from Guy Debord

Paris-SI to New York-SI
21 November 1968
Dear Robert:

We suppose that you have by now received the book by Vienet,[1] sent airmail eight days ago.

Concerning all the translations, by Grove Press or someone else, we are in agreement that the publishers should furnish the translators, if you can then go over their work and correct it.

We no longer want to have contact with [Christopher] Gray, because he wrote to us six months ago to propose that he translate it [the Vienet book]. We responded that we would accept his work if he did it as an independent translator, on the sole condition that he tell us in a written text what his positions and conclusions are concerning the crisis that definitively separated us from him.[2] He refused to make these clarifications (for example, he refused to communicate to us in writing the opinions that he expressed verbally to you in New York). Since then, Donald [Nicholson-Smith] has tried to reestablish contact with us, writing only that he thought he could correct a “misunderstanding.” We refused to see him again.

[Ben] Morea continues his calumnies against Tony and you (reproaching you for disarming American revolutionaries during the strike at Columbia). We know these rumors very vaguely because they are propagated here by a few individuals with whom we refuse all contact and who remain in contact with [Murray] Bookchin and others of that ilk.

We would particularly warn you about someone named Jean-Louis Philippe,[3] who is at the heart of this kind of maneuver. This person, after the spring crisis, has presented himself to several intellectuals and tried to extort money from them, by claiming that the money would go to the SI. This cretin has obtained almost nothing, but has hurt us nevertheless, because those hostile intellectuals knew that he wasn’t the SI, but pretended to believe so.[4]

Among the many books published here about the May revolution, we can with some reservations recommend to you La Sorbonne par elle-meme (Editions ouvrieres)[5] – there are several falsifications concerning SI documents – and, on the other hand, the book by Jean-Louis Brau,[6] Cours camarade, le vieux monde est derriere toi (Editions Albin Michel).[7] It’s a barely intelligent book, but the author, who is a piece of shit, is quite well informed and reserves a big place for the SI.

Best wishes,

Guy [Debord], Mustapha [Khayati], Francois [de Beaulieu], Rene-Donatien [Vienet]

[1] Enrages and Situationists in the Occupations Movement (Gallimard).

[2] Translator: the affair concerning Raoul Vaneigem’s refusal to meet Ben Morea while he was in New York in November 1967 and the British situationists’ vacillating when it came to breaking him completely.

[3] A member of the Committee for Maintaining the Occupations in May 1968.

[4] Internationale Situationniste #12, p. 82.

[5] Translator: Jean-Claude and Michelle Perrot, Madeleine Reberioux and Jean Maitron, The Sorbonne for Itself.

[6] Translator: a former member of Isidore Isou’s group of lettrists in the early 1950s.

[7] Translator: Run comrade, the old world is behind you.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "0": Septembre 1951 - Juillet 1957: Complete des "lettres retrouvees" et d l'index general des noms cites by Librairie Artheme Fayard, October 2010. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! February 2011. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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