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Note: this article was first published in Left Curve no.17 (1993) in order to present the parameters of our editorial position. It should be read as an open "working document," rather than a fixed, closed editorial statement. We welcome critical feedback and will incorporate such comments in future versions. The essay has been revised several times, the latest revision: May 29, 2006.


Left Curve Editorial Statement: Tradition/Modernity/Postmodernity, the Commodity and Paradigmatic Shifts



Csaba Polony


The purpose of this article is to elaborate on some of the basic principles that guide the editorial content of this journal. I think this is necessary in light of the radical changes and accelerated sense of global crises (the hegemony of neo-liberalism since the end of the Cold War; the complete globalization of the capitalist system; the electronics revolution; vexing issues raised by the advances in biotechnology [genetic engineering, cloning, cross-species experimentation, "artificial life", etc.], the environmental crises; and the ongoing "state of exception" ushered in by 9/11 with the declared, unending "war on terrorism.") that has developed during the last few decades.

I'm going to begin with a statement that is a concise editorial description of this journal. This statement was written to appear on our flyers, to be printed in catalogues, ads, and in various directories:

"Left Curve is an artist produced, open, critical magazine that addresses the problems of
cultural forms emerging from the crises of modernity that strive to be independent from
the control of dominant institutions and free from the shackles of instrumental rationality.
Our orientation is premised on the recognition of the destructiveness of commodity
systems to all life, and the need to build a culture that could potentially create a more
harmonious relationship among people, and between the human and natural world."

I'm going to first say a few words on three key concepts in this statement, and then comment on some of the practical criteria that are followed in the selection of material published in each issue. The three concepts are:

1) "crises of modernity"
2) "commodity system", and
3) "harmonious relationship among people, and between the human and natural world."

I intend to speculate briefly about these concepts only as a means to indicate the general scope of this journal, rather than try to lay out definitive positions. Actually, if there is a definitive position presented, it would be that there aren't any. I think that it is essential to guard against ossifying thought or praxis into dogmas. Because, given the failures of previous oppositional movements, I think that for a viable alternative culture to emerge which could successfully challenge the dominant system, it will be necessary that the complexity of reality and historical processes not be reduced to simplistic mechanistic causes -- such as, for example, biological or physical ("laws of nature"), philosophical ("ratonalism" vs. "irrationalism"), religious ("theism" vs. "atheism"}, economic ("free market", "class struggle"), sexual ("patriarchy vs. matriarchy"), cultural (western culture vs. everyone else), racial ("white" vs. "people of color"), psychological ("normal vs. abnormal"), ethical ("good vs. evil"), and so on. The need is to be able to critically, creatively unmask ideological preconceptions so that it always remains possible to improve, broaden and make more meaningful the always elusive reality within which we must live.

Another, more subtle, aspect of "method" that this journal tries to employ is to present material with the aim of critically provoking the reader by the words/ideas/images presented and the manner in which they are juxtaposed in each issue. In other words, the point is not so much to try to convince the reader of the conclusive truth or falsehood of a particular position, but rather to ignite a series of thoughts/ associations/ sensations about the issues raised that could potentially generate within the reader a fresh perspective. Hopefully then, a (re)evaluation of personal prejudices/dogmas based on each person's particularity may result. So we wish to encourage an open, unbounded process with the aim of creating a climate of honest communication and action, demystified, defetishized and real -- as opposed to trying to force one's agenda down people's throats (whether through subtle psychological manipulation , not-so-subtle physical intimidation or outright terror).



I. Crises of Modernity

"Modernity" as it has come to be used during the last few decades is a term that covers the last 500 years or so of world history and refers to the over-all process of modernization and industrialization. I say "as it has come to be used" because the use and meaning of the term "modernity" or "modern" has shifted in time, and had only relatively recently acquired its current widely accepted usage as the historical period of "modern civilization" that is pretty much synonymous with industrialization, western hegemony, imperialism, capitalist development, and in general the Enlightenment ideology of progress. And most recently, with the ever increasing globalization of the economy, with economic power of global impact no longer solely located in the "West", the idea of "modernity" has begun to lose a sense of geographical specificity. In other words, the use of the term "modernity" now necessitates an awareness of its specific contemporary ideological nature -- reflecting, for example, current cultural/political disputes about the "end of modernity" and the "advent of postmodernism." The point is that by now, during the first decade of the 21st century, we must strive to consider the term "modern" (or anything else for that matter) from the perspective of the evolution of all (human) history -- or perhaps better put, from the bottom up, from the bowels of the earth up to the heavens, from the existential praxis of our daily lives to the subtle nuances of formative consciousness. To do so it is necessary to guard against our vision being filtered and distorted through the refracted one-way mirrors encasing the celestial towers of given dominant economic, political, academic or cultural institutions -- or through the shattered lenses of defunct ideologies, whether of the Left or the Right.

