Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


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bigbookocrazyThe Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used, or relied upon, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers together with alternatives such as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), produced by the World Health Organization (WHO). The DSM is now in its fifth edition, DSM-5, published on May 18, 2013.

The DSM evolved from systems for collecting census and psychiatric hospital statistics, and from a United States Army manual. Revisions since its first publication in 1952 have incrementally added to the total number of mental disorders, although also removing those no longer considered to be mental disorders.

The ICD is the other commonly used manual for mental disorders. It is distinguished from the DSM in that it covers health as a whole. While the DSM is the official diagnostic system for mental disorders in the US, the ICD is used more widely in Europe and other parts of the world. The DSM-IV-TR (4th. ed.) contains, in Appendix G, an “ICD-9-CM Codes for Selected General Medical Conditions and Medication-Induced Disorders” that allows for comparisons between the DSM and the ICD manuals, which may not systematically match because revisions are not simultaneously coordinated.

While the DSM has been praised for standardizing psychiatric diagnostic categories and criteria, it has also generated controversy and criticism. Critics, including the National Institute of Mental Health, argue that the DSM represents an unscientific and subjective system.[1] There are ongoing issues concerning the validity and reliability of the diagnostic categories; the reliance on superficial symptoms; the use of artificial dividing lines between categories and from “normality“; possible cultural bias; and medicalization of human distress.[2][3][4][5][6] The publication of the DSM, with tightly guarded copyrights, now makes APA over $5 million a year, historically totaling over $100 million.[7]

Uses and definition

Many mental health professionals use the manual to determine and help communicate a patient’s diagnosis after an evaluation; hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies in the US also generally require a DSM diagnosis for all patients treated. The DSM can be used clinically in this way, and also to categorize patients using diagnostic criteria for research purposes. Studies done on specific disorders often recruit patients whose symptoms match the criteria listed in the DSM for that disorder. An international survey of psychiatrists in 66 countries comparing use of the ICD-10 and DSM-IV found the former was more often used for clinical diagnosis while the latter was more valued for research.[8]

DSM-5, and all previous editions, are registered trademarks owned by the APA.[3][9]


The initial impetus for developing a classification of mental disorders in the United States was the need to collect statistical information. The first official attempt was the 1840 census, which used a single category: “idiocy/insanity“. Three years later, the American Statistical Association made an official protest to the U.S. House of Representatives, stating that “the most glaring and remarkable errors are found in the statements respecting nosology, prevalence of insanity, blindness, deafness, and dumbness, among the people of this nation”, pointing out that in many towns African-Americans were all marked as insane, and calling the statistics essentially useless.

The Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane was formed in 1844, changing its name in 1892 to the American Medico-Psychological Association, and in 1921 to the present American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Edward Jarvis and later Francis Amasa Walker helped expand the census, from 2 volumes in 1870 to 25 volumes in 1880. Frederick H. Wines was appointed to write a 582-page volume called Report on the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes of the Population of the United States, As Returned at the Tenth Census (June 1, 1880) (published 1888). Wines used seven categories of mental illness: dementia, dipsomania (uncontrollable craving for alcohol), epilepsy, mania, melancholia, monomania and paresis. These categories were also adopted by the Association.[10]

In 1917, together with the National Commission on Mental Hygiene (now Mental Health America), the APA developed a new guide for mental hospitals called the Statistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane. This included 22 diagnoses and would be revised several times by the APA over the years.[11] Along with the New York Academy of Medicine, the APA also provided the psychiatric nomenclature subsection of the US general medical guide, the Standard Classified Nomenclature of Disease, referred to as the Standard.[12]

DSM-I (1952)

World War II saw the large-scale involvement of US psychiatrists in the selection, processing, assessment, and treatment of soldiers. This moved the focus away from mental institutions and traditional clinical perspectives. A committee headed by psychiatrist Brigadier General William C. Menninger developed a new classification scheme called Medical 203, that was issued in 1943 as a War Department Technical Bulletin under the auspices of the Office of the Surgeon General.[13] The foreword to the DSM-I states the US Navy had itself made some minor revisions but “the Army established a much more sweeping revision, abandoning the basic outline of the Standard and attempting to express present day concepts of mental disturbance. This nomenclature eventually was adopted by all Armed Forces”, and “assorted modifications of the Armed Forces nomenclature [were] introduced into many clinics and hospitals by psychiatrists returning from military duty.” The Veterans Administration also adopted a slightly modified version of Medical 203.[citation needed] In 1949, the World Health Organization published the sixth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD), which included a section on mental disorders for the first time. The foreword to DSM-1 states this “categorized mental disorders in rubrics similar to those of the Armed Forces nomenclature.” An APA Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics was empowered to develop a version specifically for use in the United States, to standardize the diverse and confused usage of different documents. In 1950, the APA committee undertook a review and consultation. It circulated an adaptation of Medical 203, the VA system, and the Standard’s Nomenclature to approximately 10% of APA members. 46% replied, of which 93% approved, and after some further revisions (resulting in its being called DSM-I), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was approved in 1951 and published in 1952. The structure and conceptual framework were the same as in Medical 203, and many passages of text were identical.[13] The manual was 130 pages long and listed 106 mental disorders.[14] These included several categories of “personality disturbance”, generally distinguished from “neurosis” (nervousness, egodystonic).[15] In 1952, the APA listed homosexuality in the DSM as a sociopathic personality disturbance. Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals, a large-scale 1962 study of homosexuality, was used to justify inclusion of the disorder as a supposed pathological hidden fear of the opposite sex caused by traumatic parent–child relationships. This view was widely influential in the medical profession.[16] In 1956, however, the psychologist Evelyn Hooker performed a study that compared the happiness and well-adjusted nature of self-identified homosexual men with heterosexual men and found no difference.[17] Her study stunned the medical community and made her a hero to many gay men and lesbians,[18] but homosexuality remained in the DSM until May 1974.[19]

DSM-II (1968)

In the 1960s, there were many challenges to the concept of mental illness itself. These challenges came from psychiatrists like Thomas Szasz, who argued that mental illness was a myth used to disguise moral conflicts; from sociologists such as Erving Goffman, who said mental illness was merely another example of how society labels and controls non-conformists; from behavioural psychologists who challenged psychiatry’s fundamental reliance on unobservable phenomena; and from gay rights activists who criticised the APA’s listing of homosexuality as a mental disorder. A study published in Science by Rosenhan received much publicity and was viewed as an attack on the efficacy of psychiatric diagnosis.[20]

Although the APA was closely involved in the next significant revision of the mental disorder section of the ICD (version 8 in 1968), it decided to go ahead with a revision of the DSM. It was published in 1968, listed 182 disorders, and was 134 pages long. It was quite similar to the DSM-I. The term “reaction” was dropped, but the term “neurosis” was retained. Both the DSM-I and the DSM-II reflected the predominant psychodynamic psychiatry,[21] although they also included biological perspectives and concepts from Kraepelin‘s system of classification. Symptoms were not specified in detail for specific disorders. Many were seen as reflections of broad underlying conflicts or maladaptive reactions to life problems, rooted in a distinction between neurosis and psychosis (roughly, anxiety/depression broadly in touch with reality, or hallucinations/delusions appearing disconnected from reality). Sociological and biological knowledge was incorporated, in a model that did not emphasize a clear boundary between normality and abnormality.[22] The idea that personality disorders did not involve emotional distress was discarded.[15]

An influential 1974 paper by Robert Spitzer and Joseph L. Fleiss demonstrated that the second edition of the DSM (DSM-II) was an unreliable diagnostic tool.[23] They found that different practitioners using the DSM-II were rarely in agreement when diagnosing patients with similar problems. In reviewing previous studies of 18 major diagnostic categories, Fleiss and Spitzer concluded that “there are no diagnostic categories for which reliability is uniformly high. Reliability appears to be only satisfactory for three categories: mental deficiency, organic brain syndrome (but not its subtypes), and alcoholism. The level of reliability is no better than fair for psychosis and schizophrenia and is poor for the remaining categories”.[24]

Seventh printing of the DSM-II, 1974

As described by Ronald Bayer, a psychiatrist and gay rights activist, specific protests by gay rights activists against the APA began in 1970, when the organization held its convention in San Francisco. The activists disrupted the conference by interrupting speakers and shouting down and ridiculing psychiatrists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder. In 1971, gay rights activist Frank Kameny worked with the Gay Liberation Front collective to demonstrate against the APA’s convention. At the 1971 conference, Kameny grabbed the microphone and yelled: “Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you.”[25]

This activism occurred in the context of a broader anti-psychiatry movement that had come to the fore in the 1960s and was challenging the legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis. Anti-psychiatry activists protested at the same APA conventions, with some shared slogans and intellectual foundations.[26][27]

Presented with data from researchers such as Alfred Kinsey and Evelyn Hooker, the seventh printing of the DSM-II, in 1974, no longer listed homosexuality as a category of disorder. After a vote by the APA trustees in 1973, and confirmed by the wider APA membership in 1974, the diagnosis was replaced with the category of “sexual orientation disturbance”.[28]

DSM-III (1980)

In 1974, the decision to create a new revision of the DSM was made, and Robert Spitzer was selected as chairman of the task force. The initial impetus was to make the DSM nomenclature consistent with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), published by the World Health Organization. The revision took on a far wider mandate under the influence and control of Spitzer and his chosen committee members.[29] One goal was to improve the uniformity and validity of psychiatric diagnosis in the wake of a number of critiques, including the famous Rosenhan experiment. There was also a need to standardize diagnostic practices within the US and with other countries after research showed that psychiatric diagnoses differed markedly between Europe and the USA.[30] The establishment of these criteria was an attempt to facilitate the pharmaceutical regulatory process.

The criteria adopted for many of the mental disorders were taken from the Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) and Feighner Criteria, which had just been developed by a group of research-orientated psychiatrists based primarily at Washington University in St. Louis and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Other criteria, and potential new categories of disorder, were established by consensus during meetings of the committee, as chaired by Spitzer. A key aim was to base categorization on colloquial English descriptive language (which would be easier to use by federal administrative offices), rather than assumptions of etiology, although its categorical approach assumed each particular pattern of symptoms in a category reflected a particular underlying pathology (an approach described as “neo-Kraepelinian“). The psychodynamic or physiologic view was abandoned, in favor of a regulatory or legislative model. A new “multiaxial” system attempted to yield a picture more amenable to a statistical population census, rather than just a simple diagnosis. Spitzer argued that “mental disorders are a subset of medical disorders” but the task force decided on the DSM statement: “Each of the mental disorders is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome.”[21] The personality disorders were placed on axis II along with mental retardation.[15]

The first draft of the DSM-III was prepared within a year. Many new categories of disorder were introduced, while some were deleted or changed. A number of the unpublished documents discussing and justifying the changes have recently come to light.[31] Field trials sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) were conducted between 1977 and 1979 to test the reliability of the new diagnoses. A controversy emerged regarding deletion of the concept of neurosis, a mainstream of psychoanalytic theory and therapy but seen as vague and unscientific by the DSM task force. Faced with enormous political opposition, the DSM-III was in serious danger of not being approved by the APA Board of Trustees unless “neurosis” was included in some capacity; a political compromise reinserted the term in parentheses after the word “disorder” in some cases. Additionally, the diagnosis of ego-dystonic homosexuality replaced the DSM-II category of “sexual orientation disturbance”.

Finally published in 1980, the DSM-III was 494 pages and listed 265 diagnostic categories. It rapidly came into widespread international use and has been termed a revolution or transformation in psychiatry.[21][22] However, Robert Spitzer later criticized his own work on it in an interview with Adam Curtis, saying it led to the medicalization of 20-30 percent of the population who may not have had any serious mental problems.

When DSM-III was published, the developers made extensive claims about the reliability of the radically new diagnostic system they had devised, which relied on data from special field trials. However, according to a 1994 article by Stuart A. Kirk:

Twenty years after the reliability problem became the central focus of DSM-III, there is still not a single multi-site study showing that DSM (any version) is routinely used with high reliably by regular mental health clinicians. Nor is there any credible evidence that any version of the manual has greatly increased its reliability beyond the previous version. There are important methodological problems that limit the generalisability of most reliability studies. Each reliability study is constrained by the training and supervision of the interviewers, their motivation and commitment to diagnostic accuracy, their prior skill, the homogeneity of the clinical setting in regard to patient mix and base rates, and the methodological rigor achieved by the investigator…[20]

DSM-III-R (1987)

In 1987, the DSM-III-R was published as a revision of the DSM-III, under the direction of Spitzer. Categories were renamed and reorganized, and significant changes in criteria were made. Six categories were deleted while others were added. Controversial diagnoses, such as pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder and masochistic personality disorder, were considered and discarded. “Ego-dystonic homosexuality” was also removed and was largely subsumed under “sexual disorder not otherwise specified”, which can include “persistent and marked distress about one’s sexual orientation.”[21][32] Altogether, the DSM-III-R contained 292 diagnoses and was 567 pages long. Further efforts were made for the diagnoses to be purely descriptive, although the introductory text stated that for at least some disorders, “particularly the Personality Disorders, the criteria require much more inference on the part of the observer” (p. xxiii).[15]

DSM-IV (1994)

In 1994, DSM-IV was published, listing 297 disorders in 886 pages. The task force was chaired by Allen Frances. A steering committee of 27 people was introduced, including four psychologists. The steering committee created 13 work groups of 5–16 members. Each work group had approximately 20 advisers.[clarification needed] The work groups conducted a 3-step process: first, each group conducted an extensive literature review of their diagnoses; then, they requested data from researchers, conducting analyses to determine which criteria required change, with instructions to be conservative; finally, they conducted multicenter field trials relating diagnoses to clinical practice.[33][34] A major change from previous versions was the inclusion of a clinical significance criterion to almost half of all the categories, which required that symptoms cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning”. Some personality disorder diagnoses were deleted or moved to the appendix.[15]

DSM-IV-TR (2000)

A “text revision” of the DSM-IV, known as the DSM-IV-TR, was published in 2000. The diagnostic categories and the vast majority of the specific criteria for diagnosis were unchanged.[35] The text sections giving extra information on each diagnosis were updated, as were some of the diagnostic codes to maintain consistency with the ICD. The DSM-IV-TR was organized into a five-part axial system. The first axis incorporated clinical disorders. The second axis covered personality disorders and intellectual disabilities. The remaining axes covered medical, psychosocial, environmental, and childhood factors functionally necessary to provide diagnostic criteria for health care assessments.

The DSM-IV-TR characterizes a mental disorder as “a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual [which] is associated with present distress… or disability… or with a significant increased risk of suffering.” It also notes that “no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of ‘mental disorder’… different situations call for different definitions”. It states that “there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder” (APA, 1994 and 2000). There are attempts to adjust the wording for the upcoming DSM-V.[dated info][36][37]

DSM-5 (2013)

Main article: DSM-5

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the DSM-5, was approved by the Board of Trustees of the APA on December 1, 2012.[38] Published on May 18, 2013,[39] the DSM-5 contains extensively revised diagnoses and, in some cases, broadens diagnostic definitions while narrowing definitions in other cases.[40] The DSM-5 is the first major edition of the manual in twenty years.[41]

A significant change in the fifth edition is the deletion of the subtypes of schizophrenia. All subtypes of schizophrenia were removed from the DSM-5 (paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, undifferentiated and residual).[42]

The deletion of the subsets of autistic spectrum disorder (namely, Asperger’s Syndrome, classic autism, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) was also implemented, with specifiers with regard to intensity (mild, moderate and severe). Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, with three levels: 1 (requiring support), 2 (requiring substantial support) and 3 (requiring very substantial support).

During the revision process, the APA website periodically listed several sections of the DSM-5 for review and discussion.[43]

Future revisions and updates (2013 and beyond)

Beginning with the fifth edition, it is intended that diagnostic guidelines revisions will be added more frequently.[44] It is notable that The DSM-5 is identified with Hindu rather than Roman numerals. Incremental updates will be identified with decimals (DSM-5.1,DSM-5.2, etc.). A new edition will be signified by whole number changes (DSM-5,DSM-6, etc.).[45] The change reflects the intent of the APA to respond more quickly when a preponderance of research supports a specific change in the manual. The research base of mental disorders is evolving at different rates for different disorders.[44]


DSM-IV-TR, the predecessor to the most current DSM edition, the DSM-5


The DSM-IV is a categorical classification system. The categories are prototypes, and a patient with a close approximation to the prototype is said to have that disorder. DSM-IV states, “there is no assumption each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries” but isolated, low-grade and noncriterion (unlisted for a given disorder) symptoms are not given importance.[46] Qualifiers are sometimes used, for example mild, moderate or severe forms of a disorder. For nearly half the disorders, symptoms must be sufficient to cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning”, although DSM-IV-TR removed the distress criterion from tic disorders and several of the paraphilias due to their egosyntonic nature. Each category of disorder has a numeric code taken from the ICD coding system, used for health service (including insurance) administrative purposes.

Multi-axial system

With the advent of the DSM-5 in 2013, the APA eliminated the longstanding multiaxial system for mental disorders.[47]

Previously, the DSM-IV organized each psychiatric diagnosis into five dimensions (axes) relating to different aspects of disorder or disability:

Common Axis I disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and schizophrenia.

Common Axis II disorders include personality disorders: paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder; and intellectual disabilities.

Common Axis III disorders include brain injuries and other medical/physical disorders which may aggravate existing diseases or present symptoms similar to other disorders.


The DSM-IV-TR states, because it is produced for the completion of federal legislative mandates, its use by people without clinical training can lead to inappropriate application of its contents. Appropriate use of the diagnostic criteria is said to require extensive clinical training, and its contents “cannot simply be applied in a cookbook fashion”.[48] The APA notes diagnostic labels are primarily for use as a “convenient shorthand” among professionals. The DSM advises laypersons should consult the DSM only to obtain information, not to make diagnoses, and people who may have a mental disorder should be referred to psychological counseling or treatment. Further, a shared diagnosis or label may have different causes or require different treatments; for this reason the DSM contains no information regarding treatment or cause. The range of the DSM represents an extensive scope of psychiatric and psychological issues or conditions, and it is not exclusive to what may be considered “illnesses”.


The DSM-IV does not specifically cite its sources, but there are four volumes of “sourcebooks” intended to be APA’s documentation of the guideline development process and supporting evidence, including literature reviews, data analyses and field trials.[49][50][51][52] The Sourcebooks have been said to provide important insights into the character and quality of the decisions that led to the production of DSM-IV, and hence the scientific credibility of contemporary psychiatric classification.[53][54]


Reliability and validity concerns

The revisions of the DSM from the 3rd Edition forward have been mainly concerned with diagnostic reliability—the degree to which different diagnosticians agree on a diagnosis. It was argued[by whom?] that a science of psychiatry can only advance if diagnosis is reliable. If clinicians and researchers frequently disagree about a diagnosis with a patient, then research into the causes and effective treatments of those disorders cannot advance. Hence, diagnostic reliability was a major concern of DSM-III.[citation needed] When the diagnostic reliability problem was thought to be solved, subsequent editions of the DSM were concerned mainly with “tweaking” the diagnostic criteria.[citation needed] Unfortunately, neither the issue of reliability or validity was settled.[55][citation needed] However, most psychiatric education post DSM-III focused on issues of treatment—especially drug treatment—and less on diagnostic concerns.[citation needed] In fact, Thomas R. Insel, M.D., Director of the NIMH, stated in 2013 that the agency would no longer fund research projects that rely exclusively on DSM criteria due to its lack of validity.[56] Field trials of DSM-5 brought the debate of reliability back into the limelight as some disorders showed poor reliability. For example, major depressive disorder, a common mental illness, had a poor reliability kappa statistic of 0.28, indicating that clinicians frequently disagreed on this diagnosis in the same patients. The most reliable diagnosis was major neurocognitive disorder with a kappa of 0.78.[57]

Superficial symptoms

By design, the DSM is primarily concerned with the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, rather than the underlying causes. It claims to collect them together based on statistical or clinical patterns. As such, it has been compared to a naturalist’s field guide to birds, with similar advantages and disadvantages.[58] The lack of a causative or explanatory basis, however, is not specific to the DSM, but rather reflects a general lack of pathophysiological understanding of psychiatric disorders. As DSM-III chief architect Robert Spitzer and DSM-IV editor Michael First outlined in 2005, “little progress has been made toward understanding the pathophysiological processes and etiology of mental disorders. If anything, the research has shown the situation is even more complex than initially imagined, and we believe not enough is known to structure the classification of psychiatric disorders according to etiology.”[59]

The DSM’s focus on superficial symptoms is claimed to be largely a result of necessity (assuming such a manual is nevertheless produced), since there is no agreement on a more explanatory classification system.[citation needed] Reviewers note, however, that this approach is undermining research, including in genetics, because it results in the grouping of individuals who have very little in common except superficial criteria as per DSM or ICD diagnosis.[3]

Despite the lack of consensus on underlying causation, advocates for specific psychopathological paradigms have nonetheless faulted the current diagnostic scheme for not incorporating evidence-based models or findings from other areas of science. A recent example is evolutionary psychologists‘ criticism that the DSM does not differentiate between genuine cognitive malfunctions and those induced by psychological adaptations, a key distinction within evolutionary psychology, but one widely challenged within general psychology.[60][61][62] Another example is a strong operationalist viewpoint, which contends that reliance on operational definitions, as purported by the DSM, necessitates that intuitive concepts such as depression be replaced by specific measurable concepts before they are scientifically meaningful. One critic states of psychologists that “Instead of replacing ‘metaphysical’ terms such as ‘desire’ and ‘purpose’, they used it to legitimize them by giving them operational definitions…the initial, quite radical operationalist ideas eventually came to serve as little more than a ‘reassurance fetish’ (Koch 1992) for mainstream methodological practice.”[63]

A 2013 review published in the European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience states “that psychiatry targets the phenomena of consciousness, which, unlike somatic symptoms and signs, cannot be grasped on the analogy with material thing-like objects.” As an example of the problem of the superficial characterization of psychiatric signs and symptoms, the authors gave the example of a patient saying they “feel depressed, sad, or down”, showing that such a statement could indicate various underlying experiences: “not only depressed mood but also, for instance, irritation, anger, loss of meaning, varieties of fatigue, ambivalence, ruminations of different kinds, hyper-reflectivity, thought pressure, psychological anxiety, varieties of depersonalization, and even voices with negative content, and so forth.” The structured interview comes with “danger of over confidence in the face value of the answers, as if a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ truly confirmed or denied the diagnostic criterion at issue.” The authors gave an example: A patient who was being administered the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV Axis I Disorders denied thought insertion, but during a “conversational, phenomenological interview”, a semi-structured interview tailored to the patient, the same patient admitted to experiencing thought insertion, along with a delusional elaboration. The authors suggested 2 reasons for this discrepancy: either the patient did not “recognize his own experience in the rather blunt, implicitly either/or formulation of the structured-interview question”, or the experience did not “fully articulate itself” until the patient started talking about his experiences.[64]

Dividing lines

Despite caveats in the introduction to the DSM, it has long been argued that its system of classification makes unjustified categorical distinctions between disorders, and uses arbitrary cut-offs between normal and abnormal. A 2009 psychiatric review noted that attempts to demonstrate natural boundaries between related DSM syndromes, or between a common DSM syndrome and normality, have failed.[3] Some argue that rather than a categorical approach, a fully dimensional, spectrum or complaint-oriented approach would better reflect the evidence.[65][66][67][68]

In addition, it is argued that the current approach based on exceeding a threshold of symptoms does not adequately take into account the context in which a person is living, and to what extent there is internal disorder of an individual versus a psychological response to adverse situations.[69][70] The DSM does include a step (“Axis IV”) for outlining “Psychosocial and environmental factors contributing to the disorder” once someone is diagnosed with that particular disorder.

Because an individual’s degree of impairment is often not correlated with symptom counts, and can stem from various individual and social factors, the DSM’s standard of distress or disability can often produce false positives.[71] On the other hand, individuals who do not meet symptom counts may nevertheless experience comparable distress or disability in their life.

Cultural bias

Some psychiatrists also argue that current diagnostic standards rely on an exaggerated interpretation of neurophysiological findings and so understate the scientific importance of social-psychological variables.[72] Advocating a more culturally sensitive approach to psychology, critics such as Carl Bell and Marcello Maviglia contend that the cultural and ethnic diversity of individuals is often discounted by researchers and service providers.[73] In addition, current diagnostic guidelines have been criticized as having a fundamentally Euro-American outlook. Although these guidelines have been widely implemented, opponents argue that even when a diagnostic criteria set is accepted across different cultures, it does not necessarily indicate that the underlying constructs have any validity within those cultures; even reliable application can only demonstrate consistency, not legitimacy.[72] Cross-cultural psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman contends that the Western bias is ironically illustrated in the introduction of cultural factors to the DSM-IV: the fact that disorders or concepts from non-Western or non-mainstream cultures are described as “culture-bound”, whereas standard psychiatric diagnoses are given no cultural qualification whatsoever, is to Kleinman revelatory of an underlying assumption that Western cultural phenomena are universal.[74] Kleinman’s negative view toward the culture-bound syndrome is largely shared by other cross-cultural critics, common responses included both disappointment over the large number of documented non-Western mental disorders still left out, and frustration that even those included were often misinterpreted or misrepresented.[75] Many mainstream psychiatrists have also been dissatisfied with these new culture-bound diagnoses, although not for the same reasons. Robert Spitzer, a lead architect of the DSM-III, has held the opinion that the addition of cultural formulations was an attempt to placate cultural critics, and that they lack any scientific motivation or support. Spitzer also posits that the new culture-bound diagnoses are rarely used in practice, maintaining that the standard diagnoses apply regardless of the culture involved. In general, the mainstream psychiatric opinion remains that if a diagnostic category is valid, cross-cultural factors are either irrelevant or are only significant to specific symptom presentations.[72] One of the results was the development of the Azibo Nosology by Daudi Ajani Ya Azibo as an alternative to the DSM to treat African and African American patients.[76]

Medicalization and financial conflicts of interest

It has also been alleged that the way the categories of the DSM are structured, as well as the substantial expansion of the number of categories, are representative of an increasing medicalization of human nature, which may be attributed to disease mongering by psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies, the power and influence of the latter having grown dramatically in recent decades.[77] Of the authors who selected and defined the DSM-IV psychiatric disorders, roughly half have had financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry at one time, raising the prospect of a direct conflict of interest.[78] The same article concludes that the connections between panel members and the drug companies were particularly strong in those diagnoses where drugs are the first line of treatment, such as schizophrenia and mood disorders, where 100% of the panel members had financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry.[78] In 2005, then APA President Steven Sharfstein released a statement in which he conceded that psychiatrists had “allowed the biopsychosocial model to become the bio-bio-bio model”.[79]

However, although the number of identified diagnoses has increased by more than 200% (from 106 in DSM-I to 365 in DSM-IV-TR), psychiatrists such as Zimmerman and Spitzer argue it almost entirely represents greater specification of the forms of pathology, thereby allowing better grouping of more similar patients.[3] However, William Glasser refers to the DSM as “phony diagnostic categories”, arguing that “it was developed to help psychiatrists – to help them make money”.[80] In addition, the publishing of the DSM, with tightly guarded copyrights, has in itself earned over $100 million for the APA.[7]

Clients and survivors

A client is a person who accesses psychiatric services and may have been given a diagnosis from the DSM, while a survivor self-identifies as a person who has endured a psychiatric intervention and the mental health system (which may have involved involuntary commitment and involuntary treatment).[citation needed] Some individuals[who?] are relieved to find that they have a recognized condition that they can apply a name to and this has led to many people self-diagnosing. Others, however, question the accuracy of the diagnosis, or feel they have been given a “label” that invites social stigma and discrimination (the terms “mentalism” and “sanism” have been used to describe such discriminatory treatment).[81]

Diagnoses can become internalized and affect an individual’s self-identity, and some psychotherapists have found that the healing process can be inhibited and symptoms can worsen as a result.[82] Some members of the psychiatric survivors movement (more broadly the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement) actively campaign against their diagnoses, or the assumed implications, and/or against the DSM system in general. Additionally, it has been noted that the DSM often uses definitions and terminology that are inconsistent with a recovery model, and such content can erroneously imply excess psychopathology (e.g. multiple “comorbid” diagnoses) or chronicity.[83]

DSM-5 critiques

Psychiatrist Allen Frances has been critical of proposed revisions to the DSM-5. In a 2012 New York Times editorial, Frances warned that if this DSM version is issued unamended by the APA, it will “medicalize normality and result in a glut of unnecessary and harmful drug prescription.”[84] In a December 2, 2012 blog post in Psychology Today, Frances lists the ten “most potentially harmful changes” to DSM-5:[85]

  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, for temper tantrums
  • Major Depressive Disorder, includes normal grief
  • Minor Neurocognitive Disorder, for normal forgetting in old age
  • Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, encouraging psychiatric prescriptions of stimulants
  • Binge Eating Disorder, for excessive eating
  • Autism, defining the disorder more specifically, possibly leading to decreased rates of diagnosis and the disruption of school services
  • First time drug users will be lumped in with addicts
  • Behavioral Addictions, making a “mental disorder of everything we like to do a lot.”
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder, includes everyday worries
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, changes opening “the gate even further to the already existing problem of misdiagnosis of PTSD in forensic settings.”

Frances and others have published debates on what they see as the six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis:[86]

  • are they more like theoretical constructs or more like diseases
  • how to reach an agreed definition
  • whether the DSM-5 should take a cautious or conservative approach
  • the role of practical rather than scientific considerations
  • the issue of use by clinicians or researchers
  • whether an entirely different diagnostic system is required.

In 2011, psychologist Brent Robbins co-authored a national letter for the Society for Humanistic Psychology that has brought thousands into the public debate about the DSM. Approximately 14,000 individuals and mental health professionals have signed a petition in support of the letter. Thirteen other American Psychological Association divisions have endorsed the petition.[87] Robbins has noted that under the new guidelines, certain responses to grief could be labeled as pathological disorders, instead of being recognized as being normal human experiences.[88]

See also



Ghaemi SN. Why DSM-III, IV, and 5 are Unscientific. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/blogs/couch-crisis


Atwell Irene, Azibo Daudi A (1991). “Diagnosing personality disorder in Africans (Blacks) using the Azibo nosology: Two case studies”. Journal of Black Psychology 17 (2): 1–22. doi:10.1177/00957984910172002.





  1. Erin Allday (November 26, 2011). “Revision of psychiatric manual under fire”. San Francisco Chronicle.

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Scholarly articles for American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

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Drug Regulatory Agency Warnings on Psychiatric drugs and

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Psychiatry 101: A Surprising Discovery – The People’s Chemist

The Real Problems With Psychiatry



Rorschach_blot_01 (1)mainA psychotherapist contends that the DSM, psychiatry’s “bible” that defines all mental illness, is not scientific but a product of unscrupulous politics and bureaucracy.

The American Psychiatric Association will release the fifth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5. It classifies psychiatric diagnoses and the criteria required to meet them. Gary Greenberg, one of the book’s biggest critics, claims these disorders aren’t real — they’re invented. Author of Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease and contributor to The New Yorker, Mother Jones, The New York Times and other publications, Greenberg is a practicing psychotherapist. The Book of Woe: The Making of the DSM-5 and the Unmaking of Psychiatry is his exposé of the business behind the creation of the new manual.

Can you talk about how the first DSM, published in 1952, was conceived?

One of the reasons was to count people. The first collections of diagnoses were called the “statistical manual,” not the “diagnostic and statistical manual.” There were also parochial reasons. As the rest of medicine became oriented toward diagnosing illnesses by seeking their causes in biochemistry, in the late 19th, early 20th century, the claim to authority of any medical specialty hinged on its ability to diagnose suffering. To say “okay, your sore throat and fever are strep throat.” But psychiatry was unable to do that and was in danger of being discredited. As early as 1886, prominent psychiatrists worried that they would be left behind, or written out of the medical kingdom. For reasons not entirely clear, the government turned to the American Medico-Psychological Association, (later the American Psychiatric Association, or APA), to tell them how many mentally ill people were out there. The APA used it as an opportunity to establish its credibility.

How has the DSM evolved to become seen as the “authoritative medical guide to all of mental suffering?”

The credibility of psychiatry is tied to its Nosology. What developed over time is the number of diagnoses, and, more importantly, the method by which diagnostic categories are established.

You’re a practicing psychotherapist. Can you define “mental illness”?

No. Nobody can.

It’s circular — thinking that anybody who commits suicide is depressed; anybody who goes into a school with a loaded gun and shoots people must have a mental illness.

The DSM lists “disorders.” How are disorders different from diseases or illnesses?

The difference between disease and disorder is an attempt on the part of psychiatry to evade the problem they’re presented with. Disease is a kind of suffering that’s caused by a bio-chemical pathology. Something that can be discovered and targeted with magic bullets. But in many cases our suffering can’t be diagnosed that way. Psychiatry was in a crisis in the 1970s over questions like “what is a mental illness?” and “what mental illnesses exist?” One of the first things they did was try to finesse the problem that no mental illness met that definition of a disease. They had yet to identify what the pathogen was, what the disease process consisted of, and how to cure it. So they created a category called “disorder.” It’s a rhetorical device. It’s saying “it’s sort of like a disease,” but not calling it a disease because all the other doctors will jump down their throats asking, “where’s your blood test?” The reason there haven’t been any sensible findings tying genetics or any kind of molecular biology to DSM categories is not only that our instruments are crude, but also that the DSM categories aren’t real. It’s like using a map of the moon to find your way around Russia.

So would you say that these termsdisorder, disease, illnessare just different names for the same concept?

I would. Psychiatrists wouldn’t. Well, psychiatrists would say it sometimes but wouldn’t say it other times. They will say it when it comes to claiming that they belong squarely in the field of medicine. But if you press them and ask if these disorders exist in the same way that cancer and diabetes exist, they’ll say no. It’s not that there are no biological correlates to any mental suffering — of course there are. But the specificity and sensitivity that we require to distinguish pneumonia from lung cancer, even that kind of distinction, it just doesn’t exist.

What are the most common misconceptions about the scientific nature of diseases such as depression?
I guarantee you that in the course of our conversation a doctor is telling a patient, “you have a chemical imbalance — that’s why you’re depressed. Take Prozac.” Despitethe fact that every doctor who knows anything knows that there is no biochemical imbalance that causes depression, and most doctors understand that a diagnosis of depression doesn’t really tell you anything other than what you already knew, that doesn’t stop them from saying it. Research on the brain is still in its infancy. Do you think we will ever know enough about the brain to prove that certain psychiatric diagnoses have a direct biological cause?

I’d be willing to bet everything that whenever it happens, whatever we find out about the brain and mental suffering is not going to map, at all, onto the DSM categories. Let’s say we can elucidate the entire structure of a given kind of mental suffering. We’re not going to be able to say, “here’s Major Depressive Disorder, and here’s what it looks like in the brain.” If there’s any success, it will involve a whole remapping of the terrain of mental disorders. And psychiatry may very likely take very small findings and trump them up into something they aren’t. But the most honest outcome would be to go back to the old days and just look at symptoms. They might get good at elucidating the circuitry of fear or anxiety or these kinds of things.

What is the difference between a disorder and distress that is a normal occurrence in our lives?

That distinction is made by a clinician, whether it’s a family doctor or a psychiatrist or whoever. But nobody knows exactly how to make that determination. There are no established thresholds. Even if you could imagine how that would work, it would have to be a subjective analysis of the extent to which the person’s functioning is impaired. How are you going to measure that? Doctors are supposed to measure “clinical significance.” What’s that? For many people, the fact that someone shows up in their office is clinical significance. I’m not going to say that’s wrong, but it’s not scientific. And there’s a conflict of interest — if I don’t determine clinical significance, I don’t get paid.

You say one of the issues with taking these categories too seriously is that it eliminates the moral aspect behind certain behaviors.

Homosexuality was deleted from the DSM by a referendum. A straight up vote: yes or no

It’s our characteristic way of chalking up what we think is “evil” to what we think of as mental disease. Our gut reaction is always “that was really sick. Those guys in Boston — they were really sick.” But how do we know? Unless you decide in advance that anybody who does anything heinous is sick. This society is very wary of using the term “evil.” But I firmly believe there is such a thing as evil. It’s circular — thinking that anybody who commits suicide is depressed; anybody who goes into a school with a loaded gun and shoots people must have a mental illness. There’s a certain kind of comfort in that, but there’s no indication for it, particularly because we don’t know what mental illness is.

How do diagnoses affect people?

One of the overlooked ways is that diagnoses can change people’s lives for the better. Asperger’s Syndrome is probably the most successful psychiatric disorder ever in this respect. It created a community. It gave people whose primary symptom was isolation a way to belong and provided resources to those who were diagnosed. It can also have bad effects. A depression diagnosis gives people an identity formed around having a disease that we know doesn’t exist, and how that can divert resources from where they might be needed. Imagine how much less depression there would be if people weren’t worried about tuition, health care, and retirement. Those are all things that aren’t provided by Prozac.

What are the dangers of over-diagnosing a population? Are false positives worse than false negatives?

I believe that false positives, people who are diagnosed because there’s a diagnosis for them and they show up in a doctor’s office, is a much bigger problem. It changes people’s identities, it encourages the use of drugs whose side effects and long-term effects are unknown, and main effects are poorly understood.

In 1850, doctor Samuel Cartwright invented “drapetomania”a disease causing slaves to run away. How do social and historical context affect our understanding of mental illness?

DrapetomaniaCartwright was a slaveholder’s doctor from New Orleans — he believed in the inferiority of what he called the “African races.” He believed that abolitionism was based on a misguided notion that black people and white people were essentially equal. He thought that the desire for freedom in a black person was pathological because black people were born to be enslaved. To aspire to freedom was a betrayal of their nature, a disease. He invented “Drapetomania,” the impulse to run away from slavery. Assuming there wasn’t horrible cruelty being inflicted on the slaves, they were “sick.” He came up with a few diagnostic criteria and presented it to his colleagues.

So we corrected our notion of what counts as a “disease.” Is there a modern equivalent?

Homosexuality is the most obvious example. Until 1973, it was listed as a disease. It’s very easy to see what’s wrong with “drapetomania,” but it’s easier to see the balancing act involved in saying homosexuality is or isn’t a disease — how something has to shift in society. The people who called homosexuality a disease weren’t necessarily bigots or homophobes — they were just trying to understand people who wanted to love people of their own sex. Disease is a way to understand difference that includes compassion. What has to shift is the idea that same-sex love is acceptable. Once that idea is there, it doesn’t make sense to call homosexuality a disease.

Who was involved in the creation of the DSM-5?

The American Psychiatric Association owns the DSM. They aren’t only responsible for it: they own it, sell it, and license it. The DSM is created by a group of committees. It’s a bureaucratic process. In place of scientific findings, the DSM uses expert consensus to determine what mental disorders exist and how you can recognize them.Disorders come into the book the same way a law becomes part of the book of statutes. People suggest it, discuss it, and vote on it. Homosexuality was deleted from the DSM by a referendum. A straight up vote: yes or no. It’s not always that explicit, and the votes are not public. In the case of the DSM-5, committee members were forbidden to talk about it, so we’ll never really know what the deliberations were. They all signed non-disclosure agreements.

You can’t just ask for special services for a student who is awkward. You have to get special services for a student with autism.

 What are the important changes made in the new DSM, and how will they affect patients?

It’s going to cause a lot of trouble when Asperger’s Syndrome disappears. It may cause some trouble when the bereavement exclusion disappears. That’s a good example of why the APA’s going to be in trouble. It was so unnecessary, so stupid. They’ve made the absurd statement that they know the difference, two weeks after someone’s wife dies, whether that person is “depressed,” or just “in mourning.” Come on! Who are these guys?

The APA released a series of drafts of the DSM-5 before publication. Why?They solicited public input, to their great credit. But they never said what they were doing with it. They said “we got this number of responses” but not what the responses were. How they influenced the process, if at all. The other problem with the drafts is that they deleted them. The history of how these things developed will be difficult to trace unless you happened to make copies of the website, which was in explicit violation of the APA’s copyright. They also tried to prevent people from using the draft criteria in any kind of academic paper — an unprecedented move. They demanded that anybody who wanted to use the criteria would have to seek and obtain their permission for academic publication. Nobody’s ever done that. There were a couple of high profile, embarrassing studies that were conducted with the draft criteria, and once that happened, the APA asserted copyright over the draft criteria.

The APA considers the DSM-5 a “living document.” What do you think they mean by this?

It’s one of those rhetorical flourishes that, if you dig into it, you realize is a real problem. There’s a difference between a constitution and a book of medical diagnoses. It’s not entirely clear what they mean by “living document,” but it appears that they want to update as evidence comes in. That’s not a bad idea — they don’t want to go through one of these massive, expensive, embarrassing overhauls of the diagnostic manual every five or ten or fifteen years, they want to update as they go. But in the meantime, people are getting diagnosed, drugs are getting developed and prescribed, research is being done, and nobody knows to what extent things will get revised as time goes on. The APA is trying to say it’s always in flux. But if that’s the case, why should we let it have so much power?

Can you talk about that? What does the DSM has power over?

To get an indication from the FDA, a drug company has to tie its drug to a DSM disorder. You can’t just develop a drug for anxiety. You have to develop the drug for Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder. You can’t just ask for special services for a student who is awkward. You have to get special services for a student with autism. In court, mental illnesses come from the DSM. If you want insurance to pay for your therapy, you have to be diagnosed with a mental illness. Whatever future contact you have with the health care system will be affected by the fact that a mental illness is in your dossier. If you call it a living document, what happens to all the people who are diagnosed with Asperger’s when that’s thrown out? Will it be chaotic? Maybe.

Al Frances chaired the task force for the DSM-IV and has become one of the biggest critics of the DSM-5. What do you think of his arguments?

We agree that the DSM does not capture real illnesses, that it’s a set of constructs. We disagree over what that means. He believes that that doesn’t matter to the overall enterprise of psychiatry and its authority to diagnose and treat our mental illnesses. I believe it constitutes a flaw at the foundation of psychiatry. If they don’t have real diseases, they don’t belong in real medicine. Al’s attack is overdone. I think he’s really trying to keep scrutiny off of the whole DSM enterprise. That’s why he’s been so adamant that you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater — he believes that the DSM-IV, for all of its flaws, its still worthwhile. I disagree.

Frances also worries that your criticisms are anti-psychiatry.

It’s the universal paranoia of psychiatry that everybody who disagrees with them is pathological. You can’t disagree with a psychiatrist without getting a diagnosis. I’ve been writing critically about psychiatry for ten years and I’ve always encountered that. Psychiatry is a defensive profession. They have a lot to protect and they know their weakness. To repel criticism in the strongest way possible, from their point of view, you diagnose the critic.

Can you talk about the intersection between psychiatry and psychology? How does the DSM relate to both fields?

Psychiatry’s in charge of the DSM. Psychologists and other mental health professionals use the DSM. But psychiatrists have the power and money. I’m critical of the mental health professions in general, including my own practice. But the APA has appropriated this business to themselves. They guard it jealousy, they protect it with ruthless tactics, and yes, they take a disproportionate amount of the heat for this thing, but it’s their baby. They make hundreds of millions of dollars off of this deal.

Will the APA lose credibility?

Of course it will. The DSM-5 will come out on May 22 and people will take their pot shots at it — like shooting fish in a barrel. I had to be convinced to write this book, though. How hard is it to criticize an organization that seriously thinks that it’s okay to call “Internet Use Disorder” a mental illness? They’re going to take shot after shot. And the response will be ineffectual and weak. They’ll bob and weave, talk about the “living document,” and unleash their line of bullshit.

Is there a solution?

The solution is to take the thing away from them. The APA owns these diagnoses. I didn’t ask permission because I don’t care — let them sue me. But if anyone wants to put diagnostic criteria into this book, they have to pay the APA. That’s absurd. And if you add the vacuousness of the document and the incompetence with which the revision was carried out — take the damn thing away from them.



Psychiatry – The Atlantic

The Society of the Spectacle


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The Society of the Spectacle (French: La Société du spectacle) is a 1967 work of philosophy and Marxist critical theory by Guy Debord. In this important text for the Situationist movement, Debord develops and presents the concept of the Spectacle. Debord published a follow-up book Comments on the Society of the Spectacle in 1988.

The Society of the Spectacle

The work is a series of 221 short theses. They contain approximately a paragraph each.

Chapter 1:
Separation Perfected

“But for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence, . . . truth is considered profane, and only illusion is sacred. Sacredness is in fact held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be seen as the highest degree of sacredness.”
—Feuerbach, Preface to the Second Edition of The Essence of Christianity

In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.

