from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
16 April [19]69
Dear Gianfranco:

Here are the originals or copies of several documents:

-- Letter from a Napolitan.

-- Telegram sent 9 January [1969] to Sylvain[1] by the infamous Sigiani[2]: we will renew contact with Sylvain thanks to the address that you have given us. Only now has he left prison; he had been found by the police on the 1st of January [1969], for deeds dating back to May [1968].

-- Copy of a letter from Raoul, sent yesterday to Sugar. I hope that this will be sufficient.

-- Circular on the VIIth Conference [of the Situationist International].[3]

-- Copy/letter to Eduardo,[4] who is in Brussels, in case the Italian revolution delineates itself more precisely.

-- Bravo for your exploits in Milan[5] on Wednesday!

-- The "enrage" tract[6] is very attractive.

-- The demonstration at l'Isere[7] was primarily lead by small merchants who have been ruined by the development of the "supermarkets," but who particularly attacked the State, in the most trivial fashion, for levying an "unreasonable tax." It is rather a bad social base, but an interesting symptom in the current crisis of France: everyone has adopted the habit of complaining with a paving stone in hand. It is a kind of neo-Poujadism that, for the moment, is somewhat anarchist. Meanwhile, one notes that, after Sylvain wrote us, a good number of workers (and several students, as well) have participated in the confrontations. I will add a part of the "introduction" to my book, which Paolo [Salvadori] has demanded, to what I must send you.

Attached is my response to Paolo on the problems of translation [of The Society of the Spectacle].[8]


[1] Sylvain, cf. Letters, vol. III, p. 270.

[2] Marco Maria Sigiani, one of the members of Ed. 912. [Translator: see the statement by the Italian section of the SI called Touched by enemy hands, the gold of the International becomes coal (July 1969).]

[3] Circular of 15 April 1969.

[4] Eduardo Rothe, invited to join the Italian section [of the SI].

[5] On 11 April 1969, the day after the riots in Battipaglia, a violent demonstration took place in Milan (confrontations with the police, destruction of store windows).

[6] Tract against the political and union bureaucrats distributed in Milan and signed by the "Arrabbiati" [Translator: the "enraged." Around 1500, the Arrabbiati were opposed to the policies of the friar Savonarola. Cf. Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy, Book I Chapter 54.]

[7] On 11 April 1969, at an appeal to a Committe for the Investigation and Defense of Merchants, Artisans and Professionals, the demonstrators attacked the tax offices of La Tour-du-Pin, and stole fiscal documents so as to obtain the liberation of their leader, Gerard Nicoud.

[8] See below.

Dear Paolo:

To respond to your responses.

-- Agreed on "incontro a se stesso."

-- Also agreed, concerning thesis 84, if this phrasing is necessary in Italian. I want to say that "ideologization" penetrated into Marxism when Marx was alive and even more after his death (above all the bad work of old Engels).

-- Excuse my mistranslation of "duplice."

-- Thesis 94 -- "fino ad ora" appears good to me.

-- Thesis 103 -- "i burocrati estremisti di sinistra" is a completely clear expression.

-- Thesis 104 -- aggreed on "impotente."

-- Concerning thesis 107. It seems to me that "in antitesi" is good. I do not have [Hegel's] Phenomenology [of Spirit] at hand (also the following phrase between quotation marks, "the power ravaging this terrain," is a citation from the same passage). In the movement of the Phenomenology, after the history of individual awakening, there is the reprise of the same analysis applied chronologically to "universal history." Thus, after Athenian democracy, the Roman republic, [and] "the State of Law," there is the Hegelian qualification of the Caesars: I believe that this is at the end of the chapter.

-- Concerning "advance scouts" [enfants perdus], do as you wish. Perhaps let the expression remain in French. Or "le avantguardie perdute" would be a good Italian equivalent (if one understands that "lost" goes in this direction: "one considers them to be already lost, virtually dead" -- the beauty of the French expression is that it also plays on "lost" = "straying," almost "drifting"; and naturally it evokes the children abandonned by their families and the "bad guys" [mauvais garcons], those who are "morally" lost -- almost the damned).

-- Thesis 123. Ho capito che sono un dialettico![1]



P.S. I have found the notes that I took on the Phenomenology. The passage in question, in the French edition (Aubier), is in volume II, page 48. Around twenty pages later, there is the analysis of the "noble conscience" and, seventy pages after page 48, there is the passage on the French Revolution ("the sky has descended and been transported to the earth").

[1] I have understood that I am a dialectician! (cf. end of the letter of 10 April 1969 to the Italian section of the SI).

[2] Long live the countries without prisons!

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 4, 1969-1972. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2005.)

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