As an aside and to illustrate the relativity of the use of the term "modernism" let me cite the following from a chapter titled "The Battle of the Books" from The Classical Tradition by Gilbert Highet, a book published in 1949:

"There was a very famous and very long-drawn-out dispute in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries which agitated not only the world of literature but the worlds of
science, religion, philosophy, the fine arts, and even classical scholarship. ... and is now
remembered under the satiric titles of La Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes and The
Battle of the Books.( ... ) They recur (although often disguised or misunderstood) in nearly
every contemporary discussion of education, of aesthetic criticism, and of the
transmission of culture. The battle waged in France and England at the turn of the
seventeenth century was only one conflict in a great war which has been going on for
2,000 years and is still raging. It is the war between tradition and modernism; between
originality and authority."[1]

This quote concerning the "war between tradition and modernism" is interesting since it is framed within a universalizing Eurocentrism that pretty much assumed, quite provincially and perhaps unconsciously, that "history" only occurred in the "West." And within that history, "tradition" was deemed "reactionary" (authority) and modernism "progressive" (originality). Within the last few decades or so however, "modernity" has increasingly become identified with the dominant global corporate/capitalist system (less and less confined only to the "West" as it now also includes Asian and other industrialized regions around the world as well); and as a consequence, "tradition" in many contexts has come to be read as sites for the struggle for local control, self-determination, equality and social justice. "Originality", in the meantime, has by and large been replaced by fashion cycles, or at least its become harder to concretize or clearly pinpoint. So in returning to our above quote, while it is true that, by and large, the great war between tradition and modernism "... which has been going on for 2,000 years ...", is only true for European, or Western civilization, today that conflict is played out throughout the world, regardless of region, culture or ethnicity.

And when viewed from a contemporary global perspective, we can see some interesting convolutions and contortions occurring between "tradition" and "modernism." From outside the ruling system, or from a local, regional, non-corporate, nonwestern, or third world perspective, "tradition" often implies a progressive defense of one's roots, origins, as well as an anti-bureaucratic, anti-(neo)colonial, anti-imperialist struggle for self-determination. And by self-determination is meant not just the demand for democratic rights, but also a struggle for an equitable share in global social production based on one's own cultural traditions -- rather than that share only being parceled out according to the degree to which one's identity is liquidated and transformed into just a "different" form of the dominant system. "Modernism" here is taken as being synonymous with the movement of the progressive onslaught and liquidation of one's heritage, breakdown of familial structures, destruction of organic communities, of nonwestern (and non-bourgeois) cultures -- and the desecration of the Earth. Hence "progressive" and "reactionary" become flipped. On the other hand, from within First Worldist culture (which, again, need not necessarily be confined to a specific geographical area) -- and I am here including many presumably First Worldist oppositional tendencies (new age technologists, social advocacy careerists, academic leftists, etc.) -- tradition remains reactionary (fundamentalism, sexual repression, authoritarian, etc.); whereas modernism remains ...? progressive? At this point the convolutions become more complicated. Modernism, the teleology of progress, technological development, scientific rationality, domination of nature, the creation of supposedly ever new art styles and fashions, the liberation of the individual from the restraints of repressive tradition -- these tendencies now present some ever "progressive" problems. Looked at from such an angle, the advent of postmodernism as a dominant academic and cultural trend, can be taken as a way to resolve (or occlude) such inconsistencies -- pointing to one form of its underlying ideological nature -- hence postmodernism's supposed all-encompassing pluralistic open-endedness and claims to acceptance of "differences." Yet, from the position of actual daily life of the vast majority of the world's peoples, I think it is fair to say that dominant institutional systems (corporate, political, academic, cultural, whatever) remain guided by the same "modernism" as before. The emperor may change into "different" costumes from time to time; but underneath, he's still the same ol' guy.

