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A Few Extra Remarks
on Guy Debord - Revolutionary


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10.  l e n  b r a c k e n

FOR MARCUS, IT'S ALL A QUESTION of form - on p. 328 he equates the "insurrectional style," with the reversible connecting factor when discussing Marx's inversion of the genitive (incidentally, there is no inversion of the genitive in the Marx quote given by Marcus to illustrate it: the "illusion" in the genitive construct is simply rephrased in the objective case: "To call on them to give up their illusion about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.") Marcus: "...his rhythm, his new way of talking. In microcosm it was also the reversible connecting factor: 'the insurrectional style,' Debord called it as he took it as his own ('even the true is a moment of the false')." These rhetorical expressions of the cognitive aspect of dialectics must be linked with a moment of activity in order to be verified, a moment of real history where a revolutionary event takes place: not simply a total critique, but a moment of total history, of irreversible time that both creates humans and the world they live in. To fail to recognize the necessity of the link between cognition and action runs the risk of the energetic process of cognition falling into the trap of contemplativeness. Or, as Censor (Gianfranco Sanguinetti) put it in his Debordist Real Report on the Last Chance to Save Capitalism in Italy: "... we do not believe that it is possible to solve real problems in writing." As I demonstrate in my discussion of Society of the Spectacle, the insurrectional style was merely one element in a vast, strategic interpretation of history that centers on the proletariat as the subject of history and a pointed denunciation of all insufficiently radical perspectives. Compare that with the following reductionism, on page 357, of Lipstick Traces: "As an attempt to reveal all the contradictions of the geopolitical and world-historical, to find the string of the reversible connecting factor and then pull it, the work of the SI could always be boiled down to crude slogans, to 'I TAKE MY DESIRES FOR REALITY BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THE REALITY OF MY DESIRES,' to 'I want to destroy passersby.'" (I was unaware that the latter was an SI line.) Again on page 357, the "reversible connecting factor" is "simply the right graffiti on the right wall, at the right time, in the right place." There is no stylistic string that one can pull to reverse the coherence of the world as Marcus would have it: "Detournement - which finally meant applying the reversible connecting factor to any posited subject or object - was a way of fighting off boredom, and of criticizing it." (pp 363-364) Debord's "reversible coherence of the world," becomes a factor that can be applied to anything, like a bumper sticker. Debord's radical call for people to make their own history and his noble attempt to embody this call becomes a matter of culture studies: In the pictures of the early Beatles in Hamburg, "one can watch the invention of pop culture, its. . .

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