from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
15 February [19]72
Dear Gianfranco: :

I have just received your letters #3 and 4. I now write you, quite precisely, on several points.

1) Your letter to Brega is perfect.[1] Now he will know what a violent letter is (mine was still quite polite). I am completely in agreement on its immediate publication in Italian. I think that the best form would be a very short pamphlet -- six or eight pages -- in the style of the Reggio pamphlet.[2] It could be called:

Situationist International
Correspondence with a publisher

I send you here the first request by Feltrinelli. You can publish it in English. It is not necessary to leave in the name of [Rene] Riesel. Print here: M.R. . . . (Paris, 20th). And in the translation of my letter, to be marked "your letter of 18 November, addressed to R. . . ."

It would be necessary to make the best distribution possible; also to the press.

2) I am very happy that you think you can finish your book by June. In any case, as history is also made late, it would be necessary to finish before September. If I can be useful on some points, we will look at them together at the time of my trip to Italy.

3) At the moment, I'm thinking of coming to Florence for a week at the beginning of April. I propose that from now on we set aside the entire month of August as a moment to travel together through Italy: to work a little, if necessary, but I especially hope that we can drink a classico chianti. We will see where we can fit Lisbon between these two meetings (perhaps the end of May?).

4) The theses[3] are now finished. I must now, at great length, correct a third of the text (towards the middle) that I drafted last, which must now be reviewed, bearing in mind the other parties; because this text is quite complex, and it is necessary to eliminate a certain number of repetitions. Then Alice [Becker-Ho] will type it up. I think that you might receive it in two weeks. After she has typed up the theses, I will begin to draft the two long notes: a very dry "history" of the 1970-71 "crisis," and something on our enemies -- in which will be mingled the FAI [Iberian Anarchist Federation], the publishers, calumnous journalists, etc. For the documents properly speaking, I think of reducing them to four or five, perhaps including extracts from my report to the Conference at Paris,[4] which I've re-read and have found to be highly "modern" -- that is to say, already adapted to the crisis that one subsequently saw [in 1970-71].

In reading a book on Savonarola, I have discovered that it was in San Gimignano that he began to make his terrible predictions, "saying new things in a manner itself new." And it is precisely in San Gimignano that, in the terrace of a cafe, we will agree on the current theses that must "flagellate the SI" and renew it! Tuscany is still made to make history.

5) We never have news from Rosbach.[5] You must indicate to Magnoli[6] that this little cunt -- without doubt not in possession of the money that he is supposed to have -- has crudely disappeared, after having entered into an accord of principle and fixed a meeting in Paris for five days later. It is thus necessary to begin to look elsewhere for serious people: the bank that wants to take an interest in cinematographic production.

Lamargello [Jean-Pierre Voyer] is quite saddened [assombri] by this story. But it seems that his book[7] has stared to sell at a good pace (15 in three days at the newstand, despite the rather elevated price).

6) I fear that [Michel] Prigent[8] is a little too enthusiastic. But we will see: his publication and distribution activities certainly produce results. I will write to him. You did well by saying to him that after the publication of our theses (and on their basis) we will see what can be done [as far as admission into the SI] with the English "situationists." England is in open crisis, which is aggravated by the Ireland affair. I have the impression that more time is necessary before England arrives at a revolutionary crisis, and that the minors' strike is only a preliminary battle (all of the politico-economic contradictions will be much worse in six months or a year). But the government now confesses -- and this confession, because it was made so suddenly, creates a brutal shock that is perhaps very dangerous for the government -- the existence of profound difficulties for the system, which the government had previously kept hidden. England faces the Italian crisis and, in the next several weeks perhaps, it will experience what Italy has gotten used to seeing for the last three years. Naturally, it is also possible that the minors' strike will turn towards a complete confrontation. In such a case, we will go there. We must telephone each other (at [Michele] Bernstein's place) so as to arrange our voyage.

Now we pass to some less important subjects. I believe that I haven't sent you the photocopy (attached[9]) of what we wrote to the Americans. Since then, I've learned from Holland that it was [Tony] Verlaan himself who masperized[10] the Dutch translation of the Vienet [Enrages and Situationists in the Occupations Movement] -- and this when he was still in the SI. Fabulous! Here is a letter from Puni [Cesoni]: brave man, I believe, but limited. Without doubt, he merits being left on our "press contacts" list, but for my part I don't know his address. Also attached is a letter that the infamous [Claudio] Pavan sent to the Institute [for Social History, in Amsterdam]; he sent another since then and will receive no response. He is an idiotic upstart. Do you know a certain Nello Costa[11]? [Daniel] Denevert (author of The Intelligence of Several Aspects of the Moment) has recently seen him -- or heard about him -- in Paris. Likable, but affirms that the Workers' Councils in Reggio have been realized, even surpassed! He claims to have met you in Florence in December. Do you know him? Send me other copies -- a blow-up? -- of the two or three photos taken on the Pont de Florence, in front of the Ponte Vecchio, notably the contact attached.

