from Guy Debord

To Paolo Salvadori
3 July 1978
Dear Paolo:

I was quite happy to hear from you.

I have responded to Vallechi through Champ Libre that I agree to write a preface.[1] It will say that your translation is exact and will briefly note the evolution of the spectacle over the last eleven years. You must make sure that Vallechi attempts no censorship, because one or two points will no doubt be controversial. When can he publish the book and when would you like to have the text of the preface? For my part, I am completely indifferent concerning the accounting of the "author's rights." This book has been translated into ten languages and, in several cases, two or three times, and I have received perhaps a total of 200,000 Lira from foreign publishers.

Can you send me the pirate edition of 1977?

It would be very good to publish The Veritable Split[2] in Italy as soon as possible. Naturally, you will have the agreement of Champ Libre if you find an Italian publisher for it.

If I understood your letter, Vallechi wants to have a preface to my book written by the ex-Vaneigem?[3] But did this unfortunate piece of debris have the insane imprudence to accept this offer? I have difficulty believing it. You probably know that he has become -- hidden along with [Mustapha] Khayati under several pseudonyms -- the author of a number of completely repugnant detective stories. At the end of 1976, having had the stupidity to protest (because Champ Libre reprinted The Poverty[4]) that they were against all commercial presses and were only partisans of free distribution, these little domestic servants for the most vulgar literary commerce got a cruelly ironic tract[5] thrown right in their faces. A copy is enclosed. They have returned to silence.

I have also sent you a copy of the remarks that I made to Gianfranco [Sanguinetti] two months ago.[6] What has taken place since then has confirmed my opinion (even in the book by stupid [Giorgio] Bocca there are several very revealing contradictions, if one reads it with a little attention and historical reflection). Nevertheless, Gianfranco, who for the last two years has systematically deceived himself, and whom I have not wanted to see for two years because he deceives himself, has responded to me that he now believes the government's thesis: in sum, that the police in Italy have absolutely ceased to exist and that the Leninist-terrorists are demi-gods and sincere idiots at the same time! Given what has taken place in the last two months, I will only add the following: in my opinion, breaking the Historic Compromise[7] -- or simply wanting the Stalinists to be even weaker while this compromise lasts -- is only a part of the operation; one also wants to capture the authentic terrorist groups and especially to provoke the "autonomes." This is also because one has the goal of assuring the patient complicity of the Stalinists. One wants to make it believed that the police forces can no longer do anything and that they will wake up on a strategically chosen day (after this period of the "hundred flowers" of terrorism, to use the words of the provocateur, Mao). All revolutionaries are in great danger in Italy.

I would love to have your opinion of this situation in its entirety.

Embrace Elvio[8] for us. Our best wishes to your charming mother.

Best wishes,

[1] Translator's note: Preface to the Fourth Italian Edition of "The Society of the Spectacle" (January, 1979).

[2] Translator's note: written by Debord, signed by Debord and Sanguinetti, and published by Champ Libre in 1972.

[3] Translator's note: Raoul Vaneigem, called the "ex-Vaneigem" because, after 1970 (1965?), he was no longer the person he once was.

[4] Translator's note: On The Poverty of Student Life, first published in October 1966.

[5] Fuck! [Translator's note: see letter dated 19 October 1976.]

[6] Translator's note: see letter dated 21 April 1978.

[7] Translator's note: the "Historic Compromise" between the anti-Communist parties of Italy and the Italian Communist Party.

[8] Elvio Barducci, Florentine artisan, picturesque figure from the Piazza della Passera.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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