“‘First of all, we think the world must be changed. We want the most liberating change of the society and life in which we find ourselves confined. We know that such a change is possible through appropriate actions. Our specific concern is the use of certain means of action and the discovery of new ones.’ (Guy Debord, 1957)
Dear Friends and Contacts,
As an experiment, I am going to facilitate a yearlong exploration of Guy Debord and the Situationist International. I’ve done this same sort of thing previously with several small in-person groups in the Bay Area, but this will be the first time I’ve tried it on Zoom with a larger number of people taking part from elsewhere in the world.
We will be reading and discussing my Situationist International Anthology (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2006) and my annotated translation of Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle (2014).
Participation is free and anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of their political viewpoints or of their knowledge or lack of knowledge of the situationists, as long as they are respectful of the other participants.
The group will meet via Zoom every other Sunday, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Pacific Time, beginning on September 10.
(As many of you know, during the last several years I’ve been leading a literary discussion group [“Exploring the Classics”] that also meets every other Sunday via Zoom. That group will continue, and this new group will meet on the alternate Sundays.)
We will begin with the SI Anthology, which presents the different stages of the situationists’ evolution, from their “psychogeographical” experiments and cultural agitations of the 1950s, through their analyses of the Watts riot, the Vietnam war, the Prague Spring, the Chinese “Cultural Revolution,” and other crises and upheavals of the sixties, culminating in their perpetration of the 1966 “Strasbourg scandal” and their role in triggering the astonishing May 1968 revolt in France. Covering about 50 pages per meeting, this will take us 10 meetings.
Then we will move on to The Society of the Spectacle. Because this book is more concise and more difficult than most of the SI articles, we will be taking our time, reading the whole book aloud and discussing the meanings and implications of each paragraph in detail. Our previous reading of the Anthology articles will also help to clarify what Debord is getting at. Reading about 10 pages per meeting, this will take us 11 meetings.
The two books can be ordered from any of the distributors listed at the bottom of this webpage: https://www.bopsecrets.org/cat.htm. You can also read the books online at the same website […].
NOTE: This is not intended to be any sort of political action group or forum for political debate. Our aim will simply be to look at what the situationists actually said and did (in contrast to the wide variety of silly rumors and misconceptions about them). What you do with what you learn is up to you.
Let me know if you’re interested.” [via the contact email on the website or linked above]