An at times playful conversation with Henri Lefebvre conducted by Kristin Ross. Lefebvre, then in his eighties, discussed his memories of Guy Debord and the Situationist International as well as his attempts to provoke mischievous students around Nanterre University in 1968, where the May uprisings began. Originally published in October 79 (1997).
A short account of the second Italian Section of the Situationist International (members: Gianfranco Sanguinetti, Paolo Salvadori, Claudio Pavan and Eduardo Rothe) from its origins in the youth culture protests of the mid-1960s to its collapse during the state terror campaign of the 1970s, including discussions of the precursor journal, S, the influence of the French situationists and May ‘68, the role played by the “organizational question”, the various publications of the Italian Section, its isolation from the other radical currents in Italy and the sordid personality conflicts that plagued the Section and finally led to its dissolution in 1971.
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.
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”.
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.”