Richard Gilman-Opalsky | from ‘Specters of Revolt’

A Graveyard for Orthodoxies   Now it is seen that socialism in the sense of State-directed planned economy means state-capitalism, and that socialism in the sense of workers’ emancipation is only possible as a new orientation. — ANTON PANNEKOEK, Workers’ Councils 227   Like name tags display the wearer’s name, political discourse is an ideological marker. Communism … now communisation . We do not know how communist insurgents will call themselves, most likely not “communist.” The 20th century has given communism a bad name… Maybe insurgents will be weary of what Victor Klemperer called the “depreciation of the superlatives.” Maybe…

Carla Lonzi (Part One)

Karolin Meunier ON VAI PURE BY CARLA LONZI   READING SESSION 1 AND 2. EDIT 2 How to introduce a book that I hardly know, written in a language that I do not speak? The following text is the product of two translation sessions, one with Paolo Caffoni and one with Federica Bueti, as we started to read Vai Pure (Now You Can Go), a conversation between the Italian feminist, writer, and art historian Carla Lonzi and her partner Pietro Consagra, conducted in Lonzi’s apartment in Rome 1980 before they broke up their relationship. Lonzi had used this method—that is…

Carla Lonzi (Part Two)

FINDING RESONANCES WITH CARLA LONZI Giovanna Zapperi with Federica Bueti   I am not quite sure when or how I came across Carla Lonzi’s writing. It happened in the casual manner in which sometimes one’s life changes in unexpected ways. Lonzi’s writing did not change my life, but it offered me an opportunity to reflect upon it. Lonzi’s feminist practice is a work of unearthing, undoing, and undressing that shakes up the foundation of our culture and beings. What has society made of me? Who am I? Lonzi ceaselessly questions her sense of self, the place society had assigned to…

George L. Jackson | Blood In My Eye

  My dear only surviving son, I went to Mount Vernon August 7th, 1971, to visit the grave site of my heart your keepers murdered in cold disregard for life. His grave was supposed to be behind your grandfather’s and grandmother’s. But I couldn’t find it. There was no marker. Just mowed grass. The story of our past. I sent the keeper a blank check for a headstone — and two extra sites— blood in my eye!!!     Amerikan Justice   For their freedom to prey on the world’s people . . . whatever the cost in blood.  …

Jean-Marie Straub / Danièle Huillet | Hölderlin, That Is Utopia

  Jean-Marie Straub: Hölderlin experienced the birth of the Wilhelmine Age. He was a young poet, full of high-flying plants; he said that himself. He was twenty-eight years old when he wrote The Death of Empedocles. In Germany between 1789 and 1798 all kinds of things had happened. Things had gone well for the ruling class, less well for other people. Büchner had had to flee, and some others as well . . . Hölderlin dreamed of the revolution—let’s call it that, even if the word is no longer in fashion today—a revolution that did not take place. As an…

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem | Tomb for Guy Debord

Guy Debord was the avant-garde’s Christ. Guy Debord was the avant-garde’s Christ. He was immolated by his own ideology, which he more than anyone (Tzara, Duchamp, Artaud, the Viennese Actionists…) had pushed to its extremes. He covered all of its possibilities, all of its impasses. His extreme attempts were neither successes, nor failures. Today, his path should be evaluated through other methods: the ones left to us in the wake of the avant-garde’s disappearance. To put it as Reiner Schürmann does: truth is a “conflictuality without agreements.” It is within Debord’s insurmountable contradictions, whose political, aesthetic, and existential preoccupations were…

Jean-Marie Straub | My Key Dates

  I’m older than Baudelaire when he said he was a thousand years old, so: 1842. The German forest is forbidden to the poor (dead wood, mushrooms, chestnuts, etc.); it becomes a place for indus- trial exploitation. A young Karl Marx protests, costing him his position as a journalist at the Rheinische Zeitung. Winter 1942. I go ice-skating on the frozen Moselle. STALINGRAD! “Finally, the beginning of the end,” says my father. 1945. A few days before the end of the war, just to impress Stalin, American B17s bomb Dresden, one of the most beautiful German cities, twice, destroying it and…

