This 80 page book by Richard Barbrook and Fabian Thompsett is an extension of the film script that forms the basis of Ilze Black’s film. Of the same name. It describes how a group was formed to popularize and play the Game of War which GuyDebord spent the last 10 years of his life developing and playing with Alice Becker-Ho. It lists the various public venues where the group has played the game in real time, but also describes the game in detail and hints at why they think it is important. The first, unstated, is to rescue Debord, long term member and survivor of the Situationist International (SI), from the ironic recuperation of him and the SI by the cultural establishment they despised. Ironic because they were so hot on any kind of politics that could be, as they called it, recuperated, that is, absorbed by the very ‘Spectacle’ they had described. To have an exhibition devoted to them at the Pompidou Centre in 1987, and then for his personal archive to be described as ‘a national treasure’ by the French Minister of Culture in 2009 was the unkindest cut for someone who lived by the sword. The Game of War however does not fit this Debord-made safe, just as he himself truly did live by the sword, ripping of the bourgeoisie whenever possible and including with his own suicide that meant Alice would have some money. Instead, the Game claims a seriousness about not just analyzing capitalism and its monologue, but thinking strategically about how to go about participating in its downfall.
A metà degli anni ’70 Franco Fortini dedicò qualche pagina pungente all’impresa teorica del giovane Cacciari – si tratta più o meno dell’epoca di Krisis – impegnato allora a sdoganare Nietzsche e Wittgenstein dalla reazione idealistica e però, allo stesso tempo, deciso a ripiegare la potenza ermeneutica del pensiero della crisi sugli algidi orizzonti dell’analitica weberiana. Seppure timido rispetto a questi autori, Fortini ben colse già allora, il tentativo di apparecchiare un Nietzsche per tutti, buono per consolare i sacerdoti della pianificazione capitalista e carezzare i desideri sovversivi dei giovani filosofi. L’approccio di Cacciari fu allora descritto come un saggio immancabile di chi vuole ad un tempo dirsi belva e compagno: internazionalista e rivoluzionario certo, ma solo come sanno esserlo gli agenti delle multinazionali della finanza. È curioso notare come si ripresenti ad ogni tornante critico questa posa ambigua: antiaccademica ma d’ordine, coraggiosa nell’immaginare il futuro ma solo in quanto coincide col presente, tecnocratica ma certo infinitamente più sottile e forte di ogni nostalgia gauchiste, d’ogni amore per tutto ciò che é Stato.
This text is based on a panel talk (together with Nina Power) by Bifo during the event ‘We Have Our Own Concept of Time and Motion’, organised by Auto Italia in collaboration with Federico Campagna, Huw Lemmey, Michael Oswell and Charlie Woolley in August 2011.
I beg your pardon for the frantic way of my exposition, but the problem is that the object of my reflections is frantic. We are doing so many things without really understanding what is the framework of our actions. I do not pretend to clarify this framework or our understanding of it; I don’t even pretend to come to some conclusions in this short time. But I will try to say something about the coming problem; the coming collapse; the coming insurrection.
Note: heavily pixelated latitude and longitude. Google Earth “inhibited” on the West Bank of the dried up Jordan River, probably suppressed to conceal the illegitimate activity that Israel is undertaking. Up until lately street names have been absent and the massively inferior pixel quality in the Occupied Territories is palpable. You can see the disparity to the neighbours- even from a high altitude- the evergreen, the suburban, the maximum security, the loaned up the hilt, the after-the-event-archaeology-as-tourism; many sites of which rested in the rubble before the Nakbah and some of which ended up in the rubble as a result of the Nakbah. A shifting sea of rubble. Looking at Palestine in Google is an insult to the eyes, as this is a piece of franchised software that has been politicized way before the idea. Again, you can clearly see the disparity in the colour of the land between Israel and Palestine, the thirsty, insatiable occupier who is draining the Jordan and Golan Heights, as well as other basins, which it has done from day one. You can see the pathetic impotence of UN Boundaries, International Boundaries, Oslo Accords, Armistice Boundaries and anti-social historic walls of archaeological importance- but not the massive long concrete walls that encircle most of the country like a grey carbon seeping reptile- as David Icke would put it.
The Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban
Once upon a time, a King called Yunan reigned over a city in Persia. He was a powerful and wealthy ruler, who had armies and guards and allies of all nations of men; but his body was afflicted with a leprosy which philosophers and men of science failed to heal. He drank potions and he swallowed powders, but naught did him good and no physician was able to procure him a cure.
At last there came to his city a mighty healer of men, the sage Duban. This man was a reader of books, Greek, Persian, Roman, Arabian, and Syrian; he was skilled in astronomy and the wisdom of the ancients; conversant with the virtues of every plant, grass and herb, as well as philosophy and the whole range of medical science.
Now this physician had heard of the King's malady and all the bodily sufferings with which Allah had smitten him and how all the doctors and wise men had failed to heal him. Upon this he sat up through the night in deep thought and, when the dawn broke he donned his handsomest dress and betook himself to King Yunan, kissing the ground before him. He called down blessings on the King, saying:
Up until the 20th Century bread had long been the staple food of the British Poor in both the city and the country: From the middle-ages black, brown and white bread were ever present through plenty and want and little was to change for centuries, especially for the better. Even as late as the 1890's bread was the only solid food in over 80% of the meals for the majority of children in Bethnal Green.
As the primary food of the people, the “staff of life”, bread has proved to be a hugely important not just as cause, but as buffer, to social unrest and revolution: In 1789 French women marched on Versailles driven by the price of bread; in 2011 millions took to the streets across North Africa and the Middle-East under the slogan 'bread, freedom and dignity; yet in 1848 English bread prices and its political structure were stabilised by cheap wheat as a wave of revolutions swept through Europe; and today...
Strength through unity, unity through faith
Action within unity!
British Union of Fascists, 1932-1940
Ten years after 1968, Italy was probably the only Western European country in which the wave of rebellion and dangerous dreaming of the 60s hadn’t yet exhausted its energy. The desire for autonomy, communism and communization seemed to be deeply rooted both in the hearts of the factory workers and in those of the students. While the institutional apparatus of the P.C.I. appeared determined to entrench itself within the parliamentary framework and the rhetoric of gradual and progressive social change, myriad other groups were still opting for the uncompromising strategy of full communism ‘here and now’. Countless collective experiences, free radios, workers’ associations and even armed groups were, at that time, still blossoming in almost every Italian city.
The form is swallowing the content.
Capital as a form is no more able to hold together the entropic force of global society, but so far the agony of capitalism is not coinciding with the emergence of autonomous forms of society. Biopolitical innervations of capital in the collective mind and the body are producing in fact a spasm paralyzing the process of subjectivation.
The black hole of financial abstraction is swallowing and destroying the product of two centuries of development and civilization, and is aggressing its content: the productive potency of the general intellect. The social civilization, created during the Modern age is invested and corroded by the metastases of the financial cancer.
How can the content get free from the form? This is the question that we should answer, while, as you can see, the building of civilization is crumbling.