“In the decor of the spectacle, the eye meets only things and their prices.” from the Paris uprising of 1968
From the: BUREAU OF PUBLIC SECRETS
POB 1044, Berkeley CA 94701, USA
THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE by Guy Debord
Newly translated and annotated by Ken Knabb
150 pages. $15.00
Guy Debord was the most influential figure in the Situationist
International, the notorious group that helped trigger the May 1968 revolt
in France. His book “The Society of the Spectacle,” originally published in
Paris in 1967, has been translated into more than twenty other languages and
is arguably the most important radical book of the twentieth century. This
is the first edition in any language to include extensive annotations,
clarifying the historical allusions and revealing the sources of Debord’s
Contrary to popular misconceptions, Debord’s book is neither an ivory tower
“philosophical” discourse nor a mere expression of “protest.” It is a
carefully considered effort to clarify the most fundamental tendencies and
contradictions of the society in which we find ourselves. This makes it more
of a challenge, but it is also why it remains so pertinent nearly half a
century after its original publication while countless other social theories
and intellectual fads have come and gone.
It has, in fact, become even more pertinent than ever, because the spectacle
has become more all-pervading than ever — to the point that it is almost
universally taken for granted. Most people today have scarcely any awareness
of pre-spectacle history, let alone of anti-spectacle possibilities. As
Debord noted in his follow-up work, “Comments on the Society of the
Spectacle” (1988), “spectacular domination has succeeded in raising an
entire generation molded to its laws.”
The book is now at the printer’s. It will be available March 20. For further
information, see http://www.bopsecrets.org/cat.htm
The Guardian newspaper out of London, in an article from 2012 entitled: Guy Debord predicted our distracted society The Society of the Spectacle offered in 1967 an eerily accurate portrait of our image-saturated, mediated times, stated:
“To sum up the book’s substance in a couple of sentences is a nonsense, but here goes: essentially, Debord argues that having recast the idea of “being into having”, what he calls “the present phase of total occupation of social life by the accumulated results of the economy” has led to “a generalised sliding from having into appearing, from which all actual ‘having’ must draw its immediate prestige and its ultimate function” (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/30/guy-debord-society-spectacle).
See the Youtube of the Paris uprisings in 1968 at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbar529zc9Y).
Also from Ken Knabb some great quotes from graffiti at the Paris uprising of 1968:
Commute, work, commute, sleep . . .
Meanwhile everyone wants to breathe and nobody can and many say, “We will breathe later.”
And most of them don’t die because they are already dead.
Boredom is counterrevolutionary.
We don’t want a world where the guarantee of not dying
of starvation brings the risk of dying of boredom.
We want to live.
Don’t beg for the right to live — take it.
In a society that has abolished every kind of adventure
the only adventure that remains is to abolish the society.
The liberation of humanity is all or nothing.
Those who make revolutions half way only dig their own graves.
No replastering, the structure is rotten.
Masochism today takes the form of reformism.
Reform my ass.
The revolution is incredible because it’s really happening.
I came, I saw, I was won over.
Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!
If we only have enough time . . .
In any case, no regrets!
Already ten days of happiness.
At every moment something is happening.
Live in the moment.
Comrades, if everyone did like us . . .
We will ask nothing. We will demand nothing. We will take, occupy.
Down with the state.
When the National Assembly becomes a bourgeois theater,
all the bourgeois theaters should be turned into national assemblies.
[Written above the entrance of the occupied Odéon Theater]
Referendum: whether we vote yes or no, it turns us into suckers.
It’s painful to submit to our bosses; it’s even more stupid to choose them.
Let’s not change bosses, let’s change life.
Don’t liberate me — I’ll take care of that.
I’m not a servant of the people (much less of their self-appointed leaders).
Let the people serve themselves.
Abolish class society.
Nature created neither servants nor masters. I want neither to rule nor to be ruled.
We will have good masters as soon as everyone is their own.
“In revolution there are two types of people:
those who make it and those who profit from it.”
Warning: ambitious careerists may now be disguised as “progressives.”
Don’t be taken in by the politicos and their filthy demagogy. We must rely on ourselves.
Socialism without freedom is a barracks.
All power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
We want structures that serve people, not people serving structures.
The revolution doesn’t belong to the committees, it’s yours.
Politics is in the streets.
Barricades close the streets but open the way.
Our hope can come only from the hopeless.
A proletarian is someone who has no power over his life and knows it.
If we have to resort to force, don’t sit on the fence.
Humanity won’t be happy till the last capitalist is hung
with the guts of the last bureaucrat.
When the last sociologist has been hung with the guts of
the last bureaucrat, will we still have “problems”?
The passion of destruction is a creative joy.
A single nonrevolutionary weekend is infinitely more bloody than a month of total revolution.
The tears of philistines are the nectar of the gods.
This concerns everyone.
You can see more at:(http://www.bopsecrets.org/CF/graffiti.htm).
Blurring appearance and reality … Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving in The Matrix. Photograph: Rex Features