The other night I found myself reading some stuff by people who came out the Situationist milieu in France after the SI’s break up. I’ve changed my mind a lot and repeatedly on this stuff, as I have with the Italian operaismo stuff. I’m pasting below some quotes and leaving it at that. Because I’m lazy I’m also pasting here some Badiou related quotes from some other stuff I was reading. On the SI/post-SI stuff, there’s a lot more I want to re-visit with regard to all this, from the SI and after, stuff on workers councils and general strikes and occupations. Eventually.

http://libcom.org/library/compendium-encyclopedie-des-nuisances
“the SI wanted “to disseminate another idea of happiness” by putting forward “certain new values of life”: constant mobility, the derive, obscurity.”

“With the long final crisis of the years 1968-1972, a kind of “nostalgia for origins” unfolded as if by logical necessity within and around the SI, that is, nostalgia for the moment when the radical nature of its project was immediately practicable in the very activity of its formulation: a violent separation with respect to the culture of separation, enunciation without concessions of objectives which were then totally scandalous, joyful rupture with the conformism of behavioral roles, everything moved at the same pace, and swiftly.”

Brecht: “What is democratic conduct? Conduct which makes democracy possible, not one which teaches democracy.”

“Minimum Definition of Revolutionary Organizations”

“Declaration of November 11, 1970”

theses on organization of April 1968

http://libcom.org/library/history-ten-years-encyclopedie-des-nuisances
“At that time when so many things were possible, those who found themselves in the most advanced revolutionary positions thus left in the hands of the various leftist fractions the terrain of the particular struggles being unleashed everywhere against each aspect of alienation. (…) The radical current of the advocates of a modern social critique, principally developed among the youth (…) was led to expect everything, with an increasing lack of realism that was sometimes comically manifested as critical spite, from workers struggles that it was nonetheless incapable of either supporting or understanding, magically denying that which separated it from them. In France, this separation was enhanced, together with the power of the trade union bureaucrats who were its guardians, by the fact that numerous young workers chose after 1968 to abandon the factories, over the doors of which they had written: “Here freedom ends”. Thus, the movement that in 1968 had stopped short of creating autonomous organizations that would have directed the anti-trade union struggle towards a positive project of total democracy, far from growing stronger as a result of the memory of the proletarian attempts of the past, is so weakened that it has forgotten what it did. (…)

Proletarian subversion, whenever it has been deployed, has clearly demonstrated its ability to disorganize the system of survival, but not its ability to organize life. This weakness was already present at the inception of the new era, in 1968, but it was generally forgotten or underestimated. The occupations movement, however, only began to realize one of the two tasks of the proletarian revolution: the critique in acts of all aspects of alienated life. The other task, the reorganization of social life by the direct democracy of the workers assemblies, was hardly addressed, and then by only a few people. The May movement thus did not bequeath new practical principles to the revolutionary era which it had itself inaugurated, appropriate for the development of more complete needs and desires that would surpass all authorized satisfactions, but only the memory of a total rejection, not so easy to implement in itself. This seemed to be enough at the time: because even there at the beginning, present in the spirits and the hearts of so many people, is everything that shook the foundations of the established order. It was thought that the battle would soon pick up where it had left off. But with the passage of time it became more difficult to take advantage of the opportunity that once seemed to be just around the corner. (…)

What the new revolutionary movement initially lacked was not acquired in the course of further attempts. Its real defeat was not so much in its end as in the fact that it left in its wake nothing that could be used to re-impassion a program of total subversion by clarifying its qualitative means, the means which contain the movement’s goal because they are already an example of a more free use of life. Such a powerful force for exasperating its enemies must seek not to uselessly tire out its supporters. The main failure of a movement of social critique that could count on the contempt for work practiced by numerous proletarians is therefore that of not having convinced itself by its acts of its ability to organize life on other foundations, and in not having known how to show to the workers as a whole what they could gain by ceasing to be workers. (…)

The workers revolts of the sixties were essentially the result of the arrival in the factories of a generation of young proletarians who were without any trace of ‘loyalty to their trade’ and a first response to the de-skilling of labor. In them could be traced the confluence of the traditional demands of the working class in its resistance to exploitation, and the modern refusal of brutalizing wage labor. The correlation of forces (the weakening of the trade unions, etc.) temporarily interrupted the continuity of capitalist rationalization, but, with the decline of the struggles, rationalization continued where it left off. One of its principal aspects is (…) the institutionalization of turnover (1), extensively practiced by young workers, to some extent reversing the precariousness of subjection to an employer and the subjection to the precariousness of employment. There is no reason at this point to delve into a detailed elaboration of a trend whose principal result, as far as the relations of forces in the social war are concerned, was that unemployment was used to break up the strongholds of workers resistance; and, above all, the threatening prospect of the crisis of the economy as a crisis of life for all men, the consciousness of which was suppressed under the pressure of the crisis of survival imposed on the workers.

