Jean-Francois Labrugère and Philippe Rouyau to Champ Libre
Grenoble, 13 August 1980

We are writing to you to ask you to publish Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s book On Terrorism and the State.

We don’t have the money to produce a corrected second edition and we don’t want to reproduce the first one – this isn’t a question of money – which has too many [typographical] mistakes in it. The version published by Martos (“Le fin mot de l’Histoire”) doesn’t suit us, either.

The second edition would thus need to be entirely recomposed and printed by a shop better equipped than l’Imprimeur de la rue du Loup, in Bordeaux, which did its best with very old equipment.

Of 1,000 copies printed in May, we only have 50 left. An article in the 6 August issue of Le Canard enchainé brings in more than 10 orders a day. And, in September, few copies will remain in the bookstores. We’ve been selling the book for 20 francs PCB. This is too little; we haven’t recouped our production costs. And the bookstores still haven’t paid us.

Could you respond to us quickly? If you agree to publish this book, we will send you the corrected text as fast as possible.

Jean-Francois Labrugère and Philippe Rouyau

Champ Libre to Jean-Francois Labrugère and Philippe Rouyau
12 September 1980

I write to you in response to your letter of 13 August.

I am acquainted with your edition of Sanguinetti’s book, On Terrorism and the State, although you didn’t think it would be useful to send me a copy when it was published.

I think that you have made a praiseworthy effort to make known the truth about a burning question, upon which dangerous illusions are systematically piled. Fortunately, others appear to be following the same path. As for the possibility of republication by Champ Libre, the comforting fact that the text has encountered a certain commercial success (as you have told me) has no importance here. Editions Champ Libre is entirely indifferent to all economic considerations, whether it is a question of gains or losses. And this is very fortunate, given the current centralization of book distribution, the servitude of the newspapers, the indigence of the bookstores, the boycott attempted from all sides, etc.

Although for some time now I have had copies of your edition, Martos’ translation and the original edition, I haven’t sufficient knowledge of Italian to know which one is better; and I don’t find the problem sufficiently important to ask the people in my entourage who do know Italian well to dedicate a moment of their time to it. It is certain that one reads in the 18 August [1980] edition of Libération that Martos’ translation is the better one. But who could believe something that was written in a newspaper published by the one who, ever since the assassination of Baader, is widely referred to – and not without [good] reason – as July-the-Red?[1]

Moreover, I have previously seen the complete manuscript of Remedy for Everything.[2] The part that has since been extracted by the author and translated by you is incontestably the most interesting. I know that Gianfranco Sanguinetti merits esteem for the unique courage he has shown by affirming in Italy a truth that the powers-that-be [des forces] want to hide by every means possible. And I am happy that his words have caused many echoes in France and in many other countries, and will continue to do so in the future.

But in January 1976 I published the first non-Italian edition of [Sanguinetti’s] The Veritable Report,[3] which is an excellent and exemplary book. Naturally I cannot envision publishing a weaker and poorer book by the same author.[4]

Sanguinetti deals with “the theory and practice of terrorism, developed for the first time” and clearly adds that his text permits his readers to “read it here, and only here.” It seems to me that Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s current firmness doesn’t at all authorize his glorious tone on this aspect of the question. I myself published, in February 1979 a little book[5] in which someone already said all of the truths that Sanguinetti published in April of that same year (this work was immediately sent to him and a translation of it appeared in Italy in May [1979].) What’s more, I have photocopies of a correspondence exchanged while [Aldo] Moro was being held, still alive, between Sanguinetti and one of his foreign correspondents.[6] This correspondent put him on guard by exposing the entire truth of the affair, and advised him to reveal it as soon as possible. At the time, Sanguinetti responded by resolutely declaring his skepticism concerning this version of the facts, or he only pretended to be so for reasons that remain obscure to me. When one has lost several months before wanting to admit the obvious, there is something out of place in insisting on one’s avant-gardist originality.

I find, therefore, that, from the point of view of Editions Champ Libre, the useful truths in On Terrorism and the State lack a bit of freshness.

Sincere salutations,
Gerard Lebovici

Enclosed: Your copy of the book in return.
CC: Gianfranco Sanguinetti

[1] Serge July.

[2] See our translation.

[3] See our translation.

[4] Publisher’s note: cf. the appendices.

[5] Guy Debord’s Preface to the Fourth Italian Edition of “The Society of the Spectacle”.

[6] Guy Debord. Cf. the appendices.

(Published in Editions Champ Libre, Correspondance, Vol. 2, Editions Champ Libre, Paris, 1981. Translated from the French and footnoted, except where noted, by NOT BORED! August 2012.)

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