from Guy Debord

To Michel Prigent
Arles, 25 February 1981
Dear Michel:

Returning here, I thought that I should first respond to a Dutch comrade, whose letter arrived about eight days before yours did and posed a quite urgent, though more limited, question. I have attached a photocopy of this response,[1] because I touched upon several points that you, too, should be made aware of. Furthermore, the evolution of events in Spain in the last two days provide the occasion to add something new. (In my letter to Jaap, when I refer to "Arthur," this is Arthur Lehning, an old anarchist who was the curator of the "Bakunin Archives" and edited the volume of Bakunin's Complete Works, and "De Jong" is the director of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.)

I am happy to learn that all the old international bandits have so quickly gone into action for our friends in Segovia. It was good to act quickly, because what follows will be more difficult. The masked pronunciamento of 29 January [1981] follows its course. The very easy attack on the ridiculous Parliament by the Civilian Guards[2] on the day before yesterday (and who would defend it?) is only a blur, an excess, at the interior of the "normal" pronunciamento, which all those in positions of responsibility in the political parties have pretended to not understand. Thus one made them understand, and they continue to hang on to a "democratic" king, who speaks for a minute on the radio to avow that, in fact, the majority of the generals have permitted him to remain in place if he fully executed their will. In exchange for this, these generals "sacrificed" -- no doubt for a very brief moment -- the most extreme, the most pressed and the most archaic elements from their own conspiracy. It is too soon to know if the very numerous putschists are the too-adventurous and maladroit wing of the pronunciamento that would have succeeded much better in calm or if, on the contrary, it was calculated as a necessary sacrifice -- as one says in chess to accelerate the movement by giving to everyone (from the "centrist" party to the C.N.T., passing through Felipe Gonzalez and Carillo[3]) the peremptory information that it is necessary to choose between quiet submission and the blasts of submachine guns. Do you like our "civilized" pronunciamento or do you prefer Colonel Tejero, who is brutal? Imagine the crisis of conscience that would face the leaders of the workerist Left, the day that Westminster invaded with two squadrons of the "Special Air Service."[4] We do not despair of seeing such a beautiful thing happen one day. But in the meantime, the workers of Spain complete their self-instruction about their "defenders" and once again see their old enemies, from whom they have nothing to learn.

Thank you for the addresses in several countries that you have given. Have you others? Perhaps a systematic list would be useful for the next urgent publication.

The idea of [distributing] cassettes in the East is excellent.

You can photocopy my preceding letter[5] (without my address, of course). Perhaps it would be better to bring together, with their precise dates, the three fragments on Spain that are contained in this letter and the two preceding ones? You can distribute them as information communicated "from G. Debord to M. Prigent."

The Stalinist calumnies about Ciliga[6] have lasted 40 years and are always the same. He said the truth about Russia, and Julian Gorkin[7] was persecuted in the same manner for having revealed the repression of the P.O.U.M. in Republic Spain (without counting George Orwell, who, for the same reason, was barely distributed by his French publisher, Gallimard).

I know the ex-spouse of Guigonis,[8] Maya, a little. She sends you her best wishes. The address of Fernand G is [...] Arles. Your visit to this town, and the surprising shipwreck of the boat, have certainly not been forgotten.

Best wishes,

P.S. Through your Parisian contacts, could you locate the address of an old friend, of whom I lost track many years ago: Denise Cheype?[9] I fear that something bad has happened to her. I know that she was a friend of Arthur Marchadier,[10] whom I did not know. But you tell me that he has done good work on the entire Iberian Peninsula.

[1] Letter to Jaap Kloosterman dated 23 February 1981.

[2] On 23 February, Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero and two hundred Civilian Guards invaded the Cortes.

[3] Felipe Gonzales (Socialist) and Santiago Carillo (Communist).

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

[5] Letter dated 26 January 1981.

[6] Anton Ciliga, author of Ten Years in the Country of the Disconcerting Lie, published in 1977 by Editions Champ Libre.

[7] Julian Gomez, called Gorkin, former functionary of the Communist International in Moscow, member of the Executive Committee of the P.O.U.M., condemned in October 1938 to fifteen years in prison.

[8] Fernand Guigonis, friend of Michel Prigent.

[9] A friend in common the situationists. [Translator's note: see letter dated 13 February 1966.]

[10] Christian Marchadier, called Arthur, ex-vandal in Bordeaux circa 1968.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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