A Few Thoughts After Reading
Theory of the Derive and Other Situationist Writings on the City, edited by Libero Andreotti and Xavier Costa for the 1996 Exhibition on the Situationists and Urbanism at the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
Anarchists in the United States have had a rather slim portion of situationist literature available to them, and this has created a skewed view of of the actual thinking of this unorthodox marxist group. Even the most comprehensive collection in English (Ken Knabb’s Situationist International Anthology), is fairly limited in what early material it presents. This is what made Theory of the Derive and Other Situationist Writings on the City an interesting read.
Continue reading Masses and Machines
God, Fatherland, Family
For centuries, this triad has been pointed to as the heavenly ideal of civilization, while on earth the profane value of money has reigned undisputed. With the passing of years, these ideal values have been fading. Having to keep the head bowed as a sign of submission, there was no way left for a human being to look on high. Adoration gave way to deference, deference gave way to indifference and indifference gave way to derision. The church? A consecrated branch of the nursing home. The barracks? The regret of old veterans and the training ground of frustrated young men. Marriage? Almost a mere bureaucratic formality necessary for getting a divorce from a relationship that was never lived with intensity.
Continue reading THANK GOD, I’M AN ATHEIST!
A story is told of Diogenes, probably the best known of the ancient greek cynics: It is said that one day, as he was sunning himself in the bathtub he called home, Alexander the “great” came to speak with him. This emperor of many nations said, “ I am Alexander, prince of Macedonia and the world. I have heard you are a great philosopher. Do you have any words of wisdom for me?” Annoyed at such a petty disturbance of his calm, Diogenes answered, “Yes, you’re standing in my sun. Get out of the way.” Though this story is most likely fictional, it reflects the scorn in which cynics held all authority and their boldness in expressing this scorn. These self-proclaimed “dogs” (wild dogs, of course) rejected hierarchy, social restraints and the alleged need for laws and greeted these with sarcastic mockery.
Continue reading The Wild Dog Howls
I don’t vote. I have never taken part in an election and I never will. To many, the idea that someone who actually cares about what is happening in the world would refuse to vote seems incredible. The common sense of the democratic state tells us that voting is the way that we can change things and that those who don’t vote are apathetic. It has even been said that those who do not vote shouldn’t complain.
But common sense often hides a great many unquestioned assumptions. This is certainly true with regard to the commonplaces about democracy and voting. I hope that by explaining why I don’t vote, I will expose some of these assumptions and raise a few questions.
Continue reading Why I don’t VOTE