Concerning the re-edition of The Poverty of Student Life[1]

There are strange rumors that are capable of intoxicating people: since one mocks me, one can mock another. Yes! Without asking for authorization from anyone, I alone have taken the initiative to re-publish the pamphlet entitled On the Poverty of Student Life, which was [originally] published ten years ago by the situationists.

Some people naively ask, "Why commercially re-publish a text that has the rare merits of being independently distributed in several countries and in several different languages; of finding readers without the least advertising; of occasioning some havoc in the university [system]; and of having yielded nothing financial to anyone so far?" I respond: "Exactly! Why not?"

This text, anonymous and copyright-free, seems to me to be at anyone's disposal. What harm is there in the fact that I'm someone?

In fact, since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, there hasn't been a single publisher who has rendered, in such a short period of time, as many services to the revolutionary cause than I. Miserable people who haven't succeeded in the affairs of either business or the revolution today reproach me -- me, who have never known the boundary between the good fight and good soup -- for enriching myself at the expense of this fight. Can one not know that I have often risked my money to diffuse dangerous ideas? Why can't dangerous ideas sometimes involve the risk of bringing me a little money? Didn't the impostors hide in the shadows the day I produced The Society of the Spectacle[2] and won the privilege of re-publishing Internationale Situationniste[3]?

The disparagment affects me in my trade as a man of the spectcle. I am ashamed for all of the people in my profession who still haven't understood that times have changed since May [19]68 and that radical merchandise, far from sabotaging things, can -- with some risks, it is true -- work to their benefit.

One of my friends, whose judgment I great esteem, because he is J.-P. Belmondo, and Louis de Funes, whose counsel I ordinarily take, have already advised me of the risks and worries of publishing, and have advised me to dwell tranquilly on the Champs-Elysees. Only that's it! Although I am a man of business, I can not let something be revolutionary in a way that is, in truth, difficult to explain, but can not be left to be veritable, although I have never been successful in making that understood by those with whom I have conferred.

Gone-bad spirits and those who poison everything have still found in my generosity something to endanger my reputation. They say that my claims to be a revolutionary editor are quite far-removed from my reality as an impresario, and that I have only gotten involved in publishing for the same motivations that made me "Mr 10% of the cinema." I say this to them: "History will judge if my interests will one day belong to the [business] affairs of the Revolution."

I certainly find myself in the baleful necessity of constantly making money; but one knows that it is in the unique goal of being useful to a revolution that, to free me from this odious obligation, I will render myself completely.

I know that every quarter-of-an-hour one says in the public of the envious that I do not understand the books that I publish, that I am nothing in what Champ Libre does and that, moreover, I pay my employees very badly. But even the journalists who boycott us do not dare to deny our unquestionable contribution to the science of advertising and the precision of the methods of recuperation. One can surprise people for two days, but it is difficult to dazzle them for a long time: do not believe any of the disparagments made of me; I will go so straight along my path that, if the good revolutionaries do not love me completely, they will at least love me a little.

G. Lebovici[4]
Publisher, producer and impresario

[1] N.B. Sent to the Book-Distribution Company of Champ Libre (Sodis), the attached insert (Concerning the re-edition of "The Poverty") was put into the pamphlet before its delivery to the bookstores. But the services of Sodis warned the publisher, who, naturally, gave the order to remove it. [Trans. We are not sure who authored this note. It certainly was not Gerard Lebovici.]

[2] Trans. Guy Debord's film of his own book, released by Lebovici's Simar Films on 1 May 1974.

[3] Trans. Champ Libre's collection of the complete run of the situationists' journal from 1957 to 1969 was published in 1971.

[4] Trans. An obviously false attribution. Perhaps this was written by Mustapha Khayati.

(Published in Editions Champ Libre, Correspondance, Volume I, Paris: 1978. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! January 2006.)

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