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    [Theses on the Commune]

    notice :
    Image (fixe ; à 2 dimensions)
    Theses on the Commune]. — New York : Situationist International, [ ?]. — 1 affiche (impr. photoméc.), coul. (deux  : rouge , noir , papier blanc ) ; 49 × 13 cm.

    • Affiches par pays  : États-Unis
    • Lieux d’archivages  : FACL (Fonds d’archives communistes libertaires)
    • Liste des thèmes  : situationnisme
    • Géographie, géopolitique et Histoire  : États-Unis : histoire  ; France : histoire : 1871 (La Commune)  ; Hongrie : histoire  ; Russie : histoire : 1917-1921
    • Noms cités (± liste positive)  : Debord, Guy-Édouard (1931-1994)  ; Kotànyi, Attila  ; Vaneigem, Raoul (1934-....)
    • Presse citée  :
    • Vie des mouvements  :
    notes :
    descriptif :


    map (“Kronstadt and Vicinity”)

    photos (“Ex-Stalin Square in Budapest, October 23rd, 1956” ; “Armed Strikers, Southern Colorado coal fields, 1914 (To be continued in Cleveland, 1970.)”)

    texte :

    Theses on the Commune


    “The traditional revolutionary workers’ movement must be re-examined without any illusions ans, first and foremost, without any illusions as to its various political ans pseudo-theoretical heirs, for all they have inherited is its failure. What seem to be the achievements of this movement (reformism or the installation of a state bureaucracy) are its fundamental failures, while what seem to be its failure (the Commune of the Asturias revolt of 1934) are its greatest achievements, for us and for the future.” (Internationale Situationniste No. 7)


    The Commune was the biggest festival of the nineteenth century. Underlying the events of that spring of 1871 one can see the insurgents’ feeling that they had become the masters of their own history, not the level of the politics of “government”, but on the level of their everyday life. (Consider, for example, the games everybody played with their weapons : they were in fact playing with Power.) It is also in this sense that Marx should be understood when he says that “the most important social measure of the Commune was its own existence in acts.”


    The remark by Engels and Marx : “Take a look at the Paris Commune. It that was the dictatorship of the proletariat,” should be taken seriously, in order to reveal what the dictatorship of the proletariat as a political regime is not (the various forms of dictatorship over the proletariat in the name of the proletariat).


    It is not difficult to make perfectly justified criticisms of the incoherence and obvious lack of the machine in the Commune. As the problem of political machinery seems far more complex to us today than the would-be heirs of the bolshevik-type machinery claim it to be, it is high time we examine the Commune not just as superseded example of revolutionary primitivism, all mistakes of which have long been overcome, but as a positive experiment whose whole truth has never been either rediscovered or accomplished ti this day.


    The Commune had no leaders. And this at a time when the idea of the necessity of leaders held undisputed sway over the proletarian movement. This is the first reason for its paradoxical successes and failures. The official organizers of the Commune were incompetent (if measured up against Marx, Lenin or even Blanqui). But on the other hand, the various “irresponsible” acts of that moment are precisely what should be claimed for the continuation of the revolutionary movement of our own time. This is so, even if the circumstances forced almost all of those acts to remain destructive (The most famous example being the rebel who, when a suspected bourgeois insisted that he had never had anything to do with politics, replied, “That’s precisely why I’m going to kill you.”)


    The vital importance of the general arming of the people was manifest practically and symbolically, from the beginning to the end of the movement. By and large the right to impose popular will by force was not surrendered and left to any specialized detachments. This exemplary value of this autonomy of armed groups had its counterpart in their lack of co-ordination : at no point of the struggle against Versailles, on the offensive or defensive, did the forces of the people attain real military effectiveness. It should, however, be born in mind that the Spanish revolution was lost — as, in the last analysis, was the civil war itself — in the name of a similar transformation into a “republican army.” The contradiction between autonomy and co-ordination would seem to be the point reached by the technology of the period.


    The Commune represents the only implementation of a revolutionary urbanism to date — attacking on the spot, the petrified signs of the dominant organization of life, understanding social space in political terms, when they refused, for example, to accept the innocence of any monument. Anyone who reduces this to some “lumpen-proletarian nihilism,” some “irresponsibility of the petrol-bombers”, should be forced to state what, on the contrary, he believes to be of positive value in contemporary society and worth preserving (it will turn out to be almost everything…). “The entire space is already occupied by the enemy…. Authentic urbanism will appear when the absence of this occupation is created in certain zones. What we call construction starts there. It can be clarified by the positive hole coined by modern physics” (Unitary Urbanism, out of I.S. 6).


