from Guy Debord

To Raoul Vaneigem
[end of] February [19]66
Dear Raoul:

We regret the failure of the embassy of Rene.[1] But we will no longer discuss your choice [to remain in Belgium], since it is made; and since the affair is personal to the greatest extent. If -- from afar -- we have taken it more seriously than you have, at least Rene wasn't trying to abstractly exhort you to extremism, but to propose to you our practical help at this moment.

Rene has even had the impression that he was a little bothersome in coming "again" to speak of what has bothered you for such a long time; and actually if any other decision than "the urgency of waiting" was excluded in advance, it was probably nerve-wracking to agitate these same contradictions.

But consider that your being sent to prison has appeared to us like the dripping of qualitative water that will not stop.[2] In any case, Rene acted out of friendship, in the perspective of what one can think to be your concrete interests, and assuredly in the interests of the tastes and principles than we have in common. Rene's often criticizable turn of mind -- resolving problems by trenchant extremism -- becomes obviously just and opportune when the real conditions are such that it is necessary to envision being truly trenchant.

I now find your criminal defense more solid (and the best new element to parry subsequent developments is the location of an annotated manuscript). Just the same, I believe that it is less good -- less comforting -- than a departure which would have cut short any supplemental danger, a possibility that remains non-negligible. I doubt that the affair will limit itself to a minimal fine, without consequences for the child or alimony. And in this case, to want to hold one's ground, as at Verdun, so as to wait to receive back pay from the minister and the remainder of vacation time is, without doubt, not a correct calculation. The most probable [outcome] is that you will have to pay -- or see a seizure of -- something before July.

This monetary aspect doesn't appear to us as the only factor. The counterpart that you must certainly pay -- in decreased work and a sort of burial in all kinds of trouble, perceptible to all those who have recently approached you -- appears out of proportion to the importance of these risky sums. The important thing, of course, isn't the date of your move to France (if you back out so as to jump better), but the degree to which this could liberate you from current subjugations. In brief, one can estimate that time isn't on your side. I repeat all this not to scare you, but to summarize the not whimsical analysis that we have made. We have finally not dissuaded you from anything other than uncertainty.

Any uncertainty already appears to be raised from the side of [Robert] Dehoux (Rene will send him a copy of the "certificate" that I made for him). But, concerning Mitzi, Rene is surprised -- now that Anton [Harstein] has reported it to him -- that you have heard that Rene telephoned Mitzi to "discuss with her" your problems. As you distrust him, he has uniquely asked you to transmit to him the hour of the train that he can take to meet with you.

Believe in our friendship, on the field and later on.



P.S. If you think you'll be going to [J.V.] Martin's place for Easter, write him quickly. He wishes your presence or mine (there is to be a kind of conference of Leftist elements) -- fearing that you are not free, I have already tried to persuade Jean [Garnault] or Mustapha [Khayati] to go.

[1] Rene Vienet, charged with convincing Raoul Vaneigem to leave Belgium and its interferences.

[2] Translator: the phrase used by Debord -- la goutte d'eau qualitative a ne pas laisser passer -- is quite similar to the French expression "the drop of water that overwhelmed the vase."

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

To Contact NOT BORED!
ISSN 1084-7340.
Snail mail: POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998