* *



Those reading this text will better understand it if they bear in mind the audience for whom it was written. The primary audience was seen as those who were already engaged in activities relating to the tradition sketched out in the text. The secondary audience was seen as those who - for whatever reasons - were interested in the tradition described, but played no role in its contemporary manifestations.(1) The text is written so as to be clear to the secondary audience if it is understood that the author writes from a position of engagement. It should thus be borne in mind that although certain of the ideas described are relatively obscure, they have had considerable influence within the milieus from which they emerged.

The text contains large chunks of quotation, both to give a flavour of the material being discussed - and to save time and effort on the part of the author. It should be understood that these quotations are being used to illustrate a specific argument and that to keep the text as brief as possible the author does not fully explore the contradictions or assumptions that any given quotation may contain.(2) For example, the Introduction begins with a quotation from the American section of the (specto) Situationist International (SI). The quotation is used because it illustrates that a specto-situationist would dismiss as ridiculous the treatment their movement receives in this text (although such a reaction does not prove that this treatment is ridiculous). The same quotation contains a number of very questionable assertions; for example, the phrase "competes with, and is thereby equal to". To take a different example from the one used by the specto-SI, Ghana competes with the USSR in the Olympic Games, but to deduce from this that the two states are equivalent is to succumb to a gross and ultimately meaningless form of generalisation.(3)

Where possible a date and a place of birth has been given for any individual mentioned in the text; the severe difficulty encountered in tracing biographical material on the subjects of this study has meant that the occurrence of such data is somewhat erratic.


1. The first paragraph of this preface is obviously an exception to this rule since it is written for the benefit of the secondary audience.

2. In particular the ideas of Henry Flynt, Gustav Metzger, COUM Transmissions, Pauline Smith, Vittore Baroni & Tony Lowes could very easily be taken apart and shown to be contradictory or ridiculous.

3. As will be demonstrated in the course of the text, the basic theoretical technique of the various situationist groups - and particularly the Debordist faction - was to present gross generalisation as incontestable fact. This produced effective propaganda and atrociously poor theory. For example, Debord writes in "The Scoiety of the Spectacle":

"Tourism, human circulation considered as consumption, a by-product of the circulation of commodities, is fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal. The economic organisation of visits to different places is already in itself the guarantee of their equivalence. The same modernisation that removed time from the voyage also removed it from the reality of space."

Next: Introduction

Extras: Introduction to the Polish edition / Italian edition

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