What Lies Beneath the Pavement?

Revolution requires acts of imagination. In order to turn away from the world as-it-is, one must be able to envision, even if only in an inchoate way, that another world is possible and that this potentiality is, in and of itself, worth fighting for.

During the 1968 Paris uprising, a popular spray-can dictum asserted "Those who lack imagination cannot imagine what is lacking." Another, more poetic, and ultimately more powerful, had it: "Beneath the pavement, the beach!" The sand--revealed by pulling up the paving stones to use as projectiles--suggested either another world, or another dimension to this one.

If creativity is firepower in the contest of imagination, however, the first victory has gone not to the dissidents but to the bankers. For our current decade and its predicaments, we could update the slogan quoted above to: "Beneath the wheat, the banks!" It is the bankers--by which I mean any of the technocrats that constitute the financial sector--who have successfully re-imagined the world. They have effectively invented a new reality in which finance is separate from the actual economy (even commodities futures are now merely abstract financial instruments) and politics separate from the people (in a technocracy, the elected government is obsolete if not irrelevant).

To win this contest it is necessary to turn again, to revolt against the bankers' revolution. We must be even more imaginative, even more inventive. Those that can dream the future will take power in the present. "Occupation" is a good start--to give significance again to everyday space and thereby everyday life--but it is only a beginning. We must demand of ourselves total acts of imagination and unprecedented poetry: works of living, feats of being. We must transform the very world, inside and out, with breathless displays of daredevil creativity.

This creativity need not be bounded by works of art, even those that are situational, relational, or activist as the case may be. Acts in and of themselves can be creative. Every step, conceived and executed correctly, can be poetry. The street is a blank slate and our every movement can be a phoneme in a new language that will describe a new reality.

Occupy the pavement and then dig deeper. The city is thin and its skin is penetrable. There is water underground.