The tendency that constituted itself on 11 November 1970 in the French section has the merit of being the last abstraction that can formulate itself in, for and in the name of the SI. If it is true that the group has never been but the sum of its capabilities and weaknesses, very unequally distributed, of its members, there is, in the moment that concerns us, no longer an apparent community, nor even a tendency that might make us forget that each one of us has to answer for himself alone. How could what was impassioning in the consciousness of a common project change into a malaise of being together? This is what the historians will establish. I feel neither the historian's calling nor that of the thinker, in retreat or not, to become an old soldier. Beyond the easy analysis of the small degree of penetration of situationist theory into the worker milieu, and the small degree of proletarian penetration into the situationist milieu, this would at the moment only be a pretext for the false good conscience of our failure.
But no doubt, to be concrete at last -- because there is no concrete response beyond the proof that each one must give of who he really is -- I must speak instead of my failure. As for the past, I have always attributed, without due consideration, to the majority of the comrades or ex-comrades in the SI at least as much capability and honesty as I recognize in myself, thus deluding myself about them and myself at the same time. I see clearly that such an attitude has, contradictorily, aroused in the International tactical maneuvers that are more or less skillful and always odious, and has at the same time created conditions for ideology. This said, the individual histories of the comrades, my history and the collective history [of the SI] will be part of my errors and my correct options. (Nevertheless, I specify that I spit in the face of anyone, present or to come, who would discover in me secret intentions of any kind, and with that critical good faith that we so often see displaying itself after the fact.)
For the present, it is sufficient for me to certify my failure for having made a movement that I have always held as the condition of my radicality progress. Such a certification will disarm the very naivete that still wants to save a group so as to save myself, whereas I have not known how to make it what I truly wanted it to be. I thus prefer to take up again the wager that my adherence to the SI deferred: to lose myself absolutely or to absolutely remake my own coherence and to only remake it with the greatest number of people.
But before leaving to the revolution the care of recognizing its own, from now on I will hold to what applies to me in the demands that I have formulated concerning autonomous groups: I will not renew contact with the comrades who desire it or with those whom I would wish to see again, except in the actual success of a revolutionary agitation that my taste for radical pleasure will know how to undertake.
If however the tendency judges its critique to be sufficient in itself, without other proof, to reconstitute the French section, then it will have to consider me resigned, with the consequences, which I accept, of never seeing one another again.[RAOUL] VANEIGEM
(Published in The Veritable Split in the International, Champ Libre, April 1972. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2007.)