It was a culture dominated by electronic media, consumption and surveillance, reducing most to neutered spectators.
Theorists focused on the social construction of reality. Subjectivity was a cultural construction rather than natural.
This led to an understanding of how particular forms of social organization created a manipulated consensus.
For example, Hollywood created subjects [patriarchal-capitalist) to maintain existing socioeconomic production.
Spectators reconstructed themselves as individuals, undetermined by history and social formations.
They were free to choose commodities and life-styles by seeing themselves as separate from others.
The crux of this theory depended on an epistemological reversal of humanism: from subject-as-cause to subject-as-effect.
Potential delinquents can rest assured that as long as they keep quiet they will in most cases be allowed to survive. Capitalism has become sufficiently concentrated and interlinked with the state to distribute ‘welfare’ to the poorest.
What we’re really demanding is not to survive but to live. We have nothing of our own. Our status comes from rebellion against the entrenched capitalist system.
We laugh at the use of the word democracy in western cultures. This is a false talisman. Only fifty per cent of a population bothers to vote, the majority of whom are bourgeois.
Their rule is described as ‘popular government’ or ‘democracy’. An élite skillfully uses propaganda and symbols to manufacture consent.
Capitalist countries have no ‘democracy in general’. All that exists is bourgeois democracy. The most democratic bourgeois society is no more than a machine for the suppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie.
Bourgeois democracy is a cover for brutal exploitation and oppression, a facade to conceal the dictatorship of the bourgeois ruling class.
The rabble are anger and rioting. We have a hatred of work and deep resentment towards the privileged.
We see ourselves as the exploited layer of society. We rebel against the ‘civility’ of bourgeois culture. We hate the social ideology that keeps us in our place.
What ARM demands is freedom from alienation. This means the total subversion of society. It’s increasingly evident that delinquents are forced to use insurrection as a means to the end.
Adapted by Ed Strong from The Situationist International Anthology (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2006). No copyright.