from Guy Debord

To Mr Thierry Levy
Arles, 23 March 1984
Dear Sir:

I have just received your two letters of 19 March and your summons concerning the Journal du dimanche.

I approve completely of your summons in its basis and its style. Thus I believe that it will be necessary to do almost the same thing (and, no doubt, often, with similar phrases) for all the others newspapers that we must attack in criminal court.

The other, less serious defamations must be attacked in civil court.

I leave the choice to you. My general intention is to bring actions against the widest possible range of the press that indulges in these practices, even Minute, even L'Humanite.

It is necessary for us to attack any newspaper that, in such a context, says anything, not only obviously slanderous, but also simply false. The passages that I have indicated to you are all false or, sometimes, in three or four cases, absolutely unprovable, thus false.

I do not know at which point the fact that this is a general campaign of denigration is an aggravating circumstance or, on the contrary, an attenuating circumstance, for each newspaper that has put me into question.[1] According to your opinions on this point, act for the best. I believe I remember in matters of wrongs committed by the press, the prescription comes quickly. Thus we will make sure not to forget anyone.

Concerning L'Humanite, I believe that the expression "surrendered" (with respect to Editions Champ Libre), an expression of military origin, implies that Gerard [Lebovici] was forced, after resisting, and faced with pressures or threats that remain imprecise, yielded Editions Champ Libre to me. Note well that I was not either legally or effectively an employee or owner of Editions Champ Libre. (You can read about the reality of the situation in my letter to Jaime Semprun of 26 December 1976 -- Correspondence, vol. I, p. 54.[2])

With respect to Le Monde of 15 March,[3] I continue to think that the fact of being considered, without the shadow of the beginning of an explanation or proof, to be (by my very nature) an unlucky person for those who associate with me to be a very serious defamation.

With respect to the article by Tiller in La Journal du dimanche of 18 March,[4] I deny that Commissioner [Jacques] Genthial referred to me as a "cursed client," since I have never met him. I deny being "the damned soul" of Gerard or anything else of the kind. I deny being a mysterious person. I deny having relations "qualified as very suspect," even if the D.S.T. or the Renseignements generaux[5] actually affirm this with a surprising casualness. I formally deny having -- in 1972 nor at any other time -- launched my wife in [a career in] the cinema. And a fortiori that the "specialized magazines" have ever been interested in her. I deny that "interventions emanating from political personalities -- from the Left as from the Right" have ever buried a "dossier," of which I myself am completely ignorant. I deny ever having "taking in the daughter of a politician," powerful or not. I deny that the Renseignements generaux have left me no respite, because I have never perceived their presence in my life. I deny not having a telephone: it is an unlisted number. I deny ever having met with intellectuals or others who have been close to the Baader gang or the Red Brigades. I deny "being the pope" of anything and deny pursuing my "infernal course in another world." I deny both living clandestinely and having contacts in this beautiful world. I deny having any "power" of any kind, other than that power that Gerard and several others have recognized in me with respect to my merits in social theory and the art of this century.

I can, if you desire it and if we have the time before the pleadings, address to you several precise answers of this type concerning the worst of these articles.

I reiterate to you, dear Sir, the assurance of all the trust that I instantaneously accorded you in these difficult hours.

Guy Debord

[1] Articles assembled and examined in Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici, published in 1985 by Editions Gerard Lebovici (reprinted by Gallimard, April 1993). [Translator's note: Gerard Lebovici was murdered in an ambush on 5 March 1984.]

[2] See letter dated 26 December 1976.

[3] Article by Philippe Boggio: "Scenarios for an Assassination." [Translator's note: see Debord's Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici (translation published by Tam Tam Books, 2001), pp. 40-41.]

[4] Translator's note: see Debord's Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici (translation published by Tam Tam Books, 2001), pp. 50-59.]

[5] Translator's note: the French equivalents of the CIA and the FBI, respectively.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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