from Guy Debord

To the editorial committee of Le Monde Libertaire
3 January 1967

In issue 128 of Le Monde Libertaire,[1] the situationists are placed in question by two editors.

Charles-Auguste Bontemps[2] declares that he has read everything that is published in the pamphlet On the Poverty of Student Life "dozens of times [in texts published] before 1914." It seems to me that he deceives itself as profoundly in this as when he relies on the catalogue of the Publico[3] bookstore to demonstrate the presence of anarchists in culture (and why not on the certificates of genius frequently awarded to diverse stars of the present by Suzy Chevet[4]?) However, we accept that this personally nostalgic opinion is respectable. One understands Bontemps less well when he shows a certain bad humor in seeing the resurgence of positions that he himself finds to be anarchist and were "abundant around 1900"; why would not he be rather happy? To hear the old combattants deplore the fact that someone raises their flag, one might believe that anarchy has triumphed in society since 1900! If Bontemps has such scorn for the "old formulas" (such as "All power to the Workers' Councils"), is this because he too willingly confuses a formula and its realization?

Given that Workers' Councils are applauded on page 6 of the same issue of Le Monde Libertaire,[5] we see a supplementary confirmation of our only critique, which seems to have seriously harmed the interested parties by its truth: the trenchant incoherence of this newspaper prohibits it from all revolutionary clarification, even if it is modest.

In his critique, Guy Antoine[6] doesn't say that he approves of all of the positions of the SI -- in which case he himself must not "tolerate" many things in Le Monde Libertaire, because all of the members of the A.F. [Anarchist Federation] are obviously responsible for what they allow to be published in their organ. It is thus strange that Bontemps immediately obliges G. Antoine to create his "own organ." Thus the "diversity of opinions" so proudly proclaimed by Le Monde Libertaire does not go so far as to authorize one to speak objectively of the SI, because the SI "believes that it can take the liberty of critiquing the A.F." We do not claim to be anarchists. But we affirm that we are certain that we can permit ourselves to respect no taboos.

If Bontemps doesn't know much in theory, when he claims to place the SI within a reassuring deja-vu, the person who signs his name Pere Peinard[7] knows nothing of the practical activity of the situationists. This doesn't prevent him -- uniquely resorting to the "vulgarities" that Bontemps condemns in any case -- from completely gratuitously announcing that the situationists are bourgeois youth, dedicated only to verbal gesticulations and "to virginal police records"; that the bourgeois press speaks of them with eagerness; and that they will quickly become chain-gang guards in industry (and why not, like Maurice Joyeux -- F.O.,[8] for example -- in the "unionist" sinecures that can be distributed by these great bureaucratic organizations, which are the most important modern version of the control exercised over the workers?) This grostesque impudence gives one to think that the author scorns the critical spirit of those whom he wants to put to sleep as much as the truth. Furthermore, the quotation destined to show our "dusty style" greatly ameliorates it by replacing "commodity alienation" [l'alienation marchande] with "militant alienation" [l'alienation marchante]. A simple detail, it is true, in an article in which flagrant falsifications drip from every line. We declare that the person who very abusively signed his name Pere Peinard is a calumninator and a cunt.

We do not doubt that the members of the A.F. who want to see recognized the minimum of revolutionary rigor that is indispensible for all future dialogue will insist on the honor of publishing all of this letter.[9]

[Michele] Bernstein, [Guy] Debord, [Herbert] Holl, [Mustapha] Khayati, [Donald] Nicholson-Smith

(Written on the letterhead of the journal Internationale Situationniste.)

[1] Dated January 1967.

[2] C.-A. Bontemps, author of the Open letter to Guy Antoine on situationism. [Translator: see letter dated 11 December 1966 for more about Guy Antoine's article.]

[3] Anarchist bookstore, then on the rue Ternaux.

[4] Suzy Chevet, organizer of the galas of the Anarchist Federation, companion of Maurice Joyeux.

[5] Long live the Workers' Councils of Hungary, defeated in 1956 by the so-called Red Army, tract by the Anarchist Group of Boulogne and the Sisyphus group of Young Libertarians.

[6] Guy Bodson, alias Guy Antoine.

[7] Maurice Joyeux (article entitled Tough Customers! signed "Pere Peinard").

[8] "Employed by the U.N.E.D.I.C. organization, which is responsible for the A.S.S.E.D.I.C.," M. Joyeux was once the driver for the leader of Force Ouvriere [Worker Strength], Andre Bergeron.

[9] This letter wasn't published, a fact that provoked diverse breaks within the A.F.


(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 3, 1965-1968. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! August 2005.)



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