The first effect of this pressure of unemployment was to break forever the alliance, which had been ephemerally concluded during the high points of the proletarian subversion, between the traditional workers sectors, generally more subject to the influence of the trade union bureaucracies and Stalinist ideology, and the younger or less integrated workers, who expressed a modern revolt. (…)

Only the consciousness of common perspectives, practically overcoming separations in order to attack the world in its totality, that is, the wage labor that constitutes its basis, is capable of preventing those who still had a job and were exploited from relapsing to defend it under the control of the trade unions, while those who did not have a job fell back, in a disastrous ideological flight forward, into all the illusions of that marginality more often imposed than chosen; and which, even when it was chosen, in no way endangered the system, but rather constituted a safety valve.”

About Italy after 1968 or 1969, “The vast informal party of subversion, powerful in the factories due to a rich experience of struggle and a social hatred that, stoked by the first attempts at capitalist restructuring, limited the possibilities of trade union recuperation, was swelled in the streets by all those who had been marginalized by unemployment and the repression of absenteeism and workers indiscipline. Advancing at the rate of their practical consciousness towards their radical means, towards posing the threat of a split in society even more unfavorable for the supporters of power insofar as the latter had become, as a result of its excesses, more hated than feared.”

http://libcom.org/history/report-assembly-movement-miguel-amoros
“The workers assemblies made their enemies retreat on several occasions, but did not occupy the terrain that the latter surrendered. The movement, lacking cohesion, was worn down, without general goals, without being able to deliver decisive blows.”

http://libcom.org/library/afterword-history-ten-years-miguel-amoros
““The History of Ten Years”, published by the Encyclopédie des Nuisances (EdN) in February 1985, was intended to serve as the balance sheet of the “first epoch of the modern proletarian revolution” that began in 1968. According to the EdN the proletariat had successfully plunged the system of rule in several countries into crisis, but had hesitated before the magnitude of the historical task that the consequences of its action posed, thereby allowing the system to modernize and to go on the offensive, destroying the workers’ milieu and rendering a counterattack impossible. The EdN undertook an in-depth analysis of this defeat in the wake of which there remained neither any lines of demarcation with respect to the capitalist enemy, nor “irreversible general conclusions”. To the extent that spectacular domination occupied the social terrain the “subjective preconditions for the revolution” deteriorated and alienation ran amok. Along with the disputed territory, memory was also lost, and with memory, the very idea of an autonomous project of social organization. This irreconcilable critique allowed for a certain degree of lucidity that made possible not only the diagnosis of the ‘ills’ of the era, but also the search for an antidote.”

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Membres_de_l%27Internationale_situationniste

**

http://www.marxists.org/archive/bensaid/2004/xx/badiou.htm
“it is only retrospectively that the event is acknowledged as such, by way of an ‘interpretative intervention’.”

“Truth, following in the wake of ‘that which happens’, is a matter of ‘pure conviction’, it is ‘wholly subjective’, and is a ‘pure fidelity to the opening brought about by the event’”

“What exactly is an event? Aleatory by nature, the event cannot be predicted outside a singular situation, nor even deduced from that situation without some unpredictable chance operation. (…) This event is characterized by the unpredictability of what might just as well not have occurred. (…) It comes about retroactively through the sovereign naming of its existence and the fidelity to the truth which comes to light in it. (…) Accordingly, the genuine event remains irreducible to all instrumental reckoning.”

“There are so many occasions for giving up! So many temptations to bow one’s head and submit to expediency! So many pretexts for resigning oneself, for becoming reconciled, through lassitude, through wisdom, for reasonable reasons, whether good or bad, so as not to pursue the politics of the worst available option, by choosing the lesser evil (which will turn out to be a shortcut to the worst option), to cut one’s losses, or simply to present oneself as ‘responsible’.”

http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=12406
“The event has no objective existence; since it exhibits a distinctively reflexive structure, it only occurs through what Badiou calls an ‘interpretative intervention’ (p. 181). In other words, the event emerges along with the subject who recognizes it, or who nominates it as an event. ”

“According to Badiou, the event calls for fidelity, by which he understands the discrimination and sustaining of the consequences of the event. Badiou emphasizes that there is no fidelity in general — there is only fidelity to specific event, a commitment to the truth that has been disclosed. ”

“‘the event itself only exists insofar as it is submitted, by an intervention whose possibility requires recurrence — and thus non-commencement — to the ruled structure of the situation; as such, any novelty is relative, being legible solely after the fact as the hazard of an order’ (p. 210)”

“For Badiou, fidelity to the event is more important than the event itself.”

Advertisements