from Guy Debord

To I.C.O.
26 December 1967
Dear comrades:

So as to continue the clarifications preliminary to a possible discussion, we respond to the "comrade from Paris" who wrote [the text that appears on] page 27 of your issue #65.[1]

Freedom to him who finds us utopian and hermetic. One is always the utopist of someone. And it is necessary for us to say that, in our case, he is far from being the only one to express this opinion.

But as far as the "muffled Bolshevism" of our positions, we defend ourselves proudly: so as to begin, it would be good to specify for us the exact positions that warrant this reproach. We will respond as best we can.

For the rest: we obviously do not separate theory and practice (this operation is as foreign to "our theory" as to our practical life). We don't give theory a place that is apart and superior. That is to say, we are more in agreement on this point than he [the author] thinks.

It is exactly because this comrade neglects this aspect of the problem that he gives a really quite "comic and mystifying" interpretation of our letter,[2] which was published in the preceding issue of I.C.O.

But we have not said that each worker must "become Karl Marx" (which, furthermore, is not a goal for anyone, since the precise theoretical work that this name refers to was already accomplished in its own time). And we especially did not say that one must "wait" for such a result for three years, or three centuries, before the struggles can begin.

Such a caricature is, in our sense, precisely anti-theoretical to the extent that it neglects the historical evidence that must be held to be amply demonstrated. Of course, it is in taking in hand "the total management of society" that the majority of workers can become "theoreticians" and fortunately not in the current sense of the word!

Thus, this comrade has not seen that, quite to the contrary, our letter suggested that those of the workers who, from now on, are in a better position than others to understand their goals and their own actions must at least begin to be theoreticians as well. Furthermore, in fact they are already doing so. One only presses them to do so with greater consequence.

We have never let it be believed (read the journal Internationale Situationniste) that we only envision "the theoretical aspect" of the reality in motion or that we scorn daily struggles. And, if nothing equals the revolutionary moment as an awakening -- yes, agreed --, then why would one make it, between rare revolutionary moments, as if they had not existed?

This is a way out of reducing [renvoyer] the (inexactly presented) "differences of conception" between us to a mechanical causality between fundamentally different modes of "social existence." We don't know very well what autonomous and privileged "social existence" this comrade imagines for the situationists. But, to the extent that our conceptions are not what he says they are, it isn't very surprising that their supposed sufficient causes are themselves imaginary.

As we do not wish to abuse your pages, in which you have certainly published things more important than the pursuit of this discussion, it would be quite sufficient to transmit this letter to the comrade concerned.

For the SI,
Guy Debord, Mustapha Khayati, Rene Vienet

[1] "Concerning the situationists."

[2] See letter dated 1 August 1967.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 3, 1965-1968. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! September 2005.)

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