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10. Yet Another Introduction to the Situationist International . . . Bill Brown

4). THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL EMERGED from a culture that had powerful trade unions and a strong labor movement. Though these unions were dominated by the parties of the detested Communist Left, the SI could count on two things: the members of the rank-and-file were accustomed to talk of class consciousness, class struggle and revolutionary socialism, and so could easily understand the publications of the SI; the rank-and-file members of the union, as well as the theorizing intellectuals employed by the various Communist parties, were excellent candidates for recruitment into the SI or independent manifestations of the anarchist revolutionary project. The problem here is that, though nearly all of America's major labor unions were founded by socialists, these unions are A). drastically weakened after decades of concerted anti-labor political and economic policies; and B). no longer controlled nor even fought for by organized Communist Left groups, which have themselves been in steady decline for many years. Americans who would be situationists therefore must not count on workers to be familiar or comfortable [with] revolutionary themes and rhetoric, and must not automatically or necessarily look to the unions and the "socialist" political parties for readers, contributors, recruits or people to man the barricades, all of whom must come from elsewhere.

BUT TO CHANGE ONE'S EXPECTATIONS in these specific ways is to embrace anarchism and to admit that Marxism must not only be "detourned" (brought up-to-date), but finally dispensed with as well. One has every right to wonder what might remain of the situationist project after the changes proposed here have been made. In particular, one would be correct to ask, "What is 'situationist' about a situationist theory and practice that is no longer tightly focused on the proletariat and the ways in which the Stalinist parties prevent it from fighting effectively against both private and bureaucratic capitalism?" The answer would appear to be "Nothing other the various tactics and techniques the SI introduced to the revolutionary movement." It may turn out that, just as they claimed, the situationists were in fact much closer on the strategic level to Marxism than they were to the anarchism of Bakunin, Proudhon and Blanqui. It may also turn out that the recent global collapse of Marxism as a revolutionary theory of action took the SI down with it, and that only anarchism can help us now. But this should not dissuade us from trying to apply what the situationists did to contemporary America. Indeed, it should encourage us, for it means that, when we are done, what we have come up with will truly fit our time, place and situation.

***** The Scenewash Project 20003 bestows this Bill Brown piece its highest five star rating based on the strength of his Americanization of the global issues at hand. Unfortunately Master Brown's unusually petty personality seems to betray him and his philosophy more often than not, creating errors in prejudice only a petty egotist can "construct" time and time again.

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