Raoul Vaneigem is a Belgian writer and philosopher. He was born in Lessines. After studying romance philology at the Free University of Brussels from 1952 to 1956, he participated in the Situationist International from 1961 to 1970. Vaneigem and Guy Debord were two of the principal theoreticians of the Situationist movement. Vaneigem’s slogans frequently made it onto the walls of Paris during the May 1968 uprisings. His most famous book, and the one that contains the most famous slogans, is The Revolution of Everyday Life (in French Traité de savoir-vivre à l’usage des jeunes générations).
for brer Noir (http://darkecologies.com/) a bite of situationism.
The duty to produce alienates the passion for creation. Productive labour is part and parcel of the technology of law and order. The working day grows shorter as the empire of conditioning extends.
In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create. What spark of humanity, of a possible creativity, can remain alive in a being dragged out of sleep at six every morning, jolted about in suburban trains, deafened by the racket of machinery, bleached and steamed by meaningless sounds and gestures, spun dry by statistical controls, and tossed out at the end of the day into the entrance halls of railway stations, those cathedrals of departure for the hell of weekdays and the nugatory paradise of weekends, where the crowd communes in weariness and boredom? From adolescence to retirement each 24-hour cycle repeats the same shattering bombardment, like bullets hitting a window: mechanical repetition, time-which-is-money, submission to bosses, boredom, exhaustion. From the butchering of youth’s energy to the gaping wound of old age, life cracks in every direction under the blows of forced labour. Never before has a civilization reached such a degree of contempt for life; never before has a generation, drowned in mortification, felt such a rage to live. The same people who are murdered slowly in the mechanized slaughterhouses of work are also arguing, singing, drinking, dancing, making love, holding the streets, picking up weapons and inventing a new poetry. Already the front against forced labour is being formed; its gestures of refusal are moulding the consciousness of the future. Every call for productivity in the conditions chosen by capitalist and Soviet economy is a call to slavery.
The necessity of production is so easily proved that any hack philosopher of industrialism can fill ten books with it. Unfortunately for these neo-economist thinkers, these proofs belong to the nineteenth century, a time when the misery of the working classes made the right to work the counterpart of the right to be a slave, claimed at the dawn of time by prisoners about to be massacred. Above all it was a question of surviving, of not disappearing physically. The imperatives of production are the imperatives of survival; from now on, people want to live, not just to survive. – Raoul Vaneigem
- The madness of crowds: The government quarter (will-self.com)
- ‘The Spectacle of Disintegration’ Reclaims the Truths of the Situationist International Movement (Review) (popmatters.com)
- The Spectacle of Disintegration (newstatesman.com)