Has Situationism ever acheived anything?

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madashell
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Nov 7 2004 14:17
Has Situationism ever acheived anything?

Just wondering, what have Situationists actually done? I've never heard of anything useful being achieved by crap street theatre or daft pranks played on random targets, what is the fucking point exactly?

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 7 2004 14:23

It's not supposed to give rise to 'situationist' organisations. Most of the original crew didn't want themelves to be part of an 'ism'. If you're looking for a coherant political philosophy, acheived through concrete acts then you've misunderstood the phenomenon.

Situ-style ideas have had a big influence -- taking them at face value, that's all you can expect them to do, become part of our general toolbox of ideas.

The Revolution of Everyday Life was influential on some of the people who kick-started London Reclaim the Streets. plus there were various other groups similarly influenced, like the US Motherfuckers.

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madashell
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Nov 7 2004 14:44
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
It's not supposed to give rise to 'situationist' organisations. Most of the original crew didn't want themelves to be part of an 'ism'. If you're looking for a coherant political philosophy, acheived through concrete acts then you've misunderstood the phenomenon.

Situ-style ideas have had a big influence -- taking them at face value, that's all you can expect them to do, become part of our general toolbox of ideas.

The Revolution of Everyday Life was influential on some of the people who kick-started London Reclaim the Streets. plus there were various other groups similarly influenced, like the US Motherfuckers.

So no then? tongue

wink

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Nov 7 2004 15:13

Seriously tho, what do situationists want to achieve then? What do they believe will be accomplished by their antics?

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madashell
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Nov 7 2004 15:34

Fair point

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Jacques Roux
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Nov 7 2004 15:43

Inspired this website?

wink

Ghost_of_the_re...
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Nov 7 2004 21:13

Some of the least funny cartoons ever?

Thinking up words like 'psychogeography'?

Inspiration for 'spectators of suicide' by the manics?

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Jacques Roux
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Nov 7 2004 21:26

Situ cartoons rule....

Better than fucking evey and the pan anyday!

yozzee
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Nov 8 2004 00:46
rkn wrote:
Situ cartoons rule....

Better than fucking evey and the pan anyday!

And that top ten shite.

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madashell
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Nov 8 2004 10:47
rkn wrote:

yozzee
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Nov 9 2004 00:54
madashell wrote:
Just wondering, what have Situationists actually done? I've never heard of anything useful being achieved by crap street theatre or daft pranks played on random targets, what is the fucking point exactly?

They opened a dialogue with the working class. For a brief moment it was reciprocated.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Nov 13 2004 20:55

They've inspired a lot of cultural faeces-Malcolm Mclaren, Punk, Richey Edwards, coffee shops the world over etc.

They were simply revolutionary theorists, i suppose they accelarated the degenaration and discrediting of the western communist parties but then again those parties were doing a good job of that themselves. I dont think they made any effort to enter into the 'total contestation' they talked up, after all they werent proletariat. Theyre actions rather ironically were restricted to the artistic milieu and like others they were far more lucid in chastising psuedo revolutionaries than doing anything themselves.

They spawned the Provos in holland, the Motherfuckers, King Mob, Angry Brigade and RTS amongst others, whether any of these groups have acheived anything is a moot point.

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Nov 18 2004 23:08
Quote:
coffee shops the world over

?! confused Explain?

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Steven.
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Nov 19 2004 13:36

There are situ slogans painted on the walls of some new york starbucks

(no joke of a lie)

WeTheYouth
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Nov 22 2004 23:07

I think we should focus on what they achieved in sorbonne, and the non-heirachical organising they achieved for such a short period. I know they was not the biggest faction, and it was a broadbased socialist and revolt, and they achieved a pre-revolutionary stage which dwindled out.

Also as of the uprisings in '68 Freedom managed to go to a weekly paper and had over 3000 subscriptions. (so i read) So all in all it helped the british anarchist movement, even if it was to decline extremely in the years after.

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Nov 22 2004 23:30
George'sBush wrote:
There are situ slogans painted on the walls of some new york starbucks

(no joke of a lie)

Woah! eek

Anyway to whoever started this thread - this is a good book to read: "Enragés and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, France, May'68" by René Viénet (published by Autonomedia / Rebel Press).

Think you can get it in Freedom wink

Wendal
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Nov 23 2004 00:08

When i read the manifestos of the situationist i could recognize a lot of stuff from the 60ies and 70ies.

They had some ideas about building a world of pleasure by having pleasure as a part of the revolution.

They critisied the unpleasantnes of work.

That conects well with hedonistic groups like the Yippies and later crimethinc

They pointed out that Marx talked about that products can become fetishes something the book No logo and groups like Adbuster and leftist with puritan lifestyles been into.

These statements is a big break from earlier leftism that was more about self-sacrife, right to work, duty and massproduction.

The situationists claimed for example that the student lived a life of misery beacuse they had empty lifes that they tried to fill with pointles modern art.

That is a step away from earlier leftists who view acess to education and welfare as always a good life.

One thing i was wondering about tough is why most groups who call themself situationists today are usually anarchists since the situationsts attacks annarchism on the same bases of missunderstanding as Karl Marx did?

