from Charles-August Bontemps

To Guy Antoine
5 December 1966

After some some discussion, I fear having to reply to your paper on situationism[1] (I detest this term, which isn't even advertising). Therefore, I have read what you've written and I consider that your exposition has its place in the "M.L." [Monde Libertaire], of which I haven't ceased saying that it is too often behind the times.

Where I am not in agreement -- I would say rather -- where I see a defect is in the too-easy opposition of situationism to libertarian philosophy and the reduction of the former to the only social-revolutionary action.

In a word, you contest the cultural action of anarchism. In short, I reply to you that the contrary is true. It is free and [word illegible] culture that equals and resides in anarchism.

When one speaks of Proudhon, one seems unfamiliar with his great work: "Of Justice in the Revolution and the Church." By Reclus: "Man and the Earth." By Kropotkin: "Mutual Assistance" and also "Ethics," surpassed in its perspective but still existent. All of the individualist school, from Stirner to Han Ryner, and even Armand is preoccupied by man insofar as he is man.

Finally, permit me to indicate to you that all that you report about situationism on the level of the supercession of the revolution, of the conditioning of diversions, of aesthetics as an inseparable element of ethics, of the irrational as a fundamental element of surrealism, these are all themes that I have appealed to in anarchism, that I have treated in a sense very close to that of situationism, for thirty to forty years, in articles, innumerable interventions at the Club des Faubourg and many conferences, and that, finally, I have assembled, summarized and systematized them in "Anarchism and the Real."

Then why refuse to the anarchists, why impute to the benefit of non-anarchists, views that we had before them?

I can give you the response, but it is a little disappointing. There are many anarchists who are anarchist. What isn't in "the line" is stifled. It took more than two years for a congress of the A.F. [Anarchist Federation] to finally cite my book. Cited it but no more. One doesn't contest it. One doesn't know it.

Here is a significant fact. My first attempts are widely beneficial. For the genre and without an editor, this isn't bad. It is to the society of the People of Letters and not rue Ternaux[2] that I have made my remarks. Therefore -- with the exception of "Anarchism and the Real," which has all the same retained the attention of the comrades -- it is to the rue Ternaux that I have sold the fewest number of copies: the figure is insignificant. Currently, it is priests and Catholic professors who discuss my disk "Praise for Egoism" -- I have had the displeasure of hearing a well-known journalist say to me, concerning the M.L. critique of this disk, "Bontemps, it appears that a disk by Brassens has more importance for the anarchists than a disk on a libertarian theme!"

This was a way of asking me, one more time: "What are you fucking around with here?"

Personally, I know what I have accomplished and I know where to plant the seeds. But I still can not resist irritation when an article such as yours is not oriented in a fashion to emphasize that what is valuable is already among the anarchists. It is a shame that they are the first not to know it.

Quite cordially,
Aug. Bontemps

[1] See What is situationism?, published in Le Monde Libertaire #127, December 1966.

[2] The location of the Publico bookstore.

(Never published. Private distribution. Translated from the French and footnoted by NOT BORED! September 2005.)

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