from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
20 May 1975
[1] Niccolo

I am now in the mountains that you are familiar with, where you can write me or telephone.

It is here that you should send Opus Censoris[2] as soon as possible, and also the press clippings that it incites. The unfortunate delay in all this pushes us back, concerning the translation,[3] to publication in September, the beginning of June being the limit point for the Parisian edition.

I have just received your letter #7. I have not responded until now, given the general conditions and because there was nothing truly new with respect to what I told you in person. With the result that any writing from me would not have been instructive for you, but risked instructing an excessive number of other people instead. I maintain my principal pessimistic hypothesis concerning the literature[4] (desiring that you are just in your optimism and recognizing that there actually exists a view that can verify this optimism). Nevertheless, if unfortunately I am right, you sense that a textual explication in the style of the imbecilic professors whom we knew in our youth can border on "the anarcho-fascism"[5] of certain brilliant discourses.

It seems to me that you have not responded to the shadowy imputations of the Italian police and the Stalinists, who take aim at phantoms. Who are the "comontists"? the N.A.P.?[6] But finally, in case you must nevertheless respond one day, if you are personally questioned, it will be necessary to do so as obviously as possible (a tract signed in your name and addressed to all the newspapers, a declaration from your attorney, etc.). The content must forcefully be the following:

1) The Situationist International has been dissolved since 1972. You are honored to have participated in it. Today, there certainly exists a vaster situationist current, easily recognizable in the most advanced struggles in the factories of Europe, but that has nothing in common, to your knowledge, with the "teppismo"[7] of unknown people. Although you estimate that this current is quite powerful in Italy, it is globally well known that, at the moment, it is especially in Portugal that, with the greatest success, it fights capitalism, Stalinism and its captains, reformism and what remains of fascism.

2) You yourself are not a gangster,[8] but an artist working in the cinema (assistant on a famous film -- and this would be the occasion to proudly cite the importance and the celebrity of the theories involved in it).

3) As far as exhumations concerning the Italian section of 1969-1970, above all speak of the famous journal, of which one speaks as if it were a currently published series, though it came out once in 1969. One more effort and one could attribute influence in the current provocations to the Red Shirts of Garibaldi or Catilina himself. Brave Italy, which never gets rid of its past! Also add: you do not know if the great printer in question (cite its name and address[9]) ever worked -- or worked in the last six years -- for the Questura[10] of Milan. Note in any case that the use that is made of this imputation must be ruinous publicity for the owners of this printing press. Can all of its clients be suspected of ties to the police? And what to think of the workers at this poor press? Would they not be justified in going out on strike so as to reclaim a bonus of risk that is inherent in the parapolice activity with which they are thus credited? And if the printer works for the Common Market, and if it does not deny it, by bringing a defamation lawsuit against the journalists concerned and the Questura, you can make yourself strong by publicizing its dangerous reputation in all of Europe, etc. And, moreover, are we no longer in a regime of free enterprise, in which a printing press, like a restaurant, works for whomever pays the bills, without thereby engaging any of its other clients in the others' political options? And, in the delirium of an already Stalinized police force, does one impute involvement to anyone who frequented a bar or drank alongside the informers or walked down a street on which Commissioner Calabresi[11] once passed? In brief, drag them through shit, by laughing loudly.

I believe that Paolo [Salvadori] has advised you of the definitive end of Eduardo [Rothe], who has become completely miserable and repugnant. I recently saw Paolo in Paris, and he told me nothing new about Italy, except for his ridiculous dreams about the pseudo-Napoleon.[12] Since then, Jaime [Semprun] was forced to break with him for flagrant dishonesty in a dialogue. I suppose that, in any case, you know you should break off this bad frequentation more quickly than the others.

Mi pare, cugino mio, che ora hai perduto l'intero Gran-Ducato tuo, e forse senza vitorno; e voglio dire non solum la citta del fiore, sed etiam il contado.[13]

When you have settled all of these on-going problems, perhaps we can then see each other, here or elsewhere, because there is much to say. In any case, the ensemble of the current circumstances demand that I only meet you alone. Thus, keep this choice in mind for the moment (the autumn?). Vale.[14]


[1] Translator's note: "dear" in Italian.

[2] The work of Censor.

[3] By Guy Debord.

[4] Translator's note: again, the book by "Censor."

[5] Translator's note: calumny for the political positions of the Situationist International.

[6] The "comontists" were an extreme left groupuscule issued from the 1971 split with the "Luddites" of Genoa. The N.A.P. (Nucleus of Armed Proletarians), infiltrated and teleguided by the secret services, acted in the framework of Italy's prisons, inciting certain prisoners to take up armed struggle. They were the victims of the coldest and cruelest liquidation.

[7] Banditry. [Translator's note: in June 1975, the Italian paper L'Espresso ran an article by Valerio Riva entitled "Estetica e teppismo: I Situazionisti" (Aesthetics and Banditry: The Situationists).]

[8] Translator's note: English in original.

[9] Tipografia Nova, Via Rucella 30/D, Milano.

[10] Prefect of Police.

[11] Translator's note: In charge of the investigation into the bombing of the Piazza Fontana in Milan on 12 December 1969.

[12] Commentaries on The Prince by Machiavelli, attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte.

[13] "It appears to me, my cousin, that you have lost the totality of the Great Duchy, and it seems irreversibly so; and I would say not only the city of the flower [Florence], but the whole country as well."

[14] Translator's note: "Farewell" in Spanish.

(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.)

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