Jean-Luc Godard’s “Militant Filmmaking”; by Irmgard Emmelhainz

Irmgard Emmelhainz | Between Objective Engagement and Engaged Cinema: Jean-Luc Godard’s “Militant Filmmaking” (1967–1974)   It is often argued that between 1967 and 1974 Godard operated under a misguided assessment of the effervescence of the social and political situation and produced the equivalent of “terrorism” in filmmaking. He did this, as the argument goes, by both subverting the formal operations of narrative film and by being biased toward an ideological political engagement.1 Here, I explore the idea that Godard’s films of this period are more than partisan political statements or anti-narrative formal experimentations. The filmmaker’s response to the intense political climate that…

The Gilets Jaunes: Understanding the resistance of an insurrection

A background analysis of the yellow vests movement, after five months of mobilisation. A return to the salient points of this long sequence of struggle: the articulation strike-blockage and economic struggle-political struggle; the centrality of democratic issues; and the prospects of Commercy/Saint-Nazaire. We propose here an abridged version of an article from the Plateforme d’enquêtes militantes (12/04/2019) that takes stock after five months of mobilisation. We have tried to highlight the elements which seem to us particularly important: the articulation between strike and blockage, as well as between economic struggle and political struggle; the centrality of the democratic stakes raised by the…

The Gilets Jaunes: Understanding the movement(s) beyond final defeat or victory

The political soothsayers and diviners will cynically proclaim the yellow vests’ movement dead: Act XXI brought less than 25,000 people into the streets this last Saturday. We however refuse to be political accountants. And rebellions and revolutions have never been about numbers, but about the intensity of the desires and creativity unleashed. And we will continue to share the movement(s)’ voices. Gilets Jaunes Victory Communique Nº 1 Victory: the anger that everyone thought was theirs to feel alone, was found to be felt by the greatest number! Victory: the yellow vests shattered in the population the feeling of despondency and…

The Invisible Committee | Now

‘Now’ proposes a “destituent process” that charts out a different path to be taken, a path of outright refusal that simply ignores elections altogether. It is a path that calls for taking over the world and not taking power, for exploring new forms of life and not a new constitution, and for desertion and silence as alternatives to proclamations and crashes. It is also a call for an unprecedented communism—a communism stronger than nation and country.

UNE INSULTE À LA REPUBLIQUE: AIMÉ CÉSAIRE AND FRIEDRICH HÖLDERLIN …

UNE INSULTE À LA RÉPUBLIQUE: AIMÉ  CÉSAIRE AND FRIEDRICH HÖLDERLIN DECLARE THE FRENCH REVOLUTION A TRAGEDY, VOW TO SUPPORT #GILETSJAUNES MOVEMENT INSTEAD | by H. Bolin I. Introduction The study that follows concerns two tragic plays that treat the emergence and aftermath of a single global revolutionary horizon which included both the French and the Haitian revolutions. As the tragic genre suggests, Friedrich Hölderlin’s The Death of Empedocles (1799) and Aime Césaire’s And the Dogs Were Silent (1956) stage reflections on the initial successes and subsequent defeat of their respective revolutionary moments. What can tragedy or art offer to thinking…

The Invisible Committee | Power is Logistic. Block Everything!

  Turin, January 28, 2012. 1. Power Now Resides in Infrastructures. Occupation of the Kasbah in Tunis and of the Syntagma Square in Athens, siege of Westminster in London during the student movement of 2011, encirclement of the parliament in Madrid on September 25, 2012 or in Barcelona on June 15, 2011, riots all around the Chamber of Deputies in Rome on December 14, 2010, attempt on October 15, 2011 in Lisbon to invade the Assembleia da Republica, burning of the Bosnian presidential residence in February of 2014: the places of institutional power exert a magnetic attraction on revolutionaries. But…

Alèssi Dell’Umbria | Full Metal Yellow Jacket

“Oh shit!” – Louis XVI, 21 January 1793.     Let’s make the most of a good thing! The Zeitgeist reveals itself in revolt, each time in new forms. With the movement against the Labor Law in spring 2016, there was the cortège de tête; in Spring 2018, it was the defense of the communized rural territory of the ZAD; most recently, in Autumn 2018, the Yellow Vests movement erupted into uncontrolled blockades and demonstrations, which are still ongoing. An unknown but familiar territory has begun to take on a political existence. The yellow vests have situated themselves in a peripheral…

Gilets jaunes: Between horizontal autonomies and vertical unity | Yellow Letters

A journalist, seemingly sharing the illusions of politicians, writes “it’s time for the gilets jaunes to decide who and what they want to be”. (The Guardian, 29/01/2019) The politicians of france (and of everywhere, faced by a similar insurrection) are eager to have a “who” and “what” behind every rebellion, for it is in this manner that rebellions can be induced to negotiate, to be domesticated and subdued. Many of the gilets jaunes, even in the face of their divisions, continue to refuse unifying identification and thus representation. And the chimera of unity is nothing but a desired instrument of…

