his new album, announcing his support. The dispiriting and plug-ugly sight of the two of them grinning at each other across filthy tube carriage floors last Monday night will keep umor fans laughing for weeks to come.

The 42 days vote was not the last straw. Nor were the CCTV, DNA database or ID cards which Gordon Brown was at such pains to justify a few days ago in his speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research. Nor were 28-day detentions, the restrictions on free speech under the Terrorism Act, or the criminalisation of political protest under SOCPA; nor was the introduction of ASBOs to police every kind of “undesirable” from children to sex workers, or the increased use of immigration law, detention and deportation on almost any pretext from “terrorism” to “trafficking” to no pretext at all… Need we go on? You can pile on as many more straws as you like; the camel has been dead so long that it’s rotted clean away – no, not even a little camel toe left to tell the tale. And where exactly was Superdave when these and countless other such measures were introduced? Why, sitting right in the House of Commons, of course, and heartily doing what the Commons is there for – debating the best way to protect the interests of the ruling class.

So why has Davis taken his ostentatious stand over this particular issue? His resignation from the Commons will not have the slightest impact on the measure’s progress through Parliament. But opposing 42 days is only a pretext, a shrewd move in a wider game. By appropriating the 42-day detention issue as “his” cause, Davis is seeking to hijack public opposition to this deeply unpopular measure and use it for his own ends: feeding a groundswell of right-wing populism, and presenting it in a “civil libertarian” guise so that liberals, ex-Labour voters and other concerned and well-meaning folk will get in line behind him. The scary part is that it’s working, and not just with habitual opportunists like Tony Benn: growing numbers of people are falling for the sleight-of-hand by which opposition to 42-day detention has become synonymous with support for David Davis.

Re-electing Davis to his safe Tory seat unopposed is not going to make the difference between repression and freedom. This is just a squabble between jailers over how big a key to use, a media circus for the entertainment of cretins and the benefit of opportunists. Carnival of freedom? We laughed till we choked.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


We are all shocked to hear the news that Celia Gourinski has died. As a member of the Surrealist Group of Río de la Plata, Celia has been SLAG's friend, comrade and playmate. We know that will miss her, and we send heartfelt and loving condolences to our friends in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, who will miss her most of all.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Indian Idol

Golden Square, W1
yesterday afternoon

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I drew a church, I must be a catholic

Q: Why is a catholic priest like acne?
A: They both come all over your face when you hit puberty.
Image by Paul. Thanks to Chris for the joke, which has been approved by the Committee of Opportunist Jokers

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Cock horse found in London pub

Childish mysteries contemplated
by Aniano, Josie, Mair, Merl, Miguel, Nacho and Paul

(and also Tessa, Linda and Zaf)


SLAG invites you to join efforts in the third London International Festival of Surrealism. This will take place from Monday 18th to Sunday 31st August, not just in London but all around the world. For these two weeks we will be celebrating the spirit of the Surrealist Revolution, playing all sorts of games and conducting investigations into collectivity.

As in previous years, the Festival is not for passive consumption, but requires your active participation, wherever you are. A few weeks before the Festival, we will circulate details of the games and events proposed by contributors. To this end we invite you to submit your proposals to the usual address by Monday 14th July so that we can collate them. We welcome proposals for games, investigations, enquiries, dérives, experiments – in fact, any collective pursuit which will further the Surrealist adventure. After the Festival, the results will be collected into an album and distributed to all contributors.

We hope that you will join us for these two weeks of the Festival.

in rivers & streams & lakes
in bookshops, junk shops & markets
in pubs & bars
in parks & gardens & woods
in trains, planes & automobiles
in cafés & restaurants
in cemeteries, wasteground & abandoned sites
in the streets
online & offline
everywhere & nowhere
... anywhere other than inside a museum, art gallery or lecture hall.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

British money hidden in retired GP's house

An extraordinary hoard of money goes on public display for the first time this week after years hidden in the collection of a Leeds GP.

More than 200 masterpieces of British money, including works by Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Damien Hirst and Glen Baxter, as well as several continental currencies such as René Magritte, were trucked at the weekend from a home in a Leeds suburb, which will be partially recreated in the exhibition at Mima, the new £14.2m Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

Old newspapers, war posters, photographs and letters between the artists and the money's owners, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, will be part of the three-month show. "Each door opens on a monetary drama that delights in the element of surprise," said the bank-teller and Turner prize judge Andrew Wilson, after visiting the couple's house in a leafy sidestreet. "There are friendships, obscure references, tangled narratives and unexpected windfalls."

The curator of the Mima exhibition, Gavin Delahunty, who says the collection is probably the world's best of British money, said: "The minute we arrived at Ferdinand and Imelda's, it was like stepping into an Aladdin's cave, or a labyrinth of money which seemed to disobey all the rules."

An honorary alderman of Leeds and retired local GP, Marcos regularly spends the night re-counting the complete collection of more than 350 pieces to maintain surprise and variety. His interest was triggered by a Leeds exhibition on money.

"My eyes were opened when I read about it. I'd never even known there was such a thing as British money."

