Surrealism and Political Stances

Surrealism and Political Stances 6

Surrealismand Political Stances

Surrealismand Political Stances

Surrealismwas an artistic movement that focused on visual and written art as amode of expression. The movement gained ground in the 1920s, and itcoincided with capitalism and the First World War, which altered manysocial groups. Surrealism is full of juxtaposition and surprises, andit was very critical of capitalism and political organizations thatwere after controlling the masses. The surrealists believed inanarchy as it advocated for freedom of thought and expression withoutany external control. The movement then broke off to have a communistmovement, which believed in the ideals of Stalin and other communistleaders.

Steven.11/09/2006. “1919- 1950: The Politics of Surrealism.” Libcom.org.

Surrealistswere originally anarchist as they did not believe in authority andcontrol over society. The movement had been disrupted by the FirstWorld War and the believers of surrealism such as Breton thusdisliked the idea of political structures as they had proven to beincapable of leading society. The movement believed that societalstructures such as politics, religion and education served to inhibitthe activities of society and divide people. The movement wasespecially critical of capitalism, which they believed was thebeginning of all evil. The movement then joined communism in 1927 andwas in support of communists such as Stalin. However, this led todivisions within the movement, and some of its members started toreject its ideals of communism. The most notable breakaway movementwas led by Trotsky, who was in favor of anarchism as it viewed as aliberating and allowed free thinking.

Bowers,Maggie, Ann. 2004. Magic(al)realism.New York: Routledge.1

Bowersdiscussed the origin of surrealism and its influence in modernculture. According to Bowers (2004), the surrealist movement was amajor influence of artists and free thinkers in the 1920s. Themovement advocated for freedom from any societal control in the formof structures that were established so as to control how societyoperated. The movement advocated for freedom of thought and actionand societal cohesion for purposes of progress. The movement thenjoined communism as it believed that communism was interested in theprogress of society. The role of communism in society was seen as areason for the success of Eastern European societies such as theSoviet Union. The movement disliked capitalism as it was seen as thesource society’s problems and human alienation.

Lamont,Rossette. 1993. Ionesco’sImperatives: The Politics of Culture. Michigan:The University of Michigan.

Lamont(1993) argued that Ionesco was apolitical, but he later changed thisidealism as he believed that being apolitical was very political.Ionesco was active at a time when the political actions of variousrulers in Europe affected most societies, such as the concentrationcamps that were used to torture Jews. Ionesco was a surrealist whobelied that totalitarianism was the source of all the suffering inEurope, and his work reflected the notion that the politicalstructures were the cause of human suffering in Europe. He wasespecially critical of the wars that were experienced in Europe andtheir role in controlling society. Ionesco was a surrealist whobelieved in the values of communism and freedom of thought andexpression. Lamont (1993) investigated the work of Ionesco as he wasan influential surrealist after the First World War. Ionesco’spolitical stands often tended to favor communism.

Kelley,Robin.2001. &quotPoetry and the Political Imagination: Aimé Césaire,Negritude, &amp the Applications of Surrealism.&quotNationmaster.com.2

Accordingto Kelley (2001), the surrealism movement was led by Dada, whodetested capitalism as he believed that the greed of the bourgeoisiewas the origin of world conflicts. The poetic and literal branches ofsurrealism were started by Breton, who did not believe that thevisual arts were enough to facilitate a revolution of freeexpression. Breton believed that literature in surrealism would beimportant in sending political messages as he believed that words hadthe power to hold strong hidden meanings that could change society.This prompted the movement to expand and involve poets, musicians andwriters. The movement was interested in free expression and theability to describe the political structures freely. The movement wasthus anarchist as anarchism rooted for freedom of thought andexpression. The movement’s writings are considered hard tounderstand because Breton advocated for freedom of expression, whichwas devoid of structural writing systems.

3Rosemont,Franklin and Kelley, Robin. 2009. Black,Brown, &amp Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora.Texas: The University of Texas Press.

Theseauthors sought to reveal the vast nature of the surrealist movementacross the world. The movement was spread across the world, and itwas comprised of free thinkers and people who believed in the freedomof humanity. The surrealists across the world were joined by thebelief that humanity ought to be free of any social control and thefreedom of expression. The surrealists could be described as peoplewho expressed the idealism, dialectics and struggles. The movementdid not condone colonialism and racism as this was a way of socialcontrol, which was against the freedom of free thinking and action.The work by Rosemont and Kelley featured surrealist works by non-whites from across the world, who were especially critical of thepolitical movements and structures that oppressed people who were notwhite. The surrealists also expressed disdain for colonialism andcultural occupations, which repressed other cultures.

Bibliography

Bowers,Maggie, Ann. 2004. Magic(al)realism.New York: Routledge.

Kelley,Robin.2001. &quotPoetry and the Political Imagination: Aimé Césaire,Negritude, &amp the Applications of Surrealism.&quotNationmaster.com.

Lamont,Rossette. 1993. Ionesco’sImperatives: The Politics of Culture. Michigan:The University of Michigan.

Rosemont,Franklin and Kelley, Robin. 2009. Black,Brown, &amp Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora.Texas: The University of Texas Press.

Steven.11/09/2006. “1919- 1950: The Politics of Surrealism.” Libcom.org.

1 Bowers, Maggie, Ann. 2004. Magic(al) realism. New York: Routledge.

2 Kelley, Robin. 2001. &quotPoetry and the Political Imagination: Aimé Césaire, Negritude, &amp the Applications of Surrealism.&quot Nationmaster.com.

Lamont, Rossette. 1993. Ionesco’s Imperatives: The Politics of Culture. Michigan: The University of Michigan.

3 Rosemont, Franklin and Kelley, Robin. 2009. Black, Brown, &amp Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora. Texas: The University of Texas Press.