The images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream in which the unity of that life can no longer be recovered. Fragmented views of reality regroup themselves into a new unity as a separate pseudo-world that can only be looked at. The specialization of images of the world has culminated in a world of autonomized images where even the deceivers are deceived. The spectacle is a concrete inversion of life, an autonomous movement of the nonliving.

The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as society itself, as a part of society, and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is ostensibly the focal point of all vision and all consciousness. But due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is in reality the domain of delusion and false consciousness: the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of universal separation.

The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images.

The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual excess produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized, that has become an objective reality.

Understood in its totality, the spectacle is both the result and the project of the present mode of production. It is not a mere supplement or decoration added to the real world, it is the heart of this real society’s unreality. In all of its particular manifestations — news, propaganda, advertising, entertainment — the spectacle is the model of the prevailing way of life. It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choices that have already been made in the sphere of production and in the consumption implied by that production. In both form and content the spectacle serves as a total justification of the conditions and goals of the existing system. The spectacle is also the constant presence of this justification since it monopolizes the majority of the time spent outside the modern production process.

Society of the Spectacle7
Separation is itself an integral part of the unity of this world, of a global social praxis split into reality and image. The social practice confronted by an autonomous spectacle is at the same time the real totality which contains that spectacle. But the split within this totality mutilates it to the point that the spectacle seems to be its goal. The language of the spectacle consists of signs of the dominant system of production — signs which are at the same time the ultimate end-products of that system.

The spectacle cannot be abstractly contrasted to concrete social activity. Each side of such a duality is itself divided. The spectacle that falsifies reality is nevertheless a real product of that reality, while lived reality is materially invaded by the contemplation of the spectacle and ends up absorbing it and aligning itself with it. Objective reality is present on both sides. Each of these seemingly fixed concepts has no other basis than its transformation into its opposite: reality emerges within the spectacle, and the spectacle is real. This reciprocal alienation is the essence and support of the existing society.

In a world that has really been turned upside down, the true is a moment of the false.

The concept of “the spectacle” interrelates and explains a wide range of seemingly unconnected phenomena. The apparent diversities and contrasts of these phenomena stem from the social organization of appearances, whose essential nature must itself be recognized. Considered in its own terms, the spectacle is an affirmation of appearances and an identification of all human social life with appearances. But a critique that grasps the spectacle’s essential character reveals it to be a visible negation of life — a negation that has taken on a visible form.

In order to describe the spectacle, its formation, its functions, and the forces that work against it, it is necessary to make some artificial distinctions. In analyzing the spectacle we are obliged to a certain extent to use the spectacle’s own language, in the sense that we have to operate on the methodological terrain of the society that expresses itself in the spectacle. For the spectacle is both the meaning and the agenda of our particular socio-economic formation. It is the historical moment in which we are caught.

The spectacle presents itself as a vast inaccessible reality that can never be questioned. Its sole message is: “What appears is good; what is good appears.” The passive acceptance it demands is already effectively imposed by its monopoly of appearances, its manner of appearing without allowing any reply.

The tautological character of the spectacle stems from the fact that its means and ends are identical. It is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the globe, endlessly basking in its own glory.

The society based on modern industry is not accidentally or superficially spectacular, it is fundamentally spectaclist. In the spectacle — the visual reflection of the ruling economic order — goals are nothing, development is everything. The spectacle aims at nothing other than itself.

As indispensable embellishment of currently produced objects, as general articulation of the system’s rationales, and as advanced economic sector that directly creates an ever-increasing multitude of image-objects, the spectacle is the leading production of present-day society.

The spectacle is able to subject human beings to itself because the economy has already totally subjugated them. It is nothing other than the economy developing for itself. It is at once a faithful reflection of the production of things and a distorting objectification of the producers.

The first stage of the economy’s domination of social life brought about an evident degradation of being into having — human fulfillment was no longer equated with what one was, but with what one possessed. The present stage, in which social life has become completely occupied by the accumulated productions of the economy, is bringing about a general shift from having to appearing — all “having” must now derive its immediate prestige and its ultimate purpose from appearances. At the same time all individual reality has become social, in the sense that it is shaped by social forces and is directly dependent on them. Individual reality is allowed to appear only insofar as it is not actually real.

When the real world is transformed into mere images, mere images become real beings — figments that provide the direct motivations for a hypnotic behavior. Since the spectacle’s job is to use various specialized mediations in order to show us a world that can no longer be directly grasped, it naturally elevates the sense of sight to the special preeminence once occupied by touch: the most abstract and easily deceived sense is the most readily adaptable to the generalized abstraction of present-day society. But the spectacle is not merely a matter of images, nor even of images plus sounds. It is whatever escapes people’s activity, whatever eludes their practical reconsideration and correction. It is the opposite of dialogue. Wherever representation becomes independent, the spectacle regenerates itself.

The spectacle inherits the weakness of the Western philosophical project, which attempted to understand activity by means of the categories of vision, and it is based on the relentless development of the particular technical rationality that grew out of that form of thought. The spectacle does not realize philosophy, it philosophizes reality, reducing everyone’s concrete life to a universe of speculation.

Philosophy — the power of separate thought and the thought of separate power — was never by itself able to supersede theology. The spectacle is the material reconstruction of the religious illusion. Spectacular technology has not dispersed the religious mists into which human beings had projected their own alienated powers, it has merely brought those mists down to earth, to the point that even the most mundane aspects of life have become impenetrable and unbreathable. The illusory paradise representing a total denial of earthly life is no longer projected into the heavens, it is embedded in earthly life itself. The spectacle is the technological version of the exiling of human powers into a “world beyond”; the culmination of humanity’s internal separation.

As long as necessity is socially dreamed, dreaming will remain necessary. The spectacle is the bad dream of a modern society in chains and ultimately expresses nothing more than its wish for sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep.

The fact that the practical power of modern society has detached itself from that society and established an independent realm in the spectacle can be explained only by the additional fact that that powerful practice continued to lack cohesion and had remained in contradiction with itself.

The root of the spectacle is that oldest of all social specializations, the specialization of power. The spectacle plays the specialized role of speaking in the name of all the other activities. It is hierarchical society’s ambassador to itself, delivering its messages at a court where no one else is allowed to speak. The most modern aspect of the spectacle is thus also the most archaic.

The spectacle is the ruling order’s nonstop discourse about itself, its never-ending monologue of self-praise, its self-portrait at the stage of totalitarian domination of all aspects of life. The fetishistic appearance of pure objectivity in spectacular relations conceals their true character as relations between people and between classes: a second Nature, with its own inescapable laws, seems to dominate our environment. But the spectacle is not the inevitable consequence of some supposedly natural technological development. On the contrary, the society of the spectacle is a form that chooses its own technological content. If the spectacle, considered in the limited sense of the “mass media” that are its most glaring superficial manifestation, seems to be invading society in the form of a mere technical apparatus, it should be understood that this apparatus is in no way neutral and that it has been developed in accordance with the spectacle’s internal dynamics. If the social needs of the age in which such technologies are developed can be met only through their mediation, if the administration of this society and all contact between people has become totally dependent on these means of instantaneous communication, it is because this “communication” is essentially unilateral. The concentration of these media thus amounts to concentrating in the hands of the administrators of the existing system the means that enable them to carry on this particular form of administration. The social separation reflected in the spectacle is inseparable from the modern state — that product of the social division of labor that is both the chief instrument of class rule and the concentrated expression of all social divisions.

Separation is the alpha and omega of the spectacle. The institutionalization of the social division of labor in the form of class divisions had given rise to an earlier, religious form of contemplation: the mythical order with which every power has always camouflaged itself. Religion justified the cosmic and ontological order that corresponded to the interests of the masters, expounding and embellishing everything their societies could not deliver. In this sense, all separate power has been spectacular. But this earlier universal devotion to a fixed religious imagery was only a shared belief in an imaginary compensation for the poverty of a concrete social activity that was still generally experienced as a unitary condition. In contrast, the modern spectacle depicts what society could deliver, but in so doing it rigidly separates what is possible from what is permitted. The spectacle keeps people in a state of unconsciousness as they pass through practical changes in their conditions of existence. Like a factitious god, it engenders itself and makes its own rules. It reveals itself for what it is: an autonomously developing separate power, based on the increasing productivity resulting from an increasingly refined division of labor into parcelized gestures dictated by the independent movement of machines and working for an ever-expanding market. In the course of this development, all community and all critical awareness have disintegrated; and the forces that were able to grow by separating from each other have not yet been reunited.

The general separation of worker and product tends to eliminate any direct personal communication between the producers and any comprehensive sense of what they are producing. With the increasing accumulation of separate products and the increasing concentration of the productive process, communication and comprehension are monopolized by the managers of the system. The triumph of this separation-based economic system proletarianizes the whole world.

Due to the very success of this separate production of separation, the fundamental experience that in earlier societies was associated with people’s primary work is in the process of being replaced (in sectors near the cutting edge of the system’s evolution) by an identification of life with nonworking time, with inactivity. But such inactivity is in no way liberated from productive activity. It remains dependent on it, in an uneasy and admiring submission to the requirements and consequences of the production system. It is itself one of the products of that system. There can be no freedom apart from activity, and within the spectacle activity is nullified — all real activity having been forcibly channeled into the global construction of the spectacle. Thus, what is referred to as a “liberation from work,” namely the modern increase in leisure time, is neither a liberation within work itself nor a liberation from the world shaped by this kind of work. None of the activity stolen through work can be regained by submitting to what that work has produced.

The reigning economic system is a vicious circle of isolation. Its technologies are based on isolation, and they contribute to that same isolation. From automobiles to television, the goods that the spectacular system chooses to produce also serve it as weapons for constantly reinforcing the conditions that engender “lonely crowds.” With ever-increasing concreteness the spectacle recreates its own presuppositions.

The spectacle was born from the world’s loss of unity, and the immense expansion of the modern spectacle reveals the enormity of this loss. The abstractifying of all individual labor and the general abstractness of what is produced are perfectly reflected in the spectacle, whose manner of being concrete is precisely abstraction. In the spectacle, a part of the world represents itself to the world and is superior to it. The spectacle is simply the common language of this separation. Spectators are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other. The spectacle thus reunites the separated, but it reunites them only in their separateness.

The alienation of the spectator, which reinforces the contemplated objects that result from his own unconscious activity, works like this: the more he contemplates, the less he lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him. The spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.

Workers do not produce themselves, they produce a power independent of themselves. The success of this production, the abundance it generates, is experienced by the producers as an abundance of dispossession. As their alienated products accumulate, all time and space become foreign to them. The spectacle is the map of this new world, a map that is identical to the territory it represents. The forces that have escaped us display themselves to us in all their power.

The spectacle’s social function is the concrete manufacture of alienation. Economic expansion consists primarily of the expansion of this particular sector of industrial production. The “growth” generated by an economy developing for its own sake can be nothing other than a growth of the very alienation that was at its origin.

Though separated from what they produce, people nevertheless produce every detail of their world with ever-increasing power. They thus also find themselves increasingly separated from that world. The closer their life comes to being their own creation, the more they are excluded from that life.

The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images.


Chapter 2:
The Commodity as Spectacle

“The commodity can be understood in its undistorted essence only when it becomes the universal category of society as a whole. Only in this context does the reification produced by commodity relations assume decisive importance both for the objective evolution of society and for the attitudes that people adopt toward it, as it subjugates their consciousness to the forms in which this reification finds expression. . . . As labor is increasingly rationalized and mechanized, this subjugation is reinforced by the fact that people’s activity becomes less and less active and more and more contemplative.”
—Lukács, History and Class Consciousness

In the spectacle’s basic practice of incorporating into itself all the fluid aspects of human activity so as to possess them in a congealed form, and of inverting living values into purely abstract values, we recognize our old enemy the commodity, which seems at first glance so trivial and obvious, yet which is actually so complex and full of metaphysical subtleties.

The fetishism of the commodity — the domination of society by “imperceptible as well as perceptible things” — attains its ultimate fulfillment in the spectacle, where the perceptible world is replaced by a selection of images which is projected above it, yet which at the same time succeeds in making itself regarded as the perceptible par excellence.

The world at once present and absent that the spectacle holds up to view is the world of the commodity dominating all living experience. The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its development is identical to people’s estrangement from each other and from everything they produce.

The loss of quality that is so evident at every level of spectacular language, from the objects it glorifies to the behavior it regulates, stems from the basic nature of a production system that shuns reality. The commodity form reduces everything to quantitative equivalence. The quantitative is what it develops, and it can develop only within the quantitative.

Despite the fact that this development excludes the qualitative, it is itself subject to qualitative change. The spectacle reflects the fact that this development has crossed the threshold of its own abundance. Although this qualitative change has so far taken place only partially in a few local areas, it is already implicit at the universal level that was the commodity’s original standard — a standard that the commodity has lived up to by turning the whole planet into a single world market.

The development of productive forces has been the unconscious history that has actually created and altered the living conditions of human groups — the conditions enabling them to survive and the expansion of those conditions. It has been the economic basis of all human undertakings. Within natural economies, the emergence of a commodity sector represented a surplus survival. Commodity production, which implies the exchange of varied products between independent producers, tended for a long time to retain its small-scale craft aspects, relegated as it was to a marginal economic role where its quantitative reality was still hidden. But wherever it encountered the social conditions of large-scale commerce and capital accumulation, it took total control of the economy. The entire economy then became what the commodity had already shown itself to be in the course of this conquest: a process of quantitative development. This constant expansion of economic power in the form of commodities transformed human labor itself into a commodity, into wage labor, and ultimately produced a level of abundance sufficient to solve the initial problem of survival — but only in such a way that the same problem is continually regenerated at a higher level. Economic growth has liberated societies from the natural pressures that forced them into an immediate struggle for survival; but they have not yet been liberated from their liberator. The commodity’s independence has spread to the entire economy it now dominates. This economy has transformed the world, but it has merely transformed it into a world dominated by the economy. The pseudo-nature within which human labor has become alienated demands that such labor remain forever in its service; and since this demand is formulated by and answerable only to itself, it in fact ends up channeling all socially permitted projects and endeavors into its own reinforcement. The abundance of commodities — that is, the abundance of commodity relations — amounts to nothing more than an augmented survival.

As long as the economy’s role as material basis of social life was neither noticed nor understood — remaining unknown precisely because it was so familiar — the commodity’s dominion over the economy was exerted in a covert manner. In societies where actual commodities were few and far between, money was the apparent master, serving as plenipotentiary representative of the greater power that remained unknown. With the Industrial Revolution’s manufactural division of labor and mass production for a global market, the commodity finally became fully visible as a power that was colonizing all social life. It was at that point that political economy established itself as the dominant science, and as the science of domination.

The spectacle is the stage at which the commodity has succeeded in totally colonizing social life. Commodification is not only visible, we no longer see anything else; the world we see is the world of the commodity. Modern economic production extends its dictatorship both extensively and intensively. In the less industrialized regions, its reign is already manifested by the presence of a few star commodities and by the imperialist domination imposed by the more industrially advanced regions. In the latter, social space is blanketed with ever-new layers of commodities. With the “second industrial revolution,” alienated consumption has become as much a duty for the masses as alienated production. The society’s entire sold labor has become a total commodity whose constant turnover must be maintained at all cost. To accomplish this, this total commodity has to be returned in fragmented form to fragmented individuals who are completely cut off from the overall operation of the productive forces. To this end, the specialized science of domination is itself broken down into further specialties such as sociology, psychotechnology, cybernetics, and semiology, which oversee the self-regulation of every phase of the process.

Whereas during the primitive stage of capitalist accumulation “political economy considers the proletarian only as a worker,” who only needs to be allotted the indispensable minimum for maintaining his labor power, and never considers him “in his leisure and humanity,” this ruling-class perspective is revised as soon as commodity abundance reaches a level that requires an additional collaboration from him. Once his workday is over, the worker is suddenly redeemed from the total contempt toward him that is so clearly implied by every aspect of the organization and surveillance of production, and finds himself seemingly treated like a grown-up, with a great show of politeness, in his new role as a consumer. At this point the humanism of the commodity takes charge of the worker’s “leisure and humanity” simply because political economy now can and must dominate those spheres as political economy. The “total denial of man” has thus taken charge of all human existence.

The spectacle is a permanent opium war designed to force people to equate goods with commodities and to equate satisfaction with a survival that expands according to its own laws. Consumable survival must constantly expand because it never ceases to include privation. If augmented survival never comes to a resolution, if there is no point where it might stop expanding, this is because it is itself stuck in the realm of privation. It may gild poverty, but it cannot transcend it.

Automation, which is both the most advanced sector of modern industry and the epitome of its practice, obliges the commodity system to resolve the following contradiction: the technological developments that objectively tend to eliminate work must at the same time preserve labor as a commodity, because labor is the only creator of commodities. The only way to prevent automation (or any other less extreme method of increasing labor productivity) from reducing society’s total necessary labor time is to create new jobs. To this end the reserve army of the unemployed is enlisted into the tertiary or “service” sector, reinforcing the troops responsible for distributing and glorifying the latest commodities at a time when increasingly extensive campaigns are necessary to convince people to buy increasingly unnecessary commodities.

Exchange value could arise only as a representative of use value, but the victory it eventually won with its own weapons created the conditions for its own autonomous power. By mobilizing all human use value and monopolizing its fulfillment, exchange value ultimately succeeded in controlling use. Use has come to be seen purely in terms of exchange value, and is now completely at its mercy. Starting out like a condottiere in the service of use value, exchange value has ended up waging the war for its own sake.

The constant decline of use value that has always characterized the capitalist economy has given rise to a new form of poverty within the realm of augmented survival — alongside the old poverty which still persists, since the vast majority of people are still forced to take part as wage workers in the unending pursuit of the system’s ends and each of them knows that they must submit or die. The reality of this blackmail — the fact that even in its most impoverished forms (food, shelter) use value now has no existence outside the illusory riches of augmented survival — accounts for the general acceptance of the illusions of modern commodity consumption. The real consumer has become a consumer of illusions. The commodity is this materialized illusion and the spectacle is its general expression.

Use value was formerly understood as an implicit aspect of exchange value. Now, however, within the upside-down world of the spectacle, use value must be explicitly proclaimed, both because its actual reality has been eroded by the overdeveloped commodity economy and because it serves as a necessary pseudo-justification for a counterfeit life.

The spectacle is the flip side of money. It, too, is an abstract general equivalent of all commodities. But whereas money has dominated society as the representation of universal equivalence — the exchangeability of different goods whose uses remain uncomparable — the spectacle is the modern complement of money: a representation of the commodity world as a whole which serves as a general equivalent for what the entire society can be and can do. The spectacle is money one can only look at, because in it all use has already been exchanged for the totality of abstract representation. The spectacle is not just a servant of pseudo-use, it is already in itself a pseudo-use of life.

With the achievement of economic abundance, the concentrated result of social labor becomes visible, subjecting all reality to the appearances that are now that labor’s primary product. Capital is no longer the invisible center governing the production process; as it accumulates, it spreads to the ends of the earth in the form of tangible objects. The entire expanse of society is its portrait.

The economy’s triumph as an independent power at the same time spells its own doom, because the forces it has unleashed have eliminated the economic necessity that was the unchanging basis of earlier societies. Replacing that necessity with a necessity for boundless economic development can only mean replacing the satisfaction of primary human needs (now scarcely met) with an incessant fabrication of pseudo-needs, all of which ultimately come down to the single pseudo-need of maintaining the reign of the autonomous economy. But that economy loses all connection with authentic needs insofar as it emerges from the social unconscious that unknowingly depended on it. “Whatever is conscious wears out. What is unconscious remains unalterable. But once it is freed, does it not fall to ruin in its turn?” (Freud).

Once society discovers that it depends on the economy, the economy in fact depends on the society. When the subterranean power of the economy grew to the point of visible domination, it lost its power. The economic Id must be replaced by the I. This subject can only arise out of society, that is, out of the struggle within society. Its existence depends on the outcome of the class struggle that is both product and producer of the economic foundation of history.

Consciousness of desire and desire for consciousness are the same project, the project that in its negative form seeks the abolition of classes and thus the workers’ direct possession of every aspect of their activity. The opposite of this project is the society of the spectacle, where the commodity contemplates itself in a world of its own making.


Chapter 3 “Unity and Division Within Appearance”

“An intense new polemic is unfolding on the philosophical front in this country, focusing on the concepts ‘one divides into two’ and ‘two fuse into one.’ This debate is a struggle between those who are for and those who are against the materialist dialectic, a struggle between two conceptions of the world: the proletarian conception and the bourgeois conception. Those who maintain that ‘one divides into two’ is the fundamental law of things are on the side of the materialist dialectic; those who maintain that the fundamental law of things is that ‘two fuse into one’ are against the materialist dialectic. The two sides have drawn a clear line of demarcation between them, and their arguments are diametrically opposed. This polemic is a reflection, on the ideological level, of the acute and complex class struggle taking place in China and in the world.”
—Red Flag (Beijing), September 21, 1964

The spectacle, like modern society itself, is at once united and divided. The unity of each is based on violent divisions. But when this contradiction emerges in the spectacle, it is itself contradicted by a reversal of its meaning: the division it presents is unitary, while the unity it presents is divided.

Although the struggles between different powers for control of the same socio-economic system are officially presented as fundamental antagonisms, they actually reflect that system’s fundamental unity, both internationally and within each nation.

The sham spectacular struggles between rival forms of separate power are at the same time real, in that they reflect the system’s uneven and conflictual development and the more or less contradictory interests of the classes or sections of classes that accept that system and strive to carve out a role for themselves within it. Just as the development of the most advanced economies involves clashes between different priorities, totalitarian state-bureaucratic forms of economic management and countries under colonialism or semicolonialism also exhibit highly divergent types of production and power. By invoking any number of different criteria, the spectacle can present these oppositions as totally distinct social systems. But in reality they are nothing but particular sectors whose fundamental essence lies in the global system that contains them, the single movement that has turned the whole planet into its field of operation: capitalism.

The society that bears the spectacle does not dominate underdeveloped regions solely by its economic hegemony. It also dominates them as the society of the spectacle. Even where the material base is still absent, modern society has already used the spectacle to invade the social surface of every continent. It sets the stage for the formation of indigenous ruling classes and frames their agendas. Just as it presents pseudo-goods to be coveted, it offers false models of revolution to local revolutionaries. The bureaucratic regimes in power in certain industrialized countries have their own particular type of spectacle, but it is an integral part of the total spectacle, serving as its pseudo-opposition and actual support. Even if local manifestations of the spectacle include certain totalitarian specializations of social communication and control, from the standpoint of the overall functioning of the system those specializations are simply playing their allotted role within a global division of spectacular tasks.

Although this division of spectacular tasks preserves the existing order as a whole, it is primarily oriented toward protecting its dominant pole of development. The spectacle is rooted in the economy of abundance, and the products of that economy ultimately tend to dominate the spectacular market and override the ideological or police-state protectionist barriers set up by local spectacles with pretensions of independence.

Behind the glitter of spectacular distractions, a tendency toward banalization dominates modern society the world over, even where the more advanced forms of commodity consumption have seemingly multiplied the variety of roles and objects to choose from. The vestiges of religion and of the family (the latter is still the primary mechanism for transferring class power from one generation to the next), along with the vestiges of moral repression imposed by those two institutions, can be blended with ostentatious pretensions of worldly gratification precisely because life in this particular world remains repressive and offers nothing but pseudo-gratifications. Complacent acceptance of the status quo may also coexist with purely spectacular rebelliousness — dissatisfaction itself becomes a commodity as soon as the economy of abundance develops the capacity to process that particular raw material.

Stars — spectacular representations of living human beings — project this general banality into images of permitted roles. As specialists of apparent life, stars serve as superficial objects that people can identify with in order to compensate for the fragmented productive specializations that they actually live. The function of these celebrities is to act out various lifestyles or sociopolitical viewpoints in a full, totally free manner. They embody the inaccessible results of social labor by dramatizing the by-products of that labor which are magically projected above it as its ultimate goals: power and vacations — the decision-making and consumption that are at the beginning and the end of a process that is never questioned. On one hand, a governmental power may personalize itself as a pseudo-star; on the other, a star of consumption may campaign for recognition as a pseudo-power over life. But the activities of these stars are not really free and they offer no real choices.

The agent of the spectacle who is put on stage as a star is the opposite of an individual; he is as clearly the enemy of his own individuality as of the individuality of others. Entering the spectacle as a model to be identified with, he renounces all autonomous qualities in order to identify himself with the general law of obedience to the flow of things. The stars of consumption, though outwardly representing different personality types, show each of these types enjoying equal access to, and deriving equal happiness from, the entire realm of consumption. The stars of decision-making must possess the full range of admired human qualities: official differences between them are thus canceled out by the official similarity implied by their supposed excellence in every field of endeavor. As head of state, Khrushchev retrospectively became a general so as to take credit for the victory of the battle of Kursk twenty years after it happened. And Kennedy survived as an orator to the point of delivering his own funeral oration, since Theodore Sorensen continued to write speeches for his successor in the same style that had contributed so much toward the dead man’s public persona. The admirable people who personify the system are well known for not being what they seem; they attain greatness by stooping below the reality of the most insignificant individual life, and everyone knows it.

The false choices offered by spectacular abundance — choices based on the juxtaposition of competing yet mutually reinforcing spectacles and of distinct yet interconnected roles (signified and embodied primarily by objects) — develop into struggles between illusory qualities designed to generate fervent allegiance to quantitative trivialities. Fallacious archaic oppositions are revived — regionalisms and racisms which serve to endow mundane rankings in the hierarchies of consumption with a magical ontological superiority — and subplayful enthusiasms are aroused by an endless succession of farcical competitions, from sports to elections. Wherever abundant consumption is established, one particular spectacular opposition is always in the forefront of illusory roles: the antagonism between youth and adults. But real adults — people who are masters of their own lives — are in fact nowhere to be found. And a youthful transformation of what exists is in no way characteristic of those who are now young; it is present solely in the economic system, in the dynamism of capitalism. It is things that rule and that are young, vying with each other and constantly replacing each other.

Spectacular oppositions conceal the unity of poverty. If different forms of the same alienation struggle against each other in the guise of irreconcilable antagonisms, this is because they are all based on real contradictions that are repressed. The spectacle exists in a concentrated form or a diffuse form, depending on the requirements of the particular stage of poverty it denies and supports. In both cases it is nothing more than an image of happy harmony surrounded by desolation and horror, at the calm center of misery.

The concentrated spectacle is primarily associated with bureaucratic capitalism, though it may also be imported as a technique for reinforcing state power in more backward mixed economies or even adopted by advanced capitalism during certain moments of crisis. Bureaucratic property is itself concentrated, in that the individual bureaucrat takes part in the ownership of the entire economy only through his membership in the community of bureaucrats. And since commodity production is less developed under bureaucratic capitalism, it too takes on a concentrated form: the commodity the bureaucracy appropriates is the total social labor, and what it sells back to the society is that society’s wholesale survival. The dictatorship of the bureaucratic economy cannot leave the exploited masses any significant margin of choice because it has had to make all the choices itself, and any choice made independently of it, whether regarding food or music or anything else, thus amounts to a declaration of war against it. This dictatorship must be enforced by permanent violence. Its spectacle imposes an image of the good which subsumes everything that officially exists, an image which is usually concentrated in a single individual, the guarantor of the system’s totalitarian cohesion. Everyone must magically identify with this absolute star or disappear. This master of everyone else’s nonconsumption is the heroic image that disguises the absolute exploitation entailed by the system of primitive accumulation accelerated by terror. If the entire Chinese population has to study Mao to the point of identifying with Mao, this is because there is nothing else they can be. The concentrated spectacle implies a police state.

The diffuse spectacle is associated with commodity abundance, with the undisturbed development of modern capitalism. Here each individual commodity is justified in the name of the grandeur of the total commodity production, of which the spectacle is a laudatory catalog. Irreconcilable claims jockey for position on the stage of the affluent economy’s unified spectacle, and different star commodities simultaneously promote conflicting social policies. The automobile spectacle, for example, strives for a perfect traffic flow entailing the destruction of old urban districts, while the city spectacle needs to preserve those districts as tourist attractions. The already dubious satisfaction alleged to be obtained from the consumption of the whole is thus constantly being disappointed because the actual consumer can directly access only a succession of fragments of this commodity heaven, fragments which invariably lack the quality attributed to the whole.

Each individual commodity fights for itself. It avoids acknowledging the others and strives to impose itself everywhere as if it were the only one in existence. The spectacle is the epic poem of this struggle, a struggle that no fall of Troy can bring to an end. The spectacle does not sing of men and their arms, but of commodities and their passions. In this blind struggle each commodity, by pursuing its own passion, unconsciously generates something beyond itself: the globalization of the commodity (which also amounts to the commodification of the globe). Thus, as a result of the cunning of the commodity, while each particular manifestation of the commodity eventually falls in battle, the general commodity-form continues onward toward its absolute realization.

The satisfaction that no longer comes from using the commodities produced in abundance is now sought through recognition of their value as commodities. Consumers are filled with religious fervor for the sovereign freedom of commodities whose use has become an end in itself. Waves of enthusiasm for particular products are propagated by all the communications media. A film sparks a fashion craze; a magazine publicizes night spots, which in turn spin off different lines of products. The proliferation of faddish gadgets reflects the fact that as the mass of commodities becomes increasingly absurd, absurdity itself becomes a commodity. Trinkets such as key chains which come as free bonuses with the purchase of some luxury product, but which end up being traded back and forth as valued collectibles in their own right, reflect a mystical self-abandonment to commodity transcendence. Those who collect the trinkets that have been manufactured for the sole purpose of being collected are accumulating commodity indulgences — glorious tokens of the commodity’s real presence among the faithful. Reified people proudly display the proofs of their intimacy with the commodity. Like the old religious fetishism, with its convulsionary raptures and miraculous cures, the fetishism of commodities generates its own moments of fervent arousal. All this is useful for only one purpose: producing habitual submission.

The pseudo-needs imposed by modern consumerism cannot be contrasted with any genuine needs or desires that are not themselves also shaped by this society and its history. Commodity abundance represents a total break in the organic development of social needs. Its mechanical accumulation unleashes an unlimited artificiality which overpowers any living desires. The cumulative power of this autonomous artificiality ends up by falsifying all social life.

The image of blissful social unification through consumption merely postpones the consumer’s awareness of the actual divisions until his next disillusionment with some particular commodity. Each new product is ceremoniously acclaimed as a unique creation offering a dramatic shortcut to the promised land of total consummation. But as with the fashionable adoption of seemingly aristocratic first names which end up being given to virtually all individuals of the same age, the objects that promise uniqueness can be offered up for mass consumption only if they are numerous enough to have been mass-produced. The prestigiousness of mediocre objects of this kind is solely due to the fact that they have been placed, however briefly, at the center of social life and hailed as a revelation of the unfathomable purposes of production. But the object that was prestigious in the spectacle becomes mundane as soon as it is taken home by its consumer — at the same time as by all its other consumers. Too late it reveals its essential poverty, a poverty that inevitably reflects the poverty of its production. Meanwhile, some other object is already replacing it as justification of the system and demanding its own moment of acclaim.

The fraudulence of the satisfactions offered by the system is exposed by this continual replacement of products and of general conditions of production. In both the diffuse and the concentrated spectacle, entities that have brazenly asserted their definitive perfection nevertheless end up changing, and only the system endures. Stalin, like any other outmoded commodity, is denounced by the very forces that originally promoted him. Each new lie of the advertising industry is an admission of its previous lie. And with each downfall of a personification of totalitarian power, the illusory community that had unanimously approved him is exposed as a mere conglomeration of loners without illusions.

The things the spectacle presents as eternal are based on change, and must change as their foundations change. The spectacle is totally dogmatic, yet it is incapable of arriving at any really solid dogma. Nothing stands still for it. This instability is the spectacle’s natural condition, but it is completely contrary to its natural inclination.

The unreal unity proclaimed by the spectacle masks the class division underlying the real unity of the capitalist mode of production. What obliges the producers to participate in the construction of the world is also what excludes them from it. What brings people into relation with each other by liberating them from their local and national limitations is also what keeps them apart. What requires increased rationality is also what nourishes the irrationality of hierarchical exploitation and repression. What produces society’s abstract power also produces its concrete lack of freedom.


Chapter 4 “The Proletariat as Subject and as Representation”

The equal right of all to the goods and enjoyment of this world, the destruction of all authority, the negation of all moral restraints – these, at bottom, are the raison d’etre of the March 18th insurrection and the charter of the fearsome organization that furnished it with an army.
Enquete parlementaire sur l’insurrection du 18 mars


The real movement which suppresses existing conditions rules over society from the moment of the bourgeoisie’s victory in the economy, and visibly after the political translation of this victory. The development of productive forces shatters the old relations of production and all static order turns to dust. Whatever was absolute becomes historical.


By being thrown into history, by having to participate in the labor and struggles which make up history, men find themselves obliged to view their relations in a clear manner. This history has no object distinct from what takes place within it, even though the last unconscious metaphysical vision of the historical epoch could look at the productive progression through which history has unfolded as the very object of history. The subject of history can be none other than the living producing himself, becoming master and possessor of his world which is history, and existing as consciousness of his game.


The class struggles of the long revolutionary epoch inaugurated by the rise of the bourgeoisie, develop together with the thought of history, the dialectic, the thought which no longer stops to look for the meaning of what is, but rises to a knowledge of the dissolution of all that is, and in its movement dissolves all separation.


Hegel no longer had to interpret the world, but the transformation of the world. By only interpreting the transformation, Hegel is only the philosophical completion of philosophy. He wants to understand a world which makes itself. This historical thought is as yet only the consciousness which always arrives too late, and which pronounces the justification after the fact. Thus it has gone beyond separation only in thought. The paradox which consists of making the meaning of all reality depend on its historical completion, and at the same time of revealing this meaning as it makes itself the completion of history, flows from the simple fact that the thinker of the bourgeois revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries sought in his philosophy only a reconciliation with the results of these revolutions. Even as a philosophy of the bourgeois revolution, it does not express the entire process of this revolution, but only its final conclusion. In this sense, it is “not a philosophy of the revolution, but of the restoration” (Karl Korsch, Theses on Hegel and Revolution). Hegel did, for the last time, the work of the philosopher, “the glorification of what exists”; but what existed for him could already be nothing less than the totality of historical movement. The external position of thought having in fact been preserved, it could he masked only by the identification of thought with an earlier project of Spirit, absolute hero who did what he wanted and wanted what he did, and whose accomplishment coincides with the present. Thus philosophy, which dies in the thought of history, can now glorify its world only by renouncing it, since in order to speak, it must presuppose that this total history to which it has reduced everything is already complete, and that the only tribunal where the judgment of truth could be given is closed.


When the proletariat demonstrates by its own existence, through acts, that this thought of history is not forgotten, the exposure of the conclusion is at the same time the confirmation of the method.


The thought of history can be saved only by becoming practical thought; and the practice of the proletariat as a revolutionary class cannot be less than historical consciousness operating on the totality of its world. All the theoretical currents of the revolutionary workers’ movement grew out of a critical confrontation with Hegelian thought–Stirner and Bakunin as well as Marx.


The inseparability of Marx’s theory from the Hegelian method is itself inseparable from the revolutionary character of this theory, namely from its truth. This first relationship has been generally ignored, misunderstood, and even denounced as the weakness of what fallaciously became a marxist doctrine. Bernstein, in his Evolutionary Socialism: A Criticism and Affirmation (Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie), perfectly reveals the connection between the dialectical method and historical partisanship, by deploring the unscientific forecasts of the 1847 Manifesto on the imminence of proletarian revolution in Germany: “This historical self-deception, so erroneous that any political visionary could hardly have improved on it, would be incomprehensible in a Marx, who at that time had already seriously studied economics, if we did not see in this the product of a relic of the antithetical Hegelian dialectic from which Marx, no less than Engels, could never completely free himself. In those times of general effervescence, this was all the more fatal to him.”


The inversion carried out by Marx to “recover through transfer” the thought of the bourgeois revolutions does not trivially consist of putting the materialist development of productive forces in the place of the journey of the Hegelian Spirit moving towards its encounter with itself in time, its objectification being identical to its alienation, and its historical wounds leaving no scars. History become real no longer has an end. Marx ruined Hegel’s position as separate from what happens, as well as contemplation by any supreme external agent whatever. From now on, theory has to know only what it does. As opposed to this, contemplation of the economy’s movement within the dominant thought of the present society is the untranscended heritage of the undialectical part of Hegel’s search for a circular system: it is an approval which has lost the dimension of the concept and which no longer needs a Hegelianism to justify itself, because the movement which it praises is no more than a sector without a world view, a sector whose mechanical development effectively dominates the whole. Marx’s project is the project of a conscious history. The quantitative which arises in the blind development of merely economic productive forces must be transformed into a qualitative historical appropriation. The critique of political economy is the first act of this end of prehistory: “Of all the instruments of production the greatest productive power is the revolutionary class itself.”


What closely links Marx’s theory with scientific thought is the rational understanding of the forces which really operate in society. But Marx’s theory is fundamentally beyond scientific thought, and it preserves scientific thought only by superseding it: what is in question is an understanding of struggle, and not of law. “We know only one science: the science of history” (The German Ideology).


The bourgeois epoch, which wants to give a scientific foundation to history, overlooks the fact that this available science needed a historical foundation along with the economy. Inversely, history directly depends on economic knowledge only to the extent that it remains economic history. The extent to which the viewpoint of scientific observation could overlook the role of history in the economy (the global process which modifies its own basic scientific premises) is shown by the vanity of those socialist calculations which thought they had established the exact periodicity of crises. Now that the constant intervention of the State has succeeded in compensating for the effect of tendencies toward crisis, the same type of reasoning sees in this equilibrium a definitive economic harmony’. The project of mastering the economy, the project of appropriating history, if it must know–and absorb–the science of society, cannot itself be scientific. The revolutionary viewpoint of a movement which thinks it can dominate current history by means of scientific knowledge remains bourgeois.


The utopian currents of socialism, although themselves historically grounded in the critique of the existing social organization, can rightly be called utopian to the extent that they reject history–namely the real struggle taking place, as well as the passage of time beyond the immutable perfection of their picture of a happy society–but not because they reject science. On the contrary. the utopian thinkers are completely dominated by the scientific thought of earlier centuries. They sought the completion of this general rational system: they did not in any way consider themselves disarmed prophets, since they believed in the social power of scientific proof and even, in the case of Saint-Simonism, in the seizure of power by science. “How did they want to seize through struggle what must be proved?” asked Sombart. The scientific conception of the utopians did not extend to the knowledge that some social groups have interests in the existing situation, forces to maintain it, and also forms of false consciousness corresponding to such positions. This conception did not even reach the historical reality of the development of science itself, which was oriented largely by the social demand of agents who selected not only what could be admitted, but also what could be studied. The utopian socialists, remaining prisoners of the mode of exposition of scientific truth, conceived this truth in terms of its pure abstract image–an image which had been imposed at a much earlier stage of society. As Sorel observed, it is on the model of astronomy that the utopians thought they would discover and demonstrate the laws of society. The harmony envisaged by them, hostile to history, grows out of the attempt to apply to society the science least dependent on history. This harmony is introduced with the experimental innocence of Newtonianism, and the happy destiny which is constantly postulated “plays in their social science a role analogous to the role of inertia in rational” (Materiaux pour une theorie du proletariat).


The deterministic-scientific facet in Marx’s thought was precisely the gap through which the process of “ideologization” penetrated, during his own lifetime, into the theoretical heritage left to the workers’ movement. The arrival of the historical subject continues to be postponed, and it is economics, the historical science par excellence, which tends increasingly to guarantee the necessity of its own future negation. But what is pushed out of the field of theoretical vision in this manner is revolutionary practice, the only truth of this negation. What becomes important is to study economic development with patience, and to continue to accept suffering with a Hegelian tranquility, so that the result remains “a graveyard of good intentions.” It is suddenly discovered that, according to the science of revolution, consciousness always comes too soon, and has to be taught. “History has shown that we, and all who thought as we did, were wrong. History has clearly shown that the state of economic development on the continent at that time was far from being ripe” Engels was to say in 1895. Throughout his life, Marx had maintained a unitary point of view in his theory, but the exposition of the theory was carried out on the terrain of the dominant thought and became precise in the form of critiques of particular disciplines, principally the critique of the fundamental science of bourgeois society, political economy. It is this mutilation, later accepted as definitive, which has constituted “marxism.”


The weakness of Marx’s theory is naturally the weakness of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat of his time. The working class did not set off the permanent revolution in the Germany of 1848; the Commune was defeated in isolation. Revolutionary theory thus could not yet achieve its own total existence. The fact that Marx was reduced to defending and clarifying it with cloistered, scholarly work, in the British Museum, caused a loss in the theory itself. The scientific justifications Marx elaborated about the future development of the working class and the organizational practice that went with them became obstacles to proletarian consciousness at a later stage.


All the theoretical insufficiencies of content as well as form of exposition of the scientific defense of proletarian revolution can be traced to the identification of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie from the standpoint of the revolutionary seizure of power.


By grounding the proof of the scientific validity of proletarian power on repeated past attempts, Marx obscured his historical thought, from the Manifesto on, and was forced to support a linear image of the development of modes of production brought on by class struggles which end, each time, “with a revolutionary transformation of the entire society or with mutual destruction of the classes in struggle.” But in the observable reality of history, as Marx pointed out elsewhere, the “Asiatic mode of production” preserved its immobility in spite of all class confrontations, just as the serf uprisings never defeated the landlords, nor the slave revolts of Antiquity the free men. The linear schema loses sight of the fact that the bourgeoisie is the only revolutionary class that ever won; at the same time it is the only class for which the development of the economy was the cause and the consequence of its taking hold of society. The same simplification led Marx to neglect the economic role of the State in the management of a class society. If the rising bourgeoisie seemed to liberate the economy from the State, this took place only to the extent that the former State was an instrument of class oppression in a static economy. The bourgeoisie developed its autonomous economic power in the medieval period of the weakening of the State, at the moment of feudal fragmentation of balanced powers. But the modern State which, through Mercantilism, began to support the development of the bourgeoisie, and which finally became its State at the time of “laisser faire, laisser passer,” was to reveal later that it was endowed with the central power of calculated management of the economic process. With the concept of Bonapartism, Marx was nevertheless able to describe the shape of the modern statist bureaucracy, the fusion of capital and State, the formation of a “national power of capital over labor, a public force organized for social enslavement,” where the bourgeoisie renounces all historical life which is not reduced to the economic history of things and would like to “be condemned to the same political nothingness as other classes.” Here the socio-political foundations of the modern spectacle are already established, negatively defining the proletariat as the only pretender to historical life.


The only two classes which effectively correspond to Marx’s theory, the two pure classes towards which the entire analysis of Capital leads, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, are also the only two revolutionary classes in history, but in very different conditions: the bourgeois revolution is over; the proletarian revolution is a project born on the foundation of the preceding revolution but differing from it qualitatively. By neglecting the originality of the historical role of the bourgeoisie, one masks the concrete originality of the proletarian project, which can attain nothing unless it carries its own banners and knows the “immensity of its tasks.” The bourgeoisie came to power because it is the class of the developing economy. The proletariat cannot itself come to power except by becoming the class of consciousness. The growth of productive forces cannot guarantee such power, even by way of the increasing dispossession which it brings about. A Jacobin seizure of power cannot be its instrument. No ideology can help the proletariat disguise its partial goals as general goals, because the proletariat cannot preserve any partial reality which is really its own.


If Marx, in a given period of his participation in the struggle of the proletariat, expected too much from scientific forecasting, to the point of creating the intellectual foundation for the illusions of economism, it is known that he did not personally succumb to those illusions. In a well-known letter of December 7, 1867, accompanying an article where he himself criticized Capital, an article which Engels would later present to the press as the work of an adversary, Marx clearly disclosed the limits of his own science: ” . . . The subjective tendency of the author (which was perhaps imposed on him by his political position and his past), namely the manner in which he views and presents to others the ultimate results of the real movement, the real social process, has no relation to his own actual analysis.” Thus Marx, by denouncing the “tendentious conclusions” of his own objective analysis, and by the irony of the “perhaps” with reference to the extra-scientific choices imposed on him, at the same time shows the methodological key to the fusion of the two aspects.


