from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
Friday 2 June [19]72
Dear Gianfranco:

I have just received your letter #1 -- from 21 May -- and then your letter to Alice [Becker-Ho], both delayed by a new postal workers' strike, in France at least.

As I promenaded on the port of Savona, I learned of the end of the career of Calabresi[1] from a special edition [of the news]. And the same evening -- chance or necessity? -- a police car was stationed close to [Asger] Jorn's house on an almost deserted hill. History is very clear. In Lucien Leuwen, Stendahl presents the question very well in a phrase uttered by a person a little more aware than Calabresi: "When someone acts for the ministers, it isn't the adversary one should fear, but the people he serves. This is how things are in Constantinople and the Low-Empire."

Thus I immediately came to the same conclusions that you did. To be specific: I am not sure that the elimination of the best expert in the affairs of the Italian political police in the last thirty months will mark the end of this kind of practice. It is true that it becomes clumsy, but has it obtained all of the results at which it aimed? Surely not. Does one want to and can one change things "there where one can almost do all that one wants?"[2] One can discover, according to the opportunity, dead or living assassins of Calabresi and especially among the groups of imbeciles who have spoken of "execution" and "justice of the People." It is true that orienting the inquest towards Germany, as one decried from the very first hour under the most futile of pretexts (the assassin was blond, as are several hundred of thousands of Lombards), signifies a will to bury the affair for a long time. Currently the spectacle imports into Italy the real terrorism that isn't in it, so as to manipulate images of an imaginary civil war destined to make a back-fire in front of the menacing possibility of a true civil war (which still isn't ripe). It is pleasing to see that this rage for exoticism also favors, in the unquiet dreams of the public, the participation [in the affair] of a mysterious and beautiful person from Ireland! Soon one will see the shadow of the Palestinians and thus, if one wants to give a little more consistency to the spectre, the Japanese, who surely have held the global record for bloody fuckery for a long time.

I didn't know that Calabresi -- of whom one reveals that he did such highly specialized work for only 270 thousand lira a month, which breaks one's heart with the image of the poverty of the Italian state -- lived in an apartment of which Feltrinelli was the owner, and I do not know about the very clear and menacing allusions of the Stalinists. The first fact is very amusing and the second is very important, and must be at least discussed in the book by the Iguana.[3]

Here, our book [The Veritable Split in the International] seems to be selling very well. I send you the first review, already published, in which Claude Roy manifests a half-comprehension of a quarter of the questions. He hasn't even read the rest, which doesn't prevent him from admiring it. This incurable bellelettrist annexes the strangest people to "the best" literature! Which immediately verifies the ridicule that is dumped on us under this rubric. I have already heard several cases of individuals who do not at all like the part of the book devoted to the kind of life lived by managers [cadres] and who thus naively admit that they are or would like to be managers.

Since several weeks have passed without particular trouble, I now believe that you must establish a more sure plan for all the urgent tasks that you have on your hands.

Do you believe that the Calabresi affair must be envisioned in the planned tract about police manoeuvres? In general, send me your notes and ideas on this tract and I will charge myself with finishing it and communicating it to Jaap [Kloosterman]. Also send me the copy of your letter to the bar [concerning the lawyer Vaconsin].

Your two letters were sent 29 May. I wrote to [Gerard] Guegan [to ask him] to send ten copies of the Schism to your Pisa address.

Beyond the properly intellectual tasks -- which, in my opinion, will suffice to absorb all of your time in the next two months --, I recall to you the following points as questions to be answered as soon as possible and notably during your next trip to Milan:

a) The question [concerning the financing of the film version of The Society of the Spectacle] to pose to the bank, so as to quickly have a response, even if it is negative. Indeed, I see that Jean-Pierre [Voyer] is becoming more and more depressed, nourishing ideas of suicide, no longer wanting -- according to Jean-Jacques [Raspaud] who obviously suffers more than I do -- to leave his bed in the morning, etc. etc. You cannot imagine the point at which he can be pressed and dejected at the same time. One day, he envisioned destroying the manuscript of his Encyclopedia. I move on to,

b) To hurry the realization of the capital that might be usable in publishing affairs and to find out when we can count on it. At this moment, I can let [Gerard] Lebovici wait a little for his meeting.

c) Finally, if a moment remains to you, think of (discreetly) localizing the search for the palazzo Gondi.[4]

I recently saw Patrick [Cheval], who just got out of a Moroccoan prison, where he'd been imprisoned for clandestine immigration! (He lost his passport at some drinking party in Algeria, and thus he offers an almost unique case of reciprocity to the countries from which nationals clandestinely immigrate to Europe.) I have transmitted to him your invitation and recommended the barolo.[5]

Poor [Rene] Riesel has indicated his new provisional house to us. Mid-June approaches: one will know if his means equal his intentions, even in a domain as trivial and quantatively vulgar.

The charming marsupial from the East will soon pass a week-end with us and we will have the happiness of verifying her authenticity. Thus the manoeuvres of the filthy Claudie have totally missed their targets, and nothing will compensate her for the annoyances that they have caused her.

Embrace Connie for us and Celeste, too, if you think she merits it. See you soon.


P.S. The pipe that you gave me is indeed the best, the Capstan[6] too.

[1] Commissioner Calabresi was killed by bullets on 17 May [1972] in front of his house: the killer disappeared without leaving any traces. [Translator: Calabresi had been the lead investigator into the boming of the Piazza Fontana, 12 December 1969.]

[2] Translator: A slightly altered quotation from Dante.

[3] Translator: a nickname for Gianfranco Sanguinetti.

[4] An apartment intended for Guy Debord.

[5] Italian wine from Piedmont, comparable to bourgogne.

[6] English tobacco.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 4, 1969-1972. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! October 2005.)

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