    The Paris Commune succumbed less to the force of arms than to the force of habit. The most scandalous practical example was the refusal to use artillery to seize the French National Bank when money was in such desperate need. Throughout the whole of the Commune, the Bank remained an enclave og Versailles in Paris, defended by nothing more than a few rifles and the myth of property and theft. The other ideological habits proved in every respect equally disastrous (the resurrection of Jacobinism, the defeatist strategy of barricades in memory of ‘48 ans so on).


    The Commune shows how those who defend the old world always benefit, at one point or another, from the complicity of revolutionaries : and, above all, from those who think out the revolution. This occurs at the point where the revolutionaries think like those guardians of the old world. In this way, the old world retains some bases (ideology, language, habits) in the deployment of its enemies, and uses them to reconquer the terrain it lost. (Only the thought-in-acts natural to the revolutionary proletariat escapes it irrevocably : the Tax Bureau went up in flames.) The real “fifth column” exists, in fact, in the very minds of revolutionaries.


    The story of the arsonists who, during the last days of the Commune went to destroy Notre-Dame, only to find themselves confronted by an armed battalion of Commune artists, is a rich in meaning : it is a fine example of direct democracy. It shows further the kind of problems still raised in the perspective of the power of the workers’ councils. Were these artists as such right to defend a cathedral in the name of eternal aesthetic values — and in the last analysis, in the name of museum culture — while at the same time other men wanted nothing but to express themselves, for the first time there and then ; to make this destruction symbolize their absolute defiance in the face of a society which, in its moment of triumph, was about to consign their lives to silence and oblivion ? The artist partisans of the Commune, acting as specialists, already found themselves in conflict with an “extremist” form of struggle against alienation. The Communards must be criticized for not having dared to answer the totalitarian terror of power with the total power of weapons. Everything indicates that those poets who, at that moment, actually expressed the Commune’s inherent poetry were simply wiped out. The abortive nature of the Commune as a whole let its tentative actions be turned into “atrocities” and made it easy to censor the memory of its real intentions. Saint Just’s remark, “those who make but half a revolution dig naught but their own graves,” helps also explains his own silence.


    Theoreticians who, like the traditional novelists, try to the the history of this movement from a divine omniscient standpoint can very easily prove, in purely objective terms, the Commune was condemned to failure and that it could never have been superseded. They forget that for those who really lived it, the supersession was there already.


    The audacity and imagination of the Commune can only be measured in terms of the prevailing political, intellectual and moral attitudes of its own time in terms of the cohesion of all the prevailing platitudes it blasted to pieces. In the same way, the inventiveness we can expect of a comparable explosion today can only be measured in terms of the cohesion of the prevailing platitudes from the right of the left, of our own time.


    The social war, of which the Commune was one moment, is still being fought today (though its superficial conditions have changed considerably). As to the task of “making the unconscious tendencies of the Commune conscious” (Engels), the last word is still to be said.


    For almost twenty years in France, the Christians of the left and the Stalinists, in memory of their anti-German front, have agreed to emphasize the aspect of national disarray and offended patriotism appearing in the Commune, to explain that “the French people petitioned to be better governed” (in agreement with contemporary Stalinist “politics”) and were brought to despair by the default of the country-less right wing of the bourgeoisie. In order to regurgitate this holy water it would suffice to study the role played by foreigners who came to fight for the Commune. The Commune, in fact, was above all the inevitable battle, climax of twenty-three years of struggle in Europe by “our party” as Marx said.

    18 March 1962
    Debord, Kotányi and Vaneigem

    This text was first issued by Internationale situationniste
    BP 307-03 Paris

    Situationist international

    Cooper Station
    P.O. Box 491
    New York
    N.Y. 10003

    sources :

    [To nonsubscribers of Radical America]

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    Image (fixe ; à 2 dimensions)
    To nonsubscribers of Radical America]. — New York : Situationist International, [ ?]. — 1 affiche (impr. photoméc.), coul. (deux  : rouge , noir , papier blanc ) ; 57 × 44 cm.

