Book Club #3 - Society of the Spectacle

Joseph White
Joseph White

We're reading buckos!

theanarchistlibrary.org/library/guy-debord-the-society-of-the-spectacle
bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/
libcom.org/library/society-of-the-spectacle-debord

All links appear to have the same edition, linking multiple sources instead of posting a pdf so we don't have any bullshit where page 36 is blank or if a site goes down.

Supplementary/alternative reading
Annotated edition:
libcom.org/library/society-of-the-spectacle-debord
Comments from the author:
libcom.org/library/comments-society-spectacle

For this reading we should stick with the regular version of the text, with the annotated version being there to re-read in the future and the Comments being something to read afterwards individually. Update with observations, ask questions, and have lively discussions.

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Other urls found in this thread:

notbored.org/commentaires.html
ubu.com/film/chan_debord.html
historyisaweapon.com/defcon6/works/1867/letters/67_12_07.html
poal.me/xdgz45
mega.nz/#F!DpAz2IgQ!nW7bPNnpJFk5CAV3ypiaHw
youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

Angel Miller
Angel Miller

Oh sheeit, I actually started on this one earlier but never got around to finishing it. Will keep tabs on this, for sure. Is there a schedule or anything like that?

Jeremiah Edwards
Jeremiah Edwards

Comments from the author:
That's actually a separate book, not just some comments. This is a better translation of it: notbored.org/commentaires.html

Isaiah Hall
Isaiah Hall

I'd say it clocks in closer to a pamplet, but it's supplementary and I thought anons might be interested in checking it out.

Jaxon Allen
Jaxon Allen

to OP I might read Debord. just finished a piece by Heinrich Laufenberg, going to Fritz Wolffhiem next, and maybe some Karl Radek, gotta look look into my Adorno collection. also need to find Sergey Nechayev's "The Fundamentals of the Future Social System" got some Hegel and Schopenhauer to read for non-political philosophy.

non-related pic ofc

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Brody Jenkins
Brody Jenkins

This is really hard to read tbh

Levi Rivera
Levi Rivera

Situationists are generally more complex than need be, in fact I'd argue a person could get the point of SotS without having to read the whole thing even though the whole thing itself is actually a short read most people think is as long as an encyclopedia before they open it. As a general rule of thumb, interpret things as simplistic as possible, because generally speaking with leftism, that's what they're going for, being simple.

Noah Young
Noah Young

Whoops didn't mean to sage.

Andrew Phillips
Andrew Phillips

You can always be the lazy student and just watch the film:
ubu.com/film/chan_debord.html
It only has excerpts from the text, not the whole thing, but it might help you to understand the basic themes which could make the reading easier.

Jordan Barnes
Jordan Barnes

accompanying an article criticizing Capital which he himself had written but which he wanted Engels to present to the press as the work of an adversary, Marx clearly indicated the limits of his own science: “The author’s subjective tendency (imposed on him, perhaps, by his political position and his past), namely the manner in which he views and presents the final outcome of the present movement and social process, has no connection with his actual analysis.” By thus disparaging the “tendentious conclusions” of his own objective analysis, and by the irony of the “perhaps” with reference to the extrascientific choices supposedly “imposed” on him, Marx implicitly revealed the methodological key to fusing the two aspects.
Does it still exist? Anyone know where I can read the self critique?

Samuel Howard
Samuel Howard

a violent resurrection of myth calling for participation in a community defined by archaic pseudovalues: race, blood, leader. Fascism is a technologically equipped primitivism.
The further in I "read" the less I start liking Debord.

William Russell
William Russell

historyisaweapon.com/defcon6/works/1867/letters/67_12_07.html

Andrew Peterson
Andrew Peterson

I just finished up the Society of the Spectacle and thought of giving a long thought out review before realizing I could just do what Debord could have and shorten it. The start of the book is needlessly verbose and tedious but the 2nd half discussing history all the way to modern society gets really good, however Debord fails a lot about history and shouldn't always be taken as correct. Throughout reading the book I found myself drifting off to better prospects especially during the history part.
That is all there is to say about the book.

Thomas Taylor
Thomas Taylor

If you are such hot shit let's see your short and corrected version of SotS.

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Owen White
Owen White

Chill, Guy.

Bentley Taylor
Bentley Taylor

What, are you asking me to give a summary, re edit a book, rewrite it?

Charles Robinson
Charles Robinson

So does everyone need another week to finish?

Nolan Gomez
Nolan Gomez

Probably more…

Dominic Allen
Dominic Allen

I could use a few more days, personally. I'm only about halfway done and I want to also watch the movie that was linked.

Here's the poll for the next book:
poal.me/xdgz45

Jackson Turner
Jackson Turner

The Bibble
2 votes
Oh boy for the sheer shitstorm it would cause, I'm voting for it.

Carter Peterson
Carter Peterson

Should we maybe work out a schedule ahead of time based on the length of the work? A pamphlet or two in a week is doable for anybody, but a reading group should move at the pace of the slowest reader (which is also beneficial since it gives more time to digest the ideas and discuss). Maybe break books up according to page count or chapters?

Adam Phillips
Adam Phillips

I already read it. That book made me an atheist. It is a disturbing experience to realize that the book that you had assumed held the wisdom of the ages makes a lot more sense as a collection of Bronze Age myths and slave society morality tales than it does the word of God.

