from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
29 June 1978
Dear Gerard:

Our eccentric [Jean-Pierre] Voyer is completely like the others: their artificial haughtiness becomes baseness at the moment that they would be better off keeping quiet and in the tardy explications in which they all keep the basic slyness that is dear to them and that they do not want to see has failed them. One can see that his most recent letters are making us assist in the creation of what would have been his fourth or fifth book. One sees in these letters all of the motifs and all of the methods. Why and how can the economy pass for being "the central part of society"? This plastic sub-metaphysician will say anything at all, in a hundred episodes, in answer to this question, but he would never admit that such quite simply has been the historical practice of the bourgeoisie. He has not known how to read Hegel or Marx, just as he has not known how to read Fuck![1] which is much easier to understand. Once more he resembles the caricature that Marx made of the German philosopher who was convinced that humanity could avoid mortal falls and drownings on the day that it was delivered from the fatal concept of gravity. But in this vignette, the philosopher was sincere. With Voyer -- less alert than [Jacques] Lacan, all things considered -- the racket of modernism simply consists of critiquing "the theory of the theory" of gravity. This clown no longer makes one laugh. One must publish or forget about all of it.

You are right to note that [Gianfranco] Sanguinetti has in fact aligned himself with the position of Valpreda,[2] whom he once mocked; Sanguinetti will no doubt receive the same type of recompense. There are many scandalous provocations in his letter, one of which in particular did not escape me. In fact, the strange Mursia affair of 1976,[3] which I never understood, retrospectively appears to me, in this light, as the first sign of some shady maneuver that he did not know how to defend himself against. Although I have naturally made no response, he has since then sent me a very long letter, just as before, speaking amiably of everything except the subject of the letter you have seen and that is no longer evoked.

[Paolo] Salvadori has also written to me, saying that Vallechi[4] has not made my preface[5] a sine qua non, although he had maladroitly let us understand otherwise. But in any case, I want to do it.

Here is the article from Panorama,[6] which Floriana [Lebovici] can translate for you. In addition to the customary stupidities, there are several accents that, in the current context, are very clearly police-like. The photo, taken in Munich in 1959, belongs to the series published in Internationale Situationniste #3, but is a different photo. Gallizio's son,[7] a bourgeois cretin, must have kept one and sold it off. Outside of this possibility, such an iconographic richness on the part of Panorama is completely suspect. You can also ascertain that each country has New Philosophers who merit their respective conflictual situations, but nowhere are these employees of the mass media[8] aware of the radical strangeness of what they enunciate when they speak of "idols" who want to remain clandestine!

I have seen other allusions to the situs in the Italian press, and even Lotta continua[9] has published a slightly incomplete version of the 1960 Preliminaries,[10] while admiring archeologically that one could speak of such things in 1960! One could just as well have spoken of things from 1843.

Salvadori confirms for me that, during the troubles with the autonomes[11] during this past year, the SI's themes have passed into the masses (I also think that "Censor" played a large role in this). The Treatise,[12] which Salvadori translated several years ago for Vallechi, only started selling in 1977. The third edition (pirate) of [The Society of the] Spectacle is a good commercial operation and, it appears, only this. Should one be surprised, when a State finds itself in such an unfortunate situation, that its police forces become the best in the world? The Italian police add modesty to efficacy, by making it said everywhere that they do not exist: an astonishing revelation.

Bocca,[13] as you will remember, was the first dupe of "Censor," and now he no longer embarrasses himself by giving the last word to mysterious words, and thus brought us out of the shadows by publishing the visible part of the correspondence from [Aldo] Moro. I have turned up a mass of terrible improbabilities in the commentaries of Bocca -- who is fearful -- and I have found the texts emanating from the Red Brigades to be very instructive, much more than I would have thought. I discern in them internal contradictions that, if this group actually exists, contradict a historical constant of all of the world's extremist groups in their expositions of their positions, as their practice has already been calculated and led to its fortunate end entirely in the sphere of the miraculous. In any case, one had here -- aided by computers? -- more difficulty than in the drafting of the alleged Leftist document recently communicated by the kidnappers of Revelli-Beaumont.[14] I believe that, underneath its rustic appearance, this document is a very learned parody and its faults were either unavoidable, given the strategy that was followed, or deliberately decided upon so as to serve that strategy.

It will be necessary for us to revisit this question, to see if we can find some way of throwing a paving stone into these troubled waters. Never has it been so dangerous.

After all that we have seen, I dare not believe that Toscan du Plantier[15] is incapable of imagining some more or less subtle cop-out. But we can hope. In any case, I am thrilled that the blow struck him.

Has the Center finally provided the map, or must we set loose the terrible Thierry Levy against it? (he seems very active since our last conversation: but keep an eye on him, he must get a summary judgment against Gruet).[16]

I have no news from Donald.[17] And you? Have the people from Hamburg finished the corrections or has Raspaud involved them in a maze of obstructions?[18]

You can tell Bourgadier[19] that a reader of his quality consoles us for the absence of 30,000 others, but only for a while.

I wish you to stay in good health and in good humor, as much a possible, among so many difficulties and concerns.

Would you like to come to Champot on Saturday, 22 July? "Time flies," and so does the good weather, but we will improve it.

Best wishes,

[1] See letter dated 19 October 1976.

[2] The anarchist Pietro Valpreda was accused of perpetrating the bombing of the Piazza Fontana in Milan. Arrested, he was only freed in December 1972.

[3] Translator's note: See letter dated 15 January 1976. For Sanguinetti's answers to all the insinuations and suspicions about Albert Mignoli, see his recollections about "The Doge" (December 2012).

[4] Future publisher of Paolo Salvadori's translation of The Society of the Spectacle.

[5] Preface to the Fourth Italian Edition of "The Society of the Spectacle."

[6] The 23 May 1978 issue Panorama positioned the situationists as the idols of ultra-Leftists who had somber political goals.

[7] Giors Melanotte.

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

[9] A Maoist newspaper.

[10] Preliminaries for a Definition of the Unity of the Revolutionary Programme (signed by P. Canjuers and G.-E. Debord).

[11] Translator's note: autonomous revolutionaries. See Autonomia (Semiotexte, 1980).

[12] By Raoul Vaneigem. [Translator's note: the full title is Treatise on Living for the Younger Generations, better known in English as The Revolution of Everyday Life (1967).]

[13] Translator's note: Giorgio Bocca, an Italian journalist.

[14] Lucchino Revelli-Beaumont, the President of Fiat France, was kidnapped by Argentinean militants on 13 April 1977 and freed 89 days later in exchange for ten million francs.

[15] Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a film producer.

[16] Translator's note: "the map" refers to the map of the Paris Metro, sought by Debord to illustrate the cover of his Complete Cinematographic Works. Thierry Levy was an attorney hired by Champ Libre. "Gruet" refers to the father of Elisabeth Gruet, who worked as an assistant director on In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

[17] Translator's note: Donald Nicholson-Smith.

[18] Translator's note: Jean-Jacques Raspaud translated Debord's The Society of the Spectacle into German.

[19] Translator's note: Gerard Bourgadier, a book publisher.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. 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