mardi 20 décembre 2011
The American Section of the Situationist International
Post Mortem Ante Facto and Address to the Public High School Students of New York
The journal of the American section of the Situationist International – the group that best expressed the authentic content of the May 68 revolution – is the first work published by the CMDE in its “Night Awakeners” collection.
The American section of the Situationist International, composed of Robert Chasse, Bruce Elwell, Jonathan Horelick and Tony Verlaan, was formed at the end of 1968.
The writings that we will publish here are all unpublished in French and long ago out-of-print in English. The first of these documents, “Address to the Public High School Students of New York” is a detourned comic-strip in the vein inaugurated by the [European] situationists. The second, “Post Mortem Ante Facto,” a wall-poster created on the occasion of the inauguration of Nixon, is a critique with Swiftian accents of the spectacle of electoral politics. The third, the first and only journal of the American section, is divided into five sections. “Faces of Recuperation” demonstrates that a good appreciation of the works of the Great Soft Heads of the American intelligentsia, from Marcuse, doctor of speculation, to the con artist McLuhan, is superior to these works themselves. “Certain Extraordinary Considerations on the Devolution of Capitalism and the Bureaucratization of Existence,” signed by Robert Chasse, exposes – in the form of theses – a proletarian critique of the bureaucracy and its attempt to pacify existence. The third and fourth articles, "Territorial Planning" (a translation of Chapter VII of Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle) and "Population Control," illustrate how modern capitalism, the bureaucratic society of consumption, attempts to shape all aspects of life by urbanistic methods as well as genetics. The fifth, "The Practice of Theory," exposes in a detailed fashion the activity of the American section (the distribution of situationist texts in the United States; the American reception of Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle and Raoul Vaneigem's Traite de savoir-vivre; the activities of the Council for the Liberation of Everyday Life; the role of American situationists in May '68 and their analysis of the events), provides a portrait of "Cohn-Bendit as Representation" and formulates diverse ad hominem critiques of the representatives of American Leftism in all its variants.
A preface written by the translator retraces the history of the American section, sometimes relying upon unpublished information, and recalls the troubled historical conditions in which its members deployed their seditious activity.
In this time of relative jugglers and contingent contortions, here are authors whom one will not allow oneself to add to the soft paste of false eclectic interest, like the Badious, the Negris and the Zizeks.
The American section of the Situationist International demonstrated how opposition to the existing order is falsified but also rediscovered. At the moment that a vast occupations movement has appeared in America (some of its participants are overtly inspired by the situationists), one will read these writings attentively. They testify to what the situationist adventure in America was.
[Translated by NOT BORED! on 8 December 2011. Footnotes by the translator.]
 Cf. Lautreamont, Poésies: “Judgments of poetry have more value than poetry.”
 Cf. Guy Debord's letter to Gerard Lebovici dated 29 September 1976 for more about “the bureaucratization of the world.”
 Translated in the 1960s as The Totality for Kids and in the 1980s as The Revolution of Everyday Life.
 Cf. Lautreamont, Poésies: “Personal poetry has had its day of relative jugglery and contingent contortions.”
 Cf. "Nos buts et nos méthodes dans le scandale de Strasbourg,” Internationale Situationniste, #11 October 1967: “On ne pourra pas se permettre de nous supporter, dans la pâte molle du faux intérêt éclectique, comme des Sartre, des Althusser, des Aragon, des Godard.”