Neo-Situ

The zeitgeist had a Sitatutionist color for me today:

First I read in the NYT about the New School students protesting Bob Kerrey’s ineptitude as president of their university, which took the form of locking themselves in a building and reading Situationist tracts from Strasbourg ’66 to the crowd outside – Knowing nothing about the New School situation my main criticism of their “action” is directed towards their reading of ancient revolutionary pamphlets. Though an excellent provocation and elucidating a still relevant general critique, “On The Poverty…” was part of an effort by a particular group of people at a particular time to confront and undermine the dang Spectacle on their own terms. Today the enemy is the same and yet not, and so must our rebellion retain its essential antagonistic refusal while damning the nasty particulars in our midst (duh). I then checked up on ye olde anarcho news wire to-day and found some cryptic bits about the “tarnac 9“, some French maybe-colleagues that seem to have gotten the boot stuck in by them French pigs. – If I read French I might be able to get at their Programme a little more – A preliminary sampling of their translated theses/statements leads me to believe that they have arrived at notions about insurrection/rebellion similar to my own, and aren’t we always pleased to find our wisdom confirmed by like minds? Lots of talk of a rejection of the metropolis via a kind of commune, of undermining the hyper-specialized world of helplessness we live in through mutual education, etc – nothing novel in the sphere of ideas but rarely encountered outside of my conversations with Tim –

Which is why I was tickled to find the Tarnac fellows, whose “Coming Insurrection” is more or less a modern chapter of “The Revolution of Everyday Life”, which is to say a contemporary critique written by those who have learned from the endeavors of our predecessors but aren’t oppressed by their failures. I have found it strange and frustrating over the years to find so little in the way of relatively mature “situationist” flavored thinking and writing as I troll the interweb – there’s no shortage of hagiography and handwringing about the legacy of ’68, and I’ve found a lot of primitivists and New Age white mystic bullshitters and hare-brained TAZ types and earnest syndicalists who sprinkle a few Debordisms around but few who express a tolerably well-reasoned, anti-Work philosophy of refusal (I’m talking about white people, white formally educated goobers like myself living in Europe or North America) – Of course this is the sort of thing that I should be doing, if I’m so in to it.

Depression makes one lazy, the mind entropic, etc.

My last Situationist encounter of the day came via a link on bookforum, which in turn brought me to an article written by Hal Foster in the LRB, wherein he discusses a collection of Debord’s correspondence – it’s not too shabby.

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2 Responses to “Neo-Situ”

  1. Matthew Says:

    So you found a lot of non-white, non-local, non-northamerican/europeans who express a well reasoned anti-work philosophy of refusal? plz provide contact info k thx.

  2. doomspirals Says:

    Wellllllllllllll I just meant that I’d like to find ideas about ways out of hell emanating from my ostensible demographic: while all us humans live in hell, there are various circles and consequently diverse stratagems for escape – methods employed by Bolivian coca farmers, say, could only be of so much immediate practical value for me and vice versa – tho I also think looking to relatively wealthy Western 20- or 30-somethings for insurgent inspiration a dubious, low-yield pastime – And, I reckon I don’t find much “maturity” among those professing an “anti-work philosophy of refusal” in large part because I myself am not a mature analyst, and because the “anti-work philosophy of refusal” can itself be considered to be an immature attitude appealing mostly to slackers and bellyachers, one or both of which I surely am. DOOMSPIRAL!

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