    • Affiches par pays  : États-Unis
    • Lieux d’archivages  : CIRA (Lausanne)
    • Liste des thèmes  : édition  ; presse  ; situationnisme
    • Géographie, géopolitique et Histoire  : France : histoire : 1871 (La Commune)
    • Noms cités (± liste positive)  : Debord, Guy-Édouard (1931-1994)  ; Perlman, Fredy (1934-1985)
    • Presse citée  : Radical America (1967-1999)
    • Vie des mouvements  :
    notes :
    descriptif :

    [ photo montage (barricade de la Commune de Paris et des têtes au bout de piques : Mao Zédong, Moshe Dayan, Yasser Arafat, Hafez el-Assad ?, Léonid Brejnev, XX ? & Elvis Presley ?) ; texte critiquant la publication et la traduction de la Société du Spectacle de Guy Debord dans le journal Radical America) ]

    texte :

    To nonsubscribers of Radical America :

    Proletarian revolution depends entirely on the condition that, for the first time, theory as intelligence of human practice be recognized and lived by the masses.
    It requires workers to become dialecticians and to inscribe their thought into practice.

    In the reproduction of Guy Debord’s situationist text Society of the Spectacle, by Radical America, the spectacle of spectacles is achieved. The contradiction between the reproducers and the object reproduced is glaring. This reproduction, however, is not an absurdity in abstracto, even if its passage into the absurd escapes the recognition of its inventors. The absurdity has become real, and it can acquire, without denunciation, the force of historical confusion.

    If the critical fragment discovers itself ultimately within the alien totality, this Pop Front For the Liberation of Radical Appearances goes a step further. It brings every conceivable ideological fragment, independently incapable of more putrefaction, together as the totality itself. Its dream is the encirclement of revolutionary theory with its name to make it seem as if it is its milieu ; the ideologization of that which is absolutely opposed to ideology.

    Revolutionary theory finds itself buried alive in the coffin of Radical America between the cadavres of State surrealism and bureaucratic councilism.

    Rosemont, self-disciplined necrophiliac holding his revivalist rites over the thirty-five-year-old grave of surrealism, moves from literary reification of the former significance of the critical automatism to sordid identification with determinism. — after Aragon. "Our unreserved adherence to the fundamental principles of marxism-leninism, our active participation in concrete political struggles and on militant demonstrations, should be sufficient proof that our conception of poetry does not end with the poem" (it ends with the bureaucratic class). — Radical. America, Jan. 1970, p. 62. Note the more than slight contrast with this : "Dadaism wanted to suppress art without realizing it ; surrealism wanted to realize art without suppressing it" (Society of the Spectacle, thesis 191).

    CLR James, unlike Jesse, does not recognize the actual influence of men on events. Borrowing from the old evolutionary model of Bernstein, he conceals the subjective aspect in the Bolshevik counter-revolution under the seemingly harmless heading of "underdevelopment." Impossible for James to see from within his nondialectical perspective, the Bolshevism of Lenin played its own part in underdevelopment, in its role as factor of retard and regression for that central part of productive forces, which is revolutionary class consciousness. Toward the end of his anarcho-trotskyist career in critical underdevelopment, James vindicates even that bureaucratic excess, stalinism, which he once opposed. "The countries known as underdeveloped have produced the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century, men who have substantially altered the shape and direction of world civilization in the last 50 years. There are four in number : Lenin, Gandhi, Mao-tse-tung, and Nkrumah" (Radical America, CLR James, p. 97).

    Our comrade adequately defrocks the new priests of dead time : "If all the bureaucrats taken together decide everything, the cohesion of their own class can only be assured by the concentration of their terrorist power in a single person. In this person resides the only practical truth of falsehood in power : the indisputable permanence of its constantly adjusted frontier" (Society of the Spectacle, thesis 107).

    If Radical America can hide behind the senile, and apparently harmless activity of a clearing home, the anti-theoretical function it accomplishes cannot escape even its own modernist eyes. In this world nobody is innocent. To introduce revolutionary theory into the domain of muted perspective blurs its own total transparence, and transforms it into a mere appendix to the imposture of speculation. The category of "situationist-type" texts (see again, if you dare, the CLR James edition, p. 104) marks the limit of their flat world. There, at the point of necessary return, we find Perlman’s Revolutionary Struggle in Yugoslavia, an anti-bureaucratic collage, made by way of mere citation and information, thus realizing it-self in the voice of the bureaucracy. "In its very style, the exposition of dialectical theory is a scandal and an abomination in terms of the rules of the dominant language and for the taste which they have educated, be-cause in the positive use of existing concepts it at the same time includes the knowledge of their rediscovered fluidity, of their necessary destruction" (Society of the Spectacle, thesis 205).