So I think that it is important not to schematically simplify the "war between tradition and modernism" as, for example, a conflict between the "First World" and the "Third World," where the former = modernism and the latter = tradition. Or as equating "modern" = progressive, and "tradition" = reactionary. For this conflict of historical forces plays itself out within all regions and cultures in the world today: in Europe (East and West); in India -- how are we to locate the conflict between Hindu and Muslim within the divide of "modernism vs. tradition," or First and Third World? -- life is never as simple as our thought constructs would like it to be; Africa, among Native Peoples, the Mideast, China, and anywhere else one wishes to look. The specific meanings and political implications of the modern/tradition conflict in each area or culture can assume quite different connotations in regard to just what can be considered an advance or a setback for the well-being of life on this planet. Modernism (or today its clone of dominant Postmodernism) can no longer make a convincing case for its centuries-old claim to be leading humanity to a better, just, and enlightened era. Rather, we have been brought to the brink of a fatal catastrophe -- or...?

At any rate, such are some of the issues involving "the crises of modernism" that this journal has tried and will continue to try to deal with. As already mentioned, from our perspective "modernity" is used as a term to cover the over-all process of modernization and industrialization which began in Western Europe in the 15th century. We need only recall that Columbus' "discoveries"in 1492 was also the year when the Moors were driven out of the Iberian peninsula. Shortly thereafter the Islamic invasion of Europe was confined to South-Eastern Europe and gradually turned back in the Balkans (an historical consequence of which, once again, tragically unfolded in the former Yugoslavia during the last decade of the 20th century). And, is it just a coincidence that a militant Islamic fundamentalism emerged in conjunction with the collapse of the welfare state and "really existing socialism" and the subsequent declaration of "victory" by globalized neo-liberalism, led by the US? And now, after 9/11, the "war on terrorism" can be seen, in a sense, to be the taking on of an historical "unfinished business" by a western modernity in need of a "Bad Other" as a countervailing force to its deep cultural/spiritual crises and fear of decline. The unfolding, unpredictable consequences of the drive to incorporate Islamic civilization into the neo-liberal system (the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq being a most blatant example) is a major new international development since this essay was first written in 1993, and as such, has become an important focus of this journal. A focal point of this confrontation is, of course, the relentless effort of Israel and its powerful western advocates to appropriate as much of historical Palestine as possible—a conflict that we have always addressed and will continue to do.

To return to our historical sketch: prior to the takeoff of western modernity: Islamic civilization -- the only other pre-modern, militarily proselytizing, world system besides the Christian west -- had been superior to and vied for hegemony with Europe.
Commensurate with the decline of Islam, western modernity began its relentless spread throughout the world. The means were in stark contrast to its "Enlightened, Scientific, Christian" ideology: subjugation (and often extermination) of indigenous populations, the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism which resulted in the brutal oppression and exploitation of what is now referred as the Third World -- as well as, and this shouldn't be forgotten, the exploitation of Europe's own peasantry and working classes.

The political form of modernity has been the bourgeois revolution (the "Classical" form of which was the French Revolution) against feudalism and all pre-capitalist traditions. Economically, modernization involved the rise and consolidation of capitalism (commodity production). Philosophically, it involved the development and universalization of the modern scientific method and its application to technological development. Synonymous with the growth of modern science was the gradual and thorough desacrelization of inner and outer experience. Thus, culturally, modernism has meant the separation of church and state, liberation of art and culture from religion and the cyclical rituals associated with daily life. A consequence of this in the realm of culture was that the artist became "free", accompanied by a mystified "cult of genius", "individual creative liberty"; in effect, the human form pretending to become divine. So culturally, modernity has meant the "liberation" of the individual from all traditional bonds (economic, political, religious, communal, familial, sexual, etc.). Modernity has a linear sense of history: humanity's rise out of barbarism to rational enlightenment, or the idea of infinite progress. It presumes that by rationally understanding and controlling our social and physical environment, humanity can achieve an enlightened liberation from despotism, bondage to nature and traditional superstition.

The crisis of this system is by now an acknowledged part of contemporary culture, reflected in the catchall label of Postmodernism, and best represented by the growing acknowledgment of the environmental crises with the subsequent recognition that we are bound to a planet of finite resources which can no longer be exploited forever. And, as referred to above, the "crises" has extended to the last rationalistic system that developed out of modernity: classical Marxism, the command economy, state socialism, and vanguardist party politics in general. So such are some of the issues raised by the crises of modernity that have been and will continue to be a major focus of this journal.



