A Message from Bruce Elwell, read by Béatrice Chassé
on the occasion of the publication of the book,
in Toulouse, 6 December 2011

I would like to thank Fabrice for undertaking the translation and publication of the text and also for having accepted the idea that I am here as the representative of two of its authors, that is to say, my father, Robert Chassé, and my longtime friend, Bruce Elwell. As such, I would simply like to read a text written by Bruce for this occasion. Unfortunately, the [bad] health of my father does not allow him to participate in this soiree, but I know that he is happy that I am here with you. – Béatrice Chassé.

When Fabrice de San Mateo contacted me about translating Situationist International #1 (and only) into French, I was ambivalent. From the time of its publication in the summer of 1969, Robert Chasse and I have felt that it showed all the unevenness that was manifest in the tiny American section of the SI. However, Fabrice and his collaborators were insistent in their desire to show that the SI, in its penultimate moments, was not simply an export-ready French brand. So, historical truth is served by presenting it to the Francophone world, with all its flaws intact. In the spring of 2011, Fabrice met with Robert and his wife Evelyne in Paris, and they came to agree with me.

Robert and I grew up in the New England working class, rendering us most unusual among SI members. We were thus part of that which the organization’s more senior members knew alone could change life and transform the world. We were far outside the so-called student movement. This may have been helped us avoid the petit bourgeois triumphalism that marred some other situationist pronouncements, both within our section and elsewhere. We hope that this shows, even in translation. It is for the reader to decide.

Unfortunately, health problems prevent Robert from being here today. I suggested that the Chasses’ daughter Beatrice, living near Toulouse, make this presentation on our behalf.

It would be good to imagine that recent events point to yet another opening for the impossible revolution. However, the cockroaches of the political left continue to descend on anything threatening a class opposition, branding it, as surely as the right, in abject service of the retrogressive bourgeoisie, moves to annihilate it. If this publication draws but a single reader to a social revolutionary perspective beyond leftism, it will have proved a worthwhile undertaking. Our essential work is, by nature and invariably, beyond value.

Bruce Elwell

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