from Guy Debord

To Constant
21 June [19]60
Dear Constant:

[I haven't written because] other things being urgent and my response to your letter of 6 June [1960][1] being much less so, because it appears to be a definitive response that closed our debate. It is nevertheless necessary to say so clearly.

By writing, "In what now remains of the SI, it's ridiculous to speak of exclusion or resignation," you confirm in a striking manner, and without reply, that you place yourself outside of the SI, as your letter of 1 June already informed me (writing me then that "in these circumstances, I can no longer take any responsibility for the actions of the SI and I reserve the right to act in complete freedom . . . ") But, as you still leave us to judge if your "remoteness"[2] is or is not definitive, I have anticipated for you that a confirmed resignation would be without return, because the basis of the SI is control of the group, expressed by exclusion -- or resignation, which is more rare -- a control of which there is no reason to believe that it would be "ridiculous to speak."

I take note of the fact that knowing about the exclusion of Pinot [Gallizio] hasn't changed your decision [to resign from the SI]. When we saw you in Amsterdam, you seemed to prefer that the adventures of Pinot led us all into a generalized indulgence: keep Pinot, get [Har] Oudejans back. This is your affair. Me, I do not want Pinot, Oudejans or their friends.

To reclaim your liberty with respect to a movement with which one is no longer in agreement is perfectly honorable: it is even an obvious duty. I regret that, at the last moment, you ceased to say so frankly and naturally. Because I do not find it natural to see you write that the SI "collaborated" with the Pinot exhibition in Amsterdam; that this exhibition was "inconsequential" compared to our refusal of a more general manifestation of the movement;[3] that Pinot was excluded "afterwards," as if for this exhibition; and that "just the same" the SI published his monograph (carrying the announcement of his exclusion), as if we all didn't give the Library of Alexandria[4] an autonomy that did not engage the ideological responsibility of the SI. I also do not find it natural to qualify certain of my friends as "ambitious painters" and me their dupe. I do not contest that one can, on all sides, discover among us a multitude of faults, but do you believe that no one ever reproaches us for them seriously? Passion leads you astray.

Moreover, whether you are "partially satisfied with my response" or completely satisfied with it, or not at all, unfortunately has no relation to reality. I am still with the SI and, as long as I am in it, I will keep a minimum of discipline that excludes all collaboration with uncontrollable elements: because, if you reject my friends en bloc, I may have more serious reasons for keeping my distance from yours, and from their suspicious constructions (and I do not see the system of guarantees and sanctions that will remain to you so that you can avoid being compromised by them, as they have already done in Forum by using a church to illustrate your exposition of unitary urbanism).

My last letter thus wasn't at all preoccupied with satsifying you where I'm personally concerned. I communicated to you the most recent conclusions of the SI simply so that, beyond the pretexts of the henceforth-settled Pinot incident, you could decide on your own position with respect to us. Which is done.[5]

Unitary urbanism, of course, belongs to everyone. Any one who wants to can develop it, and all of the effective realizations would interest me. At the most, I can say that the true development of unitary urbanism will be strongly in relation to research into global liberation, and not a pure formal construction, even if it is gigantic. As [Attila] Kotanyi wrote in the most recent issue of the [situationists'] journal (page 35): "At this level [the gigantic], one can already remove the decisive elements of conditioning. But if, at the same time, we expect a result from this level, and not from the removal itself, then we have committed the biggest possible error."[6] But we will indeed see the results. The SI, which doesn't reserve anyone, isn't the property of anyone -- or only its requirement of the totality.


P.S. Relations between us can be placed on diverse terrains, from benevolent co-existence, particularly with respect to exchanges of information and documents (which appears a priori desirable and, in this respect, we desire to receive 200 copies of your monograph, so as to integrate them into the collection of which it is the first volume) to different degrees of polemic. I can guarantee, in the name of the situationists, that it is up to you to choose your terrain. On which we will follow you immediately.

[1] Translator: this letter is unavailable.

[2] Translator: see letter dated 2 June 1960, footnote #3.

[3] Translator: see letter dated 7 March 1960.

[4] Translator: an imprint funded and directed by Asger Jorn. Between 1960 and 1964, it published monographs by Constant, Pinot Gallizio, Asger Jorn and Guy Debord.

[5] Translator: it seems to be taking Debord a long time to accept the fact that, yes, Constant has resigned from the SI.

[6] Translator: Attila Kotanyi, "Gangland and Philosophy," Internationale Situationniste #4, June 1960.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 1, 1957-1960. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! October 2005.)

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