on the subject of the debate on the SI's orientation

Up until May [1968], our critique has said "disappear!" and artists, intellectuals, [and] students obeyed with a remarkable sense of history. Since May [1968], the master word of our critique has been "appear!" and such must be the foundation of our programme in the new era.

But if we have formulated the theory of the bad old days, we have done very little for the better days we now live. The "Manifesto" [1] (and many other texts) must mark this stage. Its [the "Manfesto's"] distribution must be completely different from that of our preceding texts. And since it is at the center of our preoccupations, I think that it must be expressly written for the wildcat strikers of the 1970s and communicated to them in priority and by appropriate means, that is to say, those that carry on the scandalous critique of the scandal of communication, such as they experience it. And they judge our actions better than our aesthetic. Henceforth, we cannot content ourselves with saluting from afar the pink ballets [2] of Nantes or the red miners [3] of Sweden. The SI's [Situationist International's] possibilities of action must be placed in relation with those that the proletariat has started to develop. May [1968] remains the spectre haunting Europe and it leads consciousness more to the realization of art and philosophy than to the idea of workers' councils. To pose all of the questions in terms of the pleasure of living and the realization of human relations, means restoring to them all of the questions of temporary management and organization that they pose. This will mark what separates us historically from the intimates of the darkroom, planning councilists and council automators. And each time that the class that abolishes all classes appears, we must be there to show it that it isn't essentially different from what we have always tried to be: our own dissolution. And if the charlatans have, by our invitation, left the scene, the proletariat will again hunt their phantoms and take those who incarnate them. We know not to remain pied pipers. It will be necessary for us to know all of the dances (I have several pieces of music to propose in a "Preface to the practical critique of the old, modernized world"). We shouldn't pile on only our own shoulders the need for new ideas, and we shouldn't expect the practical enlargement and the necessary theoretical deepening from the close comrades in whom we find the strongest agreement with our theses. In this sense, the contributions of Glou [4] and Cie are all one can expect of individuals in the sphere that surrounds us, that we involuntarily unite, and in which mimeticism turns according to natural law. We have again rejected the masters of rewriting. [5] It is necessary to use unpublished ideas, international particularisms ("a tendency must normally be international") to practically bind the already made critique to the one in the process of being made. This must orient our choices in our necessary development. Just as theory in its first movement (such as ours) has nothing to do with oral history, the resumption of the debate in the SI takes place by the reduction to texts and to choices and engagements that are more precise than those that have presided over the project of creating a dictionary of situationist concepts. In another domain, one can say that, if in the SI there has been the necessary confidence, critique has deserted our relations. A bit more vigilance could have cleaned up what had creeped into [the sections of the SI in] Italy or America (perhaps this is what has made Tony [Verlaan] a prophet and permitted some people to maintain their presence in the SI with impugnity and despite the communal project). In this sense, I appreciate that Rene [Riesel] has extricated himself from silence but I fear that he has nourished himself on inexpressible squabbles more out of ignorance of certain material details than out of absent affinities. His laconicism doesn't permit me to write scarcely any more. A "Strasbourg of the factories" [6] should be prepared from now on so that it makes use of the knowledge that we have been preoccupied with acquiring for the last two years. The theoretical critique of the spectacle-commodity economy is certainly much less boring than modest silence. This debate should be concluded by a collectively drafted document. Cheers for the SI! [7]

Note: written by Francois de Beaulieu, April 1970. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! August 2004.

Translator's notes:

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

[2] Slang for orgies between adults and underage females.

[3] "red" as in Communist.

[4] Jacques Le Glou, a member of the Libertarian Group of Menilmontant.

[5] English in original.

[6] 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.

[7] Spanish in original.

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