from Guy Debord

To the comrades concerned
Minutes of the assembly of 9 April [1967]

The undersigned representatives of the Libertarian Group of Menilmontant, the Anarchist Group of Rennes and the Situationist International met on 9 April 1967 at the request of the F.I.J.L.,[1] which desired to refute certain imputations that were made in its presence and that the F.I.J.L. quickly declared to be deliberate calumnies.

The contested facts were affirmed several days earlier by Comrade E. Roda-Gil[2] in a discussion between him and Comrade Gilbert R.[3] that had been unexpectedly annexed to the activities of the F.I.J.L. All of the invoked facts concerned the liaison that certain comrades from the F.I.J.L. had -- at the margins of the Congress of the C.N.T.[4] at Montpellier, in August 1965 -- with the "National Committee of the Interior," conducted by the traitor Royano[5] after his summit negotiations with the Phalangist authorities [in Madrid], negotiations that remained hidden from the Congress itself.[6] This accusation is certainly of a nature that [if true] it throws a singular discredit on the F.I.J.L., which is well known for having had successful recourse to direct action, eight months later, in its denunciation of the indignity of the underhanded deals of Madrid[7] to the face of the world. After several denials, Comrade Gilbert R. admitted the reality of the facts, specifying that he held them to be fully justified by the considerations of efficacity.

In addition to the undersigned, Comrade Roda-Gil, on the one hand, and a dozen comrades from the F.I.J.L., among them Comrade Gilbert R., on the other hand, were present at the meeting of 9 April.

The comrades from the F.I.J.L. declared that Comrade Gilbert R., although his devotion appears beyond question to them, did not have access to the responsibilities that would have permitted him to respond to the politics of the F.I.J.L. or to know all of its aspects, and thus had the frivolity to admit facts of which he personally was completely ignorant. Comrade Gilbert R. confirmed the irresponsible character of his preceding position.

Comrade Roda-Gil then reiterated his affirmation, submitting to the assembly the report of Comrade Peirats,[8] which had been sent immediately after the Congress to those who had mandated him in the Federation of Venezuela. This report established that, unknown to the Congress, Royano had first met the opponents at the office of the International Secretariat of the C.N.T.[9] -- with Peirats himself in attendance --, had exposed to them the collusion in all its fullness, had made them a part of his reckless project of bringing everything to the attention of the Congress and, with great difficulty, was finally dissuaded from doing so by these opponents. Comrade Edo[10] was put in question by Peirats, who placed him among the susceptible "activist" opponents who, in their struggle against the "immobilist" bureaucracy of the C.N.T., had tactically relied on such a "National Committee of the Interior" or had at the least helped to dissimulate the shameful revelations of what this Committee had actually done.

The comrades of the F.I.J.L., without wanting to accuse Peirats of falsification -- and specifying that they still didn't know about this document, but had heard about it only two weeks previously -- then forcefully affirmed that their knowledge of the affair lead to the following conclusions: before the Montpellier Congress, they had been completely unacquainted with it (whereas the International Secretary of the C.N.T., undertaking his own investigations, already had suspicions about the betrayal that had compromised him -- but only suspicions, it is true). In the margins of the Montpellier Congress, Comrade Edo actually met Royano. He knew at that moment -- and immediately reported to the F.I.J.L. -- only "a vague project to legalize the C.N.T.," but ignorant about which police concretization had already formulated this project. Comrade Edo, here having a position in accord with that of the F.I.J.L. as a whole, was in complete disagreement with such a perspective for legalization and advised Royano and those who followed him to "back up" as quickly as possible. The comrades of the F.I.J.L. did not inform the Congress nor did they publically denounce this suspect line in the [National Committee of the] Interior, because they had long been in conflict with the majority of the C.N.T., would have liked to break completely with it, and no longer considered themselves responsible for defending in any way the purity of the C.N.T., which was greatly contestible in their eyes. Nevertheless, at least three months after the Congress, when the F.I.J.L. was finally informed of the complete truth about the underhanded dealings of Madrid, and when it finally established that the C.N.T. itself did not denounce this betrayal, the F.I.J.L. decided that, by itself, it had to deliver a blow so as to save the honor of the entirety of the Spanish libertarian movement and bring down the enterprise of the traitor, Royano. Which was executed, as everyone knows, after the practically indispensible postponements.

The comrades of the F.I.J.L. added that they have complete confidence in Comrade Edo and that it was thus unthinkable that Edo had known what had remained hidden to them. As the Peirats document reported two conversations at the margins of the Congress -- both on the question of knowing if the "National Comittee" should or should not reveal its line to the Congress; as Comrade Edo only attended the second conversation; as the Peirats document enunciated the totality of the confessions at the first meeting and did not explicitly specify that all that was said in the first meeting was repeated during the second one -- the F.I.J.L. hypothesized that only a part of the confessions made by Royano during the first meeting had been repeated in the second; and thus Comrade Edo had only been called to discuss the revelation of only a part of the scandal.

