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It’s the Demographics, Stupid!

Michael Moran, Expert

The paranoid worldview holds that secretive global elites who know the score are plotting world domination at their shady little international conferences. Personally, I believe this is only partially true. There’s definitely a cabal of global elites and they’re definitely plotting world domination, but I’m not convinced they know the score. I suspect they not only write the clueless drivel shoveled out by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal editorial pages–they believe it, too!

Michael Moran, a leading luminary in the internationalist Council of Foreign Relations, fancies himself to be an “analyst of international affairs”. His most recent analysis is It’s the Politics, Stupid! The basic thesis is that America’s biggest problem isn’t its economic crisis but rather its political crisis.

Much has been made of the depth of the economic crisis facing the United States, and it should not be underestimated. But only about 30 percent of the trouble facing the U.S. today is economic — the U.S. economy, compared with all the other developed economies, is in the best structural and demographic shape to weather this storm and ultimately regain its health. But a cancer does exist: The real problem America faces is political, and once again today, it is on stark display.

What happened today? The “super-committee” delegated by Congress to resolve the latest budget impasse admitted failure. Nobody doubts that the American political scene is becoming increasingly polarized, paralyzed, and radicalized. For this priest from the Church of the Status Quo, supporting radical political change is heretical. For Mr. Moran, what the world needs is more “moderates”, this seemingly interminable problem of America declining and failing on every front could be solved if we only had more “respectable” people lining up to vote. Read more

Tristan Tzara and the Jewish roots of Dada, Part 4

The destructive legacy of Dada

Dada’s destructive intellectual and cultural influence has proved to be seminal and long-lasting in at least three ways. First, as Dempsey points out, Dada’s notion that “The presentation of art as idea, its assertion that art could be made from anything and its questioning of societal and artistic mores, irrevocably changed the course of art.”[i] As Dickerman notes, looking at the output of Dada from its various centers of production emphasizes the degree to which it coheres

around a set of strategies — abstraction, collage, montage, the readymade, the incorporation of chance and forms of automatization — so foundational for the rest of the century that today we have to struggle to recognize their historical novelty. [Together these media] signal an assertive debunking of the ideas of technical skill, virtuoso technique, and the expression of individual subjectivity. … Dada’s cohesion around these procedures points to one of its primary revolutions — the reconceptualization of artistic practice as a form of tactics.”[ii] [These tactics consisting variously of] intervention into governability, that is, subversions of cultural forms of social authority — breaking down language, working against various modern economies, willfully transgressing boundaries, mixing idioms, celebrating the grotesque body as that which resists discipline and control.[iii]

Dada’s iconoclastic force had enormous influence on later twentieth century Conceptual art. Godfrey notes that “Dada can be seen as the first wave of Conceptual art” which exercised an enormous influence on subsequent art movements. [iv] In the late 1950s and 1960s, in opposition to the then dominant Abstract Expressionism and Post-Painterly Abstraction, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns resurrected the Dadaist tradition, describing the works they produced as “Neo-Dada” — a movement that, together with the “pre-emptive kitsch” of Pop Art, effectively relaunched the Conceptual art of the original Dadaists, and which has plagued Western art ever since. Read more

Tristan Tzara and the Jewish Roots of Dada, Part 3

Dada in New York

According to Marcel Duchamp’s own account, in late 1916 or early 1917 he and Francis Picabia received a book sent by an unknown author, one Tristan Tzara. The book was called The First Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine and had just been published in Zurich. In this work Tzara declared Dada to be “irrevocably opposed to all accepted ideas promoted by the ‘zoo’ of art and literature, whose hallowed walls of tradition he wanted to adorn with multicolored shit.”[i] Duchamp later said: “We were intrigued but I didn’t know who Dada was, or even that the word existed.”[ii] Tzara’s scatological message was the catalyst for the establishment of the antipatriotic and anti-rationalist Dada message in New York, and it may well have informed Duchamp’s decision to submit his infamous Fountain to the Society of Independent Artists in New York.

In February 1917 Duchamp famously sent the Independent an upside-down urinal entitled Fountain, signing it R. Mutt (famously photographed by Alfred Stieglitz). By doing so Duchamp directed attention away from the work of art as a material object, and instead presented it as something which was an idea. In doing so he shifted the emphasis from making to thinking.

