from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti[1]
20 July [19]70
Dear Gianfranco:

[Claudio] Pavan is doing so well that soon perhaps he will send a doorman to you, signifing that you must restore to him his fins.[2] He would already like to be a martyr for his "injust" exclusion; this painting will soon be complete.

A detail, which perhaps is tied to your recent, slightly strange convocation, must be noted. The day before yesterday, I was at a sidewalk cafe[3] near my place with Alice [Becker-Ho]. On the other side of the street, we glimpsed a photographer -- with professional equipment -- who photographed us several times, as happened in Venice at least twice. Then he crossed the street and moved away after passing close to our table. As I looked at him, his very exaggeratedly "detached" and falsely innocent aspect became visibly embarassed. I followed him an instant later. I found him close to the gate of the church[4] that you know, quickly turned his back and, across from the gate, photographed a wall about three metres away from him that was absolutely without interest. I found that this was a truly stupid frame, even for an amateur taking his first photo. I went to another cafe to telephone friends. One might have met up with him so as to ask if he was a journalist or if he loved our heads. But I wasn't joined by anyone and then I lost track of him.

It is definite that one must be as rational as possible, as you said about the sauerkraut.

Concerning Mustapha [Khayati], I quite understand your arguments, which can be summarized by establishing that revolutionary theory and the current movement still are not rich enough to let go into isolation an individual of worth. I myself have thought this and especially in seeing Mustapha the other day. But this is only one aspect of the problem. Our divergences on the Middle East are now almost non-existent (I believe that I am only a little less pessimistic than he is on the possibility of the existence of revolutionary Arabs, despite the sad conditions in which they are actually enclosed). On the contrary, it follows from the recitation of Mustapha that he didn't lead any sort of political struggle in Jordan and that even his final resignation from his party wasn't accompanied by any text. Thus, before Venice, he decided unilaterally that his participation in this political struggle was absolutely imposed on him, from the fact of his objective analysis and a sort of subjective obligation that he keenly felt. As soon as he was in place, he instantly renounced those obligations. Thus, this no longer is a political error, which revealed itself in the experience and in the struggle as a simple error (a false strategy). This is an error of politics, notably on the question of organization and the minimum requirements that it implies. He seems to have left the F.D.P.L.P.[5] with as much discretion as he left the SI, and this appears to partake more of the "touristic" style of intellectual "fellow travelers" than of putting into practice several excellent things that he had previously written on the subject of organization. If we said in Venice that the debate on his resignation had something academic about it, since his choice had already been made, this wasn't because he had already signified his resignation to the French section ten or twenty days before. It was because he had already formally engaged in another organization a month or two before making known his resignation in an address to the SI.

Thus, it would be very unamicable on our part to suggest to him to present a request for re-admission (as he obviously has the right to do, in accordance with the resolution adopted in Venice) in conditions where we would find ourselves obliged to reject it.

Given the beautiful development of the troubles in Reggio,[6] might your vacation carry you a little further to the south? Do you not have the impression that one finds oneself at a place about three or four months before the bomb [at the Piazza Fontana]?

The French journal will certainly not be published before November. The resignation of Francois [de Beaulieu] isn't regrettable as deed (and he will surely be a very bad former member), but as style. This is the first time that someone has been pushed to leave the SI for his general mediocrity, which was vaguely visible on several occasions, and not for a specific deed. This doesn't prove that his disappearance is unjust, but only that we didn't occupy ourselves enough with specific actions -- because, here, we took too few actions and did so rather badly. The question of the methods of work is well posed in practice by the slow realization of issue #13 [of Internationale Situationniste] and must also be posed in theory in the aftermath of the orientation debate. Paolo [Salvadori] expounded to you the beginning, in the meeting of 14 July, at which he attended.

Regards to all,

[1] Framed at the top: "Bravo for the Italian victory in the consumption of wine! But France remains in the lead in the global consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Belgians follow behind quite closely, even though in the statistics published by the Corriere they cut a sad figure with their eleven annual litres of wine per person."

[2] Swimming fins, forgotten at G. Sanguinetti's home.

[3] Written in the margin: "An empty sidewalk cafe."

[4] Saint-Nicholas-des-Champs, facing 239 rue Saint-Martin.

[5] Popular and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

[6] After the announcement in July 1970 that Reggio de Calabre would not become the regional capital, riots broke out in the town (barricades, attacks on police stations and armament of demonstrators, sacking of the mayor, the station and the headquarters of the different political parties, and pillage of the banks); the troubles lasted until February 1971, despite the proclamation of a state of siege.

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

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