Situationist International

What is situationism?: a reader

This anthology gathers together a broad range of critical material about the Situationist International.

In the cauldron of the negative - Jean-Marc Mandosio

A critique of the Situationist International, emphasizing the divergent trajectories of Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem, focusing on the role of the concept of alchemy in the SI’s theory of the revolution, with discussions of, among other topics, revolution as “transmutation”, the alchemical proto-dialectic and its relation to the Hegelian-Marxist dialectic of “supersession”, Vaneigem’s alleged debt to Schopenhauer (the “will to live”), André Breton and the “alchemy of the word”, the meaning and origin of the metaphor of the quest for the “evil Grail”, the enigmatic Hamburg Theses, and the “contradictions” of the SI’s favorable attitude towards automation and technology.

Situationist International anthology - Ken Knabb

E-book of the most comprehensive collection of writings of the Situationist International in English translated and compiled by Ken Knabb.

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.

Notes on "the Situationist International: the art of historical intervention" - Miguel Amorós

A short summary of the history of the Situationist International, with brief discussions of its artistic origins, its significance as the “the most political artistic vanguard and the most artistic political vanguard” of its time, the role of the critique of everyday life in the development of its project, and the recuperation of many situationist themes by capitalism since May ’68, whose achievements with regard to individual freedom "were nothing but the pale reflection of the freedom of the market”.

Notes on “The Situationist International: The Art of Historical Intervention” – Miguel Amorós

The bad days will end

Optimistic text from the Situationist International that suggests whilst previous revolts have failed, future ones may not.

As the world of the spectacle extends its reign it approaches the climax of its offensive, provoking new resistances everywhere. These resistances are very little known precisely because the reigning spectacle is designed to present an omnipresent hypnotic image of unanimous submission. But they do exist and are spreading.

Situationists - reading guide

Libcom.org's reading guide to the Situationists, a revolutionary Marxist group who wrote extensively on culture and were highly influential on the events of May 1968 in France.

Key texts

Theoretical anarchism and anarchist ideology - Miguel Amorós

Mass Meeting in Barcelona in 1976

An essay on post-1939 Spanish anarchism and its ideological fossilization, with special emphasis on the CNT and the role it played in Spain during the1970s, during the Spanish “Transition”, when it attracted large numbers of workers who sympathized with anarchism—it had over 250,000 members in 1978—but soon lost most of them when it became a trade union indistinguishable from the others except for its revolutionary rhetoric, having been founded by a disparate assortment of people who, according to the author, had only one thing in common: “the desire to build a trade union federation that could contend with the Workers Commissions for preeminence in separate class representation.”

Theoretical Anarchism and Anarchist Ideology – Miguel Amorós

When reflection, feeling or whatever other form the subjective consciousness may assume, regards the present as vanity, and thinks itself to be beyond it and wiser, it finds itself in emptiness, and, as it has actuality only in the present, it is vanity throughout.” (Hegel, Philosophy of Right)

At dusk: The Situationist movement in historical perspective

Published by the Berkley based group Perspectives in 1975 At Dusk was the first extensive critical text released on the Situationist International after its dissolution in 1972. Although there is much to critique in the arguments put forward in the text, it is an important historical document in terms of understanding the critical reception of the Situationists in the United States.

The use of free time

A 1960 text from the Situationist International on leisure time in capitalist society.

The most superficial and constantly reiterated platitude of leftish sociologists during recent years is that leisure has become a major factor in advanced capitalist society.

Notes on the SI's direction - Raoul Vaneigem

Raoul Vaneigem

Written by Raoul Vaneigem in March 1970 this text critiqued the movement of the SI towards pure councilism and sought to reaffirm the group's connection with the working class by applying the tactics of the Strasbourg scandal to the workplace.

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