Academic journal article New Formations

Dancin' in the Streets!: Anarchists, IWW's, Surrealists, Situatonists and Provos in the 1960's

Academic journal article New Formations

Dancin' in the Streets!: Anarchists, IWW's, Surrealists, Situatonists and Provos in the 1960's

Article excerpt

Franklin Kosemont and Charles Rudtliffe (eds.), Dancin' in the Streets!: Anarchists, IWW's, Surrealists, Situatonists and Provos in the 1960's, Chicago, Charles H. Kerr; 2005, 447pp; $25 cloth, $17 paperback.

This collection offers a very welcome reproduction of writings and images from Rebel Worker - a mimeographed blast of poetry, revolution, humour and coruscating cultural criticism emerging from Chicago in the mid-late sixties - and Heatwave, its short-lived British offshoot. Conventional 'polities' in the early sixties seemed to hold out very little for young people to get excited about. Even the self-proclaimed 'revolutionaries' were conservative in their narrowly dogmatic focus (of one shade or other) and bureaucratic procedures. For the Rebel Worker crowd, the really revolutionary discoveries lay elsewhere: in the anarchic comedy of the Marx Brothers or Bugs Bunny, in the blues/jazz of black America, theories from the anarchist and dissident Marxist traditions and, above all, in the Surrealist commitment to a total revolution in everyday life (Franklin and Penelope Kosemont along with other contributors such as Paul Garon would subsequently found the US section of the Surrealist movement). Since the organisation had its glory years some decades previously and was now kept going by mostly veteran activists, the decision to join up with the IWW ('wobblies') might seem strange. …

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