Mustapha Khayati on the 7th SI Conference in Venice (September 1969)
"The realization of art - poetry in the situationist sense - means that one cannot realize oneself in a 'work,' but rather realizes oneself period."
Mustapha Khayati (b. 19??) is a Tunisian political activist and historian of culture. A member of the Situationist International between 1965 and 1969, he authored the tract On Student Misery (1966), which became a key text for the student protest movement at the University of Strasbourg in France.
Mustapha Khayati holdings at Beinecke
The Mustapha Khayati Papers is comprised of material created by, related to, and compiled by the Tunisian political activist and historian of culture Mustapha Khayati. Spanning the period from the early 1960s to ca. the early 2000s, the archive documents
The archive consists of writings by Mustapha Khayati and prominent figures of the Situationist International, such as Guy Debord, Rene Vienet, Rene Riesel, Alice Debord (nee Becker-Ho) and Raoul Vaneigem; correspondence between Khayati and members of the Situationist International; correspondence from French-Tunisian journalist Lafif Lakhdar; documents relating to Khayati's activities in the Strasbourg Student Union (1963-1967); documents relating to Khayati's involvement in the Tunisian Students Union in Strasbourg (1962-1965); domestic and international correspondence of the Situationist International; French, American and British anarchist and other far-left publications, such as Socialisme ou Barbarie, Le Brise-glace, Information, Correspondances Ouvrieres (ICO), King Mob and Black Mask; revolutionary Israeli publications; publications by Palestinian movements such as El-Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; publications documenting the Moroccan opposition to King Hassan II; publications documenting the proliferation of communist thought in the Arab world (Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria); Arab surrealist publications by - amongst others - Abdelkader El-Janabi and Georges Henein.
Writings by Khayati include manuscripts, typescripts and working notes of published and unpublished texts related to his activities in the Situationist International; translations (mostly into Arab), such as an incomplete translation of Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle; lecture notes from courses attended at Strasbourg and Paris institutions; manuscripts of revolutionary texts written as a student for the Tunisian Students Union; manuscripts and typescripts of revolutionary articles published in Arab countries; a full corrected typescript of the book project Critique et autocritique de la Resistance en Palestine, rejected by Editions de Minuit in 1971.
The archive has not yet been catalogued. A comprehensive Finding Aid is still in progress. The accession number is ####. The archive is in French, Arab, Persian and English.
Other Mustapha Khayati material at Beinecke
De la misère en milieu étudiant considérée sous ses aspects économique, politique, psychologique [sic], sexuel et notamment intellectuel, et de quelques moyens pour y remédier
Complete with biographical data.
Mustapha Khayati was born on ### in ###, Tunisia.
He pursued his post-secondary studies in Strasbourg and Paris, where he attended lectures by the philosopher and renowned translator of Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit Jean Hippolyte, the Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre, and the philosopher and epistemologist Georges Gusdorf. Khayati's involvement with the Tunisian Student Union and the Strasbourg Student Union (AFGES) during these years already announces the main axes of his intellectual work and political activism - notably the critique of the capitalist heritage underlying Western democracy, the critique of communist bureaucracy and party dictatorship, and the advocacy of workers' collective self-regulation/self-governance in postcolonial North-African societies and countries of the Near and Middle East.
In 1966, Mustapha Khayati was one of the main figures responsible for what came to be known as the "Strasbourg Scandal" - a series of events of civil disobedience at the University of Strasbourg, which followed the take-over of the AFGES Council by students supporting the anti-institutional agenda of the Situationist International. In the months preceding the "Strasbourg Scandal," Khayati had drafted the pamphlet On Student Poverty in close collaboration with the council of the S.I.; on November 22, 10 000 copies of the pamphlet - printed with funds of the National Student Union of France - were distributed. On Student Poverty thoroughly analyzes the succumbing of the student to the laws and customs of modern consumer culture. It pleads for a new kind of revolution - one that does not reproduce the shortcomings of the Soviet Revolution and its gloomy culmination in Stalinism.
as a consequence of which the AFGES is closed by court order (N.B.: see the journal Situationist International, no. 11).
Mustapha Khayati had been acquainted with Guy Debord and the other core members of the I.S. since 1964.
In 1969, Khayati joined the newly formed Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist militant organization, whose headquarters were in Jordan. He resigned from the Situationist International during the 8th Conference (September 26 through October 1, 1969) in Venice. In his resignation note, he wrote that, in accordance with I.S. thought and practice, he opposes a "double appartenance" (double affiliation), that - in view of the imminent crisis unsettling the Arab world - he rather feels obliged to serve the latter cause.
In 1979, Mustapha Khayati earned a doctorat in history from the University Paris I with a thesis entitled Histoire des Perses d'ath-Tha'âlibî. He completed a postdoctoral thesis (these de doctorat d'Etat) in political sciences at the University Paris VIII, entitled La représentation du politique dans la culture arabe classique. From ## to ##, he held a teaching position at the Institut d'etudes politiques (literally Institute of Political Studies) in Aix-en-Provence, France.
"The only poetry [the proletariat] can acknowledge is the creativity released in the making of history, the free invention of each moment and each event: Lautreamont's poesie faite par tous -- the beginning of the revolutionary celebration. For proletarian revolt is a festival or it is nothing; in revolution the road of excess leads once and for all to the palace of wisdom. A palace which knows only one rationality: the game. The rules are simple: to live instead of devising a lingering death, and to indulge untrammeled desire."
On Student Misery
"The only people who are underdeveloped are those who see a positive value in the power of their masters. The rush to catch up with capitalist reification remains the best road to reinforced underdevelopment."
"Contributions Toward Rectifying
Public Opinion Concerning Revolution
in the Underdeveloped Countries"