Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The State Explored Through Art

First let us begin with an artistic critique of the state and the left/right political division.  This video is a critique leveled by the band Laibach and their artist collective.  Though it may appear fascist, it must be analyzed beyond the immediate aesthetics of its presentation.  The lyrics, for instance, are not those of a fascist dictator, but rather those of the communist revolutionary Josip Broz Tito.  They exalt the supposed virtues of the state while claiming its authority is derived from the people.  This juxtaposition of fascist imagery and communist rhetoric has the effect breaking down the divisions of left and right, leaving the viewer faced with pure violent force: the will of the state. 

To represent society within the state as the division between left and right is to institutionalize division and violence. Not only are the two sides divided against each other, but they are also divided against themselves: the left is pulled two ways by its stance as socially libertarian and economically authoritarian, while the right is pulled two ways by its stance as socially authoritarian and economically libertarian.  Society is thus doubly fragmented by its left-right division as well as its libertarian-authoritarian division.  In the end this fragmentation produces a paradigm that is both socially and economically authoritarian: this institutionalization of conflict demands more state control, more violence simply to keep things together.

This is exactly what the state does.  The state uses violence to keep the situation (the nation), that it creates and oversees, together.  It does this by representing the people of the nation to themselves.  In this way, the state is the people, but only insofar as it is the people separated from themselves.

To divide the conflict within the state into left and right parties is therefore to institutionalize the need for the state.  The left/right division -unlike the authoritarian/libertarian division- does not pertain to the nature of the state per say, but rather to the specific expressions of its adherent's individuality.  By siding with a side in the left/right division, the individual ignores the nature of the state leaving the state with the task of expressing the nature of leftness or rightness (since it is within the state that the conflict between left and right is embodied).  The state is thus left to its own devices: first encroaching on society in a "left" way (pushing through regulations on industry, instituting social welfare programs etc.) and then it encroaches on society in a "right" way (taking away personal liberties, pushing through legislation that benefits big business interests etc.).  The more the sate encroaches, the more the divisions within the state become meaningless up to the point where we have a system like we have today: a system where both parties stand for the same principles and the same policies.

It is time that we as Americans do away with this left/right divide (or at the very least, relegate it to the realm of social interaction and personal feeling) and adress the real problem: the state itself...

Dreams of Liberty (The State)                      
Feel the force of the broken ones
Blindly lashing at the branches
Afraid to strike the root and see
The end to their negative solidarity

Streets seethe under daylight’s pressure:
The negative solidarity movement marches forth.
But I remember as I stand here watching on,
That they say the night is always darkest before the dawn.

In fear the masses converge
Under banners devoid of vision,
And love.
No light of freedom glints in eyes
That look for solutions from above:

“The state will cure the sickness
of self-centeredness,
And lust.
It will bring the order to our lives
Our cities,
Our nation,
Our trust.”

But the state can protect us only
From the violence we cause each other
Its touch never brings the love we crave
From every man as our brother.

It cements its rule with force’s power
That in love’s absence, projects a veneer
Of a nation’s people bound together
Though, in fact, they’re bound by fear

The state’s hand touches where we’ve succumbed
To the blind hatred that keeps us enchained
To our selfishness that preys on others
And acts on lies we’ve entertained.

The state lets us live with the folly
Of not looking our fellow man in the eyes
And knowing his pain, troubles and joy
While living with him every day of our lives.

I dream one day we’ll realize the truth
That our nation was not of fiat born
But birthed by freedom’s present light
From which the state has had us torn.

I dream one day we’ll see the truth
That love and freedom must lead the fight
Against state slavery and its chains
But ’till then we march:
Left, right,
Left, right,
Left, right.

Finally, I would like to point out that I am adding a new tag called "ideology in prose" which I will use to tag any post where i lay out a piece of my worldview in prose (as opposed to visual art, music or poetry).

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