The fusion of knowledge and action must be realized in the historical struggle itself, in such a way that each of these terms guarantees the truth of the other. The formation of the proletarian class into a subject means the organization of revolutionary struggles and the organization of society at the revolutionary moment: it is then that the practical conditions of consciousness must exist, conditions in which the theory of praxis is confirmed by becoming practical theory. However, this central question of organization was the question least developed by revolutionary theory at the time when the workers’ movement was founded, namely when this theory still had the unitary character which came from the thought of history. (Theory had undertaken precisely this task in order to develop a unitary historical practice.) This question is in fact the locus of inconsistency of this theory, allowing the return of statist and hierarchic methods of application borrowed from the bourgeois revolution. The forms of organization of the workers’ movement which were developed on the basis of this renunciation of theory have in turn prevented the maintenance of a unitary theory, breaking it up into varied specialized and partial disciplines. Due to the betrayal of unitary historical thought, this ideological estrangement from theory can no longer recognize the practical verification of this thought when such verification emerges in spontaneous struggles of workers; all it can do is repress every manifestation and memory of such verification. Yet these historical forms which appeared in struggle are precisely the practical milieu which the theory needed in order to be true. They are requirements of the theory which have not been formulated theoretically. The soviet was not a theoretical discovery; yet its existence in practice was already the highest theoretical truth of the International Workingmen’s Association.


The first successes of the struggle of the International led it to free itself from the confused influences of the dominant ideology which survived in it. But the defeat and repression which it soon encountered brought to the foreground a conflict between two conceptions of the proletarian revolution. Both of these conceptions contain an authoritarian dimension and thus abandon the conscious self-emancipation of the working class. In effect, the quarrel between Marxists and Bakuninists (which became irreconcilable) was two-edged, referring at once to power in the revolutionary society and to the organization of the present movement, and when the positions of the adversaries passed from one aspect to the other, they reversed themselves. Bakunin fought the illusion of abolishing classes by the authoritarian use of state power, foreseeing the reconstitution of a dominant bureaucratic class and the dictatorship of the most knowledgeable, or those who would be reputed to be such. Marx thought that the growth of economic contradictions inseparable from democratic education of the workers would reduce the role of the proletarian State to a simple phase of legalizing the new social relations imposing themselves objectively, and denounced Bakunin and his followers for the authoritarianism of a conspiratorial elite which deliberately placed itself above the International and formulated the extravagant design of imposing on society the irresponsible dictatorship of those who are most revolutionary, or those who would designate themselves to be such. Bakunin, in fact, recruited followers on the basis of such a perspective: “Invisible pilots in the center of the popular storm, we must direct it, not with a visible power, but with the collective dictatorship of all the allies. A dictatorship without badge, without title, without official right, yet all the more powerful because it will have none of the appearances of power.” Thus two ideologies of the workers’ revolution opposed each other, each containing a partially true critique, but losing the unity of the thought of history, and instituting themselves into ideological authorities. Powerful organizations, like German Social-Democracy and the Iberian Anarchist Federation faithfully served one or the other of these ideologies; and everywhere the result was very different from what had been desired.


The strength and the weakness of the real anarchist struggle resides in its viewing the goal of proletarian revolution as immediately present (the pretensions of anarchism in its individualist variants have always been laughable). From the historical thought of modern class struggles collectivist anarchism retains only the conclusion, and its exclusive insistence on this conclusion is accompanied by deliberate contempt for method. Thus its critique of the political struggle has remained abstract, while its choice of economic struggle is affirmed only as a function of the illusion of a definitive solution brought about by one single blow on this terrain–on the day of the general strike or the insurrection. The anarchists have an ideal to realize. Anarchism remains a merely ideological negation of the State and of classes, namely of the social conditions of separate ideology. It is the ideology of pure liberty which equalizes everything and dismisses the very idea of historical evil. This viewpoint which fuses all partial desires has given anarchism the merit of representing the rejection of existing conditions in favor of the whole of life, and not of a privileged critical specialization; but this fusion is considered in the absolute, according to individual caprice, before its actual realization, thus condemning anarchism to an incoherence too easily seen through. Anarchism has merely to repeat and to replay the same simple, total conclusion in every single struggle, because this first conclusion was from the beginning identified with the entire outcome of the movement. Thus Bakunin could write in 1873, when he left the Federation Jurassiene: “During the past nine years, more ideas have been developed within the International than would be needed to save the world, if ideas alone could save it, and I challenge anyone to invent a new one. It is no longer the time for ideas, but for facts and acts.” There is no doubt that this conception retains an element of the historical thought of the proletariat, the certainty that ideas must become practice, but it leaves the historical terrain by assuming that the adequate forms for this passage to practice have already been found and will never change.


The anarchists, who distinguish themselves explicitly from the rest of the workers’ movement by their ideological conviction, reproduce this separation of competences among themselves; they provide a terrain favorable to informal domination over all anarchist organizations by propagandists and defenders of their ideology, specialists who are in general more mediocre the more their intellectual activity consists of the repetition of certain definitive truths. Ideological respect for unanimity of decision has on the whole been favorable to the uncontrolled authority, within the organization itself, of specialists in freedom; and revolutionary anarchism expects the same type of unanimity from the liberated population, obtained by the same means. Furthermore, the refusal to take into account the opposition between the conditions of a minority grouped in the present struggle and of a society of free individuals, has nourished a permanent separation among anarchists at the moment of common decision, as is shown by an infinity of anarchist insurrections in Spain, confined and destroyed on a local level.


The illusion entertained more or less explicitly by genuine anarchism is the permanent imminence of an instantaneously accomplished revolution which will prove the truth of the ideology and of the mode of practical organization derived from the ideology. In 1936, anarchism in fact led a social revolution, the most advanced model of proletarian power in all time. In this context it should be noted that the signal for a general insurrection had been imposed by a pronunciamiento of the army. Furthermore, to the extent that this revolution was not completed during the first days (because of the existence of Franco’s power in half the country, strongly supported from abroad while the rest of the international proletarian movement was already defeated, and because of remains of bourgeois forces or other statist workers’ parties within the camp of the Republic) the organized anarchist movement showed itself unable to extend the demi-victories of the revolution, or even to defend them. Its known leaders became ministers and hostages of the bourgeois State which destroyed the revolution only to lose the civil war.


The “orthodox Marxism” of the Second International is the scientific ideology of the socialist revolution: it identifies its whole truth with objective processes in the economy and with the progress of a recognition of this necessity by the working class educated by the organization. This ideology rediscovers the confidence in pedagogical demonstration which had characterized utopian socialism, but mixes it with a contemplative reference to the course of history: this attitude has lost as much of the Hegelian dimension of a total history as it has lost the immobile image of totality in the utopian critique (most highly developed by Fourier). This scientific attitude can do no more than revive a symmetry of ethical choices; it is from this attitude that the nonsense of Hilferding springs when he states that recognizing the necessity of socialism gives “no indication of the practical attitude to be adopted. For it is one thing to recognize a necessity, and it is quite another thing to put oneself at the service of this necessity” (Finanzkapital). Those who failed to recognize that for Marx and for the revolutionary proletariat the unitary thought of history was in no way distinct from the practical attitude to be adopted, regularly became victims of the practice they adopted.


The ideology of the social-democratic organization gave power to professors who educated the working class, and the form of organization which was adopted was the form most suitable for this passive apprenticeship. The participation of socialists of the Second International in political and economic struggles was admittedly concrete but profoundly uncritical. It was conducted in the name of revolutionary illusion by means of an obviously reformist practice. The revolutionary ideology was to be shattered by the very success of those who held it. The separate position of the movement’s deputies and journalists attracted the already recruited bourgeois intellectuals toward a bourgeois mode of life. Even those who had been recruited from the struggles of industrial workers and who were themselves workers, were transformed by the union bureaucracy into brokers of labor power who sold labor as a commodity, for a just price. If their activity was to retain some appearance of being revolutionary, capitalism would have had to be conveniently unable to support economically this reformism which it tolerated politically (in the legalistic agitation of the social-democrats). But such an antagonism, guaranteed by their science, was constantly belied by history.


Bernstein, the social-democrat furthest from political ideology and most openly attached to the methodology of bourgeois science, had the honesty to want to demonstrate the reality of this contradiction; the English workers’ reformist movement had also demonstrated it, by doing without revolutionary ideology. But the contradiction was definitively demonstrated only by historical development itself. Although full of illusions in other respects, Bernstein had denied that a crisis of capitalist production would miraculously force the hand of socialists who wanted to inherit the revolution only by this legitimate rite. The profound social upheaval which arose with the first world war, though fertile with the awakening of consciousness, twice demonstrated that the social-democratic hierarchy had not educated revolutionarily; and had in no way transformed the German workers into theoreticians: first when the vast majority of the party rallied to the imperialist war; next when, in defeat, it squashed the Spartakist revolutionaries. The ex-worker Ebert still believed in sin, since he admitted that he hated revolution “like sin.” The same leader showed himself a precursor of the socialist representation which soon after confronted the Russian proletariat as its absolute enemy; he even formulated exactly the same program for this new alienation: “Socialism means working a lot”.


Lenin, as a Marxist thinker, was no more than a consistent and faithful Kautskyist who applied the revolutionary ideology of “orthodox Marxism” to Russian conditions, conditions unfavorable to the reformist practice carried on elsewhere by the Second International. In the Russian context, the external management of the proletariat, acting by means of a disciplined clandestine party subordinated to intellectuals transformed into “professional revolutionaries,” becomes a profession which refuses to deal with the ruling professions of capitalist society (the Czarist political regime being in any case unable to offer such opportunities which are based on an advanced stage of bourgeois power). It therefore became the profession of the absolute management of society.


With the war and the collapse of the social-democratic international in the face of the war, the authoritarian ideological radicalism of the Bolsheviks spread all over the world. The bloody end of the democratic illusions of the workers’ movement transformed the entire world into a Russia, and Bolshevism, reigning over the first revolutionary breach brought on by this epoch of crisis, offered to proletarians of all lands its hierarchic and ideological model, so that they could “speak Russian” to the ruling class. Lenin did not reproach the Marxism of the Second International for being a revolutionary ideology, but for ceasing to be one.


The historical moment when Bolshevism triumphed for itself in Russia and when social-democracy fought victoriously for the old world marks the inauguration of the state of affairs which is at the heart of the domination of the modern spectacle: the representation of the working class radically opposes itself to the working class.


“In all previous revolutions,” wrote Rosa Luxemburg in Rote Fahne of December 21, 1918, “the combatants faced each other directly: class against class, program against program. In the present revolution, the troops protecting the old order do not intervene under the insignia of the ruling class, but under the flag of a ‘social-democratic party.’ If the central question of revolution had been posed openly and honestly: capitalism or socialism? the great mass of the proletariat would today have no doubts or hesitations.” Thus, a few days before its destruction, the radical current of the German proletariat discovered the secret of the new conditions which had been created by the preceding process (toward which the representation of the working class had greatly contributed): the spectacular organization of defense of the existing order, the social reign of appearances where no ” “central question” can any longer be posed “openly and honestly.” The revolutionary representation of the proletariat had at this stage become both the main factor and the central result of the general falsification of society.


The organization of the proletariat on the Bolshevik model which emerged from Russian backwardness and from the abandonment of revolutionary struggle by the workers’ movement of advanced countries, found in this backwardness all the conditions which carried this form of organization toward the counter-revolutionary inversion which it unconsciously contained at its source. The continuing retreat of the mass of the European workers’ movement in the face of the Hic Rhodus, hic salta of the 1918-1920 period, a retreat which included the violent destruction of its radical minority, favored the completion of the Bolshevik development and let this fraudulent outcome present itself to the world as the only proletarian solution. By seizing state monopoly over representation and defense of workers’ power, the Bolshevik party justified itself and became what it was: the party of the proprietors of the proletariat (essentially eliminating earlier forms of property).


During twenty years of unresolved theoretical debate, the varied tendencies of Russian social-democracy had examined all the conditions for the liquidation of Czarism: the weakness of the bourgeoisie, the weight of the peasant majority and the decisive role of a concentrated and combative but hardly numerous proletariat. The debate was resolved in practice by means of a factor which had not been present in the hypotheses: a revolutionary bureaucracy which directed the proletariat seized State power and gave society a new class domination. Strictly bourgeois revolution had been impossible; the “democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants” was meaningless; the proletarian power of the Soviets could not maintain itself simultaneously against the class of small landowners, against the national and international White reaction, and against its own representation externalized and alienated in the form of a workers’ party of absolute masters of State economy, expression, and soon of thought. The theory of permanent revolution of Trotsky and Parvus, which Lenin adopted in April 1917, was the only theory which became true for countries where the social development of the bourgeoisie was retarded, but this theory became true only after the introduction of the unknown factor: the class power of the bureaucracy. In the numerous arguments among the Bolshevik directors, Lenin was the most consistent defender of the concentration of dictatorial power in the hands of the supreme representatives of ideology. Lenin was right every time against his adversaries in that be supported the solution implied by earlier choices of absolute minority Power: the democracy which was kept from peasants by means of the state would have to be kept from workers as well, which led to keeping it from communist leaders of unions, from the entire party, and finally from leading party bureaucrats. At the Tenth Congress, when the Kronstadt Soviet had been defeated by arms and buried under calumny, Lenin pronounced against the leftist bureaucrats of the “Workers’ Opposition” the following conclusion (the logic of which Stalin later extended to a complete division of the world): “Here or there with a rifle, but not with opposition. … We’ve had enough opposition.”


After Kronstadt, the bureaucracy–sole proprietor of a State Capitalism–consolidated its power internally by means of a temporary alliance with the peasantry (with the “new economic policy”) and externally by using workers regimented into the bureaucratic parties of the Third International as supports for Russian diplomacy, thus sabotaging the entire revolutionary movement and supporting bourgeois governments whose aid it needed in international politics (the power of the Kuonmintang in China in 1925-27, the Popular Front in Spain and in France, etc.). The bureaucratic society continued the consolidation by terrorizing the peasantry in order to implement the mast brutal primitive capitalist accumulation in history. The industrialization of the Stalin epoch revealed the reality behind the bureaucracy: the continuation of the power of the economy and the preservation of the essence of the market society commodity labor. The independent economy, which dominates society to the extent of reinstituting the class domination it needs for its own ends, is thus confirmed. Which is to say that the bourgeoisie created an autonomous power which, so long as its autonomy lasts, can even do without a bourgeoisie. The totalitarian bureaucracy is not “the last owning class in history” in the sense of Bruna Rizzi; it is only a substitute ruling class for the commodity economy. Capitalist private property in decline is replaced by a simplified, less diversified surrogate which is condensed as collective property of the bureaucratic class. This underdeveloped ruling class is the expression of economic underdevelopment, and has no perspective other than to overcome the retardation of this development in certain regions of the world. It was the workers’ party organized according to the bourgeois model of separation which furnished the hierarchical-statist cadre for this supplementary edition of a ruling class. While in one of Stalin’s prisons, Anton Ciliga observed that “technical questions of organization turned out to be social questions”(Lenin and the Revolution).


Revolutionary ideology, the coherence of the separate, of which Leninism represents the greatest voluntaristic attempt, supervising a reality which rejects it, with Stalinism returns to its truth in incoherence. At that paint ideology is no longer a weapon, but a goal. The lie which is no longer challenged becomes lunacy. Reality as well as the goal dissolve in the totalitarian ideological proclamation: all it says is all there is. This is a local primitivism of the spectacle, whose role is nevertheless essential in the development of the world spectacle. The ideology which is materialized in this context has not economically transformed the world, as has capitalism which reached the stage of abundance; it has merely transformed perception by means of the police.


The totalitarian-ideological class in power is the power of a topsy-turvy world: the stranger it is, the more it claims not to exist, and its force serves above all to affirm its nonexistence. It is modest only on this point, because its official nonexistence must also coincide with the nec plus ultra of historical development which must at the same time be attributed to its infallible command. Extended everywhere, the bureaucracy must be the class invisible to consciousness; as a result all social life becomes insane. The social organization of the absolute lie flows from this fundamental contradiction.


Stalinism was the reign of terror within the bureaucratic class itself. The terrorism at the base of this class’s power must also strike this class because it possesses no juridical guarantee, no recognized existence as owning class, which it could extend to every one of its members. Its real property being hidden, the bureaucracy became proprietor by way of false consciousness. False consciousness can maintain its absolute power only by means of absolute terror, where all real motives are ultimately lost. The members of the bureaucratic class in power have a right of ownership over society only collectively, as participants in a fundamental lie: they have to play the role of the proletariat directing a socialist society; they have to be actors loyal to a script of ideological disloyalty. But effective participation in this falsehood requires that it be recognized as actual participation. No bureaucrat can support his right to power individually, since proving that he’s a socialist proletarian would mean presenting himself as the opposite of a bureaucrat, and proving that he’s a bureaucrat is impossible since the official truth of the bureaucracy is that it does not exist. Thus every bureaucrat depends absolutely on the central guarantee of the ideology which recognizes the collective participation in its “socialist power” of all the bureaucrats it does not annihilate. If all the bureaucrats taken together decide everything, the cohesion of their own class can be assured only by the concentration of their terrorist power in a single person. In this person resides the only practical truth of falsehood in power: the indisputable permanence of its constantly adjusted frontier. Stalin decides without appeal who is ultimately to be a possessing bureaucrat; in other words, who should be named “a proletarian in power” and who “a traitor in the pay of the Mikado or of Wall Street.” The bureaucratic atoms find the common essence of their right only in the person of Stalin. Stalin is the world sovereign who in this manner knows himself as the absolute person for whose consciousness there is no higher spirit. “The sovereign of the world has effective consciousness of what he is–the universal power of efficacy–in the destructive violence which he exerts against the Self of his subjects, the contrasting others.” Just as he is the power that defines the terrain of domination, he is “the power which ravages this terrain.”


When ideology, having become absolute through the possession of absolute power, changes from partial knowledge into totalitarian falsehood, the thought of history is so perfectly annihilated that history itself, even at the level of the most empirical knowledge, can no longer exist. The totalitarian bureaucratic society lives in a perpetual present where everything that happened exists for it only as a place accessible to its police. The project already formulated by Napoleon of “the ruler directing the energy of memory” has found its total concretization in a permanent manipulation of the past, not only of meanings but of facts as well. But the price paid for this emancipation from all historical reality is the loss of the rational reference which is indispensable to the historical society, capitalism. It is known how much the scientific application of insane ideology has cost the Russian economy, if only through the imposture of Lysenko. The contradiction of the totalitarian bureaucracy administering an industrialized society, caught between its need for rationality and its rejection of the rational, is one of its main deficiencies with regard to normal capitalist development. Just as the bureaucracy cannot resolve the question of agriculture the way capitalism had done, it is ultimately inferior to capitalism in industrial production, planned from the top and based on unreality and generalized falsehood.


Between the two world wars, the revolutionary workers’ movement was annihilated by the joint action of the Stalinist bureaucracy and of fascist totalitarianism which had borrowed its form of organization from the totalitarian party tried out in Russia. Fascism was an extremist defense of the bourgeois economy threatened by crisis and by proletarian subversion. Fascism is a state of siege in capitalist society, by means of which this society saves itself and gives itself stop-gap rationalization by making the State intervene massively in its management. But this rationalization is itself burdened by the immense irrationality of its means. Although fascism rallies to the defense of the main points of bourgeois ideology which has become conservative (the family, property, the moral order, the nation), reuniting the petty-bourgeoisie and the unemployed routed by crisis or deceived by the impotence of socialist revolution, it is not itself fundamentally ideological. It presents itself as it is: a violent resurrection of myth which demands participation in a community defined by archaic pseudo-values: race, blood, the leader. Fascism is technically-equipped archaism. Its decomposed ersatz of myth is revived in the spectacular context of the most modern means of conditioning and illusion. Thus it is one of the factors in the formation of the modern spectacle, and its role in the destruction of the old workers’ movement makes it one of the fundamental forces of present-day society. However, since fascism is also the most costly form of preserving the capitalist order, it usually had to leave the front of the stage to the great roles played by the capitalist States; it is eliminated by stronger and more rational forms of the same order.


Now that the Russian bureaucracy has finally succeeded in doing away with the remains of bourgeois property which hampered its rule over the economy, in developing this property for its own use, and in being recognized externally among the great powers, it wants to enjoy its world calmly and to suppress the arbitrary element which had been exerted over it: it denounces the Stalinism of its origin. But the denunciation remains Stalinist, arbitrary, unexplained and continually corrected, because the ideological lie at its origin can never be revealed. Thus the bureaucracy can liberalize neither culturally nor politically because its existence as a class depends on its ideological monopoly which, with all its weight, is its only title to property. The ideology has no doubt lost the passion of its positive affirmation, but the indifferent triviality which survives still has the repressive function of prohibiting the slightest competition, of holding captive the totality of thought. Thus the bureaucracy is bound to an ideology which is no longer believed by anyone. What used to be terrorist has become a laughing matter, but this laughing matter can maintain itself only by preserving, as a last resort, the terrorism it would like to be rid of. Thus precisely at the moment when the bureaucracy wants to demonstrate its superiority on the terrain of capitalism it reveals itself to be a poor relation of capitalism. Just as its actual history contradicts its claims and its vulgarly entertained ignorance contradicts its scientific pretentions, so its project of becoming a rival to the bourgeoisie in the production of commodity abundance is blocked by the fact that this abundance carries its implicit ideology within itself, and is usually accompanied by an indefinitely extended freedom of spectacular false choices, a pseudo-freedom which remains irreconcilable with the bureaucratic ideology.


At the present moment of its development, the bureaucracy’s title to ideological property is already collapsing internationally. The power which established itself nationally as a fundamentally internationalist model must admit that it can no longer pretend to maintain its false cohesion over and above every national frontier. The unequal economic development of some bureaucracies with competing interests, who succeeded in acquiring their “socialism” beyond the single country, has led to the public and total confrontation between the Russian lie and the Chinese lie. From this point on, every bureaucracy in power, or every totalitarian party which is a candidate to the power left behind by the Stalinist period in some national working classes, must follow its own path. The global decomposition of the alliance of bureaucratic mystification is further aggravated by manifestations of internal negation which began to be visible to the world with the East Berlin workers’ revolt, opposing the bureaucrats with the demand for “a government of steel workers,” manifestations which already once led all the way to the power of workers’ councils in Hungary. However, the global decomposition of the bureaucratic alliance is in the last analysis the least favorable factor for the present development of capitalist society. The bourgeoisie is in the process of losing the adversary which objectively supported it by providing an illusory unification of all negation of the existing order. This division of labor within the spectacle comes to an end when the pseudo-revolutionary role in turn divides. The spectacular element of the collapse of the workers’ movement will itself collapse.


The Leninist illusion has no contemporary base outside of the various Trotskyist tendencies. Here the identification of the proletarian project with a hierarchic organization of ideology stubbornly survives the experience of all its results. The distance which separates Trotskyism from a revolutionary critique of the present society allows Trotskyism to maintain a deferential attitude toward positions which were already false when they were used in a real combat. Trotsky remained basically in solidarity with the high bureaucracy until 1927, seeking to capture it so as to make it resume genuinely Bolshevik action externally (it is known that in order to conceal Lenin’s famous “testament” he went so far as to slanderously disavow his supporter Max Eastman, who had made it public). Trotsky was condemned by his basic perspective, because as soon as the bureaucracy recognizes itself in its result as a counterrevolutionary class internally, it must also choose, in the name of revolution, to be effectively counter-revolutionary externally, just as it is at home. Trotsky’s subsequent struggle for the Fourth International contains the same inconsistency. All his life he refused to recognize the bureaucracy as the power of a separate class, because during the second Russian revolution he became an unconditional supporter of the Bolshevik form of organization. When Lukacs, in 1923, showed that this form was the long-sought mediation between theory and practice, in which the proletarians are no longer “spectators” of the events which happen in their organization, but consciously choose and live these events, he described as actual merits of the Bolshevik party everything that the Bolshevik party was not. Except for his profound theoretical work, Lukacs was still an ideologue speaking in the name of the power most grossly external to the proletarian movement, believing and making believe that he, himself, with his entire personality, was within this power as if it were his own. But the sequel showed just how this power disowns and suppresses its lackeys; in Lukacs’ endless self-repudiations, just what he had identified with became visible and clear as a caricature: he had identified with the opposite of himself and of what he had supported in History and Class Consciousness. Lukacs is the best proof of the fundamental rule which judges all the intellectuals of this century: what they respect is an exact measure of their own despicable reality. Yet Lenin had hardly encouraged this type of illusion about his activity, considering that “a political party cannot examine its members to see if there are contradictions between their philosophy and the party program.” The real party whose imaginary portrait Lukacs had inopportunely drawn was coherent for only one precise and partial task: to seize State power.


The neo-Leninist illusion of present-day Trotskyism, constantly exposed by the reality of modern bourgeois as well as bureaucratic capitalist societies, naturally finds a favored field of application in “underdeveloped” countries which are formally independent. Here the illusion of some variant of state and bureaucratic socialism is consciously manipulated by local ruling classes as simply the ideology of economic development. The hybrid composition of these classes is more or less clearly related to their standing along the bourgeois-bureaucratic spectrum. Their games on an international scale with the two poles of existing capitalist power, as well as their ideological compromises (notably with Islam), express the hybrid reality of their social base and remove from this final byproduct of ideological socialism everything serious except the police. A bureaucracy establishes itself by staffing a national struggle and an agrarian peasant revolt; from that point on, as in China, it tends to apply the Stalinist model of industrialization in societies less developed than Russia was in 1917. A bureaucracy able to industrialize the nation can set itself up from among the petty-bourgeoisie, or out of army cadres who seize power, as in Egypt. A bureaucracy which sets itself up as a para-statist leadership during the struggle can, on certain questions, seek the equilibrium point of a compromise in order to fuse with a weak national bourgeoisie, as in Algeria at the beginning of its war of independence. Finally, in the former colonies of black Africa which remain openly tied to the American and European bourgeoisie, a bourgeoisie constitutes itself (usually on the basis of the power of traditional tribal chiefs) by seizing the State. These countries, where foreign imperialism remains the real master of the economy, enter a stage where the compradores have gotten an indigenous State as compensation for their sale of indigenous products, a State which is independent in the face of the local masses but not in the face of imperialism. This is an artificial bourgeoisie which is not able to accumulate, but which simply squanders the share of surplus value from local labor which reaches it as well as the foreign subsidies from the States or monopolies which protect it. Because of the obvious incapacity of these bourgeois classes to fulfill the normal economic function of a bourgeoisie, each of them faces a subversion based on the bureaucratic model, more or less adapted to local peculiarities, and eager to seize the heritage of this bourgeoisie. But the very success of a bureaucracy in its fundamental project of industrialization necessarily contains the perspective of its historical defeat: by accumulating capital it accumulates a proletariat and thus creates its own negation in a country where it did not yet exist.


In this complex and terrible development which has carried the epoch of class struggles toward new conditions, the proletariat of the industrial countries has completely lost the affirmation of its autonomous perspective and also, in the last analysis, its illusions, but not its being. It has not been suppressed. It remains irreducibly in existence within the intensified alienation of modern capitalism: it is the immense majority of workers who have lost all power over the use of their lives and who, once they know this, redefine themselves as the proletariat, as negation at work within this society. The proletariat is objectively reinforced by the progressive disappearance of the peasantry and by the extension of the logic of factory labor to a large sector of “services” and intellectual professions. Subjectively the proletariat is still far removed from its practical class consciousness, not only among white collar workers but also among wage workers who have as yet discovered only the impotence and mystification of the old politics. Nevertheless, when the proletariat discovers that its own externalized power collaborates in the constant reinforcement of capitalist society, not only in the form of its labor but also in the form of unions, of parties, or of the state power it had built to emancipate itself, it also discovers from concrete historical experience that it is the class totally opposed to all congealed externalization and all specialization of power. It carries the revolution which cannot let anything remain outside of itself, the demand for the permanent domination of the present over the past, and the total critique of separation. It is this that must find its suitable form in action. No quantitative amelioration of its misery, no illusion of hierarchic integration is a lasting cure for its dissatisfaction, because the proletariat cannot truly recognize itself in a particular wrong it suffered nor in the righting of a particular wrong. It cannot recognize itself in the righting of a large number of wrongs either, but only in the absolute wrong of being relegated to the margin of life.


The new signs of negation multiplying in the economically developed countries, signs which are misunderstood and falsified by spectacular arrangement, already enable us to draw the conclusion that a new epoch has begun: now, after the workers’ first attempt at subversion, it is capitalist abundance which has failed. When anti-union struggles of Western workers are repressed first of all by unions, and when the first amorphous protests launched by rebellious currents of youth directly imply the rejection of the old specialized politics, of art and of daily life, we see two sides of a new spontaneous struggle which begins under a criminal guise. These are the portents of a second proletarian assault against class society. When the last children of this still immobile army reappear on this battleground which was altered and yet remains the same, they follow a new “General Ludd” who, this time, urges them to destroy the machines of permitted consumption.


“The political form at last discovered in which the economic emancipation of labor could be realized” has in this century acquired a clear outline in the revolutionary workers’ Councils which concentrate in themselves all the functions of decision and execution, and federate with each other by means of delegates responsible to the base and revocable at any moment. Their actual existence has as yet been no more than a brief sketch, quickly opposed and defeated by various defensive forces of class society, among which their own false consciousness must often be included. Pannekoek rightly insisted that choosing the power of workers’ Councils “poses problems” rather than providing a solution. Yet it is precisely in this power where the problems of the proletarian revolution can find their real solution. This is where the objective conditions of historical consciousness are reunited. This is where direct active communication is realized, where specialization, hierarchy and separation end, where the existing conditions have been transformed “into conditions of unity.” Here the proletarian subject can emerge from his struggle against contemplation: his consciousness is equal to the practical organization which it undertakes because this consciousness is itself inseparable from coherent intervention in history.


In the power of the Councils, which must internationally supplant all other power, the proletarian movement is its own product and this product is the producer himself. He is to himself his own goal. Only there is the spectacular negation of life negated in its turn.


The appearance of the Councils was the highest reality of the proletarian movement in the first quarter of this century, a reality which was not seen or was travestied because it disappeared along with the rest of the movement that was negated and eliminated by the entire historical experience of the time. At the new moment of proletarian critique, this result returns as the only undefeated point of the defeated movement. Historical consciousness, which knows that this is the only milieu where it can exist, can now recognize this reality, no longer at the periphery of what is ebbing, but at the center of what is rising.


A revolutionary organization existing before the power of the Councils (it will find its own farm through struggle), for all these historical reasons, already knows that it does not represent the working class. It must recognize itself as no more than a radical separation from the world of separation.


The revolutionary organization is the coherent expression of the theory of praxis entering into non-unilateral communication with practical struggles, in the process of becoming practical theory. Its own practice is the generalization of communication and of coherence in these struggles. At the revolutionary moment of dissolution of social separation, this organization must recognize its own dissolution as a separate organization.


The revolutionary organization can be nothing less than a unitary critique of society, namely a critique which does not compromise with any form of separate power anywhere in the world, and a critique proclaimed globally against all the aspects of alienated social life. In the struggle between the revolutionary organization and class society, the weapons are nothing other than the essence of the combatants themselves: the revolutionary organization cannot reproduce within itself the dominant society’s conditions of separation and hierarchy. It must struggle constantly against its deformation in the ruling spectacle. The only limit to participation in the total democracy of the revolutionary organization is the recognition and self-appropriation of the coherence of its critique by all its members, a coherence which must be proved in the critical theory as such and in the relation between the theory and practical activity.


When constantly growing capitalist alienation at all levels makes it increasingly difficult for workers to recognize and name their own misery, forcing them to face the alternative of rejecting the totality of their misery or nothing, the revolutionary organization has to learn that it can no longer combat alienation with alienated forms.


Proletarian revolution depends entirely on the condition that, for the first time, theory as intelligence of human practice be recognized and lived by the masses. It requires workers to become dialecticians and to inscribe their thought into practice. Thus it demands of men without quality more than the bourgeois revolution demanded of the qualified men which it delegated to carry out its tasks (since the partial ideological consciousness constructed by a part of the bourgeois class was based on the economy, this central part of social life in which this class was already in power). The very development of class society to the stage of spectacular organization of non-life thus leads the revolutionary project to become visibly what it already was essentially.


Revolutionary theory is now the enemy of all revolutionary ideology and knows it.

Chapter 5 “Time and History”

O, gentlemen, the time of life is short!… And if we live, we live to tread on kings.

Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I


Man, “the negative being who is only to the extent that he suppresses Being,” is identical to time. Man’s appropriation of his own nature is at the same time his grasp of the unfolding of the universe. “History is itself a real part of natural history, of the transformation of nature into man” (Marx). Inversely, this “natural history” has no actual existence other than through the process of human history, the only part which recaptures this historical totality, like the modern telescope whose sight captures, in time, the retreat of nebulae at the periphery of the universe. History has always existed, but not always in a historical form. The temporalization of man as effected through the mediation of a society is equivalent to a humanization of time. The unconscious movement of time manifests itself and becomes true within historical consciousness.


Properly historical movement, although still hidden, begins in the slow and intangible formation of the “real nature of man,” this “nature born within human history–within the generating action of human society,” but even though that society developed a technology and a language and is already a product of its own history, it is conscious only of a perpetual present. There, all knowledge, confined within the memory of the oldest, is always carried by the living. Neither death nor procreation is grasped as a law of time. Time remains immobile, like an enclosed space. A more complex society which finally becomes conscious of time devotes itself to negating it because it sees in time not what passes, but only what returns. A static society organizes time in terms of its immediate experience of nature, on the model of cyclical time.


Cyclical time already dominates the experience of nomadic populations because they find the same conditions repeated at every moment of their journey: Hegel notes that “the wandering of nomads is only formal because it is limited to uniform spaces.” The society which, by fixing itself in place locally, gives space a content by arranging individualized places, thus finds itself enclosed inside this localization. The temporal return to similar places now becomes the pure return of time in the same place, the repetition of a series of gestures. The transition from pastoral nomadism to sedentary agriculture is the end of the lazy liberty without content, the beginning of labor. The agrarian mode of production in general, dominated by the rhythm of the seasons, is the basis for fully constituted cyclical time. Eternity is internal to it; it is the return of the same here on earth. Myth is the unitary construction of the thought which guarantees the entire cosmic order surrounding the order which this society has in fact already realized within its frontiers.


The social appropriation of time, the production of man by human labor, develops within a society divided into classes. The power which constituted itself above the penury of the society of cyclical time, the class which organizes the social labor and appropriates the limited surplus value, simultaneously appropriates the temporal surplus value of its organization of social time: it possesses for itself alone the irreversible time of the living. The wealth that can be concentrated in the realm of power and materially used up in sumptuous feasts is also used up as a squandering of historical time at the surface of society. The owners of historical surplus value possess the knowledge and the enjoyment of lived events. Separated from the collective organization of time which predominates with the repetitive production at the base of social life, this time flows above its own static community. This is the time of adventure and war, when the masters of the cyclical society travel through their personal histories, and it is also the time which appears in confrontations with foreign communities, in the derangement of the unchangeable order of the society. History then passes before men as an alien factor, as that which they never wanted and against which they thought themselves protected. But by way of this detour returns the human negative anxiety which had been at the very origin of the entire development that had fallen asleep.


Cyclical time in itself is time without conflict. But conflict is installed within this infancy of time: history first struggles to be history in the practical activity of masters. This history superficially creates the irreversible; its movement constitutes precisely the time it uses up within the interior of the inexhaustible time of cyclical society.


“Frozen societies” are those which slowed down their historical activity to the limit and maintained in constant equilibrium their opposition to the natural and human environment as well as their internal oppositions. If the extreme diversity of institutions established for this purpose demonstrates the flexibility of the self-creation of human nature, this demonstration becomes obvious only for the external observer, for the anthropologist who returns from historical time. In each of these societies a definitive structuring excluded change. Absolute conformism in existing social practices. with which all human possibilities are identified for all time, has no external limit other than the fear of falling back into formless animality. Here, in order to remain human, men must remain the same.


The birth of political power which seems to be related to the last great technological revolutions (like iron smelting), at the threshold of a period which would not experience profound shocks until the appearance of industry, also marks the moment when kinship ties begin to dissolve. From then on, the succession of generations leaves the sphere of pure cyclical nature in order to become an event-oriented succession of powers. Irreversible time is now the time of those who rule, and dynasties are its first measure. Writing is its weapon. In writing, language attains its complete independent reality as mediation between consciousnesses. But this independence is identical to the general independence of separate power as the mediation which constitutes society. With writing there appears a consciousness which is no longer carried and transmitted directly among the living: an impersonal memory, the memory of the administration of society. “Writings are the thoughts of the State; archives are its memory” (Novalis).


The chronicle is the expression of the irreversible time of power and also the instrument that preserves the voluntaristic progression of this time from its predecessor, since this orientation of time collapses with the fall of every specific power and returns to the indifferent oblivion of cyclical time, the only time known to peasant masses who, during the collapse of empires and their chronologies, never change. The owners of history have given time a meaning: a direction which is also a significance. But this history deploys itself and succumbs separately, leaving the underlying society unchanged precisely because this history remains separated from the common reality. This is why we reduce the history of Oriental empires to the history of religions: the chronologies which have fallen to ruins left no more than the apparently autonomous history of the illusions which enveloped them. The masters who make history their private property, under the protection of myth, possess first of all a private ownership of the mode of illusion: in China and Egypt they long held a monopoly over the immortality of the soul, just as their famous early dynasties are imaginary arrangements of the past. But the masters’ possession of illusion is at that moment the only possible possession of a common history and of their own history. The growth of their real historical power goes together with a popularization of the possession of myth and illusion. All this flows from the simple fact that, to the extent that the masters took it upon themselves to guarantee the permanence of cyclical time mythically, as in the seasonal rites of Chinese emperors, they themselves achieved a relative liberation from cyclical time.


The dry unexplained chronology of divine power speaking to its servants, which wants to be understood only as the earthly execution of the commandments of myth, can be surmounted and become conscious history; this requires that real participation in history be lived by extended groups. Out of this practical communication among those who recognized each other as possessors of a singular present, who experienced the qualitative richness of events as their activity and as the place where they lived–their epoch–arises the general language of historical communication. Those for whom irreversible time has existed discover within it the memorable as well as the menace of forgetting: “Herodotus of Halicarnassus here presents the results of his study, so that time may not abolish the works of men…”


Reasoning about history is inseparably reasoning about power. Greece was the moment when power and its change were discussed and understood, the democracy of the masters of society. Greek conditions were the inverse of the conditions known to the despotic State, where power settles its accounts only with itself within the inaccessible obscurity of its densest point: through palace revolution, which is placed beyond the pale of discussion by success or failure alike. However, the power shared among the Greek communities existed only with the expenditure of a social life whose production remained separate and static within the servile class. Only those who do not work live. In the division among the Greek communities, and in the struggle to exploit foreign cities, the principle of separation which internally grounded each of them was externalized. Greece, which had dreamed of universal history, did not succeed in unifying itself in the face of invasion–or even in unifying the calendars of its independent cities. In Greece historical time became conscious, but not yet conscious of itself.


After the disappearance of the locally favorable conditions known to the Greek communities, the regression of western historical thought was not accompanied by a rehabilitation of ancient mythic organizations. Out of the confrontations of the Mediterranean populations, out of the formation and collapse of the Roman State, appeared semi-historical religions which became fundamental factors in the new consciousness of time, and in the new armor of separate power.


The monotheistic religions were a compromise between myth and history, between cyclical time which still dominated production and irreversible time where populations clash and regroup. The religions which grew out of Judaism are abstract universal acknowledgements of irreversible time which is democratized, opened to all, but in the realm of illusion. Time is totally oriented toward a single final event: “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” These religions arose on the soil of history, and established themselves there. But there they still preserve themselves in radical opposition to history. Semi-historical religion establishes a qualitative point of departure in time (the birth of Christ, the flight of Mohammed), but its irreversible time–introducing real accumulation which in Islam can take the form of a conquest, or in Reformation Christianity the form of increased capital is actually inverted in religious thought and becomes a countdown: the hope of access to the genuine other world before time runs out, the expectation of the last Judgment. Eternity came out of cyclical time and is beyond it. Eternity is the element which holds back the irreversibility of time, suppressing history within history itself by placing itself on the other side of irreversible time as a pure punctual element to which cyclical time returned and abolished itself. Bossuet will still say: “And by means of the time that passes we enter into the eternity which does not pass.”


The Middle Ages, this incomplete mythical world whose perfection lay outside it, is the moment when cyclical time, which still regulates the greater part of production, is really chewed away by history. A certain irreversible temporality is recognized individually in everyone, in the succession of stages of life, in the consideration of life as a journey, a passage with no return through a world whose meaning lies elsewhere: the pilgrim is the man who leaves cyclical time and becomes in reality the traveller that everyone is symbolically. Personal historical life still finds its fulfillment within the sphere of power, within participation in struggles led by power and in struggles over disputed power; but the irreversible time of power is shared to infinity under the general unification of the oriented time of the Christian era, in a world of armed faith, where the game of the masters revolves around fidelity and disputes over owed fidelity. This feudal society, born out of the encounter of “the organizational structure of the conquering army as it developed during the conquest” with “the productive forces found in the conquered country” (German Ideology) and in the organization of these productive forces one must count their religious language divided the domination of society between the Church and the state power, in turn subdivided in the complex relations of suzerainty and vassalage of territorial tenures and urban communes. In this diversity of possible historical life, the irreversible time which silently carried off the underlying society, the time lived by the bourgeoisie in the production of commodities, in the foundation and expansion of cities and in the commercial discovery of the earth–practical experimentation which forever destroyed all mythical organization of the cosmos–slowly revealed itself as the unknown work of this epoch when the great official historical undertaking of this world collapsed with the Crusades.


During the decline of the Middle Ages, the irreversible time which invades society is experienced by the consciousness attached to the ancient order in the form of an obsession with death. This is the melancholy of the demise of a world, the last world where the security of myth still counterpoised history, and for this melancholy everything worldly moves only toward corruption. The great revolts of the European peasants are also their attempt to respond to history–which was violently wrenching the peasants out of the patriarchal sleep that had guaranteed their feudal tutelage. This millenarian utopia of achieving heaven on earth revives what was at the origin of semi-historical religion, when Christian communities which grew out of Judaic messianism responded to the troubles and unhappiness of the epoch by looking to the imminent realization of the Kingdom of God and brought a disquieting and subversive factor into ancient society. When Christianity reached the point of sharing power within the empire, it exposed what still survived of this hope as a simple superstition: that is the meaning of the Augustinian affirmation, archetype of all the satisfecit of modern ideology, according to which the established Church has already for a long time been this kingdom one spoke of. The social revolt of the millenarian peasantry defines itself naturally first of all as a will to destroy the Church. But millenarianism spreads in the historical world, and not on the terrain of myth. Modern revolutionary expectations are not irrational continuations of the religious passion of millenarianism, as Norman Cohn thought he had demonstrated in The Pursuit of the Millennium. On the contrary, it is millenarianism, revolutionary class struggle speaking the language of religion for the last time, which is already a modern revolutionary tendency that as yet lacks the consciousness that it is only historical. The millenarians had to lose because they could not recognize the revolution as their own operation. The fact that they waited to act on the basis of an external sign of God’s decision is the translation into thought of the practice of insurgent peasants following chiefs taken from outside their ranks. The peasant class could not attain an adequate consciousness of the functioning of society or of the way to lead its own struggle: because it lacked these conditions of unity in its action and consciousness, it expressed its project and led its wars with the imagery of an earthly paradise.


The new possession of historical life, the Renaissance, which finds its past and its legitimacy in Antiquity, carries with it a joyous rupture with eternity. Its irreversible time is that of the infinite accumulation of knowledge, and the historical consciousness which grows out of the experience of democratic communities and of the forces which ruin them will take up, with Machiavelli, the analysis of desanctified power, saying the unspeakable about the State. In the exuberant life of the Italian cities, in the art of the festival, life is experienced as enjoyment of the passage of time. But this enjoyment of passage is itself a passing enjoyment. The song of Lorenzo di Medici considered by Burckhardt to be the expression of “the very spirit of the Renaissance” is the eulogy which this fragile feast of history pronounces on itself: “How beautiful the spring of life which vanishes so quickly.”


The constant movement of monopolization of historical life by the State of the absolute monarchy, transitional form toward complete domination by the bourgeois class, brings into clear view the new irreversible time of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie is attached to labor time, which is liberated for the first time from the cyclical. With the bourgeoisie, work becomes labor which transforms historical conditions. The bourgeoisie is the first ruling class for which labor is a value. And the bourgeoisie which suppresses all privilege, which recognizes no value that does not flow from the exploitation of labor, has justly identified with labor its own value as a dominant class, and has made the progress of labor its own progress. The class which accumulates commodities and capital continually modifies nature by modifying labor itself, by unleashing its productivity. All social life has already been concentrated within the ornamental poverty of the Court, the tinsel of the cold state administration which culminates in “the vocation of king”; and all particular historical liberty has had to consent to its defeat. The liberty of the irreversible temporal game of the nobles is consumed in their last lost battles, the wars of the Fronde and the rising of the Scotch for Charles-Edward. The world’s foundation has changed.