Alexander Trocchi | A Revolutionary Proposal: Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds

And if there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signalling through the flames. — Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and Its Double, 1958 Revolt is understandably unpopular. As soon as it is defined, it has provoked the measures for its confinement. The prudent man will avoid his definition which is in effect his death-sentence. Besides, it is a limit. We are concerned not with the coup d’etat [seizure of the state] of Trotsky and Lenin, but with the coup du monde [seizure of the world], a transition…

Guy Debord | Panegyric

“Panegyric means more than eulogy. Eulogy no doubt includes praise of the person, but it does not exclude a certain criticism, a certain blame. Panegyric involves neither blame nor criticism.” LITTRÉ, Dictionnaire de la langue française.   “Why ask my lineage? The generations of men are like those of leaves. The wind casts the leaves to the ground, but the fertile forest brings forth others, and spring comes round again. So it is that the human race is born and passes away.” Iliad, Canto VI.     I “As for his plan, we profess to be able to demonstrate that there…

RESITUATING THE YELLOW VEST MOVEMENT

The authors of the December 7 article, “Contribution to the rupture in progress,”   [1] continue their analysis of the Yellow Vests movement. As they argue, the Saturday battles are now behind us, and it is the roundabouts and self-organization beginning at the local level that forms the line of increasing power within the current movement. -Lundi matin     “It’s a serious mistake to believe that people are made stupid by staying in a single place.” –William Cobbett “AND THE STATE SANK…” The week of December 3rd was marked by a massive deluge of state and media propaganda, a drama that had several…

The Invisible Committee | The Coming Insurrection

From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues. From those who seek hope above all, it tears away every firm ground. Those who claim to have solutions are contradicted almost immediately. Everyone agrees that things can only get worse. “The future has no future” is the wisdom of an age that, for all its appearance of perfect normalcy, has reached the level of consciousness of the first punks. The sphere of political representation has come to a close. From left to right, it’s the same nothingness striking the…

Tiqqun | This Is Not a Program

“’77 wasn’t like ’68. ’68 was anti-establishment, ’77 was radically alternative. This is why the ‘official’ version portrays ’68 as good and ’77 as bad; in fact, ’68 was co-opted whereas ’77 was annihilated. This is why, unlike ’68, ’77 could never make for an easy object of celebration.”
— Nanni Balestrini, Primo Moroni, L’orda d’oro

The Angry Brigade: Communiques and Documents

Introduction The eight libertarian militants on trial in the Old Bailey in 1972 who were chosen by the British State to be the ‘conspirators’ of the Angry Brigade, found themselves facing not only the class enemy with all its instruments of repression, but also the obtusity and incomprehension — when not condemnation — of the organised left. Described as ‘mad’, ‘terrorists’, ‘adventurists’, or at best authors of ‘gestures of a worrying desperation’, the Angry Brigade were condemned without any attempt to analyse their actions or to understand what they signified in the general context of the class struggle in course….

Guy Debord | All the King’s Men

What is poetry if not the revolutionary moment of language, inseparable as such from the revolutionary moments of history and from the history of personal life? […] The point is not to put poetry at the service of revolution, but to put revolution at the service of poetry. […] Every revolution has been born in poetry, has first of all been made with the force of poetry. This phenomenon continues to escape theorists of revolution — indeed, it cannot be understood if one still clings to the old conception of revolution or of poetry . . .

Henri Chopin

  Born in 1922 in Paris, Chopin is one of the key figures of the international neo-avantgarde. His career goes back to the fifties, and he was one of the founders of sound poetry. During World War II he was obliged to do forced labour in 1942, and a year later, the Germans deported him to Olomuk in Czechoslovakia. Between 1944 and 1945 he found himself on the ‘death march’ towards Russia. The terrible conditions during the war were a source of inspiration for his works, but 1955 saw a turning point in his poetical interests. On the island of…

Theses on the Paris Commune | Guy Debord, Attila Kotányi & Raoul Vaneigem

The Commune represents the only implementation of a revolutionary urbanism to date — attacking on the spote the petrified signs of the dominant organization of life, understanding social space in political terms, refusing to accept the innoncence of any monument. Anyone who disparages this attack as some “lumpenproletarian nihilism,“ some “irresponsibility of the pétroleuses,“ should specify what he believes to be of positive value in the present society and worth preserving (it will turn out to be almost everything).

