from Guy Debord

To Jean-Francois Martos
14 September 1985
Dear Jeff:

Thank you for the news about the Brazilians.

I have seen Floriana [Lebovici] and told her that your project to write a History of the SI, judging from the first chapter, could be scheduled for next spring. But you should make it precise with her yourself (this is the most optimistic time-frame).[1]

So as to justify your method of citations even more, I believe that you can reveal a very rare phenomenon to your readers: a) the situs never published anything outside of their own publications (which the Surrealist "organization," for example, was quite far from doing); and B0 almost no one from outside wrote something about the situs between 1957 and 1968, and very little after that! (Which is unprecedented in history and shows well the extraordinary originality of our spectacular epoch.)

I will add two other, more general pieces of advice; I believe, moreover, that this manner of considering things will quite naturally stand out against your citations, chosen according to their real importance:

1) Your concern here is obviously not to write my biography. Thus, you must not consider all of my "personal" works (cinematic and otherwise), except possibly if you find in them one or two brief citations that appears significant to you in the clarification of one of the general themes that you find yourself led to develop.

2) It is quite simply a question of saying what the situs did. In this domain, I believe that the central point of view is not to consider how they were more extreme than others (for example, more libertarian than the pseudo-anarchists of the unfortunate epoch, etc.), but in how they were the most "modern" (in the true sense, that is to say, precisely revolutionary); and in how they responded more exactly than the others to the problems and illusions of their time (urbanism, spectacle, etc.).

It is necessary to make it understood how the adventure of the SI was narrowly circumscribed in time; and contrary to many other "avant-gardes" with pretensions to lead several [subsequent] generations. Literally, the SI existed from 1957 to 1972. And, by counting the period of the "origins," it existed from 1952 to '57. And here was the profound meaning of the operation of "dissolution" that one can say took place between the autumn of 1970[2] and the first months of 1972.

Best wishes,

[1] Translator's note: Jean-Francois Martos' Histoire de l'Internationale Situationniste would not come out until 1989 (Editions Gerard Lebovici).

[2] Translator's note: note the "dissolution" does not begin with the start of the "orientation debate" in March-April 1970, but with the constitution of the 11 November 1970 "tendency."

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

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