Gavin Martin
Gavin Martin

77

When the proletariat demonstrates through its own actions that this historical thought has not been forgotten, its refutation of that thought’s conclusion is at the same time a confirmation of its method.

what the fuck is this supposed to mean

Jaxson Russell
Jaxson Russell

There's not much scholarly analysis on the book quote for quote, ironcially googling it gives only leftist results, Marx quotes, and anti Imperialist stuff.
Well looking at 76 and 78 both are discussions of history, how Hegel interpreted it and similar aspects.
78.Historical thought can be salvaged only by becoming practical thought; and the practice of the proletariat as a revolutionary class can be nothing less than historical consciousness operating on the totality of its world. All the theoretical currents of the revolutionary working-class movement — Stirner and Bakunin as well as Marx — grew out of a critical confrontation with Hegelian thought.
So you can use these as context but at the same time Debord quickly switches back to calling the French revolution a bourgeoisie revolution and starts talking about Marx so I can see why you're confused. Although for 76-78 it seems Debord is talking specifically about Hegelian views on history. Now I've never read Hegel and I never will., so I really can't say much else about this.

Luke Brooks
Luke Brooks

I understand what historical thought in the context is, what I don't know is, what did the proletariat do that refuted Hegel's conclusion but verified his method? Or is the when here supposed to be in the future, more of an unavoidable if?

Bentley Russell
Bentley Russell

He's talking about revolutionary practice refuting the Hegelian end of history (conclusion) with the very dialectical movement from the contradictions of capitalism into socialism via revolution (for Debord, worker's councils seizing the MoP, the Marxist method by which the proletariat confirms a historically grounded dialectical method)

Ian Lewis
Ian Lewis

So it happens in the future

Kevin Bailey
Kevin Bailey

Did any anarchists ever address Debord's criticism? It feels like some of it still applies.

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Adrian Johnson
Adrian Johnson

I can't find anything like "an anarchist response to Debord" that specifically addresses his criticisms in the book though there was a contemporary anarchist group that called the SI bourgeois fags, but anarchists/libcoms/libsocs and (hilariously) individualist anarchists are probably the groups most influenced by Situationists today so I assume his critique has impacted certain anarchists. I'd contest his critiques on Anarchism (ie the umbrella term for the anti-state socialism/communism) given that Bakunin's "invisible dictatorship" is contentious and allegedly not exactly how it is often portrayed by detractors, the differing forms of economic and political struggle employed by anarchists that developed with syndicalism and communist anarchism that weren't merely calls for revolution now, the critique of hierarchy applying found in God and the State being clear on experts and scientists (including experts on anarchism) wielding power, and the view of revolution being a spontaneous one-day affair being attributed to anarchists by Lenin rather than being found in any anarchist theory. However his criticism is accurate regarding anarchists (ie the supposed adherents to anti-state socialism/communism) and is good to digest to be able to assess the movement dare I say self-crit? to avoid falling into these traps that seem all too common for anarchists and fellow travelers.

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Carter Martin
Carter Martin

though there was a contemporary anarchist group that called the SI bourgeois fags
Source on this? I know the SI did the same with everyone.

Cooper Young
Cooper Young

I don't have it on hand but they said the SI was in line with the tendency of bourgeois kids showing everyone their asses before acclimating to bourgeois luxury. It didn't say anything profound and was just banter I found funny.

Caleb Hernandez
Caleb Hernandez

I looked at it, typical French arrogant faggotry. Makes sense but too condescending. No Ernst Niekisch called French people the women of Europe.

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Anthony Walker
Anthony Walker

Funny thing the reactionary right is using their tactics too. Lol.

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Kayden Lewis
Kayden Lewis

learn philosophy of right by the good Hegel, profesor of Max Stirner.

Anarchists are beautiful souls but dont know yet what State is concretly and it's not opposed to most things anarchists beleive. Rule of Law is inevitable in any group, Anarchism true anarchism only exists when alone or is ever present if you just ignore politics (alone yourself from other causes from their group laws, etc)

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Sebastian Robinson
Sebastian Robinson

Ernst Niekisch

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Nicholas Baker
Nicholas Baker

His theory of time is fucking based why is nobody talking about it

Henry Smith
Henry Smith

I know it hurts your vagoo you sodomite. but its ok

Nathaniel Mitchell
Nathaniel Mitchell

I just finished this today, btw. Ask me anything about it

Nolan Baker
Nolan Baker

I have heard some people claim that the situationist concept of the spectacle is somewhat of an extension of the Marxist concept of alienation. In that view, the spectacle is the separation of yourself from yourself, you're just the spectator of your own life instead of being the actor. Do you think it's an accurate definition?

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Dylan Myers
Dylan Myers

Of course not. Debord makes it clear again and again that the Spectacle is not some fragment of the totality but the totality of fragmentation, the whole movement of an economy that exists only for itself. That you get to know yourself only through the image that the Spectacle presents to you is not the Spectacle itself, but a consequence of it and a technique it employs to enforce its reign of terror.

Josiah Jones
Josiah Jones

So the Spectacle is something systematic, operating at the scale of society, just like capitalism and the state are systematic too?

the Spectacle is not some fragment of the totality but the totality of fragmentation, the whole movement of an economy that exists only for itself
I don't understand this definition, can you elaborate and/or provide examples? That's something I noticed with situ theory, it's rather dense to digest.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown

You could say so, although I am not sure if systemic is the appropriate word.

There's no clear-cut definition since Debord is trying to analyse an ongoing change. He could just say for example, in 1967 this and this is the Spectacle, but that would be ahistorical and clearly useless as revolutionary theory. Most of the confusing terminology comes from Hegel.

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