from Guy Debord

To Jean Maitron,[1]
Director of the French Institute of Social History and its journal, The Social Movement
24 October 1968

Issue #64 of The Social Movement -- the special issue on "The Sorbonne by itself" -- contains a number of errors and falsifications concerning the Situationist International, which is unaccectaple in a journal that claims to possess a certain scientific rigor and sustains itself financially on such claims.

It is not true that the situationists had "alone assumed the direction from 13 May to the evening of 14 May [1968]" of the first Sorbonne Occupation Committee for the simple reason that the Occupation Committee didn't exist at that time.

It is also false and, moreover, ridiculous to claim that the situationists controlled "the restaurant and the cuisine of the Sorbonne" and did so "through June."

It is even more scandalous to present (page 165) an "anonymous tract" that you dishonestly claim "expressed quite well the point of view of the situationists." By this single remark, you demonstrate your ignorance of the occupations movement in general (and this after displaying your ignorance of the totality of the workers' movement and even your own customary chickenfeed, Anarchy). It is even more serious for alleged "scientists" to gather their falsifications together in Mr Maspero's journal, Partisans. As a matter of fact, on page 103 of issue #42 of this journal there appears a fraudulent presentation of a fragment of a tract by the "Council for the Maintenance of the Occupations" [C.M.D.O.], the first part of which had been amputated and cynically replaced by the imbecilic declaration that you have imprudently filled this trashcan so as to attribute it to us.

We are not deceived by your historian's methods, nor by your intellectual acuity, but are surprised by your temerity. Indeed, you believe that you can allow yourself to masperize[2] as much as the Stalinist Maspero himself does. Coming from a person who is as discredited as Maspero "the partisan," and published by a journal that claims to be historically objective (which yours does), this can not pass with impunity.

It is particularly intolerable that on pages 122-123 you reprint our Report on the Occupation of the Sorbonne[3] with half of its contents censored (for obvious political ends) and without any indication of the deletions that were made (cf. enclosed piece[4]).

We demand from you immediate written apologies and assurances that the next issue of The Social Movement will reproduce this very letter, and restore the text of Report on the Occupation of the Sorbonne to its entirety.[5]

Do not doubt, Sir, that the class consciousness of our era has progressed enough to get, using its own means, an accounting from the pseudo-specialists of its history, who continue to aspire to subsist upon its practice.

For the Situationist International
Guy Debord, Rene Riesel, Christian Sebastiani, Raoul Vaneigem, Rene Vienet

(Written on the letterhead of the Situationist International, with the notation "copy to the International Institute of Social History, Keizersgracht 264, Amsterdam C.")

[1] Jean Maitron, historian, author of a History of the anarchist movement in France, 1880-1914 (1951). [Translator: here -- and footnote [5] below -- we would ordinarily refer the reader to an English translation of "Maitron the Historian," which was first published in Internationale Situationist #12, September 1969. But the only extant translation of this text has been so heavily edited -- in a word, so thoroughly Knabbed -- that we can not make this reference in good conscience. We'll have to translate the text in its entirety ourselves one day. Note added February 2006: that day has come! Read the complete text of Maitron the Historian.]

[2] [Situationist] Neologism inspired by the name of the publisher Francois Maspero and intended to mean the falsification or amputation of quoted texts.

[3] Report drafted on 19 May 1968 by the C.M.D.O., reproduced in [the original French edition of] Enrages and Situationists in the Occupations Movement, p. 276-279.

[4] Translator: no piece follows this letter in the Fayard Edition.

[5] Little disposed to comply with these demands, Jean Maitron was visited two weeks later by two more explicit situationists (cf. ["Maitron the Historian"] I.S. #12, p. 88-90).

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 3, 1965-1968. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! September 2005.)

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