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A Few Extra Remarks
on Guy Debord - Revolutionary


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Guy Debord: Revolutionary

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7 .  l e n  b r a c k e n

THESE STRUCTURALIST SCHOOLS split most dramatically with Debord on the issue of historicity, which recognizes the irreversible and successive nature of change in a way that is alien to structuralists who seek to reveal the intrinsic, timeless properties of objects under investigation (and the interrelation of elements, usually in a hierarchy). Part of Debord's appeal is his ability to consider capitalism as being historically transient - without this sense of historicity, his entire project would be senseless: "the project of the domination by all people of their own history, at all levels." Debord engaged in a dialectical analysis of history, not an anti-historical approach to structure.

THE ACT OF EITHER REVERSING or disrupting this "coherence of the world," is a moment of real history and thus constitutes the movement of irreversible time. To inflate the importance of a minor phrase in a minor essay as Marcus does is misleading because it fails to even allude to Debord's conception - central to his major work - of irreversible time.

MARCUS' USE of the "reversible connecting factor" on page 238 equates his reversible connecting factor with Jung's activation of archetypes in Nazi Germany:

THIS WAS JUNG'S ACCOUNT of Nazism. In it was the power principle Debord would grasp: the reversible connecting factor, the idea that the empty repetitions of modern life, of work and spectacle, could be detourned into the creation of situations, into abstract forms that could be infused with unlimited content.

AS I SAY IN MY FOOTNOTE: to say that Debord found a "power principle" akin to one exploited by Nazis is a smear, especially when it was Jung who wanted a German, "non-Jewish," psychology in Germany: storm troopers, concentration camps, mass anti-Semitism and ARBEIT MACHT FREI. Moreover, the idea of abstract forms infused with unlimited content would reek so badly of structuralism to Debord that Marcus should've at least hinted that Debord would object to this interpretation on the fundamental grounds of historicity. When Debord is writing about the "coherence of the world" he's clearly stressing his Marxist interpretation of capitalism, from its economic base to its corresponding superstructure, from its historical development to its internal logic (the unity of the historical and the logical always being first expressed in the historical, which contains in it, the logical). This has nothing to do with "abstract forms;" the groups who have attempted to "reverse this coherence" sprang up in their own unique historical conditions and applied their own logic to the task of transforming history, of creating

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