[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 23] [Art Strike 1990-1993]

The Supercession of the Art Strike

If "...one cannot create a revolutionary situation, complete with the required general 'desperation'," as Geza Perneczky says in YAWN #16, then who can? Certainly not the Art Strikers; their context for "desperation" lies within the parameters of an already elitist structure, namely that of the art gallery. Who really cares about art, much less mail art? Most people spend their entire lives as Art Strike participants; it's just that they don't notice it-they're too busy working, or trying to forget work.

Perneczky compares the Art Strikers to the Jews that conquered Jericho. A more realistic comparison would be with the flagellants, dragging their lacerated bodies through town, while constantly whipping themselves with their theoretical fetishes. The few among the populace who might even notice this motley group would only laugh at them, maybe even pausing to throw a few rocks down upon their heads.

If one performs the simple act of disengaging from the incredibly significant implications being generated internally by the Art Strike, and takes the whole controversy, critiques and all (including this one), and places it within the context of the world, i.e., life today in all of its totality, it soon becomes obvious that the Art Strike is little more than yet another device of mystified diversion, in this case, targeted for the consumer group of disaffected intellectuals, whose palate is oh-so discriminating. It is another game being played by another schizophrenic sub-culture.

But really, at the heart of my complaint is that this game just isn't enough fun. There are intelligent things being said by intelligent people (I'm feeling generous), but the object of this discourse is so limited and idiotic that any possibility of sensual pleasure is unlikely, bound and repressed as it is in its elitist parameters.

But the fact that disaffected intellectuals are so willing to play any kind of game at all offers a little encouragement. This then is the practical achievement of the Art Strike; in its own pathetic little way, it has opened the door for adventure, albeit just a crack.

In the light of this crack, I would like to propose we throw this door wide open, throw it off its jambs even. Revolutionary situations saturate the planet currently. Only a fob with his head in the 19th century is unable to see this. Indeed, "desperation" is everywhere, but so generalized and commodified is it, and so hopeless does it all seem, that many healthy imaginations become oblivious to it. We have learned to put up with it far too well.

It's now time for all you Art Strikers to expand your horizons. Creativity is not being controlled by serious culture. Creativity is being controlled by a global economic system based on property. "Serious culture" is but a smoke screen for this system's force-relations, just as underground culture is its loyal opposition.

So if we're going to play a new game, a much more interesting and much more sensual kind of game, without the kinds of limitations of the Art Strike, it becomes clear that a big feature of the game, at least at the beginning, is the project of abolishing property. This is where the PERMANENT UNIVERSAL RENT STRIKE comes in. Once that's in effect, we can begin creation of the PRICELESS ECONOMIC SYSTEM, in which the abolition of profit is effected. At that point we can enter into the NEW AMOROUS WORLD we have hitherto only secretly dreamed about during orgasm.

Now is the time to begin discussion and theorizing about this new activity, this game of pleasure. I propose as grounds for speculation that sensual pleasures and their enjoyment are the only basis around which to recreate life, and that the most obvious and universal pleasures are sex and food, in all their infinite varieties.

The PERMANENT UNIVERSAL RENT STRIKE (PURS) is the only practical way to abolish property at this point in society. It cannot be abolished by some kind of "revolution," whether it's called communist or something else. It's quite simple. We all stop paying rent, mortgages, tithes and taxes. This in itself will have a dramatic effect on the structure of society, and will naturally lead to-

The PRICELESS ECONOMIC SYSTEM (PES), in which we all stop working for wages, and give our services and productions away for free. In return, we'll get everything for free. The profit motive will cease to exist as a result, and being as 90-95% of the work done in the world today is done to create profits, most work will also disappear.

Once we have argued, discussed and theorized about these two projects to a sufficient extent, the obvious thing to do is to set a date and then begin them both. It seems fitting that the PURS begin on Columbus Day, 1992, for many reasons. And what better way to wind up the Art Strike than beginning PES on January 1, 1993.

And from the actualization of these two projects we can begin the creation of the new amorous world, in which the accumulation of profit will be entirely overshadowed by the accumulation of sensual experience, which is, after all, much more enticing.

If this new game seems to be lacking in political and historical sense, that is because both politics and history have none. It is high time we do away with them altogether. What is the alternative, after all? A world poised on the brink of annihilation? An inevitable and eternal civilization? There have been at least three other social arrangements prior to this current arrangement known as civilization. Why is it so difficult to conceive that there will be other kinds of arrangements after civilization? Certainly they don't necessarily have to be separated by a nuclear holocaust. The possibilities for more imaginative punctuation marks do exist.

But having a revolution is not one of them.

Because the revolutionaries only seek to control society. The point, however, is to do away with it altogether.

Eleutheriay, P.O. Box 2265, Albany NY 12220