The Situationist International
Situationist International #1 (July 1969)
THE UNIVERSALLY dominant social system, which tends toward totalitarian self-regulation, is far from having found the definitive answer to the incessant revolutionary crises of the historical epoch which began two centuries ago. A new critical phase has opened. But the system is also being resisted by false forms of opposition which remain trapped on the territory of the system itself a system which these illusions can thus only serve to reinforce.
The situationists consider that the indivisible perspective of the opposition is the effective abolition of class society, commodity production, and wage-labor; the direct fusion of theory and practice in an activity which excludes the possibility of all petrification into ideologies (mystifications).
The factors put in question by this historical problem are the rapid extension and modernization of the fundamental contradictions within the existing system; between the system and human desires. The social force which has an interest in and is alone capable of resolving these, is made of those who are powerless over the employment of their own lives and know it, helpless to control the fantastic accumulation of material possibilities which they produce. Such a possible resolution has already been sketched out in the model of the democratic workers council. The movement required from the proletariat for it to form itself into a class, unmediated by leadership, is the sum of the intellegence of a world without intellegence. The situationists declare that outside the whole of this movement they have no interest. Faced with the struggles wich are beginning in various countries and over various elemts, the situationists see their task as that of putting forward the whole of the problem, its coherence, its theoretical and therefore practical unity.
The S.I., being aware of the crisis of both mass parties and of "elites," must embody the supersession of both the Bolshevik C.C. (supersession of the mass party) and of the Nietzschean project (supersession of the intellegentsia).
Whenever any power has set itself up to direct revolutionary will, it has a priori undermined the power of the revolution. The Bolshevik Central Committee was defined as at once concentration and representation. Concentration of a power antagonistic to bourgeois power and representation of the will of the masses. This double characteristic determined that it rapidly became no more than an empty power, a power of empty representation, and that it soon rejoined in a common form (bureaucracy) bourgeois power, forced to follow a similar evolution.
The intellegentsia is power's hall of mirrors. Opposing power, it never offers more than cathartic identification playing on the passivity of those whose every act reveals real dissidence. We are capable of precipitating its crisis, but only by entering the intellegentsia as a power (against the intelligentsia).
Since the only purpose of a revolutionary organisation* is the abolition of all existing classes in a way that does not bring about a new division of society, we consider an organisation revolutionary which pruposefully pursues the international realization of the absolute power of the workers councils. That power has been outlined in the experience of the proletarian revolutions of this century Russia 1905, Kronstadt 1921, Asturias 1934, Spanish revolution 1936. It is power without mediators.
Such an organization makes a unitary critique of the world, or is nothing. By unitary critique is understood a total critique of all geographic areas where various forms of separate socio-economic powers exist, as well as a critique of all aspects of life.
Such an organization sees the beginning and end of its own program in the complete decolonization, the complete liberation of daily life. It aims not at the self-management by the masses of the existing world but at its uninterrupted transformation.
Such an organization embodies the radical critique of political economy, the transcendance of commodity and wage-labor. It refuses to reproduce within itself any of the hierarchical conditions prevailing in the world that dominates us. The only limit to participating in its total democracy is that each member ecognize and appropriate for himself the coherence of its critique. The coherence has to be both in the critical theory and in the relationship between the theory and practical activity. The aim is theoretico-practice. A revolutionary organization radically criticizes every ideology as separate power of ideas and as ideas of separate power. It is at the same time the negation of any leftovers from religion and of the prevailing social spectacle which, from news-media to mass culture, monopolizes communication between men around their unilateral reception of the images of their alienated activity. The organization dissolves any "revolutionary ideology" by revealing it to be signs of the failure of the revolutionary project, as the private property of new specialists of power, as the imposture of a new representation which erects itself above the real proletarianized life.
The category of totality, of the global critique, is the last judgement of the revolutionary organization, so the organization is, in the end, a critique of politics: it must aim explicitely through its victory at the dissolution of itself as a separate organization.
*Minimum Definition of Revolutionary Organizations, adopted at the 7th Conference of the S.I. in July 1966 and reissued by the Comité Enragés-Internationale Situationniste during May 1968. In June, it was translated and distributed here by the S.I. and the Council for the Liberation of Daily Life.
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