The victory of the bourgeoisie is the victory of profoundly historical time, because this is the time of economic production which transforms society, continuously and from top to bottom. So long as agrarian production remains the central activity, the cyclical time which remains at the base of society nourishes the coalesced forces of tradition which fetter all movement. But the irreversible time of the bourgeois economy eradicates these vestiges on every corner of the globe. History, which until then had seemed to be only the movement of individuals of the ruling class, and thus was written as the history of events, is now understood as the general movement, and in this relentless movement individuals are sacrificed. This history which discovers its foundation in political economy now knows of the existence of what had been its unconscious, but this still cannot be brought to light and remains unconscious. This blind prehistory, a new fatality dominated by no one, is all that the commodity economy democratized.


The history which is present in all the depths of society tends to be lost at the surface. The triumph of irreversible time is also its metamorphosis into the time of things, because the weapon of its victory was precisely the mass production of objects according to the laws of the commodity. The main product which economic development has transferred from luxurious scarcity to daily consumption is therefore history, but only in the form of the history of the abstract movement of things which dominates all qualitative use of life. While the earlier cyclical time had supported a growing part of historical time lived by individuals and groups, the domination of the irreversible time of production tends, socially, to eliminate this lived time.


Thus the bourgeoisie made known to society and imposed on it an irreversible historical time, but kept its use from society. “There was history, but there is no more,” because the class of owners of the economy, which cannot break with economic history, is directly threatened by all other irreversible use of time and must repress it. The ruling class, made up of specialists in the possession of things who are themselves therefore a possession of things, must link its fate with the preservation of this reified history, with the permanence of a new immobility within history. For the first time the worker, at the base of society, is not materially a stranger to history, because it is now the base that irreversibly moves society. In the demand to live the historical time which it makes, the proletariat finds the simple unforgettable center of its revolutionary project; and every attempt (thwarted until now) to realize this project marks a point of possible departure for new historical life.


The irreversible time of the bourgeoisie in power at first presented itself under its own name, as an absolute origin, Year One of the Republic. But the revolutionary ideology of general freedom which had destroyed the last remnants of the mythical organization of values and the entire traditional regulation of society, already made visible the real will which it had clothed in Roman dress: the freedom of generalized commerce. The commodity society, now discovering that it needed to reconstruct the passivity which it had profoundly shaken in order to set up its own pure reign, finds that “Christianity with its cultus of abstract man … is the most fitting form of religion” (Capital). Thus the bourgeoisie establishes a compromise with this religion, a compromise which also expresses itself in the presentation of time: its own calendar abandoned, its irreversible time returns to unwind within the Christian era whose succession it continues.


With the development of capitalism, irreversible time is unified on a world scale. Universal history becomes a reality because the entire world is gathered under the development of this time. But this history, which is everywhere simultaneously the same, is still only the refusal within history of history itself. What appears the world over as the same day is the time of economic production cut up into equal abstract fragments. Unified irreversible time is the time of the world market and, as a corollary, of the world spectacle.


The irreversible time of production is first of all the measure of commodities. Therefore the time officially affirmed over the entire expanse of the globe as the general time of society refers only to the specialized interests which constitute it and is no more than a particular time.

Chapter 6 “Spectacular Time”

We have nothing that is ours except time, which even those without a roof can enjoy.
Baltasar Gracian, Oraculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia


The time of production, commodity-time, is an infinite accumulation of equivalent intervals. It is the abstraction of irreversible time, all of whose segments must prove on the chronometer their merely quantitative equality. This time is in reality exactly what it is in its exchangeable character. In this social domination by commodity-time, “time is everything, man is nothing; he is at most the carcass of time” (Poverty of Philosophy). This is time devalued, the complete inversion of time as “the field of human development.”


The general time of human non-development also exists in the complementary form of consumable time which returns as pseudo-cyclical time to the daily life of the society based on this determined production.


Pseudo-cyclical time is actually no more than the consumable disguise of the commodity-time of production. It contains the essential properties of commodity-time, namely exchangeable homogeneous units and the suppression of the qualitative dimension. But being the by-product of this time which aims to retard concrete daily life and to keep it retarded, it must be charged with pseudo-valuations and appear in a sequence of falsely individualized moments.


Pseudo-cyclical time is the time of consumption of modern economic survival, of increased survival, where daily life continues to be deprived of decision and remains bound, no longer to the natural order, but to the pseudo-nature developed in alienated labor; and thus this time naturally reestablishes the ancient cyclical rhythm which regulated the survival of preindustrial societies. Pseudo-cyclical time leans on the natural remains of cyclical time and also uses it to compose new homologous combinations: day and night, work and weekly rest, the recurrence of vacations.


Pseudo-cyclical time is a time transformed by industry. The time which has its basis in the production of commodities is itself a consumable commodity which includes everything that previously (during the phase of dissolution of the old unitary society) was differentiated into private life, economic life, political life. All the consumable time of modern society comes to be treated as a raw material for varied new products which impose themselves on the market as uses of socially organized time. “A product which already exists in a form which makes it suitable for consumption can nevertheless in its turn become a raw material for another product” (Capital).


In its most advanced sector, concentrated capitalism orients itself towards the sale of “completely equipped” blocks of time, each one constituting a single unified commodity which integrates a number of diverse commodities. In the expanding economy of “services” and leisure, this gives rise to the formula of calculated payment in which “everything’s included”: spectacular environment, the collective pseudo-displacement of vacations, subscriptions to cultural consumption, and the sale of sociability itself in the form of “passionate conversations” and “meetings with personalities.” This sort of spectacular commodity, which can obviously circulate only because of the increased poverty of the corresponding realities, just as obviously fits among the pilot-articles of modernized sales techniques by being payable on credit.


Consumable pseudo-cyclical time is spectacular time, both as the time of consumption of images in the narrow sense, and as the image of consumption of time in the broad sense. The time of image-consumption, the medium of all commodities, is inseparably the field where the instruments of the spectacle exert themselves fully, and also their goal, the location and main form of all specific consumption: it is known that the time-saving constantly sought by modern society, whether in the speed of vehicles or in the use of dried soups, is concretely translated for the population of the United States in the fact that the mere contemplation of television occupies it for an average of three to six hours a day. The social image of the consumption of time, in turn, is exclusively dominated by moments of leisure and vacation, moments presented at a distance and desirable by definition, like every spectacular commodity. Here this commodity is explicitly presented as the moment of real life, and the point is to wait for its cyclical return. But even in those very moments reserved for living, it is still the spectacle that is to be seen and reproduced, becoming ever more intense. What was represented as genuine life reveals itself simply as more genuinely spectacular life.


The epoch which displays its time to itself as essentially the sudden return of multiple festivities is also an epoch without festivals. What was, in cyclical time, the moment of a community’s participation in the luxurious expenditure of life is impossible for the society without community or luxury. When its vulgarized pseudo-festivals, parodies of the dialogue and the gift, incite a surplus of economic expenditure, they lead only to deception always compensated by the promise of a new deception. In the spectacle, the lower the use value of modern survival-time, the more highly it is exalted. The reality of time has been replaced by the advertisement of time.


While the consumption of cyclical time in ancient societies was consistent with the real labor of those societies, the pseudo-cyclical consumption of the developed economy is in contradiction with the abstract irreversible time of its production. While cyclical time was the time of immobile illusion, really lived, spectacular time is the time of self-changing reality, lived in illusion.


What is constantly new in the process of production of things is not found in consumption, which remains the expanded repetition of the same. In spectacular time, since dead labor continues to dominate living labor, the past dominates the present.


Another side of the deficiency of general historical life is that individual life as yet has no history. The pseudo-events which rush by in spectacular dramatizations have not been lived by those informed of them; moreover they are lost in the inflation of their hurried replacement at every throb of the spectacular machinery. Furthermore, what is really lived has no relation to the official irreversible time of society and is in direct opposition to the pseudo-cyclical rhythm of the consumable by-product of this time. This individual experience of separate daily life remains without language, without concept, without critical access to its own past which has been recorded nowhere. It is not communicated. It is not understood and is forgotten to the profit of the false spectacular memory of the unmemorable.


The spectacle, as the present social organization of the paralysis of history and memory, of the abandonment of history built on the foundation of historical time, is the false consciousness of time.


The preliminary condition required for propelling workers to the status of “free” producers and consumers of commodity time was the violent expropriation of their own time. The spectacular return of time became possible only after this first dispossession of the producer.


The irreducibly biological element which remains in labor, both in the dependence on the natural cycle of waking and sleep and in the existence of irreversible time in the expenditure of an individual life, is a mere accessory from the point of view of modern production; consequently, these elements are ignored in the official proclamations of the movement of production and in the consumable trophies which are the accessible translation of this incessant victory. The spectator’s consciousness, immobilized in the falsified center of the movement of its world, no longer experiences its life as a passage toward self-realization and toward death. One who has renounced using his life can no longer admit his death. Life insurance advertisements suggest merely that he is guilty of dying without ensuring the regularity of the system after this economic loss; and the advertisement of the American way of death insists on his capacity to maintain in this encounter the greatest possible number of appearances of life. On all other fronts of the advertising onslaught, it is strictly forbidden to grow old. Even a “youth-capital,” contrived for each and all and put to the most mediocre uses, could never acquire the durable and cumulative reality of financial capital. This social absence of death is identical to the social absence of life.


Time, as Hegel showed, is the necessary alienation, the environment where the subject realizes himself by losing himself, where he becomes other in order to become truly himself. Precisely the opposite is true in the dominant alienation, which is undergone by the producer of an alien present. In this spatial alienation, the society that radically separates the subject from the activity it takes from him, separates him first of all from his own time. It is this surmountable social alienation that has prohibited and petrified the possibilities and risks of the living alienation of time.


Under the visible fashions which disappear and reappear on the trivial surface of contemplated pseudo-cyclical time, the grand style of the age is always located in what is oriented by the obvious and secret necessity of revolution.


The natural basis of time, the actual experience of the flow of time, becomes human and social by existing for man. The restricted condition of human practice, labor at various stages, is what has humanized and also dehumanized time as cyclical and as separate irreversible time of economic production. The revolutionary project of realizing a classless society, a generalized historical life, is the project of a withering away of the social measure of time, to the benefit of a playful model of irreversible time of individuals and groups, a model in which independent federated times are simultaneously present. It is the program of a total realization, within the context of time, of communism which suppresses “all that exists independently of individuals.”


The world already possesses the dream of a time whose consciousness it must now possess in order to actually live it.

Chapter 7 “The Organization of Territory”

And he who becomes master of a city used to being free and does not destroy her can expect to be destroyed by her, because always she has as pretext in rebellion the name of liberty and her old customs, which never through either length of time or benefits are forgotten, and in spite of anything that can be done or foreseen, unless citizens are disunited or dispersed, they do not forget that name and those institutions…
Machiavelli, The Prince


Capitalist production has unified space, which is no longer bounded by external societies. This unification is at the same time an extensive and intensive process of banalization. The accumulation of commodities produced in mass for the abstract space of the market, which had to break down all regional and legal barriers and all the corporative restrictions of the Middle Ages that preserved the quality of craft production, also had to destroy the autonomy and quality of places. This power of homogenization is the heavy artillery which brought down all Chinese walls.


In order to become ever more identical to itself, to get as close as possible to motionless monotony, the free space of the commodity is henceforth constantly modified and reconstructed.


This society which eliminates geographical distance reproduces distance internally as spectacular separation.


Tourism, human circulation considered as consumption, a by-product of the circulation of commodities, is fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal. The economic organization of visits to different places is already in itself the guarantee of their equivalence. The same modernization that removed time from the voyage also removed from it the reality of space.


The society that molds all of its surroundings has developed a special technique for shaping its very territory, the solid ground of this collection of tasks. Urbanism is capitalism’s seizure of the natural and human environment; developing logically into absolute domination, capitalism can and must now remake the totality of space into its own setting.


The capitalist need which is satisfied by urbanism in the form of a visible freezing of life can be expressed in Hegelian terms as the absolute predominance of “the peaceful coexistence of space” over “the restless becoming in the passage of time.”


If all the technical forces of capitalism must be understood as tools for the making of separations, in the case of urbanism we are dealing with the equipment at the basis of these technical forces, with the treatment of the ground that suits their deployment, with the very technique of separation.


Urbanism is the modern fulfillment of the uninterrupted task which safeguards class power: the preservation of the atomization of workers who had been dangerously brought together by urban conditions of production. The constant struggle that had to be waged against every possible form of their coming together discovers its favored field in urbanism. After the experiences of the French Revolution, the efforts of all established powers to increase the means of maintaining order in the streets finally culminates in the suppression of the street. “With the present means of long-distance mass communication, sprawling isolation has proved an even more effective method of keeping a population under control,” says Lewis Mumford in The City in History, describing “henceforth a one-way world.” But the general movement of isolation, which is the reality of urbanism, must also include a controlled reintegration of workers depending on the needs of production and consumption that can be planned. Integration into the system requires that isolated individuals be recaptured and isolated together: factories and halls of culture, tourist resorts and housing developments are expressly organized to serve this pseudo-community that follows the isolated individual right into the family cell. The widespread use of receivers of the spectacular message enables the individual to fill his isolation with the dominant images–images which derive their power precisely from this isolation.


For the first time a new architecture, which in all previous epochs had been reserved for the satisfaction of the ruling classes, is directly aimed at the poor. The formal poverty and the gigantic spread of this new living experience both come from its mass character, which is implicit in its purpose and in modern conditions of construction. Authoritarian decision, which abstractly organizes territory into territory of abstraction, is obviously at the heart of these modern conditions of construction. The same architecture appears in all industrializing countries that are backward in this respect, as a suitable terrain for the new type of social existence which is to be implanted there. The threshold crossed by the growth of society’s material power alongside the lag in the conscious domination of this power, are displayed as clearly by urbanism as by problems of thermonuclear armament or of birth control (where the possibility of manipulating heredity has already been reached).


The present is already the time of the self-destruction of the urban milieu. The explosion of cities which cover the countryside with “formless masses of urban residues” (Lewis Mumford) is directly regulated by the imperatives of consumption. The dictatorship of the automobile, pilot-product of the first phase of commodity abundance, has been stamped into the environment with the domination of the freeway, which dislocates old urban centers and requires an ever-larger dispersion. At the same time, stages of incomplete reorganization of the urban fabric polarize temporarily around “distribution factories,” enormous shopping centers built on the bare ground of parking lots; and these temples of frenzied consumption, after bringing about a partial rearrangement of congestion, themselves flee within the centrifugal movement which rejects them as soon as they in turn become overburdened secondary centers. But the technical organization of consumption is only the first element of the general dissolution which has led the city to the point of consuming itself.


Economic history, which developed entirely around the opposition between town and country, has reached a level of success which simultaneously cancels out both terms. The current paralysis of total historical development for the sake of the mere continuation of the economy’s independent movement makes the moment when town and country begin to disappear, not the supersession of their cleavage, but their simultaneous collapse. The reciprocal erosion of town and country, product of the failure of the historical movement through which existing urban reality should have been surmounted, is visible in the eclectic melange of their decayed elements which cover the most industrially advanced zones.


Universal history was born in cities and reached maturity at the moment of the decisive victory of city over country. To Marx, one of the greatest revolutionary merits of the bourgeoisie was “the subjection of the country to the city” whose very air emancipates. But if the history of the city is the history of freedom, it is also the history of tyranny, of state administration that controls the countryside and the city itself. The city could as yet only struggle for historical freedom, but not possess it. The city is the locus of history because it is conscious of the past and also concentrates the social power that makes the historical undertaking possible. The present tendency to liquidate the city is thus merely another expression of the delay in the subordination of the economy to historical consciousness and in the unification of society reassuming the powers that were detached from it.


“The countryside shows the exact opposite: isolation and separation” (German Ideology). Urbanism destroys cities and reestablishes a pseudo-countryside which lacks the natural relations of the old countryside as well as the direct social relations which were directly challenged by the historical city. A new artificial peasantry is recreated by the conditions of housing and spectacular control in today’s “organized territory”: the geographic dispersal and narrowmindedness that always kept the peasantry from undertaking independent action and from affirming itself as a creative historical force again today become characteristics of the producers–the movement of a world which they themselves produce remaining as completely beyond their reach as the natural rhythm of tasks was for the agrarian society. But when this peasantry, which was the unshakable foundation of “Oriental despotism” and whose very fragmentation called for bureaucratic centralization reemerges as a product of the conditions of growth of modern state bureaucracy, its apathy must now be historically manufactured and maintained; natural ignorance has been replaced by the organized spectacle of error. The “new towns” of the technological pseudo-peasantry clearly inscribe on the landscape their rupture with the historical time on which they are built; their motto could be: “On this spot nothing will ever happen, and nothing ever has.” It is obviously because history, which must be liberated in the cities, has not yet been liberated, that the forces of historical absence begin to compose their own exclusive landscape.


History, which threatens this twilight world, is also the force which could subject space to lived time. Proletarian revolution is the critique of human geography through which individuals and communities have to create places and events suitable for the appropriation, no longer just of their labor, but of their total history. In this game’s changing space, and in the freely chosen variations in the game’s rules, the autonomy of place can be rediscovered without the reintroduction of an exclusive attachment to the land, thus bringing back the reality of the voyage and of life understood as a voyage which contains its entire meaning within itself.


The greatest revolutionary idea concerning urbanism is not itself urbanistic, technological or esthetic. It is the decision to reconstruct the entire environment in accordance with the needs of the power of the Workers’ Councils, of the anti-statist dictatorship of the proletariat, of enforceable dialogue. And the power of the Councils which can be effective only if it transforms existing conditions in their entirety, cannot assign itself a smaller task if it wants to be recognized and to recognize itself in its world.

Chapter 8 “Negation and Consumption Within Culture”

Do you seriously think we shall live long enough to see a political revolution? – we, the contemporaries of these Germans? My friend, you believe what you want to believe…. Let us judge Germany on the basis of its present history – and surely you are not going to object that all its history is falsified, or that all its present public life does not reflect the actual state of the people? Read whatever papers you please, and you cannot fail to be convinced that we never stop (and you must concede that the censorship prevents no one from stopping) celebrating the freedom and national happiness that we enjoy…
Ruge to Marx, March 1843.


In the historical society divided into classes, culture is the general sphere of knowledge and of representations of the lived; which is to say that culture is the power of generalization existing apart, as division of intellectual labor and as intellectual labor of division. Culture detaches itself from the unity of the society of myth “when the power of unification disappears from the life of man and when opposites lose their living relation and interaction and acquire autonomy… (Hegel’s Treatise on the Differences between the Systems of Fichte and Schelling). By gaining its independence, culture begins an imperialist movement of enrichment which is at the same time the decline of its independence. The history which creates the relative autonomy of culture and the ideological illusions about this autonomy also expresses itself as history of culture. And the entire victorious history of culture can be understood as the history of the revelation of its inadequacy, as a march toward its self-suppression. Culture is the locus of the search for lost unity. In this search for unity, culture as a separate sphere is obliged to negate itself.


The struggle between tradition and innovation, which is the principle of internal cultural development in historical societies, can be carried on only through the permanent victory of innovation. Yet cultural innovation is carried by nothing other than the total historical movement which, by becoming conscious of its totality, tends to supersede its own cultural presuppositions and moves toward the suppression of all separation.


The growth of knowledge about society, which includes the understanding of history as the heart of culture, derives from itself an irreversible knowledge, which is expressed by the destruction of God. But this “first condition of any critique” is also the first obligation of a critique without end. When it is no longer possible to maintain a single rule of conduct, every result of culture forces culture to advance toward its dissolution. Like philosophy at the moment when it gained its full autonomy, every discipline which becomes autonomous has to collapse, first of all as a pretention to explain social totality coherently, and finally even as a fragmented tool which can be used within its own boundaries. The lack of rationality of separate culture is the element which condemns it to disappear, because within it the victory of the rational is already present as a requirement.


Culture grew out of the history which abolished the way of life of the old world, but as a separate sphere it is still no more than perceptible intelligence and communication, which remain partial in a partially historical society. It is the sense of a world which hardly makes sense.


The end of cultural history manifests itself on two opposite sides: the project of its supersession in total history, and the organization of its preservation as a dead object in spectacular contemplation. One of these movements has linked its fate to social critique, the other to the defense of class power.


The two sides of the end of culture–in all the aspects of knowledge as well as in all the aspects of perceptible representations exist in a unified manner in what used to be art in the most general sense. In the case of knowledge, the accumulation of branches of fragmentary knowledge, which become unusable because the approval of existing conditions must finally renounce knowledge of itself, confronts the theory of praxis which alone holds the truth of them all since it alone holds the secret of their use. In the case of representations, the critical self-destruction of society’s former common language confronts its artificial recomposition in the commodity spectacle, the illusory representation of the non-lived.


When society loses the community of the society of myth, it must lose all the references of a really common language until the time when the rifts within the inactive community can be surmounted by the inauguration of the real historical community. When art, which was the common language of social inaction, becomes independent art in the modern sense, emerging from its original religious universe and becoming individual production of separate works, it too experiences the movement that dominates the history of the entirety of separate culture. The affirmation of its independence is the beginning of its disintegration.


The loss of the language of communication is positively expressed by the modern movement of decomposition of all art, its formal annihilation. This movement expresses negatively the fact that a common language must be rediscovered no longer in the unilateral conclusion which, in the art of the historical society, always arrived too late, speaking to others about what was lived without real dialogue, and admitting this deficiency of life but it must be rediscovered in praxis, which unifies direct activity and its language. The problem is to actually possess the community of dialogue and the game with time which have been represented by poetico-artistic works.


When art, become independent, depicts its world in dazzling colors, a moment of life has grown old and it cannot be rejuvenated with dazzling colors. It can only be evoked as a memory. The greatness of art begins to appear only at the dusk of life.


The historical time which invades art expressed itself first of all in the sphere of art itself, starting with the baroque. Baroque is the art of a world which has lost its center: the last mythical order, in the cosmos and in terrestrial government, accepted by the Middle Ages–the unity of Christianity and the phantom of an Empire has fallen. The art of the change must carry within itself the ephemeral principle it discovers in the world. It chose, said Eugenio d’Ors, “life against eternity.” Theater and the festival, the theatrical festival, are the outstanding achievements of the baroque where every specific artistic expression becomes meaningful only with reference to the setting of a constructed place, a construction which is its own center of unification; this center is the passage, which is inscribed as a threatened equilibrium in the dynamic disorder of everything. The somewhat excessive importance given to the concept of the baroque in the contemporary discussion of esthetics is an expression of the awareness that artistic classicism is impossible: for three centuries the attempts to realize a normative classicism or neoclassicism were no more than brief artificial constructions speaking the external language of the State, the absolute monarchy, or the revolutionary bourgeoisie in Roman clothes. What followed the general path of the baroque, from romanticism to cubism, was ultimately an ever more individualized art of negation perpetually renewing itself to the point of the fragmentation and complete negation of the artistic sphere. The disappearance of historical art, which was linked to the internal communication of an elite and had its semi-independent social basis in the partly playful conditions still lived by the last aristocracies, also expresses the fact that capitalism possesses the first class power which admits itself stripped of any ontological quality, a power which, rooted in the simple management of the economy, is equally the loss of all human mastery. The baroque, artistic creation’s long-lost unity, is in some way rediscovered in the current consumption of the totality of past art. When all past art is recognized and sought historically and retrospectively constituted into a world art, it is relativized into a global disorder which in turn constitutes a baroque edifice on a higher level, an edifice in which the very production of baroque art merges with all its revivals. The arts of all civilizations and all epochs can be known and accepted together for the first time. Once this “collection of souvenirs” of art history becomes possible, it is also the end of the world of art. In this age of museums, when artistic communication can no longer exist, all the former moments of art can be admitted equally, because they no longer suffer from the loss of their specific conditions of communication in the current general loss of the conditions of communication.


As a negative movement which seeks the supersession of art in a historical society where history is not yet lived, art in the epoch of its dissolution is simultaneously an art of change and the pure expression of impossible change. The more grandiose its reach, the more its true realization is beyond it. This art is perforce avant-garde, and it is not. Its avant-garde is its disappearance.


Dadaism and surrealism are the two currents which mark the end of modern art. They are contemporaries, though only in a relatively conscious manner, of the last great assault of the revolutionary proletarian movement; and the defeat of this movement, which left them imprisoned in the same artistic field whose decrepitude they had announced, is the basic reason for their immobilization. Dadaism and surrealism are at once historically related and opposed to each other. This opposition, which each of them considered to be its most important and radical contribution, reveals the internal inadequacy of their critique, which each developed one-sidedly. Dadaism wanted to suppress art without realizing it; surrealism wanted to realize art without suppressing it. The critical position later elaborated by the Situationists has shown that the suppression and the realization of art are inseparable aspects of a single supersession of art.


Spectacular consumption which preserves congealed past culture, including the recuperated repetition of its negative manifestations, openly becomes in the cultural sector what it is implicitly in its totality: the communication of the incommunicable. The flagrant destruction of language is flatly acknowledged as an officially positive value because the point is to advertise reconciliation with the dominant state of affairs–and here all communication is joyously proclaimed absent. The critical truth of this destruction the real life of modern poetry and art is obviously hidden, since the spectacle, whose function is to make history forgotten within culture, applies, in the pseudo-novelty of its modernist means, the very strategy which constitutes its core. Thus a school of neo-literature, which simply admits that it contemplates the written word for its own sake, can present itself as something new. Furthermore, next to the simple proclamation of the sufficient beauty of the decay of the communicable, the most modern tendency of spectacular culture–and the one most closely linked to the repressive practice of the general organization of society–seeks to remake, by means of “team projects,” a complex neo-artistic environment made up of decomposed elements: notably in urbanism’s attempts to integrate artistic debris or esthetico- technical hybrids. This is an expression, on the level of spectacular pseudo-culture, of developed capitalism’s general project, which aims to recapture the fragmented worker as a “personality well integrated in the group,” a tendency described by American sociologists (Riesman, Whyte, etc.). It is the same project everywhere: a restructuring without community.


When culture becomes nothing more than a commodity, it must also become the star commodity of the spectacular society. Clark Kerr, one of the foremost ideologues of this tendency, has calculated that the complex process of production, distribution and consumption of knowledge already gets 29% of the yearly national product in the United States; and he predicts that in the second half of this century culture will be the driving force in the development of the economy, a role played by the automobile in the first half of this century, and by railroads in the second half of the previous century.


All the branches of knowledge, which continue to develop as the thought of the spectacle, have to justify a society without justification, and constitute a general science of false consciousness. This thought is completely conditioned by the fact that it cannot and will not investigate its own material basis in the spectacular system.


The system’s thought, the thought of the social organization of appearance, is itself obscured by the generalized sub-communication which it defends. It does not know that conflict is at the origin of all things in its world. Specialists in the power of the spectacle, an absolute power within its system of language without response, are absolutely corrupted by their experience of contempt and of the success of contempt; and they find their contempt confirmed by their knowledge of the contemptible man, who the spectator really is.


Within the specialized thought of the spectacular system, a new division of tasks takes place to the extent that the improvement of this system itself poses new problems: on one hand, modern sociology which studies separation by means of the conceptual and material instruments of separation itself, undertakes the spectacular critique of the spectacle; on the other hand, in the various disciplines where structuralism takes root, the apology for the spectacle institutes itself as the thought of non-thought, as the official amnesia of historical practice. Nevertheless, the false despair of non-dialectical critique and the false optimism of pure advertising of the system are identical in that they are both submissive thought.


The sociology which began, first in the United States, to focus discussion on the living conditions brought about by present development, compiled a great deal of empirical data, but could not fathom the truth of its subject because it lacked the critique immanent in this subject. As a result, the sincerely reformist tendency of this sociology resorts to morality, common sense, appeals devoid of all relevance to practical measures, etc. Because this type of critique is ignorant of the negative at the core of its world, it insists on describing only a sort of negative surplus which it finds deplorably annoying on the surface, like an irrational parasitic proliferation. This indignant good will, even if genuine, ends up blaming only the external consequences of the system, yet thinks itself critical, forgetting the essentially apologetic character of its assumptions and method.


Those who denounce the absurdity or the perils of incitement to waste in the society of economic abundance do not understand the purpose of waste. They condemn with ingratitude, in the name of economic rationality, the good irrational guardians without whom the power of this economic rationality would collapse. For example, Boorstin, in L’Image, describes the commercial consumption of the American spectacle but never reaches the concept of spectacle because he thinks he can exempt private life, or the notion of “the honest commodity,” from this disastrous exaggeration. He does not understand that the commodity itself made the laws whose “honest” application leads to the distinct reality of private life and to its subsequent reconquest by the social consumption of images.


Boorstin describes the excesses of a world which has become foreign to us as if they were excesses foreign to our world. But the “normal” basis of social life, to which he implicitly refers when he characterizes the superficial reign of images with psychological and moral judgments as a product of “our extravagant pretentions,” has no reality whatever, either in his book or in his epoch. Boorstin cannot understand the full profundity of a society of images because the real human life he speaks of is for him in the past, including the past of religious resignation. The truth of this society is nothing other than the negation of this society.


The sociology which thinks that an industrial rationality functioning separately can be isolated from the whole of social life can go so far as to isolate the techniques of reproduction and transmission from the general industrial movement. Thus Boorstin finds that the results he depicts are caused by the unfortunate, almost fortuitous encounter of an oversized technical apparatus for image diffusion with an excessive attraction to the pseudo-sensational on the part of the people of our epoch. Thus the spectacle would be caused by the fact that modern man is too much of a spectator. Boorstin fails to understand that the proliferation of the prefabricated “pseudo-events” which he denounces flows from the simple fact that, in the massive reality of present social life, men do not themselves live events. Because history itself haunts modern society like a spectre, pseudo-histories are constructed at every level of consumption of life in order to preserve the threatened equilibrium of present frozen time.


The assertion of the definitive stability of a short period of frozen historical time is the undeniable basis, proclaimed consciously and unconsciously, of the present tendency toward a structuralist systematization. The vantage point from which anti-historical structuralist thought views the world is that of the eternal presence of a system which was never created and which will never end. The dream of the dictatorship of a preexisting unconscious structure over all social praxis could be erroneously drawn from models of structures elaborated by linguistics and anthropology (and even the analysis of the functioning of capitalism)–models already misunderstood in this context–only because the academic imagination of minor functionaries, easily overwhelmed and completely entrenched in the awestruck celebration of the existing system, flatly reduces all reality to the existence of the system.


In order to understand “structuralist” categories, one must keep in mind, as with every historical social science, that the categories express forms as well as conditions of existence. Just as one cannot appraise the value of a man in terms of the conception he has of himself, one cannot appraise–and admire–this particular society by taking as indisputably true the language it speaks to itself; “…we cannot judge such epochs of transformation by their own consciousness; on the contrary, this consciousness must rather be explained in the light of the contradictions of material life…” Structure is the daughter of present power. Structuralism is the thought guaranteed by the State which regards the present conditions of spectacular “communication” as an absolute. Its method of studying the code of messages is itself nothing but the product, and the acknowledgement, of a society where communication exists in the form of a cascade of hierarchic signals. Consequently it is not structuralism which serves to prove the transhistorical validity of the society of the spectacle; it is on the contrary the society of the spectacle imposing itself as massive reality which serves to prove the cold dream of structuralism.


The critical concept of spectacle can undoubtedly also be vulgarized into a commonplace hollow formula of sociologico-political rhetoric to explain and abstractly denounce everything, and thus serve as a defense of the spectacular system. It is obvious that no idea can lead beyond the existing spectacle, but only beyond the existing ideas about the spectacle. To effectively destroy the society of the spectacle, what is needed is men putting a practical force into action. The critical theory of the spectacle can be true only by uniting with the practical current of negation in society, and this negation, the resumption of revolutionary class struggle, will become conscious of itself by developing the critique of the spectacle which is the theory of its real conditions (the practical conditions of present oppression), and inversely by unveiling the secret of what this negation can be. This theory does not expect miracles from the working class. It envisages the new formulation and the realization of proletarian imperatives as a long-range task. To make an artificial distinction between theoretical and practical struggle since on the basis defined here, the very formulation and communication of such a theory cannot even be conceived without a rigorous practice it is certain that the obscure and difficult path of critical theory must also be the lot of the practical movement acting on the scale of society.


Critical theory must be communicated in its own language. It is the language of contradiction, which must be dialectical in form as it is in content. It is critique of the totality and historical critique. It is not “the nadir of writing” but its inversion. It is not a negation of style, but the style of negation.


In its very style. the exposition of dialectical theory is a scandal and an abomination in terms of the rules and the corresponding tastes of the dominant language, because when it uses existing concrete concepts it is simultaneously aware of their rediscovered fluidity, their necessary destruction.


This style which contains its own critique must express the domination of the present critique over its entire past. The very mode of exposition of dialectical theory displays the negative spirit within it. “Truth is not like a product in which one can no longer find any trace of the tool that made it” (Hegel). This theoretical consciousness of movement, in which the movement’s very trace must be evident, manifests itself by the inversion of the established relations between concepts and by the diversion of all the acquisitions of previous critique. The inversion of the genetive is this expression of historical revolutions, consigned to the form of thought, which was considered Hegel’s epigrammatic style. The young Marx, recommending the technique Feuerbach had systematically used of replacing the subject with the predicate, achieved the most consistent use of this insurrectional style, drawing the misery of philosophy out of the philosophy of misery. Diversion leads to the subversion of past critical conclusions which were frozen into respectable truths, namely transformed into lies. Kierkegaard already used it deliberately, adding his own denunciation to it: “But despite all the tours and detours, just as jam always returns to the pantry, you always end up by sliding in a little word which isn’t yours and which bothers you by the memory it awakens” (Philosophical Fragments). It is the obligation of distance toward what was falsified into official truth which determines the use of diversion, as was acknowledged by Kierkegaard in the same book: “Only one more comment on your numerous allusions aiming at all the grief I mix into my statements of borrowed sayings. I do not deny it here nor will I deny that it was voluntary and that in a new continuation to this pamphlet, if I ever write it, I intend to name the object by its real name and to clothe the problem in historical attire.”


Ideas improve. The meaning of words participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author’s phrase, makes use of his expressions, erases a false idea, and replaces it with the right idea.


Diversion is the opposite of quotation, of the theoretical authority which is always falsified by the mere fate of having become a quotation a fragment torn from its context, from its movement, and ultimately from the global framework of its epoch and from the precise choice, whether exactly recognized or erroneous, which it was in this framework. Diversion is the fluid language of anti-ideology. It appears in communication which knows it cannot pretend to guarantee anything definitively and in itself. At its peak, it is language which cannot be confirmed by any former or supra-critical reference. On the contrary, its own coherence, in itself and with the applicable facts, can confirm the former core of truth which it brings out. Diversion has grounded its cause on nothing external to its own truth as present critique.


What openly presents itself as diverted in theoretical form, denying the durable autonomy of the sphere of the theoretically expressed by introducing there, through this violence, the action which upsets and overthrows the entire existing order, reminds us that the existence of theory is nothing in itself, and that it can know itself only through historical action and the historical correction which is its real counterpart.


Only the real negation of culture can preserve its meaning. It can no longer be cultural. Thus it is what in some way remains at the level of culture, but with a completely different meaning.


In the language of contradiction, the critique of culture presents itself as a unified critique in that it dominates the whole of culture, its knowledge as well as its poetry, and in that it no longer separates itself from the critique of the social totality. This unified theoretical critique goes alone to meet unified social practice.

Chapter 9 “Ideology Materialized”

Self-consciousness exists in itself and for itself, in that, and by the fact that it exists for another self-consciousness; that is to say, it is only by being acknowledged or “recognized.”
Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind


Ideology is the basis of the thought of a class society in the conflict-laden course of history. Ideological facts were never a simple chimaera, but rather a deformed consciousness of realities, and in this form they have been real factors which set in motion real deforming acts; all the more so when the materialization, in the form of spectacle, of the ideology brought about by the concrete success of autonomized economic production in practice confounds social reality with an ideology which has tailored all reality in terms of its model.


When ideology, the abstract will and the illusion of the universal, is legitimized by the universal abstraction and the effective dictatorship of illusion in modern society, it is no longer a voluntaristic struggle of the partial, but its victory. At this point, ideological pretention acquires a sort of flat positivistic exactitude: it is no longer a historical choice but a fact. In this type of assertion, the particular names of ideologies have disappeared. Even the role of specifically ideological labor in the service of the system comes to be considered as nothing more than the recognition of an “epistemological base” that pretends to be beyond all ideological phenomena. Materialized ideology itself has no name, just as it has no expressible historical program. This is another way of saying that the history of ideologies is over.


Ideology, whose whole internal logic led to “total ideology” in Mannheim’s sense the despotism of the fragment which imposes itself as pseudo-knowledge of a frozen totality, the totalitarian vision–is now completed in the immobilized spectacle of non-history. Its completion is also its disintegration throughout society. With the practical disintegration of this society, ideology–the final unreason that blocks access to historical life–must disappear.


The spectacle is ideology par excellence, because it exposes and manifests in its fullness the essence of all ideological systems: the impoverishment, servitude and negation of real life. The spectacle is materially “the expression of the separation and estrangement between man and man.” Through the “new power of fraud,” concentrated at the base of the spectacle in this production, “the new domain of alien beings to whom man is subservient… grows coextensively with the mass of objects.” It is the highest stage of an expansion which has turned need against life. “The need for money is thus the real need produced by political economy, and the only need it produces” (Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts). The spectacle extends to all social life the principle which Hegel (in the Realphilosophie of Jena) conceives as the principle of money: it is “the life of what is dead, moving within itself.”


In opposition to the project summarized in the Theses on Feuerbach (the realization of philosophy in praxis which supersedes the opposition between idealism and materialism), the spectacle simultaneously preserves, and imposes within the pseudo-concrete of its universe, the ideological characteristics of materialism and idealism. The contemplative side of the old materialism which conceives the world as representation and not as activity–and which ultimately idealizes matter–is fulfilled in the spectacle, where concrete things are automatically the masters of social life. Reciprocally, the dreamed activity of idealism is equally fulfilled in the spectacle, through the technical mediation of signs and signals-which ultimately materialize an abstract ideal.


The parallel between ideology and schizophrenia, established by Gabel (La Fausse Conscience) must be placed in this economic process of materialization of ideology. Society has become what ideology already was. The removal of praxis and the anti-dialectical false consciousness which accompanies it are imposed during every hour of daily life subjected to the spectacle; this must be understood as a systematic organization of the “failure of the faculty of encounter” and as its replacement by a hallucinatory social fact: the false consciousness of encounter, the “illusion of encounter.” In a society where no one can any longer be recognized by others, every individual becomes unable to recognize his own reality. Ideology is at home; separation has built its world.


“In clinical charts of schizophrenia,” says Gabel, “the decay of the dialectic of totality (with dissociation as its extreme form) and the decay of the dialectic of becoming (with catatonia as its extreme form) seem solidly united.” The spectator’s consciousness, imprisoned in a flattened universe, bound by the screen of the spectacle behind which his life has been deported, knows only the fictional speakers who unilaterally surround him with their commodities and the politics of their commodities. The spectacle, in its entirety, is his “mirror image.” Here the stage is set with the false exit of generalized autism.


The spectacle obliterates the boundaries between self and world by crushing the self besieged by the presence-absence of the world and it obliterates the boundaries between true and false by driving all lived truth below the real presence of fraud ensured by the organization of appearance. One who passively accepts his alien daily fate is thus pushed toward a madness that reacts in an illusory way to this fate by resorting to magical techniques. The acceptance and consumption of commodities are at the heart of this pseudo-response to a communication without response. The need to imitate which is felt by the consumer is precisely the infantile need conditioned by all the aspects of his fundamental dispossession. In the terms applied by Gabel to a completely different pathological level, “the abnormal need for representation here compensates for a tortuous feeling of being on the margin of existence.”


If the logic of false consciousness cannot know itself truly, the search for critical truth about the spectacle must simultaneously be a true critique. It must struggle in practice among the irreconcilable enemies of the spectacle and admit that it is absent where they are absent. The abstract desire for immediate effectiveness accepts the laws of the ruling thought, the exclusive point of view of the present, when it throws itself into reformist compromises or trashy pseudo-revolutionary common actions. Thus madness reappears in the very posture which pretends to fight it. Conversely, the critique which goes beyond the spectacle must know how to wait.


Emancipation from the material bases of inverted truth this is what the self-emancipation of our epoch consists of. This “historical mission of installing truth in the world” cannot be accomplished either by the isolated individual, or by the atomized crowd subjected to manipulation, but now as ever by the class which is able to effect the dissolution of all classes by bringing all power into the dealienating form of realized democracy, the Council, in which practical theory controls itself and sees its own action. This is possible only where individuals are “directly linked to universal history”; only where dialogue arms itself to make its own conditions victorious.


Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle [1973] film


Bureau of Public Secrets – situationist texts and translations

The Society of the Spectacle

Society of the Spectacle – Marxists Internet Archive

Guy Debord and the Situationists – Catless


Strategic Treaty Trinity: Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)


, ,

TISABelow are the secret documents from the ongoing Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations which cover the United States, the European Union and 23 other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan & Israel — which together comprise two-thirds of global GDP. “Services” now account for nearly 80 per cent of the US and EU economies and even in developing countries like Pakistan account for 53 per cent of the economy. While the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has become well known in recent months in the United States, the TISA is the larger component of the strategic TPP-TISA-TTIP ‘T-treaty trinity.’ All parts of the trinity notably exclude the ‘BRICS‘ countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The Agreement is meant to “liberalize” trade in services amongst the world’s largest services providers, and it is being negotiated outside of the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework.

Countries that have liberalized both FDI and foreign portfolio investment have been more likely to encounter financial crises than economic growth.

TISA members hold the largest services markets worldwide, with a combined GDP of over two-thirds of the world economy. This text was drafted just before the 6th round of TISA negotiations held from 28 April – 2 May in Geneva, Switzerland. The next round of negotiations held 23-27 June in Geneva.

TISA Financial Services Text:

This Document Contains TISA- U.S.CONFIDENTIAL Information
Annex [X]: Financial Services

TiSA Texts
Chapters and Annexes of the TiSA text under negotiation.
Document Document Date WikiLeaks Publication Date
TiSA Annex on Air Transport Services February 9, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Competitive Delivery Services April 16, 2014 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Domestic Regulation February 20, 2014 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Electronic Commerce February 20, 2013 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on International Maritime Transport Services February 10, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Movement of Natural Persons February 13, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Professional Services February 13, 2015 June 3, 2015
TISA Annex on Telecommunications Services February 20, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Financial Services February 23, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Transparency January 23, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Transparency April 16, 2014 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Financial Services April 14, 2014 June 19, 2014
TiSA Market Analyses
Market Access Negotiations documents are requests for a schedule of commitments from one of the negotiating Parties to another.
Document Document Date WikiLeaks Publication Date
TiSA Market Access – Israel January 25, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Market Access – Turkey January 25, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Related Documents
Other documents related to the TiSA negotiation process.
Document Document Date WikiLeaks Publication Date
TiSA Cover Note TPC (EU reservations) February 19, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Japan Analysis of Committed Related Provisions February 9, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Japan Separate From And Accountable February 16, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Japan UPU Clarification on USO November 28, 2014 June 3, 2015

Reason: 1.4(b)
Declassify on: Five years from entry into force of the TISA agreement or, if no
agreement enters into force, five years from the close of the negotiations.

* This document must be protected from unauthorized disclosure, but may be mailed or transmitted over unclassified e-mail or fax, discussed over unsecured phone lines, and stored on unclassified computer systems. It must be stored in a locked or secured building, room, or container.

*Working consolidated draft is without prejudice to further proposals or positions of the proponents.

Article X.1: Scope
1. This section/Annex applies to measures affecting the supply of financial services [TR: subject to any conditions, reservations and qualifications inscribed in its Schedule of specific commitments.]
2. For the purposes of sub-paragraph 3(b) of Article I-1 of the Agreement, “services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” means the following:

(a) activities conducted by a central bank or monetary authority or by any other
public entity in pursuit of monetary or exchange rate policies;
(b) activities forming part of a statutory system of social security or public
retirement plans; and
(c) other activities conducted by a public entity for the account or with the
guarantee or using the financial resources of the Party or its public entities.

3. For the purposes of sub-paragraph 3(b) of Article I-1 of the Agreement, if a Party allows any of the activities referred to in sub-paragraphs (b) or (c) of paragraph 2 of this Article to be conducted by its financial service suppliers in competition with a public entity or a financial service supplier, “services” shall include such activities.

