Dispersible manifesto of situationist skinheads: part 1

  1. A situationist skinhead is a skinhead who engages in the construction of situations. This means the construction of concrete momentary ambiances of life and their transformation into a passionate and superior quality based on the principle of a permanent revolution of every day existence, from which, several of the principles below evoke a number of observations linked to the study of the situationist skinhead in his/her natural environment. If s/he realizes it by reading this, all skinheads can become situationists. All situationists can become skinheads for the same reasons, but not from one day to the next. As we know, even if all roads lead out of Babylon, the situationist hacienda will not be built in a single day but will in fact be a project of ongoing transformation. An intense cultural curiosity is necessary and must be accompanied by the sensation of a quasi-orgasmic osmosis, an effect well appreciated by situationist skinheads due to their enjoyment of skinhead reggae. Let’s state with candour that an authentic situationist skinhead, regardless of the way s/he first became involved in beating down Babylon, will recognize him/herself in what follows. In fact, a true situationist skinhead won’t care much for this manifesto because it is something they will want to move on from. A dyed-in-the-wool situationist skinhead is suspicious of manifestos, of anythings fixed, and thus this text is is 100% dispersible but nonetheless necessary. This manifesto does not prescribe; it dissects the situationist skinhead so that s/he might renew his/her attack on the Babylon, and finally destroy the false idols of capitalism.
  2. The situationist skinhead is above all else working class by filiation or affiliation. Whether s/he is employed, working or not, whether his/her work is artistic, salaried, illegal or not, the situationist skinhead identifies with all attempts of his/her class to create a new, emancipatory and revolutionary situation. The situationist skinhead loves strikes and knows of nothing better than a good factory occupation.
  3. The situationist skinhead absolutely rejects all isms –and for that reason all definitions of so-called “situationism” or “skinheadism”- which are nothing more than revisionist and reductive transformations of his/her culture into sterile stereotypes, and thus another reactionary set of doctrines. Therefore, s/he escapes all reifications and refuses to become invisible in the manner profit and bureaucracy demand. The situationist skinhead rejects authoritarian so-called “communism”, since all Bolshevik and Maoist regimes were in reality capitalist states. Isms are the instruments by which the dominant society transforms the proletariat’s endless reforging of the passage between theory and practice into doctrines. Thus certain “thinkers” define “anarchism” and thereby reduce its possibilities to the reproduction of individualist and western consumerist patterns of behaviour and thought. The situationist skinhead does not wish to replace one reductive system with another. S/he will destroy false representations or will be destroyed by them.
    4 . The situationist skinhead has no leaders (not even Joe Hawkins); he is not a Marxist – indeed, Marx himself was the first person to deny he was a Marxist. The situationist skinhead is not a Leninist, Trotskyst, Guevarist or Buddhist either; and most emphatically not a Castrist or Maoist. S/he does not raise statues, temples or churches and does not put corpses in mausoleums. S/he says let the dead bury their dead while we blaze a trail to new modes of being. In brief, s/he does not idolize, does not pray, does not implore and does not even ask but takes what is his/hers as a member of the class that will abolish all classes.
  4. The situationist skinhead stresses that the fundamental characteristic of this society is its division into classes. Therefore s/he is skeptical of the perfidious attempts of the ruling class (the bourgeoisie) to recuperate her uncontrolled rebellion. The situationist skinhead rejects the trajectory of petty bourgeois mods, or worse, that of those former revolutionaries who landed jobs in academies, whose writings are now studied by postgraduate students and recuperated by his/her enemy the bobo (aka “bohemian bourgeois”). For the contemporary situationist skinhead, this rank breed of socialite recyclers is far worse enemy than its ancestor, the baba cool (hippie). The bobo recuperation of elements of skinhead culture (shaved head and Dr. Martens), an attempt to “hipsterfy” a sterile vision of the world, has a far more deleterious effect than the baba who merely took drugs and attempted to withdraw from the material realities of capitalist exploitation.
  5. The situationist skinhead rejects cults such as the “spirit of 69” because, aside from rejecting all nostalgia, s/he knows that the skinhead movement, as a youth rebellion against the ruling order, is demographically much older today than during those years (but then we follow Isidore Isou in seeing youth as essentially a function of social position rather than age). Nevertheless, the situationist skinhead still refers to “the spirit of 69” since it expresses the triolectical nature of his/her movement. To that effect, and leaving aside the delights of this egalitarian sexual position, the number 69 expresses the contradictions and semantic inversions that characterise the situationist skinhead. Let’s note that Sham 69 are and remain one of the seminal bands of situationist skinheads, since they helped purge punk rock of its socialite hangers-on. Furthermore, 1969 was marked by some of the most enthralling rhythms of skinhead reggae, including the mighty Liquidator. Likewise, in 69 the last issue of the Internationale Situationsite review appeared.
    Communiqué of the International Situationist Skinhead, Combative Cell Yul Brynner In Sta-Prest
    As far as I can tell this first appeared as a printed text around 2002 and can now also be found as a comment to a post on the L’En Dehors blog (scroll down to find it). Translated and adapted into English, there were a couple of points I wasn’t in complete agreement with in this section, so I modified them (I still don’t agree with everything here). This represents roughly 25% of the French language manifesto, I may or may not run more of it on future blogs. You can always go read the whole thing in French! I’m not in complete agreement with everything in the rest of this either, but it is amusing and curious, so I thought it more than worth running an adapted part of it here.
    And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by YO OY on 2009-09-15 05:11:43 +0000