Duchamp later did the same with a bottle rack and other items. Through subversive gestures like these he parodied the Futurist machine aesthetic by exhibiting untreated objets trouvés or readymade objects. To his great surprise these became accepted by the mainstream art world. Read more

Tristan Tzara and the Jewish Roots of Dada, Part 2

Other Jews involved with Zurich Dada

Among the other Jewish artists and intellectuals who joined Tzara in neutral Switzerland to escape involvement in the war was the painter and sculptor Marcel Janco (1895–1984), his brothers Jules and George, the painter and experimental film-maker Hans Richter (1888–1976), the essayist Walter Serner (1889–1942), and the painter and writer Arthur Segal (1875–1944). Read more

Tristan Tzara and the Jewish Roots of Dada, Part 1

Tristan Tzara


The twentieth century saw a proliferation of art inspired by the culture of critique. The exposure and promotion of this art grew alongside the ever-expanding Jewish control of the media, and Jewish penetration and eventual capture of the Western art establishment. Jewish writers, painters and composers sought to rewrite the rules of artistic expression — to allow accommodation for their own technical limitations, and to facilitate the creation (and elite acceptance) of works intended as a rebuke to the supposed evils of Western civilizational norms.

The Jewish intellectual substructure of many of these twentieth century art movements was manifest in their unfailing hostility toward the political, cultural and religious traditions of Europe and European-derived societies. I previously examined how the rise of Abstract Expressionism exemplified this tendency in the United States, and coincided with the usurping of the American art establishment by a group of radical Jewish intellectuals. In Europe, Jewish influence on Western art reached a peak during the interwar years. This era, when the work of many artists was suffused with radical politics, was the heyday of the Jewish avant-garde.

A prominent example of a cultural movement from this time with important Jewish involvement was Dada. The Dadaists challenged the very foundations of Western civilization which they regarded, in the context of the destruction of World War I, and continuing anti-Semitism throughout Europe, as pathological. The artists and intellectuals of Dada responded to this socio-political diagnosis with assorted acts of cultural subversion. Dada was a movement that was destructive and nihilistic, irrational and absurdist, and which preached the overturning of every cultural tradition of the European past, including of rationality itself. The Dadaists “aimed to wipe the philosophical slate clean” and lead “the way to a new world order.”[i] While there were many non-Jews involved in Dada, the Jewish contribution was fundamental in shaping its intellectual tenor as a movement, for Dada was as much an attitude and way of thinking as a mode of artistic output. Read more

The Lost Soul of WASP America, Part 2

A Nation of Nations

The harsh reality that America is a “nation of nations” may at long last be sinking in.  But, one cannot be confident; Tea Partiers remain steadfastly in denial as they demand “their” country back.  As if the Constitutional Republic was ever “theirs” to have and to hold in fee simple!  At best, they are now tenants at will on the demesne of the federal Leviathan.  But Harold Cruse, the most incisive Black nationalist writer of the Sixties, remarked ruefully that “America is a nation that lies to itself about who and what it is.”  WASPs were and are the worst offenders.  For Cruse, America was “a nation of minorities…ruled by a minority of one” which “thinks and acts as if [the USA is simply] a nation of Anglo-Saxon Protestants.”

In the Sixties WASPs were still the dominant group among White Americans.  It was the civic duty of the WASP intelligentsia, therefore, to produce its own “representative radical-intellectual trend.”  Cruse warned that every racial, religious, and ethnic group needed “organic” intellectuals able to articulate its particular interests and shape its distinctive ethno-culture.  That representative function must be performed to the best of its ability by the intelligentsia in each of America’s constituent ethno-nations; otherwise “social progress in America” would “be ethnically retarded, if not checkmated.”

Unfortunately American civil religion fosters the delusion that WASPs are not an ethnic group comme les autres.  That is partly because previous generations of WASP intellectuals shirked “their creative and intellectual responsibilities to the internal American commonweal,” effectively dissuading, crippling, and smothering “the cultivation of a democratic cultural pluralism in America.” Read more

The Lost Soul of WASP America, Part 1

Introduction

The sweeping gains by the Republican Party in the 2010 mid-term Congressional elections were due in large part to the growing strength of America’s grass-roots Tea Party movement.  Tea Party activists are overwhelmingly White; their stated goal is to roll back the federal Leviathan now headed by America’s first non-White President.  Predictably, therefore, liberals interpret the Tea Party phenomenon as a manifestation of White “racism.”  Equally predictable are Tea Party attempts to deflect such accusations by backing the Black Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain.  For a while, even some White nationalists hoped that the Tea Parties would evolve into an explicitly ethnonationalist political movement.  It is now obvious that that will never happen.

At heart, the Tea Party movement is not about politics as such, i.e. who gets what, when, and where.  Still less does it promote a surreptitious style of identity politics tailor-made for White folks.  Instead, the excitement generated by the Tea Partiers resembles a corporate media-savvy revival of the old-time religious fervour for which America is famous.

The Tea Party movement is another episode in the long history of evangelical enthusiasm which has driven the permanent (or at least very long-running) American Revolution since it broke out in the eighteenth century.  The radicalism of that revolutionary upheaval is still fuelled by a potent mixture of politics and religion.  Well before the American Declaration of Independence, the first Great Awakening laid the foundation for the constitutional faith that transformed colonial Englishmen into homo Americanus.  In the early nineteenth century, a second-stage evangelical revival fertilized the spiritual seedbed of secession and Civil War. Read more