from Guy Debord

To Andre Frankin
24 January 1961
Dear Andre:

I just received your letter of the 21st. The failure of the strike[1] is a terrible disappointment, although the betrayals by the leadership on the questions that you pointed out (putting down workplace tools, the march on Brussels, etc.) have been quite noticeable for the last three weeks -- and thus let one foresee the unfortunate outcome. But the field of play was immense. The question of power was posed and, beyond that, the question of the true nature of workers' power. From whence comes the torpor of Renard[2] who appears to me, finally, to express the interests of the syndicalist manager ("structural reforms" as objective) more than a fundamental political incompetence. As for the protests against repression, you can, naturally, involve the situationists in any text, which you can word as strongly as you wish. . . .

Unfortunately, [Maurice] Wyckaert isn't in Belgium: he's staying in Munich for several months. The only one who remains in Brussels ([Attila] Kotanyi) is the only one whom one can't put forward, due to the fact that he is a Hungarian exile and threatened with immediate expulsion.

You can use the name of Maurice Wyckaert "for the Belgian section" [of the Situationist International]; and, for example, the signatures of Asger Jorn and myself in the name of the whole SI. We are perhaps the best "known" in Belgium -- very relatively!

I will immediately write to Kotanyi so that he intervenes in the political circle founded -- to make a sort of propaganda for workers' councils -- by one named Dehoux,[3] of whom you must know. Many of the participants are, to my knowledge, strongly suspect bourgeois, who have been tempted by salon discussions to adopt a radical ideology: just as they have been surpassed and immobilized in the presence of the strike, they are opposed to repression within the confines of the State's juridical framework.

Regards to Vaume[4] and the others. Fraternally,


[1] A wave of strikes -- against a unique law that recommended a politics of currency deflation -- that covered Belgium between 20 December 1960 and 18 January 1961, with violent confrontations between iron and steel workers and syndicalist delegates.

[2] A syndicalist delegate and strike-breaker.

[3] Robert Dehoux, of Pouvoir Ouvrier Belgique [Belgian Workers' Power] (constituted following the great strike of 1960-1961), and editor of the journal Alternative.

[4] Henri Vaume, who worked as the sound producer on Marcel Marien's film, The Imitation of the Cinema.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 2, 1960-1964. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2005.)

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