Many years in the making, New-York-City based 16 Beaver Group announced today the initiation of a complex multiyear process that will produce the largest global merger of arts and politics collectives known to date. Critics immediately attacked the move as being, “out of touch with recent developments in art and economics.” But the group argued at their press conference that the new mega-art collective, which will use the acronym C.A.R.T.E.L. (the group did not specify what each letter stands for) will soon be ready to compete within the current monopolistic anti-marketplace. C.A.R.T.E.L. plans to bring to a politicized cultural community a significant share of the benefits enjoyed by the recent slew of mega-mergers, also known as rescues, such as the few and well subsidized surviving banks that have risen from the ashes of the economic meltdown. Based on emboldened notions of the commons, C.A.R.T.E.L. members will launch their activities this Fall with the ‘We Can Run. . . The Economy’ campaign.
“Everyone is an Incompetent. The ‘experts’ and ‘technocrats’ are without clothes. Long live incompetency! We don’t want an end to the recession. We want the end of Capitalism!”
C.A.R.T.E.L. members began their unorthodox press conference by dawning jogging suits and invoking names like Jane Fonda, Joskha Fischer, David Harvey, Karl Marx, a product or person named Bifo, and a long list of Feminist thinkers, with the only recognizable name being Eve Sedgwick. Perhaps with an intentional spirit of openness to potentiality, the group was long on theory but short on specific actions that will be enacted to form this global collective art cartel. Little information was provided about its ideological position. Although one of the presenters, who wore a mirror mask, did emphasize that dance was a necessary part of this coming together of different groups. It was altogether unclear if this was metaphorical or literal.
What seems sure is that the announcement is intended to rally artistic groups from around the world, inviting them to join by sharing information and developing autonomous, yet interconnected cultural structures whose economies may be seen or said to work against the power of exploitive market practices. To put it in their own words we now quote from their press statement:
“We’ve seen financial institutions that were ‘too big to fail’ merge into even bigger ones, and yet the technocrats who allowed this to happen have been given government positions, bonuses and remodeled offices, and overall more power to exploit. The news of stability and dust settling is false, if we speak of anything ending right now, it should not be a recession we describe, but the end of capitalism in general and the real creation of large-scale alternatives. We all saw the cracks in the system and we know they are still there. We will occupy them through the exchange of 0 values and a subversive inversion of affective economies. In the old days the worker was the factory. Today the worker is the bank, the mortgage company, and Fox News. We’re torture and a war in the Middle East. We’re Google, our every move strip-mined for indicators. We’re content providers ready for a change. Human energy and desire is also a finite natural resource! Stop with the upgrades! Your ‘Free Market’ is holding all of us in chains! Everyone is an Incompetent. The ‘experts’ and ‘technocrats’ are without clothes. Long live incompetency! We don’t want an end to the recession. We want the end of Capitalism!’
Potential participants in the merger will receive an email or mail announcement in the next few weeks or months with the title ‘INVITATION TO JOIN C.A.R.T.E.L.’ If you receive one, please open it, share it, and do not ban it to the folder where you place viagra announcements or emails you receive from Africa. If you or your organization would like to join C.A.R.T.E.L. or learn more about it, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Included here is also a selection of FAQ:
Q: What is the ‘WE CAN RUN. . . THE ECONOMY’ initiative?
A: See http://wecanrun.org/
Q: Who is the economy? How can I become part of the economy?
A: We are the economy. Each of us is already a part of it and should have a public voice in how it is organized. Reclaim the economy with us, say “We” can run it, and in the process begin to reclaim our collective future.”
Q: How am I already part of the economy?
A: More than half of your day is devoted to economies of barter, gift, of non-monetary exchange, of non-exploitation. How can we give greater shape and force to these practices?
Q: As an artist/activist/adjunct/barista/student, I feel like I live in a permanent recession, working as a precarious laborer while someone else generates value for their real estate/brand/olympic bid/tourism/fake-old-upscale-restaurant off of my participation in urban “creative industries.” Last year felt like a rupture, this year feels like the continuation of a bad fiction. How did our current economic regime go so quickly from gasping on the ropes to stomping on my head again? And how can we score a TKO (sorry for the sports metaphors)?
A: We feel collective experiments are necessary. Oikos, from which the word economy comes was associated for the Greeks with the home. And it begins with the home and finds its way to the polis, the city, the politics. Corporate media may be talking up recovery, but when so many are still losing their homes, their jobs, and their belief in the rhetoric of a ‘free market’ the world is more open to experiment with the future now. We are calling for a culture which is activist in the sense that it rejects complacency and calls attention through protest, resistance, and creative intervention to actual lives, actual circumstances, and actually-existing alternatives.
Q: I feel like my demographic/neighbors/friends/generation have failed me and remain content to gamely tap on their iPhones while massive pillaging and injustice continue to be perpetrated on a global scale. Weren’t there supposed to be more bankers committing suicide? Now I’m the one who is depressed; I’m tired of waiting, what should I do?
A: We’d also prefer not to wait until the world ends in the next decade to find out what it would take for those around us to actually wake up and participate. In the meantime, group work and activities such as exercise can be excellent mood enhancers.
Q: My affinity group/running club/punk knitting circle is interested in running capitalism out of town, what can we do to help?
A: Hold a run wherever you are, but there’s more: participate and make these questions public.