I would also know if there is any homepage with more visual material from them(like the comics with different workds in the bubbles for example). Translated to English would be best.

Introduction to the Situationists

http://www1.shellkonto.se/nilswarm/crimethinc/content.php?article.32

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Steven.
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Nov 23 2004 01:36
Wendal wrote:
That conects well with hedonistic groups like the Yippies and later crimethinc

I don't think crimethinc have much in common with them, seeing as the main plank of situ ideas was class struggle...

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They pointed out that Marx talked about that products can become fetishes something the book No logo and groups like Adbuster and leftist with puritan lifestyles been into.

Nah that's not what marx's commodity fetishism was (that's just an economic thing)

Don't know too much about their critique of anarchism tho, apart from when debord said they were stupid cos "that they would tolerate each other shows that they would tolerate anything" grin

Wayne
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Nov 23 2004 01:48

That Jack always comes up with ramdom stuff, I think he's weird.

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Jacques Roux
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Nov 23 2004 21:03

Jack and wayne - wtf are you on about? Why are those posts here?

Wendal - i think crimethinc is very very watered down imitation of situationist ideas.

Just out of interestt what groups would you call situ today?

For pictures go to http://www.nothingness.org or get hold of the book i mention in my post above!

Vaneigemappreci...
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Nov 25 2004 19:34

The theoretical critique of the world of power is inseparable from a practice that destroys it, hence once theory is separated from practice its is recuperated as a petrified ideology, a set of abstract beliefs, likewise rioting, looting and sabotage become ‘thuggery’. Many leftist careerists are quite happy to pontificate about the emancipation of the working class whilst not having the first idea of what this means nor having any intention of acting in the interests of this emancipation, let alone liberating themselves from their roles as intellectuals.

I think the Sit’s saw play or poetry as any of the more attractive actions that can destabilise capital and further proletarian liberation, hence a riot or an act of sabotage can be liberating and poetic.

The Sit’s were writing in an era in which the commodity was beginning to permeate and dictate every area of life, not just in work but in the social sphere. When not at work a person can relax and find their desires in the supermarket, our purpose is to consume and realise our desires in the form of commodities, products of exploitation and systematic violence. Now I personally don’t believe that my desires can be realised in a shaving cream or a car.

The Sit’s notion of play, as a destructive and creative force is associated with the idea that ‘play’ under capitalism, ‘leisure time’ is a colonised area of life that is dictated by the constraints and needs of capital. ‘Free time’ is a time to recuperate, switch off, forget about things. This time is dominated by commodity and works for the commodity alone. The Sit’s didn’t fancy watching TV or taking the kids shopping in their spare time, because they saw this as rather boring, alienating and stupefying. Instead they thought that burning cars, kicking the shit out of your boss and generally sabotaging the whole commodity system (all playful activities) would be a better way to liberate ‘play’ and humanity on a wider scale. ‘Free time’ in the capitalist world is a contradiction in terms, there ain’t no free time. The main purpose of ‘leisure time’ is to perpetuate the system and get the worker back to work for Monday morning.

Now the products of the systematic violence of capitalism are ‘false needs’ because, I’m guessing, bare with me here, they are products of an alienating system, they are merely commodities, their purpose to enrich the bourgeois and impoverish and enslave the proletariat, to perpetuate capitalism. Hence they are neither liberating nor ‘real desires’, instead they merely facilitate our servitude, eg make submitting to a boss and an economic system more bearable and easy. Does any product really enhance the quality of your life, as part of the system?

Now the problem with the Sit’s is that they themselves separated theory from practice, their actions never delved into the total contestation they constantly talked up, partly because they never saw themselves as a vanguard. What they were good at doing is attaching their ideas to social uprisings such as the Watts riots and making their own interpretations of such uprisings. They had a number of poor ideas, most of which emanated from the early avant-garde period that Situ careerist Stuart Home sees as their most creative. eg their theory of derive (wandering through the urban milieu as a gateway to change) and the idea of creating situations as a catalyst. They never highlighted any specific examples of what a ‘real desire’ is, and I agree with revol that you can’t say what a ‘real desire’ actually is as its different for everyone and only a pedagogue would go around telling people what to desire (eg advertisers). I think that they saw social eruptions such as Watts as examples of when ‘real desires’ find their expression, if not their goal.

I can only say that liberation is a real desire that everyone probably holds.

The Sit’s were certainly nowhere near reaching an all encompassing critique of the commodity in theory, and barely attempted it in their actions, but I think that they nevertheless made some important contributions to revolutionary theory. Particularly in their ideas on leisure time, the broadening of the notion of who the proletariat is, recuperation of radical ideas into the system, their critique of mainstream unions and communist parties, the capitalist colonisation of space etc. Most of these ideas have been written on in great detail since by numerous impotent intellectuals and some of their ideas acted upon by the likes of RTS, none of them terribly coherently or successfully. Like any other revolutionary group they should be criticised, scrutinised, understood and disposed of. The purpose of any revolutionary theory is not to be adhered to, but to be questioned, understood, updated, taken apart and acted upon, otherwise it goes the same way as Marx’s and Debord’s ideas and ends up as an ideology in the hands of some or other political pedagogue, dictator or academic intellectual.

