from Guy Debord

To all sections of the SI
3 December 1969

Considering the letters exchanged within the American section since [the SI Conference at] Venice, notably the announcement of the "exclusion" of Comrade [Tony] Verlaan, and the reaction of Comrade [Jonathan] Horelick to this news, as well as the interventions of Comrades [Rene] Riesel and [Gianfranco] Sanguinetti in this debate, and the circular addressed to the SI by the Italian section on 26 November [1969];

Considering that no exclusion of this type, nor one even close to resembling it, has ever occurred in the SI, and that it puts in question all of the bases and methods on which our accord is founded;

the French section categorically rejects this exclusion, in its content as well as in its form, specifiying hereunder the principal points that are inacceptable:

1) -- Half of a section [Robert Chasse and Bruce Elwell] can not set itself up as the majority by using the pretext that it is the only attendee at a meeting.

2) -- Even an authentic majority can not address an ultimatum to other situationists, except in cases in which the SI appears to be compromised by public errors that we have demanded must be publically corrected; or even in practical and dramatically urgent cases, in which we have demanded participation without further delay. Neither of these two conditions exist in the recent crisis in the American section.

3) -- In cases of supportable ultimata, bearing in mind the realities of communication, especially where dates are concerned, honesty and seriousness are the minimum demands. The ultimata from New York have been gloomily fantastic.

4) -- A true majority, engaged in a real conflict, still has the absolute obligation to bear in mind the objections or justifications of the comrades in question and to respond to them precisely, so as to admit or refuse them. This has never been done by the documents emanating from New York, of which the unilateral bureaucratic tone and artificial precipitation have shown, not only one-half of a section proclaiming itself to be, like a savior, the tribunal of the other half, but also a tribunal that proceeds with a crude partiality. Its judgment is already implicated by the constitution of such a tribunal.

5) -- Beyond this irrefutable evidence, the French section quite simply refuses to admit that a situationist can ever be excluded for going three weeks without providing news to his section, when it is known and admitted that he is traveling. We can easily establish that it is precisely because there was no supportable motivation for this exclusion that the technique of ultimatum -- unsupportable in this case -- was employed so as to bring these futilities to the level of exclusion. The ultimatum is fundamentally a procedure that designates a fact to be a case for exclusion. If the fact in question is itself futile, it is the ultimatum that becomes the unacceptable fact.

Consequently, the French section, refusing this so-called exclusion and reserving the full responsibility for those who took it upon themselves to pronounce it:

-- Regret that the deplorable internal situation of the American section since its formation was not submitted for discussion to the conference at Venice, whereas, for example, the French section presented to the conference a report on its own infinitely smaller and truly orderly difficulties, a report that certain situationists even found to be sufficiently thorough;

-- Demand that the examination of the crisis of the American section, and the practical consequences that it obviously must involve, are the first points to be treated at the [upcoming] delegates meeting in Luxembourg.

The French section,
[Francois de] Beaulieu, [Patrick] Cheval, [Guy] Debord,
[Rene] Riesel, [Christian] Sebastiani, [Raoul] Vaneiegem

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

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