Situationist International Anthology
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Literary Nonfiction. Politics. Critical Theory. Art. In 1957 a few European avant-garde groups came together to form the Situationist International. Picking up where the dadaists and surrealists had left off, the situationists challenged people's passive conditioning with carefully calculated scandals and the playful tactic of detournement. Seeking a more extreme social revolution than was dreamed of by most leftists, they developed an incisive critique of the global spectacle-commodity system and of its "Communist" pseudo-opposition, and their new methods of agitation helped trigger the May 1968 revolt in France. Since then—although the SI itself was dissolved in 1972—situationist theories and tactics have continued to inspire radical currents all over the world. The SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY, generally recognized as the most comprehensive and accurately translated collection of situationist writings in English, presents a rich variety of articles, leaflets, graffiti and internal documents, ranging from early experiments in "psychogeography" to lucid analyses of the Watts riot, the Vietnam War, the Prague Spring, the Chinese Cultural Revolution and other crises and upheavals of the sixties. For this new edition the translations have all been fine-tuned and over 100 pages of new material have been added.
bourgeois reason, a sickness which has been inherited by the bureaucratic class. But the repulsive absurdity of certain hierarchies, and the fact that the entire commodity world is directed blindly and automatically to their protection, leads people to see—the moment they engage in a negating practice—that every hierarchy is absurd. The rational world produced by the Industrial Revolution has rationally liberated individuals from their local and national limitations and linked them on a global
because it raises its “science” to the point of successively considering that order from the side of the demand and the side of the response. Thus the same Coudray notes, “If you have these unions, a raise of 5% is the most you can get, and if 5% is what you want, these unions suffice.” Leaving aside the question of their intentions in relation to their real life and their interests, what all these gentlemen lack at the very least is dialectics. The workers, who as always and everywhere
encourages stupidities and exaggeratedly magnifies the importance of each particular stupidity. 11. Externally, a direct product of this selective illusion has been the mythological recognition of autonomous pseudogroups, seen as gloriously situated at the level of the SI when in fact they were only feeble admirers of it (and thus inevitably soon to become dishonest vilifiers of it). It seems to me that we cannot recognize any group as autonomous unless it is engaged in autonomous practical
But on the other hand, the various “irresponsible” acts of that moment are precisely what is needed for the continuation of the revolutionary movement of our own time (even if the circumstances restricted almost all those acts to the purely destructive level—the most famous example being the rebel who, when a suspect bourgeois insisted that he had never had anything to do with politics, replied, “That’s precisely why I’m going to kill you”). 6 The vital importance of the general arming of the
stranded in the Red Cellars of Pali-Kao, without music and without geography, no longer setting out for the hacienda where the roots think of the child and where the wine is finished off with fables from an old almanac. That’s all over. You’ll never see the hacienda. It doesn’t exist. The hacienda must be built. All cities are geological. You can’t take three steps without encountering ghosts bearing all the prestige of their legends. We move within a closed landscape whose landmarks constantly