II. The Commodity System

The second term that I want to say a few words about is the "commodity system," i.e. the capitalist system. Regardless of the practical failure of creating a viable, not to mention qualitatively better, new system based on Marx's theoretical critique of 19th century capitalism, I think that the Marxian notion of commodity-fetishism is still a very useful and revealing means of approach to understanding today's world, and a discussion of it sheds much light on the state of art, culture and human relations. Put simply, a commodity is the production of goods or services for exchange in order to realize a profit, rather than production for direct use. Once commodity production becomes structurally the dominant form in society the result is reification and commodity-fetishism, or the domination of humanity by the products of our labor. Actual relationships among people that exist in meeting the needs of life assume, as Marx said, "the fantastic form of a relation between things." The illusion of gods are replaced by the illusion of money, leaving no other nexus among people than naked self-interest.

With the failure of the historical experiment of centralized, rationalized planning ("really existing socialism") as the alternative to capitalism and the subsequent global dictatorship of the commodity system, all of social life has been penetrated by the commodity form. From the basic material necessities of life, such as food, clothing, shelter, the commodity form has by now extended into all aspects of our lives: from work to culture and into the depths of our subjectivity: our experience of interpersonal relations, feelings, sexuality -- even our dreams. It's not just an accident that, since the advent of consumerism as the primary impetus of production, so much of advertising and mass media cultural production have taken on sexual forms ("sex sells"), subliminally manipulating our most private fantasies, fears and dreams. And with what results? We keep working for the promise of being able to consume an infinitely revolving potpourri of redundant gadgets, bodily condiments and forms of "entertainment" in an ever shrinking atomized private space where we can be "free." "Free" for what? -- to be laid open to an always frustrated promise of instant gratification.

This then returns us to the above discussed issue of the relationship between tradition and modernism. Because in many ways modernism can be seen as the progressive march of the commodity form, colonizing first external and then internal nature. This process, grounded and emanating from contemporary economic relations, for all practical purposes, has reached the finite boundaries of our planet as well as our inner reality, and has resorted to cannabalistically consuming itself. The "next frontier" has been mapped out of space, out of mind, out of our bodies. The growing fantasies about space travel and genetic engineering as the "next evolutionary leap" (virtual reality, the anthropomorphization of robotics, cyborg implants, "artificial intelligence," conscious modification of the genome, etc.) can be taken as signs of this. There is no where else left to go. The Utopian genre has been pretty much supplanted by Science Fiction and left the planet Earth behind. Star Wars and Star Trek have become the cultural expressions of utopian hope. Hope now lies outside of humanity and beyond the planet Earth. As Stephen Hawking recently stated: "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," since "Life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster..." [2] It's as if our imaginations, confined within the bodily limitations of our species as Homo Sapien Sapiens as evolved on the planet Earth, can no longer conceive of a better world in the here and now of our actual lives on earth: we have to leave the Earth and/or take conscious command of our evolutionary process by transforming our genetic make-up.

In History and Class Consciousness, Lukács says that "...the worker can only become conscious of his existence in society when he becomes aware of himself as a commodity. ... his immediate existence integrates him as a pure, naked object into the production process." But, "Once this immediacy turns out to be the consequence of a multiplicity of mediations... then the fetishistic forms of the commodity system begin to dissolve: in the commodity the worker recognizes himself and his own relations with capital." Lukacs assumes this to be so based on the total rationalization of the work process as found in the Fordist assembly-line factory of the 1st part of the 20th century. The worker becomes a commodity that is bought, sold, exchanged as a mere bodily extension of the machine which, "...dehumanizes him and cripples and atrophies his 'soul' -- as long as he does not consciously rebel against it..." However, since it is his body which is turned into a "thing", "...his humanity and his soul are not changed into commodities. He is able therefore to objectify himself completely against his existence..." Whereas, "The more deeply reification penetrates into the soul of the man who sells his achievement as a commodity the more deceptive appearances are (as in the case of journalism)." Or, "...the man reified in the bureaucracy, for instance, is turned into a commodity, mechanized and reified in the only faculties that might enable him to rebel against reification. Even his thoughts and feelings become reified."[3]

But In today's post-Fordist world, this is more true than ever before throughout almost all of working life: from service jobs to government work, from the advertising and media industries, to academia and cultural institutions. Further, with the increased blurring of the distinction between "work" and "leisure" that has been a byproduct of post-Fordism, reified modes of behavior have become the norm rather then the exception in many aspects of daily life, including interpersonal relationships.