4. Sub-paragraph 3(c) of Article I-1 of the Agreement shall not apply to services
covered by this Annex.

Article X.2: Definitions

For purposes of this Annex/section:

(a) A financial service is any service of a financial nature offered by a financial
service supplier of a Party. Financial services include all insurance and insurance-related services and all banking and other financial services (excluding insurance). Financial services include the following activities:

Insurance and insurance-related services

(i) direct insurance (including co-insurance):
A. life;
B. non-life;
(ii) reinsurance and retro-cession;
(iii) insurance intermediation, such as brokerage and agency;

(iv) services auxiliary to insurance, such as consultancy, actuarial, risk
assessment and claim settlement services;
Banking and other financial services (excluding insurance)
(v) acceptance of deposits and other repayable funds from the public;
(vi) lending of all types, including consumer credit, mortgage credit,
factoring and financing of commercial transaction;
(vii) financial leasing;
(viii) all payment and money transmission services, including credit,
charge and debit cards, travelers checks and bankers drafts;
(ix) guarantees and commitments;
(x) trading for own account or for account of customers, whether on an
exchange, in an over-the-counter market or otherwise, the following:
(A)money market instruments (including checks, bills, certificates
of deposits);
(B) foreign exchange;
(C) derivative products including, but not limited to, futures and
(D)exchange rate and interest rate instruments, including products
such as swaps, forward rate agreements;
(E) transferable securities;
(F) other negotiable instruments and financial assets, including

(xi) participation in issues of all kinds of securities, including
underwriting and placement as agent (whether publicly or privately)
and provision of services related to such issues;
(xii) money broking;
(xiii) asset management, such as cash or portfolio management, all
forms of collective investment management, pension fund
management, custodial, depositary and trust services;
(xiv) settlement and clearing services for financial assets, including
securities, derivative products and other negotiable instruments;
(xv) provision and transfer of financial information, and financial data
processing and related software by suppliers of other financial
(xvi) advisory, intermediation and other auxiliary financial services on
all the activities listed in sub-paragraphs (v) through (xv), including
credit reference and analysis, investment and portfolio research and
advice, advice on acquisitions and on corporate restructuring and

(b) A “financial service supplier” means any natural or juridical person of a
Party wishing to supply or supplying financial services, but the term “financial
service supplier” does not include a public entity.
(c) “public entity” means:

(i) a government, a central bank or a monetary authority, of a Party, or an
entity owned or controlled by a Party, that is principally engaged in
carrying out governmental functions or activities for governmental
purposes, not including an entity principally engaged in supplying
financial services on commercial terms; or
(ii) a private entity performing functions normally performed by a central
bank or monetary authority, when exercising those functions.

(d) “commercial presence” means an enterprise within a Party’s territory for the supply of financial services and includes wholly or partly owned subsidiaries,
joint ventures, partnerships, sole proprietorships, franchising operations,
branches, agencies, representative offices or other organizations;
(e) [PA: “financial institution” means a financial intermediary or other
commercial presence that is authorized to do business and regulated or
supervised as a financial institution under the domestic law of the Party in
whose territory it is located;]
(f) A “new financial service” is a service of a financial nature, including
services related to existing and new products or the manner in which a product
is delivered, that is not supplied by any financial service supplier in the
territory of a Party but which is supplied in the territory of [PA: another
(g) [PA: “self-regulatory organization” means a non-governmental body that exercises its own or delegated regulatory or supervisory authority over
financial service suppliers or financial institutions, including a securities or
futures exchange or market, clearing agency, or other organization or
(h) [EU, US: A “non-resident supplier of financial services” is a financial
service supplier of a Party which supplies a financial service into the territory
of another Party from an establishment located in the territory of another
Party, regardless of whether such a financial services supplier has or has not a
commercial presence in the territory of the Party in which the financial service
is supplied.]

[US: Article X.3: Scheduling Financial Services Commitments

Market Access

1. Each Party shall [HKC: subject to any conditions, reservations, and qualifications inscribed in the Schedule] inscribe in its Schedule, pursuant to Article I-3 of the Agreement, a commitment with respect to

(a) the supply of financial services through commercial presence; and
(b) the supply of financial services listed in Article X.8 [cross-border trade]
with respect to the supply of a financial service from the territory of one
Party into the territory of any other Party, or in the territory of one Party to
the service consumer of any other Party.

National Treatment

2. With respect to the supply of a financial service from the territory of one Party
into the territory of any other Party, or in the territory of one Party to the service consumer of any other Party,
(a) Article I-4 (National Treatment) of the Agreement shall apply to only the
supply of financial services listed in Article X.8 [cross-border trade],
unless a Party otherwise specifies in its Schedule; and
(b) paragraph 3 of Article II-2 of the Agreement shall not apply.]
[EU, US: Article X.4: Standstill
[EU, US: Any conditions, limitations and qualifications to the commitments] [EU:
according to Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Financial services purchased by public entities, commercial presence, cross-border Trade, Temporary Entry of Personnel)] [US: in Articles 6, 7 and 8 (Financial services purchased by public entities, commercial presence, cross-border trade)] [EU, US: shall be limited to existing non-conforming measures.]

[AU: The conditions and qualifications on commitments [EU: according to Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9] [US: in Articles 6, 7 and 8] shall be limited to measures that a Party maintains on the date this Agreement takes effect, or the continuation or prompt renewal of such measures.]

Article X.5: Monopoly Rights
[EU, US: In addition to (Article XX/monopolies and exclusive service suppliers) of the Agreement, the following shall apply:

Each Party shall list in its Schedule pertaining to financial services existing monopoly rights and shall endeavor to eliminate them or reduce their scope. Notwithstanding paragraph 2 of Article 1 of this Annex/section, this paragraph applies to the activities referred to in paragraph 2(c) of Article 1 of this Annex/section.]

Article X.6: Financial Services Purchased by Public Entities

[EU, US: Notwithstanding [Section/Article X] of the Agreement [on government
procurement] and subject to any conditions, limitations and qualifications that a Party shall set out in its Schedule in accordance with Article X.4 (Standstill), each Party shall ensure that financial service suppliers of any other Party established in its territory are accorded most-favored-nation treatment and national treatment as regards the purchase or acquisition of financial services by public entities of the Party in its territory.]

Article X.7: Commercial Presence

1. [EU, US: Subject to any conditions, limitations and qualifications that a Party
shall set out in its Schedule in accordance with Article X.4 (Standstill),] [AU:
Subject to any terms limitations, conditions, and qualifications that the Party shall
set out in its Schedule,] [E][e]ach Party shall grant financial service suppliers of
any other Party the right to establish or expand within its territory, including
through the acquisition of existing enterprises, [PA: and without the imposition of
numerical restrictions,1] a commercial presence.

1bis. A Party may impose terms, conditions and procedures for authorization of the establishment and expansion of a commercial presence in so far as they do not circumvent the Party’s obligation under paragraph 1 and they are consistent with the other obligations of this Agreement [PA: in particular:
(a) impose a term or condition on the establishment of additional commercial
presences and determine the institutional and juridical form to be used to
supply a specified financial service or to carry out of a specified activity;
(b) prohibit a particular financial service or activity. Such a prohibition may not
apply to all financial services or to a complete financial services sub-sector
such as banking; or
(c) require that a financial service supplier of another Party be engaged in the
business of providing financial services in the territory of that other Party,
without prejudice to other forms of prudential regulation.]
2. [PA: Each Party shall permit financial service suppliers of any other Party that
owns or controls a financial institution in the Party’s territory to establish in that
territory as many additional commercial presences as may be necessary for the
supply of the full range of financial services allowed under the domestic law of
the Party at the time of establishment of the additional commercial presences.]

Article X.8: Cross-Border Trade
1. [EU, US: Subject to any conditions, limitations and qualifications that a Party
shall set out in its Schedule in accordance with Article X.4 (Standstill),] [AU:
Subject to any terms limitations, conditions and qualifications that the Party shall
set out in its Schedule,] [e][E]ach Party shall permit non-resident suppliers of
financial services to supply, as a principal, through an intermediary or as an
1 For the purpose of this Article, “numerical restrictions” means limitations
imposed either on the basis of a regional subdivision or on the basis of the entire territory of a Party, on the number of financial institutions whether in the form of a numerical quota, a monopoly, an exclusive service supplier or the requirements of an economic needs test.

Limited intermediary, [PA, EU, Norway: and under terms and conditions that accord national treatment,]: the following services:
(a) insurance of risks relating to:
(i) maritime shipping and commercial aviation and space launching
and freight (including satellites), with such insurance to cover any
or all of the following: the [Norway: passengers and] goods being
transported, the vehicle transporting the [Norway: passengers and]
goods and any liability arising therefrom;

(ii) [Norway: ocean-going fishing vessels];
(iii)[Norway: exploration, development, production activities, and
properties in the offshore energy sector by large customers2]; and
(iv) goods in international transit];
(b) reinsurance and retro-cession;
(c) services auxiliary to insurance as referred to in sub-paragraph (a)(iv) of

Article 2 of the Annex;
(d) provision and transfer of financial information and financial data
processing [US: and related software] as referred to in sub-paragraph

(a) (xv) and advisory and other auxiliary services, excluding intermediation,
relating to banking and other financial services as referred to in
sub-paragraph (a)(xvi), both of Article 2 of the Annex.
(e) [US, CA, CH: investment advice to a collective investment scheme
located in the Party’s territory;]
(f) [US, CH: portfolio management services to a collective investment
scheme located in the Party’s territory, excluding
(i) trustee services;
(ii) custodial services and execution services that are not related to
managing a collective investment scheme.3]

2  [Norway: with an activity of at least 10 man-years or annual sales of above
USD 10 million]
3 Custodial services are included in paragraph (e) only with respect to investments for which the primary market is outside of the territory of the Party.

(g) [US: electronic payment services for payment card transactions4 into its
territory from the territory of another Party by a person of that Party. For
the purposes of this subsection:
(i) a “payment card” includes a credit card, charge card, debit card,
check card, automated teller machine (“ATM”) card, prepaid card,
and other similar card or access device, and the unique account
number associated with that card or access device; and
(ii) “electronic payment services for payment card transactions” does
not include the transfer of funds to and from transactors’ accounts.
Furthermore, “electronic payment services for payment card
transactions” includes only those payment network services that
use proprietary networks to process payment transactions.]

2. [PA: Each Party shall permit a person located in its territory, and its nationals
wherever located, to purchase a financial service from a cross-border financial
service supplier of another Party located in the territory of another Party.]
[US, EU: Subject to any conditions, limitations and qualifications that a Party shall set out in its Schedule in accordance with Article X.4 (Standstill),] [EU, Norway, US: [e]
[E]ach Party shall permit its residents to purchase in the territory of any other Party the financial services indicated in:
(a) paragraph 1(a);
(b) paragraphs 1(b) and 1(c); and
(c) sub-paragraphs (a)(v) to (xvi) of Article X.2.]
3. [PA: Without prejudice to other means of prudential regulation of cross-border
trade in financial services, a Party may require the registration of cross-border
financial service suppliers of another Party and of financial instruments.]

[EU: Article X.9: Temporary Entry of Personnel (to be adapted to horizontal M4
1. Subject to any conditions, reservations and qualifications that a Party shall set out in its Schedule in accordance with Article X.4 (Standstill), [AU: Subject to any
terms limitations, conditions and qualifications that the Party shall set out in its
4 For great certainty, the electronic payment services for payment card
transactions referred to in this commitment fall within subparagraph (h) of the definition of “financial service” in Article 2, and within subcategory 71593 of the United Nations Central Product Classification, Version 2.0, and include only the processing of financial transactions such as verification of financial balances, authorization of transactions, notification of banks (or credit card issuers) of individual transactions and provision of daily summaries and instructions
regarding the net financial position of relevant institutions for authorized transactions. Schedule,] each Party shall permit temporary entry into its territory of the following personnel of a financial service supplier of any other Party that is
establishing or has established a commercial presence in the territory of the Party:

(i) senior managerial personnel possessing proprietary information
essential to the establishment, control and operation of the services
of the financial service supplier; and

(ii) specialists in the operation of the financial service supplier.
2. Subject to conditions, reservations and qualifications that a Party shall set out in its Schedule in accordance with Article X.4 (Standstill), [AU: Subject to any
terms limitations, conditions and qualifications that the Party shall set out in its
Schedule,] each Party shall permit, subject to the availability of qualified
personnel in its territory, temporary entry into its territory of the following
personnel associated with a commercial presence of a financial service supplier of
any other Party:

(i) specialists in computer services, telecommunication services and
accounts of the financial service supplier; and
(ii) actuarial and legal specialists.]

Article X.10: New Financial Services
Each Party shall permit financial service suppliers of any other Party established in its territory to [PA, US: supply any new financial service that the Party would permit its own like financial services supplier to supply without adopting a law or modifying an existing law.5]

[EU: to offer in its territory any new financial service.]
[PA, EU: A Party may determine the juridical form through which the service may be provided and may require authorization for the provision of the service. Where such authorization is required, a decision shall be made within a reasonable time and the authorization may only be refused for prudential reasons.]
[US: Notwithstanding (Market Access, paragraph on juridical form), a Party may determine the institutional and juridical form through which the new financial service may be supplied, and may require authorization for the supply of the service. Where a Party requires a financial service supplier to obtain authorization to supply a new financial service, the Party shall decide within a reasonable time whether to issue the authorization and the authorization may only be refused for prudential reasons.]

5 For greater certainty, a Party may issue a new regulation or other subordinate
measure in permitting the supply of the new financial service.

 Article X.11: [PA: Data Processing and Treatment of Certain Information] [EU: Transfers of Information and Processing of Information] [US: Transfer of Information]

1. [PA, EU: No Party shall take measures that prevent transfers of information or the processing of financial information, including transfers of data by electronic
means, into and out of its territory, for data processing or that, subject to
importation rules consistent with international agreements, prevent transfers of
equipment, where such transfers of information, processing of financial
information or transfers of equipment are necessary for the conduct of the
ordinary business of a financial service supplier. Nothing in this paragraph
restricts the right of a Party to protect personal data, personal privacy and the
confidentiality of individual records and accounts so long as such right is not used
to circumvent the provisions of this Agreement.]

2. [PA: Notwithstanding paragraph 1, a Party is not required to furnish or allow access to:

(a) information related to the financial affairs and accounts of an individual
customer of a financial institution or a cross-border financial service
supplier; or
(b) confidential information which if disclosed would impede law
enforcement or otherwise contrary to the public interest or prejudice
legitimate commercial interests of a particular commercial presence.]
[US: Each Party shall allow a financial service supplier of another Party to transfer
information in electronic or other form, into and out of its territory, for data processing where such processing is required in the financial service supplier’s ordinary course of business.]
[KR: The scope of financial information will be defined by each Party’s domestic laws and regulations.]

Article X.12: Payment and Clearing Systems
Under terms and conditions that accord national treatment, each Party shall grant to financial service suppliers of any other Party established in its territory access to payment and clearing systems operated by public entities, and to official funding and refinancing facilities available in the normal course of ordinary business. This paragraph is not intended to confer access to the Party’s lender of last resort facilities.

Article X.13: Self-Regulatory Organizations
[PA, EU: When membership or participation in, or access to, any self-regulatory body, securities or futures exchange or market, clearing agency, or any other organization or association, is required by a Party in order for financial service suppliers of any other Party to supply financial services on an equal basis with financial service suppliers of the Party, or when a Party provides directly or indirectly such entities, privileges or advantages in supplying financial services, the Party shall ensure that such entities accord national treatment to financial service suppliers of any other Party resident in the territory of the Party.]

[PA: subject to any conditions and qualifications set out in its Schedule.]

[US: Where a Party requires a financial service supplier of another Party to be a Party of, participate in, or have access to, a self-regulatory organization to provide a financial service in or into the territory of that Party, the Party shall ensure observance of the obligations of Articles [I-4] (National Treatment) and

[xx] (Most Favored Nation Treatment) by such self-regulatory organization.]
1. [PA: For purposes of the national treatment obligations in Article X.7
(Cross-Border Trade), a Party shall accord to a cross-border financial service
supplier of another Party treatment no less favorable than that it accords to its own financial service suppliers, in like circumstances, with respect to the supply of the relevant service.]

2. [PA: Differences in market share, profitability or size do not in themselves
establish a breach of the obligations under this Article.]

PA: Article X.14: Senior Management and Boards of Directors
1. [PA: A Party may not require a financial institution of another Party to engage
natural persons of any particular nationality as senior managerial or other
essential personnel.]

2. [PA: A Party may not require that more than a simple majority of the board of
directors of a financial institution of another Party be composed of nationals of
the Party or natural persons residing in the territory of the Party.]

Article X.15 Non-discriminatory measures
1. Each Party shall endeavor to remove or to limit any significant adverse effects on financial service suppliers of any other Party of:

(a) non-discriminatory measures that prevent financial service suppliers from
offering in the Party’s territory, in the form determined by the Party, all the
financial services permitted by the Party;
(b) non-discriminatory measures that limit the expansion of the activities of
financial service suppliers into the entire territory of the Party;
(c) measures of a Party, when such a Party applies the same measures to the
supply of both banking and securities services, and a financial service
supplier of any other Party concentrates its activities in the provision of
securities services; and
(d) other measures that, although respecting the provisions of the Agreement,
affect adversely the ability of financial service suppliers of any other Party
to operate, complete or enter the Party’s market;
provided that any action taken under this paragraph would not unfairly discriminate against financial service suppliers of the Party taking such action.

2. With respect to the non-discriminatory measures referred to in [sub-paragraphs [x(a) and (b) (immediately above)]] a Party shall endeavor not to limit or restrict the present degree of market opportunities, nor the benefits already enjoyed by financial service suppliers of another Party as a class in the territory of the Party, provided that this commitment does not result in unfair discrimination against financial service suppliers of the Party applying such measures.

[PA: Article X.16: Transparent Regulations

1. The Parties recognize that transparent regulations and policies governing the
activities of financial institutions and financial service suppliers are important in
facilitating access of financial institutions and financial suppliers to, and their
operations in, each others markets.
2. Each Party shall make available to interested persons domestic requirements and applicable procedures for completing applications relating to the supply of
financial services. Upon request of an applicant, the Party concerned shall inform
the applicant of the status of its application. If the Party concerned requires
additional information from the applicant, it shall notify the applicant without
undue delay.
3. Where a license or an authorization is required for the supply of a financial
service, the competent authorities of a Party shall make the requirements for such a license or authorization publicly available. The period of time normally required to reach a decision concerning an application for a license or an authorization shall:

(a) be made available to the applicant upon request;
(b) be made publicly available; or
(c) be made available by a combination of both.]

[EU, TR: Article X.16 Effective and Transparent Regulation
1. Each Party shall, to the extent practicable, provide in advance to all interested
persons any measure of general application that the Party proposes to adopt in
order to allow an opportunity for such persons to comment on the measure. Such measure shall be provided:

(a) by means of an official publication; or
(b) in other written or electronic form.

2. Each Party shall make available to interested persons its requirements for
completing applications relating to the supply of financial services.
On the request of an applicant, the concerned Party shall inform the applicant of the status of its application. If the concerned Party requires additional information from the applicant, it shall notify the applicant without undue delay. [para. 2 may need to be adapted to DR chapter]

3. [EU: Each Party shall make its best endeavors to ensure that] [TR: Parties are encouraged to ensure that/ Parties shall take into consideration, where appropriate, that/ Special regard shall be given that] internationally agreed standard for regulation and supervision in the financial services sector and for the fight against tax evasion and avoidance are implemented and applied in its territory. Such internationally agreed standards are, inter alia, those adopted by the G20, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Parties [EU: also take note of the] [TR: shall, whenever appropriate draw guidance from the] “Ten Key Principles for Information Exchange” promulgated by the G7, and will take all steps necessary to try to apply them in their bilateral contacts.]

[US: Article X.16: Transparency

1. Articles [XX] of Annex [XX] (Domestic Regulations and/or Transparency) shall not apply to measures within the scope of this Annex.

2. The Parties recognize that transparent regulations and policies governing the
activities of financial service suppliers are important in facilitating their ability to
gain access to and operate in each others market. Each Party commits to promote regulatory transparency in trade in financial services.

3. Each Party shall ensure that all measure of general application to which this
Annex applies are administered in a reasonable, objective, and impartial manner.

4. Each Party shall, to the extent practicable,

(a) publish in advance any regulations of general application relating to the
subject matter of this Annex that it proposes to adopt and the purpose of
the regulation; and
(b) provide interested persons and Parties a reasonable opportunity to
comment on such proposed regulations.

5. At the time it adopts a final regulation, a Party should, to the extent practicable, address in writing substantive comments received from interested persons with respect to the proposed regulation.

6. Each Party should, to the extent practicable, allow reasonable time between
publication of a final regulation of general application and its effective date.

7. Each Party shall ensure that a rule of general application adopted or maintained by self-regulatory organizations of the Party is promptly published or otherwise made available in such a manner as to enable interested persons to become acquainted with it.

8. Each Party shall maintain or establish appropriate mechanisms for responding to inquires from interested persons regarding a measure of general application
covered by this Annex.

9. Each Party’s regulatory authorities shall make publicly available to interested
persons the requirements, including any documentation required, for completing
an application relating to the supply of financial services.

10.On the request of an applicant, a Party’s regulatory authority shall inform the
applicant of the status of its application. If the authority requires additional
information from the applicant, it shall notify the applicant without undue delay.

11. A Party’s regulatory authority shall make an administrative decision on a
completed application of a financial service supplier of another Party relating to
the supply of a financial service within 120 days, and shall promptly notify the
applicant of the decision. An application shall not be considered complete until all
relevant hearing are held and all necessary information is received. Where it is not practicable for a decision to be made within 120 days, the regulatory authority shall notify the applicant without undue delay and shall endeavor to make the decision within a reasonable time thereafter.

12.On the request of an unsuccessful applicant, a regulatory authority that has denied an application shall, to the extent practicable, inform the applicant of the reasons for denial of the application.]

Article X.17: Prudential Measures
1. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Agreement, a Party shall not be
prevented from [PA, EU: taking] [US: adopting or maintaining] measures for
prudential reasons, including for:

(a) the protection of investors, depositors, [PA, US financial market users],
policy-holders or persons to whom a fiduciary duty is owed by a financial
service supplier; or
(b) to ensure the integrity and stability of a Party’s financial system.

2. Where such measures do not conform with the provisions of this Agreement, they shall not be used as a means of avoiding the Party’s commitments or obligations under the Agreement.

[US, EU Article X.18: Treatment of Information

Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to require a Party to disclose
information relating to the affairs and accounts of individual consumers or any
confidential or proprietary information in the possession of public entities.]

[EU, US: Article X.19: Recognition

1. A Party may recognize a prudential measure of any other country in determining how the Party’s measure relating to financial services shall be applied. Such recognition, which may be achieved through harmonization or otherwise, may be based upon an agreement or arrangement with the country concerned or may be accorded autonomously.
2. A Party that is a party to such an agreement or arrangement referred to in
paragraph [1], whether future or existing, shall afford adequate opportunity for
other interested Parties to negotiate their accession to such agreements or
arrangements, or to negotiate comparable ones with it, under circumstances in
which there would be equivalent regulation, oversight, implementation of such
regulation, and, if appropriate, procedures concerning the sharing of information
between the Parties to the agreement or arrangement. Where a Party accords
recognition autonomously, it shall afford adequate opportunity for any other
Party to demonstrate that such circumstances exist.]

[EU, US: Article X.20: Dispute Settlement [EU: may need to be adapted to DS section]]

1. [EU, US: A Panel for disputes on prudential issues and other financial matters
shall have the necessary expertise relevant to the specific financial service under
2. [US: Where a [Panel] finds a measure to be inconsistent with this Agreement and the measure affects:

(a) only a sector other than the financial services sector, the complaining
Party may not suspend benefits in the financial services sector; or
(b) the financial services sector and any other sector, the complaining Party
may suspend benefits in the financial services sector that have an effect
equivalent to the effect of the measure in the Party’s financial services

[US: Article X.21: Expedited Availability of Insurance
The Parties recognize the importance of maintaining and developing regulatory
procedures to expedite the offering of insurance services by licensed suppliers. These procedures may include allowing introduction of products unless those products are disapproved within a reasonable time; not requiring product approval or authorization of insurance lines for insurance other than insurance sold to individuals or compulsory insurance; and not imposing limitations on the number or frequency of product introductions. If a Party maintains regulatory product approval procedures related to the offering of products within the scope of an insurance license, the Party shall endeavor to
maintain or improve these existing procedures.]

[US: Article X.22: Supply of Insurance by Postal Insurance Entities

1. The disciplines set out in this section apply where a Party allows its postal
insurance entity to underwrite and supply direct insurance services to the general
public. The services covered by this paragraph do not include the supply of insurance related to the collection, transport and delivery of letters or packages
by a Party’s postal insurance entity.

2. No Party [KR: to the extent possible] adopt or maintain a measure that creates conditions of competition that are more favorable to a postal insurance entity with respect to the supply of insurance services described in paragraph 1 as compared to a private supplier of like insurance services in its market, including by:

(a) imposing more onerous conditions on a private supplier’s license to
supply insurance services than the conditions the Party imposes on a
postal insurance entity to supply like services; or
(b) making a distribution channel for the sale of insurance services available
to a postal insurance entity under terms and conditions more favorable
than those it applies to private suppliers of like services.

3. With respect to the supply of insurance services described in paragraph 1 by a
postal insurance entity, a Party shall apply the same [KR: level of] regulations
and enforcement activities as apply to the supply of like insurance services by
private suppliers.
4. In implementing its obligations under paragraph 3, a Party shall require a postal insurance entity that supplies insurance services described in paragraph 1 to publish an annual financial statement with respect to the supply of such services.

The statement shall provide the level of detail and meet the auditing standards
required under the generally accepted accounting and auditing principles, or
equivalent rules, applied in the Party’s territory with respect to publicly traded
private enterprises supplying like services.
[KR: The statement shall provide the level of detail and meet the auditing standards required under the generally accepted accounting and auditing principles, or equivalent rules, applied in the Party’s territory with respect to publicly traded private enterprises supplying like services.]
5. If a Panel under [Dispute Settlement] finds that a Party is maintaining a measure inconsistent with any of the commitments in paragraphs 2 through 4, the Party shall notify the complaining Party or Parties and provide an opportunity for consultations prior to allowing the postal insurance entity to:

(a) issue a new insurance product, or modify an existing product in a manner
equivalent to the creation of a new product, in competition with like
insurance products supplied by a private supplier in the Party’s market; or
(b) increase any limitation on the value of insurance, either in total or with
regard to any type of insurance product, that the entity may sell to a single

[KR: If a Panel under [Dispute Settlement] finds that a Party is maintaining a measure inconsistent with any of the commitments in paragraphs 2 through 4, the Party shall notify the complaining Party or Parties and provide an opportunity for consultations prior to allowing the postal insurance entity to:

(a) issue a new insurance product, or modify an existing product in a manner
equivalent to the creation of a new product, in competition with like
insurance products supplied by a private supplier in the Party’s market; or
(b) increase any limitation on the value of insurance, either in total or with
regard to any type of insurance product, that the entity may sell to a single

6. This section does not apply to a postal insurance entity in the territory of a Party:

(a) that the Party neither owns nor controls, directly or indirectly, as long as
the Party does not maintain any advantage that modifies the conditions of
competition in favor of the postal insurance entity in the supply of insurance services as compared to a private supplier of like insurance
services in its market; or
(b) if neither the sale of direct life nor non-life insurance underwritten by the
postal insurance entity accounts for more than ten percent of total annual
premium income in the relevant segment of the Party’s market as of

7. If a postal insurance entity in the territory of a Party exceeds the percentage
threshold referred to in paragraph 6(b) after the date the Party signs the
Agreement, the Party shall [KR: to the extent practicable,] ensure that the postal
insurance entity is:

(a) regulated by and subject to the enforcement of the same authorities that
regulate and conduct enforcement activities with respect to the supply of
insurance services by private suppliers; and
(b) subject to the financial reporting requirements applying to financial
services supplies supplying insurance services.

8. For purposes of this section, postal insurance entity means an entity that
underwrites and sells insurance to the general public and is owned or controlled,
directly or indirectly by a postal entity of the Party.]
[US: Additional proposal on sectoral cooperatives selling insurance under




Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) – Financial …

Financial Globalization – National Bureau of Economic …

WikiLeaks – Trade in Services Agreement

World Trade Center Building 7 Performance Study


, , , ,


The investigation team found that the damage of WTC 7 could NOT explain the collapse.

What did the government do to investigate the unprecedented collapse of a steel-framed building from fires? It gave FEMA the sole discretion to investigate the collapse, even though FEMA is not an investigative agency.

FEMA assembled a team of volunteer engineers from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), dubbed the Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT), to write the World Trade Center Building Performance Study. The engineers were not granted access to the site of the catastrophe. Rather, they were allowed to pick through some pieces of metal that arrived at the Fresh Kills Landfill.

Fresh Kill LandfillMost of the steel was never seen by the part-time investigators. It had been sold to scrap metal vendors, and was being shipped out to overseas ports as quickly as the newly constructed infrastructure could handle.

Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center

The BPAT lacked subpoena power, hence was unable to obtain access to important documents such as engineering drawings of the buildings. 2

The FEMA/ASCE investigation was not funded by an act of Congress, and given a paltry $600,000 by FEMA. 1  A March 2002 hearing transcript revealed that, just two month before publishing its final report the BPAT still had not been able to see blueprints for WTC 7 or the Twin Towers since they lacked subpoena power. 2  

NIST_WTC_Investigation WTC 7 Reports-861610That investigation was taken over by the the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in late 2001 amid complaints that the ASCE investigation was being hampered.

In addition, the concurrent criminal investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a separate investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board further frustrated the building performance investigators.


The investigation has been hampered by a number of issues, including:

    · No clear authority and the absence of an effective protocol for how the building performance investigators should conduct and coordinate their investigation with the concurrent search and rescue efforts, as well as any criminal investigation: Early confusion over who was in charge of the site and the lack of authority of investigators to impound pieces of steel for examination before they were recycled led to the loss of important pieces of evidence that were destroyed early during the search and rescue effort.

    · Difficulty obtaining documents essential to the investigation, including blueprints, design drawings, and maintenance records: The building owners, designers and insurers, prevented independent researchers from gaining access – and delayed the BPAT team in gaining access – to pertinent building documents largely because of “liability concerns.” The documents are necessary to validate physical and photographic evidence and to develop computer models that can explain why the buildings failed and how similar failures might be avoided in the future.

Fresh Kills sorting area    · Uncertainty as a result of the confidential nature of the BPAT study: The confidential nature of the BPAT study prevented the timely discovery of potential gaps in the investigation, which was never filled and now that important and valuable data has been lost.

The confidentiality agreement that FEMA requires its BPAT members to sign has frustrated the efforts of independent researchers to understand the collapse, who are unsure if their work is complementary to, or duplicative of, that of the BPAT team. In addition, the agreement has prevented the sharing of research results and the ordinary scientific give-and-take that otherwise allows scientists and engineers to winnow ideas and strengthen results.

    · Uncertainty as to the strategy for completing the investigation and applying the Lessons Learned: The BPAT team could not plan, nor did it have sufficient funding, to fully analyze the structural data it collected to determine the reasons for the collapse of the WTC buildings. Nor could examine other important issues, such as building evacuation mechanisms. Instead, FEMA had asked the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to take over the investigation.

FEMA’s BPAT, the only official organization that reported on Building 7’s collapse within two years of the attack, published their Final Report in May of 2002, just after the last building remains had been scrubbed from Ground Zero. The Report was completely indecisive about the cause of Building 7’s collapse.

NIST’s Investigation

Later, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was charged with investigating the collapses of the World Trade Center skyscrapers by the National Construction Safety Team Act (H.R. 4687), enacted on Oct. 1, 2002.  3 Unlike FEMA, NIST chose to separate their analysis of the Twin Towers and Building 7 into two separate reports. Although they initially promised to release their final report on Building 7 in mid-2005, they delayed the publication date multiple times.

The BPAT apparently didn’t rate admission to Ground Zero.

BPAT members have coffee
Members of the BPAT examine some of the few pieces of steel that the people running the “cleanup operation” sent their way at Fresh Kill Landfill.

The World Trade Center Building Performance Study,  Chapter 5. WTC 7 report makes unsubstantiated claims and uses a variety of deceptive techniques to make the total collapse of Building 7 due to fires seem less implausible than it is.

The Report is inconclusive about the cause of Building 7’s collapse, stating:

The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain “unknown at this time.” Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the “best hypothesis” has only a low probability of occurrence. “Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this issue.”

WTC Building 7 Collapse – 23 angles

FEMA played a central role in the “cleanup” of Ground Zero, which led to the destruction of nearly all of the body of evidence any thorough investigation would need.

By the time the Report was published, calling for further research, investigation, and analyses, nearly all of the structural steel had been recycled.

World Trade Center Building 7 Performance StudyInvestigation Team

W. Gene Corley, Ph.D, Senior Vice President of Construction Technologies Laboratory in Skokie, IL, served as principal investigator. Corley was also the principal investigator for FEMA’s study of the 1995 Murrah Federal Office Building attack. The BPAT’s investigation was funded by $600,000 from FEMA and $500,000 in ASCE in-kind contributions. 1 By December of 2001 $100,000 had been spent on the investigation.

FEMA’s Report

It is important to note that not all of these pieces from the WTC were kept for further study. This is because:

  • once a piece was taken, the full piece was discarded; and
  • pieces were accidentally processed in salvage yard operations before they were removed from the yards for further study.

WTC 7 column tree with beams attached to two floors.

Comments are marked up in red exposing many of these deceptions.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction (with comment)
Chapter 2 WTC 1 and WTC 2 (with comment)
Chapter 3 WTC 3
Chapter 4 WTC 4, 5, and 6
Chapter 5 WTC 7 (with comment)
Chapter 6 Bankers Trust Building
Chapter 7 Peripheral Buildings
Appendix A Overview of Fire Protection in Buildings (with comment)
Appendix B Structural Steel and Steel Connections (with comment)
Appendix D WTC Steel Data Collection (with comment)

Appendix C Limited Metallurgical Examination

Report Description

The Report is illustrated with cartoon like drawings, such as one explaining FEMA’s postulated floor collapse mechanism. It seems crafted to mislead the casual reader into thinking that the Towers had no core structures.

Despite its distortions, FEMA’s Report provides a substantial amount of data about the event not documented elsewhere, and conspicuously absent from NIST’s reports. For example, Appendix C describes observations, interesting from a forensic standpoint, that steel members were severely corroded by sulfidative attack.

FEMA 403 — Chapter 5 – Federal Emergency Management Study


World Trade Center Seven collapsed on September 11, 2001, at 5:20 p.m. There were no known casualties due to this collapse. The performance of WTC 7 is of significant interest because it appears the collapse was due primarily to fire, rather than any impact damage from the collapsing towers. On the contrary, it appears the collapse was primarily due to a controlled demolition. Prior to September 11, 2001, there was little, if any, record of fire-induced collapse of large fire-protected steel buildings. Before September 11, no steel framed skyscraper had ever collapsed due to fire.

On September 11, WTC 7 collapsed totally. It is suggested below that this collapse was exclusively due to fire. No significant evidence is offered to back up this suggestion (after all it is only a suggestion). It should be emphasized that WTC 7 was neither hit by an aircraft nor by significant quantities of debris from the collapse of the twin towers. It is also widely claimed that WTC 1 and WTC 2 collapsed mainly due to fire. I emphasize, that before September 11, no steel framed skyscraper had ever collapsed due to fire. However, on September 11, it is claimed that three steel framed skyscrapers collapsed mainly, or totally, due to fire.

As you can see the collapse of WTC 7 certainly has the appearance of a controlled demolition.

wtc7-demolitionThis shows that all the supports for the structure failed at the same time. Some coincidence eh? This video evidence is so compelling that no other evidence is really necessary.

The structural design and construction features of this building, potential fuel loads, fire damage, and the observed sequence of collapse are presented to (convince the uninformed reader that fires, rather than a controlled demolition, bought down the building) provide a better understanding of what may have happened. However, confirmation will require additional study and analysis. Information about the structural design and construction features and the observed sequence of events is based upon a review of structural drawings, photographs, videos, eyewitness reports, and a 1986 article about the construction features of WTC 7 (Salvarinas 1986). In addition, the following information and data were obtained from the indicated sources:

  • Annotated floor plans and riser diagrams of the emergency generators and related diesel oil tanks and distribution systems (Silverstein Properties 2002)
  • Engineering explanation of the emergency generators and related diesel oil tanks and distribution systems (Flack and Kurtz, Inc. 2002)
  • Information on the continuity of power to WTC 7 (Davidowitz 2002)
  • Summary of diesel oil recovery and spillage (Rommel 2002)
  • Information on WTC 7 fireproofing (Lombardi 2002)
  • Information on the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) tanks at WTC 7 (Odermatt 2002)

Conspicuously missing are important items such as the actual building blueprints. Note the wealth of items concerning the back up generators and fuel tanks and some almost irrelevant items, such as the tenant list. These items are meant to convince the reader that fire bought down WTC 7 even though no steel framed building had ever collapsed due to fire and even though there is no evidence that the fires were anything other than small and localized.

The 47-story office building had 1,868,000 square feet of office space. The top 40 stories of the building (floors 8 to 47) were office type occupancies. Table 5.1 lists the larger tenants of WTC 7. WTC 7 was completed in 1987 by a development team composed of the following parties:

  • Owner/Developer: Seven World Trade Company, Silverstein Development Corporation, General Partner
  • Construction Manager: Tishman Construction Corporation of New York
  • Design Architect: Emery Roth & Sons, P.C.
  • Structural Consultant: The Office of Irwin G. Cantor, P.C.
  • Mechanical/Electrical Consultant: Syska & Hennessy, P.C.
  • Structural Consultant (Con Ed Substation): Leslie E. Robertson Associates

Table 5.1 WTC 7 Tenants

Floor Tenant
46-47 Mechanical floors
28-45 Salomon Smith Barney (SSB)
26-27 Standard Chartered Bank
25 Inland Revenue Service (IRS)
25 Department of Defense (DOD)
25 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
24 Inland Revenue Service (IRS)
23 Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
22 Federal Home Loan Bank of New York
21 First State Management Group
19-21 ITT Hartford Insurance Group
19 National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
18 Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
14-17 Vacant
13 Provident Financial Management
11-13 Securities and Exchange Commission
9-10 US Secret Service
7-8 American Express Bank International
7 OEM generators and day tank
6 Switchgear, storage
5 Switchgear, generators, transformers
4 Upper level of 3rd floor, switchgear
3 Lobby, SSB Conference Center, rentable space, manage
2 Open to first floor lobby, transformer vault upper level, upper level switchgear
1 Lobby, loading docks, existing Con Ed transformer vaults, fuel storage, lower level switchgear

As shown in Figure 1-1 (WTC site map in Chapter 1), WTC 7 was located north of the main WTC complex, across Vesey Street, and was linked to the WTC Plaza by two pedestrian bridges: the large Plaza bridge and a smaller, glass-enclosed pedestrian bridge. The bridges spanned 95 feet across Vesey Street, connecting the Plaza and the 3rd floor of WTC 7. In addition to the office occupancies, WTC 7 also contained an electrical substation, and the WTC Complex shipping ramp, as shown in Figure 5-1.

Figure 5-1 Foundation plan – WTC 7.

The substation and shipping ramp occupied major portions of the WTC 7 site. The substation was built prior to the office tower, supplied electrical power to lower Manhattan, and covered approximately half the site. The shipping ramp (5,200 square feet in area, approximately 10 percent of the WTC 7 site) was used by the entire WTC complex.

5.2 Structural Description

5.2.1 Foundations

With the development of an office tower in mind, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (hereafter referred to as the Port Authority) installed caissons intended for future construction. However, Seven World Trade Company, Silverstein Development Corporation, General Partner, decided to construct a building much larger in both height and floor area. This statement appears to be wrong. Assuming, figure 5-1 is drawn to scale, the floor area of the “original footprint” (green caissons) of WTC 7 is actually larger than the “final footprint” (blue caissons). The designers combined the existing caissons inside the substation with new caissons inside and outside the substation to create the foundation for WTC 7. Figure 5-1 shows the location of pre-existing caissons built when the Con Ed substation was constructed along with new caissons that were installed for the support of the building. The discrepancy in the column locations between the substation and the office tower required transfers to carry loads from the office tower to the substation and finally into the foundation. Old and new caissons, as well as old and new columns, also can be seen in the foundation plan shown in Figure 5-1.

5.2.2 Structural Framing

The typical floor framing shown in Figure 5-2 was used for the 8th through the 45th floors. The gravity framing consisted of composite beams (typically W16x26 and W24x55) that spanned from the core to the perimeter.

The beams that spanned from the north perimeter wall to the central core of WTC Seven, were about 53 feet in length. The trusses that supposedly spanned from the perimeter wall to the central core in the Twin Towers, were 60 feet long. One has to question why solid beams were used in WTC Seven and only flimsy trusses in WTC’s One and Two. Of course the answer is that flimsy trusses were not used in WTC’s One and Two, we have only been told that they were. We have been lied to.

Figure 5-2 Plan view of typical floor framing for the 8th through 45th floors.

For those not familiar with the standard designations for I-beams (i.e., labels like W16x26 and W24x55), click here, for the dimensions of some commonly used beams.

The floor slab was an electrified composite 3-inch metal deck with 2-1/2-inch normal-weight concrete fill spanning between the steel beams. Below the 8th floor, floors generally consisted of formed slabs with some limited areas of concrete-filled metal decks. There were numerous gravity column transfers, the more significant of these being three interior gravity column transfers between floors 5 to 7 and eight cantilever column transfers in the north elevation at the 7th floor. The column transfers in the exterior walls are shown in the bracing elevations (Figure 5-3).

Figure 5-3 Elevations of building and core area.

The lateral load resisting system consisted of four perimeter moment frames, one at each exterior wall, augmented by two-story belt trusses between the 5th and 7th floors and between the 22nd and 24th floors. There were additional trusses at the east and west elevations below the 7th floor. An interior braced core extended from the foundation to the 7th floor. The horizontal shear was transferred into the core at the 5th and the 7th floors. The 5th floor diaphragm (plan shown in Figure 5-4) consisted of a reinforced concrete 14-inch-thick slab with embedded steel T-sections. The 7th floor was an 8-inch-thick reinforced concrete slab.

Note that the concrete slab on the 5th floor was 14-inch-thick and had embedded steel T-sections. The 7th floor was similar, but with 8-inch-thick concrete. The 5th and 7th floors were so robustly built as they were meant to transfer much of the horizontal shear (lateral loading) to the core. Strange that according to the “official lie” the twin towers had no need for such heavily reinforced concrete slabs to transfer lateral forces to the core, indeed, it seem that we are meant to believe that lightweight trusses sufficed. Strange, indeed. 

Figure 5-4 Fifth floor diaphragm plan showing T-sections embedded in 14-inch slab.

The 5th and 7th floors contained the diaphragm floors, belt trusses, and transfer girders. A 3-D rendering of Truss 1, Truss 2, Truss 3, and several cantilever transfer girders is shown in Figure 5-5.

Figure 5-5 3-D diagram showing relation of trusses and transfer girders.

5.2.3 Transfer Trusses and Girders

The transfer trusses and girders, shown in Figure 5-6, were located between the 5th and 7th floors. The function and design of each transfer system are described below.

Figure 5-6 Seventh floor plan showing locations of transfer trusses and girders.

Truss 1 was situated in the northeast sector of the core, and spanned in the east-west direction. As shown in Figure 5-7, this truss was a two-story double transfer structure that provided load transfers between non-concentric columns above the 7th floor to an existing column and girder at the 5th floor. The girder then provided a second load transfer to an additional two columns. The 7th floor column supported 41 floors and part of the east mechanical penthouse. Its load was transferred through the triangular truss into a column located above an existing substation column and girder at the 5th floor. The 36.5-ton built-up double web girder spanned in the north-south direction between two new columns that started at the foundation and terminated at the 7th floor. The truss diagonals were W14 shapes and the horizontal tie was a 22-ton, builtup shape.

Figure 5-7 Truss 1 detail. (BPM = built-up plate member.)

A system of such triangular trusses was used in the south tower (WTC 2) to transfer the column load from those columns rising directly above the subway. These columns rose some 114 floors above the subway line. Consequently, these trusses carried a far more substantial load than those described here. This system of trusses can be clearly seen in this construction photo.

