22 May 2021

Jappe—Debord—Bursting the Third-Worldist Bubble

Anselm Jappe
Guy Debord (1993)
trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (1999)
A bubble that the SI found easy to burst was the excessive enthusiasm for revolutionary movements in the Third World... The SI (like Socialisme ou Barbarie) believed that "the revolutionary project must be realized in the industrially advanced countries"... A bit of mockery of Third-Worldism is no doubt to be detected in the SI's use of such terms as "backward sector," "underdevelopment," and "war of liberation" in connection with the issue of everyday life. ...nor did "the young" per se, or the various "marginal" groups, inspire any confidence..." (97-98)
Really, this misplaced faith in the marginalized is quite a bit more (or, if you insist, less) than comfortable Westerners "striving to cover up their own ineffectuality." (97) That accusation smacks of personal score-settling at the expense of clear thinking. Rather, mustn't there be some species of White Guilt, or some similar organic psychosocial construct, motivating Westeners to offload both responsibility and valorization to the proverbial Third Worlders who have historically been on the wrong end of Western affluence? It seems like it must be a form of self-rejection, as we certainly see among Woke white people all the time in more local issues.

[from a post-it, 2017 or 2018]

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