Victory Monuments of the Long March through the Institutions

Contributed by admin on July 4, 2021

Both [Antonio] Gramsci and [Rudi] Dutschke argued that radical social change in highly developed societies would be the result of long, patient organising inside and outside of key institutions, and not simply or primarily a quick, frontal assault through mass actions. This is Dutschke’s long march through the institutions, what Gramsci called the “war of position…”

Carl Davidson

Place Vendôme was built on the orders of Louis XIV, as a grandiose setting that would embody absolute power in the very heart of Paris. Napoleon replaced the statue of the king, dismantled in 1792, with a bronze column made from 1,200 enemy canons.

Tree was a controversial 24-metre (79 ft) high inflatable sculpture by a Paul McCarthy, that was briefly installed in the Place Vendôme for the International Contemporary Art Fair [Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain].

French conservative group Printemps Français (French Spring) took to Twitter to denounce the object as a “humiliation” for Paris.

“A giant 24-metre butt plug has been erected at Place Vendome,” the group tweeted. “Place Vendome disfigured, Paris humiliated!”

Artist and Institutions attempt to gaslight Public

McCarthy, 69, lied to Le Monde that his artwork was ‘indeed a Christmas tree’.  “People can be offended if they want to think of it as a plug, but for me it is more of an abstraction.”


It is obvious from his other works that McCarthy is obsessed with anal sex, butt-plugs and feces, a fact that cannot have been lost on the people who commissioned the work for the public space.


Therefore the question is logically asked, who gets to choose a giant butt-plug symbol-inversion in a public space and centre of power during a Christ-mass, a sacred cultural and religious festivity?

Symbolic Inversion : Counter Initiation

When the piece was ‘decommissioned’ by a member of the public acting upon a collective sentiment, the media reported that the ‘sculpture’ had been ‘vandalised’. “It’s embarrassing for France,” said Jennifer Flay, artistic director of FIAC, refering to the public decomissioning. French Minister of Culture Fleur Pererin calls the assault “an unacceptable infringement of creative freedom.”.

Jennifer Flay is an extremely accomplished influence in public art, and so one can only chalk up such tone-deaf responses to the public decommissioning as a form of professional myopia or echo-chamber effect. After all, one would presume these people to understand the power of symbols.

It can be argued that the actual ‘vandalisation’ was putting the symbol before the public in the first place – the symbolic action of subverting a sacred symbol and religious festivity, to replace a traditional symbol with a symbol reflective of their own ideological regime.

In The Future of an Illusion (1928) Sigmund Freud wrote that expelling religion from European civilisation could only be done by substituting another system of doctrines. “Such a system”, he said, “would from the outset take over all the psychological characteristics of religion – the same sanctity, rigidity and intolerance, the same prohibition of thought – for its own defence.” We are already here.

It must be very clear that the sentiment of the objection was never based on casting judgement on adults consensual sexual behaviour. The media gaslighted the public by intentionally missing the point and being disingenous and attempting to push home the point that people were being inflexible, conservative, intolerant.

If it requires spelling out, here we go: A proportion of humanity still believe there is a place for the sacred. The Christmas tree, symbol of the world-tree, tree of immortality of Saturnalia, and ‘giving tree’, ‘tree of nativity’ relates to thousands of years of tradition. Here in a place of power, without public consultation, a symbol of Christmas was swapped out for an anal sex toy. How does this symbolic action play to the idea of tolerance and respect of religious faiths in multicultural society? If the elites intention was indeed to ‘troll’ a religious section of the culture, to cause offence as a marketing strategy, then why proceed to publically reprimand the public with shaming words? There appears to be some sleight-of-hand here and it feels very unhealthy.

The Local reported that French sex-toy merchants are seeing an unprecedented rise in sales of butt plugs: “We used to sell around 50 a month,” Richard Fhal, a sex-toy wholesaler told the Local, “since the controversy [in October] we’ve moved more than a thousand.”



Carl Davidson: “Strategy, Hegemony and the ’Long March,’” posted 6 April 2006 and retrieved 15 September 2019. Davidson is a left-wing radical, former American student leader and anti-war activist.

Sigmund Freud – The Future of an Illusion (1928)

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