B U R E A U   O F   P U B L I C   S E C R E T S

Public Secrets

Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb

1997. 408 pages

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1. Some Facts of Life

Utopia or bust. Stalinist “communism” and reformist “socialism” are merely variants of capitalism. Representative democracy versus delegate democracy. Irrationalities of capitalism. Some exemplary modern revolts. Some common objections. Increasing dominance of the spectacle.

2. Foreplay

Personal breakthroughs. Critical interventions. Theory versus ideology. Avoiding false choices and elucidating real ones. The insurrectionary style. Radical film. Oppressionism versus playfulness. The Strasbourg scandal. The poverty of electoral politics. Reforms and alternative institutions. Political correctness, or equal opportunity alienation. Drawbacks of moralism and simplistic extremism. Advantages of boldness. Advantages and limits of nonviolence.

3. Climaxes

Causes of social breakthroughs. Postwar upheavals. Effervescence of radical situations. Popular self-organization. The FSM. The situationists in May 1968. Workerism is obsolete, but workers’ position remains pivotal. Wildcats and sitdowns. Consumer strikes. What could have happened in May 1968. Methods of confusion and cooption. Terrorism reinforces the state. The ultimate showdown. Internationalism.

4. Rebirth

Utopians fail to envision postrevolutionary diversity. Decentralization and coordination. Safeguards against abuses. Consensus, majority rule and unavoidable hierarchies. Eliminating the roots of war and crime. Abolishing money. Absurdity of most present-day labor. Transforming work into play. Technophobic objections. Ecological issues. The blossoming of free communities. More interesting problems.



Part 1 (1945-1969)

Childhood. How I became an atheist. Shimer College and first independent ventures. Berkeley in the sixties. Kenneth Rexroth. How I became an anarchist.

Part 2 (1969-1977)

How I became a situationist. 1044. Contradiction. A fresh start. The “Notice” group. The breaking of a fellowship.

Part 3 (1977-1997)

Japan and Hong Kong. The SI Anthology. Rock climbing. Rexroth again. Zen practice. Reading, writing, translating and music. How this book came to be.


Do We Need Snyder for Poet-Priest? (1970)

In This Theater... (1970)

Ode on the Absence of Real Poetry Here This Afternoon (1970)

Bureaucratic Comix (1971)

Critique of the New Left Movement (Contradiction, 1972):

Antifascism and the Cybernetic Welfare State

Yippies and Weathermen

Communes and Collectives

Women’s Liberation

On the Poverty of Hip Life (Contradiction, 1972)

Remarks on Contradiction and Its Failure (1973)

“Reich: How To Use” (comic poster) (1973)

Reich: How To Use (Voyer, 1971)

Discretion Is the Better Part of Value (Voyer, 1973)

Double-Reflection (1974)

Theory of Misery, Misery of Theory (Denevert, 1973)

To Clarify Some Aspects of the Moment (chapter 3) (Denevert, 1972)

Declaration Concerning the Center for Research on the Social Question

          (CRQS, 1974)

Notice Concerning the Reigning Society and Those Who Contest It (Carrión,

          Cooperstein, Cronin, Hammer, Knabb, Rosenberg, Shutes, 1974)

The Blind Men and the Elephant (1975)

Bureau of Public Secrets #1 (1976):

The Society of Situationism

Notes Toward a Situationist Manifesto (Charles & Denevert, 1975)

Arms and the Woman (Charles, 1975)

From Science’s End (Moinet, 1974)

A Short Guide to the Anglo-American Situationist Image

Trouble Is My Business

Affective Détournement: A Case Study

The Realization and Suppression of Religion (1977)

Open Letter to the Tokyo “Libertaire” Group (1977)

A Radical Group in Hong Kong (1978)

The Opening in Iran (1979)

Banalities (1979)

The Relevance of Rexroth (1990):

1. Life and Literature

2. Magnanimity and Mysticism

3. Society and Revolution

Notes and Bibliography

The War and the Spectacle (1991)

On René Viénet’s Film Can Dialectics Break Bricks? (1992)

Los Angeles 1965/1992 (excerpt from SI text below) (1992)

Watts 1965: The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy

          (Situationist International, 1965)

Strong Lessons for Engaged Buddhists (1993)

On Guy Debord’s Film The Society of the Spectacle (1996)

Situationist Bibliography (updated)

Notes on the Texts (updated)

Selected Opinions on the BPS (updated)

Index (merged with the Index to the entire BPS website)


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