Left-Sacred: an introduction
A Beautiful Resistance: Left Sacred is the third issue of the Gods&Radicals journal. It will be released on 1 February, and presents the work of 16 writers and 4 visual artists. It’s currently available for pre-sale.
On the 19th of June, 1937, an exhibition opened in the city of Munich. Called Die Ausstellung “Entartete Kunst,(1)” it housed paintings, sculptures, and other works carefully curated to warn against the scourge of degenerate art. Amongst the stated goals of the exhibition was the “deliberate and calculated onslaught upon the very essence and survival of art itself,” along with “the common roots of political anarchy and cultural anarchy.” (2)
Included in the collection were works by the Swiss painter Paul Klee. One hundred and two of his paintings had been seized, though a rather famous one survived in the hands of the Marxist mystic philosopher, Walter Benjamin. The piece was called Angelus Novus, and Benjamin would later write about it, without revealing that it was in his possession. Its angular and stark depiction inspired his famous conception of the “Angel of History.”
Before Walter Benjamin’s attempted escape through Spain to the United States, the mystic had entrusted the painting to his friend, the student of the transgressive Sacred, Georges Bataille. The painting itself is transgressive, an incomprehensible Sacred, wishing, as Benjamin wrote, “to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.(3)” But the angel cannot: its wings are caught, it must continue on this new wind, leaving the wreckage of history behind, progressing not towards some great evolutionary goal, but merely away from the ruins of the past.
That the painting was seen as degenerate makes the Angel of History more fascinating. The Fascist current of history, the one which awakens strongly now in our present, cannot abide degeneracy and sees it everywhere. Fallen, fallen are we, decadent pale shadows of our once great glory. Our blood is too mixed, our house too messy, our genders and sex too confused, our borders unfenced, the land crowded with foreigners, our children dirtied by the melanin of others. Make America Great Again, restore the Empire, save Liberal Democracy, uphold the rule of law, return to us an innocence that never was.
Where the Fascists see former glory, the Angel of History, passed hand-to-hand by degenerate leftists, sees only wreckage. Walter Benjamin would not survive the Nazi attempt to restore Germany to its mythic former glory, but the Angelus Novus did. One even suspects the Angel of History did have time to awaken at least some of the dead. Benjamin haunts these pages, as does Bataille’s search for a transgressive Sacred, as does the Angelus Novus itself, all collected in the messy, fierce, resurrection of a degenerate left sacred.
What is a sacred left? What is left of the sacred? What is the left sacred? These are the interweaving themes of this third issue of A Beautiful Resistance, watched over by the Angel of History, its wings forced open by a wind from another world.
- A goddess of the poor and outcast speaks in Erynn Rowan Laurie’s Brig Ambu.
- Gods topple off thrones in Rhyd Wildermuth’s Awakening Against What’s Awakened.
- An office window opens and love awakens in The Necromancer, by Left Eye
- The wild fights with fang and claw in After Procopius, by Lorna Smithers.
- Rot is decomposed and grown into new life in Nina George’s Modern Sin-Eaters.
- Nimue Brown explores a line-less cartography in The Druidry of Mapping.
- William Hawes sees in pre-linear time the path to the future in The Reawakening of Tribal Consciousness.
- In Bell Unrung, Lia Hunter mourns the toll of what we do not embrace.
- Anthony Rella’s Gods of My Ancestors contemplates the messy history of blood and deity.
- An Angel whispers, a carpet is stained, in Hunter Hall’s Yellow Tape & White Carpet.
- Chimeras and hybrid monsters lead us to the world outside of fences in Finnchuill’s The Impure Object of The Left Sacred.
- Revolution smells like swamp rot and rum in Dr. Bones’ Fear & Loathing At The Crossroads.
- All the beauty of the many-gendered dead sing in Rocket’s Prayer to the Mother(s).
- A writer scribbles final notes to the future in Yvonne Aburrow’s The Safe House.
- Sean Donahue dances with the Angel in Against the Winds of History.
- And in Solidarity Networks, we outline a strategy for all those wondering ‘what next’ as fascism rises in the nations of the world.
This issue was co-edited by Lia Hunter and Rhyd Wildermuth, foreworded by Margaret Killjoy, and also proudly displays the artwork and photography of Lois Cordelia, Marion le Bourhis, Christopher Delange, and Brianna Bliss.
May all that is messy, degenerate, unrestrained, and feral about you awaken, and may you dance in the winds of history.
- 1 German: Degenerate Art Exhibition
- 2 From the introduction to the exhibition.
- 3 Thesis IX of Walter Benjamin’s On the Concept of History
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