[iDC] activism now and

Christiane Robbins at Jetztzeit cpr at mindspring.com
Thu Dec 8 12:04:29 EST 2005

Just wanted to add to the conversation with Guy DeBord's statement from 1988:

The society whose modernization has reached the stage of integrated spectacle is characterized by the effect of five principle factors:   

incessant technological renewal, 
integration of state and economy,  
generalized secrecy,  
unanswerable lies 
and eternal present.

Much of this seems uncannily familiar and easily sums up where we find ourselves today.  And it is precisely this easily summing up which is makes me feel increasingly uncomfortable ( for lack of a better word at the moment.)  This easy access summation itself represents the ideological mechanisms and screens at work making any strategic "coming to terms" with what is happening in the USA itself a seemingly glib enterprise.  I am not at all certain whether either resignation or self- indulgence ( as in Saul's observation of his students)  that is motivating this last sentence - perhaps it was just the headlines in the NYTimes indicating that Bush's poll #s are "lifting" as the US economy supposedly improves.

In any case, I'd be interested in repsonses to DeBord's statement relative to the issues at hand.


-----Original Message-----
From: saul ostrow <sostrow at gate.cia.edu>
Sent: Dec 7, 2005 10:21 PM
To: john sobol <john at johnsobol.com>
Cc: idc at bbs.thing.net
Subject: Re: [iDC] activism now and

my comment  concerning resisting our assumptions arose out of a number 
of observations I have made concerning my students that  have received 
some predictable as well as unpredictable responses among my peers --

My observations revolve around what appears to be their attitudes as 
being that of resignation, or passivity.  The fact that it might not be 
that simple  has stimulated me to try and  explicate their situation.  
If  I do not, I expect that I will project upon them a judgment 
premised on some readymade agenda. I wondered what this situation would 
look like if I thought  that it was not  a product of their failure to 
understand or act but perhaps  rather ours to comprehend.  What if 
their attitude is a product of the very goals our critique of modernism 
  had set  in which all standards, criteria and  conventions came to be 
viewed as  hierarchies created by institutions and therefore not based 
in any objective criteria.  As such, is their attitude an 
acknowledgment of  the power of institutions  on one hand and on the 
other   that to think through or in accord with such systems 
constitutes for them a limit on their freedom to act in accord with 
their desires, volition, or experiences? no matter how limited and 
limiting these may be after all they are their's.  This re-enforces 
their general feeling that it is no longer possible to contribute to 
historically or critically grounded discourses and at best they need 
only satisfy themselves or wow an audience. Subsequently it instills in 
us a fear that in worst case scenario we get to the point where 
everything is the same and we cannot differentiate between one act and 
another, one artist and another, one issue and another. On the other 
hand, for the moment it seems to offer them a certain freedom and that 
is critically important ? though seemingly aesthetically and 
conceptually narrow and often to our minds conservative. The problem 
though is we, those of us who beleive in activism and resistance  tend 
to either generalize or psychologize this condition ? as if they we're 
in jeopardy because they are playing out their freedom, while others 
have been taught to act on a belief system in  which it is in everyones 
best interest to their own seek control and dominance over others, this 
latter position these days more identified with the right then left  ? 
in other words, is this sector of the present generation vulnerable and 
is this a situation we did  not, could not foresee, because the myths 
that sustained us in our beliefs, did not allow for it.

" ... the space between zero and one ... "
                 Walter Benjamin

        Los Angeles _ San Francisco

More information about the iDC mailing list