from Guy Debord

To the members of the SI
21 October 1969

The SI after Venice

1 -- If one can say that, at its beginning, the SI, formed by fluctuating groups in several countries, still wasn't situationist (1957-62), the coherent situationist group that began to exist in 1962 ([conference at] Antwerp) certainly didn't reach the stage of an international organization, although it made several interventions outside of France. These conditions continued to exist after May [1968], when the group re-formed in Paris during the autumn. It was in December-January that the American and Italian sections formally began to exist; and [J.V.] Martin didn't begin to break the Scandanavian isolation until a little later. The Venice Conference [held 25 September 1969] essentially manifested the fact that the situationists now constitute an international organization.

2 -- The most important and most urgent point for us all is to make this coordinated activity function better, according to the minimum engagements made in Venice. Indeed, dominating the questions concerning this liaison constitutes the necessary condition and the beginning of all the rest.

3 -- What I called, in April 1968 ["The Question of Organization for the Situationist International"], the "third era" of the SI finds itself characterized for us as the international reappearance of a proletarian revolutionary current (stronger than in April 1968, but still weak in many respects) and, at the same time, the third stage of the SI's existence, defined in point 1. There is a certain relation between these two facts. It is necessary that there is a much greater interaction.

4 -- We can summarize our general goal by saying that it is a question of making the SI more well-known and better known (in all of the dimensions of its critique and not as abstract celebrity of "unsurpassable extremism"). Now that the revolution has returned "to fashion," it is necessary that we struggle against the screen of Leftist false consciousness: it is principally in breaking this screen that we will reach the workers, who do not love ideological-bureaucratic Leftism, and who very often see it only as a carrier of an unacceptable theoretical formulation of the revolution. In discovering the unknown revolutionary theory amongst the theoretical and practical ruins of Leftism (we recall that the existence of the SI in France has already sufficed to concretely dissolve two or three organizations), the workers themselves perceive that this theory is the one that they themselves already possess.

5 -- According to the formula of Claudio [Pavan], which was approved in Venice, the problem of making the SI known must be considered at the level of the entire SI, and not just one section (although we are better known in France, the degree reached isn't such -- especially given the increase of the crisis in other countries, which can quickly surpass May [1968] -- that we must bear in mind a qualitative difference). It is necessary to extend the SI to several other countries: it is especially necessary to do so in England.

6 -- It is thus necessary for us to write more (and translate more). Without neglecting [the publication of] tracts on certain important occasions (nor the continuation of the journal, a little more lightly), I think here more of books than of tracts. It would be necessary at present to foresee two or three of them, and especially to publish them quickly when they have been chosen: on this point our material possibilities for publication are very good where the creativity and work of our French comrades are concerned. Not undertaking this was, in my opinion, the most serious delay of the January-June [1969] period (certainly worse than the delayed publication of issue #12 [of Internationale Situationniste]). The French example has shown -- and it is perhaps our best result -- that theoretical activity as we understand it not only greatly enlivens practical activity, but can still place us in a position to intervene to a quite notable degree in practical struggles. It is necessary for us to travel more, so as to develop liaisons and contacts in and outside of the SI. It would be good, for example, to encounter people in Battipaglia [Italy] or Port Talbot [England].

7 -- To advance in these two types of activity, one more time, it is necessary for us now to find money quickly. For example, in France, three months from today, we will have need of five to twenty thousand Francs, at the minimum. The ordinary sources of money ([sales of the] journal, author's royalties for the three preceding books) can hardly bring us more than a third of this sum. This is the moment for each of us to once again become creative on this question.


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

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