from Guy Debord

To Jean-Francois Martos
19 December 1986
Dear Jeff:

The ebb of the charming movement of the high school students[1] has been quite sudden. A late concession and everything vanishes. Until when? The media affirm to the students that they have won, and those who were only hostile to [Alain] Devaquet can declare themselves content. . . . It seems that a certain number of these "non-political people" made themselves into Mitterrandists on the spot. Did the dissembling Leftists really have the important place that one generally attributes to them in the infiltration of the "student coordination [committees]" (which thus guaranteed failure in the customary manner)? Or has their role been over-rated?

In any case, no one doubts that Direct Action[2] resumed its services, and that it did not disappoint its bosses.

As we were saying, the other night, next to the rebellion (which was more pleasant and more proper for the occasion), I believe I have forgotten to tell you that I have for the last several months resumed research into the recent evolution (and of course for the worst) of the famous spectacular society, notably on the different means of repression that it develops: a neo-Stalinism that is more perfect than the first one.[3] This is, on the contrary, in the genre of the distressing and frightening, as the recent works of X[4] have shown us. But it will be necessary to pay great attention in the exposition to these special revelations. Detourning a particularly imbecilic formula of F. Castro on "the duty of revolutionaries,"[5] I say: the work of revolutionary critique is assuredly not to led people to believe that the revolution has become impossible!

See you soon. Best wishes to you all,

[1] In October 1986, Alain Devaquet, the Minister of Research and Higher Education, presented a law that intended to instaurate selective screening (costs of student enrollment, competitive entrance examinations . . .). On 4 December, a demonstration brought together a million people in the streets of Paris and, at les Invalides, ended in very severe confrontations [with the police], in the course of which there were many serious injuries.

[2] Translator's note: ostensibly a group of revolutionary extremists, Action directe was in fact infiltrated, controlled and "teleguided" by the French secret services.

[3] Comments on the Society of the Spectacle would be published in May 1988, dedicated to the memory of Gerard Lebovici. [Translator's note: neo-Stalinism refers to the "integrated spectacle," in which the worst aspects of the "democratic" West and the "Communist" East have merged and reinforced each other.]

[4] Translator's note: this would appear to be Jean-Pierre Baudet, who -- in protest against the fact that Editions Fayard/Alice Debord did not include in Correspondance any of the letters addressed to Guy Debord, thereby "presenting the interlocutors of Mr Debord as reduced to mutism, and incapable of having inspired, nourished or contradicted what he expressed in his own letters" -- demanded on 5 April 2006 that Editions Fayard/Alice Debord not include any of the letters that Debord addressed to him between 1985 and 1989. Not only did they comply, but they also replaced any reference to "Jean-Pierre Baudet" with the letter X.

[5] Translator's note: in the "Second Declaration of Havana," made on 4 February 162, Fidel Castro proclaimed: "The duty of every revolutionary is to make the revolution."

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

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