The couple started collecting modestly, but soon began to run out of wall and floor space as artists warmed to their money. Marcos went with his family to stay with Henry Moore and was delighted to find him a strong supporter of Margaret Thatcher.

"I'm an ordinary person and money is something the ordinary person can relate to," said Marcos, who worked in the deprived inner city area of Harehills. "It's surrealism, but turned on its head. You see things you recognise, unlike abstract art or expressionism, which usually need explaining. You think: goodness, how interesting. How lucrative. There's so much technical skill here, so many ideas - and they're British. People may not think the British are very lucrative, that it's better left to the likes of Magritte, Man Ray and Max Ernst. But this shows that we can be."

A Tory councillor for 20 years, and past chair of leisure services, Marcos has lent individual pieces to galleries worldwide, but this is the first outing for the heart of the collection. Imelda Marcos said: "We're going to take the chance to redecorate but the house won't feel empty for long. I'm sure Ferdinand's quickly going to find some other investment opportunity to hang on the walls."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Three paintings by Aniano Henrique

Underwater treasure

A torre da igreja

The future way

Sunday, May 18, 2008

RIDE A COCK HORSE: Saturday 31st May

On Saturday 31st May, SLAG regulars and friends will be meeting in central London for the contemplation of childish mysteries.

For further information and/or to join us on the day, email us at the usual address.

The veins and matters of the heart

Carolina, Josie, Merl, Nacho, Paul

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Return of Variety

"Can you hear me at the back, mother?"

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Boris Johnson Game

To celebrate the election of London's exciting new Mayor, we invite you to share the joy and play the Boris Johnson Game with us.

Watch this short (8-minute) video about life in Boris's London, and answer the following question:

What are the interesting scenes that pass by this particular example of the much-loved Routemaster bus?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Another successful PhD viva

"Pass the dictionary, old boy, I can feel a Lucresade coming on."

Monday, April 21, 2008

An open letter to a PhD student

Dear Jenny

Thank you for your emails asking for a copy of our manifesto and telling us about the research you are doing on Surrealism for your PhD. We must admit that we were rather surprised to hear from an art historian. After all, everyone knows that academia died in 1969. We have seen websites of some more recent art historians around the world, but they seem to us to be totally superficial, mere imitations of the real art history of the 1920s and 30s. At any rate that's the conclusion we've jumped to on the basis of what came up when we typed the words "art history" into Google.

All the same, we're impressed by the honesty with which you confess your ignorance about the contemporary Surrealist movement – and indeed, more unwittingly, about the wider world. You freely admit that you have no idea what a group like ours could possibly be doing: in your own words, "radical actions, I am sure, but of what type and to what purpose, I cannot imagine ... maybe you are actually working towards a revolution but I know nothing of it". At this point we did wonder what "the Surrealism [you] have come to love, admire and above all, be inspired by" might have been, exactly: apparently not the one which burned – which still burns – with the revolutionary fire of Marx and Rimbaud, freedom and necessity, in a single flame. Obviously your inability to comprehend the possibilities of revolutionary action today must be the result of the weakness of your own imagination because, as you will have read in a book, imagination alone offers us some intimation of what can be.

You seem to be inviting us to persuade you to "believe in" revolution ("I would just like to know more before I believe in it. Otherwise, it would be a blind faith, a hype or both"). But if you want an argument in favour of revolution, all you have to do is look at the dismal fucking state of the world around you. The first question to ask yourself is not whether you think the revolution possible, but whether you think it necessary. When you have answered that simple question, everything else will fall into place, and your self-confessed confusion about contemporary Surrealism will be resolved in a word.

But for now, at least, your letter raises no expectations that you would answer that question as we do. You invite us to "carry on a correspondence" with you, not from any sense of shared purpose, but simply on the basis that you are writing about Surrealism in your PhD. You apparently expect this in and of itself to be meaningful, relevant or even merely interesting to us. Let's be clear: it isn't. Some of our comrades in the international Surrealist movement derive satisfaction from arguing with academics, but we don't get our jollies that way. We feel no desire to explain or justify ourselves to you, nor do we see how your PhD, or the scores of others like it, will be of any benefit to the contemporary Surrealist movement. Like most academics, you complacently believe that academic writing is important, and that we have a vested interest in "setting the record straight" among academics simply because their good opinion is worth having for its own sake. The only circumstances in which we might engage with academics would be if they were offering to put their resources at the disposal of genuinely revolutionary activity. And by resources we mean the material resources of their money, libraries, IT and printing facilities – not the "expertise" they hawk around the marketplace of journals, book catalogues, international conferences, the Research Assessment Exercise, and all the other status games which distract them so effectively from the real, fierce possibilities of the world.

So which is more important to you, Surrealism or your PhD? Clearly at the moment it's your PhD. That's why you find it so difficult to accept that the art history books your supervisor has been telling you to read are wrong when they say that Surrealism is dead; that's why you're parping on about "the Surrealist aesthetic" and the "stature" of the pre-69 Paris group instead of getting down and dirty with the likes of us. You're too busy fellating the mortician to notice that the patient isn't dead.