 

Commodity critique, or "past the postmodern divide"

So a position such as Lukács' presents problems today. To begin with, there are serious philosophical problems in Lukács' identical subject-object in the form of the potential revolutionary consciousness arising out of the industrial proletariat. The kind of production that position was based on has since been radically altered. Since the 60's the Fordist model (assembly-line, heavy industry, etc.) of production has been gradually supplanted by automation, computerization, and the corresponding growth of the government and service sectors. The majority of jobs today require the buying, selling, exchange and manipulation, less and less our bodies, but more and more our cognitive and emotional selves. Put in this way, it is not surprising that Lukács' totalizing revolutionary consciousness that could transcend capitalist society did not develop. Or why, contrary to the predictions of orthodox Marxism, the industrial proletariat did not overthrow capitalism. At the same time, given the much more intensive and extensive penetration of the commodity form, the consequences of commodity-fetishism of which Lukács speaks (treating people as things to be exchanged, used and consumed -- the difficulties in maintaining stable relationships, breakup of families, has much to do with this; status and fashion consciousness; the atomization and fragmentation of life; emotional manipulations; intellectual obfuscations; the difficulty of imagining anything other than the given) are much more true today than it was over a half century ago.

However, as mentioned above, the commodification process is grounded in and emanates from contemporary economic relations. And, as mentioned above, it is important to guard against reductive thinking. Because it is also true that no matter how difficult it may be, active and creative resistance continues to exist -- from the Los Angeles explosion of 1992; the Zapatista rebellion; the international movement against globalization that began in the late 90s; the growth of the antiwar movement in response to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; the growing importance of the precarity movement; as well as the growing anti-imperialism in Latin America, best exemplified by Hugo Chavez's Boliviarian movement. And a basic purpose of this journal is to work to be a part of the emergence and development of this "spirit of resistance" past the "postmodern divide." So where are we to locate the sources of this "spirit of resistance"?

For starters, I think that it is necessary to look at this issue from as wide a perspective as has been achieved by the global capitalist economy, and view our subjectivity in a broader and deeper sense than currently accepted socioeconomic structures circumscribe. The process of relentless cultural modernism and rationalization of life (and thus of commodification) has taken its most thorough form in the "advanced" regions of the world, and primarily through the agency of the corporate and bureaucratic class and those who service it. And this process has unfolded in large measure through the exploitation of anyone outside of the dominant culture -- domestically and internationally. With respect to our subjectivity, again, we need to avoid reductionism. The widely held view, much of it from the Left, that our whole being is "socially constructed" (or just a reflex of the commodity) and we just need to change the "social structure" and then a "new" human being will magically appear that would fit into our preconceived (self-serving) notions of what would be "better," has turned out to be shortsighted. Because, again, life is never as simple as our ideas would wish it to be. Reality always proves to be more than whatever ideas, intentions, theories with which we may hope to understand (change and subdue) it. We need but recall the recent history of planned "social engineering" schemes (whether of the Welfare State or State Socialism). Nothing ever turns out quite like how we expected (or hoped) it would. I think the reasons for this involve the simple fact that life can never be wholly rationalized and controlled, but involves necessarily indeterminate areas of phenomena and experience whose unfolding in time are always unpredictable. Attempts to force life, regardless of how well-intentioned, into a preconceived mold result in repression, oppression, atrophy and then breakdown. It is from within such "indeterminate areas" that resistance and new forms of being have the potential to emerge -- beyond the neurotic floating fragments left in the wake of the demise of the modernist subject.

Many of the most recent developments in science are showing that the limitations of rationalization, planning, and predictability are not just confined to the human sphere or to "subjectivity." Recent developments in the physical sciences point to a fundamental paradigmatic shift: "... changes which have been characterizing the panorama of the sciences in the last thirty years ... are not only limited to the emergence of chaos theory, but more generally refer to the paradigmatic shifts ...in many disciplines with the abandonment of the epistemological priority of simplicity, order and regularity." And, "... suddenly, after centuries of science founded on the postulate of the continuity of nature and the myth of its fundamental simplicity, fractual structure is widely used to describe lungs as well as galaxies, and complex structures such as spin glasses provide models for neural networks as well as for evolutionary processes. " And, "... all these 'forces' and others as well (the extraordinary diffusion of computers is certainly one of them) have concurred in creating a widespread cultural background which incorporates the idea that most of the events occurring in nature and in society are unpredictable and random..." [4] (my emphasis). An exploration of the nature and meaning of this paradigmatic shift for the emergence of a viable oppositional culture is thus of prime importance, so that the errors of the past may not be repeated.

Now obviously all such issues are complex and, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, my purpose here is not to explore them to an extent they would deserve, much less to presume to come up with any "solutions." Rather my purpose is to sketch the broad outlines of questions and issues that this journal wishes to address, and we invite readers to take part in this.



