from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
28 November 1980
Dear Gerard:

Our Segovia affair[1] appears to me to be the most stunning success since 1968, but obtained with much fewer means. Thus, it was very good poker. This only happened because, until now, one was still discussing the impaneling of the jury in Spain. No jury would ever have returned to freedom these people, who had done so much. But in this case, these were professional judges, who apply the law, that is to say, their orders. I suppose that their orders came from very high up, after an attentive reading of the Iberian text that you know.[2] The multiple informers who are in the C.N.T.[3] must have transmitted ten copies from different regions at the same moment, with the news of the frightened discussions undertaken everywhere among the brave bureaucrats. As the text address itself so little to the C.N.Y., one must have simply concluded that this was only the visible part of the iceberg. In this case, what is very droll is that the visible part was in fact the biggest part of the iceberg. But they could not have been sure of this. They did not think that the new ideas about the C.N.T. "could never lead beyond existing ideas" about the C.N.T., but that to really change something, "it is necessary that men put into play a practical force."[4] Does one know when and why the Spanish decide to put into play a practical force and what they will do with it? All the truths, quite unquestionable but which do not frequent the streets, coldly gave (at the start of play) -- due to an optical illusion that is habitual in such conditions -- the impression of already seeing in action the process that is deduced from it: the opening of a new and very frightening front in the midst of all the disorders that already besiege the Spanish State. And one radically decided to quickly pull the rug out from under the feet of the mysterious conspirators who flattered themselves by using the case of the imprisoned autonomes to set fire to the whole country. Which was quite fortunate, in my opinion. Being in their place, I would have decided on precisely the contrary action. One gains nothing by yielding when things are in such a state (but they nevertheless must have thought about a few pretty blows to land in revenge upon our now, so-well known pistoleros).

Thus, the essential aspect of the affair has already been settled. But the previously condemned workers remain in Segovia (without taking into account the innocent, who will perhaps be acquitted as a consequence of this movement, although this will be more difficult, since it will be necessary to have their innocence recognized). The book and the songs can thus still be of use. I hope that the liberated authors can be a little more active where this is concerned than the preceding spectators.

The proofs of the book arrived at least two weeks too late for us to have the time to perfect all of the details concerning pagination and the table of contents. But I believe that the thing as a whole is very good. Perhaps you might send a copy to Paco Ibanez, since we have used one of his tunes[5] (although I hardly believe that he would like to sing it [with the new lyrics])?

It is a good thing that the Little May[6] wants to do the work, and I hope that it is the store's strange pride that pushes it to take such a commercial sound. Attached is an outline of a response.[7]

Thank you for the Vialatte.[8] Could you buy a copy of this book for me through Regine: Jorge Manrique, by Luis Sunen, Editions EDAF, Madrid 1980? It was published in October and this young man, without making "a critical edition properly speaking," devotes "more than 150 pages," out of 277, to a new vision of this poet. The coincidence strikes me as amusing.[9]

Will the [Champ Libre] catalogue appear on time? and vol. II[10]?

Will you be here to see us before Christmas?

Best wishes,

P.S. I would also like 1 copy of Fenoglio, The War of the Hills. Thank you.

[1] Following the massive distribution in all of Spain of the text "To the Libertarians," the autonomes of the Madrid Group were acquitted due to "lack of proof"!

[2] "To the Libertarians."

[3] Of which all the sections [of the Confederacion Nacional de Trabadores] in Spain received copies.

[4] Translator's note: a quote from Debord's The Society of the Spectacle, which in turn detourned Karl Marx.

[5] Among the songs detourned by Alice and Guy Debord was "Cancion para dormir a un nino en 1980," to a tune by Paco Ibanez.

[6] Bookstore in Barcelona that was devoted to the distribution of the songs and the publication of speeches by Ascaso and Durruti.

[7] Translator's note: not attached in the version being translated here.

[8] Last News of Man, by Alexandre Vialatte.

[9] Translator's note: Debord had recently translated Manrique's "Stanzas on the death of his father."

[10] Volume II of the Correspondence of Editions Champ Libre.

(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.)

To Contact NOT BORED!
ISSN 1084-7340.
Snail mail: POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998