Truss 2 was a single transfer located south of Truss 1. As shown in Figure 5-8, Truss 2 transferred the column load from the 7th floor through a triangular truss into two existing columns at the 5th floor. Large gusset plates were provided at the connection between the diagonals, the columns, and the horizontal tie. The diagonals and the built-up horizontal tie were field-welded.

Figure 5-8 Truss 2 detail. (BPM = built-up plate member.)
Truss 3 was a cantilevered two-story transfer structure in the north-south direction between the 5th and 7th floors at the western end of the core area. As shown in Figure 5-9, Truss 3 transferred the loads between columns. The upper columns carried 41 floors of load and were cantilevered to the north of the column that went from the foundation to the 7th floor.

Figure 5-9 Truss 3 detail.

The cantilever transfer girders, shown in Figure 5-10, spanned between the core and the north elevation at the 7th floor. There were eight transfer girders to redirect the load of the building above the 7th floor into the columns that went through the Con Ed substation. These girders cantilevered 6 feet 9 inches between the substation and the north facade of the building above. The girders extended an additional 46 feet to the core. The two transfer girders at the east end of the building were connected to Truss 1, creating a double transfer. The girders varied in depth from 9 feet at the north end, to a tapered portion in the middle, and to 4 feet 6 inches at the southern section closest to the core. Each transfer girder weighed approximately 52 tons. At the north wall, between the 7th and 5th floors, transferred columns were also part of the belt truss that circled the building as part of the lateral-load-resisting system and acted as a transfer for the columns above the shipping ramp.

Figure 5-10 Cantilever transfer girder detail.

The original graphic is particularly misleading and has been altered. 

5.2.4 Connections

A variety of framing connections were used. Seated beam connections were used between the exterior columns and the floor beams. Single-plate shear connections were generally used at beam-to-beam connections. Double-angle connections were provided between some beam and end-plate connections at beam-to-interior columns. Floor-framing connections used 7/8-inch-diameter ASTM A325 bolts; connections for bracing, moment frames, and column splices used 1-inch diameter ASTM A490 bolts.

Along the east and west elevations, center-to-center column spacing was typically less than 10 feet. Column trees were used at these locations. A column tree is a shop-fabricated column assembly with beam stubs shop-welded to the column flanges. The field connections were made at the end of the stubs at the center of the span between columns. One-sided lap plates were used for both flange and web connections.

Along the north and south elevations, and within the core up to the 7th floor, the spans were approximately 28 feet. At these locations, traditional moment frame construction was used. Top and bottom flange plates, as well as one-sided web shear plates, were shop-welded to column flanges. The beams were then field-bolted into the connection.

The majority of column splices were bolted according to American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) details. They were located 3 feet 6 inches above the floor and were not designed to accommodate tensile forces. Columns below the 7th floor were often “jumbo” shapes (W14x455 to W14x730) or built-up jumbo box shapes with plates up to 10 inches thick welded from flange to flange, parallel to the web, to provide the necessary section properties. For these massive columns, either the upper shaft was beveled to be field-welded or side plates were shop-welded to the lower shaft and field-welded to the upper shaft once the column was erected and plumb.

The majority of the bracing members were two channels or two T-sections connected to the structure by a welded gusset plate. A single wide flange cross-section was also used. These members were connected with web and flange plates, similar to those used in the moment frames. Some of the bracing members on the east and west sides of the building were as large as the jumbo column sections. Large connection plates were sandwiched to each side of these large braces, beams, and columns at their junctions. Bolts attached all the components to each other at these joints.

The granite facade panels were manufactured off site and were supported by individual trusses. Each panel had a single vertical/gravity connection and top and bottom lateral/wind connections to transmit these forces back to the base building. Horizontal panel adjustments could be accommodated within the panel itself. The building columns had welded angles and channels that provided horizontal and lateral support. The top of the panel was connected to the angle, and the bottom of the panel was connected to the channel. These steel-panel connections had vertically slotted holes for vertical adjustment.

5.3 Fire Protection Systems

5.3.1 Egress Systems

There were two main exit stairways in WTC 7. Stairway 1 was located on the west side, and Stairway 2 was located on the east side within the central core. Both exit stairways discharged directly to the exterior at ground level and were approximately 4 feet 10 inches wide. The stairways were built of fire-rated construction using gypsum wallboard. Subsequent to the 1993 bombing incident at the WTC, battery operated emergency lighting was provided in the stairways and photo-luminescent paint was placed on the edge of the stair treads to facilitate emergency egress. In addition to the battery-powered lighting, the stairs also had emergency system lighting powered by the generators.

Twenty-eight passenger elevators and three service elevators served the various levels of WTC 7. Occupants using the elevators would typically discharge at the third level and either exit through the Lobby to bridges bringing them over to the WTC Plaza, or proceed down the escalators to grade level.

5.3.2 Detection and Alarm

Smoke detectors were located in telecommunications, electrical, and communications closets, as well as inside the HVAC system ducts, in the mechanical rooms, and in all elevator lobbies. Manual pull stations were provided at the entrances to stairways and at each of the exits. Speakers for voice evacuation announcements were located throughout the building and were activated manually at the Fire Control Center (FCC). Strobes were provided and were activated automatically upon detection of smoke, water flow, or initiation of a manual pull station. Monitoring of the fire-alarm control panel for WTC 7 was provided independently at a central station. In addition to the emergency generators, the existing uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provided 4 hours of full operation for the fire-alarm system and 12 hours of standby operation. The floor contained a combination of area smoke and heat detectors.

5.3.3 Compartmentalization

Concrete floor slabs provided vertical compartmentalization to limit fire and smoke spread between floors (see Figure 5-11). Architectural drawings indicate that the space between the edge of the concrete floor slab and curtain wall, which ranged from 2 to 10 inches, was to be filled with fire-stopping material.

Figure 5-11 Compartmentalization provided by concrete floor slabs.

A zoned smoke control system was present in WTC 7. This system was designed to pressurize the floors above and below the floor of alarm, and exhaust the floor of alarm to limit smoke and heat spread.

The fireproofing material used to protect the structural members has been identified by Silverstein Properties as “Monokote.” The Port Authority informed the BPS Team that New York City Building Code Construction Classification 1B (2-hour rating for beams, girders, trusses, and 3-hour rating for columns) was specified for WTC 7 in accordance with the architectural specifications on the construction notes drawing PA-O. According to the Port Authority, the construction notes on drawing PA-O also specified the following:

  • Exterior wall columns (columns engaged in masonry walls) shall be fireproofed on the exterior side with 2-inch solid gypsum, 3-inch hollow gypsum, 2-inch concrete or spray-on fireproofing.
  • Interior columns shall be fireproofed with materials and have rating conforming with Section C26-313.3 (27-269 current section).
  • Beams and girders shall be fireproofed with 2-inch grade Portland cement concrete, Gritcrete, or spray-on fireproofing or other materials rendering a 2-hour fire rating.

The Port Authority stated that it believed the thickness of the spray-on fireproofing was determined by the fireproofing trade for the specific structural sections used, based on the Underwriters Laboratories formula for modifications, which were reviewed by the Architect/Engineer of Record during the shop drawing submittal. Spray-on fireproofing, as required by the code, was also listed on the drawing as an item subject to controlled inspections, in accordance with Section C26-106.3 (27-132 current section). The Architect/Engineer of Record was responsible for ensuring that the proper thickness was applied. The Port Authority had extended its fireproofing inspection program to this building.

5.3.4 Suppression Systems

The primary water supply appears to have been provided by a dedicated fire yard main that looped around most of the complex. This yard main was supplied directly from the municipal water supply. Fire department connections were located on the south and west sides.

WTC 7 was a sprinklered building. However, on the 5th floor, only the core spaces were sprinkler protected, and none of the electrical equipment rooms in the building were sprinkler protected. The sprinkler protection was of “light hazard” design. The sprinkler system on most floors was a looped system fed by a riser located in Stairway 2. The loading dock was protected with a dry-pipe sprinkler system. The area of the fuel tank for OEM had a special fire detection and suppression system.

The Fire Pump Room was located on the ground floor in the southwest corner of the building and contained an automatic (as well as a manual) fire pump. There were two Fire Department of New York connections in the southwest quadrant – one on the south facade and one on the west facade.

Each stairway had standpipes in it. At each floor in each stairway, there was a 2-1/2-inch outlet with a 1-1/2-inch hose (with a 3/4-inch nozzle). In addition, the east side of each floor also had a supplemental fire hose cabinet. Primary water supply to the standpipe system came from a yard main, which was fed from the municipal water supply.

5.3.5 Power

Power to WTC 7 entered at 13,800 volts (V), was stepped down to 480/277 V by silicone oil-filled transformers in individual masonry vaults on the 5th floor, and was distributed throughout the building. On each floor, one of the 277 legs was tapped and stepped down to supply single-phase 120-V branch circuits. The main system had ground fault protection. Emergency power generators were located on various levels and provided a secondary power supply to tenants. This equipment supplied backup power for communications equipment, elevators, emergency lighting in corridors and stairwells, and fire pumps. Emergency lighting units in the exit stairways, elevator lobbies, and elevator cabs were equipped with individual backup batteries.

The tanks that provided fuel for the emergency generators were located in the building. The Silverstein and Salomon Smith Barney (SSB) fuel tanks were underground below the loading dock. The OEM tank was on the ground floor on a fire-rated steel platform within a 4-hour fire-rated enclosure. SSB had supply and return piping to the emergency generators made from a 2-1/2-inch double-wall steel pipe with a 4-inch outside diameter. The SSB fuel oil riser was single-wall pipe with a masonry shaft. This means that the oil riser pipe was encased in a solid concrete shaft. On the 5th floor, only the horizontal piping was a double-wall pipe within a pipe. The pumps located at the ground floor could supply 75 gallons per minute (gpm). A 3-gpm fuel supply rate was needed for each of the nine 1,725-kilowatt (kW) generators located on the 5th floor. One gallon would be consumed and the other 2 gallons would continue to circulate through the system. This is odd. Why pump 3 gallons when only 1 is needed? The SSB fuel oil pumps were provided with UPS power supported by both base building emergency power and SSB standby power. The volume between the inner and outer pipes was designed to contain a leak from the inner pressurized pipe and direct that fuel oil to a containment vessel. Upon detection of fuel oil in the containment vessel, the fuel oil pumps automatically de-energized. This sounds unlikely, as it is much easier to detect leakage by the drop in pressure in the inner pipe. A drop in pressure would trip a switch, deactivating the pump. The SSB fuel oil pumps and distribution piping were dedicated to the SSB generator plant. The base building life safety generators and OEM generators had their own dedicated fuel oil pumps and piping. The Silverstein generators consisted of two 900-kW units, which were also located on the 5th floor, and supplied by a 275-gallon day tank. Other characteristics of the design or controls for the fuel system for the generators are unknown.

5.4 Building Loads

The degree of impact damage to the south facade could not be documented. However, damage was evident from review of photographs and video records. So, there were photographs and videos of the impact damage to the south facade, but the damage could not be documented. Why? Surely, the photographs and videos were “documented” evidence in their own right. The number of fires observed after the collapse of WTC 1 also makes it likely that debris impact damage occurred in a number of locations. One could equally validly claim that: The number of fires observed after the collapse of WTC 1 makes it likely that fires were deliberately set.

An array of fuels typically associated with offices was distributed throughout much of the building. In addition, WTC 7 contained 10 transformers at street level, 12 transformers on the 5th floor, and 2 dry transformers on the 7th floor. The Con Ed substation contained (outside the building footprint) eight 30-foot-wide transformers that supplied 13-kilovolt ampere (kVA) power to the 6th floor of the building. Fuel oil (ranging from diesel to #4) was provided for the generators serving OEM, SSB, Silverstein Properties, and the U.S. Secret Service. Table 5.2 shows where the generators, fuel tanks, pumps, and risers were located for the various occupants. There was also a Con Ed 4-inch-diameter gas line with 0.25 pounds per square inch (psi) (low) pressure going into WTC 7 for cooking purposes. Early news reports had indicated that a high pressure, 24-inch gas main was located in the vicinity of the building; however, this proved not to be true.

As described in Section 5.6.2, the sequence of the WTC 7 collapse is consistent with an initial failure that occurred internally in the lower floors on the east side of the building. No it isn’t. It is consistent with failure of all weight supporting columns simultaneously. The interest in fuel oil is therefore directed at the parts of the fuel oil distribution system having the potential of supporting a fire in the lower floors on the east side of the building. The risers for the fuel distribution system were in one of the two utility shafts in the west end of the building. One exception was the American Express Corporation, which had a generator with a 275-gallon tank on the west end of the 8th floor. This tank was the sole supply for the American Express generator and was not connected to any other fuel oil source. The 275-gallon tank was filled by bringing containers of fuel oil to the tank and transferring the oil into the tank. Except for the part of the diesel oil distribution system serving the SSB generators, all of the generators were located at the west end, with relatively short horizontal distribution piping.

The SSB system involved three separate generator locations on the 5th floor: three generator sets in the southwest corner of the building, two in the northwest section, and four in the northeast section. The distribution pipe was double-wall welded black iron with leak detection between the pipes. The outer pipe was at least 4 inches in diameter and the inner pipe at least 2-1/2 inches. The pipe traversed most of the length of the 5th floor immediately north of a concrete masonry wall running most of the length of the floor in an east-west direction. At the east end of the 5th floor and to the south of the wall was a 1- to 2-story mechanical equipment room. Transfer Trusses 1 and 2 were located in this room. The east end of Truss 1 was supported by a truss element that ran perpendicular (i.e., north-south) to the main east-west portions of the truss. There was a set of double doors opening from the mechanical room to the area containing the four generator sets previously mentioned. The fuel oil distribution pipe ran above this door several feet to the north of the masonry wall. The type, quality, and hardware on the door set are unknown. The position of the door (i.e., open or closed) at the time of the incident is also unknown. Also, no information was available in regard to the size of the undercut on the door.

The mechanical room containing the four generator sets is outlined in pink in the upper right corner. The mechanical equipment room containing trusses 1 and 2 has also been outlined in pink. Both rooms have been assumed smaller than they actually were in order to later calculate a maximum temperature that trusses 1 and 2 might have obtained in any fire as described by the “5th Floor Scenario” presented below. To this end we calculate the area of the 2 rooms to be a minimum of 8175 square feet. The concrete masonry wall has also been marked in pink. The fuel oil distribution pipe has been marked in blue.

Note that it was next to impossible for the debris from World Trade Centers One and Two to breach the nominated fuel oil distribution pipe, as it was in the northern half of the building and was protected to the south by a concrete masonry wall and the outer perimeter wall. Since the debris from the towers would have hit WTC 7 from the south, it would have had to breach at least two walls and smash its way through more than half the building.

Storage Pumps Riser Day Tank Generators
Office of Emergency Management Used Silverstein to fill day tanks Ground floor: 33.3 gpm Located in shaft in west elevator bank 275-gallon tank on 7th floor: one 6,000-gallon tank located between low-rise elevators in east elevator shaft between 2nd and 3rd floors Three 500-kW on 7th floor on south side
Salomon Smith Barney Two 6,000-gallon tanks under loading dock on ground level In Fire Pump Room on ground floor: 75 gpm Located in shaft on south west corner of building None; pressurized recirculating loop with 2.5-inch inside diameter double wall supply and return steel pipe on 5th floor Nine 1,725-kW on 5th floor on north side, three in south west corner
Silverstein Properties Two 12,000-gallon tanks under loading dock on ground level Between elevator shafts on west side of ground floor; 4.4 gpm Located in shaft in west elevator bank 275-gallon tank on 5th floor Two 900-kW on 5th floor in south west corner
US Secret Service Used Silverstein pumps Used Silverstein pumps Located in shaft in west elevator bank Approximately 50-100 gallon tank under generator on the 9th floor 9th floor
American Express Day tank only None None 275-gallon tank on 8th floor on west side next to exterior wall 8th floor

Table 5.2 WTC 7 Fuel Distribution Systems

The fuel oil pumps were powered from the generator sets. Note that the pumps where powered by electricity. Fuel oil would have been pumped from the tanks when the emergency power system sensed a power interruption. The pump then operated in response to the pressure difference between the supply and return, and the pump would circulate oil as long as such a difference existed. Upon sensing a power interruption, the system would automatically switch to emergency mode. This would have been done with a transfer switch that monitored the building power supply and transferred to the emergency power system if the power from the Con Ed source was interrupted. It was also possible for the transfer to be made manually. Relative to continuity of power to the building, Con Ed reported that “the feeders supplying power to WTC 7 were de-energized at 9:59 a.m.” It is believed that the emergency generators came on line immediately. It is also believed that some of them may have stopped operating because of the contamination of the intake air flowing into the carburetors and radiators. Except for the SSB system, where it is understood that a UPS system provided backup power to the 75-gpm pump, the flow of oil would stop and, as soon as the day tanks were empty, the involved generator set would stop running.

The SSB generators did not use day tanks. Instead there was a pressurized loop system that served all nine generators. As long as the 75-gpm pump continued to operate, a break in the line could, under some conditions, (Pity, the article does not mention the conditions that might cause the double pipe safety mechanism to fail (just an “unimportant” detail I guess)) have a full or partial break that would not cause the system to shut down and could discharge up to the 75-gpm capacity of this positive displacement pump. It is understood that the SSB pump was supplied power from both the SSB generators and from the UPS.

Engineers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation investigated oil contamination in the debris of WTC 7. Their principal interest was directed to the various oils involved in the Con Ed equipment. However, they reported the following findings on fuel oil: “In addition to Con Ed’s oil, there was a maximum loss of 12,000 gallons of diesel from two underground storage tanks registered as 7WTC.” To date, the NY State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DEC have recovered approximately 20,000 gallons from the other two intact 11,600-gallon underground fuel oil storage tanks at WTC 7.

It is worth emphasizing that 20,000 gallons (of a maximum of 23,200 gallons) where recovered intact from the two 12,000-gallon Silverstein tanks. So, it is probable that the 20,000 gallons recovered was all of the oil in the tanks at that time. Since the oil in the Silverstein tanks survived, we can surmise that there was no fire on the ground floor.

Note that the size of a 12,000 gallon tank would be a little less than 12 feet by 12 feet by 12 feet (if built as a cube).

Based on the listings in Table 5.2, it is probable that the 20,000 gallons that were recovered were from the Silverstein Properties’ emergency power system. The data obtained from Silverstein indicate that the pumping rate from their tanks was 4.4 gpm. If the Silverstein pump had started pumping at 10 a.m., when Con Ed shut down power to the building immediately following the collapse of WTC 2, and continued pumping until the collapse of WTC 7 at 5:20 p.m., less than 2,000 gallons would have been used. The residual 20,000 gallons found in the two 12,000-gallon tanks, therefore, can not be used as an indicator of whether or not the Silverstein generator sets were on line and running.

Similarly, the SSB pump, which had a pumping rate of 75 gpm, would have drained the two 6,000 gallon tanks serving that system in less than 3 hours. This could have accounted for the lost 12,000 gallons reported by EPA or the tanks could have been ruptured and the oil spilled into the debris pile.

This is very dishonest. The figure of 12,000 gallons was the maximum quantity of fuel oil that could possibly be missing. This figure would include, for example, the difference between the actual quantity of fuel oil in the tanks at the time (which would not necessarily be known) and the maximum quantity that the tanks could hold. Consequently, this estimate of 12,000 gallons would include a provision for fuel oil that never existed.

Again, this is not a valid indicator of whether or not the SSB generator sets came on line. The NY State EPA indicates that the SSB tanks will be pulled from the debris in the near future.

Have the results of this been released, or were the results not favorable to the absurd “the fire did it theory?”

This may or may not give some indication of the amount of oil still in the tanks when they were crushed. If there is evidence that the majority of diesel fuel was still in the tanks, it can be concluded that the SSB system did not discharge diesel oil as hypothesized in Section 5.6.1. Conversely, evidence that indicates that the tanks were low on oil at the time of rupture, and that they were full at the start of the September 11 incident, would lend support to the hypothesis that the SSB system was operating and pumping oil from these tanks.

Currently, there is no data available on the post-collapse condition of the OEM 6,000 gallon tank located between the 2nd and 3rd floors. The OEM system also included a 275-gallon day tank located on the 7th floor. The OEM system had a fuel supply system with the capability of transferring fuel from the Silverstein tanks to the 6,000 gallon OEM tank. The OEM generator sets were located in the southwest portion of the 7th floor. OEM also had an 11,000 gallon potable water tank on the south side of the 7th floor.

The Secret Service diesel distribution system, like the OEM system, was designed to refurbish its supply from the Silverstein tanks. This appears to have been pumped directly to a day tank having an estimated capacity of 50 to 100 gallons located near the northwest corner of the 9th floor. The generator set was also in the same location.

The 275-gallon tank associated with the American Express generator was located at the west end of the 8th floor. If full, the 275 gallons represent a potential of about 600 MegaJoules , which would be enough to cause a serious fire that could spread to other fuels (in truth, one gallon of fuel oil would be enough to cause a serious fire that could spread to other fuels) but not felt to be enough to threaten the stability of the building’s structural elements.

5.5 Timeline of Events Affecting WTC 7 on September 11, 2001

The effects of the collapse of WTC 1 and WTC 2, the ensuing fires in WTC 7, and the collapse of WTC 7 are discussed below. Figure 5-12 shows the vantage points of the photographs taken illustrating these effects, as well as the extent of the debris generated by each of the collapses.

5.5.1 Collapse of WTC 2

At 9:59 a.m., WTC 2 (the south tower) collapsed. The approximate extent of its debris is shown in Figure 5-12(A). It appears that the collapse of WTC 2 did not significantly affect the roof, or the east, west, and north elevations of WTC 7. It is unknown if there was any damage to the south elevation after WTC 2 collapsed, but both the covered, tubular pedestrian bridge (see Figure 5-13) and the Plaza bridge were still standing after the collapse of WTC 2.

Figure 5-13 Pedestrian bridge (bottom center) still standing after WTC 2 has collapsed, sending substantial dust and debris onto the street, but before WTC 1 (top center) has collapsed.

5.5.2 Collapse of WTC 1

At 10:29 a.m., WTC 1 (the north tower) collapsed, sending its debris into the streets below. The extent and severity of the resulting damage to WTC 7 are currently unknown. However, from photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts discussed below, it was assumed that the south side of the building was damaged to some degree and that fires in WTC 7 started at approximately this time. Figure 5-14 is an aerial photograph that shows the debris clouds spreading around WTC 7 just after the collapse of WTC 1.

Figure 5-14 View from the north of the WTC 1 collapse and spread of debris around WTC 7. Note the two mechanical penthouses of WTC 7 are intact. Figure 5-15 is a photograph of WTC 1 debris between the west elevation of WTC 7 and the Verizon building.

Figure 5-15 Debris from the collapse of WTC 1 located between WTC 7 (left) and the Verizon building (right).

Figure 5-12(B) shows a plan-view diagram approximating the extent of this debris just after the collapse of WTC 1. It does not appear that the collapse of WTC 1 affected the roof, or the east, west, and north elevations of WTC 7 in any significant way. However, there was damage to the southwest corner of WTC 7 at approximately floors 8 to 20, 24, 25, and 39 to 46, as shown in Figure 5-16, a photograph taken from West Street.

Figure 5-12 Sequence of debris generated by collapses of WTC 2, 1, and 7. There is a nice piece of misdirection here. Note that in the above graphic, World Trade Center Six is labeled the “WTC Complex”, rather than WTC 6. Although this is not incorrect, it hides the fact that debris from WTC One had to fall across WTC 6 (and across Vesey Street, altogether a considerable distance) before it could impact WTC 7. Another nice touch, is the addition of the debris field from the collapse of WTC 7, which on a quick glance gives the impression that the debris from the collapse of the towers completely engulfed WTC 7.

Figure 5-16 Damage to southwest corner of WTC 7 (see box), looking from West Street. Figure 5-17, a photograph taken across from the World Financial Center (WFC), shows the west elevation and indicates damage at the southwest corner of WTC 7 at the 24th, 25th, and 39th through 46th floors.

Figure 5-17 Building damage to the southwest corner and smoke plume from south face of WTC 7, looking from the World Financial Plaza. Note damage to WFC 3 in the foreground.

Figure 5-17 is a very strange photograph. It has a number of features which immediately stand out as wrong.

  • Firstly, we are told that there were fires on the floors 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 19, 27 and 28, but the photo seems to have smoke pouring out of the windows on almost every floor.
  • Secondly, the corner offices (except for the 27th and 28th floors) show no indication of fire on the west face of the building, but these very same corner offices appear to belch smoke from their south face windows.
  • Thirdly, the north side of WTC 7 has few (if any) visible signs of fire at this time (for example, see Figure 5-20 below) so it seems quite impossible that the south side should be ablaze to the extent that the above photo would indicate.

All, in all, I think it quite clear that either this photo has been faked, or it is actually a picture of the dust cloud from the collapse of WTC 1. I think the second option is more probable, as it fits all the facts and allows the “oh, it looks like we made a mistake, so sorry” excuse. The dust cloud has been given its peculiar shape by the breeze channeling through the gap between the Verizon building and WTC 7.

According to the account of a firefighter who walked the 9th floor along the south side following the collapse of WTC 1, the only damage to the 9th floor facade occurred at the southwest corner. According to firefighters’ eyewitness accounts from outside of the building, approximately floors 8-18 were damaged to some degree. Other eyewitness accounts relate that there was additional damage to the south elevation.

5.5.3 Fires at WTC 7

Currently, there is limited information about the ignition and development of fires at WTC 7, as well as about the specific fuels that may have been involved during the course of the fire. It is likely that fires started as a result of debris from the collapse of WTC 1.

According to fire service personnel, fires were initially seen to be present on non-contiguous floors on the south side of WTC 7 at approximately floors 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 19.

A quote from above: “Evaluation of fires on the 3rd to 6th floors is complicated by the fact that these floors were windowless with louvers, generally in a plenum space separating any direct line of sight between the open floor space and the louvers. None of the photographic records found so far show fires on these floors.” So floor 6 had a fire that could not be seen, but was seen by fire-fighters. I guess such inaccuracy is why the authors had to use the word “approximately.”

The presence of fire and smoke on lower floors is also confirmed by the early television news coverage of WTC 7, which indicated light-colored smoke rising from the lower floors of WTC 7.

Video footage indicated that the majority of the smoke appeared to be coming from the south side of the building at that time as opposed to the other sides of the building. Playing with words again. The smoke was indeed coming from the south side of WTC 7, it was in fact coming from the blazing pile of debris from the twin towers (which were to the south of WTC 7). This is corroborated by Figure 5-17, a photograph taken at 3:36 p.m that shows the south face of WTC 7 covered with a thick cloud of smoke, and only small amounts of smoke emanating from the 27th and 28th floors of the west face of WTC 7.

News coverage after 1:30 p.m. showed light-colored smoke flowing out of openings on the upper floors of the south side of the building. Another photograph (Figure 5-18) of the skyline at 3:25 p.m., taken from the southwest, shows a large volume of dark smoke coming from all but the lowest levels of WTC 7, where white smoke is emanating.

Figure 5-18 WTC 7, with a large volume of dark smoke rising from it, just visible behind WFC 1 (left). A much smaller volume of white smoke is seen rising from the base of WTC 7. Note that the lower, lighter-colored smoke (to right) is thought to be from the two collapsed towers

This photo amply demonstrates the dishonesty of the authors of this article (and of the FEMA report generally). It must have taken them some time to find a photo as misleading as this one. But since deception is the name of the game the effort to find such pictures was made.

What is so deceitful about the use of this photo, you ask?

Note that the corners of various buildings in the photo line up (WFC 1 and WTC 7 line up as do the Bankers Trust building and the apartment building in the center of the photo). These corners have been marked by red dots in the aerial photograph of Manhattan below. Draw lines through these dots and where they cross is where the photo was snapped. So we see that the above photo was taken from a boat on the Hudson and that in order to see the smoke from WTC 7 we have to look through the thick smoke from the ruins of WTC 1 and WTC 2. Very deceitful indeed.

The mode of fire and smoke spread was unclear; however, it may have been propagated through interior shafts, between floors along the south facade that may have been damaged, or other internal openings, as well as the floor slab/exterior facade connections.

It appeared that water on site was limited due to a 20-inch broken water main in Vesey Street. This is an outright lie. This is Manhattan, more fire hydrants per square meter than any other place on earth. Although WTC 7 was sprinklered, it did not appear that there would have been a sufficient quantity of water to control the growth and spread of the fires on multiple floors. Crap, there was plenty of water. In addition, the firefighters made the decision fairly early on not to attempt to fight the fires, due in part to the damage to WTC 7 from the collapsing towers. The people who told the firefighters not to put out the small localized fires in WTC 7 should be held liable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That the decision was made because of damage to WTC 7 is a joke. The extent and severity of the damage to WTC 7 was so slight that it is still unknown to this day. If there had been major damage the authors of this article would have provided evidence of it. Hence, the fire progressed throughout the day fairly unimpeded by automatic or manual suppression activities.

A review of photos and videos indicates that there were limited fires on the north, east, and west faces of the building. One eyewitness who saw the building from a 30th floor apartment approximately 4 blocks away to the northwest noted that fires in the building were not visible from that perspective. On some of the lower floors, where the firefighters saw fires for extended periods of time from the south side, there appeared to be walls running in an east to west direction, at least on floors 5 and 6, that would have compartmentalized the north side from the south side. There were also air plenums along the east and west walls and partially along the north walls of these floors instead of windows that may have further limited fires from extending out of these floors and, therefore, were not visible from sides other than the south.

As the day progressed, fires were observed on the east face of the 11th, 12th, and 28th floors (see Figure 5-19). The Securities and Exchange Commission occupied floors 11 through 13. Prior to collapse, fire was seen to have broken out windows on at least the north and east faces of WTC 7 on some of the lower levels.

Figure 5-19 Fires on the 11th and 12th floors of the east face of WTC 7.

On the north face, photographs and videos show that the fires were located on approximately the 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th, and 13th floors. American Express Bank International occupied the 7th and 8th floors. The 7th floor also held the OEM generators and day tank. Photographs of the west face show fire and smoke on the 29th and 30th floors.

It is important to note that floors 5 through 7 contained structural elements that were important to supporting the structure of the overall building. The 5th and 7th floors were diaphragm floors that contained transfer girders and trusses. These floors transferred loads from the upper floors to the structural members and foundation system that was built prior to the WTC 7 office tower. Fire damage in the 5th to 7th floors of the building could, maybe, possibly, perhaps, therefore, have damaged essential structural elements.

With the limited information currently available, fire development in this building needs additional study. Fires were observed to be located on some of the lower levels about the 10th floor for the majority of the time from the collapse of WTC 1 to the collapse of WTC 7. It appears that the sprinklers may not have been but may have been (apparently the authors are not too sure) effective due to the limited water on site or their function being sabotaged in some way, and that the development of the fires was not significantly impeded by the firefighters because manual firefighting efforts were stopped fairly early in the day.

Available information indicates that fires spread horizontally and vertically throughout the building during the course of the day. The mode of spread was most likely either along the south facade that was damaged, or internally through shafts or the gap between the floor slab and the exterior wall. It is currently unclear what fuel may have been present to permit the fires to burn on these lower floors for approximately 7 hours.

Now get this: the fire burnt for about 7 hours. During this seven hours, the fire never managed to reach the northern side of the building. Apparently, it was trapped in the southern side of the building. Yet this fire raged so furiously that it warped the steel in the southern side of the building to the point where the whole building collapsed. To explain this, we have been told that two floors (floors 5 and 6), on which there were no known fires, had a dividing wall that ran across the building. This is such a transparent lie, it is impossible that a reasonable person believe it. And, in any event, if the steel on only one side of the building warped, leading to collapse, then the building would have fallen like a tree and would not have collapsed in the manner of a controlled demolition.

The change in the color and buoyancy of the smoke as the day progressed may indicate a change in the behavior of the fires. The darker color may be indicative of different fuels becoming involved, such as fuel oil, or the fire becoming ventilation limited. The increased buoyancy of the fires suggests that the heat release rate (or “fire size”) may have also increased.

The mechanisms behind these apparent changes in behavior are currently unknown and therefore various scenarios need to be investigated further. These include gathering additional information regarding storage of materials on various levels, the quantity and combustibility of materials, and the presence of dense storage, including file rooms, tape vaults, etc. In addition, further analysis is needed on the specific locations of the fuel tanks, supply lines, fuel pumps, and generators to determine whether it may have been possible for a fuel line to be severed by the falling debris, allowing the pumps to run and pump fuel out of the broken pipes. No further analysis is needed. It is amazingly obvious that WTC 7 was deliberately demolished.

5.5.4 Sequence of WTC 7 Collapse

Approximately 7 hours after fires initiated in WTC 7, the building collapsed. The start of a timed collapse sequence was based on 17:20:33, the time registered by seismic recordings described in Table 1.1 (in Chapter 1). The time difference between each of the figures was approximated from time given on the videotape. Figures 5-20 to 5-25 illustrate the observed sequence of events related to the collapse.

~5:20:33 p.m. WTC 7 begins to collapse. Note the two mechanical penthouses at the roof on the east and west sides in Figure 5-20.

~5:21:03 p.m. Approximately 30 seconds later, Figure 5-21 shows the east mechanical penthouse disappearing into the building. It takes a few seconds for the east penthouse to “disappear” completely.

~5:21:08 p.m. Approximately 5 seconds later, the west mechanical penthouse disappears (Figure 5-22) or sinks into WTC 7.

~5:21:09 p.m. Approximately 1 or 2 seconds after the west penthouse sinks into WTC 7, the whole building starts to collapse. A north-south “kink” or fault line develops along the eastern side as the building begins to come down at what appears to be the location of the collapse initiation (see Figures 5-23 and 5-24).

~5:21:10 p.m. WTC 7 collapses completely after burning for approximately 7 hours (Figure 5-25). The collapse appeared to initiate at the lower floors, allowing the upper portion of the structure to fall.

Figure 5-20 View from the north of WTC 7 with both mechanical penthouses intact.

Figure 5-23 View from the north of the “kink” or fault developing in WTC 7.

These two photos were taken within minutes of each other (this can be established by looking at the shadows (note that the street lighting is on in both pictures)). Note that the building has maintained is general shape in the second photo, even though the building is now some 15 floors “shorter”. What are the thin clouds of dust in the second photo. They are not in the first photo. The large dust cloud that accompanied the collapse (just like the Twin Tower dust clouds) seems to be emanating from the east side of the building only. Is there a reason for this?

Note that our “lucky” photographer seems to have been ready and waiting for the collapse, as were a number of other photographers who managed to “accidentally” snap various of the events of 9-11.

The debris generated by the collapse of WTC 7 spread mainly westward toward the Verizon building, and to the south. The debris significantly damaged 30 West Broadway to the north, but did not appear to have structurally damaged the Irving Trust building at 101 Barclay Street to the north or the Post Office at 90 Church Street to the east. The average debris field radius was approximately 70 feet. This indicates a successful controlled demolition. Figures 5-12(C) and 5-26 show an approximation of the extent of the debris after the collapse of WTC 7.

5.6 Potential Collapse Mechanism

5.6.1 Very Improbable Collapse Initiation Events

WTC 7 collapsed approximately 7 hours after the collapse of WTC 1. Preliminary indications were that, due to lack of water, (lack of water, what a joke, this is Manhattan, more fire hydrants per square meter than any other place on earth) no manual firefighting actions were taken by FDNY.

Section 5.5.4 describes the sequence of the WTC 7 collapse. The described sequence is consistent with building collapse resulting from an initial (triggering) failure that occurred internally in the east portion of a lower floor in the building. There is no clear evidence of exactly where or on which floor the initiating failure occurred. Possibilities can be divided into three potential scenarios based on floor. In each case, the concern is the failure of either a truss or one or more columns in the lower floors of the east portion of the building. Each of the scenarios is a hypothesis based on the facts known and the unknown conditions that would be required for the hypothesis to be valid. The cases are presented not as conclusions, but as a basis for further investigation. Really!?!?

Figure 5-21 East mechanical penthouse collapsed. (From video.)
Figure 5-22 East and now west mechanical penthouses gone. (From video.)

Most of the smoke in these pictures is from the ruins of the towers.

4th Floor Scenarios.

The bottom cords of the transfer trusses were part of the support of the 5th floor slab and, as such, were located below the slab and above the ceiling of the 4th floor in a position exposed to fire from below. The bottom cord members were massive members weighing slightly over 1,000 pounds per foot. Such members are slow to heat up in a fire. It was reported that these bottom cords were fireproofed. The space below was the cafeteria dining room. The best information available indicates that the dining room was furnished with tables and chairs. The intensity and duration of a fire involving these furnishings would not be expected to sufficiently weaken either the trusses or the columns supporting the trusses. Member collapse as a result of a fire on the 4th floor would require either that there was significant additional fuel or that the fireproofing on the trusses or columns was defective. Fuel oil leakage from the 5th floor is also a possibility; however, no evidence of leakage paths in the east end of the second floor was reported. And, last but not least, there was absolutely no evidence of any fire on the 4th floor.

Figure 5-24 Areas of potential transfer truss failure.

Figure 5-25 Debris cloud from collapse of WTC 7.

5th Floor Scenarios.

From a structural standpoint, the most likely event would have been the collapse of Truss 1 and/or Truss 2 located in the east end of the 5th and 6th floors. These floors are believed to have contained little if any fuel other than the diesel fuel for the emergency generators, making diesel oil a potential source of fire. As noted in Section 5.4, the fuel distribution system for the emergency generators pumped oil from tanks on the lower floors to the generators through a pipe distribution system. The SSB fuel oil system was a more likely source of fire around the transfer trusses. The SSB pump is reported as a positive displacement pump having a capacity of 75 gpm at 50 psi. Fuel oil was distributed through the 5th floor in a double-wall iron pipe. A portion of the piping ran in close proximity to Truss 1. However, there is no physical, photographic, or other evidence to substantiate or refute the discharge of fuel oil from the piping system. And maybe one should mention there was absolutely no evidence of any fire on the 5th floor.

The following is, therefore, a hypothesis based on potential (actually, an hypothesis based on myth, describes it better) rather than demonstrated fact. Assume that the distribution piping was severed and discharged up to 75 gpm onto the 5th floor in the vicinity of Truss 1. Seventy-five gpm of diesel fuel have the potential of approximately 160 megawatts (MW) of energy. If this burning diesel fuel formed pools around Truss 1, it could have subjected members of that truss to temperatures significantly in excess of those experienced in standard fire resistance test furnaces (see Appendix A). If the supply tanks were full at the start of the discharge, there was enough fuel to sustain this flow for approximately 3 hours. If the assumed pipe rupture were incomplete and the flow less, the potential burning rate of the discharged oil would be less, but the duration would be longer. At even a 30-gpm flow rate (about 60 MW potential), the exposed members in the truss could still be subjected to high temperatures that would progressively weaken the steel. For the above reasons, it is felt that burning of discharged diesel fuel oil in a pool encompassing Truss 1 and/or Truss 2 needs to be further evaluated as a possible cause of the building collapse.

Figure 5-26 Debris generated after collapse of WTC 7.

In evaluating the potential that a fire fed by fuel oil caused the collapse, it is necessary to determine whether the following events occurred:

  1. The SSB generators called for fuel. This would occur once the generators came on line.
  2. The pumps came on, sending fuel through the distribution piping.
  3. There was a breach in the fuel distribution piping and fuel oil was discharged from the distribution system.
    Although there is no physical evidence available, this hypothesis assumes that it is possible that both the inner and outer pipes were severed, presumably by debris from the collapse of WTC 1. Depending on ventilation sources for air, this is sufficient to flashover the space along the north wall of this floor. The temperature of the fire gases would be governed to a large extent by the availability of air for combustion. The hot gases generated would be blocked from impacting Trusses 1 and 2 by the masonry wall separating the generation area from the mechanical equipment room, assuming that this wall was still intact after collapse of the tower and there were no other significant penetrations of walls.
  4. The discharged fuel must be ignited. For diesel oil to be ignited, there must be both an ignition source and the oil must be raised to its flash point temperature of about 60 degrees Centigrade (140 degrees Fahrenheit). Because there were fires on other floors of WTC 7, an assumption of ignition at this level in the building is reasonable, but without proof.
  5. There is sufficient air for combustion of the discharged fuel oil.
    The air required for combustion of 75-gpm (160 MW potential) diesel fuel is approximately 100,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm). If less air is available for combustion, the burning rate will decrease proportionally. As the engine generator sets come on line, automatic louvers open and 80,000 cfm are provided for each of the nine SSB engines. A portion is used as combustion air for the drive engines; the rest is for cooling, but could supply air to an accidental fire. Given open louvers and other sources for entry of air, it is, therefore, probable that a fuel oil spill fire would have found sufficient air for combustion.
  6. The hot fire gases reach and heat the critical member(s).
    For this to happen, the fire must have propagated either fuel or hot gases to the members in the truss in the mechanical equipment room. If the double door to the mechanical equipment room was either open or fell from its frame at some point, or if the door was undercut, the spilled fuel oil might have flowed into the mechanical equipment room, enveloping truss members in the main (hottest) portion of the flame. Such a situation could produce an exposure possibly exceeding that in the standard furnace test producing localized heat fluxes approaching the 200 kW/m2 used by Underwriters Laboratories to simulate a hydrocarbon pool fire, with exposure temperatures in the range of 1,200 degrees Centigrade (2,200 degrees Fahrenheit). If such intense exposure existed, the steel would be weakened more rapidly than normally expected. If the door was of superior construction (as with a fire door), it is unlikely that the fire would have reached the trusses in the mechanical equipment room until such time that the door failed.

So we have been presented with the following absurd story:

  1. Power to the Twin Towers was wired from the substation in WTC 7 through two separate systems. The first provided power throughout each building; the second provided power only to the emergency systems. In the event of fire, power would only be provided to the emergency systems. This was to prevent arcing electric lines igniting new fires and to reduce the risk of firefighters being electrocuted. There were also six 1,200 kW emergency power generators located in the sixth basement (B-6) level of the towers, which provided a backup power supply. These also had normal and emergency subsystems.
  2. Previous to the collapse of the South Tower, the power to the towers was switched to the emergency subsystem to provide power for communications equipment, elevators, emergency lighting in corridors and stairwells, and fire pumps and safety for firefighters. At this time power was still provided by the WTC 7 substation.
  3. Con Ed reported that “the feeders supplying power to WTC 7 were de-energized at 9:59 a.m.”. This was due to the South Tower collapse which occurred at the same time.
  4. Unfortunately, even though the main power system for the towers was switched off and WTC 7 had been evacuated, a design flaw allowed generators (designed to supply backup power for the WTC complex) to start up and resume an unnecessary and unwanted power supply.
  5. Unfortunately, debris from the collapse of the north tower (the closest tower) fell across the building known as World Trade Center Six, and then across Vesey Street, and then impacted WTC 7 which is (at closest) 355 feet away from the north tower.
  6. Unfortunately, some of this debris penetrated the outer wall of WTC 7, smashed half way through the building, demolishing a concrete masonry wall (in the north half of the building) and then breached a fuel oil pipe that ran across the building just to the north of the masonry wall.
  7. Unfortunately, though most of the falling debris was cold, it manages to start numerous fires in WTC 7.
  8. Unfortunately, even with the outbreak of numerous fires in the building, no decision was made to turn off the generators now supplying electricity to WTC 7. Fortunately, for the firefighters, someone did make the decision not to fight and contain the fires while they were still small, but to wait until the fires were large and out of control. Otherwise, many firefighters may have been electrocuted while fighting the fires.
  9. Unfortunately, the safety mechanism that should have shut down the fuel oil pumps (which were powered by electricity) upon the breaching of the fuel line, failed to work and fuel oil (diesel) was pumped from the Salomon Smith Barney tanks on the ground floor onto the 5th floor where it ignited. The pumps eventually emptied the tanks, pumping some 12,000 gallons in all.
  10. Unfortunately, the sprinkler system of WTC 7 malfunctioned and did not extinguish the fires.
  11. Unfortunately, the burning diesel heated trusses one and two to the point that they lost their structural integrity.
  12. Unfortunately, this then (somehow) caused the whole building to collapse, even though before September 11, no steel framed skyscraper had ever collapsed due to fire.

You must agree, it is absurd, isn’t it?

A further hypothesis that would help explain the long time lapse between the collapse of WTC 1 and the collapse of WTC 7 would be that the masonry wall and door resisted the fire for a number of hours, but eventually failed. The new opening then allowed the fire (still supplied with a continuous discharge of fuel oil) to flow into the mechanical equipment room, envelope elements of the fireproofed trusses, and eventually cause a buckling collapse of one or both of them. For the fire to last long enough for this to occur, the flow rate would have to be around 30 gpm. At a rate of 30 gpm, the fuel would last for about 7 hours and would produce a fire of about 60 MW. The possibility that such a scenario could occur would be dependent on the specific construction details of the wall, the door, and the fireproofing on the truss.

