B U R E A U   O F   P U B L I C   S E C R E T S

Public Secrets
Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb

1997. 408 pages

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1. Some Facts of Life
Utopia or bust
Stalinist “communism” and reformist “socialism” are merely variants of capitalism
Representative democracy versus delegate democracy
Irrationalities of capitalism
Some exemplary modern revolts
Some common objections
Increasing dominance of the spectacle
2. Foreplay
Personal breakthroughs
Critical interventions
Theory versus ideology
Avoiding false choices and elucidating real ones
The insurrectionary style
Radical film
Oppressionism versus playfulness
The Strasbourg scandal
The poverty of electoral politics
Reforms and alternative institutions
Political correctness, or equal opportunity alienation
Drawbacks of moralism and simplistic extremism
Advantages of boldness
Advantages and limits of nonviolence
3. Climaxes
Causes of social breakthroughs
Postwar upheavals
Effervescence of radical situations
Popular self-organization
The situationists in May 1968
Workerism is obsolete, but workers’ position remains pivotal
Wildcats and sitdowns
Consumer strikes
What could have happened in May 1968
Methods of confusion and cooption
Terrorism reinforces the state
The ultimate showdown
4. Rebirth
Utopians fail to envision postrevolutionary diversity
Decentralization and coordination
Safeguards against abuses
Consensus, majority rule and unavoidable hierarchies
Eliminating the roots of war and crime
Abolishing money
Absurdity of most present-day labor
Transforming work into play
Technophobic objections
Ecological issues
The blossoming of free communities
More interesting problems


Part 1 (1945-1969)
How I became an atheist
Shimer College and first independent ventures
Berkeley in the sixties
Kenneth Rexroth
How I evaded the draft
How I became an anarchist
Part 2 (1969-1977)
How I became a situationist
A fresh start
The “Notice” group
The breaking of a fellowship
Part 3 (1977-1997)
Japan and Hong Kong
The SI Anthology
Rock climbing
Rexroth again
Zen practice
Reading, writing, translating and music
How this book came to be


Do We Need Snyder for Poet-Priest? (1970)
In This Theater... (1970)
Ode on the Absence of Real Poetry Here This Afternoon (1970)
Bureaucratic Comix (1971)
Critique of the New Left Movement (Contradiction, 1972):
Antifascism and the Cybernetic Welfare State
Yippies and Weathermen
Communes and Collectives
Women’s Liberation
On the Poverty of Hip Life (Contradiction, 1972)
Remarks on Contradiction and Its Failure (1973)
“Reich: How To Use” (comic poster) (1973)
Reich: How To Use (Voyer, 1971)
Discretion Is the Better Part of Value (Voyer, 1973)
Double-Reflection (1974)
Theory of Poverty, Poverty of Theory (Denevert, 1973)
To Clarify Some Aspects of the Moment (chapter 3) (Denevert, 1972)
Declaration Concerning the Center for Research on the Social Question (CRQS, 1974)
Notice Concerning the Reigning Society and Those Who Contest It (Carrión, Cooperstein, Cronin, Hammer, Knabb, Rosenberg, Shutes, 1974)
The Blind Men and the Elephant (1975)
Bureau of Public Secrets #1 (1976):
The Society of Situationism
Notes Toward a Situationist Manifesto (Charles & Denevert, 1975)
Arms and the Woman (Charles, 1975)
From Science’s End (Moinet, 1974)
A Short Guide to the Anglo-American Situationist Image
Trouble Is My Business
Affective Détournement: A Case Study
The Realization and Suppression of Religion (1977)
Open Letter to the Tokyo “Libertaire” Group (1977)
A Radical Group in Hong Kong (1978)
The Opening in Iran (1979)
Banalities (1979)
The Relevance of Rexroth (1990):
1. Life and Literature
2. Magnanimity and Mysticism
3. Society and Revolution
Notes and Bibliography
The War and the Spectacle (1991)
On René Viénet’s Film Can Dialectics Break Bricks? (1992)
Los Angeles 1965/1992 (excerpt from SI text below) (1992)
Watts 1965: The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy (Situationist International, 1965)
Strong Lessons for Engaged Buddhists (1993)
On Guy Debord’s Film The Society of the Spectacle (1996)
Situationist Bibliography (updated)

Notes on the Texts (updated)
Selected Opinions on the BPS (updated)
Index (merged with the Index to the entire BPS website)




Bureau of Public Secrets, PO Box 1044, Berkeley CA 94701, USA
  www.bopsecrets.org   knabb@bopsecrets.org