from Guy Debord

To all the sections of the SI
[17 March 1970]

Notes for a communal meeting of the French and Italian sections on 17 March 1970 (to be transmitted to the other sections).

1) The difficulties of the last four months in the American and Italian sections have been particularly regrettable in that they have slowed down the extensive development of the SI, which was practically our only accomplishment during 1969. It is necessary to resume and pursue this extensive movement, but also to immediately resume our intensive practico-theoretical development.

2) In the last four months, for the first time, the internal administrative and disciplinary side of the SI clearly overshadowed the creative and experimental side (which was already not very considerable in 1969). It is necessary to immediately reverse this relationship of factors, because, if it continues, the SI itself will have no justification for continuing. Comrade [Tony] Verlaan recently quite well defined what must be combatted, when he remarked that "where the revolutionary practice of the SI fails, inter-personal relations inevitably become the only practice"; and naturally they deploy themselves in the old paltry practices of current society's relations, aggravated even more by a hollow pretension to a supposed historical role. We must all choose and judge our communal activity, but it is unacceptable that jdging is our only activity.

3) Any retreat from these concrete questions (and, at the frontline, from the trivial question of our financing) must be immediately denounced and eliminated.

4) One has often had to chase from the SI those who find themselves defective in it. But this criteria is too exclusively defensive. For there to be a real equality, it doesn't suffice for the situationists to avoid patent faults. It is necessary that each member is in some manner "admirable" for all of the others.

5) All of the comrades must resume (or begin) a rigorous theoretical undertaking. For example, one can say that we truly do not need to record "historical successes" after 1968 to be sure of the truth of our preceding theses. But, in our subsequent theoretical activity, we truly do need to precisely analyze two related failures, which complete each other reciprocally:

a) in the formation of the conscious revolutionary organization, the extreme debility of the groups constituted in France after the admirable lesson of May;

b) in the process of a purely spontaneous struggle that carries the proletariat to objectively put in question class power in Italy, the extreme facility of the success of intelligent provocation (the bomb of December [at the Piazza Fontana in Milan]), which was a relatively minimal sample of the practice to which any modern State will not hesitate to resort when faced with any vital threat.

One can say that, in general, the debates of the [situationist] Conference at Venice understood very well, and foresaw very well, what is currently going on in Europe (although they envisioned our means of bringing back this kind of "science" in practical activity very little). But these debates did not profoundly enough examine the first point; and did not precisely enough foresee the second.

6) Despite their great historical and programmatic interest, the [Workers] Councils of the past were obviously insufficient experiments, and real councilist organizations are still far from coming into existence. A vague councilist fashion has developed, even among the cretins. We have no reason to take our place [ranger] in it; but to disturb [deranger] it, starting from today. In the sense of total content that the Councils must attain, in the sense of what the SI can and must do so that this power can exist in reality, I will summarize my thesis in a phrase: it is not that the situationists are councilists; it is the Councils that have to be situationist.

7) The world only lacks knowledge of a project that it already has. If the SI can still help the world to learn, we have to make more Strasbourgs, Sorbonnes, and other expressions of our theory arise (by books or otherwise). It is still necessary for us to astonish this world.


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

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