from Guy Debord

To J.V. Martin
23 December 1969
Dear Martin:

Two Italians are now here [in Paris], another has returned clandestinely, and the fourth [member of the Italian section of the SI] was always on the spot, where he worked with several sympathisers (who weren't so directly threatened).

The day after the explosion [at the Piazza Fontana in Milan], when the police found no one at Gianfranco's place, they left for him a summons concerning another affair, an old one (December 1968) and truly quite anodyne (the destruction of a Christmas tree, for which a friend is already been in prison for a year). This was the same tactic that was employed to capture Valpreda.[1] But he wasn't sly; he came where he was summoned. Naturally, Pinelli[2] was assassinated by the police. He will at least be a "culprit" who will keep a part of the mystery [alive], if the trial against Valpreda and the young anarchists is not convincing enough. The true authors of the attack are certainly the experts of the secret police or the army. The bourgeoisie wants to break the current climate, which directly leads to revolution. Thus, the bombs are very useful. One now represses all the Leftists and revolutionaries (at least for their writings, for their "responsibility").

The principal question is: what will the spontaneous movement of the workers do now? It encounters all of the obstacles at the same time: provocation and repression by the police, the Stalinist lie, and the reformist concessions concerning the new "collective conventions" that management made this past week and are about to be signed.

The second condition concerns the conditions that the situationists will encounter in Italy. The inquest (being completely political and falsified) can obviously come up again and extend itself several more times. Several Italian journalists have begun to cite the Milan group of the SI among the most extreme, and precisely in liaison with the anarchist leftists, perhaps terrorists. A newspaper has personally cited Paolo [Salvadori] and Gianfranco [Sanguinetti], without speaking specifically of the bomb, but of a project of violence in general. Hey, man! [English in original.]

I believe that Christian [Sebastiani] has sent you only fifty dollars, because it was the only sum that he had the right to use (legally) for an international mandate on his "checkbook." Francois [de Beaulieu] will send you more money in January.

Can you carry the paintings[3] to Luxembourg? The one of Raoul [Vaneigem] and another?

Robert [Chasse] truly is conducting himself like a crazy bureaucrat. His pretention to censor the translations of our texts in Scandanavia is almost more incredible that his dishonest aggression against Tony [Verlaan]. I believe that he hopes next to begin a trial against the entire Italian section! You have seen that the most recent circular of the French section considers that Robert and Bruce [Elwell] are already excluded, automatically, from the moment that the whole SI refused their false exclusion of Tony. Thus, one hopes that [the SI conference at] Luxembourg will be dedicated to more important discussions.


[1] The anarchist Pietro Valpreda was accused of being the author of the attack [at the Piazza Fontana]. Arrested, he wasn't not released until December 1972.

[2] Pino Pinelli, another anarchist, was found dead (on 15 December [1969]) at the foot of the building of the Prefecture of Police in Milan, where he had been interrogated by Commissioner Luigi Calabresi. Calabresi was assassinated in his turn on 17 May 1972 in Milan.

[3] J.V. Martin was also a painter.

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

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