Wendal
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Nov 25 2004 23:31
rkn wrote:

For pictures go to http://www.nothingness.org or get hold of the book i mention in my post above!

Thanks a lot. Now i see why there is comicpages all over Days of war.

As an old comic-fan with a desire for pushing propaganda and philosophy into media at the wierdest places i must certainly say that i enjoy this.

Bokonon
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Dec 6 2004 01:51

What did they achieve? Coming up with the theory of the alienation of the consumer for one. Furthering the french philosophical idea that we do not percieve a reality anymore, we are hypnotized into seeing the world as one big unending spectacle that we can never get out of. The idea of boredom being oppressive. Debord wrote a kind of follow up to Marx set in modern times, in fact much of the Society of the Spectacle is made from staight unedited paragraphs from Marx. Vanageim and the pro-situ's (ie the lifestyle aspects of the Situationists) were wrong on lots of things - try telling kids in Iraq that they have nothing to lose but boredom - but by god, you read 'the revolution of everyday life' and you wanna fucking riot.

"The stage is set, the action unfolds, we applaud when we think we are happy, we yawn when we think we are bored, but we cannot leave the show, because there is no world outside the theatre for us to go to." - Carol Ehrlich

Augusto_Sandino
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Dec 6 2004 08:07
WeTheYouth wrote:
I think we should focus on what they achieved in sorbonne, and the non-heirachical organising they achieved for such a short period. I know they was not the biggest faction, and it was a broadbased socialist and revolt, and they achieved a pre-revolutionary stage which dwindled out.

Also as of the uprisings in '68 Freedom managed to go to a weekly paper and had over 3000 subscriptions. (so i read) So all in all it helped the british anarchist movement, even if it was to decline extremely in the years after.

And they probably gave a few policemen a concussion with those cobble stones too. You know they tarmacced all the roads in Paris after that...

yozzee
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Dec 11 2004 23:54
revol68 wrote:
yo the Situationists just applied marx's "fetish of commodities" theory to a cultural terrain!!! and it was nothing new either! anyway my problem with the situationists is the inherent essentialism that says that reading a book or watching a movie isn't real and calling for us to all go out and "play" well this is just pure bollox, my desire to read a book is as much real as some fucking dreadlocked poseurs desire to "detourn" a billboard.

the situas talked as if the revolution begins with grasping our real desires, the only problem is that there are no premodial desires and we can't remove our desires from the societies we are created in.

Is that what Larry's saying revol?

"We live in a spectacular society, that is, our whole life is surrounded by an immense accumulation of spectacles. Things that were once directly lived are now lived by proxy. Once an experience is taken out of the real world it becomes a commodity. As a commodity the spectacular is developed to the detriment of the real. It becomes a substitute for experience."- Larry Law, from Images And Everyday Life, a 'Spectacular Times' pocket book.

Spectacular Times are available from Freedom Bookshop unless the AF have burnt them all wink

Does Angel Alley still reak of piss?

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 12 2004 18:36
rkn wrote:
i think crimethinc is very very watered down imitation of situationist ideas.

Yeah I'd agree with this, with a bit of bullshit hippy animal rights psuedo-primmo crustie subcultural nonsense thrown in for good measure.

I'm currently midway through The Revolution of Everyday Life and I think Vaneigem paints a more accurate picture of capitalism and its problems than anyone else I've ever read. His analysis is fucking breathtaking. However, he is ridiculously verbose.

WeTheYouth
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Dec 12 2004 22:07
Augusto_Sandino wrote:
WeTheYouth wrote:
I think we should focus on what they achieved in sorbonne, and the non-heirachical organising they achieved for such a short period. I know they was not the biggest faction, and it was a broadbased socialist and revolt, and they achieved a pre-revolutionary stage which dwindled out.

Also as of the uprisings in '68 Freedom managed to go to a weekly paper and had over 3000 subscriptions. (so i read) So all in all it helped the british anarchist movement, even if it was to decline extremely in the years after.

And they probably gave a few policemen a concussion with those cobble stones too. You know they tarmacced all the roads in Paris after that...

Really. LOL! See They achieved Tarmacced roads, easier for walking on when you pissed.

yozzee
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Dec 12 2004 22:08

It can be hard work but I do wonder how much of that is down to poor translation. If you read some of Vaneigem's other stuff even from the same period it's much easier to understand. Or maybe Vaneigem felt he had to immerse himself in verbiage to be taken seriously by French marxists.

Joe Hill
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Dec 12 2004 23:56

I have no clue what situationism is, but I promise to try and find out. I do know that the leader of the '68 student insurrection in France was lead by a bloke who now sits in the European Parliament as a Green. Another fine mess...

Vaneigemappreci...
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Dec 14 2004 16:29

the green your refering to is daniel cohn bendit and he was in no way a 'leader' of the actions of paris 68, he may well have appointed himself as such, he was always a moderate.

yozzee
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Dec 14 2004 19:02

It was probably the media who appointed him 'leader' as they seem unable to understand any kind of politics without leaders.