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The Decline and Fall of the "Spectacular" Commodity-Economy

The Decline and Fall of the "Spectacular" Commodity-Economy

Another classic '68 text reprinted by Dark Star and Active.

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The Situationist International circulated a document in 1966 on "The Decline and Fall of the Spectacular-Commodity Economy," which analyzed the conditions of the Watts riot along lines that showed that modern capitalism, even at its most affluent, presents very serious contradictions, and is incapable of resolving them harmoniously. This, at a time when all the apologists of the system claimed -- as they continue to claim, though with less assurance -- that the system has changed, and transformed the social conditions that it breeds. But the system -- we are beginning to realize again -- has in effect just sophisticated the methods of repression and, until the riots, offered a perfectly dissimulated portrait of social harmony. Watts -- and now Newark and Detroit -- have shattered the myth. But how many are aware of it? The word race today is being used on all sides to conceal the truth. How will the conscious and unconscious defenders of the system attribute to race -- and not class -- the black woman's proposition that hostages be taken at random from among the rioters, then shot and left to rot in the street?