from Guy Debord

To the English situationists in London
Tuesday 28 November 1967
Dear comrades:

Unfortunately, the report from Comrade [Rene] Vienet is too confused for us to understand if Donald [Nicholson-Smith] will remain twelve more months in England (as Rene thinks) or only until the end of 1967. In the first hypothesis, what can be done with the apartment on the rue d'Aboukir?[1] On the other hand, we are no longer sure if Donald will accompany Chris [Gray] to N[ew] Y[ork].

In any case, we are quite in agreement on the necessity of meeting the next emissary [to America] in advance: in London or in Paris? As Guy [Debord] wrote you last Saturday,[2] the entire process will take place during Raoul [Vaneigem]'s trip to N.Y.[3]

Raoul affirms the "non-mythomania" of Tony[4] on all the important questions in which he has involved himself since going to the USA. As you now know, hardly any letters or printed documents sent by us have arrived at Tony's place, Robert's place,[5] or the post office box. Moreover, the climate [in New York] has been demoralized by the calumnies and false news deliberately manipulated by Black Flag & Co.[6]

The only point on which we have verified that Tony exaggerated in his letter, of which you have received a copy, was when he said that he "remains in fruitful contact with Chris." We think that it is necessary to bear in mind the general ambiance when juding this detail; naturally there were other small gaffes that have been very easily recognized and "auto-critiqued." As Guy has already written to you, the agreement between Raoul and Robert and Tony has immediately been translated into a series of practical ruptures in the best -- indispensible -- style of the SI. This was done in such a manner that the scoundrels of New York are fortunately disheartened. One can add that the rejected cretins have already begun a campaign of hostile inscriptions in front of Tony's house.

In these conditions, it appears academic and anti-practical to Raoul to make our "investment" in two individuals who are already engaged in our struggles depend upon supplementary examinations.

We recall that the difficult problem posed for us by N.Y. consists in avoiding as much as possible a rupture that engenders some kind of Nashism;[7] and, on the other hand, formally limiting our agreement to the best person or persons to the extent that we have the good fortune of finding him or them. Raoul has found Robert and Tony to be in agreement, complementary and apparently "inseparable."[8]

Even if certain old worries concerning Tony are verified later on, it seems to us that the position of Robert and Tony, as they begin to act in the USA, won't be as bad as that of Chris and Charles [Radcliffe] during their first year in England: an adventurous period, the results of which have nevertheless been very fortunate.

We (at least Raoul and Guy, perhaps the artists[9] as well) are now almost sure to be charged[10] for incitations to debauchery, theft, if not to crime.

Guy [Debord], Roaul [Vaneigem], Mustapha [Khayati], Rene [Vienet]

P.S. Today we sent under separate cover a packet containing letters and all kinds of documents in English to Brenda's place.[11]

[1] Parisian home of Donald Nicholson-Smith.

[2] This letter has not been communicated to us [i.e., Alice Becker-Ho].

[3] Delegated in the name of the SI to constitute the American section, Vaneigem refused all dialogue with the Black Mask group, which was in collusion with mystical "totalizers."

[4] Tony Verlaan, who would become a situationist in the American section.

[5] Robert Chasse, who would become a situationist in the American section.

[6] Black Flag, anarchist publication in which M[urray] Bookchin participated.

[7] Translator: in 1962, a series of exclusions provoked the formation of a "Nashist" tendency, named after Jorgen Nash, which constituted itself as the Second Situationist International.

[8] Translator: two years later, the two would be at each others' throats. See the letter dated 24 November 1969.

[9] Andre Bertrand and Gerard Joannes.

[10] For the two poster-comics announcing the publication of I.S. #11 (cf. I.S. #11, pp. 34-35).

[11] Brenda Gravelle, companion of Charles Radcliffe.

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

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