Internationale Situationniste #4 (June 1960)
Translated by Reuben Keehan
Zarathustra is pleased that the struggle of the castes is over, that the time of a hierarchy of individuals might be coming after all. His hatred for the democratic system of leveling is just the beginning. In fact, he is rather pleased to be here. Now he can solve his problem.
Nietzsche, Noon and Eternity (frag. post Werke, t. XII, p.417.)
THE NOTION OF No-Future corresponds to the political relationship between the class and the party, and to its consequences in the revolutionary period. No-Future is neither the negation of the whole future, nor the possibility of some political prediction arising from given conditions; it is both the realization of the whole future, existing at a fragmentary level in the present situation, and the search for the proper means of controlling the present.
No-Future is the political application of a unitary view of the entire revolutionary period of the twentieth century. Its theses cannot be separated from the objective study of the social facts revealed to us by the triple evolution of capitalist, socialist and developing countries. This evolution tends to establish a dialectic of current questions of equal importance for these countries; it refuses to mechanically link the series of particular problems in these countries, or to be fatally caught up in any view, no matter how dynamic, of peaceful co-existence. Peaceful co-existence, such as it is currently expressed by the Louis-Philippard theoreticians of the communist parties, is the abandonment of revolutionary positions, in Russia as much as in the Third World and highly industrialized nations.
No-Future is founded on the conviction that the most highly evolved productive forces of capitalist countries now permit the skipping of the transitional phase of socialist society. In these countries, socialism can only remain the order of the day on the condition that it initiates the total demystification of present political methods, and reveals the supersession of the relations of production by the accumulation of technical means, the constant recourse to depersonalization, etc. All the conditions are unified for the appropriation of the means of production and for their utilization to socialist ends.
No-Future is equally founded on a decisive appreciation of the anti-colonial revolutions. In these Third World countries, the development of productive forces from their origins enters into the struggle against the bureaucratic apparatus, that is, the heritage of colonization and the introduction of planning methods used in socialist countries. Third World countries are the fulcrum of 20th century revolution because their accession to independence is also the melting-pot for the life forces of both blocs. For the first time since primitive communities, what is born in the West and what is born the East insofar as their expansion is unhindered is susceptible to unification and amalgamation in these countries as a totally independent social form.
Finally, No Future is founded on the certainty that the state of things as they are cannot be considered as a state of peace or of war in any way. Neither peace nor war is possible from now on, but nor is revolution if we are limited to a purely evolutionist conception that automatically implies the withering of the State, etc. Above all, No-Future takes into account the existence of classless societies in Russia and China. The awareness of this fact implies the possibility of an accelerated revolutionary process eventually resulting in societies of socialized masses.
SOCIALISM, WHEREVER it appears, can no longer be considered as the simple antithesis of capitalism. Everything that delays the ascendance of the socialized masses is an alienation reborn in the heart of the socialist society (transitional or not).
The problem is giving the masses consciousness "to the greatest degree of consciousness possible," in order to ensure that the historical relations modified by the classless society are not a return to the old relationship existing between the class and the party, between the class and the union. The socialized masses act as autonomous forces. If, as Marx wished, the disappearance of politics and the economy is necessitated, the parties and the organs of class struggle must clearly disappear with them. The more a party or a trade union has been capable of seeing through its task, the easier it has been to eliminate it as such in the classless society. This continues to exist after the suppression of politics and the economy because the political consciousness of the masses then signifies a rupture and not an adaptation of the masses, liberated by the productive forces capable of surmounting all the relations of production from that point on. Responsibility and uprooting of the socialized masses are no longer a hindrance, but the first conditions that can at any moment give rise to the necessity for a revolution.
THE POLITICAL EXPRESSION of the socialized masses, insofar as it aims for the disappearance of all politics, has as its prime objective the possibility, for the first time in history, of a situation where all humanity escapes from the historical law of uneven development. The revolution becomes its own theater.
It is important to know and to determine, in the present, how the conquest of interstellar space; human labor considered as the struggle against nature insofar as it is the dissolution of the technological milieu by the technology itself; the appearance of a cosmic consciousness in the classless society; the abolition of all functional signs in human relations; and the birth of new sentiments and of other unpredictable upheavals accelerate the processes that lead to the stage of this dialectical civilization of leisure and of work for all humanity together.
THE CREATION OF this history without dead time is linked to existential Marxist philosophy. The idea of the individual planning of existence rediscovers the chance that allows the formation of a philosophy of spatio-temporal presence where sensations and sentiments no longer depend on memory, but on the blossoming of all the virtualities of being by the multiplication and renewal of experience, no longer of isolated collectives or isolated people experiences realizable as the imaginary itself, that is to say simultaneously collective and individual in all acts.
The daily upheaval of the time of life itself implies the cosmic and a-cosmic value of every situation. At the limit of this infinity before our eyes and the revolutionary accumulation of this history, the richness of life demands an always greater reproduction, no longer of habits or even of style, but of the everyday made impossible. The new antagonisms between terrestrial and cosmic values cannot be resolved by the simple communicability of obvious facts.
THE CONDITIONS OF freedom, having been realized by the planning of individual existence, become the values existing or able to exist of the state of reprieve among our aptitudes in the control and exercise of qualitative degrees of the construction of situations. The concepts of being, having and doing disappear with this freedom, beginning with the practical negation of all philosophy. Freedom is defined as a cosmogony of temporality and an a-cosmogony of constructed situations. Freedom, this fluid and unshakable structure of all energy, allows the transcendence of the old typology of "free men" or "the not-free" by the power that has every person transforming the world as each desires to see it transformed; accomplished against the primitive forms of this power.
THE THREE ORDERS of becoming are:
a) The order of constructing situations. This is when the power of freedom inscribes the lifestyle of all as a total work, that is to say the permanent realization of the lived totality against what were previously only dispersed means or fragmentary meanings (cosmic, political, artistic, etc.). This is the order of praxis as radical critique no longer advocated or indicated, but actually carried out.
b) The order of the planning of individual existence. This will be the possibility, given once and for all, of transcending every known emotion, including the contradictory sensation of "happiness-suffering." Human emotions will become different emotions, but no more superhuman than inhuman, due to the fact that from now on they will be linked to cosmic energy.
c) The tragic order of intelligence. This is that of two abstract worlds (one issuing from the struggle against nature, the other, in contrast, issuing from the domination of the cosmos by men). In this sense, the tragedy of intelligence is perhaps not its inability to avoid madness as a natural state, but of suddenly situating itself beyond madness, and not beside it as was previously the case.
These fragmentary programmatic notes are presented here as theoretical elements of the construction of situations in socialist society (transitional in itself); and as the first contribution to a working group which we envisage convening to define the total content of the revolution of everyday life.