from Guy Debord

To Floriana Lebovici
Arles, 12 December 1986
Dear Floriana:

I have had an idea that seems good for the occasion, and I would like to submit it to you right away. In case Editions G[erard] L[ebovici] finds itself forced to disappear in the more or less distant future, I could task myself with presenting the matter in a short pamphlet that would in sum be the "testament" to this great enterprise. This pamphlet could thus recapitulate the titles that were published, for example, on the back cover (not as in the catalogue, but as one cited them in the working-class [populaire] publications of the 19th Century, in very small characters). Inspired by the last issue of Marx's Nouvelle Gazette rhenane, when the counter-revolution after 1848 forced him to cease publication, this pamphlet could be printed entirely in red ink. This last publication could be a eulogy without false modesty and certainly without exposing itself to the reproach of nourishing commercial ambitions.

You know that I desire I quite different outcome, but I believe that in certain situations it would be necessary to envision the worst and, if possible, before it might actually take place. In such a case, the most important thing would be, as one says in the navy, to sink a high flag [sombrer pavilion haut].

We know that it is an incomparable publishing house -- almost too good for its century -- and that, due to the quality of its foundations and even its construction, it has long merited living quite sufficiently on its sales alone. We know that, in the diverse "professions" that we have approached, in publishing or otherwise, we have been quite capable players, no one or almost no one doubts it. But we also know that the game is fixed: not only in the cinema, mediatic[1] discourse, politics, etc., but also in publishing. . . .

It thus seems to me that it is very improbable that Editions G.L. can survive, in the short- or intermediate-term, without outside financial support. The best solution that I can see would obviously be to sell Kriegspiel,[2] an exercise that is neutral in its essence. If it is, as a business matter, an equivalent of "Monopoly," we will not lack the means to imperturbably pay the publishing house's debts, as Gerard [Lebovici] did. And Nicolas [Lebovici], inheriting it after us, can do the same. But perhaps here as well the game is fixed? But perhaps a certain complacency skews my judgment of the strategic, and thus economic, value of this Kriegspiel? We must see.


[1] Translator's note: the French here is mediatique, for which there is no equivalent in English. Using genetique ("genetic") as our model, we have rendered it as "mediatic."

[2] Translator's note: a cabinet game, representing "the game of war," invented by Guy Debord.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2007.)

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