Society of the Spectacle

Should I actually read this book or is it a meme?
Will I understand any of what he's talking about?

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It's a dangerous book, which is why they have degraded it into a meme. It's popular to talk about it, it's name is now a commonplace, yet almost nobody reads it because they consider it "unreadable". You will understand what he's talking about if you pay attention. Don't give up on the first chapter, it becomes more straightforward after. After finishing it, I recommend reading the preface to the Italian edition and the commentaries also:

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In France, all serious leftists know of that book.

i.e, the four of them

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That's four more than in most countries of the EU.

If you think you need more than half the country to agree with you to enact social change, you need to rethink your theory.

Yes you should read it, if you don't get it Debord also wrote some notes about it, I assume they perform a similar function as Stirner's Critics.

If you think you can force social change through authoritarian-socialism, you really need to rethink your theory

Of course you need about half the country.

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My problem I have with it is its structure. It reads more like a manifesto than an essay, it's a short read but I don't think it holds up to scientific standards. It's artsy but prosaic, and unlike traditional Marxism it doesn't have a whole body of work behind it confirming its assessments. He's also memeing about China and the USSR by completely abandoning materialism because he ultimately wants to come to the conclusion that everything plays out the same.

So I forgot why I read it but when I did I read most of it at once and repeat reading until I understood it. His solution is good in that it's serious and viable with his philosophical arguments earlier in the book, so it holds up. His section on the Soviet Union and China is comically bad, his other political stuff is okay. His comment on Lukacs is the epitome of the lazy criticism and take it as you will. My favorite part personally was his view on cyclical history and that section.

Oh, also, his movie is a meme. Watch it after having read the book for a reiteration or don't watch it at all, the book has a reputation for being hard to read, and watching the movie would be downright impossible without understanding the content previously.

Nobody talked about forcing anything.

Well the situationist weren't exactly Marxist

They were better.

Yeah they were anarchist

No they were libertarian marxists. Debord attacks anarchisn in Society of the spectacle

They weren't Marxist-Leninists but Debord claimed to be a Marxist as far as I know.

Not entirely, and Debord certainly wasn't. He feuded with some anarchists and the SI got attacked by someone from the FA around the time.

Debord attacked everyone who wasn't in his little group.

The Situationist International clearly wasn't Marxist, just take a look at Basic Banalities, one of their founding texts. I don't think anyone would claim Vaneigem was a Marxist, yet he was just as important in making the SI what it was as Debord.

As for Debord, it is true that he took the Marxist side for a long time. Society of the Spectacle clearly comes from a Marxist tradition. In fact, people later accused him of trying of reenacting the split of the First International when Vaneigem quit. This did not stop Debord from later reading and falling in love with Bakunin though, he went so far he retroactively even claimed that he was following Bakunin's footsteps in his work:

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Isn't that a Canadian comedy troop?

I like 'em already

Basic Banalities wasn't one of their founding texts you ignorant fuck. The SI existed for at least 3 years before that was published.


Didn't Bookchin get expelled from it despite never being a member?
When I said "not entirely", I meant that some members such as Vaneigem were Anarchists(or close enough) while others like Debord were (self-described) Marxists for much of their lives. Obviously what is and isn't a Marxist is a contentious debate and I'd argue most "libertarian marxists" were just varying degrees of admitting the anarchists were right (and often strawmanning anarchists to claim their realizations were original), but the SI clearly had a strong Marxist wing and to claim them as not Marxist is misleading.
This doesn't change that he was a Marxist, or believed himself to be, when he wrote SotS and for much of the life of the SI. Ideologies change and previously held beliefs often differ radically from the final product so to speak, Bakunin himself used to be a Pan-Slavic socialist after all. That's an interesting quote though and I'll have to take a closer look at the contexts behind it though.

It's not a founding document per se but it was extremely influential, as was Vaneigem in general, to the Situationists.

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Debord was ok/decent

Adorno was right but a retard about music. jazz music is fine, as is other atonal music.

How does this happen? I'm a anarchist, but want to read Marx, particularly because of Gramsci. But at the same time I dont see the point in theory. Hopefully someone can correct me on my ignorance.

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Uh… having a hard time believing that but ok.
Building/knowing theory helps you have a better understanding that helps you make better decisions. Having theory in common with people helps you get along and be on the same page about what you're doing.

