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The Real Avant-Garde: The Game-Revolt of Delinquency, Petty Crime and the New Lumpen. . .

INITIALLY, THE NEW LUMPEN WILL PROBABLY be our most important theatre of operations. We must enter it as a power against it and precipitate its crisis. Ultimately, this can only mean to start a real movement between the lumpen and the rest of the proletariat: their conjunction will define the revolution. In terms of the lumpen itself, the first thing to do is to dissociate the rank-and-file from the incredible crock of shit raised up, like a monstrance, by their leaders and ideologists. The false intelligentsia -- from the CIA-subsidised torpor of the latest New Left, to the sanctimonious little bits of International Times -- are a New Establishment whose tenure depends on the success with which they can confront the most way-out point of social and intellectual revolt. The parody they stage can only arouse a growing radicalism and fury on the part of those they claim to represent. The Los Angeles Free Press, distilling their experience of revolt in an article aptly entitled To Survive in the Streets, could in all seriousness conclude: "Summing up: Dress warm, keep clean and healthy, eat a balanced diet, live indoors and avoid crime. Living in the streets can be fun if you conscientiously study the rules of the game." (Reprinted in The East Village Other, 15/6/67). Hippie racketeers should certainly steer clear of public places, come the day. The poesie faite par tous has been known to be somewhat trigger-happy in the past.


8. Revolution as a Game

THE NEW REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT can be no more than the organisation of popular revolt into its most coherent, its richest form. And there is no organisation to date which would not completely betray it. All previous political critiques of the repressive hierarchy engendered by the past revolutionary argument -- that of Solidarity, for example -- have completely missed the point: they were not focused on precisely what it was that this hierarchy repressed and perverted in the form of passive militancy. In the context of the radical 'ethics' still bogged down in singularly distasteful forms of sub-Christian masochism, the ludic aspects of the revolution cannot be over-emphasised. Revolution is essentially a game and one plays it for the pleasure involved. Its dynamic is a subjective fury to live, not altruism. It is totally opposed to any form of self-sacrificial subordination of oneself to a cause -- to Progress, to the Proletariat, to Other People. Any such attitude is diametrically opposed to the revolutionary appreciation of reality: it is no more than an ideological extension of religion for the use by the 'revolutionary' leaderships in justifying their own power and in repressing every sign of popular creativity.

THE GAME IS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SACRED -- whether it be the sanctity of Jesus or the santity of the electric mixer and the Wonderloaf. Tragedy, said Lukacs, is a game played in the sight of godlessness. The true form of godlessness will be the final achievement of revolution -- the end of the illusory and all its forms, the beginning of real life and its direct self-consciousness.

THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT MUST be a game as much as the society it prefigures. Ends and means cannot be disassociated. We are concerned first and foremost with the construction of our own lives. Today, this can only mean the total destruction of power. Thus the crucial revolutionary problem is the creation of a praxis in which self-expression and social disruption are one and the same thing: of creating a style of self-realisation which can only spell the destruction of everything which blocks total realisation. From another point of view, this is the problem of creating the coherent social form of what is initially and remains essentially an individual and subjective revolt. Only Marx's original project, the creation of the total man, of an individual reappropriating the entire experience of the species, can supersede the individual vs. Society dualism by which hierarchical power holds itself together while it holds us apart. If it fails in this, then the new revolutionary movement will merely build an even more labyrinthine illusory community; or, alternatively, it will shatter into an isolated and ultimately self-destructive search for kicks. If it succeeds, then it will permeate society as a game that everyone can play. There is nothing left today that can withstand a coherent opposition once it has established itself as such. Life and revolution will be invented together or not at all.

ALL THE CREATIVITY OF THE TIME will grow from this movement and it is in this perspective that our own experiments will be made and should be understood. The end of this process will not merely be the long overdue end of this mad, disintegrating civilisation. It will be the end of pre-history itself. Man stands on the verge of the greatest breakthrough ever made in the human appropriation of nature. Man is the world of man and a new civilisation can only be based on man's free and experimental creation of his own world and his own creation. This creation will no longer accept any internal division or separation. Life will be the creation of life itself. The total man will be confronted only with his ever-increasing appropriation of nature, of his own nature, finally elaborated, in all of its beauty and terror, as our 'worthy opponent' in a ludic conflict where everything is possible.

[Note: the text of this manifesto, unpublished by either the English section of the Situationist International or by the SI as a whole, was finally published in October 1994 by Chronos Publications, B.M. Chronos, London WC1N 3XX, as No. 3 in its Boomerang Series.]


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