from Guy Debord

To Jean-Pierre Voyer[1]
18 March [1976]
Herr General!

I hasten to acknowledge receipt of your instructions concerning the fate of the garrison that has taken refuge at Vincennes.[2] They strengthen the resolution of the entire army.

What remains of the enemy, which is in complete rout since your victorious and decisive battle of 2 December [1975], is now tightly blockaded at Vincennes and knows that it will end up in the grave.

Its peace envoys have proposed to surrender the place to us if we spare their legs, if not, they will bury themselves in the ruins, etc. I have responded that Your Excellency rejects their claim to ever having possessed legs, and that we will thus leave the ruins to bury the ruins, as is customary.[3]

Respectfully yours,
von Clausewitz
(the Commander of the Avant-Garde)

[1] At the top of this letter: "Urgent. In clean hands."

[2] Translator's note: Founded in 1969 as an alternative to traditional universities, the Universite de Vincennes was the home of such well-known "post-structuralist" philosophers and sociologists as Michel Serris, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. Debord's dislike of Vincennes theorists was in part a response to their theories, but also to their means of supporting themselves. Michel Foucault "undertook a number of research projects for the Ministere de l'Equipment in the 1970s [...] Many well known sociologists and philosophers participated in research financed by this Ministry, such as Deleuze and Guattari who also undertook contract research [...] Lefebvre points out that recuperation has taken a specific form in the years after 1968 in that technocrats got the critics themselves to work out what would be applicable out of the radical critique. Many Marxists sociologists at this time accepted contracts from State ministries." Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas, translators' introduction to Henri Lefebvre, Writings on Cities (Blackwell, 1996).

[3] Translator's note: A detournement of a famous phrase in Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: "let the dead bury their dead."

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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