The assembly formed by the undersigned have admitted that it is fitting to demand clarifications from Comrade Peirats, so that he can explain if he had abusively put Comrade Edo into question, either by an unheard-of blunder in his written exposition of the facts or some other obscure manoeuvre. (A letter, counter-signed by the F.I.J.L., was addressed to Comrade Peirats in the following days.)[11]

The undersigned declare that, while waiting for the clarifications (without excluding those that can be furnished by other documents), they are not in a position to make a pronouncement on the exact degree of the F.I.J.L.'s knowledge of Royano's intrigues while the Montpellier Congress was in session.

Considering the facts that appeared in the contradictory debate of 9 April, the undersigned unanimously conclude that, in the affair that was submitted to them, Comrade Etienne Roda-Gil did not calumny the F.I.J.L.

The assembly then asked the representatives of the F.I.J.L., who seemed to have put Comrade Roda-Gil in question as personally suspect, to immediately and completely inform the revolutionary groups present of the serious facts that served to put them on guard concerning the personal conduct of Comrade Roda-Gil. Nothing that was said constituted proof (not even the beginning of proof), but the beginning of a precise exposition that could put Comrade Roda-Gil in question personally. On the other hand, the assembly established that Comrade Roda-Gil had been an adversary of the F.I.J.L. for a long time and had contested its political lines and its methods on a number of occasions. Comrade Roda-Gil declared solidarity with the politics of the F.A.I.[12] and with all of the measures it had adopted against the F.I.J.L. during the entire time he had been a member; and he declared that he was proud to have been part of the F.A.I.

Faced with the question of having to judge the calumnies and bureaucratic manoeuvres that have taken place in the bitter struggles among the factions of the F.A.I., the C.N.T. and the F.I.J.L. (facts in which Comrade Roda-Gil finds himself implicated as a member of the F.A.I.), the undersigned have declared that they can only pronounce themselves on the issue after there's been a contradictory debate in which the F.A.I. presents itself.

The representatives of the F.I.J.L. have responded that they will never agree to meet the F.A.I. in any such debate, estimating that they have discussed matters with the F.A.I. for too long and in vain over the course of the years, before finally chosing total autonomy in their organization and actions. In these conditions, the undersigned concluded nothing on this aspect of the question.

The undersigned have maintained an impartial debate on the facts and particularly in the examination of the possibility of calumny. In the debate as in the current summary of what they witnessed, they prohibited themselves from all judgment of the politics and organizational conceptions of the F.I.J.L. and of those of the F.A.I. as well. After this debate, they have limited themselves to the conclusions expressed here, but they guarantee their rigorous exactitude and declare that anyone who doubts these conclusions will also have to contest the totality of the revolutionary rigor that can be recognized in them.

For the Revolutionary Anarchist Group: Guy Bodson, Rene Riesel.

For the Liberatarian Group of Menilmontant: Yves Raynaud, Pierre Lepetit, Hubert Berard, Nicole Le Foll, Bernard Stepanik, Jean-Louis Philippe, X.

For the Anarchist Group of Rennes: Loic Le Reste, Herve Merour.

For the Situationist International: Guy Debord, Mustapha Khayati, Rene Vienet.

[1] Federacion iberica de juventudes libertarias (Iberian Federation of Young Libertarians).

[2] Etienne Roda-Gil, the son of Spanish anarchists.

[3] Gilbert R., anarchist from Strasbourg.

[4] Confederacion nacional del trabajo (National Confederation of Workers).

[5] Royano, C.N.T. delegate from Madrid, then Secretary of the National Committee of the Interior after the arrest of Cipriano Damiano.

[6] Translator: for the SI's comments on this intrigue, see The Betrayal of the CNT, I.S. #11, October 1967.

[7] On 1 May 1966, Marcos Ussia, ecclesiastical counselor of the Spanish Ambassy in the Saint-Siege neighborhood, was carried off to Rome by the May 1st Group (Sacco and Vanzetti) so as to denounce the relations of Royano and Inigo with the Phalangist representatives. The prelate was released on 11 May [1966].

[8] Jose Peirats, Spanish anarcho-syndicalist member of the C.N.T. in exile. Future historian of the C.N.T.

[9] The International -- or Intercontinental -- Secretariat of the C.N.T. was headed by G. Esgleas.

[10] Luis Andres Edo, secretary of the Parisian section of the F.I.J.L. and spokesman for the May 1st Group. He was arrested in Spain on 25 October 1966 and on 4 July 1967 condemned to nine years and six months in prison for having planned to kidnap an American officer.

[11] Translator: see the letter dated 17 May 1967.

[12] Federacion anarquista iberica (Iberian Anarchist Federation).

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

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