Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams: Adventures at the Crossroads of Anarchy and Surrealism

(3 customer reviews)



Ron Sakolsky

The wild current of anarchy runs deeply throughout the oneiric river of surrealism. Here then is a book of dreams set in motion by the myriad historical and contemporary interactions between surrealism and one of its most marvelous accomplices: anarchism. A vast and comprehensive critical history, carefully documenting the fleeting and sometimes lengthy and troubled affiliations of scores of surrealist legends in France, Spain, North America, and elsewhere, not only with anarchism but also Trotskyism, Stalinism, council communism, anti-fascism, and indigenous cultures. Ron Sakolsky’s magnum opus.

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3 reviews for Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams: Adventures at the Crossroads of Anarchy and Surrealism

  1. Autonomedia

    Praise for Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams

    “A huge and passionate work! Wonderful!”
    -Guy Girard, Paris Surrealist Group, author/visual artist

    “Amazing acheivement, truly a major work…it’s a great book!!!”
    -Max Cafard (John Clark), author Surre(gion)alist Manifesto/ The Impossible Community: Realizing Communitarian Anarchism

    “Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams is an epic, exciting and much needed antidote to the usual academicynicism. Paired together, in an alchemical marriage of equals, surrealism and anarchism can truly deepen and enliven each other, and, Sakolsky argues, ultimately point toward the same vision. That few (and in English very few) have even scratched the surface of surrealism’s anarchist connection is evident in the reckoning of accounts with misinformed critiques of surrealism, even from anarchist sources. No stone is left unturned, and historical positions are contextualized with assessments from contemporary anarchists, surrealists, and others in an open and integrative spirit. Indeed, the selection of snippets from such a wide treasury of sources interspersed among Sakolsky’s poignant analysis make this book a very lively read.
    Steven Cline and Jason Abdelhadi (Fifth Estate, Fall 2021)

    “Sakolsky’s perspective is unique and an understanding of how surrealism and anarchism can work together begins right here”.
    -Paul Garon, Chicago Surrealist Group/Beasley Books

    “Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams is excellent: informative and stimulating, not least in shining a light on the anarchist influences of the early surrealists. It will stand as an important source and as a corrective to enduring misconceptions about Surrealism and its political allegiances.
    -Kenneth Cox, Leeds Surrealist Group, author/Phosphor

    “Very impressive – the most comprehensive articulation of the connections between surrealism and anarchy that I’ve seen.
    -Robert Graham, author, Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, vol.1-3

    “An ambitious and cohesive publishing project. I hope it will inform the next generation of anarchists and artists. Over the last few years, we have seen a lot of conflict with police, fascists, and other adversaries, and at some points, massive numbers of people have been involved, but at the same time, there has been a dearth of creative projects and experimentation. Not only do our confrontational efforts often go better when we approach them with creative flair, but likewise, it’s important to be able to experiment in a positive direction, not to always be on the defensive.”
    -b (crimethinc)

    “Magnificent. Bravo! Hurray! Superb…a substantial and fascinating book!”
    -Penelope Rosemont, Chicago Surrealist Group/ author, Surrealist Experiences/Surrealist Women (ed.)

    “Fascinating! Limpid, inspired and engaging. Beautifully written and thoughtfully, thoughtfully! The book is GREAT! It’s powerful, clarifying and compelling; inspiring! I imagine it will become an essential read in surrealism.
    -Rikki Ducornet , author/poet/visual artist

    “Engrossing, exciting, and filled with avenues to follow”
    -Paul McRandle, Surrealist NYC

    “These writings are a breath of fresh air in these days growing darker with fascism. The times are crying out for revolt, and it’s inspiring to have these crossroads adventures at hand.
    -Gale Ahrens, Chicago Surrealist Group, author

    “A historical, poetic, and political study of the complex relationships between surrealism and anarchism, from the 1920s to the present day, Ron Sakolsky’s monumental 614- page book is remarkably well-documented. Unlike the ‘academic’ historiography on surrealism, he is interested in the subversive and revolutionary dimension of the movement. Like the international surrealist manifesto, ‘A Spark in Search of a Powder Keg” which he [co-]wrote [in 2020], the book is a declaration of solidarity—in the great anti-colonialist tradition of surrealism—with the Natives of Canada in the struggle against the giant pipelines built to transport—through the lands of the indigenous First Nations—oil from the tar sands; the most filthy on the planet, and responsible for global warming.”
    -Michael Löwy, Paris Surrealist Group, /author, Morning Star: Surrealism, Marxism. Anarchism, Situationism, Utopia /from review in En Attendat Nadeau:Journal de la litérature, des idées et des arts/Mediapart

