Here's some scattered thoughts about surrealism:
1.in the second manifesto of surrealism (which is a terrifically fun read actually) breton explains his reasons for expunging various members of the group: so and so has shit politics, so and so is an 'ideological slut' etc. etc. This way of operating scares me because it seems like it indicates that he was so sure he had the correct praxis that he was prepared to be awful to people he had considered friends. (not to mention that many of the people he kicked out were actually highly interesting and radical).
2.in one of the surrealist magazines (probably la revolution surrealist after breton took over, but I could be misremembering) they w/ an air of boastfulness reprint a telegraph exchange between breton and the 3rd international. It goes something like this: "3rd int. asks answer to following q: what will the surrealists do in event of imperialist assault on soviet union? breton: will continue with that to which we are most suited, (i.e. cultural production) until given specific instructions. if needed can transform into armed guerrilla faction or whatev."
3.breton met w/ diego rivera and leon trotsky on the shores of a certain lake where between the 3 of them they hammered out a nice, clear programmatic statement on the autonomy of art (except, like, in the statement this is posed entirely in relation to a revolutionary project...)
I suppose what I am getting at is that for people interested in the kinds of things they were, they could be surprisingly doctrinaire and cloddish.
Another problem I have w/ them is that much of the work they made doesn't make sense except in terms of Freudian dream theories, which to me is just awful.
However, a lot of them are still quite compelling to me. I think Michel Leiris is really cool. Duchamp obviously. People never talk about it but Man Ray had some really excellent readymades as well. Although I hate his art myself, and his public persona, I think that Dali was actually quite a good writer, and his "paranoiac critical method" is quite interesting. Marcel Broodthaers, a kind of post-surrealist, is actually one of my favorite artists. You might be able to tell from this list that I prefer thinking about them in terms of value theory rather than theories of the unconscious. I guess that's my answer.