from Guy Debord

To the French section
Copies to the rest of the SI (through Raoul [Vaneigem])
31 July 1970
Dear comrades:

I believe that the exclusion of Gianfranco [Sanguinetti] by Paolo [Salvadori], the circumstances of which I am not fully aware, corresponds to a serious practical lack that risks compromising us publically, since it is the only case of emergency admitted by our statutues and since the exclusion of one of us by a single person is a completely extraordinary modality. Naturally, I must reserve all more precise judgments until more amply informed.

In any case, since it appears that Gianfranco himself has approved his exclusion (either because of precise facts that I do not at this moment know about, or because of an intention that I can not be the judge of), we have not raised this aspect of the question here. But if the result escapes us, it is at least probable that we can critique the method.

The style of this affair merits being examined very closely (even if, for quite a long time, Paolo no longer has anyone to exclude: the criteria will obviously be international). I am struck by the fact that, prior to December 1969, no one concretely enunciated very specific critiques that Gianfranco asssured merited at the moment. It is also uncontestable that he knew to bear these critiques in mind. Doesn't the current cruelty, suddenly following indulgence, have something bizarre about it?

According to the letter (of 29 July [1970]) from Comrade [Rene] Vienet, Gianfranco would be excluded for "resurgences of fuckery relative to his own life (the abolition of which had been promised), off-handedness, and even conceptual debasement." And this letter seemed to be received with the greatest transquility; you all seemed to find these reasons quite normal and more than sufficient. Have you not felt this to be a little worrisome, all the same? If you so peacefully approve of the result, have you taken into account what this probably means for everyone in the near future?

At this moment, the SI is in a period of crisis (re-examination of what we are and can be, new starting points). I would have thought that this crisis could have been undergone in a generally amicable atmosphere, with the maximum of indulgence and patience for all of us, if possible, being aware of what we ourselves wish to actually accomplish. If one simply approves its style, this exclusion places everything in a very different light (in the same fashion that one can say that those who desired the return of Mustapha [Khayati] should have logically and honestly approved the return of Patrick,[1] whose manifestation of lack of awareness was a hundred times less serious.)

If you find that any instance of the resurgence of one or several stupid critiques of the life of one of us must normally involve exclusion, adhere to your responsibilities! We must act with consistency. And, if it is a question of a "conceptual debasement," do not believe that the accidental fact that have never been encumbered by the concept gives anyone a guarantee [of not being excluded].

I believe that, for several months, I have been the first to say that Gianfranco is very critiquable. But he is not [Francois de] Beaulieu [who was forced to resign on 7 July 1970]. Gianfranco is without doubt someone of intelligence. Intelligence can be our adversary. But then it is necessary to know why: what it has done and what is its result -- in place of simply launching several generalities, of which one can ask, By what arbitrary decision are they applied to one rather than to another? Do not forget that, if the SI's exclusions have been successful up to this point, this has been because they have opposed those who can do something effective in our line to those who can not (or those who want to do something contradictory).

If the French section envisions demanding a discussion of the basis of this affair, count me in.

The risk of an imminent dismemberment of the current SI must be present in the minds of all those who replace the resolution of concrete questions with a backward pseudo-radicalism of personal elimination.


[1] Patrick Cheval [who resigned in January 1970].

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

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