A Sick Planet by Guy Debord

By Guy Debord

Of the 3 autonomous texts by way of man Debord incorporated right here, have been first released as pamphlets, whereas the 3rd was once written in 1971 for inclusion in a projected 13th factor of the Situationist International's magazine which by no means seemed as a result group's dissolution.

Despite the seeming variety of the topics discussed—the Watts riots in ‘The Decline and Fall of the “Spectacular” Commodity-Economy’ (1965); the disintegration of bureaucratic strength in ‘The Explosion aspect of Ideology in China’ (1967); pollutants and its illustration in ‘A ailing Planet’ (1971)—all 3 texts care for the various varieties of the ‘spectacle’ and its repercussions. And regardless of the dates in their composition, all 3 stay startlingly appropriate today.

—Alice Debord, 2004

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Both positions are designed to maintain the absolute sway of the bureaucracy and both recognize the necessity for barricades to be erected against class struggles that threaten to upset that dominance. In any case, the urgent and essential nature of this choice was so obvious to all that both sides felt it necessary, by reason of the disorder created by this division, to risk immedi­ ately compromising the very conditions of their existence. It may very well be that the fierce deter­ mination of both sides is justified in the sense that the problems of the Chinese bureaucracy are, in fact, insurmountable and, that while the two con­ tending strategies were thus equally inapplicable, it was still necessary to choose between them.

The level reached by the technology of the most privileged becomes an insult-and one more easily denounced than the most basic insult, which is reification. The Los Angeles rebellion is the first in history to justify itself on the grounds that there was no air conditioning during a heatwave. 21 Integration-into what? 22 THE ' SPECTACULAR ' COMMODITY-ECONOMY American blacks have their own spectacle, complete with its press, magazines and coloured film stars and, if blacks realize this, if they spew out this spectacle as phoney, as an expression of their humiliation, it is because they see it to be a minority phenomenon-nothing but an appendage of the spectacle in general.

The ruling class must, therefore, have known that it could not go on governing as before. We can be sure that the present conflict concerns the management of the economy; and that the collapse of the bureaucracy's successive economic policies is what has made this conflict so critical. The failure of the so-called Great Leap Forward (chiefly due to resistance 48 THE EXPLOSION POINT OF IDEOLOGY from the peasantry) not only put paid to the prospect of an ultra-voluntaristic surge in indus­ trial production but also, disastrously, created a chaos that lasted for several years.

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