Comment by Cappuccino kid’s kid on 2009-09-15 08:25:39 +0000

Punk was the question, mod is the answer.

Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-09-15 10:44:26 +0000

I prefer hippie skinheads to situationist skinheads.

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-09-15 11:07:51 +0000

Yes long haired skinheads are the best kind!

Comment by Paul McCartney on 2009-09-15 11:56:00 +0000

I’ll be your long haired lover from Blackheath baby, you’ll be my groover from LA (via Stockholm)…..

Comment by sceptic on 2009-09-15 12:08:38 +0000

nothing new under the sun *sigh*

Comment by Joe Hawkins on 2009-09-15 12:59:42 +0000

You must be on drugs! Don’t forget the words now: “Walking down on Brighton peer, long haired hippies go in fear…”

Comment by Time on 2009-09-15 19:46:19 +0000

I like long haired skinheads wearing sandals and nothing else but a smile best myself…

Comment by antiseptic on 2009-09-15 20:00:58 +0000

I like septic skinheads best, but so that I can play the antithesis to their thesis, but its in getting to the synthesis that the dialectical fun really begins!

Comment by septic on 2009-09-15 20:13:23 +0000

I like Yul Brynner best when he’s wearing a wig! So Mister Dialectic is it time for you to wig out?

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-09-16 04:06:21 +0000

I think that guy who wrote Defiant Pose and Red London might like this. If only I could remember his name!

Comment by Michael K on 2009-09-16 10:19:08 +0000

I’ve been considering a skinhead for years but then it gets a bit chilly and I think ‘I’ll wait til next summer’

Comment by Rick “the wanna-be situationist skinhead"Terror on 2009-09-16 17:59:08 +0000

Hello! I’am 58 y.o. , catholic and dark skinned and have curly hair. I live in Bogotá, Colombia.
Can I still be a situationist skinhead?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-09-16 18:25:58 +0000

You sound to me like the archetypal situationist skinhead… I got curly hair and a Catholic mother too!

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-16 21:57:31 +0000

Me too!!! Where do I sign?

Comment by Rick “the wanna-be situationist skinhead"Terror on 2009-09-16 22:11:35 +0000

You made me happy!

Comment by Michael K, channelling ‘situationism’ as an excuse to go get another bottle of wine on 2009-09-17 06:46:47 +0000

Q: Why did the situationist skinhead cross the road?
A: The sudden change of ambiance in a street within the space of a few meters; the evident division of a city into zones of distinct psychic atmospheres; the path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the physical contour of the ground); the appealing or repelling character of certain places – all this seems to be neglected.

Comment by Howling Wizard,Shrieking Toad on 2009-09-18 10:40:50 +0000

Will Self reffered to Mr Home as “that nasty situationist skinhead”.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-09-18 10:45:26 +0000

Maybe I was the first situationist skinhead then…. I think Will Self also called me ‘nastly’, ‘little’ and ‘rebarbarative’… All of which are a lot better than being ‘stupid’, which was the main term I applied to Will Self.

Comment by RAE on 2009-09-18 12:29:16 +0000

From http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/luv/npp.htm: “Although influenced by Situationism, Home often attacks the late Guy Debord whose concept of the media as a monolithic, conditioning machine leads to the very passivity he decried.”
From above: “The situationist skinhead absolutely rejects… …all definitions of so-called “situationism”.”
Something is at odds here, please explain yourself.
My friends and I tried to catch you on Greek Street the other night but were ejected for drunkeness.

