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A Few Extra Remarks
on Guy Debord - Revolutionary


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4 .  l e n  b r a c k e n

HERE IS THE ORIGINAL PARAGRAPH and my translation of Debord's relatively minor essay, "The Situationists and New Forms of Action in Politics and Art" containing the original use of the so-called "reversible connecting factor" (this portion of the essay is untranslated in Knabb's excerpt).

REPRENDRE AINSI LE RADICALISME implique naturellement aussi un approfondissement considérable de toutes les anciennes tentatives libératrices. L'expérience de leur inachèvement dans l'isolement, ou de leur retournement en mystification globale, conduit à mieux comprendre la cohérence du monde à transformer - et, à partir de la cohérence retrouvée, on peut sauver beaucoup de recherches partielles continuées dans le passé récent, qui accèdent de la sorte à leur vérité. L'appréhension de cette cohérence réversible du monde, tel qu'il est et tel qu'il est possible, dévoile le caractère fallacieux des demi-mesures, et le fait qu'il y a essentiellement demi-mesure chaque fois que le modèle de fonctionnement de la société dominante -avec ses catégories de hiérarchisation et de spécialisation, corollairement ses habitudes ou ses goûts - se reconstitue àl'intérieur des forces de la négation.

My translation and emphasis:

TO REVIVE RADICALISM NATURALLY implies considerable deepening of all past liberatory initiatives. The experience of their failure in isolation, or their transformation into total mystification, leads to greater understanding of the coherence of the world that needs to be transformed. And through a newly found coherence, one can salvage much partial research that was continued in the recent past and can thus be verified. The apprehension of this reversible coherence of the world, such as it is and is possible, unmasks the fallacious character of half-measures. And the fact is, half-measures exist every time the dominant model for the functioning of society - with its hierarchical categories and specialization, and as a corollary, its habits and tastes - is reconstituted inside the forces of negation.

AS YOU CAN SEE, IN MY version, Debord's "cette cohérence réversible du monde" (not his most eloquent formulation) becomes "this reversible coherence of the world" (not "this reversible connecting factor"). What follows is the portion of the SI translation, graciously forwarded by Greil Marcus:

TO REVIVE RADICALISM also involves considerable research work, with a view to all the earlier attempts at freedom. Experience concerning how they have ended in isolation or turned into global mystification leads to a greater understanding of the continuity in the world that is to be changed - and by means of this understanding it is possible to salvage many of the single results that research in the most recent past has reached and which can thus be verified. This understanding of the reversible connecting factor in the world exposes - to the extent that it exists and is possible - the false character of halfway measures... (SI trans.)

NOTE THAT WHERE DEBORD uses cohérence (a cognate with the English "coherence") the SI translators use "continuity," "understanding" and "connecting." Compare their variation with my repetition of the cognate "coherence" - the meaning is much more clear: he's talking about opposing the totality. . .

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