Class Wargames

On November 28, 2010 under the aegis of the Futurological Congress Richard Barbrook, the celebrated British researcher and author of the work Imaginary Futures, led "Class Wargames," originally conceived by Guy Debord.

Guy-Ernst Debord was a French writer, avant-garde artist, philosopher, and film director. He founded an international movement, Situationist International (SI), participated in various extremist leftist organizations, was a member of the Letterist International and the radical leftist Trotskyite group "Socialism or Barbarism." In 1967 Debord wrote a book called The Society of the Spectacle, in which he criticized contemporary capitalism (especially the state capitalism of China and the USSR), as well as the increased role of mass media and the entertainment industry in society. This work of Debord's was often cited during the 1968 May events in Paris. In 1972 Debord dissolved the International and left for the provinces, where he continued to write and to develop a board game, which he called a class game of war.

Today this game—Class Wargames—is considered an avant-garde movement of artists, activists and theoreticians, engaged in the creation of a "game of confrontation" in a bureacratic society of controlled consumption. For Debord the game of war was not only a game, but also a direction of how to live in a Fordist society dominated by production and consumption.

This military strategic game, an "imitation of Clausewitz," refers back to Napoleonic times, when armies had to support their own communication structures in order to survive, and where victory was achieved not by the capture of military troops, but by the destruction of the opponent's supply system. Playing at this game, then, young revolutionaries acquire the skills to fight and achieve victory over their oppressors from the "society of spectacle."

Playing at war, we could say, we continue the political fight, but by different means.

The primary players at the Center for Urban History were Richard Barbrook and his colleague from Vienna, Stefan Lutschinger, as well as participants in the Futurological Congress.

For more information, see