Some Theoretical Topics That Need To Be Dealt With Without Academic Debate or Idle Speculation - Raoul Vaneigem

From International Situationniste #10 (March 1966).

Submitted by libcom on September 5, 2005

What can be dealt with by radical theory must be prevented from being dealt with by speculation. As the situationist analysis of reality prepares the way for the practical realization of our project, this demand tends to become more widely applicable.

Knowledge is inseparable from the use that is made of it. The agitation that our irrefutable theories are beginning to foment in varying degrees in all the sectors of the old world is going to see to the improvement and correction of our good use of ideas and things. This is why, in a society of guaranteed abundance, we are the only ones who are not frightened by that abundance.

How to use theory is never problematical. The specialists of idle speculation -- from Socialisme ou Barbarie to Planète -- are only concerned with concealing who profits from their ideology of confusion. The situationists work in the opposite perspective. We pose only the questions to which the will to subversion of the greatest number can respond. Our aim is to give this will its maximum effectiveness.

The topics to consider listed briefly below will have the interest of shedding light on the revolutionary worth of whoever deals with them, and on the importance that must be accorded to them in current struggles.

Critique of political economy -- Critique of the social sciences -- Critique of psychoanalysis (in particular: Freud, Reich, Marcuse) -- Dialectics of decomposition and supersession in the realization of art and philosophy -- Semiology: contribution to the study of an ideological system -- Nature and the ideologies of nature -- The role of playfulness in history -- History of theories and theories of history -- Nietzsche and the end of philosophy -- Kierkegaard and the end of theology -- Marx and Sade -- The structuralists.

The romantic crisis -- The Preciosity movement -- The baroque -- Artistic languages -- Art and everyday creativity -- Critique of dadaism -- Critique of surrealism -- Society and pictorial perspective -- Self-parodying art -- Mallarmé, Joyce and Malevich -- Lautréamont -- Primitive arts -- On poetry.

The Mexican revolution (Villa and Zapata) -- The Spanish revolution -- Asturias 1934 -- The Vienna insurrection -- The Peasant War (1525) -- The Spartakist revolution -- The Congolese revolution -- The Jacqueries -- Unknown revolutions -- The English revolution -- The communalist movements -- The Enragés -- The Fronde -- Revolutionary songs (study and anthology) -- Kronstadt -- Bolshevism and Trotskyism -- The Church and the heresies -- The different currents of socialism -- Socialism and underdevelopment -- Cybernetics and power -- The state -- The origins of Islam -- Theses on anarchy -- Theses for a final solution of the Christian problem -- The world of the specialists -- On democracy -- The Internationals -- On insurrection -- Problems and theory of self-management -- Parties and labor unions -- On the organization of revolutionary movements -- Critique of civil and penal law -- Nonindustrialized societies -- Theses on utopianism -- Homage to Charles Fourier -- Workers councils -- Fascism and magical thought.

On the repetitive in everyday life -- Dreams and dreamlike ambiances -- Treatise on the passions -- The moments and the construction of situations -- Urbanism and popular construction -- Manual of subversive détournement -- Individual adventure and collective adventure -- Intersubjectivity and coherence in revolutionary groups -- Play and everyday life -- Personal fantasies -- On the freedom to love -- Preliminary studies toward the construction of a base -- Madness and entranced states of mind.


Translated by Ken Knabb (slightly modified from the version entitled "Some Theoretical Questions To Be Treated Without Academic Debate or Speculation" in the Situationist International Anthology).