from Guy Debord

To Raoul Vaneigem[1]
Tuesday 31 January 1961
Dear comrade:

I thank you for your letter.[2]

I regret that we weren't able to meet in Paris; but, all the same, the strike [in Belgium] is better.

Last month, Henri Lefebvre[3] read to me your manuscript, which interests me greatly. In part because of its appreciation of Lettrism (in the past, I worked with Isou). In general, I believe that the directions indicated in the Fragments for a poetics go even further than the poems that follow. But it will be necessary to speak of this as well.

I[nternationale] S[ituationniste] has several defects as an internal bulletin[4] in the sense that, in the sector in which it is read, everyone is already warned about what we think about bourgeois ideology and art. But we have hardly any illusions about contact with a large public, that is, in the mediocre cultivated milieu, where our positions are concerned. Our experience shows us that such contact involves rather amusing conspiracies of silence, especially on the part of Leftist ideologues. But, just the same, I.S. is the internal bulletin of an organization whose goal is clearly using appropriate means to trouble the public's sleep. But without placing too much trust in the means of honest theoretical discussion, which, at this level, is also stifling. Today I send you other issues.

Prior to Lefebvre, a Belgian situationist ([Attila] Kotanyi perhaps?) made us aware of your address, to send you copies of the journal. I don't know: are you in contact with one of our friends in Brussels? I myself pass through there often enough, and I hope that we can see you there soon.

G.-E. Debord

[1] Raoul Vaneigem, a future situationist in the Belgian section.

[2] Vaneigem's first letter [to the SI], 24 January 1961. [Translator's note: see here for a translation of it.]

[3] On 18 July 1960, Raoul Vaneigem had written a letter to Henri Lefebvre, which was then transmitted to Guy Debord.

[4] "I have always appreciated your 'Preliminaries' but I regret -- it would be necessary to discuss it -- finding neither its tone nor its resolutions in #5 of Situationisme [sic], which, to my mind, is too much of an 'internal bulletin' and not enough of a violent action against bourgeois ideology and art," Raoul Vaneigem wrote.

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

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