    “A beautiful book”
    -Ronald Creagh, author, American Utopias/ Réfractions

    “This comprehensive and deeply insightful study finally sets the record straight about the nature of surrealism’s profound investment in anarchism. Sakolsky teaches us and reminds us that surrealism is synonymous with liberation, and that surrealism’s ongoing adventure must be regarded from the point of view of its future horizon as well as its past manifestations.”
    -Abigail Susik, author, Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work

    “Absolutely brilliant, brilliant!
    -John Welson, London Surrealist Group, painter

    S.D. Chrostowska

    “Fiercely playful, playfully fierce expression of the immediate freedom of genuine surrealism and anarchism (or perhaps it would be better to say surrealisms and anarchisms) in the face of imposed reality and its ideology of realism, defending the utopian journey based in utopian dreams against the “utopian” blueprints, which always create dystopian States/Status Quos. Poetic “prose” that reads like a wild and beautiful dance to a playfully funky free jazz, and such a dance as I might imagine would bring the earthquakes that could raze all States and Status Quos to the ground.”
    -Wolfi Landstreicher (Apio Ludd,) author, Dreaming in the Face of Disaster: Various Writings on Utopia/

    Smasheroo! One hell of a beastie. Ron Sakolsky’s anarchist history of surrealism.Wonderful! Magnificent!
    -Merl Fluin, Surrealist London Action Group (SLAG)/Gorgon in Furs

    “Fabulous! Loved every word of it. Had to devour it very slowly though. It is all lean and no fat.”
    -Larry Gambone, author, No Regrets: Counter-Culture and Anarchism in Vancouver/Red Lion Press

    ‘Dreams of Anarchy is an important part of ensuring that surrealism remains authentic, revolutionary, emancipatory and not merely ‘decorative’ or amusing. Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it incredibly educational!! I now have a much deeper appreciation of the black thread of which our surrealist tapestry is woven.The discussion of Surrealism and the Situationists, not least for the nuanced reflections on Debord and Vaneigem, already marks this as an indispensable work.
    -John Richardson, collagist

    “I am so happy to read books like this, wildly crossing totally different regions of creativity and awareness”.
    -Rik Lina, painter/automatist

    “A great, great study… Ron Sakolsky’s masterpiece!”
    -Vicente Gutierrez Escudero, Surrealist Group of Madrid/ Drosera (ed.)

    Beyond great…crackling with subversive and creative energy. Dreams of Anarchy is the culmination of decades of research and lived experience of the struggle against miserabilism and for the Marvellous. An amazing amount of research honed to a sharp edge!
    -David Tighe, Gut Bucket Research/zinester

    Amazing…what a beautiful work!
    -Alex Januario, Edições100/cabeças Publishers

    -Laurens van Crevel, author, What Will Be: Almanac of the International Surrealist Movement (ed.)

    “I love the book. I posted it all over social media and people were crazy about it”
    -Marc Herbst, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest

    “An outstanding, make that astounding, volume”
    -Paul Buhle, author/radical historian

  2. Rikki Ducornet

    Brilliant. Could not have arrived at a better moment.

  3. Frank Wright

    I came to both anarchism and surrealism at the same time as a teenager in the mid sixties. The heady days of worldwide activity in the May days of 1968 gave me wild expectations of a future based on a union of the two ideas. 50 years of activity in both fields has left me battered and bruised but undiminished, I still have hopes and dreams.
    This beautiful and brilliant book is a summation of all the activity that has brought the two ideas together and puts libertarian surrealism up front and central to the history of the movement. It is a clear repost to all authoritarian ie Marxist, Trotskyist surrealists who put dogma before freedom.
    It is scholarly in its research but unlike most academic books on surrealism it is very easy to read and enjoy. It should be in everyone’s books on surrealism.
    I would also draw your attention to another little book of Ron’s, Birds of a Feather by Eberhardt press, a different take on the same subject.
    Frank Wright, Melmoth, Freedom etc

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