Seeing a corpse – Conway Hall May 2008

The work of Guy Debord and the Situationist International were amongst  the many sources  Kill Your Pet Puppy stole from.  Thanks to a comment by Noisy Sphinx on my Greengalloway blog site,  I found  the following at http://www.principiadialectica.co.uk/blog/   It is  the text of a leaflet  first distributed at the May 1968 anniversary bash at the Conway Hall last [ 10 May 2008] weekend. I reckon it is pretty punk…

AL Puppy
For a beautiful month of May
If you go inside you will see a corpse, and mummies embalming this corpse. We were kindly invited to this mass but we have refused to take part. However we are here – outside , as their bad conscience.

In 2008, the position of all these people is false, and as far back as 1968 it was the same. Today, as yesterday, they are wrong about everything: they fantasise about a glorious past which never existed, they take on present society with the theoretical weapons of the past. Already in May 1968, their goal was to realise 1917, to redo 1936. And their recollection of May 68 precisely is this levelling: even today they dream of Soviets, Red Square, occupied factories and Cultural Revolution in popular China. Indeed, the past does not go by.

To help the past go by is to speak about the modernity of yesterday and of the fact that ‘this modernity’ has turned to dust. In May 68, the most advanced group was the Situationist International. The S.I. combated all the corpses of the Left in the name of an other idea of revolution. May 68, in its most surprising aspect, and in practice, was closest to what the S.I. had done in theory.

However, May 68 – as the S.I. – belongs at the same time to the past and the present. The strength of the revolution of May, as of the Situationist, was to attack capitalist society as a society of work and to call into question State Communism, parties and trade unions with the help of a new definition of the proletariat. In May 68, one can say that those who defined themselves as revolutionaries were all those who had no power over their life, and who knew it. This goes beyond the traditional definition that this very one literally explodes: with such a vision, one is far away from the good Leninist, anarchist, councilist worker to whom the organisation will dish out the gospel. This is certainly beyond the old definition, but not beyond proletarian messianism. That is where the limit lies.

Whoever wants to get rid of capitalism must go further. One must rid the world and its ideals of all illusions, including the ideals of the Left, including those of the most radical Left – including thus those of the S.I. and May 68.

Revolutionary theory today knows that there is no revolutionary subject. The only subject is capital as an automaton subject, as value, which valorises itself. And this subject – the economy that has become autonomous, what Guy Debord justly used to call “the autonomous movement of the non-living” – transforms each of us into the human resources of its infinite self-reproduction.

In 1968 as in 2008, the critique of work must be put centre stage: not as a consequence of the critique of everyday life, but as the heart of the new theory and the new practice. And it must be done in a completely disenchanted, post-
messianic manner. Straight away it must position itself beyond all myths: not only beyond the convention of the sub-critique, beyond the contingencies of realist reformism, beyond the self-satisfaction of the “happy unemployed” who believe themselves to be radical because they benefit from social security. But also, and above all, it must be beyond the S.I., which had based its cause on the revolutionary Subject of history.

It is easy to be done with the corpses that May 68 has already ridiculed and who today act as guarantors of the “spirit of May” (from the good democrat Left to the ex-Maoists, and right up to the anarchists). It is more difficult to be done with the May 68 which lives still, although fossilised: the one that says never work ever. It is even more difficult, in fact, because this old critique still shines. But let’s repeat it, it shines with the light of dead stars. Never work ever: to really be done with work, one must be rid of the idea of the proletariat as revolutionary subject of history. The class struggle is an integral part of the capitalist dynamic: it is not a matter of a struggle between the dominant class and the revolutionary class, but between different interests (although differently powerful) within capitalism.
The question is not to remain faithful to 68, but to be equal to the spirit of May. The only method is to be resolutely outside the system.

Beyond conventions, beyond the contingencies, beyond attachments!

Distributed outside The Conway Hall, London, 10th May 2008 to coincide with the so-called May 68 Jamboree

Published by

AL Puppy

I wrote for the original Kill Your Pet Puppy and ran All the Madmen Records for 18 months. Apart from those moments of spectacular exicitment I led and continue to lead, a dull and simple life.

22 thoughts on “Seeing a corpse – Conway Hall May 2008”

  1. They need a bit of word space to get a good rant going, to create the necessary conditions for intoxication through language, a prolonged derangement of the senses which invokes within the reader an almost dizzying sense of bewilderment and confusion out of which, if correctly constructed, a situation can emerge which is effectively a surreality – where the umbrella and the sewing machine engage in a dialectical discourse upon the operating table that is everyday life, a discourse which, in itself may seem simply absurd, yet contains within its very absurdity a dislocation of the reasonable, the taken-for-granted, the common-place, the unmemorable which (or that) in a sudden reversal or detournment becomes at last the mechanism to destroy your old , ordered and worn out mind convincing you to buy, buy the damnation of your soul, to welcome frenzy and darkness with outstretched hands.

