from Guy Debord

To Patrick Straram
12 November 1958
Dear Patrick:

It seems to me that the reciprocal interest is no longer in doubt. I believe I am in agreement with the entirety of your letter of 27 October [1958]. This being said, I make specific my thoughts on several points that perhaps weren't so clear.

Poetry: yes, but in life. No possible return to surrealist or previous poetical writing. Behaviors and their decords.

Expression: yes, in the sense of the total expression of itself (masked by the communal notion of "freedom of expression"), that is to say, accomplishing itself in acts and also through the means of communication. . . . The problem of our era is at first supporting the notion of direct accomplishment, which, for the first time in history, appears superior to the limited accomplishment of artistic "expression" (but not the suppression of it).

With regards to the transitory phase of expression in the S[ituationist] I[nternational], and of what you call a possible metagraphy,[1] there is an experimental book (which presents itself as my Memoires) that will please you, I believe, if I can send it to you soon. Unfortunately, the people in Copenhagen who agreed to publish it have engaged in a scandalous and worrisome delay.

All the material published by the SI is, in principle, utilizable by everyone, even without reference, without the preoccupations of literary property. You can make all the detournements that appear useful to you.

The notion of the [Situationist] International is to be specified, in a sense that must be ours. For us, it is obviously a detourned notion. The problem is, rather, the communal action of free individuals, tied only by and for this real creative liberty. Difficult and not resolved by us. But we are perhaps on the right track.

When I spoke of propaganda [in my letter of 30 October 1958], I meant to make known that there are certain problems; that certain people recognize them together and confront these problems from certain directions. Thus considered, propaganda means taking responsibility and appealing to the aid of those who want and can be accomplices.

Quite surely, never any doctrine: perspectives. A solidarity in relation to these perspectives.

On the liaison with politics, alas, it is necessary at first to be lucid. It is sometimes sentimentally inconvenient. We pass. Despite the importance of the unexpected events of May [1958] in France, we have only participated in our capacities as individuals in the Left's poor attempts at resistance. To accept an ideological alliance with one of tendencies that are so badly steered is unthinkable.


P.S. Despite the necessity of a meeting so as to arrive at a definite accord, we can envision -- your last letter allows one to think it is already possible -- that you publish your positions in the situationist journal, if you wish under a pseudonym (I say this because of your "legal" problems) or under your own name. And, in the case of the latter, with or without a notice explaining the divergence and criss-crossing of our paths over the last four years. As you wish, as always.

[1] Lettrist neologism that designated a work composed essentially of prefabricated elements.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 1, 1957-1960. Footnote by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2005.)

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