    At the same time that Radical America has re-enforced the theory of the peaceful co-existence of revolutionary ideology and revolutionary theory, it has also de-mystified it, despite itself, in its direct mutilation of Society of the Spectacle. The petit-specialists of radical contradictions cannot escape them in turn ; the mutilator mutilates himself. The actual distortion of the text, in the translation (thanks to the metaphysical assistance of the at once existing and nonexisting Black and Red) follows logically from the entire displacement of Society of the Spectacle under the banner of reified thought. Nevertheless the consequences always multiply the horror of bad premises.

    Against the backdrop of a myriad of linguistic as well as stylistic errors, the crucial falsification occurs blatantly in the realm of the revolutionary concept : "dépassement" becomes "overcoming" instead of supersession ; "renversement" becomes "overturning" instead of reversal ; "détournement" becomes "displacement" instead of diversion. This partial apprehension of the dialectic and absolute captivation of the degree zero of writing reaches its summit there where the distorted words are themselves distorted : "Critical theory must be communicated [communicate itself from the french "se communiquer"] in its own language. This is the language of contradiction, which must be dialectical in its form as in its content. It is not a ’zero degree of writing’ but its overcoming ["It is not a ’degree-zero of writing’ but its reversal," as in the original is written, "II n’est pas un ’degré zéro de I’écriture’ mais son renversement.’"] It is not a negation of style, but the style of negation" (Debord, thesis 204).

    Finally, the repeated introduction of unresolved esthetic images, in spite of some other excellent images (which cannot redeem them), is the excess of this spectacle. The Situationists can draw only one conclusion by which the truth of this moment of revolutionary theory can be restored : the authentic reproduction, funded and distributed by Radical America, of Society of the Spectacle and brought back under its own organizational name, Situationist International. If the situationists are not the only theoreticians in the revolutionary movement today, it is equally true that the only revolutionary theory is situationist.

    Situationist International, PO Box 491, Cooper Station, New York, New York 10003

    sources :

    [Spokane exploit 74]

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    Spokane exploit 74]. — New York : Come ! Unity Press, . — 1 affiche (impr. photoméc.), coul. (une  : brun , papier de couleur ) ; 43 × 28 cm.

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    • Presse citée  :
    • Vie des mouvements  : camping  ; conférence, débat…  ; meetings et manifestations  ; spectacle, concert, fête…
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    Symbole(s) utilisé(s) :

    [ texte (titre en lettres de pierre ou de béton) ; dessins (couple hippie avec bébé, homme poing levé ; silhouette d’amérindien armé à cheval) ]

    texte :

    Spokane exploit 74

    Interplanetary Flamingo Park reunion and Yippie Conference July 25-28

    International Yippie Week, Spokane, WA, July 31-August 6

    International Yippie Day August 6

    New Nation (Highbridge) Park Downriver from expo Youth International Party
    POB 372 Spokane Washington 99210
    (509) 326-5382 · (212) 477-9448
    POB 392 Canal St. Station NYC 10013

    this event is free to you if you do not have money — even tho’ contributions are needed !

    Done at Come ! Unity Press, a cooperative where we learned to do this printing the press does not demand $ from us or other movement people who print materials that provide equal access to the poor. The press needs our — and we need your —voluntary donations to pay for printing costs wich include $650/month (rent, phones, electricity) to continue movement access to press equipment. Dont’ let this be the last month ! Your move !ment.

    [logo] copyright [A cerclé] Come ! Unity Press …

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    [40 years of struggle Spanish workers still, 1936-1976]

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    40 years of struggle Spanish workers still, 1936-1976] / Carles Fontserè Carrió. — New York : Come ! Unity Press : International Libertarian Labor Fund, . — 1 affiche (impr. photoméc.), coul. (deux  : rouge , noir , couleur en dégradé , papier blanc ) ; 44 × 28 cm.

