Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb
Author: Ken Knabb
Publisher: Bureau of Public Secrets
Size: 5 x 7.5
Page count: 408
Subjects: History, Situationism, Anarchism
Ken Knabb is best know for his translations of numerous works by Guy Debord and the Situationist International. Public Secrets is a comprehensive collection of his own writings over a period of three decades.
The first half of the book consists of two major new texts. “The Joy of Revolution” is a series of observations on the problems and possibilities of a global antihierarchical revolution. Beginning with a brief overview of the failure of Bolshevism and the inadequacy of reformism, it examines the pros and cons of a wide range of radical tactics, then concludes with some provocative speculations about what a liberated society might be like. “Confessions of a Mild-Mannered Enemy of the State” is largely concerned with Knabb’s situationist activities, but it also includes reminiscences of the sixties counterculture and accounts of his Zen practice and other later ventures.
The second half of the book presents Knabb’s shorter writings, including a variety of pamphlets, posters, comics, and articles on Wilhelm Reich, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, radical Buddhists, Japanese anarchists, Chinese dissidents, the 1970 Polish revolt, the 1979 Iranian uprising, and the 1991 Gulf war.
The aim throughout is to bring the real choices into the open and to incite people to make their own radical experiments.
“Ken Knabb’s two distinctive qualities, clarity and simplicity, distinguish him from the situationists yet at the same time mark him as one of their authentic successors. Does this mean that his work is a sort of ‘Situationist International for Dummies’? No, but it could certainly serve as such—anyone who is unfamiliar with the SI should put this book at the very top of their reading list.” —Jean-Pierre Depétris
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