Notice from the Author

Today, those who fear ideas have little fear of books. Each week the market offers an infinite number of books and no ideas; people seek their ideas outside of the market and the bookstores. And in Italy as in Iran,[1] people find what they seek in the streets.

Everything leads one to believe that, if thinking in the form of writing still is not prohibited in our country, this depends less upon the liberalism of the legislators than the fact that one does not run the risk of reading anything new, with the result that those who want to read books that are worth the effort must write them themselves, given that this sector of social production is (as much as the others) subject to the currently prevailing conditions of falsification and pollution. The very editors who today publish anything do indeed publish anything and, seeing what they publish, we can be certain that we can find the most interesting things among what they do not publish. Here I can provide easy proof, without which one might think that it is due to a lack of interesting writings that Italian editors do not publish anything interesting.

For two years after the success of the scandalous pamphlet that I wrote under the pseudonym Censor,[2] several bourgeois publishers informed me that they were completely disposed to close their eyes to the subversive content of what I wrote so that they did not have to deprive themselves of the business that, in their opinion, my publications could bring them. When I committed myself to writing another book, one entitled Remedy for Everything, Arnoldo Mondadori hurried to submit to me a publishing contract according to which, in addition to the book in question, he would have a monopoly on all of my publications for the next ten years, which was obviously a pretense that was beyond his means; consequently, I refused. As a result, he limited himself to paying for the book in advance, which he bought, as one says, with his eyes closed to the risks and dangers.[3]

But when the zealous directors of this famous publishing house read the completed manuscript, they were literally terrorized, as if no one could still show in writing what could be said of this [Italian] State and its entire spectacle. According to the specialists in marketing [English in original], subversive ideas can certainly sell well and, in any case, better than an absence of ideas, the sale of which is the specialty of those gentlemen. But at a time when the workers no longer want to be workers, we should not be too surprised to see that publishers fear being publishers. In this case, we can say that these audacious managers [English in original] not only bought my book with their eyes closed to the risks and dangers, but also thoughtlessly and casually,[4] as one says in Florence, because they must have and did imagine that I would write either a eulogy for this world or a futile lament for it. They hoped to do good business with subversion and, instead of that, they lost their ill-advised investment of “venture capital” by paying [me] so as to not to buy [the book from me]! These incapable but, in the final analysis, entertaining managers of this publishing house resemble the managers of our entire bankrupt economy. No one should be surprised if, very rapidly and not only thanks to the merits of these managers [English in original], that economy ends up in the most complete ruin.

Waiting to make a little Iranian revolution, and certainly a better one, here among us, I only publish (for the moment) the dedication and the preface from Remedy for Everything conjointly with the chapter in it that relates to the terrorism against the proletariat that our State has practiced with impunity for the last decade. As for the rest of the book, it can wait. Nevertheless, the truth about terrorism, which one can immediately read here and only here,[5] has no publisher, but as the reader will see, it has no need of one. This truth violently refuses the clandestinity to which one would like to reduce it, and it is capable of inaugurating an Italian samizdat to get itself diffused.

Today, the innumerable enemies of that truth – who come from the Center, Right and Left – must declare themselves by exposing themselves on uncovered ground to combat it, because all of their lies no longer manage to hide it. And no matter what one can say about that truth today, in five or 10 years, or even before then, when everything has become clear to everyone it will be what I have written about terrorism that one will remember, and not the streams of ink that all the professional liars and the imbeciles currently release on the subject.

To those who fear the truth, I want to offer several truths that will make them fearful; and to those who have no fear of it, I want to offer a reason that proves that the terrorism of the truth is the only one that benefits the proletariat.

Milan, March 1979

[1] On 16 January 1979, after two years of intense demonstrations and protests, the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) fled Iran, which he had ruled since 1941.

[2] Truthful Report on the Last Chances to Save Capitalism in Italy (1975).

[3] a scatola chiusa.

[4] a bischero sciolto.

[5] This line greatly displeased both Gerard Lebovici and Guy Debord, who complained that Sanguinetti had ignored the existence of Debord’s Preface to the Fourth Italian Editions of “The Society of the Spectacle”, which Editions Champ Libre published in February 1979. For a summary of these objections, see Els van Daele’s “Postface to the Dutch Translation of Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s book On Terrorism and the State.”