Another hypothesis that has been advanced is that the pipe was penetrated by debris at a point near the southwest corner where there was more damage caused by debris from the collapse of the towers. This would have resulted in fuel oil spilling onto the 5th floor, but not being immediately ignited. However, a major portion of the 12,000 gallons in the SSB tanks would pump out onto the 5th floor, forming a large pool. At some point, this would have ignited and produced the required fire. This “hypothesis” has the advantage of assuming a pipe break in the area most severely impacted by the tower debris and accounts for the long delay from the initial incident to the collapse of WTC 7. The principal challenge is that such a fire would have more severely exposed Truss 3. If Truss 3 had been the point of collapse initiation, it is not expected that the first apparent sign of collapse would be the subsidence of the east penthouse.

Evaluation of fires on the 3rd to 6th floors is complicated by the fact that these floors were windowless with louvers, generally in a plenum space separating any direct line of sight between the open floor space and the louvers. None of the photographic records found so far show fires on these floors.

Further investigation is required to determine whether the preceding scenarios did or could have actually occurred.

Other Involved Floors Scenarios. Fire was known to have occurred on other floors. If a fire on one of these floors involved a large concentration of combustible material encasing several columns in the east portion of the floor, it might have been of sufficient severity to cause the structural members to weaken. Such fuel concentrations might have been computer media vaults, archives and records storage, stock or storage rooms, or other collections. It is possible that the failure of at least two or possibly more columns on the same floor would have been enough to cause collapse. (proven untrue/impossible!)

5.6.2 Very Improbable Collapse Sequence

The collapse of WTC 7 appears to have initiated on the east side of the building on the interior, as indicated by the disappearance of the east penthouse into the building. This was followed by the disappearance of the west penthouse, and the development of a fault or “kink” on the east half of WTC 7 (see Figures 5-23 and 5-24). The collapse then began at the lower floor levels, and the building completely collapsed to the ground. From this sequence, it appears that the collapse initiated at the lower levels on the inside and progressed up, as seen by the extension of the fault from the lower levels to the top.

WTC 7During the course of the day, fires may have exposed various structural elements to high temperatures for a sufficient period of time to reduce their strength to the point of causing collapse. The structural elements most likely to have initiated the observed collapse are the transfer trusses between floors 5 to 7, located on lower floors under the east mechanical penthouse close to the fault/kink location.

If the collapse initiated at these transfer trusses, this would explain why the building “imploded,” producing a limited debris field as the exterior walls were pulled downward. The collapse “may have” then spread to the west. The building at this point may have had extensive interior structural failures that then led to the collapse of the overall building. The cantilever transfer girders along the north elevation, the strong diaphragms at the 5th and 7th floors, and the seat connections between the beams and columns at the building perimeter may have become overloaded after the collapse of the transfer trusses and caused the interior collapse to propagate to the whole floor and to the exterior frame. The structural system between floors 5 and 7 appears to be critical to the structural performance of the entire building.

An alternative scenario was considered in which the collapse started at horizontal or inclined members. The horizontal members include truss tension ties and the transfer girder of the T-1 truss at the east side of the 5th floor. Inclined members spanned between the 5th and 7th floors and were located in a two-story open mechanical room. The horizontal haunched back span of the eastern cantilever transfer girders, located roughly along the kink, rested on a horizontal girder at the 7th floor supported by the T-1 transfer truss. Even if the cantilever transfer girder had initiated the collapse sequence, the back span failure would most likely have not caused the observed submergence of the east mechanical penthouse.

The collapse of WTC 7 was different from that of WTC 1 and WTC 2, which showered debris in a wide radius as their frames essentially “peeled” outward. The collapse of WTC 7 had a small debris field as the facade was pulled downward, suggesting an internal failure and implosion.

To confirm proposed failure mechanisms, structural analysis and fire modeling of fuels and anticipated temperatures and durations will need to be performed. Further study of the interaction of the fire and steel, particularly on the lower levels (i.e., 1st-12th floors) should be undertaken to determine specific fuel loads, location, potential for impact from falling debris, etc. Further research is needed into location of storage and file room combustible materials and fuel lines, and the probability of pumps feeding fuel to severed lines.

5.7 Observations and Findings

This office building was built over an electrical substation and a power plant, comparable in size to that operated by a small commercial utility. It also stored a significant amount of diesel oil and had a structural system with numerous horizontal transfers for gravity and lateral loads.

The loss of the east penthouse on the videotape suggests that the collapse event was initiated by the “loss of structural integrity” in one of the transfer systems. Loss of structural integrity was likely a result of weakening caused by fires on the 5th to 7th floors. The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the “best hypothesis” has only a low probability of occurrence. Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to “resolve this issue.”

The collapse of WTC 7 was different from that of WTC 1 and WTC 2. The towers showered debris in a wide radius as their external frames essentially “peeled” outward and fell from the top to the bottom. In contrast, the collapse of WTC 7 had a relatively small debris field because the facade came straight down, suggesting an internal collapse. Review of video footage indicates that the collapse began at the lower floors on the east side. Studies of WTC 7 indicate that the collapse began in the lower stories, either through failure of major load transfer members located above an electrical substation structure or in columns in the stories above the transfer structure. Loss of strength due to the transfer trusses could explain why the building imploded, with collapse initiating at an interior location. The collapse may have then spread to the west, causing interior members to continue collapsing. The building at this point may have had extensive interior structural failures that then led to the collapse of the overall building, including the cantilever transfer girders along the north elevation, the strong diaphragms at the 5th and 7th floors, and the seat connections between the interior beams and columns at the building perimeter.

5.8 Recommendations

Certain issues should be explored before final conclusions are reached and additional studies of the performance of WTC 7, and related building performance issues “should be conducted.” These include the following:

  • Additional data should be collected to confirm the extent of the damage to the south face of the building caused by falling debris.
  • Determination of the specific fuel loads, especially at the lower levels, is important to identify possible fuel supplied to sustain the fires for a substantial duration. Areas of interest include storage rooms, file rooms, spaces with high-density combustible materials, and locations of fuel lines. The control and operation of the emergency power system, including generators and storage tanks, needs to be thoroughly understood. Specifically, the ability of the diesel fuel pumps to continue to operate and send fuel to the upper floors after a fuel line is severed should be confirmed.
  • Modeling and analysis of the interaction between the fires and structural members are important. Specifically, the anticipated temperatures and duration of the fires and the effects of the fires on the structure need to be examined, with an emphasis on the behavior of transfer systems and their connections.
  • Suggested mechanisms for a progressive collapse should be studied and confirmed. How the collapse of an unknown number of gravity columns brought down the whole building must be explained.
  • The role of the axial capacity between the beam-column connection and the relatively strong structural diaphragms may have had in the progressive collapse should be explained.
  • The level of fire resistance and the ratio of capacity-to-demand required for structural members and connections deemed to be critical to the performance of the building should be studied. The collapse of some structural members and connections may be more detrimental to the overall performance of the building than other structural members. The adequacy of current design provisions for members whose failure could result in large-scale collapse should also be studied.

5.9 References

Davidowitz, David (Consolidated Edison). 2002. Personal communication on the continuity of power to WTC 7. April.

Flack and Kurtz, Inc. 2002. Oral communication providing engineering explanation of the emergency generators and related diesel oil tanks and distribution systems. April.

Lombardi, Francis J. (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey). 2002. Letter concerning WTC 7 fireproofing. April 25.

Odermatt, John T. (New York City Office of Emergency Management). 2002. Letter regarding OEM tanks at WTC 7.

Rommel, Jennifer (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation). 2002. Oral communication regarding a November 12, 2001, letter about diesel oil recovery and spillage. April.

Salvarinas, John J. 1986. “Seven World Trade Center, New York, Fabrication and Construction Aspects,” Canadian Structural Engineering Conference.

Silverstein Properties. 2002. Annotated floor plans and riser diagrams of the emergency generators and related diesel oil tanks and distribution systems. March.


 5.1 Introduction 5-1
 5.2 Structural Description 5-3
      5.2.1 Foundations 5-3
      5.2.2 Structural Framing 5-4
      5.2.3 Transfer Trusses and Girders 5-4
      5.2.4 Connections 5-8
 5.3 Fire Protection Systems 5-10
      5.3.1 Egress Systems 5-10
      5.3.2 Detection and Alarm 5-10
      5.3.3 Compartmentalization 5-11
      5.3.4 Suppression Systems 5-12
      5.3.5 Power 5-13
 5.4 Building Loads 5-13
 5.5 Timeline of Events Affecting WTC 7 on September 11, 2001 5-16
      5.5.1 Collapse of WTC 2 5-16
      5.5.2 Collapse of WTC 1 5-16
      5.5.3 Fires at WTC 7 5-20
      5.5.4 Sequence of WTC 7 Collapse 5-23
 5.6 Potential Collapse Mechanism 5-24
      5.6.1 Probable Collapse Initiation Events 5-24
      5.6.2 Probable Collapse Sequence 5-30
 5.7 Observations and Findings 5-31
 5.8 Recommendations 5-32
 5.9 References 5-32
 Figure 5-1 Foundation plan – WTC 7. 5-3
 Figure 5-2 Plan view of typical floor framing. 5-4
 Figure 5-3 Elevations of building and core area. 5-5
 Figure 5-4 Fifth floor diaphragm plan showing T-sections. 5-6
 Figure 5-5 3-D diagram showing relations of trusses and transfer girders. 5-6
 Figure 5-6 Seventh floor plan showing locations of transfer trusses and girders. 5-7
 Figure 5-7 Truss 1 detail. 5-8
 Figure 5-8 Truss 2 detail. 5-9
 Figure 5-9 Truss 3 detail. 5-10
 Figure 5-10 Cantilever transfer girder detail. 5-11
 Figure 5-11 Compartmentalization provided by concrete floor slabs. 5-12
 Figure 5-12 Sequence of debris generated by collapses of WTC 2, 1, and 7. 5-17
 Figure 5-13 Pedestrian bridge. 5-18
 Figure 5-14 Spread of debris around WTC 7. 5-18
 Figure 5-15 Debris from the collapse of WTC 1. 5-19
 Figure 5-16 Damage to the southeast corner of WTC 7. 5-19
 Figure 5-17 Building damage to the southwest corner of WTC 7. 5-20
 Figure 5-18 WTC 7, with a large volume of dark smoke rising from it. 5-21
 Figure 5-19 Fires on the 11th and 12th floors of the east face of WTC 7. 5-22
 Figure 5-20 View of WTC 7 with both mechanical penthouses intact. 5-24
 Figure 5-21 East mechanical penthouse collapsed. 5-25
 Figure 5-22 East and now west mechanical penthouses gone. 5-25
 Figure 5-23 View from the north of the “kink” or fault developing in WTC 7. 5-26
 Figure 5-24 Areas of potential transfer truss failure. 5-27
 Figure 5-25 Debris cloud from collapse of WTC 7. 5-27
 Figure 5-26 Debris generated after collapse of WTC 7. 5-28


 Let us not forget…

BBC videos announcing WTC 7’s collapse at 4:54 p.m [Details]

Two live 9/11 BBC broadcasts have emerged which announced the collapse of WTC 7 at 4:54 p.m – 26 minutes before the collapse actually occurred. The collapse was supposedly a spontaneous event, so how did the BBC foretell it? Needless to say, the BBC went to great lengths to get these videos removed from the internet.


9/11 CNN Reports World Trade Center Tower 7 Collapse Before it Happens

Fox also announced WTC 7 collapse BEFORE IT FELL ON 9/11

9/11 WCBS Announces WTC 7 Might Have Collapsed Seconds Before It Collapses Live 5:21 pm



1. HEARING CHARTER: Learning from 9/11: Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center, house.gov, 3/6/02
2. HEARING: Learing From 9/11 — Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center, commdocs.house.gov, 3/6/2002 [cached]
3. AWG E-MAIL NEWS 2002-29, awg.org, [cached]

The World Trade Center.

The World Trade Center Demolition.740 KB
Evidence of Explosives In The South Tower Collapse. 300 KB
Chapter 1 of the FEMA WTC Report: Introduction (with comment). 850 KB
Chapter 2 of the FEMA WTC Report: The Twin Towers (with comment). 1.9 MB
Chapter 5 of the FEMA WTC Report: World Trade Center Seven (with comment).1.3 MB
Microsoft Software used to simulate the crash of a Boeing 747 into the World Trade Center.
University of California, Berkeley Professor, Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl Testifies.
Table Of Contents for the FEMA World Trade Center Report.
Chapter 3 of the WTC Report: WTC 3.
Chapter 6 of the WTC Report: Bankers Trust Building.
Appendix B of the WTC-Report: Structural Steel and Steel Connections.
Appendix D of the WTC-Report: WTC Steel Data Collection.
The World Trade Center 7 Explosion Myth.
Photographic Evidence that they Lied About the Trusses.
Proof the Twin Towers were Deliberately Demolished.

The Pentagon.

A Detailed Analysis of whether or not a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon. 1.4 MB
Photos of Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon are a Complete and Utter Fabrication.
The Bijlmer Crash – Joe Vialls – Caught in a Lie.
Carol A. Valentine Article Completely Wrong.
The Strange Case of the Sports Utility Vehicle at the Pentagon.
How the size of the plane in the “explosion” photo was calculated.
The Essence of the Problem.

>The Response, Or Rather, Lack Of It.

Air National Guard Mission And Vision Statement.
An example of Air National Guard efficency.
Where was NORAD on September Eleven?

HI-RESOLUTION VIDEOS OF THE 9/11 HOAX.Video of the (obvious) demolition of World Trade Center Seven together with video of the (less obvious) demolition of North Tower. Hi-resolution video of the first plane hitting the North tower is also presented (this is footage taken by the Naudet brothers ( one of whom quite clearly knew the first aircraft was about to hit the North Tower )).HI-RESOLUTION VIDEO Here hi-resolution video means video recorded with the DivX3.11a codec with the (variable) bitrate set to 6000 and crispness/smoothness set to 100. The hi-resolution videos are much larger files than necessary for good viewing. They are meant to convey as much of the original detail as possible.You can download the hi-resolution videos of the 9/11 hoax from these links.The First Plane Hitting The North Tower (13 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×408)
The Second Plane Hitting The South Tower (10 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×472)
The North Tower Demolition(2 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 492×408)
The North Tower Demolition (longer version) (13 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×472)
The WTC Building Seven Demolition(0.9 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×408)
The WTC Building Seven Demolition (another view) (0.8 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×408)
The WTC Building Seven Demolition (yet another view) (9.5 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×408)
Premature Detonations in North Tower Demolition (4.8 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×472)
More Premature Detonations in North Tower Demolition(6.1 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 696×472)
Woman Waving From WTC North Tower Impact Hole. (1.2 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×356) The woman is in the lower righthand corner and why this is of interest. For those interested, here is an article on the Premature Detonations. Here are some hi-resolution videos of the second plane hitting the South Tower. View from north-east (4.9 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 716×480)
View from north (13 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×472)
View from east (1.2 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×356)
Close view from east (includes the “911 In Plane Site” flash)(1.3 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×356)
Another view from north(0.8 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 692×356)
Short view from north-east(1.2 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 696×472)
Longer view from north-east (2.8 MB hi-resolution Codec: DivX3.11a 716×480)If you are using windows you need the DivX3.11a codec plug-in for Windows Media Player (many non-Microsoft movie players come standard with the codecs necessary to play DivX movies (eg Mplayer (for Linux))). If you do not already have it, you can find it here: http://public.planetmirror.com/pub/divx/windows/divx_3.11alpha.zipThe files from public.planetmirror.com are bit for bit the same (I checked) as those I have had on my system for years (with no harmful effects). You unzip the files and double click on Register_DivX.exeIf you wish to learn about DivX movies, in particular, why they sometimes play upside-down, read this thread:http://globalresearch.ca.myforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=599OTHER VIDEOPainful Deceptions by Eric Hufschmid (windows media player comes with the necessary codec to play these).Painful Deceptions. Part 1 (39 MB Codec: WMV1 360×240)
Painful Deceptions. Part 2 (42 MB Codec: WMV1 360×240)
Painful Deceptions. Part 3(35 MB Codec: WMV1 360×240)
Painful Deceptions. Part 4 (28 MB Codec: WMV1 360×240)9-11 In Plane Site Debunked and also here (25 MB Codec: DivX3.11a 360×240)
9/11 In Plane Site. (104 MB Codec: DivX5 352×240)
911 In Plane Site. (129 MB Codec: Quicktime MOV 352×240)
Premature Detonations in North Tower Demolition. (1.1 MB Codec: DivX3.11a 692×472, premature detonation marked, 3fps).

911conspiracy.tv – WTC 7 – Building 7 Demolition Videos

– surviving TV & amateur footage from 5:20 pm on 9/11 – http://www.911conspiracy.tv/7_WTC.html

UPDATE 2015: High quality downloads and documentary investigations now at archive.org.



Comparisons of the wall damage and plane images,
Photoshop overlay of the wall damage vs the FEMA report.
Other pics of the wall and damage…
The FEMA report shows little damage to the structures of the WTC
This page shows stills from 2 videos. One shows the 2nd impact from a side view. 
North tower images.wtc1.0catch.com photos of debris, several different angles and closeups of the engine.
all debris photos i could find 
Some pics that appear to be charges going off in the WTC’s
Pics of the helicopters that were around the WTC that day. Extreme closeups.

The 9/11 Mystery Helicopter?


Stranger Than Fiction (www.whatreallyhappened.com).
Evidence that the Arabs are Not to blame for the WTC attack.
Seismic Waves Generated by Aircraft Impacts and Building Collapses at the WTC.
Seismic Observations During the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attack.
Sixty State Street: A Case Study.
Suspicious Stock Option Movements prior to September 11.
Many 9-11 “Hijackers” are Still Alive and Well.
Israelis arrested on suspicion of 9-11 involvement.
Sept 11th – Unanswered Questions By MalcontentX.
Collection of Eric Hufschmid’s early articles.


FEMA 403, World Trade Center Building Performance Study …

Final Reports from the NIST World Trade Center Disaster

The Investigation of the World Trade Center Collapse …

The Role of Metallurgy in the NIST Investigation of the World …

Complete 911 Timeline: World Trade Center Investigation

May 1st 2002 FEMA World Trade Center Building

The Collapse of Twin Towers: Causes and Effects The … – M

Download – MIT

9-11 Research: FEMA’s Investigation

FEMA’s WTC Building Performance Study – WTC7.net

Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investiga

9/11 as sequel to Iran-Contra: Armitage, Carlucci and friends

911: Professional experts says it was staged – Conspiracies …

The Investigation of the World Trade Center Collapse …

Full text of “World Trade Center Building Performance Study”

Lessons Learned

Protective Security Coordination Division – Homeland Security

Research Supposedly Supporting the OCT Studies often …

‘WTC 7 Collapsed At 4:54 pm’ Videos – What Really Happened

Download – KeyChests

Nerdcities/Guardian – articles and videos – 911review


History of Military Simulation War Games



Military simulations, also known informally as war games, are simulations in which theories of warfare can be tested and refined without the need for actual hostilities. Many professional analysts object to the term wargames as this is generally taken to be referring to the civilian hobby, thus the preference for the term simulation.

Simulations exist in many different forms, with varying degrees of realism. In recent times, the scope of simulations has widened to include not only military but also political and social factors, which are seen as inextricably entwined in a realistic warfare model.

Whilst many governments make use of simulation, both individually and collaboratively, little is known about it outside professional circles. Yet modelling is often the means by which governments test and refine their military and political policies. Military simulations are seen as a useful way to develop tactical, strategical and doctrinal solutions, but critics argue that the conclusions drawn from such models are inherently flawed, due to the approximate nature of the models used.

The simulation spectrum

The term military simulation can cover a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from full-scale field-exercises, to abstract computerized models that can proceed with little or no human involvement – such as the Rand Strategy Assessment Center (RSAC).

War Games

Military Simulations range from field exercises through computer simulations to analytical models; the realism of live manoeuvres is countered by the economy of abstract simulations.

As a general scientific principle, the most reliable data comes from actual observation and the most reliable theories depend on it. This also holds true in military analysis, where analysts look towards live field-exercises and trials as providing data likely to be realistic (depending on the realism of the exercise) and verifiable (it has been gathered by actual observation). One can readily discover, for example, how long it takes to construct a pontoon bridge under given conditions with given manpower, and this data can then generate norms for expected performance under similar conditions in the future, or serve to refine the bridge-building process. Any form of training can be regarded as a “simulation” in the strictest sense of the word (inasmuch as it simulates an operational environment); however, many if not most exercises take place not to test new ideas or models, but to provide the participants with the skills to operate within existing ones.

Full-scale military exercises, or even smaller-scale ones, are not always feasible or even desirable. Availability of resources, including money, is a significant factor — it costs a lot to release troops and materiel from any standing commitments, to transport them to a suitable location, and then to cover additional expenses such as petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) usage, equipment maintenance, supplies and consumables replenishment and other items. In addition, certain warfare models do not lend themselves to verification using this realistic method. It might, for example, prove counter-productive to accurately test an attrition scenario by killing one’s own troops.

Moving away from the field exercise, it is often more convenient to test a theory by reducing the level of personnel involvement. Map exercises can be conducted involving senior officers and planners, but without the need to physically move around any troops. These retain some human input, and thus can still reflect to some extent the human imponderables that make warfare so challenging to model, with the advantage of reduced costs and increased accessibility. A map exercise can also be conducted with far less forward planning than a full-scale deployment, making it an attractive option for more minor simulations that would not merit anything larger, as well as for very major operations where cost, or secrecy, is an issue. (This was true in the planning of OPERATION AI.)

Increasing the level of abstraction still further, simulation moves towards an environment readily recognised by civilian wargamers. This type of simulation can be manual, implying no (or very little) computer involvement, computer-assisted, or fully computerised.

Kriegsspiel (wargame)

Kriegsspiel (wargame).

Manual simulations have probably been in use in some form since mankind first went to war. Chess can be regarded as a form of military simulation (although its precise origins are debated).  In more recent times, the forerunner of modern simulations was the Prussian game Kriegsspiel (war game),which appeared around 1811 and is sometimes credited with the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War. It was distributed to each Prussian regiment and they were ordered to play it regularly, prompting a visiting German officer to declare in 1824, “It’s not a game at all! It’s training for war!”

Graf Helmuth von Moltke

Graf Helmuth von Moltke is nowadays regarded as the grandfather of modern military simulation. Although not the inventor of Kriegsspiel, he was greatly impressed by it as a young officer, and as Chief of Staff of the Prussian Army promoted its use as a training aid.

Eventually so many rules sprang up, as each regiment improvised their own variations, two versions came into use. One, known as “rigid Kriegsspiel“, was played by strict adherence to the lengthy rule book. The other, “free Kriegsspiel“, was governed by the decisions of human umpires. Each version had its advantages and disadvantages: rigid Kriegsspiel contained rules covering most situations, and the rules were derived from historical battles where those same situations had occurred, making the simulation verifiable and rooted in observable data, which some later American models discarded. However, its prescriptive nature acted against any impulse of the participants towards free and creative thinking. Conversely, free Kriegsspiel could encourage this type of thinking, as its rules were open to interpretation by umpires and could be adapted during operation. This very interpretation, though, tended to negate the verifiable nature of the simulation, as different umpires might well adjudge the same situation in different ways, especially where there was a lack of historical precedent. In addition, it allowed umpires to weight the outcome, consciously or otherwise.

The above arguments are still cogent in the modern, computer-heavy military simulation environment. There remains a recognised place for umpires as arbiters of a simulation, hence the persistence of manual simulations in war colleges throughout the world. Both computer-assisted and entirely computerised simulations are common as well, with each being used as required by circumstances.

rand-sptThe Rand Corporation is one of the best known designers of Military Simulations for the US Government and Air Force, and one of the pioneers of the Political-Military simulation.

Their SAFE (Strategy and Force Evaluation) simulation is an example of a manual simulation, with one or more teams of up to ten participants being sequestered in separate rooms and their moves being overseen by an independent director and his staff. Such simulations may be conducted over a few days (thus requiring commitment from the participants): an initial scenario (for example, a conflict breaking out in the Persian Gulf) is presented to the players with appropriate historical, political and military background information. They then have a set amount of time to discuss and formulate a strategy, with input from the directors/umpires (often called Control) as required. Where more than one team is participating, teams may be divided on partisan lines — traditionally Blue and Red are used as designations, with Blue representing the ‘home’ nation and Red the opposition. In this case, the teams will work against each other, their moves and counter-moves being relayed to their opponents by Control, who will also adjudicate on the results of such moves. At set intervals, Control will declare a change in the scenario, usually of a period of days or weeks, and present the evolving situation to the teams based on their reading of how it might develop as a result of the moves made. For example, Blue Team might decide to respond to the Gulf conflict by moving a carrier battle group into the area whilst simultaneously using diplomatic channels to avert hostilities. Red Team, on the other hand, might decide to offer military aid to one side or another, perhaps seeing an opportunity to gain influence in the region and counter Blue’s initiatives. At this point Control could declare a week has now passed, and present an updated scenario to the players: possibly the situation has deteriorated further and Blue must now decide if they wish to pursue the military option, or alternatively tensions might have eased and the onus now lies on Red as to whether to escalate by providing more direct aid to their clients.

Computer-assisted simulations are really just a development of the manual simulation, and again there are different variants on the theme. Sometimes the computer assistance will be nothing more than a database to help umpires keep track of information during a manual simulation. At other times one or other of the teams might be replaced by a computer-simulated opponent (known as an agent or automaton). This can reduce the umpires’ role to interpreter of the data produced by the agent, or obviate the need for an umpire altogether. Most commercial wargames designed to run on computers (such as Blitzkrieg, the Total War series, Civilization games, and even Arma 2) fall into this category.

Where agents replace both human teams, the simulation can become fully computerised and can, with minimal supervision, run by itself. The main advantage of this is the ready accessibility of the simulation — beyond the time required to program and update the computer models, no special requirements are necessary. A fully computerised simulation can run at virtually any time and in almost any location, the only equipment needed being a laptop computer. There is no need to juggle schedules to suit busy participants, acquire suitable facilities and arrange for their use, or obtain security clearances. An additional important advantage is the ability to perform many hundreds or even thousands of iterations in the time that it would take a manual simulation to run once. This means statistical information can be gleaned from such a model; outcomes can be quoted in terms of probabilities, and plans developed accordingly.

Removing the human element entirely means the results of the simulation are only as good as the model itself. Validation thus becomes extremely significant — data must be correct, and must be handled correctly by the model: the modeller’s assumptions (“rules”) must adequately reflect reality, or the results will be nonsense. Various mathematical formulae have been devised over the years to attempt to predict everything from the effect of casualties on morale to the speed of movement of an army in difficult terrain. One of the best known is the Lanchester Square Law formulated by the British engineer Frederick Lanchester in 1914. He expressed the fighting strength of a (then) modern force as proportional to the square of its numerical strength multiplied by the fighting value of its individual units. The Lanchester Law is often known as the attrition model, as it can be applied to show the balance between opposing forces as one side or the other loses numerical strength.

Heuristic or stochastic?

Another method of categorising military simulations is to divide them into two broad areas.

Heuristic simulations are those that are run with the intention of stimulating research and problem solving; they are not necessarily expected to provide empirical solutions.

Stochastic simulations are those that involve, at least to some extent, an element of chance.

Most military simulations fall somewhere in between these two definitions, although manual simulations lend themselves more to the heuristic approach and computerised ones to the stochastic.

Manual simulations, as described above, are often run to explore a ‘what if?’ scenario and take place as much to provide the participants with some insight into decision-making processes and crisis management as to provide concrete conclusions. Indeed, such simulations do not even require a conclusion; once a set number of moves has been made and the time allotted has run out, the scenario will finish regardless of whether the original situation has been resolved or not.

Computerised simulations can readily incorporate chance in the form of some sort of randomised element, and can be run many times to provide outcomes in terms of probabilities. In such situations, it sometimes happens that the unusual results are of more interest than the expected ones. For example, if a simulation modelling an invasion of nation A by nation B was put through one hundred iterations to determine the likely depth of penetration into A’s territory by B’s forces after four weeks, an average result could be calculated. Examining those results, it might be found that the average penetration was around fifty kilometres — however, there would also be outlying results on the ends of the probability curve. At one end, it could be that the FEBA is found to have hardly moved at all; at the other, penetration could be hundreds of kilometres instead of tens. The analyst would then examine these outliers to determine why this was the case. In the first instance, it might be found that the computer model’s random number generator had delivered results such that A’s divisional artillery was much more effective than normal. In the second, it might be that the model generated a spell of particularly bad weather that kept A’s air force grounded. This analysis can then be used to make recommendations: perhaps to look at ways in which artillery can be made more effective, or to invest in more all-weather fighter and ground-attack aircraft.

Political-military simulations

Since Carl von Clausewitz‘ famous declaration war is merely a continuation of Politics by other means, military planners have attempted to integrate political goals with military goals in their planning with varying degrees of commitment. Post World War II, political-military simulation in the West, initially almost exclusively concerned with the rise of the Soviet Union as a superpower, has more recently focused on the global ‘war on terror‘. It became apparent, in order to model an ideologically motivated enemy in general (and asymmetric warfare in particular), political factors had to be taken into account any realistic grand strategic simulation.

This differed markedly with the traditional approach to military simulations. Kriegsspiel (wargame) was concerned only with the movement and engagement of military forces, and subsequent simulations were similarly focused in their approach. Following the Prussian success in 1866 against Austria at Sadowa, the Austrians, French, British, Italians, Japanese and Russians all began to make use of war-gaming as a training tool. The United States was relatively late to adopt the trend, but by 1889 wargaming was firmly embedded in the culture of the U.S. Navy (with the Royal Navy as the projected adversary).

Political-military simulations take a different approach to their purely military counterparts. Since they are largely concerned with policy issues rather than battlefield performance, they tend to be less prescriptive in their operation. However, various mathematical techniques have arisen in an attempt to bring rigor to the modeling process. One of these techniques is known as game theory — a commonly-used method is that of non-zero-sum analysis, in which score tables are drawn up to enable selection of a decision such that a favorable outcome is produced regardless of the opponent’s decision.

It was not until 1954 the first modern political-military simulation appeared (although the Germans had modeled a Polish invasion of Germany in 1929 that could be fairly labeled political-military), and it was the United States that would elevate simulation to a tool of statecraft. The impetus was US concern about the burgeoning nuclear arms race (the Soviet Union exploded its first nuclear weapon in 1949, and by 1955 had developed their first true ‘H’ bomb). A permanent gaming facility was created in The Pentagon and various professional analysts were brought in to run it, including the social scientist Herbert Goldhamer, economist Andrew Marshall and MIT professor Lincoln P. Bloomfield.

Notable US political-military simulations run since World War II include the aforementioned SAFE, STRAW (Strategic Air War) and COW (Cold War). The typical political-military simulation is a manual or computer-assisted heuristic-type model, and many research organizations and think-tanks throughout the world are involved in providing this service to governments. During the Cold War, the Rand Corporation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, amongst others, ran simulations for the Pentagon that included modeling the Vietnam War, the fall of the Shah of Iran, the rise of pro-communist regimes in South America, tensions between India, Pakistan and China, and various potential flashpoints in Africa and South-East Asia. Both MIT and Rand remain heavily involved in US military simulation, along with institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and the National Defense University. Other nations have their equivalent organizations, such as Cranfield Institute‘s Defense Academy (formerly the Royal Military College of Science) in the United Kingdom.

Participants in the Pentagon simulations were sometimes of very high rank, including members of Congress and White House insiders as well as senior military officers. The identity of many of the participants remains secret even today. It is a tradition in US simulations (and those run by many other nations) that participants are guaranteed anonymity. The main reason for this is that occasionally they may take on a role or express an opinion that is at odds with their professional or public stance (for example portraying a fundamentalist terrorist or advocating hawkish military action), and thus could harm their reputation or career if their in-game persona became widely known. It is also traditional that in-game roles are played by participants of an equivalent rank in real life, although this is not a hard-and-fast rule and often disregarded. Whilst the major purpose of a political-military simulation is to provide insights that can be applied to real-world situations, it is very difficult to point to a particular decision as arising from a certain simulation — especially as the simulations themselves are usually classified for years, and even when released into the public domain are sometimes heavily censored. This is not only due to the unwritten policy of non-attribution, but to avoid disclosing sensitive information to a potential adversary. This has been true within the simulation environment itself as well — former US president Ronald Reagan was a keen visitor to simulations conducted in the 1980s, but as an observer only. An official explained: “No president should ever disclose his hand, not even in a war game.”

Political-military simulations remain in widespread use today: modern simulations are concerned not with a potential war between superpowers, but more with international cooperation, the rise of global terrorism and smaller brushfire conflicts such as those in Kosovo, Bosnia, Sierra Leone and the Sudan. An example is the MNE (Multinational Experiment) series of simulations that have been run from the Ataturk Wargaming, Simulation and Culture Center in Istanbul over recent years. The latest, MNE 4, took place in early 2006. MNE includes participants from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United States, and is designed to explore the use of diplomatic, economic and military power in the global arena.

Simulation and reality

Ideally military simulations should be as realistic as possible — that is, designed in such a way as to provide measurable, repeatable results that can be confirmed by observation of real-world events. This is especially true for simulations that are stochastic in nature, as they are used in a manner that is intended to produce useful, predictive outcomes. Any user of simulations must always bear in mind that they are, however, only an approximation of reality, and hence only as accurate as the model itself.


In the context of simulation, validation is the process of testing a model by supplying it with historical data and comparing its output to the known historical result. If a model can reliably reproduce known results, it is considered to be validated and assumed to be capable of providing predictive outputs (within a reasonable degree of uncertainty).

Developing realistic models has proven to be somewhat easier in naval simulations than on land. One of the pioneers of naval simulations, Fletcher Pratt, designed his “Naval War Game” in the late 1930s, and was able to validate his model almost immediately by applying it to the encounter between the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee and three British cruisers in the Battle of the River Plate off Montevideo in 1939. Rated on thickness of armour and gun power, Graf Spee should have been more than a match for the lighter cruisers, but Pratt’s formula correctly predicted the ensuing British victory.


HMS Exeter at the Battle of the River Plate in 1939. As predicted by Pratt’s naval warfare model, despite taking heavy damage the lighter British cruisers were able to defeat their much larger opponent, the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee.

In contrast, many modern operations research models have proven unable to reproduce historical results when they are validated; the Atlas model, for instance, in 1971 was shown to be incapable of achieving more than a 68% correspondence with historical results. Trevor Dupuy, a prominent American historian and military analyst known for airing often controversial views, has said that “many OR analysts and planners are convinced that neither history nor data from past wars has any relevance.” In Numbers, Predictions, and War, he implies a model that cannot even reproduce a known outcome is little more than a whimsy, with no basis in reality.

Historically, there have even been a few rare occasions where a simulation was validated as it was being carried out. One notable such occurrence was just before the famous Ardennes offensive in World War II, when the Germans attacked allied forces during a period of bad weather in the winter of 1944, hoping to reach the port of Antwerp and force the Allies to sue for peace. According to German General Friedrich J Fangor, the staff of Fifth Panzerarmee had met in November to game defensive strategies against a simulated American attack. They had no sooner begun the exercise than reports began arriving of a strong American attack in the Hűrtgen area — exactly the area they were gaming on their map table. Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model ordered the participants (apart from those commanders whose units were actually under attack) to continue playing, using the messages they were receiving from the front as game moves. For the next few hours simulation and reality ran hand-in-hand: when the officers at the game table decided that the situation warranted commitment of reserves, the commander of the 116th Panzer Division was able to turn from the table and issue as operational orders those moves they had just been gaming. The division was mobilised in the shortest possible time, and the American attack was repulsed.

Validation is a particular issue with political-military simulations, since much of the data produced is subjective. One controversial doctrine that arose from early post-WWII simulations was that of signalling — the idea that by making certain moves, it is possible to send a message to your opponent about your intentions: for example, by conspicuously conducting field exercises near a disputed border, a nation indicates its readiness to respond to any hostile incursions. This was fine in theory, and formed the basis of East-West interaction for much of the cold war, but was also problematic and dogged by criticism. An instance of the doctrine’s shortcomings can be seen in the bombing offensives conducted by the United States during the Vietnam War. US commanders decided, largely as a result of their Sigma simulations, to carry out a limited bombing campaign against selected industrial targets in North Vietnam. The intention was to signal to the North Vietnamese high command that, whilst the United States was clearly capable of destroying a much greater proportion of their infrastructure, this was in the nature of a warning to scale down involvement in the South ‘or else’. Unfortunately, as an anonymous analyst said of the offensive (which failed in its political aims), “they either didn’t understand, or did understand but didn’t care.” It was pointed out by critics that, since both Red and Blue teams in Sigma were played by Americans — with common language, training, thought processes and background — it was relatively easy for signals sent by one team to be understood by the other. Those signals, however, did not seem to translate well across the cultural divide.

Problems of simulation

Many of the criticisms directed towards military simulations derive from an incorrect application of them as a predictive and analytical tool. The outcome supplied by a model relies to a greater or lesser extent on human interpretation and therefore should not be regarded as providing a ‘gospel’ truth. However, whilst this is generally understood by most game theorists and analysts, it can be tempting for a layman — for example, a politician who needs to present a ‘black and white’ situation to his electorate — to settle on an interpretation that supports his preconceived position. Tom Clancy, in his novel Red Storm Rising, illustrated this problem when one of his characters, attempting to persuade the Soviet Politburo that the political risks were acceptable as NATO would not be in a position to react in the face of political uncertainty caused by a division of opinion between the Allies, used a political wargame result as evidence the results of a simulation carried out to model just such an event. It is revealed in the text that there were in fact three sets of results from the simulation; a best-, intermediate- and worst-case outcome. The advocate of war chose to present only the best-case outcome, thus distorting the results to support his case.

Battleship RowAlthough fictional, the above scenario may however have been based on fact. The Japanese extensively wargamed their planned expansion during World War II, but map exercises conducted before the Pacific War were frequently stopped short of a conclusion where Japan was defeated. One often-cited example prior to Midway had the umpires magically resurrecting a Japanese carrier sunk during a map exercise, although Professor Robert Rubel argues in the Naval War College Review their decision was justified in this case given improbable rolls of the dice. Given the historical outcome, it is evident the dice rolls were not so improbable, after all. There were however equally illustrative fundamental problems with other areas of the simulation, mainly relating to a Japanese unwillingness to consider their position should the element of surprise, on which the operation depended, be lost.

Tweaking simulations to make results conform with current political or military thinking is a recurring problem. In US Naval exercises in the 1980s, it was informally understood no high-value units such as aircraft carriers were allowed to be sunk, as naval policy at the time concentrated its tactical interest on such units. The outcome of one of the largest ever NATO exercises, Ocean Venture-81, in which around 300 naval vessels, including two carrier battle groups, were adjudged to have successfully traversed the Atlantic and reached the Norwegian Sea despite the existence of a (real) 380-strong Soviet submarine fleet as well as their (simulated) Red Team opposition, was publicly questioned in Proceedings, the professional journal of the US Naval Institute. The US Navy managed to get the article classified, and it remains secret to this day, but the article’s author and chief analyst of Ocean Venture-81, Lieutenant Commander Dean L. Knuth, has since claimed two Blue aircraft carriers were successfully attacked and sunk by Red forces.

There have been many charges over the years of computerised models, too, being unrealistic and slanted towards a particular outcome. Critics point to the case of military contractors, seeking to sell a weapons system. For obvious reasons of cost, weapons systems (such as an air-to-air missile system for use by fighter aircraft) are extensively modelled on computer. Without testing of their own, a potential buyer must rely to a large extent on the manufacturer’s own model. This might well indicate a very effective system, with a high kill probability (Pk). However, it may be the model was configured to show the weapons system under ideal conditions, and its actual operational effectiveness will be somewhat less than stated. The US Air Force quoted their AIM-9 Sidewinder missile as having a Pk of 0.98 (it will successfully destroy 98% of targets it is fired at). In operational use during the Falklands War in 1982, the British recorded its actual Pk as 0.78.

Another factor that can render a model invalid is human error. One notorious example was the US Air Force’s Advanced Penetration Model, which due to a programming error made US bombers invulnerable to enemy air defences by inadvertently altering their latitude or longitude when checking their location for a missile impact. This had the effect of ‘teleporting‘ the bomber, at the instant of impact, hundreds or even thousands of miles away, causing the missile to miss. Furthermore, this error went unnoticed for a number of years. Other unrealistic models have had battleships consistently steaming at seventy knots (twice their top speed), an entire tank army halted by a border police detachment, and attrition levels 50% higher than the numbers each force began with.

Issues of enemy technical capability and military philosophy will also affect any model used. Whilst a modeller with sufficiently high security clearance and access to the relevant data can expect to create a reasonably accurate picture of his own nation’s military capacity, creating a similarly detailed picture for a potential adversary may be extremely difficult. Military information, from technical specifications of weapons systems to tactical doctrine, is high on the list of any nation’s most closely guarded secrets. However, the difficulty of discovering the unknown, when it is at least known that it exists, seems trivial compared to discovering the unguessed. As Len Deighton famously pointed out in Spy Story, if the enemy has an unanticipated capability (and he almost always does), it may render tactical and strategic assumptions so much nonsense. By its very nature, it is not possible to predict the direction every new advance in technology will take, and previously undreamt-of weapons systems can come as a nasty shock to the unprepared: the British introduction of the tank during World War I caused panic amongst German soldiers at Cambrai and elsewhere, and the advent of Hitler‘s vengeance weapons, such as the V-1 “flying bomb”, caused deep concern amongst Allied high command.

Human factors have been a constant thorn in the side of the designers of military simulations — whereas political-military simulations are often required by their nature to grapple with what are referred to by modellers as “squishy” problems, purely military models often seem to prefer to concentrate on hard numbers. Whilst a warship can be regarded, from the perspective of a model, as a single entity with known parameters (speed, armour, gun power, and the like), land warfare often depends on the actions of small groups or individual soldiers where training, morale, intelligence, and personalities (leadership) come into play. For this reason it is more taxing to model — there are many variables that are difficult to formulate. Commercial wargames, both the tabletop and computer variety, often attempt to take these factors into account: in Rome: Total War, for example, units will generally rout from the field rather than stay to fight to the last man. One valid criticism of some military simulations is these nebulous human factors are often ignored (partly because they are so hard to model accurately, and partly because no commander likes to acknowledge men under his command may disobey him). In recognition of this shortcoming, military analysts have in the past turned to civilian wargames as being more rigorous, or at least more realistic, in their approach to warfare. In the United States, James F. Dunnigan, a prominent student of warfare and founder of the commercial tabletop wargames publisher Simulations Publications Incorporated (SPI, now defunct), was brought into the Pentagon’s wargaming circle in 1980 to work with Rand and Science Applications Incorporated (SAI) on the development of a more realistic model. The result, known as SAS (Strategic Analysis Simulation), is still being used.

The human factors problem was an essential element in the development of Jeremiah at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the 1980s. Research by Lulejian and Associates had indicated that the individual soldier’s assessment of his probability of survival was the key metric in understanding why and when combat units became ineffective. While their research was based on day to day time scales, the developer of Jeremiah, K E Froeschner, applied the principle to the 10 second time step of the computer simulation. The result was a high degree of correlation with measured actions for which detailed data were available from a very few after action reports from WWII, the Israeli tank action on the Golan Heights as well as live exercises conducted at Hunter liggett Military Reservation in Monterey, California.

Jeremiah was subsequently developed into Janus by other researchers and the ‘Jeremiah Algorithm’ deleted for reasons of economy (Janus ran initially on a small computer) and for the reasons cited above — some in the military (mostly lower ranks) did not like the idea of orders not being obeyed. However the Generals who witnessed Jeremiah and the algorithm in action were usually favourable and recognized the validity of the approach.


Lyndon Johnson and aides examining a model of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War.

All the above means that models of warfare should be taken for no more than they are: a non-prescriptive attempt to inform the decision-making process. The dangers of treating military simulation as gospel are illustrated in an anecdote circulated at the end of the Vietnam War, which was intensively gamed between 1964 and 1969 (with even President Lyndon Johnson being photographed standing over a wargaming sand table at the time of Khe Sanh) in a series of simulations codenamed Sigma. The period was one of great belief in the value of military simulations, riding on the back of the proven success of operations research (or OR) during World War II and the growing power of computers in handling large amounts of data.

