from Guy Debord

To Jean-Francois Martos
29 August 1981
Dear Jeff:

It is true that the letter that Jaap [Kloosterman] has sent you has a tone that Michel [Prigent] has called "rigid." I am convinced that, for his part, this only comes from a serious disappointment with and a just mistrust of Gianfranco [Sanguinetti] that are based upon information that Jaap has come to know. In fact, the completely decisive element appears to me to reside in the fact that Gianfranco has not responded to you for two months and in such a context.[1] This is a terrible verification: even more than I would have thought. In this sense, the still quite polite tone of the questions that you posed to Gianfranco had the merit of allowing him complete freedom to respond and offered no excuse for a cop-out. So we have seen.

I even believe that we now see even worse on the same perilous terrain. I send to you, attached,[2] the copy of a note that I received from Carlos [Ojeda]. It is distressing, because it seems to me that Carlos (who had quite correctly judged Arthur [Marchadier] has fallen into a kind of self-accusatory delirium. I do not know why he wanted to see Gianfranco at that moment, but the result was disastrous, since Gianfranco -- whose detestable cleverness hardly surprises me -- succeeded in not responding to all of the burning questions to which he had to respond, but transported the discussion to a completely metaphysical question: the supposedly "pro-situ" character of Carlos! With the result that he [Sanguinetti] obtained a kind of psychological collapse on the part of someone who is obviously more sincere and honest than he is. Would not one dread such consequences?

You have communicated to me many interesting things concerning the anonymous "uncontrollable"[3] and his milieu. I know very little about it, knowing Italy and Spain better than Paris for the last eight years, and having not traveled to Paris for the last three years. I know of Insurrection[4] (only one issue?). Do you know anything about the "Gravediggers of the Old World"?[5]

One can certainly recognize in the "uncontrollable" pamphlet a clear aspect of provocation. Another provocation, perhaps, stands out in the two attached articles,[6] especially the one from La Quinzaine litteraire.[7] If you have seen my last film,[8] you know to what extent these praises are not merited and are [in fact] truly ridiculous exaggerations. Does one now want to pass me off as an artist? and perhaps even a "Leftist" one?

In fact, I think that there are many things that we must speak about face to face. If I had known your address in Malaga, I would have proposed that you passed through here on your way back from Spain. I will be in Champot until the middle of October and then in Arles for around six weeks, before traveling a little further on. If a meeting suits you during this period, telephone me.

Best wishes

[1] Translator's note: a reference to Gianfranco Sanguinetti's book On Terrorism and the State (1979). See letter Marcos' letter to Sanguinetti dated 3 June 1981 and Sanguinetti's detailed response to these insinuations (December 2012).

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

[3] Translator's note: the pastiche called Protestation devant les libertaires du present et du futur sur les capitulations de 1980, which caused so much ink and suspicions to flow among Guy and the others in his circle, was in reality written anonymously by someone named Jean-Claude Lutanie, who died in 2006. It was reprinted in 2011. In the words of the editors of the 2011 edition: “The Protest above all testifies to a disappointment with respect to situationist thought and its ‘youthful, unkept promises.’ Lutanie essentially takes aim at Debord, accusing him, if not of jealousy for a radicalism of which he was quite incapable, although he claimed it, then at least bad faith in his affirmation that the group [Action directe] was manipulated by the State.” Cf. Debord’s letter to Kloosterman dated 13 July 1981: “I have asked Gérard [Lebovici] to send you a copy of a short, very shady pamphlet (...) which, it seems to me, must be read with great attention.”

[4] "Organ of expression of autonomous groups and individuals of action," dated September 1979.

[5] A group of autonomes in liaison with squatters, dockers and convicts.

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

[7] Translator's note: "Venise, Whisper Not et le palindrome," by Louis Seguin (La Quinzaine litteraire, 1-15 July 1981), reproduced in [Guy Debord's book] Ordures et Decombres (reprinted by Gallimard in 1999 and in the critical edition of In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni).

[8] Translator's note: In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (1978).

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Additions to translators' notes made May 2013.)

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