- Truth is Cultural Chauvinism
swimmingpools ofpotable waterin los angelesare entirelyfeasible
it is a sharedexperienceevery daywithoutceremony
(but thememoryof undeadtangledriversis anotherthing alltogether
Peoples of every history hold a worldview of what they believe is good and true. The problem is that many people don't acknowledge that truths are often founded upon value-laden beliefs, especially when tied to aesthetics or notions of beauty. What is beautiful for one group may generate fear for another group. This dilemma about beauty also seems to be the case at the level of individuals. Furthermore, when aesthetic systems collide, a group of people may feel compelled to suppress the truths of other people in favor of their own. Subjugation usually occurs when a group is so hopelessly convinced by its own system of aesthetics that it becomes oppressive or unable to mutually respect other systems. This force of "othering" is the legacy of colonization, and a part of how power is generated within today's systems of capital. Aesthetics are constantly weaponized and contested by people, and within the context of this struggle it is no surprise that art, an activity built on aesthetics, is often leveraged in propaganda, protest, and activism.
the vastinfrastructureat work
is our inheritance
the carpand basssiftingthroughthousandsof milesof canals
When we think about the meaning of the word "activism," its definition radiates in many directions. A working model of what [End Page 204] constitutes activism is surely debatable, and it can have no end to its definition as a word applied to politics. We have no desire to define the great contestable definition of activism in this thought piece. Yet at the same time, as an Indigenous collective, working from the perspective of self-determination, we can't help but notice that art, in many places, is becoming a hyper-liberal echo chamber. Within this space, there is a discourse of activism driven by a healthy dose of ideology about what is beautiful in the world, and what is not. This is strictly evident by the gentrification of language that seeks to silence prejudices, as if to assume that silencing makes things go away. Everyone embodies prejudices in one form or another. At the same time, and unsurprisingly, art is defunded. Silence and subjugation are what happens in war as opposed to diplomacy.
when somebodyasks how much
what are yousupposed to say
or is the question itselfan acknowledgement
of an inabilityto affordthe price
Within the partisan United States, activists of all persuasions generally do not appear interested in dialogue, diplomacy, or compromise.
Instead, they appear locked and loaded to protest their rival counterparts within the zero-sum game of capitalism. This approach doesn't demonstrate people of differing perspectives working together to transform themselves and their society. As an Indigenous collective, we observe this partisanship as a polarizing and dangerous warfare taking place on our sacred ancestral homelands. Here we are in the early twenty-first century navigating and surviving another colonizing force, because this sort of environment limits everyone's generative potential. Within the liberalism dominating the current power structure of art, we often observe that activism is about campaigning for a specific change in binary opposition to the beliefs of the conservative right. Activist campaigns on both the left and the right don't seem to be interested in democracy, which is a compromise, but instead seem to be largely inflexible to anything other than the strict paranoia and ideologies of their respective campaigns.
do youbelievethat oncetruth is setupon the landit cannot beoverturned?
An important position of Postcommodity is a commitment to Indigenous self-determination. Within the Indigenous worldviews by which we were raised, our desires drive us toward enacting land-based diplomacy in [End Page 205] the service of local community self-determination. We propose that artists resist the temptation to ideologically divide people in accordance with the very limiting framework of a two-party political system, which is built upon the genocidal colonization of...