Guy Debord | Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord | Society of the Spectacle PDF   & Society of the Spectacle (New Annotated Translation of the book by Ken Knabb) PDF   Society of the Spectacle is a black and white 1973 film by the Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same name. It was Debord’s first feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical Marxist critique of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society.     Preface to the Third French Edition of The Society of the Spectacle La Société du spectacle was first published…

Guy Debord | In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

  I will make no concessions to the public in this film. I believe there are several good reasons for this decision, and I am going to state them. In the first place, it is well known that I have never made any concessions to the dominant ideas or ruling powers of my era. Moreover, nothing of importance has ever been communicated by being gentle with a public, not even one like that of the age of Pericles; and in the frozen mirror of the screen the spectators are not looking at anything that might suggest the respectable citizens of…

Guy Debord and the Situationist International | Text and Documents [edited by Tom McDonough]

Guy Debord and the Situationist International Texts and Documents edited by Tom McDonough PDF Critical texts, translations, documents, and photographs on the work of the Situationist International This volume is a revised and expanded version of a special issue of the journal October (Winter 1997) that was devoted to the work of the Situationist International (SI). The first section of the issue contained previously unpublished critical texts, and the second section contained translations of primary texts that had previously been unavailable in English. The emphasis was on the SI’s profound engagement with the art and cultural politics of their time (1957-1972),…

Guy Debord | Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord | Comments on the Society of the Spectacle   PDF First published in 1967, Guy Debord’s stinging revolutionary critique of contemporary society, The Society of the Spectacle has since acquired a cult status. Credited by many as being the inspiration for the ideas generated by the events of May 1968 in France, Debord’s pitiless attack on commodity fetishism and its incrustation in the practices of everyday life continues to burn brightly in today’s age of satellite televisionand the soundbite. In Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, published twenty years later, Debord returned to the themes of his…

Giorgio Agamben | Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Giorgio Agamben | Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (2) PDF     The Uses of the Body [Prologue] by Giorgio Agamben It is curious how in Guy Debord a lucid awareness of the insufficiency of private life was accompanied by a more or less conscious conviction that there was, in his own existence or in that of his friends, something unique and exemplary, which demanded to be recorded and communicated. Already in Critique de la séparation, he thus evokes at a certain point as intransmissible “cette clandestinité de la vie privée sur laquelle on ne possède jamais…

Guy Debord’s Cinema

Guy Debord’s Cinema PDF Jason E. Smith | Guy Debord, Filmmaker Jacques Rancière | When We Were on the Shenandoah Editors of Internationnale situationiste 1 | With and Against Cinema Kaira M. Cabañas | Hurlements en faveur de vous Soyoung Yoon | Cinema against the Permanent Curfew of Geometry: Guy Debord’s Sur le passage de quelques personnes à travers une assez courte unité de temps (1959) Jason E. Smith | Missed Encounters: Critique de la séparation between the Riot and the ‘Young Girl’ McKenzie Wark | The Insolent Edit Benjamin Noys | Guy Debord’s Time-Image: In girium imus nocte et consumimur…

Olivier Assayas on Guy Debord

  Olivier Assayas on Guy Debord Two interviews. The first was recorded by Enrico Ghezzi and Roberto Turigliatto in June 2001, and published in Italian in the catalog of the Debord retrospective at the Venice Film Festival. Reread, corrected, and completed in March 2002 for the catalog of the retrospective presented at Magic Cinéma in Bobigny. English translation by Chris Fujiwara, as found on fipresci.org. The second was recorded by Brian Price and Meghan Sutherland, and published on worldpicturejournal.com in spring 2008. 1 It’s very tricky to talk or write about Debord, in the sense that his is the work…

Ralph Rumney | The Consul

Ralph Rumney | The Consul PDF Ralph Rumney has been in constant flight from the wreckage of postwar Europe. Crossing paths with every avant-garde of the past fifty years, he was one of the founding members of the Situationist International. Rumney’s traveling companions — Guy Debord, Pegeen Guggenheim, Asger Jorn, Michèle Berstein, Bernard Kops, Yves Klein, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, Félix Guattari, E.P. Thompson, Victor Brauner, and many others — are recalled in the oral history with sharp intelligence and dry wit.         The Consul: Contributions to the History of the Situationest International and Its Time…