from Guy Debord

To Maurice Wyckaert
Monday [14 March 1960]
Dear Maurice:

The more I think about it, the failure of [the situationist exposition at the Stedelijk Museum in] Amsterdam appears absolutely regrettable -- but, nevertheless, our refusal was completely justified. What is distressing is the fact that we were brought to the position of having to refuse without having struggled, at any moment, to impose ourselves where we have made such advances. It is enough to think, on the one hand, that [Karel] Appel and [Pierre] Alechinsky have been able to successfully deploy diplomacy and platitudes for their own unsuccessful project and, on the other hand, that [Wilhelm] Sandberg hadn't even had the occasion to read #3 of the [French situationists'] journal, and that we weren't aware of this detail!

Asger [Jorn] has recuperated. It is necessary to avow that the off-handedness in this affair of our Dutch friends is the same off-handedness that had pushed -- or allowed -- Har and Alberts to plan to construct a church without thinking that this was incompatible with membership in the S[ituationist] I[nternational].

It is quite true that all this derives from a certain tactic of intimidation applied [at the conference of the situationists] in Munich. We gain nothing by bluffing. Now it is especially necessary to clarify things. It is also the best means to avoid the personal oppositions that are always added to our other problems when the Dutch [situationists] are involved. Bring back all the objective urgencies. Asger and I are in agreement on this point: the penalty for all this must be the dissolution of the "Bureau of Unitary Urbanism," and for the same reasons that we no longer accept the "Spur Group" label nor any sort of double membership. We don't have the means (without, at the same time, sinking to dishonest and ridiculous confusion) to promote more than one movement, in which it is well-proven that each member has great ideological freedom and total artistic liberty. The ridiculous proliferations of "bureaus" and "laboratories," which represent, in the SI, a platform limited to one or two individuals, cannot endure any longer. There isn't a situationist group in every country. The fact that we might be 6, 14 or 35 people has only a secondary importance. On the contrary, the proliferation of irresponsible and autonomous elements causes us fundamental harm.

Thus, a group already thinks to constitute itself in Israel. But when one thinks of the weak control that we have on the Dutch group, one is panic-stricken at the idea of what we could have in the Middle East! The only remedy (the minimum) is the perfect clarity of the SI's public positions, not only in the journal, but in all of its publications: thus, the suppression of the perilous, wild imaginings of Prem or the new Italian admirers of Albarian art.[1]

Concerning the problem of double membership, I ask you to send me an exact translation of the enclosed tract.

Concerning the publications: your idea complements mine, which was to make a special issue of the journal on the subject of detournement. In some kind of lobby, one could construct fragments of your palisade and photograph them -- for this use as well as for you monograph?

This same evening, with Asger, I have also written to Caspari.[2]

I expect the proofs soon. And also definite estimates for 2,000 copies of the journal (as well as samples of covers that you can find).

But the programme of publications must not withdraw the labyrinthe/derive project from the order of the day. Perhaps we will find possibilities for it in London at the next conference? A solution (of the "museum of Essen" type) that sacrifices the derives would be too weak and thus rather negative.

Cordially yours,

[1] From the Alba region of Italy.

[2] Arthus C. Caspari, a German writer and art critic.

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

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