De Donato's Fakes

We have already denounced the two shameful editions of situationist texts placed surreptiously on the market by the publisher De Donato. He never received the copyrights[1] from Buchet-Chastel for The Society of the Spectacle, but, even more serious, he did not hesitate to publish Basic Banalities with an indication that it was the "exclusive property" of the SI, when it was no such thing. By this action, he did not simply allow himself to present himself as the "exclusive publisher" of these texts in Italy, but also gave himself the appearance of having negotiated their publication with us! But it is in the treatment to which they subjected these texts, which were completely disfigured,[2] that those responsible have exaggerated and will be deprived of all rights for the past, present and future. If these "translators" deliberately deformed these texts, the introductions to them lie and those who wrote them are aware of their lies. It is not a merely a matter here of a particularly serious swindle, which does not even respect the commercial rules for this type of enterprise; we believe that, among all the hostile actions taken by dangerous little mystifiers, this one is the most cunning that such a semi-respectable operation with respect to us (essentially falsifying) can be. The SI has often found itself in a position of having the duty to defend itself from mediocre distortions of its positions, always effectuated in one manner or another in the conscious search for a second-hand success, but it has never happened that it was used for a degradation to the lowest level of spectacular commercialization by an "opposition" for which we will only reserve violence. If this was possible twice in Italy, it will be more difficult now.

These are not only indispensable precisions, but a warning to the merchants of fake information. For them, words are not enough. Valerio Fantinel and the other scoundrel, the author of those introductions: they know it well. If they heard that the "situationist movement" was dead and buried long ago, if they hoped that it was at least sufficiently faraway and could not reach them, they had to personally experience the reality of these chimeras. In May [1969], several days after the publication of Basic Banalities, three situationists assaulted them and dissuaded them from continuing to be preoccupied with the SI. The few words that the two people had the courage to pronounce sufficed to accumulate their lies, which they believed they could offer in the guise of explanations. Changing lies as soon as they had to admit their inconsistencies, they even naively hazarded to affirm that they had received a letter from the authors. But all of their arrogance, which made them imagine that they could treat the matter with frivolity and thereby have the air of saving "face," collapsed all at once into indignation as soon as one of us grabbed them by the collar. These incorrigible individuals, who had not lacked arrogance previously, in reality supported everything, including having their faces spat in twice. Without any doubt, this gave them something to think about.

In any case, they cannot hope to classify that event as an unfortunate episode. We publish here the translation [into French] of the letter sent to De Donato [in Italian] on 5 June [1969]:[3]

The Situationist International
To the publisher De Donato


Given that three Italian situationists, who are co-signatories of this letter, roughed up, in your offices on 24 May, the two eunuchs -- castrated on the intellectual plane as well as elsewhere -- who serve you as translators and makers of introductions (Fantinel and another), you must know that the attention of the Situationist International is henceforth upon your editorial activities in Italy.

Last year, you published The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord in an infected translation. You relapsed with [the publication of] a pseudo-book attributed to a certain Vaneigam, in which one recognized, despite the rain of mistranslations that fell from every page, the text "Basic Banalities" and two other articles by Raoul Vaneigem.

Still more serious, if that is possible, than this infamous translation -- which we believe was made with your dick, if we can be persuaded that you do not lack one -- is the fact that you claim to have taken the copyrights from the SI and reserved them for yourself in Italy. Despite the lie repeated by one of your cowardly employees on 24 May, you know quite well that you have neither asked for nor obtained any sort of copyright from the SI. Moreover, the texts published in I.S. [Internationale Situationniste] are explicitly presented as free from all copyright (concerning this point, we leave to the side the problem of your relations with the publisher Buchet-Chastel). But the fact that we allow the free reproduction of the texts published by the SI does not mean that a dog of a merchant can hope to compromise us by publishing a caricature of our writings. Moreover, your introductory notes concentrate in just a few lines a great number of false novelties and calumnies. Debord is not an "ex-communist." The SI was founded in Italy in 1957, but not in Turin and especially not at the time of an exhibition. We renounce the enumeration of other falsifications (ideology, philosopher . . . ) because you are as much a cunt as Fantinel and thus incapable of understanding what we say.

You are quite a whore, De Donato. But do you believe that you can continue your falsifications with impunity? You better not. What do you think makes you forget? Do you have the intention of leaving on sale the crude fake attributed to Raoul "Vaneigam"? How do you propose to rectify the lies already published against the SI by your little faggots?

Be assured that the revolutionary organization in the name of which we speak will not lower itself to bring against you some kind of lawsuit in a court of bourgeois justice. But if you do not step back now, you will experience all the consequences, personally and physically.

Since we know that your employees, of which you have the audacity to use as "translators" of texts, absolutely do not know French, and seeing that it is of the greatest importance that you understand our letter quickly and well, we attach to it an exact Italian translation.

For the French section of the Situationist International,
Debord, Khayati, Sebastiani, Vaneigem, Vienet

For the Italian section of the Situationist International,
Pavan, Salvadori, Sanguinetti

[1] English in original.

[2] See letter from Guy Debord to the Italian section of the SI dated 27 May 1969.

[3] See letter we have seen dated 4 June 1969, not 5 June 1969.

(Published in Internazionale Situazionista: Journal of the Italian Section of the Situationist International, #1 July 1969. Translated from Italian into French by Joel Gayraud and Luc Mercier, Editions Contre-Moule, June 1988. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2007. All footnotes by NOT BORED!)

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