The politics of dada are that of a movement which sought our communism as the answer for a failing bourgeois class, which was falling apart all over the world at the time. At that time, men were being tossed about in a sea of extreme right and extreme left movements and these groups accused the other endlessly with every crime imaginable. This represents the rot of the material plane, and in the way that the material plane was rotting; the spiritual plane was being destroyed by the ensuing materialism of modernization, which at the same time, modernization was crumbling. This strange relationship between cultural, bourgeois material rot and spiritual decay is perhaps exactly what dada is.
The demands of dada were high, and implicitly communist, here is a listing
What is Dadaism and what does it want in Germany?
1. Dadaism demands:
1) The international revolutionary union of all creative and intellectual
men and women on the basis of radical Communism;
2) The introduction of progressive unemployment through comprehensive mechanization of every field of activity. Only by unemployment does it become possible for the individual to achieve certainty as to the truth of life and finally become accustomed to experience;
3) The immediate expropriation of property (socialization) and the communal feeding of all; further, the erection of cities of light, and gardens, which will belong to society as a whole and prepare man for a state of freedom.
2. The Central Council demands:
a) Daily meals at public expense for all creative and intellectual men
and women on the Potsdamer Platz (Berlin);
b) Compulsory adherence of all clergymen and teachers to the Dadaist articles of faith;
c) The most brutal struggle against all directions of so-called "workers of the spirit" (Hiller, Adler), against their concealed
bourgeoisism, against expressionism and post-classical education as advocated by the Sturm group;
d) The immediate erection of a state art center, elimination of concepts of property in the new art (expressionism); the
concept of property is entirely excluded from the super-individual movement of Dadaism which liberates all mankind;
e) Introduction of the simultaneous poem as a Communist state prayer;
f) Requisition of churches for the performance of bruitism, simultaneist and
g) Establishment of a Dadaist advisory council for the remodeling of life in every city of over 50,000 inhabitants.
While dada was communist, at the same time it was
a social commentary on the nature of the German people. It is a comment
of the tendency of German’s to position themselves as superior in spirit,
culture and knowledge in order to protect their rather fragile sense of
self. It is a two-pronged sense of naivety that is actually
not naïve and functions in a hypocritical way. The way
in which dada draws images of fat well-dressed German men, uses things
like sound poems to attack ideas of the primitive, and challenges cultural
assumptions serves as a commentary on the nature of Germanic life.
IN addition, the German tends to be an extreme idealist, with all of the
drawbacks and advantages that go along with that, the absolutism, the existence
of only right or wrong, black or white, which has made Germany prone to
such extreme movements and periods in history. The Dadaist
is instinctively against this sort of thought. He sees his mission
as the smashing of German ideological culture and in the love of wine women
and advertising: everything antithetical to the German ideal of efficiency
Dada is German bolshevism. The bourgeois must be kept from buying up art for art sake, and in that respect, all of art should be totally restructured and stripped of its limiting structure. The best instrument for this change was seen as large demonstrations, the performances of dada were people would pay admissions fees to see a “show” and then while in attendance, their values, beliefs, morals, morays, inwardness and culture was destroyed before their eyes. In a sense, dada was a destroyer of convention in society as well as in art. These events are forerunners to the demonstrations of the 1960’s and are similar to modern techniques of extreme animal rights groups and other similar sects that make shocking statements to prove a point. Shock value was indeed a tactic of dada.
In effect, dada was a political movement along with its implications about the role of artists, its questioning of creativity and authorship, it sought to instill a communist collectivism and to overturn the powers of capitalism and despotism within Germany in the early 20th century. Dada was the equivalent of the bolshevist theories of Russia at the same time, the only difference is that the dadaists never gained a large enough following to change things, and they did not resort to violence like the Russian Bolshevists.
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