  2. Has any one here actually read KYPP? “Buy, buy the damnation of your soul, here at last is the mechanism to destroy your old, ordered and worn out mind… ” are the first words of Windy Miller’s Intro to KYPP 4.

    It was a cut-up/ sample of :

    Buy, buy the damnation of your soul, you will destroy yourself at last, here is the machine for capsizing your mind. I announce to the world this page one headline: a new vice has just been born, one madness more has been given to man: surrealism, son of frenzy and darkness. Step right up, here is where the kingdoms of the instantaneous begin. [Written by Louis Aragon (French surrealist) about 1924.]

    In The Art of War, Andrew Hussey’s excellent biog of Guy Debord, a structural similarity Andre Breton: surrealists :: Guy Debord: situationists is shown.

    Windy Miller was (along with Loz Lawson, a fellow veteran of the Glasgow Art School Occupation of May 1968) the quixotic “missing link” between Breton, Debord and punk.

  3. I read the one with Ants/Tuinal/Crass on it. Bought it at the Communist party festival at Alexandra Palace when the Slits and The Poop Group played in 1980… Or was it Stonehenge 1980???

  4. @Alistairliv-> “Has any one here actually read KYPP?”

    No. Does that make me a bad person?

  5. Yes, absolutely, very bad indeed Jah Pork.

    Dropped Lou off earlier this morning, after a Subway Sect gig in E17. Noticed you wrote some sweet things about her in a couple of your comments. She will try to work out how to use the comments function (when her daughter returns home tomorrow to show her) so she can put the odd comment up.

  6. @jahpork – not a bad person, but in future I will tag my contributions “in the style of KYPP” rather than assuming familiarity with the mag which might cause less confusion.

  7. How was the Subway Sect gig, penguin?
    They are playing up here soon…
    I’m not usually one for the ‘Punk Revivalist’ circuit, but I do have a soft spot for Mr Godard, so I’d be interested to know if it is worth going…

  8. Absolutely fabulous Nic, backroom of a pub in E17 with Jowe Head’s Angel Racing Food playing. Was a benefit for Mad Pride org. Robert Dellar (ex Wapping and all other @ centers is deeply involved in that charity for the mentally unstable. He also put’s out literature on Spare Change Books, inc the Nick Blinko’s ‘Primal Screamer’ one. Luggy, Tony Puppy, Lou, Steve Corr, Robert Dellar and Tinsal were all there. Plus about 150 more (all you could fit in the room).
    Vic Goddard is such a sweet little guy, wanted to hug him so hurd but thought I may snap him if I did. He was still wearing the old grey V neck pullover that Tony Puppy swore he was wearing 30 years ago on the ‘White Riot’ tour!
    They played ‘Ambition’ twice and it really filled the room! Well worth getting up there to see this lot.
    No artists were paid which made the evening even more special, Charity you see…

  9. Thanks, Pengy! All good stuff (nice to see it was a benefit too)…
    I will be there then (the gig is at my local)…

    I have a .pdf somewhere of Nick Blinko’s buy: I’m actually quite glad I didn’t buy it, as the quality of the writing isn’t particularly wonderful…

    Robert Dellar’s name rings a bell with an Apostles connection (around 82-ish?): what was he doing at the time? Was it Exhibit A? I just can’t remember (the memory isn’t what it used to be)…

  10. Robert Dellar did a fanzine out of Brighton, as per usual the name escape’s me now !!..And he was a fan of the Underlings and The S-Haters but that may have been the mid 80’s.

  11. Straighten Up was Roberts fanzine. He was orig from some place near Watford and hung with S Haters, Part 1 and Peni. He was involved in the Wapping @ Centre and moved to Brighton in 1987 or thereabouts. He was friends with Dave Fanning and Andee Martian from way back.

  12. Straighten Up, yep that was it…it was good as well from what I can remember.

    Well remembered Penguin, you are getting as good as “Nic” !!

  13. hello good people! how excellent to hear the woodwork squeaking and so many appearing, despite the few bits of bad news, lost freinds, that have been posted, my heart has been warmed here.

    so, on topic, here’s a link to an interesting little film

    http://www.ubu.com/film/si.html

    which manages to convey some basic SI theory succinctly, a rarity indeed, though a lot of it deserves criticism. have a look and see what you think

  14. sorry to be fussy Mick but it was Straight Up fanzine, i met Robert when we moved into a house he was just moving out of here in Brighton around 88/89. I’ve got a Regular Guys/Underlings flexi still from one of the last issues.

  15. Any chance of uploading any Regular Guys/Underlings stuff up on here ??

    Did the flexi involve “saving up for a gun, was a task that never got done..” line..Cant remember the song !

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