I do not know if I've already said to you how how I interpret your meeting Machiavelli in a dream. At first, I thought of a false Machiavelli, but I rejected this hypothesis (it isn't easy to disguise oneself as Machiavelli). Thus, it was the true Machiavelli, but speaking falsely. He said those pro-Maoist stupidities so as to test you, by playing "the devil's advocate." And thus this dream expresses the worries and uncertainties, certainly not about the truth of our theses (the apparent content of the dream), but about the delay that is needed for you to finish writing The Class Struggles in Italy. Insofar as he is an historical image, Machiavelli represents me in the dream, but naturally, in truth, he is you. I suppose that these worries will be superceded when you write a first chapter -- even if it is very short -- with which you are very happy. Afterwards, completing the book is no more than a problem of time that become actually measurable: whereas before, when one posed the problem of the qualitative, one still couldn't measure the time that would be necessary. But for me, in reality, no doubt exists that you can finish this book brilliantly and relatively quickly. (Admit that this is an ingenious interpretation of the dream!)

Concerning the parallel between Celeste and Connie, I believe that it is at a too superficial -- rhetorical -- level of this experience. To me, the principal point in common, perhaps the only point of similarity between them, is the fact that they both have been loved by you; and in fact, more precisely, it is in two distinct eras of your life that you have loved both. Connie suffers -- objectively and no doubt subjectively, as well -- from the complete unreality of her life (an unreality that not only shows itself through lying, but also by a simple emptiness, which can be trivially expressed by the fact that at the age of twenty one cannot be fifteen and especially not an advanced girl of fifteen). Celeste adds marginal unreality (apparently "more beautiful," "funnier," etc) to a real life that is actually quite rich and active; she must learn -- through her intelligence and the experiences that she can easily have -- that this effacement (which is slightly mythomaniacal) of the frontier between adventurous reality and a small imaginary supplement adds nothing to the strangeness and real beauty of what she can actually be, but, on the contrary, radically impoverishes it. I have known two or three individuals who, in nine-tenths of their real lives, are really very interesting, but who lose all interest because of a mythomania that developed in the one-tenth that was useless and stupid. In a short while, to the extent that this aspect of mythomania destroys the real relations one has with the people closest to you, the fragment of what is vulgarly imaginary invades the rest and then, as the rest slips away, replaces it.

Cordially, see you soon,

P.S. -- The history of the inauguration of the department store is marvelous. To be cited in your book, I think: as an example in passing of the ripening of the crisis.

-- Leonor is quite the woman you described. She is completely my type, at least up until now.

-- It is necessary to say to Celeste that she always pleases us. Alice and I are not desperate to help you make her understand what she already is, which truly has no need of any supplementation that comes from delirium or hypnosis.

-- This scoundrel Vaconsin[12] truly exaggerates: now the Minister of Foreign Affairs! And then the Ministers of Labor, Finance, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and, to finish, National Education and Cultural Affairs. All of them prefer to know you better.

-- Did you recently ask me to send you several copies of the Raspaud-Vover?[13] I cannot find this request in your most recent letter, but I seem to decipher thus one of my extremely concise (and even a little too Heraclitean?) notes.

[1] Reproduced in the tract Correspondance with a publisher.

[2] Gli operai d' Italia e la rivolti di Reggio Calabria [The workers of Italy and the revolt at Reggio Calabria] (Milan, October 1970).

[3] Translator: the "Theses on the SI and its Time," which would be published in The Veritable Split in the International, April 1972, by Editions Champ Libre.

[4] Report of 7 pages and 18 points "On the principal character of our communal activity," presented by Guy Debord to the VIIth Conference of the SI in Paris, July 1966.

[5] Translator: an Italian film-maker and financier. Solicited for help in funding Debord's film version of The Society of the Spectacle.

[6] Translator: Sanguinetti's lawyer for affairs within Italy.

[7] Translator: L'Internationale Situationniste: Chronologie, bibliographie, protagonistes (avec un index des noms insultes), by Jean-Jacques Raspaud and Jean-Pierre Voyer (Paris: Champ Libre, 1972).

[8] Translator: Translator and publisher of the first English translations of The Veritable Split in the International (1974) and Gianfranco Sanguinetti's On Terrorism and the State (1982).

[9] Translator: none of the documents mentioned in this paragraph were included in the Fayard edition.

[10] In the jargon of the situationists, falsified. Inspired by the name of the publisher Francois Maspero, and signifying the falification or amputation of texts.

[11] Nello Costabile, libertarian comrade from Calabre.

[12] Translator: a lawyer formerly employed by Sanguinetti to deal with his problems in France.

[13] Translator: L'Internationale Situationniste: Chronologie, bibliographie, protagonistes (avec un index des noms insultes), by Jean-Jacques Raspaud and Jean-Pierre Voyer (Paris: Champ Libre, 1972).

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

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