from Guy Debord

To Andre Frankin
8 August [1958]
Dear Frankin[1]

The dream continues. The very small popular mobilization of May [1958] (in the anti-fascist committees) completely dissolved after several weeks.

The "thinkers" of the Left say that all is radically re-thought, and never has the thought been more banal.

As you say: apart from them, nothing. But it is necessary to see them. The other evening, I intervened in the Liaison and Action Committee of the Young (!), which is praised so by the ravers of Le 14 Julliet.[2]

The entire discussion was a polemic between the Socialists-or-Barbarists and me, because they seemed to fear that I might have come to dethrone their power and then rule over the innocents in their place. To discredit me, one of them insinuated 20 or 30 times that I was mandated by some kind of party, and to harm them (they have a certain tendency to delusions of grandeur). One even pretended to believe that I threatened the meeting with sabotage! (I was accompanied by two Algerian comrades.)

If they aren't idiots, they will be reassured. Fascism? Scientifically impossible. The end of bourgeois democracy? A negligible detail for the revolutionary struggle. The collapse of the Left? Good thing, the French workers have consciously renounced political parties and unions, which are their enemies, and go on to succeed in the magnificent spontaneity of the wildcats strikes of the American proletariat! But, to make this excited comparison work, the Algerian war is cheerfully placed between parentheses. If de Gaulle doesn't stop the war, the Great Powers will.

I advanced your idea on the interest that the Iraqi revolution, which is infinitely better adapted to our era of cultural revolution than the anachronisms of Hussein-Nouri Said, can bring to the Algerian system and the proven oil reserves of the Sahara. Oil gushing into the middle of the audience would not have caused more suprise.

These people are mechanists to a frightening extent. Also as little Marxists as possible: workerists. This even turns to religious thinking: the proletariat is their hidden God. The workers' movements are impenetrable, and the intellectuals must humble themselves and wait. Then how do they admit that the fire is at the house?

Send what you can by 7 September at the latest. I would particularly value a chapter on the theme of "Diversions and revolution." If this isn't ready, we can publish a half-chapter in [Internationale Situationniste] #3.


[1] Andre Frankin, member of the Lettrist International, later a Belgian situationist without section.

[2]Le 14 Julliet, a journal founded by Dionys Mascolo and Jean Schuster in opposition to the seizure of power by [Charles] de Gaulle on 13 May 1958.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 1, 1957-1960. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2005.)

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