A Sick Planet by Guy Debord

By Guy Debord

Of the 3 self sustaining texts through man Debord integrated the following, 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 due to the group's dissolution.

Despite the seeming range of the themes discussed—the Watts riots in ‘The Decline and Fall of the “Spectacular” Commodity-Economy’ (1965); the disintegration of bureaucratic strength in ‘The Explosion element of Ideology in China’ (1967); toxins and its illustration in ‘A ill Planet’ (1971)—all 3 texts take care of the various kinds of the ‘spectacle’ and its repercussions. And regardless of the dates in their composition, all 3 stay startlingly suitable today.

—Alice Debord, 2004

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Extra resources for A Sick Planet

Sample text

The rational world born of the industrial rev­ olution has rationally liberated individuals from their local and national limitations and linked them on a world scale; but its unreason separates them once more, according to a hidden logic reflected in crazy ideas and grotesque values. Having become estranged from its world, human­ ity is completely surrounded by what is alien to it. The barbarians are no longer at the ends of the earth: they are right here-barbarized, in fact, by this very same forced participation in hierarchical consumption.

They are people that the spectacular para­ dise must integrate and repulse simultaneously, with the result that in their particular case the antagonism between the spectacle and the real activity of human beings is patent. The spectacle is universal, as is the commodity. But since the world of commodities is founded on an opposi­ tion between classes, commodities are themselves hierarchical. The necessity for commodities-and, hence, for the spectacle that structures the com­ modity world-to be at once universal and hierar­ chical leads to a universal imposition of hierarchy.

Their sac­ rifice has won five days, which may turn out to be of great value to the 24 April uprising.... Costumes likewise. There were civilians in round low helmets and soldiers in forage caps .... Sixteen-year-old boys clutched their rifles desperately to their chests like gifts they had been waiting for since the begin­ ning of the world. Radio Santo Domingo made incessant appeals to the people, urging a massive movement to this location or that in the city where it is feared Wessin is about to attack....

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