from Guy Debord

To Francoise Lung[1]
15 December [19]62
Dear Francoise:

Yes, disencumbering oneself from the Christians of the Left, even those of good will, is the first task of any revolutionary theoretical investigation. Even the fact of having to say this testifies to the point reached after the continual degradation of revolutionary thought over the course of the last forty or fifty years. I don't want to say that these individuals are incapable of taking certain actions, of developing certain critiques that are just and interesting in their deatils. And details can be important. But they will inevitably be incoherent at the level of the project as a whole. It is thus necessary at first and especially to avoid mixtures, confusion; and if revolutionary-Christians exist, then they will develop together, between themselves, a Christo-revolution, and we already know well where it will be forced to stop itself (in other words, instead of discussing with them this hollow ideology, we must have the possibility of questioning, and then liquidating, the revolutionary illusion that will manifest itself on such bases). The revolutionary-Christians cannot come to use a blundering [brouillonne] will of participation or sacrifice to render blurrier a new questioning of modern society, which at this moment requires above all another quality, namely, clarity. Lacking this complete and clearly claimed change, one will not leave the omnipresent confusion that has become the best weapon of the old regime of life.

The struggle between the ancients and the moderns in Notes critiques, as you have described it, simply poses a tactical problem. Not knowing its elements, I cannot give you any advice. It seems to me, based on what you have said, your choice is already made, that is, in favor of the break. This seems unavoidable to me, in the medium or long run. But perhaps it won't be bad if Notes critiques comes to an end a little later, after having marked still more progress in its evolution. This would depend on the freedom that you are given to invade more deeply into the next issues (up until now, in its progress, N.C. has been too dependant upon exterior citations, not autonomous enough; at the same time, the Christian debate has appeared impossible to eradicate, which is unfortunately typical of it).

The question of P.O. [Pouvoir Ourvier, also known as Socialisme ou Barbarie] must be asked here: note the excessive number of Parisian Christians who talk foolishly in it. It is necessary, moreover, to render to them the tribute that, as in N.C., they do not venture to explore the religious question itself, though they explore every other one -- and thus too many.

All this doesn't require a "response to Debord" of which you have spoken. It isn't me who is in question here, nor is it you that I've put in question. Think, rather, of defending your positions in front of the readers of N.C. My "exchanges" with [Jacques] Ellul -- that's quite a grand word. Ellul came to see me in Paris. He says that he approves of the SI [Situationist International], which he knows quite well, with two exceptions, one of which, I believe, concerns the hooligans [les bloussons noirs], and the other of which concerns nothing less than his Christian faith. This is obviously quite astonishing. Afterwards, he sent me a copy of his book Propaganda, which is quite remarkable (an excellent example of what I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, concerning details that can be very important. In this book, what is lacking is only the recognition or at least the hypothesis of some kind of force that could constitute an alternative to the evolution that is disparaged). I understand that Ellul is, in this regard, similar to the Christian presence in the N.C. group.

I believe that one of our friends wrote something about the derive in I.S. [Internationale Situationniste] #8.

On Form:[2] perhaps this can be read at the University of Bordeaux, in the "sociology of literary deeds"?

If one of us comes through Bordeaux, it is certain that he will come see you. Reciprocally, one can reach me in Paris, [telephone] TUR 25 24, as I have already written to Jollivet.


P.S. Can you send a collection of N.C. to Jean-Charles Calixte, 97, avenue P. Grenier, Boulogne-sur-Seine?

[1] Francoise Lung, from the Notes critiques journal.

[2] By Asger Jorn.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 2, 1960-1964. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2005.)

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