True art, which is not content to play variations on ready-made models but rather insists on expressing the inner needs of man and of mankind in its time - true art is unable NOT to be revolutionary, NOT to aspire to a complete and radical reconstruction of society. This it must do, were it only to deliver intellectual creation from the chains which bind it, and to allow all mankind to raise itself to those heights which only isolated geniuses have achieved in the past. We recognize that only the social revolution can sweep clean the path for a new culture.
With his thousand technicians, Trotsky seized the viaducts and the bridges and the telephone exchanges and the power stations. The police, victims of convention, contributed to his brilliant enterprise by guarding the old men in the Kremlin. The latter hadn't the elasticity of mind to grasp that their own presence there at the traditional seat of government was irrelevant. History outflanked them. Trotsky had the railway stations and the powerhouses, and the "government" was effectively locked out of history by its own guards.
So the cultural revolt must seize the grids of expression and the powerhouses of the mind. Intelligence must become self-conscious, realise its own power, and, on a global scale, transcending functions that are no longer appropriate, dare to exercise it. History will not overthrow national governments; it will outflank them. The cultural revolt is the necessary underpinning, the passionate substructure of a new order of things. We have already rejected any idea of a frontal attack. Mind cannot withstand matter (brute force) in open battle. It is rather a question of perceiving clearly and without prejudice what are the forces that are at work in the world and out of whose interaction tomorrow MUST come to be; and then, calmly, without indignation, by a kind of mental ju-jitsu that is ours by virtue of intelligence, of modifying, correcting, polluting, deflecting, corrupting, eroding, outflanking... inspiring what we might call THE INVISIBLE INSURRECTION. It will come on the mass of men, if it comes at all, not as something they have voted for, fought for, but like the changing season; they will find themselves in and stimulated by the SITUATION consciously at last to recreate it within and without as their own.
(Fragments of the manifesto "Towards a free revolutionary art" by André Breton, Leon Trotsky, and Diego Riviera from 1938, and "A revolutionary proposal: invisible insurrection of a million minds" by Alexander Trocchi from 1963)
Read by The Buggers to students of the curatorial training programme of De Appel, Amsterdam, September 7th 2005.