from Guy Debord

To Andre Frankin
30 May 1961
Dear Andre

In your most recent letter you have good reason to evoke a "mute-ism" that I have observed for several weeks. But it is quite aberrant to attribute this mute-ism to my possible "P[ouvoir] O[uvrier] sectarianism."

Neither I nor my comrades in the S[ituationist] I[nternational] have ever been engaged in any sectarianism. We bring a critical support, with an autonomous discipline, to current attempts at the reconstitution of a revolutionary workers' movement. This critical aspect even goes so far that I myself, in France, have, for the last month, chosen to engage in an action completely exterior to the P.O. group (this doesn't mean that in this group there isn't an important theoretical base, and a certain number of youths who are militant on very advanced positions, with which I find myself in total agreement).

I believe (we believe) that the formation of a veritable revolutionary organization of a new type -- at another level of action than that of traditional revolutionary politics -- will be a long and difficult enterprise. That it can be reached by going through a phase of diverse regroupments, "liaison committees," etc. But only by explicitly going towards a radically transformed programme and praxis. Of which you yourself, elsewhere and before the recent discussion, have enunciated several points.

On the contrary, I judge the Liege programme to be so loaded down with old ideas and illusions, [and] concessions almost electoral or lamentably reformist, that it is absurd and unlucky to save it.

Thus, I have transmitted it to Brussels and am henceforth prohibited from intervening so as to not aggravate the conflict between our Belgian comrades. In order to retain the slight chance that you end up defining a minimum terrain of agreement between yourselves. Which hasn't been done.

But all this retains very little interest, because the veritable work continues (the definition and the organization of a complete, new revolutionary praxis); work for which we nevertheless have good reasons to count on you, but that was unfortunately prevented at Liege to the profit of passionately discussed false problems. Thus the surprising mistrust that one has seen from comrades such as A[ttila] Kotanyi, whose displays of extravagant intentions have appeared to me as politically annoying as well as gestures of defiance.

In conclusion, please believe that neither I, Kotanyi, nor anyone else, have a personal grudge where this is concerned. We must simply certify:

-- at first, that we have found ourselves completely incapable of taking sides on the field of the immense experiments lived by the Belgian proletariat;

-- then, that the progress made in the last three months towards this [new] type of revolutionary organization, which we have begun to prepare, has not had the participation of Liege, which (to us) has entirely retired.

These two facts are unequally, but surely regrettable.


(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 2, 1960-1964. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2005.)

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