Home pageTHE SURRE(GION)ALIST MANIFESTOChapter 1.- The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto
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-6- The Waste Land
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Edvard MUNCH, "The Scream"

What hath civilization wrought? Vespucciland has already made the Mighty Mesechabe its sewer (Capitalist Sewer-regionalism), it has sent us garbage barges, and now it sends its wastes to the Delta in trains! Post-modern politics becomes auto-critique. Never before has there been a political cause célèbre like the "Poo-Poo Choo-Choo" presently incensing Mesechabean citizens. Indeed, the Mesechabeans would like to cast some aspersions on our bene-factors (doers of their noble duty), who seek to transform our Mesechabe Delta, the Ravine of the World, into a veritable Sierra Merdre.

Outside the Region, all is excrement, all is waste, all is garbage. Capital and State are outside the cycles, outside the self-renewing Whole. Their Logic is accumulation, the Eternal Non-Return, the non-returnable bottleneck of being. They have accumulated much, and alas, it’s all Poo Poo.

Where is Reality today? When the corporate polluters spew poison into rivers and streams, direct actionists seal the pipes. The reality police are called out: the poisoners are protected; the protectors imprisoned. "This is not poison . . . . This is not a pipe . . . . " When reality is the Waste Land, we must just say no to Reality. Surre(gion)al surreality is elsewhere.

"Is There a Pataphysician in the House?"

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Enrico BAJ, "Fire"

Regionalists are Pataphysicians. Jarry, the founder of the Sublime Science of Pataphysics, made an inestimable contribution to regionalist thinking in his invention/discovery of Pataphysics.

Pataphysics, he says "will be, above all, the science of the particular, despite the common opinion that the only science is that of the general. Pataphysics will examine the laws governing exceptions, and will explain the universe supplementary to this one; or, less ambitiously, will describe a universe which can be—and perhaps should be—envisaged in the place of the traditional one, since the laws that are supposed to have been discovered in the traditional universe are also correlations of exceptions, albeit more frequent ones, but in any case accidental data which, reduced to the status of unexceptional exceptions, possess no longer even the virtue of originality." [1]

Pataphysics helps us recollect the oft-forgotten Truth that the Universe is itself the Great Exception—to the everyday ordinary course of Non-Being. Regions are, of course, entirely exceptional— exceptions even to themselves. Regionalists are exceptional people and should therefore, like Regions, be treated entirely differently. Heraclitus discovered 2500 years ago that Reality is always what it is not, and that it is always strange. As he put it, "if one does not expect the unexpected, one will not find it out, since it is not to be searched out, and difficult to compass." (FRAGMENT 18) Regions are where the unexpected always takes place. However mightily one struggles not to think some troubling thought, it is impossible to keep it out of consciousness—out of one’s Psychoregion. Thoughts such as: "The Marquise was out for the Count"; or "He rode off into the sunset on his pet pony, Trotsky."

Green Politics: Militants Vs. Mirlitons

We need a Green Politics that is a Politics of the Regions, and thus, a Politics of the Imagination. The old politics is dead—the politics of the State, of bureaucracy, of economism, of technocracy. It is overwhelmingly powerful, but it is dead. Burying it is another matter. It buries us. Poor old Krushchev said to the Capitalists: we will bury you. They are burying him and everyone else instead — in garbage. The old politics is a politics of plastic on asphalt. The politics of the inorganic, of disorientation, of placelessness, of necrophilia.

The Wobblies, the most radical of American labor movements (the only labor movement to appeal to hobos and surrealists) said it was "creating the new world within the shell of the old." Today, the old one is an even more dried-out shell than ever. It’s time to begin growing a new world! This is the meaning of "Green Politics." But sometimes it seems that what passes for "Green Politics" follows the slogan: "creating the new world by boring from within." True, the old world must die, but we certainly cannot bore it to death.

Green Politics must become the Politics of the Regions—all the Regions, from the celestial to the subterranean. Let the next Gathering of the Greens conduct all its business in poetry. This will foreshadow the day when America will be Green. Even better, the day when for a small fee we do an international name exchange and America becomes a large frozen island, while Green Land extends from sea to shining sea. The day when Green Politics rules. The day when the President pantomimes the Inaugural Address and sings the State of the Union in falsetto. The day when the Supreme Court sits naked in powdered wigs and hands down rulings in Pig Latin. The day when the Congress throws a multi-party and dances all the Laws out of existence.

Our symbol—one of the thousand symbols of our polysymbolica—is the Sacred Mirliton. The Chayote. Chayotli. Sechium edule. The Mirliton (regional pronunciation: "Mella-tawn"): in the subtropics, the regionalist plant par excellence. Spreading everywhere, covering all, trespassing all boundaries, respecting no lines of property. Greening promiscuously, abundantly, indiscriminantly. Equally green on either side of the fence. Offering its fruit to all, in limitless profusion. Green Politics, the Politics of the Mirliton. The Mirliton against the militant, the mechanical person. The Mirliton against the military-industrial complex, the mechanical State. Green vs. Machine. (No accident that the word "Mirliton" also refers to that most populistic and anarchic of all musical instruments, the Kazoo.)

Green Politics is the Politics of Lagniappe. "Lagniappe" for us Mesechabeans signifies something extra, neither bought nor sold, freely given, weighed only on the human scale, a symbolic exchange, a tangible expression of the intangible, of the non-instrumental, of the non-fungible, of the communal, of the common wealth. A vague memory of the Gift. A token of the backwardness, the peripherality, the atavism of certain strange and remote ethnoregions—such as the Mesechabe Delta. Green Politics is the Politics of Lagniappe: it "decrees the End of Money." It looks to the day when we are no longer held symbolic hostages by the Signs of the Dollar. To the day when All is Lagniappe. And to the Night also!

Next: Ghosts


[1] SELECTED WORKS OF ALFRED JARRY, ed. Roger Shattuck and Simon Watson Taylor. (New York: Grove Press, 1965), pp. 192-193.

Exquisite Corpse, 2003 Copyright © 2007 Max Cafard.
This section's articles
  1. The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto Video
    19 juin 2013

  2. -1- Dedication
    21 October 2007

  3. -2- Principia Logica
    23 March 2007

  4. -3- Off Center
    22 March 2007

  5. -4- Beyond Civilization
    21 March 2007

  6. -5- Anti-Theses on Regionalism
    20 March 2007

  7. -6- The Waste Land
    19 March 2007

  8. -7- Ghosts
    24 February 2007