Okay I'll read Marx. Already know some basics of what to read gotta read more anarchist stuff though. Although Capital is so BIG and GIRTHY!

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Don't buy into the memes about Capital, it's a dry slog but you should be able to grasp it easily enough. If you're strapped for time read an abridged version along with "Value Price and Profit" and "Wage Labor and Capital" before returning to Capital when you have the time. If you're an anarchist read Bakunin and Malatesta, they don't get as much love as Kropotkin but are worth reading instead of reading about.

Capital isn't that bad, but it's better if you read it with a study group so you can make sure you're getting everything and integrating the concepts into a whole picture. It's not that it's difficult from complexity or whatever, just that there's so much (Marx died before he could finish it) it gets tedious and Marx writes fuckhuge sentences.

Here's some easy shit to get started.

Yeah I read Bakunin not Malatesta though, also some Novatore(He made Malatesta activate his almonds) and Kropotkin is a bit overrated.

I happen to have some of these guys too.

The best thing to do IMO is start by reading about the stuff, looking for whatever piques your interest. Literally the wikipedia article on something can do this. Find something that sounds like you'd like to understand for the earlier stuff. That will make you more motivated to read (this is how people organically learn shit outside of school). From there branch out to similar stuff, especially what fills in gaps in your knowledge. Include stuff that disagrees with you to either find better ideas or see that your ideas don't have very good arguments against them.

Attached: Kropotkin - The Conquest of Bread.pdf (Basic Bakunin.pdf)

Most importantly, and especially as an anarchist, read this short essay first.
Don't fall for the meme where you have to read specific things to be a Real Communist. This isn't school. Lots of dipshits fell for this meme because they've internalized the trauma of having a teacher or nun yell at them for not doing the reading and whatnot. Nobody reads everything (there's too much). You'll have a better understanding the more interested you are, the more you care. The more people know major/basic theory the better, but everybody's theory should be their own. It should be different.

Yeah, I think it couldn't be that hard or bad. I think I exaggerated a bit to much will be saving those PDFs and buying physical copies cause I enjoy physical buks more.

That's how I found anarchism. Was going around about the Spanish Civil war and the anarchists caught my eye

Thanks for that PDF fam, been looking for it.

I do too but please consider reading them on your phone or something instead of giving money to some company that makes money cheaply printing public domain works.

Basic Bakunin is a summary of Bakunin's ideas, not a primary source. A worthwhile read for most whose knowledge of Bakunin is secondhand quotes, but it doesn't beat a primary source. Pdf related is an ok collection of his work iirc, but like many anarchists it's difficult to find good english translations.

Source? I don't remember him (or anyone else from SI) ever calling themselves Marxists. On the other hand I do remember at least one of them (Khayati maybe?) going the "Engels ruined Marx's work by accepting the label 'Marxist'" route.

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It happens when people don't want to admit being anarchists because calling yourself a Marxist gives you street cred among the faux-intellectuals.

Do you have any alternatives? I know there are some websites and bookstores online that are /ourguys/

AK Press? Little Black Cart?

Yeah those. I thought AK press was only anarchist. They have some Marxist stuff and even stuff from the Situationists.

Also what do you think of Class readings? Recommend any? Also i realize that it's separated in volumes. And it's confusing. There's one that call itself volume I and has like 1000 pages. Mean while therez one that say Capital(Volume 1-3) and only has 300. Which one should o get? Pic related is the 1000 paged one

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Damn I make alot of errors when I type. Should slow down

He basically outright says it in Society of the Spectacle, the section where he talks about the Soviet Union. He directly mentions Marx and builds off of a lot of his analysis. I see no point in classifying Debord as an anarchist because he was both hostile to anarchism and philosophically barely resembled anarchist thinkers, people want to claim that title for him because he was pretty and opposed to the Soviet Union.

most of the Frankfurt School was decent about their opinions on mass consumer culture but a lot of them went to far in their assessment of music, Adorno aside.

like pottery

I don't have anything where he declares himself a Marxist but it can be inferred from his writings that he was heavily influenced by Marx and opposed to Anarchists in his early days at the least.
The chad Bakunin strikes again.

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forgot to say 'member of countless secret revolutionary socieities'