from Guy Debord

To Rene Vienet
Wednesday 30 July [19]69
Dear friend:

Still nothing from the infamous Mustapha [Khayati].

Here are the notes that I have on the plan and certain argumentative points that this phantom article must have in it.

1) Necessity of organization (whatever one has said, the SI is quite far from being against it!).

2) Commentary on our "minimum declaration" from 1966.[1] It isn't a question of fashioning an abstract accord on this definition, but developing it in practice.

3) Critique of semi-councilist organizations of the past. The K.A.P.D.[2] was councilist in its goals (make this more nuanced?), but organized on the old hierarchical model of the avant-garde party. Perhaps critique of the "council communists" of Pannekoek's group?[3] The F.A.I.?[4] (Here it is a problem of revolutionary syndicalism as a false solution -- but several of its intentions are not far from the councilist goal; cf. the communities of Aragon, the management of the factories in Barcelona.)

4) Attack against councilist ideology. The councilist organization as much as the power of the [workers'] councils, considered as realities, are the direct enemies of "councilism."

5) Dialectical opposition of the councilist organization and the councils. One must choose the "councilists" (they are chosen by the coherence of the organization deployed in practice -- N.B. that the SI goes with the grain!). Whereas the councils (= permanent general assemblies that can only delegate the carriers of their orders and can not give up any of their power) can re-group all of the workers (unemployed workers, etc.) who on the spot play according to the rules of their game. The councils have only one criteria: to eliminate all other power and decide upon everything. This is the terrain that renders their members coherent and intelligent (or everyone will be liquidated by the counter-revolution of their own errors).

6) The revolutionary moment and its difference from the forms that a revolutionary organization encounters before it. The relations between the two situations. Note that there is a difficult problem: what must be the precise relations between the organizations (councilist or not) and the councils themselves? Indicate certain directions and incompatibilities; leave the essential of the problem to be judged by practical experience.

7) Why the decisive importance of the workers? Neither workerism nor especially the "separation of the intellectuals." But the workers are the central force that can stop the functioning of society (cf. 1968) and the indispensable force to replace it on other bases.

8) The councilist organization has a function of permanent disalienation, the denunciation that helps the practical critique of all organizations that hinder the autonomous struggle of the masses. Always, but all the more in revolutionary periods.

9) A councilist organization must thus have a true "milieu of work" -- which the SI, for example, has; you know how; and to be eqalitarian in it: that is to say, not accepting militantism and specialization (cite S. ou B.[5] as a contrary example?). The "Council of Nantes" -- I do not believe that it particularly merits being cited -- not having a "milieu of work," since it has not left its real and miserable milieu (the students), without finding the workers, but only in launching itself in glorious affirmation (still victims of the SI).

10) One can demand this minimum to define (recognize) a councilist organization: two-thirds of its members are workers. But this compensates for the stautory obligation that the workers are three-quarters of any delegation (that is to say, any "central" meeting or council of delegates that takes place before a decision is made by the ensemble).

11) The era of social revolution into which we are entering will, at short notice, have other brilliant moments; but the councilist organization can take a long time to constitute itself. Given its importance, when all is said and done, it is necessary to employ it from now on -- but without confusion and by combatting all illusions and all premature affirmations.

That's all that I have on this question. It will thus be useless for me to come Sunday. Point 10 must be written by Raoul [Vaneigem] (or in his style), but all the rest by [Rene] Riesel.[6]

I desire that you write without hindrances, and especially without dead time!

See you next Tuesday,

[1] "Minimum Definition of Revolutionary Organizations," adopted in July 1966 by the 7th Conference of the SI (cf. I.S. #11, p. 54-55 and Letters, vol. III, p. 156-157).

[2] Communist Workers Party of Germany (Kommunische Arbeiter Partei Deutschlands).

[3] Anton Pannekoek, Dutch councilist and libertarian communist.

[4] Federacion anarquista Iberica [Iberian Anarchist Federation].

[5] Socialism or Barbarism.

[6] Cf. "Preliminaries on the councils and the councilist organization," I.S. #12, p. 64-73.

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

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