from Guy Debord

To Renaud Burel
20 January 1991

Several inconsistencies[1]

No one was ever interrogated about the manipulations of the R[ed] B[rigades]. Three or four individuals established the fact with certainty and the others swallowed it all. In those six lines,[2] one must especially see that "individual will" designates both the provocateur and individual critique.

What does "the attack against the real powers" mean? Did not the RB want [to make] such an attack? Perhaps they did "disquiet the masters of the world," but to arrive at "rendering their maneuvers derisory" it would be necessary to also vanquish them (the intentions, even the true ones, cannot be taken as identical with the results). Is not critique a real attack, too? It is at least a real protection from attack. Does one want to pretend that "individual" critique is necessarily unreal and in sum harmful to real struggles, which must go to the fore with confidence? Police manipulation is only a particular possible case of general manipulation, quite certainly. And the manipulation of the workers by their union leaders was only another particular case in its time.

An "attack against the real powers" (meaning Mordicus?) is necessarily made from an assemblage of individual wills. But must they only think about the great (powerful) forces of society, forces that "escape" them? But would there not also be particular forces whose action could escape them even better?

One cannot know if the intention of this specialist[3] of "the attack against the real forces" is here to justify the gullibility of the past or to cover adventurous errors to come.


[1] Corrected from the exercise proposed by Guy Debord to Renaud Burel in his letter dated 2 January 1991. [Translator: Debord had written: "in the review that you gave me the other evening [Mordicus, published by Serge Quadruppani], I framed a paragraph in which several contradictions can be discovered. Since I have said that your logic (with respect to a completely unworthy inheritor) appears a little weak to me, I now propose to you an exercise, which you can do together with your friend: what are the manifestly false points in these six short lines and to which intentions could they correspond?" Unfortunately for the readers of Guy Debord Correspondence, Volume VII, January 1987 - November 1994, Renaud Burel's response to Debord's proposal is not included in the volume, thereby making it harder to understand what Debord means in his second letter to Burel.]

[2] Translator's note: making matters worse is the fact that the publisher of Volume VII did not see fit to either reproduce or even summarize these six lines, thereby making it even harder (virtually impossible) to understand what Debord means.

[3] Serge Quadruppani.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! January 2009. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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