    • Affiches par pays  : États-Unis
    • Lieux d’archivages  : IISG (Amsterdam)
    • Liste des thèmes  : exil et exilés
    • Géographie, géopolitique et Histoire  : Espagne : histoire : 1936-1939
    • Noms cités (± liste positive)  : Abad de Santillán, Diego (1897-1983)  ; Bluestein, Abraham "Abe" (1909-1997)  ; Granell, Eugenio Fernández (1912-2001)  ; Souchy, Augustin (1898-1984)
    • Presse citée  : Freie Arbeiter Shtime (1890-1977)
    • Vie des mouvements  : anniversaire, commémoration  ; galas et actions de soutien  ; meetings et manifestations
    notes :
    descriptif :

    [ texte ; dessin (paysan à la faucille « Llibertat ! ») par Fontserè ]

    texte :

    40 years of struggle Spanish workers still - 1936-1976

    40th anniversary libertarian revolution halting Franco

    Benefit for the underground libertarian unions of the

    National Confederation of Labor (CNT)

    Monday July 19 - 7 PM

    Diego Abad de Santillán
    ’36 : directorate of the CNT
    ’76 : in the CNT underground

    Augustin Souchy
    ’36 : headed CNT internat’l dept’
    ’76 : author & lecturer on Spain

    Eugenio F. Granell
    ’36 : fought with POUM forces
    ’76 : editor of España libre

    Abe Bluestein
    ’36 : CNT’s English-language spokesman
    ’76 : Chan, Int. Libertarian labor Fund


    International Libertarian Labor Fund

    On July 19th 1936, workers in the CNT stifled a Franco coup in Barcelona and elsewhere and set up free collectives. Franco won in the end only with the aid of the US, Hitler, Mussolini and the Western democracies.

    Today, we too have a chance to change the course of history. To aid the world’s only mass libertarian working-class movement — now surfacing deflanty in Spain’s seething underground in opposition to totalitarians of right and left, you can send your CNT donation to

    International Libertarian Labor Fund
    PO Box 733 Cooper Station
    New York, NY 10003
    Telephone : (212) 477-3355

    Sponsored by
    Ad hoc CNT committee
    Catholic Peace Fellowship
    Freie Arbeiter Stimme
    General Defense Committee
    IWW Forum (Indust’l Workers of the World)
    Libertarian Book Club
    Local internacional de Nueva York, CGD
    and many distinguished individuals

    [drawing] (Original Catalan CivilWar poster)

    Community Church of NY

    35th St. West of Park ave. Optional Contribution

    Air conditioned

    [text & logo Come ! Unity Press :]
    Done at Come ! Unity Press (13 E 17 Street. NYC 10003 (212) 675-3043), a cooperative where we learned to do this printing. The press does not demand $ from us or other movement people who print materials that provide equal access to the poor. The press needs the broad support of many donations monthly piedges of $2, $5, $7, energy, food, skills, joint benefits, etc to continue movement access to printing facilities. Don’t let this be the last month ! Your Move !ment

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    [ca  1980]

    [ca  1980]




    [ca  1982]




    [ca  1975]

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    [Nobody for president]

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    Nobody for president] / Calogero. — New York : Come ! Unity Press, [ca ]. — 1 affiche (impr. photoméc.), coul. (deux  : bleu , brun , couleur en dégradé , papier blanc ) ; 28 × 43 cm.

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    [ texte ; dessin répétitif (foule immense) par Calogero ]

    texte :

    Survival by sharing Come ! Unity Press 13E17 St NYC 675-3043

    Done at Come ! Unity Press (13 E 17 Street. NYC 10003 (212) 675-3043), a cooperative where we learned to do this printing. The press does not demand $ from us or other movement people who print materials that provide equal access to the poor. The press needs the broad support of many donations monthly piedges of $2, $5, $ ?, energy, food, skills, joint benefits, etc to continue movement access to printing facilities. Don’t let this be the last month ! Your Move !ment

    Nobody for president

    Survival by sharing Come ! Unity Press 13E17 St NYC 675-3043

    Done at Come ! Unity Press (13 E 17 Street. NYC 10003 (212) 675-3043), a cooperative where we learned to do this printing. The press does not demand $ from us or other movement people who print materials that provide equal access to the poor. The press needs the broad support of many donations monthly piedges of $2, $5, $7, energy, food, skills, joint benefits, etc to continue movement access to printing facilities. Don’t let this be the last month ! Your Move !ment

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