Note on the Situationists

There is no point in saying much here about the situationists. I have already discussed them at length in many of my other writings. (See my book Public Secrets and in particular The Joy of Revolution, which in my immodest opinion is the best general examination of the problems and possibilities of a modern, situationist-type revolution.) Suffice it to say that the following three books are essential reading and rereading for anyone with any pretension of radical awareness:

Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle  [1967]
      The most important radical work of the twentieth century. My translation of it is online here.

Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life  [1967]
      A more “subjective” examination of life in modern capitalist society, complementing the more “objective” approach of Debord’s book.

Ken Knabb (ed.), Situationist International Anthology  [1981/2006]
      The most accurate and comprehensive collection of SI texts in English, drawn primarily from the French journal Internationale Situationniste (1958-1969). The revised and expanded version is online here.

In addition, any serious radical will want to read René Viénet’s Enragés and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, Debord and Sanguinetti’s The Real Split in the International, and just about everything else by Debord — especially his Comments on the Society of the Spectacle and his Complete Cinematic Works.

The numerous books about the situationists are assessed in my Situationist Bibliography.


Section from Gateway to the Vast Realms (Ken Knabb, 2004).

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