Yesterday, during the Occupy Ypsilanti teach-in, my friend Jeff Clark, an accomplished graphic designer, delivered what I thought was a brilliant lecture on the graffiti produced by the Situationists during the May 1968 student uprising in France, and the incredible relevance their work still has today. So, if you have a few minutes today, and you’re interested in learning a little about France in 1968, where, it could be argued, the seeds of the Occupy movement were first sewn, I’d encourage you to watch the following, and become acquainted with the members of the Situationist International, like Guy Debord, Raoul Vaneigem and Michèle Bernstein, who took to the streets that spring, scrawling epigrams across Paris, urging their fellow countrymen to truly embrace life, and throw off the shackles of consumerism… Here’s Jeff…
And here are a few examples of the provocative phrases the Situationists were responsible for painting on the walls of Paris in 1968:
Warning: ambitious careerists may now be disguised as “progressives.”
The revolution doesn’t belong to the committees, it’s yours.
The boss needs you, you don’t need the boss.
Conflict is the origin of everything.
A single nonrevolutionary weekend is infinitely more bloody than a month of total revolution.
This concerns everyone.
The forest precedes man, the desert follows him.
Under the paving stones, the beach.
Concrete breeds apathy.
You are hollow.
You will end up dying of comfort.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
[note: Yesterday’s teach-in was held at Eastern Michigan University, and co-hosted by Students for Ethical and Participatory Education.]