from Jean-Pierre Baudet

To Guy Debord
Paris, 18 February 1988
Dear Guy:

Thank you for your letter of the 16th,[1] which has allowed me to submit the complete manuscript[2] to Floriana [Lebovici] without further delay.

As for the remark [in your letter] labeled "z," I have inserted the following relational phrase: "of compact form, in which one is always at an equal distance from everything."

Your letter arrived at exactly the same time as issue #12 of the EdN.[3] I freely admit having been, after a first and very quick reading of it yesterday evening, astonished by the cleverness of this "elaboration." Two things stood out to me.

-- what we have thus obtained, but it is necessary to rejoice about it? is the fact that, in the most explicit fashion ever, the EdN has formulated where it sites its originality, and by which curious refusals of constraint -- assimilated to a false and more or less neurotic image of critical coherence -- -- it believes that it has literally gone beyond the preoccupations and traps of all the [revolutionary] organizations of the past; this post-modernity, adorned with the qualities of humanity, openness and simplicity is at the moment known, because recognized; and it is henceforth entitled to be astonished by its own sense of maneuver and to the perenniality that guarantees such a modest pragmatism;

-- we have encountered a relation of forces entirely to our disadvantage. The comfort and good conscience that procures for the entire pro-situ milieu the formal adhesion or the distant participation in the EdN; the backwards rancor against Jeff [Jean-Francois Martos] or me, prudently left in the shadows (in issue #12, one is far from the awkwardnesses of Ouldamerde[4]); the trenchant tone in our pamphlet,[5] which is no longer in fashion and which, in addition, would be more accepted coming from you than from Jeff or me; our temerity only disposes of a very limited empirical basis; all this combines to knit this milieu together and to insulate the two unfortunate cranioschitic[6] invalids. When Ouldamerde qualifies Jeff as "the last consequential pro-situ," this expresses more clearly than our entire pamphlet that the pro-situs make themselves virginal by fucking us.

We have not had, aside from an approving letter from Marc Dachy and Francis Pagnon's honest attitude (which caused Ouldamerde to break with him), no testaments of support, beyond several personal friends. At the moment, who still has the will and patience to seek, beyond the beautiful and reassuring image of a convivial recovery, what these two caricatures of anti-intellectual and immediatist extremism have actually said?

A period that some have perceived as a Restoration is lived by other people as an era of progress: the progress being almost exclusively constituted by the simple existence of the latter and by their abundant self-congratulations. Faced with the precariousness and the importance of such an interpretational hiatus, these self-congratulatory wet blankets[7] seem like small passing nuisances, of which it is simply necessary to prevent from going up too high, towards the source. So as to do this, the end once again becomes a simple means: one must oppose to these kill-joys, in a tone of tranquility and imperturbable assurance, a refusal of the original hiatus, in other words, the affirmation of the progress that one claims to be, exempt from all contradiction (here, on the other hand, Ouldamerde was more frank than [Jaime] Semprun, since he conceded it), and that the numerical superiority, the decennial friendship and the continuity of the publication proves. That which is, is rational; what is not formed, is irrational; vae victis.[8]

This is to say that I do not believe in the disarray that would lead to the polymorphous aspect of their reactions: the battery [castagne] only bring pride and thus reinforces issue # 12 (people "fall under the hand" at their own houses: this is an audacious combination of chance and necessity!); as for the forgery, its schoolboy quality aims at gathering together the public approval of the mockers, which the hot air on assemblyism can wear out. Thus they think that they have not forgotten anyone: if one prefers direct action, post-modern theory or good times at the cafe, one is well served -- what could one complain about, faced with such a generous menu?

I do not know if Semprun was the victim of his own Jesuitism, or only affected to be so: but we now know that all this unfolds before people who are quite massively duped. How can we expose the bad faith of the latter to the former, who -- in a certain way -- are not even capable of it?

Where exactly are the Nanchang Mountains?[9]


[1] Letter from Debord to Baudet dated 16 February 1988.

[2] Baudet's translation of Carl von Clausewitz's Vom Kriege into French.

[3] Encyclopedia of Nuisances.

[4] Mezioud Ouldamer. Merde means "shit."

[5] The Encyclopedia of Powers.

[6] The French word employed here is craniochoses. Cranioschisis is a congenital failure of the skull to close, usually accompanied by defective development of the brain.

[7] The French here (les empecheurs de se feliciter en rond) echoes a colloquial expression for "wet blanket" (empecheur de danser en rond), but replaces "dancing" with "self-congratulation."

[8] In Latin, "woe to the vanquished."

[9] In South China. On 1 August 1927, the Chinese Communist Party led an uprising there. Presumably the question is asked because issue #12 of the Encyclopedia of Nuisances mentioned them.

(Published in Jean-Francois Martos, Correspondance avec Guy Debord, Le fin mot de l'Histoire, August 1998. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! July 2007. Footnotes by the translator.)

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