from Guy Debord

To Afonso Monteiro[1]
12 June 1974
Dear friend:

I have only now received your express letter of 29 May. I am currently working in a very isolated place where it will henceforth be necessary to write directly. I attach the address.

Your letter magnificently describes the very atmosphere of a revolutionary crisis, which the newspapers here hide to the maximum, but it is nevertheless possible to read between the lines.

It is admirable how, in Portugal, the word "situationist" has known a complete reversal of its meaning in so few years.[2] Things must now incline very quickly to one side or the other. The Stalinists have beaten their old global record as defenders of the old world, by openly opposing the striking workers, so as to "save the economy." It seems to me that, for several days -- with the arrest of the Maoist leader -- one tries out a new era of repression.

Do we have time? It is now that the proletariat must say openly what it alone can think:

Olhai de que esperancas mantenho!
Vede que perigusas segurancas!
Que nao temo contrastes nem mudancas.[3]

Send me the recent news and everything that you publish. (I begin to read Portuguese in the poetry that you have sent me.)

I am not surprised by what you have told me about Chico-Solex;[4] he seemed to be a petty person. As far as Ratgeb,[5] he cannot do anything other than what I announced to you. His ridiculous sub-literary pamphlet -- which he did not dare sign, but in which his poverty is immediately recognizable -- waters down his vague chatter from Internationale Situationniste #12 and was already insulting to French workers, notably the Lip strikers;[6] his shame must be even more shameful in Portugal.

We agreed that we should make a preface for "Thesis on the SI and its Time."[7] I suppose that it would be especially necessary to evoke the current Portuguese situation in it? Tell me what you think.

See you soon. We embrace A. and L.[8] and also R.,[9] who must be instructed about this moment.

Best wishes,

[1] Express letter.

[2] Cf. Internationale Situationniste #9, p. 24 "Questionnaire": "What does the word 'situationist' mean?" (...) The term situationist, in the sense of the Situationist International, is exactly the contrary of what one currently calls 'situationist' in Portuguese, that is to say, a partisan of the existing situation, as in Salazarism."

[3] "See what hopes I nourish! / Such perilous assurances! / I do not fear reversals or changes." (Luis de Camoes).

[4] Francisco Alvez, called Chico-Solex to differentiate him from another Francisco, called Chico-Moto.

[5] Translator's note: the pseudonym Raoul Vaneigem used for his 1974 text, From the Wildcat Strike to Generalized Self-management.

[6] Translator's note: in the first chapter of From the Wildcat Strike to Generalized Self-management, Ratgeb/Vaneigem states that "Without even venturing beyond reformism, the Lip workers have proven that they were capable of running their factory and dispensing with managers." And in the second chapter, he writes: "The Lip experiment (recuperated from the beginning because of its failure to make a radical break with the commodity system) has at least underlined the evidence that the workers alone are equipped to wreak a definite change in the world."

[7] Translator's note: the central text in The Veritable Split in the International (1972).

[8] Antonia and Leonor.

[9] Rita, daughter of Antonia and Afonso.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

To Contact NOT BORED!
ISSN 1084-7340.
Snail mail: POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998