Comment by Howling Wizard,Shrieking Toad on 2009-09-18 12:39:06 +0000

RAE, having read “Assault on Culture” and his occult text on the mystification of “Zeros and Ones” closely, I’d have to answer your query on Home’s ( apparent) contradiction by saying, it is no accident that Stewart should have begun with an analysis of commodities when, throughout his works, he has set out to portray capitalist society in its totality and to lay bare its fundamental ( contradictory) nature.
For at the current stage in our post Hegelian world view there is no problem that does not ultimately lead back to that question — and there is no solution that could not be found in the solution to the riddle of commodity-structure.
Home sets that out very clearly, and has done since his days with the White Coulrs in the late 70’s — I think that should answer your question.
Howling Wizard.
P.S — Of course the problem can only be discussed with my degree of generality if it achieves the depth and breadth to be found in Hegel’s own analyses. That is to say, the problem of commodities must not be considered in isolation or even regarded as the central problem in economics, but as the central, structural problem of capitalist society in all its aspects. Only in this case can the structure of commodity-relations be made to yield a model of all the objective forms of bourgeois society together with all the subjective forms corresponding to them.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-09-18 12:58:43 +0000

Thanks Howling Wiz, and I agreed with Barrot when he said the Debordist criticised the commodity on the level of its circulation rather than production as well…
Anyway what RAE is quoting is from the press, not something I wrote, so I don’t have to agree with it, although I do criticise Debord (particularly for his idealist approach to art)… Likewise, this manifesto above is not something I wrote and I don’t have to agree with all of it to find it interesting… I don’t particularly go along with the idea that Debord and his friends overcame all of ideology and therefore I don’t have to agree with the idea that they didn’t create an ‘ism’ – I think they did!
Sorry you couldn’t see the free Greek Street event. Despite the fact I was giving a talk I was made to remove my hat before I was allowed in, and also had some of the things I’d just obtained from a supermarket removed from my bag, in case I consumed them on the premises… although my intention had been to use them for my lunch the following day…. Well that’s what you get for doing an event in what used to be The Establishment Club… But despite that and the no show of 3 out of the 5 people doing talks/readings (maybe they weren’t allowed in or got chucked out too), it was a fun night! Hope to see you at the next one….

Comment by Howling Wizard,Shrieking Toad on 2009-09-19 00:15:13 +0000

What was the talk about Mr. Home?
The Wiz.

Comment by Michael K on 2009-09-19 09:34:42 +0000

Hey RAE…it was me who was standing outside talking to you while you were unable to enter due to an anomaly known as ‘You’re drunk and that would be OK if you’d drunk it in here’ (an anomaly later abandoned as I predicted by the door supervisor who had downed about six cocktails by the time the show got on the road and ended up bumming fags off people waiting to get in).
It’s a shame you two moved on as a couple of minutes later, my friends arrived and we went down the street to the Coach and Horses and got round the old joanna there for a bout of Vera Lynn hits after which we returned to find the show on the road with Doctor Rock…I mean Mister Trippy…giving it loads about…erm…I’ll have regressive hypnotherapy to remember later.

Comment by RAE on 2009-09-19 18:26:49 +0000

Indeed. Are there going to be any similar nights in the South East in the near future?
I was later mistaken for a homeless person after expressing my knowledge of the whereabouts of Oscar Wilde’s cigar to a couple who approached his statue near the Strand where I was sat. Presumably holding this sort of information is a perceived prerequisite to vagrancy.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-09-20 09:06:17 +0000

It was a Steven Wells tribute night…. so I was just talking about him and the stuff we did together. Tony read some of Swells fiction as well as some of the book he published by him….

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-20 13:00:43 +0000

Who were the no-shows, Trip?

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-20 13:01:06 +0000

Name and shame!

Comment by RAE on 2009-09-20 14:38:33 +0000

Excellent stuff K, we shall meet again, hopefully with the involvement of Japanese schoolgirls.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-09-20 18:42:31 +0000

Old Rope – Mark Manning, Stanley Manly and Tommy Udo were advertised but didn’t read… but they may have shown and got turned away at the door… I had hassle but got in…. But in the end despite 5 advertised talkers/readers, only Tony White and me got to do our thing…

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-09-20 20:23:45 +0000

Heavy. What kind of pub is this? It sounds worse than British border police. Were you reading Whips and Furs?

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