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And Opposition Rediscovered

Situationist International #1 (June 1969)

The crime of the oppositional ideologist's suicide is that it has so far accompanied the dismemberment of authentic revolt which does not recognize itself for what it is. In that this revolt — manifestation of the class struggle — is not conscious or at least imperfectly conscious of itself, it does not continue; it is constantly reborn with the people who refuse to be represented, whose gut reactions negate those who move to take them over.

Important in social situations of opposition is the violence that transcends the ideologies that seek to contain the opposition. Wildcat strikes and accompanying sabotage are a part of the industrial situation that the bureaucrats can no longer ignore; SDS and the black ideologists are working overtime to integrate all this into a spectacular "New Left" framework.

On the campuses too, class violence escapes its manipulators when it discovers the possibility of life as a festival. Many incidents, drab in their spectacular repetition, have contained this realization for certain individuals. What is known of the events this past spring in Madison, Wisconsin points to the social realization of this possibility: a street party, enjoyment in its proper allocation in bourgeois times, exceeds its proper bounds and is immediately met with police repression. It took three days of tear gas and riot clubs to return the scene to domestic tranquility. The testimonies of the fire chief and a mayoral candidate express the disappearance of the festive possibility.

The destruction of Zap, North Dakota follows in a line that begins with the incident in Hollister, Califomia, spectacularized in The Wild Ones. With capitalism, travel emerges as tourism, the devastation of places by the commodity. The destruction of the business district of Zap was the beginning of the rediscovery of Zap as a place. The devastation of the place as a commodity and a commodity palace — purely for the fun of it — points to the proletarian reconstruction of space.

We do not maintain that the individuals participating in a wildcat strike, or a university insurrection or an antitourist potlatch, come out of their experience recognizing it for what it really is. The real opposition which is not aware of itself as such is recuperated and reintegrated. The routine of daily life, not to mention the teachings of the leftish marionettes, erodes a memory and turns it into show. The realization of all past moments of proletarian insurrection will not exist outside the appropriation of all power by the councils of workers.