from Guy Debord

To Michel Prigent
26 January 1981
Dear Michel:

Here I found your letters from 19 November and 22 December [1980]. As you have understood, it is still the same ones who receive the same blows!

Our campaign in Spain has already had an astonishing success (see attached article[1]). These comrades from the Autonomous Group of Madrid, who were acquitted due to "lack of proof" -- since one had not yet impaneled the jury in Spain, a political step backwards for power (if it is very rare) is also much more easily executed than in English jurisprudence -- are precisely the most "guilty"; they themselves had proclaimed what they had done and why they did it. The police even seized all of the material at the printer, even the heaviest and the most complete, which they had purchased at great cost with money taken from banks.

Nevertheless, there remain in the prison in Segovia twelve or fifteen members of the autonomous groups of Barcelona and Valencia: all condemned to seven years (the fiscal[2] had at first asked for between fifteen and twenty years), but especially the three workers from Barcelona -- G. Botifoll Gomez, J. Hernandez Tapia and M. Nogales Toro -- who were each condemned to around twenty-five years, at the beginning of July 1980, before we started to intervene. Thus, the prison in Segovia is still full and "then it is not too late for this kind of thing."[3] Let us continue to make historic publicity for this pretty little city!

Thank you for your rapid intervention. When you have made the English translation, send me several copies. The French version[4] is in reality the original version, but not the first one to be published. It was written in a deliberately Spanish spirit and style.

It is a very good idea to record an English disk that translates the songs. Here, we are going to try to record a disk in Spanish, to be introduced into Spain as "cassettes," thus using the technique of the protesters [contestataires] of the East. We only lack a Spanish singer. (I will soon send you several new songs.)

I suggest that you add something like a "Song[5] of the British Internationalists active in the Iberian Region," be detourning the song of the "Lincoln Brigade"[6] as sung by [Woody] Guthrie to the melody of "Red River Valley."[7]

I regret that I did not see you around Christmas, but I have not been to Paris in two years: the town is too dead, and I am too well known in it. By contrast, I find Spain to be very lively, but there as well I fear I will soon be almost as celebrated as in Italy.

It is beautiful to see, in Poland, the revolutionary birth -- and, at the same time, "the decline and fall"[8] -- of a unionism in which Walesa, the Pope and the Polish Party[9] gather together to negotiate with Brezhnev so as to sell and guarantee [the delivery of] the workers to him. Nevertheless, the slowness of the necessary Russian intervention proves that the bureaucrats are beginning to greatly fear the workers in Russia, because they cannot be impressed by Carter or Reagan. In Portugal, one had already discerned this strange slowness of the counter-revolution, which is typical of the decomposed state of the existing order.

I will be in Arles at the address indicated below, until May. In any case, mail sent to Champ Libre will always follow me.

Best wishes,

[1] "Anarquistas absueltos por falta de pruebas," El Pais, 27 November 1980, which is translated here:

Anarchists acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The indicted anarchists Antonio and Virginia Cativiela Alfox, Jose Luis Martin Diez, Maximo Casas Gonzalez, Luis Guillardini Gonzalez and Guillermo Gonzalez Garcia, for whom the prosecutor asked for a total of 115 years of prison, due to the charges that alleged a certain number of hold-ups and attacks using explosives, were acquitted by the National Tribunal due to lack of evidence.

The sentence made clear that "the tribunal regarded as well-founded the suspicions according to which the indicted could have taken part in the deeds that were imputed to them, but considered that, for a court of law to pronounce a guilty verdict, it was necessary that, in advance, in an obligatory and indispensable manner, the prosecution would have had to submit to it sufficient evidence in the course of the trial that would give it, in its heart and its conscience, a complete and absolute certainty that the accused had indeed a veritable and real participations in these deeds."

[2] The prosecutor.

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

[4] "To libertarians."

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

[6] Battalion of American volunteers in the International Brigades of 1936.

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

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

[9] Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity union, the Polish Pope Jean-Paul II and Stanislas Kania, First Secretary of the Polish Communist Party, respectively.

(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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