from Guy Debord

To Henri Simon[1]
1 August [19]67
Dear Comrade:

We have transmitted to the A.I. [Anarchist International] the request for documents.

As far as we are concerned, we will be happy to exchange views and information with the I.C.O. if one day this appears realizable for you. We have never opposed our attempts at activity -- which are obviously limited -- to the "inactivity" of the I.C.O. The publication of your bulletin appears to us as a useful and instructive activity. We have reproached you for your willful "nonexistence" on the theoretical level. In fact, we believe that you are too modest on this question; it appears obvious to us that you have quite precise theoretical positions and, by putting them between parentheses, you can prevent their more consequential development, but you can not suppress the bad -- ideological -- side of the opposed references that remain subjacent.

Naturally, we find it excellent that tens of thousands of workers are already in liaison with the bases that I.C.O. has tested. But we think that, unfortunately, you are are still in the position of being innovators, and that it is quite necessary to assume all of the difficulties of this position. And, even in the maximum development of the possible future movement, we, for our part, believe that the majority of the workers must become theoreticians. On this point, we are not as "modern" as the Provos:[2] we are as naive as the others have been for a hundred and twenty years. You say to us that this is difficult. We respond that, the problem having been posed for three centuries, there is absolutely no other way to leave our sad prehistoric period. Those who refuse to speak of China (as if it were another world) appear to us as the inverse image of those who want to rally critical support for the Viet-Cong.

We can only explain the truly frenetic opposition that certain people manifest against the situationists (without troubling themselves with specifying which fundamental point we have said and done that appears unacceptable to them) by a curious hatred of theory. And we understand well the practical conditions in which it is produced: when "the English" are opposed to a discussion with the SI, it obviously is not a question of worker-comrades who are totally ignorant of us, but of their screen-ideologue, Chris Pallis,[3] who has guaranteed to them the "clownery" of the SI as he has fraudulently guaranteed to them the revolutionary thought of Cardan,[4] while we have for many years criticized the "modern bourgeois" road down which Cardan now avows -- in France, at least -- that he gallops. Your German comrades, who make a quite byzantine distinction between Heatwave[5] and us, manifest the same genre of horror.

The debate on that being all the less useful, we have certainly not accepted a meeting with several of the groups involved in your recent international meeting. Discussions in the style of G.L.A.T.,[6] for example, appear to us to be equal to old Trotskyist ideas, with a small change in the glorious dogmatism.

[Guy] Debord, [Mustapha] Khayati, [Rene] Vienet

[1] Henri Simon, Informations et Correspondance Ouvriere [Workers Newsletter and Information]. This letter was published in #64 of I.C.O.

[2] Translator: the Provos were a street movement in Amsterdam.

[3] Christopher Pallis, of Solidarity.

[4] Translator: a pseudonym used by Cornelius Castoriadis, a co-founder of Socialisme ou Barbarie.

[5] Translator: published by Charles Radcliffe, first by himself, later with Christopher Gray, both of whom eventually joined the SI.

[6] Group for Liaison and Action of the Workers, which published the bulletin Class Struggle.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 3, 1965-1968. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! September 2005.)

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