The story concerned a fictional aide in Richard Nixon‘s administration, who, when Nixon took over government in 1969, fed all the data held by the US pertaining to both nations into a computer model — population, gross national product, relative military strength, manufacturing capacity, numbers of tanks, aircraft and the like. The aide then asked the question of the model, “When will we win?” Apparently the computer replied, “You won in 1964!”




1997 FEMA Manual Depicts Impact at World Trade Center


, , , , ,

FLASHBACK: 1997 FEMA Manual Depicts AA 11 Impact Point At WTC 1 In Cross-hairs.

femawtc1impactcoincidenrk7This FEMA manual often cited for its depiction of the WTC in cross-hairs, actually reveals upon closer examination nearly the exact impact point of American Airlines flight 11 with the upper north face of World Trade Center tower number 1.


Explosive: As defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, “a substance fitting into one of these two categories: (1) any substance or article, including a device, designed to function by explosion; or (2) any substance or article, including a device, which, by chemical reaction within itself, can function
in a similar manner even if not designed to function by explosion.

Explosive Incident: An event in which an explosives device is used as a terrorist weapon.

Nuclear Incident: An event in which a nuclear agent is used as a terrorist
weapon. There are two fundamentally different threats in the area of nuclear terrorism: (1) the use, or threatened use, of a nuclear bomb; and (2) the detonation of a conventional explosive incorporating nuclear materials.

Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDDs): A conventional explosive incorporating nuclear materials. Radiation In this self-study program, refers to nuclear radiation, not radiation as a type of heat transfer. There are three types of nuclear radiation: (1) alpha, (2) beta, and (3) gamma. Radiation is the cause of one of the six types of harm that can be encountered at a terrorist incident.

Thermal, Radioactive, Asphyxiation, Chemical, Etiological, and Mechanical (TRACEM)

Thermal harm is the result of exposure to the extremes of heat and cold. Here
we will examine only heat, but cold can be equally harmful.
As you have learned elsewhere, heat travels by one of four methods:conduction, convection, radiation, and direct flame contact.

Radiation, as used in this section, refers to nuclear radiation, not radiation as a
type of heat transfer. There are three types of nuclear radiation that the first
responder should be familiar with: alpha, beta, and gamma. Alpha and
beta radiation are found as particles, while gamma radiation is found in the
form of rays.
Alpha radiation is the least penetrating of the three, and is not considered
dangerous unless alpha-contaminated particles enter the body. Once inside
the body, alpha radiation will damage internal organs.
Beta radiation is more penetrating than alpha radiation. Beta-contaminated
particles can damage skin tissue, and can harm internal organs if they enter
the body. The use of PPE including SCBA willgreatly enhance the emergency responder’s safety when dealing with alpha or beta radiation.

Gamma Radiation: Gamma rays are high-energy, ionizing radiation that travel at the speed of light and have great penetrating power. They can cause skin burns, severely injure internal organs, and have long-term, physiological effects.

Incendiary Device: Any mechanical, electrical, or chemical device used
intentionally to initiate combustion and start a fire.
Incendiary Incident: An event in which an incendiary device is used as a terrorist weapon.
Irritating Agent: A chemical agent, also known as riot control agents or tear
gas, which causes respiratory distress and tearing designed to incapacitate. Common examples include chloropicrin, MACE, tear gas, pepper spray, and dibenzoxazepine.

In 1999 NORAD had drills of jets as weapons targeting the World Trade Center

norad_drill_911In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.

One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center. In another exercise, jets performed a mock shootdown over the Atlantic Ocean of a jet supposedly laden with chemical poisons headed toward a target in the United States. In a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon — but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was “unrealistic,” NORAD and Defense officials say.

NORAD, in a written statement, confirmed that such hijacking exercises occurred. It said the scenarios outlined were regional drills, not regularly scheduled continent-wide exercises.

“Numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft,” the statement said. “These exercises tested track detection and identification; scramble and interception; hijack procedures; internal and external agency coordination and operational security and communications security procedures.”

A White House spokesman said that the Bush administration was not aware of the NORAD exercises. But the exercises using real aircraft show that at least one part of the government thought the possibility of such attacks, though unlikely, merited scrutiny.

On April 8, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks heard testimony from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that the White House didn’t anticipate hijacked planes being used as weapons.

On April 12, a watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight, released a copy of an e-mail written by a former NORAD official referring to the proposed exercise targeting the Pentagon. The e-mail said the simulation was not held because the Pentagon considered it “too unrealistic.”

President Bush said at a news conference, “Nobody in our government, at least, and I don’t think the prior government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.”

The exercises differed from the Sept. 11 attacks in one important respect: The planes in the simulation were coming from a foreign country.

Until Sept. 11, NORAD was expected to defend the United States and Canada from aircraft based elsewhere. After the attacks, that responsibility broadened to include flights that originated in the two countries.

But there were exceptions in the early drills, including one operation, planned in July 2001 and conducted later, that involved planes from airports in Utah and Washington state that were “hijacked.” Those planes were escorted by U.S. and Canadian aircraft to airfields in British Columbia and Alaska.

NORAD officials have acknowledged that “scriptwriters” for the drills included the idea of hijacked aircraft being used as weapons.

“Threats of killing hostages or crashing were left to the scriptwriters to invoke creativity and broaden the required response,” Maj. Gen. Craig McKinley, a NORAD official, told the 9/11 commission.

“We have planned and executed numerous scenarios over the years to include aircraft originating from foreign airports penetrating our sovereign airspace,” Gen. Ralph Eberhart, NORAD commander.”Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised.”

NORAD, a U.S.-Canadian command, was created in 1958 to guard against Soviet bombers.

Until Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD conducted four major exercises a year. Most included a hijack scenario, but not all of those involved planes as weapons. Since the attacks, NORAD has conducted more than 100 exercises, all with mock hijackings.

NORAD fighters based in Florida have intercepted two hijacked smaller aircraft since the Sept. 11 attacks. Both originated in Cuba and were escorted to Key West in spring 2003, NORAD said.


NASA Dryden Controlled Impact Demonstration


Controlled Impact Demonstration (CID) Aircraft

DFRC Movie # Movie Date Movie Description
EM-0004-01 December 1984 CID Aircraft crash landing
EM-0004-02 December 1984 Controlled Impact Demonstration (CID) tail camera video
EM-0004-03 December 1984 Controlled Impact Demonstration (CID) montage

In 1984 NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) teamed-up in a unique flight experiment called the Controlled Impact Demonstration (CID), to test the impact of a Boeing 720 aircraft using standard fuel with an additive designed to suppress fire. The additive FM-9, a high molecular-weight long chain polymer, when blended with
Jet-A fuel had demonstrated the capability to inhibit ignition and flame propagation of the released fuel in simulated impact tests.

On the morning of December 1, 1984, a remote-controlled Boeing 720 transport took off from Edwards Air Force Base (Edwards, California), made a left-hand departure and climbed to an altitude of 2300 feet. It then began a descent-to-landing to a specially prepared runway on the east side of Rogers Dry Lake. Final approach was along the roughly 3.8-degree glide slope. The landing gear was left retracted. Passing the decision height of 150 feet above ground level (AGL), the aircraft was slightly to the right of the desired path. Just above that decision point at which the pilot was to execute a “go-around,” there appeared to be enough altitude to maneuver back to the centerline of the runway. Data acquisition systems had been activated, and the aircraft was committed to impact. It contacted the ground, left wing low. The fire and smoke took over an hour to extinguish.

This flight, called the Controlled Impact Demonstration (CID), was the culmination of more than a year of preparation in a joint research project by NASA and the FAA to test the effectiveness of anti-misting kerosene (AMK) in a so-called survivable impact. Added to typical Jet A fuel, the AMK was designed to suppress the fireball that can result from an impact in which the airstream causes spilled fuel to vaporize into a mist.

The plane was also instrumented for a variety of other impact-survivability experiments, including new seat designs, flight data recorders, galley and stowage-bin attachments, cabin fire-proof materials, and burn-resistant windows. Crash forces were measured, and a full complement of instrumented crash test dummies was carried on the flight.

The aircraft was remotely flown by NASA research pilot Fitzhugh (Fitz) Fulton from the NASA Dryden Remotely Controlled Vehicle Facility. Previously, the Boeing 720 had been flown on 14 practice flights with safety pilots onboard. During the 14 flights, there were 16 hours and 22 minutes of remotely piloted vehicle control, including 10 remotely piloted takeoffs, 69 remotely piloted vehicle controlled approaches, and 13 remotely piloted vehicle landings on abort runway.

It was planned that the aircraft would land wings-level and exactly on the centerline during the CID, thus allowing the fuselage to remain intact as the wings were sliced open by eight posts cemented into the runway. The Boeing 720 landed askew and caused a cabin fire when burning fuel was able to enter the fuselage.

It was not exactly the impact that was hoped for, but research from the CID program yielded new data on impact survivability which helped establish new FAA rules regarding fire prevention and retardant materials. Although proponents argued that AMK prevented a hotter, more catastrophic fire during the CID, FAA requirements for the additive were put on the back burner.


9/11 conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories that disagree with the widely accepted account that the September 11 attacks were perpetrated solely by al-Qaeda, without any detailed advanced knowledge on the part of any government agency. Proponents of these conspiracy theories claim there are inconsistencies in the official conclusions, or evidence which was overlooked. In a 2008 global poll of 16,063 people in 17 countries, majorities in only nine countries believe al Qaeda was behind the attacks. 46% of those surveyed believed al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks, 15% believed the U.S. government was responsible, 7% believed Israel was and another 7% believed some other perpetrator, other than al Qaeda, was responsible. The poll found that respondents in the Middle East were especially likely to name a perpetrator other than al-Qaeda.

The most prominent conspiracy theory is that the collapse of the Twin Towers and 7 World Trade Center were the result of a controlled demolition rather than structural failure due to fire. Another prominent belief is that the Pentagon was hit by a missile launched by elements from inside the U.S. government or that a commercial airliner was allowed to do so via an effective standdown of the American military. Possible motives claimed by conspiracy theorists for such actions include justifying the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as geostrategic interests in the Mideast, such as pipeline plans launched in the early 1990s by Unocal and other oil companies. Other conspiracy theories revolve around authorities having advance knowledge of the attacks and deliberately ignoring or helping to assist the attackers.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and media outlets such as Popular Mechanics have investigated and rejected the claims made by 9/11 conspiracy theories. The civil engineering community accepts that the impacts of jet aircraft at high speeds in combination with subsequent fires, not controlled demolition, led to the collapse of the Twin Towers.


Emergency Response to Terrorism – Self Study – National …

Session6.doc – FEMA – Federal Emergency Management ..

Emergency response to terrorism : self-study. (Book, 1997 …

Emergency Response to Terrorism: Strategic …

World Trade Center & Pentagon Disaster | FEMA.gov

1997 FEMA Manual Depicts AA 11 Impact …

NORAD had drills of jets as weapons

NORAD Exercises Simulate Plane Crashes into US …

remote-controlled Boeing 720

airforce manual 10-100, airman’s manual, 1 august 1999 …

Wargames Were Cover For the Operational Execution of 9/11

Global Guardian

Vigilant Guardian Archives

Complete 911 Timeline

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Salton SeaHigh, environmentally unsustainable rates of population growth in the Salton Sea watershed and in those parts of California hoping to siphon water out of it are the greatest medium- and long-term threats to a healthy Salton Sea.

These will cause increased nutrient inputs to the Sea, further aggravating its already hypereutrophic state. They will favor increased water diversions to coastal California, decreased Salton Sea inflows, and a shrinking and saltier Sea. They will increase the cost of the engineering projects needed to counter these trends.

High immigration rates are the greatest controllable cause of this population growth and the environmental degradation that comes with it. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that of the 122 million increase predicted for the U.S. population by 2050, immigration will account for about 80 million. That figure only includes post-2000 immigrants and their descendants.

Immigration's ImpactMost of the likely major institutions – Congress, universities, scientific societies, environmental organizations, the press – seem unable to deal with these issues openly and rationally. In too many forums one hears debate suppressed by name-calling and ad hominem attacks on the part of ideologues. Many major scientific societies and environmental organizations have bought into the “Globalist Co-pout” paradigm, the idea that American citizens should work on resolving the issue of global overpopulation, but should turn a blind eye to the issue of U.S. overpopulation.

Think globally act locally Affected by acute cognitive dissonance, these organizations actually are hurting their own agendas on other national environmental issues. Thus, we start the new millennium with the most fundamental national environmental issues being dealt with only by a small number of thick-skinned, well-centered organizations, such as CAPS, FAIR, NPG, and PEB. They operate in the best tradition of “Think globally, act locally.” Most U.S. scientific societies and environmental organizations seem stuck on “Think Globally, Talk Globally.”
Scientists, activists, state officials, NGOs, and others increasingly claim to speak and act on behalf of “humanity.” The remarkable array of circumstances in which humanity is invoked testifies to the category’s universal purchase. Yet what exactly does it mean to govern, fight, and care in the name of humanity?

In this timely collection, leading anthropologists and cultural critics grapple with that question, examining configurations of humanity in relation to biotechnologies, the natural environment, and humanitarianism and human rights. From the global pharmaceutical industry, to forest conservation, to international criminal tribunals, the domains they analyze highlight the diversity of spaces and scales at which humanity is articulated.

The ideas about humanity find concrete expression in the governing work that operationalizes those ideas to produce order, prosperity, and security. As a site of governance, humanity appears as both an object of care and a source of anxiety. Assertions that humanity is being threatened, whether by environmental catastrophe or political upheaval, provide a justification for the elaboration of new governing techniques. At the same time, humanity itself is identified as a threat (to nature, to nation, to global peace) which governance must contain.

These apparently contradictory understandings of the relation of threat to the category of humanity coexist and remain in tension, helping to maintain the dynamic co-production of governance and humanity.

Population Growth and Sustainability

Who is working for sustainability rather than just going to conferences about it? or hiding behind the skirts of “it’s not in my job description?”

Expected Increase in Population in the Salton Basin by 2020: ca. 100%and where will their toilet water flow?

Expected Increase in Population in Southern California by 2020:

 ca. 50%and where will they get their water?

Expected Increase along entire U.S.-Mexico Border by 2020:

 ca. 94% – and what will this do to the border environment?

“These population trends portend serious problems for border communities in terms of infrastructure deficits, availability of water and energy, and negative environmental impacts on water, air, and natural areas. …. Most border communities are not prepared to deal with even the best-case scenario” (SCERP, 1999; see info packet).

Expected increase in U.S. Population by 2050

 ca. 31% i.e. by 122,000,000 – or 12 x Los Angeles

– 42,000,000 due to current residents– 80,000,000 due to future immigration

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
– Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)

Solution of the Salton Sea’s problems requires a large dose of political wisdom and a small dose of science and engineering.High Nutrient Inputs
Closed Basin Lake
Extreme Eutrophication

Eutrophication: the complex sequence of changes in aquatic ecosystems caused by an increased rate of supply of plant nutrients to water; in the Salton Sea, characterized by dense, colorful algal blooms and periodic poor water quality which can kill fish and other organisms.


Salton Sea in Relation to Other Lakes

Going Downhill

The trophic state of a lake is primarily determined by nutrient inputs and mean depth. Unlike other lakes shown, the Salton Sea is a closed basin lake. Its condition is thus worse than indicated by the dots representing it.

Phosphorus inputs are increasing because the human population in the Salton Sea watershed is increasing at 3-4% per year. And all municipal wastewaters in the watershed empty into streams or groundwaters that flow toward the Sea.
Lake depth will decrease in the future if there is reduction in Salton Sea inflows. This will further exacerbate the lake’s overenrichment with nutrients.

Ways to Slow and then Reverse Eutrophication

P = POSITIVE GROWTH)1. P removal from municipal waste waters in Imperial Valley

2. Outlaw P-containing detergents in Mexico

3. P removal via harvesting of tilapia for production of commercial fishmeal, a multi-decade project

4. Reduce population growth in watershed

SaltonWatershedNRapid Population Growth + California 4.4 Plan
Extreme Water Shortage
Fallowing of land, “Reclaiming” of Salton Sea inflows, Major shrinkage of Salton Sea

These processes are already underway:


SDCWA: proposed water transfers from IID
MWDSC: has requested rights to SS inflows
CVWD: has requested rights to SS inflows
Mexico: Planning ways to use New R. flows
Current Average inflows to Salton Sea

Who is Fighting High U.S. Population Growth?

Positions & votes by Congressmen on legislation affecting immigration and population growth rates

P – Position/ vote:
_ = Environment friendly, Salton Sea friendly
  = Environment hostile, Salton Sea hostile – Southern California Congressmen (Districts 40-52)

Legislative items (key below)

1 2  3  4  5 7 8
Lewis (R-40) _ _ ? ?
Kim (R-41) _ _ ? ?
Baca (D-42) ? ?
Brown (D-42) _ _ _
Calvert (R-43) _ _ _ _ ? ?
Bono, S. (R-44) _ _ _
Bono, M. (R-44) _ ? ?
Rohrabacher (R-45) _ _ _ _ _ _ ? _
Dornan (R-46) _ _
Sanchez (D-46) ? ?
Cox (R-47) _ _ ? _
Packard (R-48) _ _ _ _ _ _
Bilbray (R-49) _ _ _ _ _ ? _
Filner (D-50) _ _ ? ?
Cunningham (R-51) _ _ _ _ ? _
Hunter (R-52) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

California Senators

Boxer (D) (analysis in process)

Feinstein (D) (analysis in process)

1. Chrysler et al. amendment to HR 2202: killed much needed legal forms, allowing endless chain migration of extended families and continued high immigration rates.
2. Gallegly et al. amendment to H.R.2202 – 104th Congress: would have established a mandatory employment verification system in 5 states heavily impacted by illegal immigration.
3. Pombo/Chambliss amendment to HR2202: would have granted as many as 250,000 temporary farm worker visas without adequate mechanisms to assure repatriation.
4. McCollum amendment to HR2202: would have instructed government to make the Social Security card tamper-proof and thereby greatly assisted slowing of illegal immigration.
5. Rohrabacher amendment to HR2202: would have prevented permanent extension of legal loophole that allowed illegal aliens to obtain legal status.
6. HR3736: raised the number of skilled foreign temporary workers allowed into U.S. from 65,000 to 115, 000 with no effective mechanism to assure their repatriation.
7. HR41: imposes temporary limits on most categories of immigration and restores immigration to lower historical levels. Pending.
8. HR73: would deny automatic citizenship to children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens. Pending.


Any voter concerned about the Salton Sea or, indeed, about environmental degradation in the U.S. in general will appreciate those votes or positions symbolized by green flowers. This will be doubly true for anyone who agrees we should be thinking and planning in terms of our grandchildren’s generation. There are many factors to weigh in any piece of legislation, but it should be disappointing to the public that 40 percent of the votes tallied above favor maintaining or increasing our high growth rate. This currently is greater than that of any other industrialized nation. The Salton Sea would have a better chance of surviving to 2050 if we didn’t add many tens of millions of thirsty people to California’s and the nation’s population over the next decades. Concerned citizens will try to steer those black question marks toward environmentally responsible outcomes.

Distribution and Numbers of Immigrants,1996

ImmigrantDistribution“From the founding of the republic to the mid-1920s, U.S. immigration was largely unrestricted, but shortly thereafter Congress passed legislation severely limiting entry from all regions except northwestern Europe. Beginning in 1965 and continuing thereafter, it passed a series of more liberal laws, including the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986, under which 2.7 million illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico, were given legal immigrant status. The new laws not only promoted diversity but also opened the door to the longest and largest wave of immigration ever–27 million since 1965, including illegal entries….

“In 1996, a more or less typical year, there were 916,000 legal immigrants plus an estimated 275,000 who came illegally….

“The U.S. population will grow enormously, absent a drastic reduction in immigration. A big drop in immigration does not seem imminent in view of pressures from many ethnic groups, which generally support a heterogeneous society, and from employers who depend on low-wage labor. The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest projection, which assumes a continuation of recent immigration and emigration levels over the next half a century, puts the U.S. population at 394 million in 2050. Of the 122 million increase between now and then, 80 million would be added because of immigration.”

Excerpted from “U.S. Immigration” by R. Doyle, Scientific American, September 9, 1999.

A Crime Whose Name We Dare Not Speak?

President Clinton, 1998 Despite massive illegal immigration, there will be no massive deportations. Most of the illegals here now will be allowed to stay; most of those who come later will also be allowed to stay.


“The betrayal of any trust or confidence; breach of faith” – Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1956

Political Candidates, 2000

No opinions on the subject? Perhaps someone should ask …..

The Globalist Cop-out

The Globalist Cop-out states that since overpopulation is a global problem, the ways of dealing with it must be primarily global or international in nature. It is ok for individual nations to attempt to control their own birth rates. But they should not control or reduce their immigration rates, even if immigration is the major cause of their population growth. It would be “unfair” if one country were able to stabilize its population well ahead of other countries, especially if it were an industrialized western country. So goes the “reasoning.”

The U.S., for example, should deal with its population problem by ameliorating the social, political, and economic problems in the rest of the world that cause so many to attempt to come here. Then, in some later century or millenium, they will prefer to stay home.
The Globalist Cop-out is a device used in the U.S. primarily by four groups of people:
1) as a mantra by the saintly innocents, who claim the moral high ground with vague references to “human rights”, “social justice”, etc. and who are apparently truly without understanding of the consequences of the open border or high immigration policies they advocate;
2) as a smokescreen by those who want high immigration rates so they will have a good supply of cheap labor:
3) as a smokescreen by those who want high immigration rates, but usually only for their own “group”, however defined, in order to increase its political power; and
4) as an excuse for inaction by those afflicted by el fenómeno microcojónico, a condition especially widespread among university academics, environmental organizations, scientific societies, other professional organizations, and to a lesser extent among the general public.

This condition is characterized by acute cognitive dissonance. That results from full awareness of the problems posed by high immigration, guilt feelings over their luck in being U.S citizens, and great fear of being called names in public. The epithets favored by the attack dogs are “racist”, “nativist”, and “xenophobe”. The attack dogs come mostly from the three other groups. But even microcojónicos, after enough coffee and/or Viagra, have been known to “go postal” on persons who raise immigration issues.

By far the largest and most influential group, it is the microcojónicos who are the primary obstacle to stabilization of the U.S. population and the long-term health of the Salton Sea, the Colorado River and its delta, and other environments of California and Baja California, among thousands of other ecosystems in decline.

Prime Practitioners of The Globalist Cop-out

There are so many, choosing is hard! But below we give brief synopses of the cop-out stances of one political party, one scientific society, and one environmental organization.

 The Green Party of California

This paragon of saintly innocence claims to advocate protection of the environment more strongly than do other political parties. Their internet website presents a detailed platform on population and immigration issues. It refers to that majority of the U.S. population favoring reductions in immigration as being “xenophobic” and “reactionary.” As usual, such shameless rhetoric is a smokescreen for hiding weak arguments and forestalling reasoned debates the name-callers would be likely to lose.

The website says that even “militaristic fortification of the border” will not stop illegal immigration, that illegal immigrants do not displace native workers, and that they have a positive effect on the economy. Therefore the U.S. should provide full social and educational services to illegal immigrants and should not penalize persons or companies who employ them. The Party acknowledges that the population of California is expected to double in 30 years. It does not even hint that legal and illegal immigration are primary drivers of this increase.
The Greens are giving the Democrats and Republicans stiff competition for the Masters of Myopia Prize.

The Ecological Society of America

Composed of scientists who study deserts, prairies, and forests, lakes, rivers and oceans, the plants, animals and microbes that inhabit them, and the influence on them of man’s activities, this is the largest and most diverse group of environmental scientists in the U.S. There is no group more knowledgeable about the relation between U.S. population growth and environmental degradation. But this society has shirked all responsibility for doing anything about it.
In 1991 it published The Sustainable Biosphere Initiative: An Ecological Research Agenda” (Ecology 72:371-412). As a research agenda and request for more funds for research, it is fine. But as stated by Ludwig et al. (Ecol. Applications 3:547-555), “Such a claim that basic research will lead to sustainable use of resources in the face of a growing human population may lead to a false complacency: instead of addressing the problems of population and excessive use of resources, we may avoid such difficult issues by spending money on basic ecological research.”

The document addresses the global population issue briefly and says nothing whatsoever about U.S. population growth (despite coming from a U.S. organization).

A few years later it was suggested that the society prepare another white paper that dealt specifically with U.S. population growth, its causes and environmental impacts. The suggestion was turned down. The nation clearly cannot count on such academic-dominated societies of microcojónicos to speak or act in the national interest on difficult topics – except perhaps in exchange for more research funds. Fortunately, the civic role they fear to play has been assumed by other organizations. These include Population-Environment Balance, Negative Population Growth, Californians for Population Stabilization, Federation for Immigration Reform, and the Carrying Capacity Network, to name a few.

The Sierra Club Board of Directors

Until 1996 the Sierra Club, a U.S. environmental organization, advocated stabilization of the U.S. population via reduction in both rate of natural increase and immigration rates. In 1996 its Board of Directors and its so-called “Environmental Justice Committee” decided that population was a global problem and that the Club should have no position on U.S. immigration levels and policies.
Through a petition process, those wishing to have a policy in favor of reduced immigration levels forced the Board of Directors to have a membership-wide vote on the issue.

Using tactics that would make Gordon Liddy proud, the Board of Directors organized a campaign of disinformation and dirty tricks. These, ad hominem attacks on initiative proponents as “racists” and “migrant bashers”, and membership apathy, defeated the initiative. Voting took place in April 1998 – 6% were in favor, 9% were against, and 85% of the members didn’t vote.
In his victory press release, Sierra Club President Carl Pope crowed, “Our members have shown they understand that restricting immigration into the United States will not solve the environmental problems caused by global overpopulation” – as if the global scale is the only or most effective one at which the problem can be dealt with!

The cognitive dissonance underlying such amazing statements has been nicely analyzed in an article,Cry, the Overcrowded Country by Diana Hull (The Social Contract, Summer 1999; in your information packet).

California Population Growth

The Big Picture In Two Facts

1. Population projections indicate that in about 30 years, California will be as densely populated as China is now (137 persons per sq km)
2. Foreign immigration contributed 96% of California’s population growth from 1990 to 1997a.
a. See CAPS website (http://www.cap-s.org/media.html) for data and calculations. Foreign immigration is calculated as new immigrants plus births to immigrants, both legal and illegal, adjusted for deaths and out-migration to other states.

SierraClubLogoLeader in the Globalist Cop-out Movement

(in defiance of its motto)

A Sierra Club ballot issue

Should the Sierra Club advocate limiting immigration to stabilize the U.S. population and protect the environment?

Attack by politically correct ostriches

Adam Werbach, National Sierra Club President
“There is no place for the Sierra Club to be involved in blaming immigrants for environmental problems…”

Peter Andersen, SDSU Professor, Sierra Club, SD Chapter
“This type of Draconian measure to close the door behind us and not let any more people in is not the solution.”

Armando Soto Mayer, Sierra Club, LA Chapter
This ballot is “an issue of racism”

Carl Pope, National Sierra Club Executive Director
“If we do not solve our population crisis globally we will not solve it at all.”

Original Abstract

Current proposals for solving the problems of the Salton Sea all fall short of the mark. They are classic examples of the idea of a technological fix, the idea that scientists and engineers can provide the solution to what are fundamentally social and political problems. When called to the rescue, the scientists and engineers are happy to look for these technological fixes on behalf of the politicians, who usually need to claim “progress made” before the next election cycle.

The scientists and engineers know the fixes will not help much in the long run, and may even delay attention to the real problems. But a “fix search” can provide a job, research funds, per diem for travel to interesting places and conferences, and other perks. So we are happy to oblige, to be ‘good soldiers’ and not question orders. To avoid offense, to maintain our positions, and to keep the funds flowing, we refrain from pointing out to the politicians the lack of vision and courage that keeps them from dealing with the important issues. This poster attempts to depart from these self-serving and myopic traditions.

The long-term health of the Salton Sea requires four things: removal of salts, continued large inflows of waste-waters, some additional freshwater inputs for dilution purposes, and removal of phosphorus from the Sea at a rate faster than it is coming in. However, the last three of these will be very difficult if not impossible given the high rate of population growth, especially in California, Arizona, and Baja California. Should large amounts be invested in the proposed technological fixes for the Sea if the politicians are not willing, at the same time, to begin dealing with the social and political issue of population management so that the ‘fixes’ can bear real fruit?

In the U.S., population growth is driven primarily by immigration. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that under current immigration policies, immigration will account for about 80 million of the 122 million increase in the U.S. population predicted for 2050. Increasing population and increasing environmental degradation go hand in hand. In a very real sense, immigration is the greatest controllable cause of environmental problems in the U.S., including those confronting the Salton Sea. Our high average standard of living (nice cars, nice homes, nice industries, nice agriculture, nice daily showers, etc.) is a bigger cause, of course, but even the ‘greenest’ individuals seem disinclined to give up much of this.

The poster presents a collage of information on problems of eutrophication and water supply at the Salton Sea, their relation to population growth and immigration, the failures of the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government to deal effectively with immigration issues, and the smear tactics and cognitive dissonance with which some organizations attempt to suppress rational discussion of them.

An information packet with materials from different organizations on these issues will be available to symposium registrants. A resolution for forwarding to the President and Congress of the United States will also be available for signing by interested persons. This will present the Salton Sea as just one example of the collision between high rates of population growth and the need to reduce environmental degradation, and will ask for appropriate government action, so that expenditures on engineering projects at the Salton Sea, among other places, have a chance of purchasing more than white elephants. [The idea of a resolution was not implemented.]




Salton Sea Project Office

SEPS Scientists and Environmentalists

The Social Contract

Duke University Press

Population Growth and The Salton Sea Thumbprints


The College of Sciences – San Diego State University

Sierra Club leader departs amid discontent over group’s …

Sierra Club Leader Will Step Down – NYTimes.com

The Sierra Club’s Carl Pope – PBS

Sierra Club – Undue Influence

Salton Sea | lisa’s leaks

The Salton Sea: Death and Politics in the Great America …

The Dying Sea


A Snapshot of the Future: Indoor Farms


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Indoor FarmsThere’s a need

Indoor farms could be the answer to the water crisis bringing food security and year-round fresh produce to communities in need.

In the US, agriculture is responsible for 80% of water use and 90% in many western states. A big part of agriculture is irrigated crops. In 2008, about 72 million acre-feet of water was used to irrigate 40 million acres of farms in 17 western states. About 38 million of those acre-feet were from surface water and about 34 million from ground water. To get an idea of how much water that is, an Olympic sized swimming pool holds about 2 acre-feet of water.

Such large water use in a time of drought demands innovative solutions. One partial solution is indoor farming. Indoor farms aren’t novel in the realm of food production, for example Cornell University created an indoor farming system in 1999 (now operated by Challenge Industries, Inc.) and entities continue to implement indoor farms worldwide. A recent, rather successful, example is Mirai Co., Ltd.’s indoor farm in Japan.

future foodShigeharu Shimamura, the CEO of Mirai (a company that sells plant factory materials and vegetables), recently built the world’s largest indoor farm. Occupying a 25,000 square foot facility, the Mirai farm produces 10,000 heads of lettuce every day. The farm is quite remarkable because it grows lettuce 2.5 times faster than an outdoor farm, reduces produce waste from 50% to 10%, and reduces water use by 99%. Because of Mirai’s ability to control every aspect of plant growth, it is able to increase farm productivity by hundredfold per square foot. The Mirai farm uses far less water than an outdoor farm by reducing water lost due to seepage and evaporation. Moreover, the moisture that does evaporate off of the growing lettuce collects high above the produce racks and is recycled back into the system. This is an important process because in conventional farming as much as 70% of water never gets to crops.

Problems with indoor farms

Notably, Challenge Industries and Mirai both grow lettuce. However, Shimamura said that technically it is possible to grow any plant in an indoor farm. What is stopping his company and others from growing different plants is economics; these farms use a lot of energy. Therefore, it only makes sense to produce fast-growing vegetables at this time. Another issue with energy is the carbon footprint. Dr. Louis D. Albright, the program director of Cornell University’s Controlled Environment Agriculture program, argues that powering the LED lights creates a larger carbon footprint than shipping produce from coast-to-coast.

Beyond energy, indoor farming also presents a question of employment and how employees fit into this picture. Mirai uses machines to automate about half of the processes at its farm while picking is done by hand. However, Mirai hopes to fully automate the farm once there is an emergence of harvesting robots. Cornell’s farm, which produces 945 heads of lettuce per day, employs only 2 fulltime workers and 1 part time worker. Whether or not this is a problem is a matter of perspective. I view it as a step into the future in which we can redirect human capital to new challenges and innovations. But that’s easy to say as a law student who is going into the knowledge economy. Others may view the near-total robotization of farming to be no more than a job killer. Total robotization of farming could eradicate jobs across the globe; the Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are about 750,000 agricultural workers (this includes livestock workers). Coupled with the expectation that 3D printers will kill the manufacturing industry, indoor farms could put the availability of manual labor jobs in serious jeopardy.

harvest robotIt is also worth being concerned about the public’s potential reactions to indoor farms. People love organically grown food that has not been tampered by human interference. They may be turned off by the fact that computer systems are growing lettuce 2.5 times faster than it would grow outside and that LED lights feed the plants rather than the sun. In fact, Mirai calls its indoor farm a plant factory. It all sounds very artificial. However, people may react positively because indoor farms are pesticide free which would lead to a cut-down in water pollution. Another noteworthy benefit of indoor farms is that they can provide fresh produce year-round in communities that may not have reliable access to crops. Mirai, for example, put its factory in a part of Japan that was devastated by a 2011 earthquake amid fears about Japan’s declining supply of domestic vegetable production.

Closing thoughts

I honestly believe indoor farms are the inevitable future. Populations and food demand grow while land and water remain finite. American citizens who live in freezing climates like arctic Alaska or in deserts could have a reliable, local source for fresh produce year-round.



USDA Economic Research Service, Irrigation & Water Use (last updated June 7, 2013), http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-practices-management/irrigation-water-use.aspx.

USDA Economic Research Service, Western Irrigated Agriculture tables 1-8 to -11 (last updated June 7, 2013), http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/western-irrigated-agriculture.aspx.

Samantha Masunaga, Rosemead cemetery aims to be a model of drought-tolerant landscaping, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 14, 2014, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-rosemead-cemetery-20141214-story.html.

Rutgers University, Floating Hydroponics Greenhouse (last visited Jan. 18, 2015), http://aesop.rutgers.edu/~horteng/floating_hydroponics.htm.

Gloria Dickie, Q&A: Inside the World’s Largest Indoor Farm, Nat Geo Food, July 17, 2014, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140717-japan-largest-indoor-plant-factory-food/.

GE Reports, Lettuce See the Future: Japanese Farmer Builds High-Tech Indoor Veggie Factory, July 9, 2014, http://www.gereports.com/post/91250246340/lettuce-see-the-future-japanese-farmer-builds.

Water for farming Running dry, The Economist, Sep. 18, 2008, http://www.economist.com/node/12260907.

Monica Kim, Salad Inc.: Can plant factories save us from climate change? Modern Farmer, Dec. 14, 2014, http://modernfarmer.com/2014/12/salad-inc/

Cornell University Controlled Environment Agriculture, People of CEA (last visited Jan. 22, 2015), http://www.cornellcea.com/about/people/albright.html.

US Bureau of Labor Staistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook: Agricultural Workers, Jan. 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/farming-fishing-and-forestry/agricultural-workers.htm.



University of Denver Water Law Review at …

Mirai Co., Ltd.

In the pink: Speeding up crop growth | FutureFood 2050

Future appears bright for indoor veggie farms | The Japan …

Floating_Hydroponics Greenhouse

GE Mirai Lettuce Farm 4 – Inhabitat

Indoor Cultivation for the Future – Field Robotics Center


Hazards Toll: The Costs of Inaction at the Salton Sea


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Dying Salton SeaHuge Public Health and Environmental Costs as Salton Sea Deteriorates

The Salton Sea is shrinking, and without a restoration project it will transform from California’s largest lake into an economic, health, and environmental hazard.

Imperial County and the Imperial Irrigation District has been in a long-running legal battle and litigation over the Salton Sea water transfer deal and its effects on the shrinking Sea.

The case stems from the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement, or QSA, the largest agricultural-to-urban water transfer in U.S. history. Under that deal, increasing amounts of water are to be transferred from the farmland of the Imperial Valley to urban areas in San Diego County and the Coachella Valley.

The Imperial Irrigation District deal and its effects on the shrinking Sea.

The declining Salton Sea imposes massive public health and environmental costs on local residents and Californians. The continued failure to protect and preserve the Salton Sea, worsening air quality and the loss of valuable ecological habitat – combined with diminished recreational revenue and property devaluation – could cost as much as $70 billion over the next 30 years.

The high costs of California’s plan for the Salton Sea have inhibited deliberation and deterred any meaningful investment in revitalizing the Salton Sea. Many decision-makers assume that delaying action at the Salton Sea will result in business as usual, with no additional costs.

Hazard-toll-coverThe Hazard’s Toll report makes clear that this is not the case. Because the Salton Sea has changed over the past decade and will soon enter a period of very rapid decline, the costs of inaction are escalating rapidly.

The consequences of continued inaction at the Salton Sea will be felt most directly by the 650,000 people who live in harm’s way of the Salton Sea’s toxic dust, as well as by the birds and other life that depend on the lake.

“Exposing 134 square miles of lake-bed to desert winds could kick up an average of 86 tons per day of talcum powder-like dust into the region’s air,” said HAZARD co-author Karen Hyun. “This dust is a respiratory irritant, and Imperial County is already home to the highest childhood asthma hospitalization rate in California.”

“It may be creating a problem Southern California cannot live with,” said Phil Meyer, former consultant to the Salton Sea Task Force, a coalition of government agencies dedicated to finding ways to cleanse the sea.

Toxic Salton SeaSalton Sea mud contains enough arsenic and selenium to qualify for disposal in a dump reserved for the most toxic of society’s trash. Chromium, zinc, lead and pesticides, including DDT, are also in the lake bottom.

These chemicals can attach themselves to the fine particles of sediment while the lake evaporates and will be breathed by people…It will be a catastrophic health hazard!

Dried up lakes can be enormous polluters.

Owens LakeOwens Lake

The highest amount of tiny, airborne particles recorded in the Western Hemisphere occurred at Keeler, Calif., on Feb. 3, 1989. Wind-driven dust from the desiccated Owens Valley lake-bed pushed particle concentrations to 1,861 micrograms per cubic meter — 12 times greater than the federal health-based limit. Five percent of all the particle pollution in North America comes from the Owens Lake bed.

Mono Lake

Mono LakeThe once prosperous mining towns and ranches of Mono Lake have all dried up. Many ranchers sold their land and water rights to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and moved. The LADWP contracted to build a system of diversion dams to ship the water south. The project was completed in 1941, and virtually all the water destined for Mono Lake was piped to southern California. Without the annual inflow of fresh water, the lake began to dry up. The city of Los Angeles is the largest landowner in the area.

In addition to the changes to the lake populations, the lower water level caused other problems. As water evaporated, the lake shrank exposing a layer of alkaline salts. High winds stir up these salts and create toxic dust storms. These dust storms are a health hazard for everyone living in the Mono Lake basin. Changes to the lake were dramatic. Without a freshwater source the salinity of the lake doubled. By 1995 the water level had dropped over 45 feet.

“Arsenic in dust blown from the shores of shrinking Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada poses a cancer risk of 1 in 10,000 — 100 times more dangerous than the toxic emissions from a large factory. Arsenic is a byproduct of volcanic activity in the area,” said Tom Gill, geochemist for the air quality branch of the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.

Aral Sea

Dust from the banks of the disappearing Aral Sea in the former Soviet Union is one of the world’s great environmental health hazards.

Aral_Sea_Dust_Storm[1]Once the fourth largest lake in the world, massive river diversions have shrunk the Aral Sea by 40 percent, exposing about 11,000 square miles of lake bottom. The intentional shrinking of the Aral Sea in Central Asia is considered one of the most dramatic examples of a natural area destroyed by human activities. The Aral Sea has become a symbol of what can go wrong when transboundary water is mismanaged.

About 40 million tons of dust, salts, pesticides and hydrocarbons are swept up by dust storms annually, with consequences for the 5 million people living around it, including 1.5 million children. Diseases are increasing causing anemia, tuberculosis, kidney and liver diseases, respiratory
infections, allergies, mouth and respiratory cancers among the millions of people living near the sea.

“There’s no reason to believe it couldn’t or wouldn’t happen at the Salton Sea,” Gill said.

salton-sea-mapAccording to the report, the Salton Sea’s surface elevation will drop by more than five feet in just the next 12 years. In 2018, due to the 2003 water-transfer agreements and changes in Mexico, inflows to the Sea will decrease dramatically, causing the Sea to reach a critical tipping point. Among the devastating changes:

  • Between 2018 and 2030, the Sea will drop an additional 20 feet;
  • By 2021, rising lake salinity will mean the loss of nearly all fish life. Tens of thousands of resident and migratory birds will lose breeding and roosting habitats and food sources;
  • By 2036, the southern shore will have receded 4 to 5 miles, and the shrinking Sea will expose more than 130 square miles of dusty lake-bed to the desert winds—an area nearly three times the size of San Francisco;
  • In 60 years, the Sea will be little more than a shallow algal/bacterial soup.

According to Julia Levin, State Policy Director for Audubon California, the impact on fish and birds will be staggering. “This analysis demonstrates that we must do something to protect the Salton Sea,” she said. “Without restoration, we will lose almost all fish life and tens of thousands of resident and migratory birds.”

“California has a clear choice: do nothing for the Sea now and suffer the consequences, or fund a restoration project that protects the ecosystem and promotes economic development,” said Cohen.

The report also highlights a large number of important data gaps that should be addressed in the near future. Despite many decades of study and the impending decline of the Salton Sea, we still lack information on many factors affecting life and the economy in the region. These factors, combined with general uncertainty about population growth rates, climate change, and changing hydrologic conditions, suggest that the above estimates indicate a general magnitude of potential future costs, rather than precise projections.

“Failing to act on behalf of the Salton Sea will have dire consequences,” said Michael J. Cohen, lead author of Hazard. “California must implement a restoration plan to combat the future problems of a shrinking Sea. Failure to do so will mean nothing less than disaster for the health of the region’s inhabitants, wildlife, and growing economy,” Cohen said.

Hazard’s Toll is a companion volume to Hazard: The Future of the Salton Sea With No Restoration Project. The 2006 volume contains information on the formation, ecological processes, and hydrology of the Salton Sea, as well as an assessment of the potential ecological impacts of the Sea’s current decline.

The Pacific Institute is dedicated to protecting the natural world, encouraging sustainable development, and improving global security. Founded in 1987 and based in downtown Oakland, the Institute provides independent research and policy analysis on issues at the intersection of development, environment, and security.





Download the full report:

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Download the
four-page executive summary

Read/listen to interviews with Michael Cohen:
KPBS: Cost Of Doing Nothing At The Salton Sea May Be Higher Than Cost Of Repair
KPPC: Failure to Restore Salton Sea Could Cost the State Billions
KCRW: Salton Sea Study (Segment starts at 20’43”)

Salton Sea Authority

Salton Sea Feasibility Study

Center for Inland Waters

Salton Sea Task Force

Environmental Protection Agency



Water Authority–Imperial Irrigation District Water Transfer

Salton Sea – State Water Resources Control Board – State of …

Quantification Settlement Agreement | San Diego County …

After 12 years, legal dispute over water transfer ends

Salton Repairs Peril Water Transfer

the potential for fugitive dust problems at the Salton Sea

A Shrinking Sea Mean Toxic Dust

Dried Salton Sea Could Produce ‘Clouds Of Toxic Dust …

California’s Largest Lake Threatened by Urban Water Transfer

legal dispute over water transfer

Natural Analogues in Radioactive Waste Disposal

Vicken Etyemezian – DRI Desert Research Institute


10 Environmental Disaster Time Bombs – Listverse

2005 Tonopah Test Range and Kauai Test Facility Site

Closing the Circle on the Splitting of the Atom – Nevada …

Radioactive snails lead to Spain-U.S. atomic probe

Chapter 14 – Department of Water Resources

Chapter 2 – Office of Legacy Management

Natural Pu-traces within the continental crust|INIS

Fortress California, 1910-1961: From Warfare to Welfare


Leaky drums spill plutonium on ocean floor

October | 2014 | University of Denver Water Law Review at …

Disappearing Lakes, Shrinking Seas; Selected Examples

Beautiful Wasteland

The Post-Apocalyptic Wonderland Of Salton Sea, California

Research Opportunities for Deactivating and …