from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
16 September 1971
Dear Gianfranco,

Yesterday I received your letter #5, dated 11 September [1971] (I previously received your note from San Casciano, with the very interesting iconography that accompanied it).

Thus we can consider Riesel to be the last of the excluded.[1] To date, he still hasn’t responded. One might wonder if he hasn’t left town. After so much misery, anything is possible.

I believe that we must now envision what we should do according to a truly new strategic revision. To benefit from the occasion, so as to radically depart from the situ routine (of which our ex-comrades were so absolutely the impotent conservers), because, at the same time, the epoch is different and because the poor champions of that routine have collapsed into ridiculousness. For example, for our next publications, I believe we must go even further than what we’d anticipated in our treatment of the crisis in the SI, and make The Veritable Split . . . something more explanatory and theoretical than a simple collection of documents. On the other hand, I wonder if the work to be done on Italy isn’t important enough (its subject as well as its possible length) to become a book, etc. In sum, I believe that we must astonish and disappoint the largest part of the pro-situs by placing ourselves, theoretically and materially, beyond our well-known style and become obviously ineffective, at least [enough] to trouble the current comfort of our admirers (in this sense, our silence for the last two years[2] has been an excellent form of expression, and our next form of expression must be a stronger continuation, and not a return to the music of the past).

As I wrote to you in my previous letter,[3] I think I’ll come to see you for several days towards the beginning of October so that we can discuss all this face to face.

At the moment, are you still be in Pisa or are you already in your Florentine palazzo in Oltrarno?[4] I would prefer the second because it is difficult to find a better spot in a better town.

My book[5] will appear – will reappear – in the bookstores on 13 October. Shortly afterward, the same publisher will bring out the scholarly work by Jean-Pierre[6] entitled The Situationist International: Chronology, Bibliography, Protagonists. It concludes at the end of 1969, that is to say, after [the conference at] Venice, the resignation of Mustapha [Khayati] and the exclusion of Alain [Chevalier] (thus all those who were members of the SI are named in it, but not the many adventures of 1970-71). I’ve asked Jean-Pierre to dedicate this little book to you, “member of the SI expelled from France by the Minister of the Interior on 27 July 1971,” which will give to this historical study a happy touch of topicality. He accepted with pleasure.

As far as the cinema, I believe that you already know that he [Gérard Lebovici ] found a distributor in America who will pay, in exchange for the American distribution rights, as much as the film costs to make (around 50 million lira).[7] Nevertheless, he must still find here [in France] all the money needed to make the film [in the first place] and here he has only been offered 5 million lira. [Because] [h]e counts on the results of his “fall campaign,” even more so if only the United States reimburses the costs, everything that the film could bring in everywhere else thus constitutes, very probably, large profits.

Jean-Marc [Loiseau], with what he’s written, has started off in a good position, which no doubt augurs well for a good follow-up. The decisive question will in fact be in his practice in real life. You told me that he has very fortunately changed since January. Thus we will see where this ends up, because it is quite obvious that he had long maintained many illusions about Riesel and even about the monstrous Joelle.[8] Jean-Marc, I believe, went as far as supporting the bad treatment and uncalled for insolence [d’indignes insolences] that he should never have supported.

See you soon. Best wishes to you and Connie and, if possible, to Celeste.[9]


[1] Translator: René Riesel was excluded on 7 September 1971.

[2] Translator: this discounts the existence of J. V. Martin’s Situationistisk Revolution #3, which was published in October 1970.

[3] Translator: 13 September 1971.

[4] The Palazzo Bardi, located on the backs of the Arno.

[5] Translator: The Society of the Spectacle, reprinted by Gérard Lebovici’s Editions Champ Libre.

[6] Jean-Pierre Voyer, coauthor with Jean-Jacques Raspaud.

[7] Translator: the film version of Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle.

[8] Translator: Riesel’s wife.

[9] Translator: see letter dated 28 October 1971.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "4": Janvier 1969 - december 1972 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2004. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2012. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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