III. Harmonious relationship among people, and between the human and natural world.

Lastly, I want to stress briefly that a fundamental position of this journal is the recognition of the importance of incorporating a sound ecological perspective in any work that presumes to be offering a better life than had the project of modernity and capitalist domination. Apart from the very real danger of ecological and environmental catastrophe that are significant aspects of the "crisis of modernity," deeper cultural, psychological dimensions exist as well.

I firmly believe that the "crises of modernity", as well as the failures of past socialist and other oppositional movements -- politically and culturally --, were to a significant degree due to the one-sided instrumental mentality that viewed the natural world as but an exploitable wilderness to be tamed and dominated. In that sense there was no real difference offered from capitalism. What was lacking was the creation of a culture that could potentially (re)harmonize human society with the universe in and all around us, and in so doing create a more humane atmosphere among people. Instead, a culture was created over the last half-millennium that was unconsciously permeated with a fundamental lack of respect for life and the world, and thus of anything that might be other than ourselves. A huge ego-trip, if you will. The reduction of life to primarily a struggle for just economic redistribution and growth, precluded the possibility of the emergence of a genuine culture that people could organically incorporate into their lives. Instead, a wide gulf came into being between subjective awareness and external objects -- among all groups and classes. The unbounded, unconscious patterns that weave and tie together everything, which in traditional cultures had formed deeply sedimented symbolic systems, was shattered. The repairing of this disastrous cleavage -- while fully accepting and building on the positive scientific and technological achievements of modernity -- is, in the deepest sense, a work that culture in the future needs to undertake.

Within this context, I find these words of Chief Seattle in 1854 revealing:

"We did not weave the
web of life. We are merely
a strand in it. Whatever
we do to the web, we do
to ourselves."

IV. Some Practical Points:

Finally, I want to list some practical criteria that inform the selection of work that we publish.

* Left Curve is open, nonsectarian, politically and artistically. The purpose is to critically
appraise our world and ourselves, rather than promote a closed system that presumes to
have all the answers. The journal is autonomous, independent of any organized
institution, official, oppositional, or whatever.

* A basic premise is to look for and promote work done outside of dominant institutions
(the art world, academia, corporate funding, government agencies, etc.). This position is taken not just to
guard against co-optation, but as a means to maintain and encourage autonomy and fresh,
critical thinking and action.

* Another basic position is to remain in touch and part of the daily reality of the working
population and not become isolated in closed-off subcultural ghettoes, whether of an
artistic or political nature. This means that we have an open submissions policy, don't
look for "names" to publish, but to the relevance of the issues addressed and the nature
of the work itself, and remain open to new or unknown writers and artists -- particularly to
people from oppressed or excluded groups who do not have access to mainstream outlets.
However, the stress is on the relevance and quality of the work itself, rather than on some
liberalistic "affirmative action."

* A fundamental focus is from an artistic or creative viewpoint. This journal was started
by artists as a response to the "bankruptcy of modernism" in the formalist dead-end
reached by conceptual and process art of the early 70's. The initial problem faced was
what to do "after modernism," viewed then more from within the ideology of late
modernist art. Our parameters have since expanded beyond just "art" issues as
determined by the dominant art world. However, the problems and promise of genuine
creative liberty, the liberation of the artistic sensibility that had been a positive
motivation of the historic avant-garde, is still very much a pivotal focus to the work of
this journal -- particularly the issue of how the "liberation of art" relates to the
"liberation of life."

* Finally, I want to stress again that it is important to recognize that today's problems are
not just concerned with questions of social inequality or injustice, but are also related to
our damaged relationship to the whole ecosphere.

In closing, I just want to invite anyone who feels kinship to the ideas expressed here to
feel free to contact us and contribute in whatever way possible.


Notes:
1. Gilbert Highet, The Classical Tradition, Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature. Oxford University Press, New York, 1949, p.261.

2. Lukacs, Georg."Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat," in History and Class Consciousness, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1971. pp.168-72.

3. Sylvia Hue (AP): "Eve of Destruction - TIme to go, Humans must colonize other worlds in order to survive, physicist Stephen Hawkins says." San Francisco Chronicle, A2, June 14, 2006.

4. Cini, Marcello, in"Reply" to The New Scientific Paradigms: A Socialist Critique of Marcello Cini, by The Boston Study Group, in Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, III (1), Issue 9, March 1992, Santa Cruz, CA p p. 113-15. The article by the Boston Study Group was written as a critique of Cini's article, Science and Sustainable Society, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, II (2) (Issue 7), June, 1991.


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