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"Sous les pavés, la plage." - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
"Sous les pavés, la plage."
From Henri Lefebvre, The Explosion: Marxism and the French Upheaval (1968):
The revolutionary process begins by shaking up the condition of everyday life and ends by restoring it. What is it that shatters and submerges this condition? It is the active subversion of the conditions that maintain it by divorcing it from "extraordinary" possibilities. The subversion undermines previously mentioned dissociations (private life, work, leisure, social and political life, "officialese" documents, and speech reduced to triviality and rhetoric). Social practice liberates itself spontaneously from whatever institutes separations, from the sum total of institutions. This is the meaning of the institutional crisis, which must not be reduced to a crisis of authority. Contestation does not arise against authority so much as against the entire society maintained by authority. Workers do not cease working because their employer acts like a father. They reject paternalism because it embodies and symbolizes a social order; their real target is the established social order.

Humiliation and boredom -- the reverse side of authority, i.e. the power to make decisions -- are as important as authority itself.

On what does this authority weigh? It weighs on everyday existence -- which it both institutes and constitutes as a condition. Under circumstances of tension and disorder, "uninterrupted speech," initiated and literally discovered in the event, challenged not only paternalist authority and the authority of the employers, but also the aim and finality of these authorities -- the condition of everyday existence. It also challenged the repressive implications of this condition -- a repressiveness which, through the use of common sense and trivial speech, sanctions triviality.

What is the purpose of so many reduced and therefore reductive activities? What is the objective which these activities make evident yet also dissimulate? To maintain a condition of everyday existence reduced to passive obedience. When the process of dis-alienation through unfettered speech, street activities, and spontaneous disorder -- when this dis-alienation process ebbed, the order of everyday existence reorganized itself in its down-to-earth solidity. The disruptions of the social order come to be viewed as disruptions of everyday existence; the restoration of everyday existence supports the restoration of the social order.

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5 comments or Leave a comment
From: thewhitaker Date: June 27th, 2005 05:00 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Est-ce que tu parle francais, mon prof? Tu parle francais et l'Allemande aussi. C'est incroyable!
P.S.: J'aime la plage, aussi.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 27th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Je m'appelle "la plage." Aussi incroyable, non? Quelle dommage que je ne parle pas français.
From: thewhitaker Date: June 28th, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Appelles-tu nom est "la plage?" Le mot en l'allemande est "bertsch?" Je ne connais pas l'allemande. Je n'ecrire pas francais bien, aussi.
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: June 27th, 2005 01:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The French, in a very general way, seem to voice they are so enlightened and avant garde but, in reality, they're just as mixed up as the rest of us. I did find some of Henri Lefebvre's writings of interest. That's when I was reading more about the Situationist. I know I'm not one to take to the streets and do things (guerilla street actions). Never have been. But, it's an interesting strategy if one can do it.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 27th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The activists of May '68 were really hard on Lefebvre for the most part. They thought he was too committed to the Communist Party approach instead of truly radical change. But I've always liked him better even than the majority of the Situationists. The book I'm quoting from here is interesting because he's scrambling to stay relevant by reflecting on the very recent upheaval.
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