1968: The Global Revolutions

L'Enragé: Revolution in France > Situationist International

Situationist International was an organization of social revolutionaries, avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and political theorists active in Europe during the 1960s. Its principles derived primarily from anti-authoritarian Marxism, Dadaism and Surrealism, all critiques of modern capitalism. The Situationists had long supported student protest in France, publishing a notorious 1966 pamphlet, “De la misère en milieu étudiant” – or, roughly, “On the Poverty of Student Life” – which directly contributed to the uprisings in May ‘68. The English translation was titled “Ten Days that Shook the University,” an ironic allusion to John Reed’s celebration of the Russian Revolution. Guy Debord, a French Marxist philosopher, was one of SI’s founding members. His publications, including 1967’s The Society of the Spectacle, influenced many of the slogans popularized by the protests. His hand can be seen in the semi-surreal list of “Slogans to broadcast by all means” which hung on the walls of the Sorbonne during the occupation. While the slogans are fairly serious – Occupation of the factories, Death to the police, Abolish alienation, End the university – the means are clearly facetious. They include tracts, proclamations using microphones, comics, songs, painting on the walls, proclamations in movie theaters during the film, as well as before and after making love.

Situationist International
Ten Days that Shook the University, 1967
Todd Gitlin Papers

Comité d'occupation de la Sorbonne
Mots d'ordre à diffuser maintenant par tous les moyens, 1968

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