A new British publication, Stir, short for Stir to Action, has released its second issue as editor Jonathan Gordon-Farleigh bravely tries to give voice to a new kind of post-liberal, globally aware activist readership. True to its name, Stir features a number of provocative articles and invigorating interviews with iconoclasts. If we're lucky, this venture from the edge may actually help assemble a "constituency of unrealistic pragmatists," in the words of George McKay, author of a wonderful piece on on “radical gardening.”
In an interview with author Mckenzie Wark, we learn some of the lessons that the Situationists may have for contemporary political and cultural activism. The Situationist International “was an extremely marginal avant-garde movement that was formed in 1957 and then dissolved itself in 1972,” Wark noted, describing his new book, The Beach Beneath the Street. “Why the hell would anybody be interested in this tiny marginal activity? The footprint the Situationists left in political aesthetic culture is vastly greater than their actual numbers. As their leading light, Guy Debord, said ‘all you need is a few trustworthy comrades’.”
That’s a great premise for any movement: a few trustworthy comrades with the imagination and daring to challenge the narcoleptic conformism of our times. Even some of the most active activists that I know are half-asleep because they have so internalized the prevailing political paradigm and cultural norms.