٠ Surrealists’ anarchist rib ٠

The preliminary declaration of the anarchist surrealists, published in 1952, in Le Libertaire, the then organ of the French Anarchist Federation:

WE SURREALISTS HAVE NEVER RELENTED in our abhorrence of the State-Work-Religion trinity, an abhorrence that has often brought us into the company of the comrades from the Anarchist Federation …

By our reckoning, there is an urgent need for a far-reaching overhaul of doctrines. Which is feasible only if revolutionaries, together, look into all problems relating to socialism for the purpose, not of seeking some confirmation of their own ideas, but rather of working towards a theory likely to greatly invigorate the Social Revolution. Unless it wishes to be merely fleeting, the liberation of man must never be restricted to the economic and the political, but should extend to the realm of ethics (and the final sanitizing of men’s dealings with their fellow-men). It is bound up with the masses’ awakening to their revolutionary potential and must on no account lead to a society wherein all men are, as they are in Russia, equals in slavery.

Irreconcilable to the capitalist system of oppression, whether in the subdued form of odiously colonialist bourgeois “democracy” or in the guise of a Nazi or Stalinist totalitarian regime, we cannot resist asserting one more time our fundamental hostility towards both power blocs. Like any imperialist war, the one they are hatching for the purpose of settling their differences and annihilating any thoughts of revolution is not our war. Nothing can come of it except worse misery, ignorance and repression. For an opposition capable of arresting it and subverting, in the sense of utterly dismissing the present set-up, we look no further than the autonomous action of the workers.

Surrealism has been, and remains, alone in having embarked upon just such a subversion in its own theatre of sensibility. The spreading of it and the headway it has made into minds have exposed the bankruptcy of all the traditional forms of exploitation and shown that these were no match for a manifestation of conscious rebellion by the artist against the material and moral conditions foisted upon man. The fight to replace society’s structures and the efforts made by surrealism to transform mental structures, far from excluding each other, are mutually complementary. The harnessing of both should speed the arrival of an era from which all hierarchy and all constraint will have been banished.”

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