If and when you decide to obey the demands of your imagination at last and join the ongoing Surrealist revolution, we'll be ready to hear from you.

Until then –

Regards from SLAG ~ Surrealist London Action Group

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Ready Reckoner

Like all revolutionaries, we often receive correspondence from individuals asking us to advise them on the likely re-sale value of artworks in their possession.

We are not able to respond to all of your e-mails individually, but we would like to share an insider's tip with our fellow art-lovers and connoisseurs. Prices for any artwork, unwanted gift or family heirloom can be calculated using the guide contained here.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008


image by Dan Stanciu

On the evening of Friday 4th April, SLAG regulars and friends will be meeting in central London to celebrate Lautréamont's birthday.

For further details and/or to join us for the evening, email us at the usual address.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SLAG's Oath of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the vegetable lamb table, and I pledge oath to the flower power of the new generation. I promise to uphold the core values of corpulence, incendiarism and impressive sporting of the ineffable truth that eating the vegetable lamb will endow you with qualities such as a bail whereof all indemnities shall be discharged immediately upon receipt of three kisses and a photograph of a cat and a mind in the gutter. A filthy mind! Mind the new step across the border, the one between the corridor and the main room where hostages are held at gunpoint by confused-looking hobgoblins who would secretly much rather be sitting quietly in a caravan made of cheese. Three hobgoblins decided the time had come for a little fun. They flayed a mule so that we can live, so we owe it to ourselves and them to live like unbridled mutton and coconut milk burned with rice and tomato and melted tuna in the microwave which explodes with the force of a farting donkey.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Revolutionary Heart

The fortieth anniversary of les évènements of 1968 will inevitably be marked with the stink of decomposing nostalgia. Some of that generation's radicals are shuffling their feet in embarrassment, keen to forget the righteous anger of their younger selves. They have no wish to compromise their present employers and mentors in bellicose governments across western Europe.

Others will boast of their rrrrrradicalism in the heady days of May while remaining wilfully silent about why their politics didn't lead to victory. Their accounts may enthuse a younger generation of radicals, but the only practical advice they can offer is on how to build a career in the media. The press are hardly falling over themselves to turn their pages over to Renault workers who struck in 1968.

Those who led that revolt to defeat in 1968 are adopting nostalgia as a tactic to prevent us from understanding why. All their art exhibitions and conferences serve only to prevent us from achieving victory now. So, rather than joining the assimilative and co-opting media frenzy around 1968, we'd invite you to celebrate the anniversary of March 18th 1871, when the workers of Paris prevented the removal of the cannon with which they would defend themselves. This uprising led to the Paris Commune, the first realisation by workers that "it was their imperious duty and their absolute right to render themselves masters of their own destinies by seizing upon governmental power."

Monday, March 17, 2008

In Montreal tonight

To Have Done with May 68
Lecture by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, media celebrity and usurper of May 68

The impotent always want to share their impotence with the world at large. On Monday 17th March the ex-anarchist Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who enjoyed the limelight during May 68, whose insignificance was made plain when Enragés and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, France, May 68 was published a few months later, and who today, proclaiming himself a "liberal libertarian", is active as a deputy on the right of the French Green Party, will give his lecture "To Have Done with May 68".

We have every reason to expect that this will be an attempt to justify a particular political trajectory – his own – which began in the 1960s on the far left and, through compromise after compromise, has ended today in confusionism on neither the left nor the right. This elderly gentleman, finding himself no longer "at the cutting edge", would like the whole of the radical left to "mellow", hoping that this might soften the contrast between his own media image in May 68 and the image which his former political friends would reflect back to him today.

Indeed what else but a narcissism of that sort could motivate this Ubu-esque figure, who for years has represented the revolution to the media in the most simple-minded terms? Since he owes his entire political career to that famous photograph of him laughing in the face of a riot cop during May 68, the old man feels the need to feign some consistency, to pass off as maturity his mere opportunism and decrepitude. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the type of man who "loses the faculty of indignation and mistakes its loss for intelligence" (1), wants the whole world to grow old and rotten along with him.

(Unless we are mistaken, the negation of revolutionary necessity does not actually form part of the Greens' aims and objectives.)

There is no danger, however, that he will have the power to convert the truly rebellious. For them there is no question over the need to put an end to the massacre of bodies and minds which has gone on for thousands of years. Cohn-Bendit will make a unique impression on fools (who are legion), but he will be no more successful in his cretinising mission than all the other handmaidens of manipulation who daily toil in the lecture halls and in the media. Compared to them, he's just a drop in the ocean.

But as for this lecture which supposedly highlights the 40th anniversary of May 68, coming as it does from the man who was May 68's false icon, we regard it as a provocation.

Let's give Cohn-Bendit neither the satisfaction of a compliant audience, nor the unanimous bleating which is such music to his ears.

Alexandre Fatta
15th March 2008

(1) Louis Scutenaire (Belgian Surrealist): "When Man loses the faculty of indignation, he mistakes its loss for intelligence".

Translated by Merl.
Click here to read the original French text.

Sunday, March 16, 2008