notes for the meeting of 28 April 1970

The accusation of "workerism," which was made against us after the publication of #12 [1], defines the terrain on which we place ourselves and now begin to act. The facts that we were in touch with several workers in May [1968] -- better: certain workers sought us out -- and that we wrote in The Beginning of an Era that "the May movement wasn't a student movement," have profoundly shocked the bad consciences of several lamentable people, because we have begun to communicate with a part of the worker milieu in a completely anti-workerist fashion, and because these cretins feel rejected by a movement that speaks so well of us. As a matter of fact, they weren't rejected, but since they think so, they effectively are so. Internationale Situationniste #12 also carries within itself a strategic part that is newsworthy without us having to previously define it between ourselves. The discussion about the readers that we don't want anymore shows in a general way the route that we want to take now. The reaction of these "readers despite us" can provide us with a way of judging our action: the more they are against the SI, the more we will have reason to be satisfied.

On the autonomous groups after May, we have already said, at the return to Venice, [2] that none of them had published a good theoretical text, [there were] no novelties. In their defense, I said that their very appearance was a novelty; but of course their disappearance wasn't. It seems to me that the question of revolutionary organization is the order of the day; and that the next discussions and texts should concern this subject.

The "Strasbourg of the factories" [3] that we have proposed, and the Manifesto, as well, [4] should as always be marked by the firmness and intransigence of the truth of situationist theory. It isn't a question of producing new theoretical hypotheses to make something new, but to describe what exists. It is the analysis of the current period that has revealed discoverable novelties to us -- or simply new things to be discovered. What is most lacking in the revolutionary proletarian movement is the awareness of what it has already done. To support the miners of Kiruna, Limbourg and Asturias, the wildcat strikers of the entire world, this is one of the principal tasks that we must undertake. This will accelerate the process of awakening and shorten the time-interval between the "defeat" of a movement and its return, which can be qualitatively better to the point at which awareness is contemporary with action -- that is to say, awareness of what the movement can and must necessarily do. The current period of relative calm -- after the spread of wildcat strikes in Europe and in the United States -- appears, rather, as a symptom of the fall of the European movement, which again is at the trough of the wave, but this doesn't worry or deceive us at all, because we know that it is at such times that scandals produce all of their effects.

Note: written by Christian Sebastiani, April 1970. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! August 2004.

Translator's notes:

[1] Internationale Situationniste #12 (review of the French Section of the SI), published September 1969.

[2] The Eighth Conference of the Situationist International, held in Venice in September 1969, might be called a "return" because the SI was founded in Italy in 1957 and hadn't met in that country since then.

[3] In 1966, the SI helped a group of radical university students in Strasbourg cause a scandal, in part by donating to them a brilliant and soon widely read pamphlet entitled On the Poverty of Student Life. One imagines that a "Strasbourg of the factory" would involve the publication of a tract with a title along the lines of On the Poverty of Working for a Living.

[4] The situationists planned to write and publish a "Situationist Manifesto" modeled on Marx & Engel's "Communist Manifesto" (1848), but never did.

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