pre-situationist archive

situationist international archive

post-situationist archive

situationist chronology




news & updates

site search

notes & sources


text archives > situationist international texts >

In Short

Appendix to The Class Struggles in Algeria (1965)

Translated by Ken Knabb

INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTE is the journal of a group of theorists who over the last few years have undertaken a radical critique of modern society — a critique of what it really is and of all its aspects.

As the situationists see it, a universally dominant system, tending toward totalitarian self-regulation, is only apparently being combated by false forms of opposition — illusory forms which remain trapped on the system’s own terrain and thus only serve to reinforce it. Bureaucratic pseudosocialism is only the most grandiose of these disguises of the old world of hierarchy and alienated labor. The developing concentration of capitalism and the diversification of its global operation have given rise, on one hand, to the forced consumption of commodities produced in abundance, and on the other, to the control of the economy (and all of life) by bureaucrats who own the state; as well as to direct and indirect colonialism. But this system is far from having found a permanent solution to the incessant revolutionary crises of the historical epoch that began two centuries ago, for a new critical phase has opened: in Berkeley and Warsaw, in the Asturias and the Kivu, the system is refuted and combated.

The situationists consider that this opposition implicitly requires the real abolition of all class societies, of commodity production and of wage labor; the supersession of art and all cultural accomplishments by their reentry into play through free creation in everyday life — and thus their true fulfillment; and the direct fusion of revolutionary theory and practice in an experimental activity that precludes any petrification into “ideologies,” which express the authority of experts and which always serve authoritarian expertise.

The factors at issue in this historical problem are the rapid extension and modernization of the fundamental contradictions within the present system and between that system and human desires. The social force that has an interest in resolving these contradictions — and the only force that is capable of resolving them — is the mass of workers who are powerless over the use of their own lives, deprived of any control over the fantastic accumulation of material possibilities that they produce. Such a resolution has already been sketched out in the emergence of democratic workers councils that make all decisions for themselves. The only intelligent venture within the present imbecilized world is for this new proletariat to carry out this project by forming itself into a class unmediated by any leadership.

The situationists declare that they have no interest outside the whole of this movement. They lay down no particular principles on which to base a movement which is real, a movement which is being born before our very eyes. Faced with the struggles that are beginning in various countries over various issues, the situationists see their task as putting forward the whole of the problem, elucidating its coherence, its theoretical and therefore practical unity. In short, within the various phases of the overall struggle they constantly represent the interest of the whole movement.