Issue #177
We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat October 28, 2011

From the Editor

Arts relationship to politics and social movements is, by necessity, a thorny one. How do artists and arts publications retain the potency of their doubt while simultaneously embracing the firm position social movements and politics demand? We should also recognize the dilemma in criticizing a system made up of individuals, corporations and banks that fund a majority of the arts in this country. In spite of these predicaments, it is necessary to express our support for the movement initiated by Occupy Wall Street. As the consequences of neoliberal thinking continue to play out with reckless abandon, it impels us to question the path of global capital and its deep-rooted inequality, violence and privatization of all things except losses.[1] Quite simply it asks us to begin talking about alternatives and ultimately, how we might do better. The numbers aren’t news, yet remain a stark reminder of the nature of the capitalist machine and our failures as a society to regulate it. 1% of the population holds the bulk of our societies wealth.[2] Meanwhile more people fall out of the middle class as scores go without work, medical care, food or even a roof over their heads.

Should we look to the political right for answers? Their rhetoric is predatory and peppered with willfully derisive pro-corporate attitudes, cunningly spat while whistling the Pied Pipers tune of democracy, middle class prosperity and job growth—slashing education, public services and regulations as they go.[3] The incongruity of their words and actions apparently lost in the fog of their own sinister obstructionism. How about the left? Platitudes mean little coming from a President who’s embraced Wall Street as fully as his predecessors. A recent Washington Post article found that gearing up for reelection, President Obama has raised nearly $15.6 million from employees of the financial industry, key appointments notwithstanding. ($12 million went directly to the DNC, leaving Obama with $3.9 million while GOP front runner Mitt Romney raised $7.5 million from the financiers.)[4] Hypocrisies abound and through these moral perversions we’re given another false choice, another unsophisticated binary, whose results are one and the same. So where do we turn?

Here’s to the 99% and Occupy Wall Street. Here’s to resisting a call for demands, thereby avoiding the media’s attempt to lure us under their thumb while maintaining a sense of openness that highlights each participant's right to speak for themselves. Here’s to showing us what democracy, liberty and standing up for individual rights and privacy truly looks like. Here’s to the poetic reclamation of social space, and finally, here’s to shining a light on the plutocrats in sheep’s clothing who reveal themselves and their brazen injustices more and more each day. While the end result of these protests remain unseen their very form and presence provides an avenue outside of the manipulative exploitations of capitalism and its cozy political bed fellows in Washington. The openness and power that is a result of O.W.S’s refusal to cede to the established paradigm reminds us of the critical importance of collaboration, participation and education in the world, enabling renewed hope for greater levels of civility and justice throughout our society.

Struggling with the production of this text I looked to the artists and writers who make up this issue for guidance. In their work, collaborations and exploration of ideas I find reflected the complexities and potential inherent in open-minded critical thinking, which when embraced, gets us one step further down the road. We welcome your participation in the ongoing conversation.

Eric Zimmerman for Fluent~Collaborative

______________________________________________

[1] The collective AND AND AND stated this sentiment succinctly in a recent dOCUMENTA (13) Newsletter from October 12, 2011. Regarding the, "bloated vampires who go by names like 'hedge fund manager' 'billionaire investor' or 'chief executive officer.’" They state: "Those same vampires have held up an untenable equation to us: Privatize gains yet socialize losses."

[2] For visual learners like myself Mother Jones has some outstanding charts displaying a wide range of interesting figures on the growing inequality: <http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph>.

[3] Appropriately, Bruno Latour, writing in We Have Never Been Modern (1993) regarding the adversarial relationship between socialism and The West, i.e capitalism, states: "The West thinks it is the sole possessor of the clever trick that will allow it to keep winning indefinitely, whereas it has perhaps already lost everything."

[4] Eggen, Dan. Farnam, T.W. “Obama Still Flush With Cash From Financial Sector Despite Frosty Relations.” The Washington Post. 19 Oct. 2011 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-has-more-cash-from-financial-sector-than-gop-hopefuls-combined-data-show/2011/10/18/gIQAX4rAyL_story.html>.

+ 0 Comments

Add Your Comment:

      Send comments to the editors:

        Email this article to a friend: