from Guy Debord

To Eduardo Rothe
8 November [19]69
Dear Eduardo:

We impatiently await the famous tract.[1] As far as "increasing the range of our voices," if the content is basically the same (simply with a well chosen precision on present conditions), I believe that the form will immediately be a qualitative leap that transforms the contents. Our French friends are very favorable to this idea.

Jonathan[2] has spoken to me here on the exclusion of Alain.[3] I certainly believe that he admits that the exclusion itself doesn't pose any problem (perhaps he simply envisions other exclusions in order to make this one more just and efficacious?), but, rather, he raises the question of premature adhesion [to the SI]. This is a question that, for many years, we have envisioned. I do not know if indeed we can answer it. I explained to him that, for the last two years, we have thought about limiting the damage to one or two exclusions, instead of forty or fifty. Can we arrive at a pure result? In any case, the exclusion of Donald[4] -- without doubt the most regrettable since the beginning of the SI -- wasn't derived from a premature adhesion.

The text on the organization of the French section [The functioning of the French section after October 1969] was at first made for the French section, and for its own discussion. It has been communicated to the rest of the [Situationist] International. Here, it certainly hasn't appeared too tough (everyone being in agreement on the fact that the exclusions aren't the technique that can resolve the problem, but can rescue, from someone's possibile lack of unawareness, a real resolution of the problem, which would not have been obtained in the preceding, informally alienated inertia). We do not think about our "score" at [the SI conference at] Venice, as if this were a rugby match between the teams of four nations. I do not know if it is in this text or elsewhere that we established that the French section was the worst at Venice. Up until now, the French section has had more merit and more flaws than the other sections. To denounce the intellectual comfort and the bad style of work -- which were especially clear during the last six months, but have old roots -- is very important for the current SI outside of France. If the French section has gloriously preserved its insufficiently eqalitarian functioning (which has nevertheless produced beautiful results), this functioning has also, "naturally," resulted in the domination of the French section over the others, despite a formally democratic practice. The new style of work is already much better. One will see later on if this is sufficient.

At the same time, our goal is render interpersonal relationships in the French section more serious and more "amusing." The meetings, held every two weeks, fix the particular encounters that begin with a certain bit of "work" to be accomplished and continue on with more "human" relations.

I believe that the problem with the Italian section is quite different (as there is, without doubt, a certain problem of yet another kind between the "two halves" of the U.S. section; and then there's the problem of verifying coherence in the Scandanavian section, which will meet on 22 November in Gotenberg, with [J.V.] Martin, Bengt and two other Swedes in attendance). The Italian section is at the beginning of its existence. And this beginning was, insofar as the realization of a coherent basis and a journal, completely excellent. If the individual relations have been too rigid -- which isn't apparent on its exterior -- it will surely be good and easy enough to render them more relaxed. In the final analysis, we must arrive at the formation -- despite the immediate obligations of organization and tactics in each section -- of a veritable homogenous community in the SI as a whole.

Venice was a sign, and marked a certain progress towards, this real requirement. Perhaps your membership in the Italian section will also be of importance.

On the appointed day, Christian [Sebastiani] went to see his uncle, but everything is unscrutable with him. General impression: he is more dangerous now than before. We will think about this again.

I must tell you that Weiss[5] is not very informed about the SI, but he has a very good heart. He is a young worker from the East [Germany], who has become a hooligan in the West [Germany]. When he knew me -- at great drinking parties, evidently -- he had decided to read Marx and Lenin, but I do not believe that he had enough time to do so. Transmit to him regards from Alice [Becker-Ho] and me.

I hope that I can see you one day in Rome.

Tell the cowboy[6] of Leone that he must become the cowboy of [Sam] Peckinpah. Here, The Wild Bunch [released in 1969] has ravaged the situ[ationist]s who have seen it. We find that, if the Western can find itself at this degree of authenticity, Leone no longer has to change his clothes. He is beaten on the number of deaths [in the film]. Christian and I even believe that the history of the cinema has never presented a film that can compete in this regard.


[1] Aviso al proletario italiano sulle possibilitia presenti della rivoluzione sociale [Notice to the Italian proletariat on the possibilities for the social revolution], which appeared as a poster.

[2] Jonathan Horelick [of the American section].

[3] Alain Chevalier [of the French section].

[4] Donald Nicholson-Smith [of the English section].

[5] Gerhard Weiss.

[6] Claudio Pavan [of the Italian section].

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

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