The protest that you've addressed to me entirely and openly rests upon a chain of extravagant hypotheses. One has the greatest difficulty imagining that someone believes that a single one is probable, or even simply possible, but however each of these artitrary assertions appear to have established in your eyes the possibility of the next one, which is from the same barrel, and thus the series takes on a certain figure of coherence. Beyond several oratory subtleties, according to you: 1) I direct Editions Champ Libre in one manner or another; 2) I thus have the imperious duty to publish in any case and under all of their forms the works of revolutionaries of all countries, failing which it would be well-founded to reproach me for harming the revolution, in this case, the Spanish revolution; 3) but I detest you for obscure reasons, probably personal; 4) with the result that I myself have already decided upon, or demanded of others, the rejection of your recent book on Spain or perhaps even all of your future works by Champ Libre, at least.
I would like to say clearly and in few words that all of these unequally offensive but likewise unsupportable hypotheses that you advance nevertheless in a tone of quasi-conviction, in which I do not believe I recognize black humor, are completely false. It is thus necessary that the disappointment of which you complain has another cause.
However, I will not hold myself to a simple denial, which would be completely sufficient in a less irrational epoch. Today, the rich concentration of rumors on the subject, when it is you who are formulating them, and not a Bastid-Ratgeb or a Denevert, unfortunately merits a response that is detailed and also as public as will be necessary. Moreover, you incontestably have the right to receive an explanation concerning the brevity of our personal relations in 1975 (I believe that the simple reasons haven't escaped you), although this is a question without any relation with all the rest.
Beyond the fact that your hypotheses are ridiculously false, I find seriously erroneous the spirit that presides over their montage. You know well that I have no reason to be your enemy personally. But I have many enemies and one has never accused me of censoring them; nor even practicing this pseudo-condescending dissimulation of the position of the adversary that one meets so often in the [various] Leftisms; moreover, I have always considered that the worst, for my enemies, is having their texts read attentively. But do you truly think that your writings are opposed to my ideas? And even if your writings were opposed to my ideas, do you believe that this would embarass me? I also do not understand, but this is a small detail, why you insinuated that I would be deceived about the identity of Manchette. I maintain that Manchette is Jean-Pierre George, and that the facts on which I found my judgment are at least as well-established as those that have recognized another author, who signs his name Franklin.
I can no longer accept the very summary alternative that your letter initially presented, according to which if it turns out that I had nothing to do with the decision to refuse your most recent book ("by extraordinary chance," as you have said it, but it happens that the extraordinary is more or less frequently reality, according to the rigor in the reasoning of those who construct the hypotheses), it would thus be necessary that this was uniquely a caprice by [Gerard] Lebovici. This is not a quite-solid form of argumentation, which consists in presenting the investigation into the cause of such an affair as played "heads" or "tails" between two external elements: the judgment of an unconcerned third-person or the mental alienation of the publisher. Must one not envision at least the possibility that the author also has a decisive role and a certain responsibility? The degree of success of the majority of books is a subject that confronts very varied opinions.
Concerning the problems with Editions Champ Libre, I remark that your letter draws from quite curious arguments mixed in with what you know; what you suspect; what others think but you declare that you do not think; and even what still others can perhaps imagine. Thus I will say very clearly what is, for you and for all others who are interested in this debate.
Concerning several delirious interpretations that you indicated to me (and I know others), I believe that one can principally say that they are one of the many signs of the anguished irreality that our epoch lives, it being certain that so many people who do not know how to read are passionately fond of a publishing house. One naturally more quickly understands the comic hypocrisy of Khayati-Martens-Bastid, these soon-to-be total valets and whores of the most stupifying commercial productions, who favor "pirate editions" that are not sold but are distributed for free, one doesn't know what or where (I have always seen those who pirate my writings sell them and this isn't what I reproach them for! You yourself have your pirates, and you can not fail to make the same observation about them.) Here, it is simple envy that says, "they are too green," but without knowing how to save face, like the fox in the fable, because they are less elegant animals. Elsewhere, there are cretins who want to believe that I wrote the Summary, Migeot's books, and those by Henry and Leger, and perhaps -- why not? -- noise of this kind is also made concerning the Veritable Report, which is less extraordinary: one has always been suspicious of translators, and as one knows that Censor doesn't exist. . . . You, moreover, have a good place at the banquet of the Gods, since there are Portuguese readers who attribute The Social War to Monteiro.
I find it regrettable that the most intelligent individuals seem to cede to themselves a kind of sliding metaphysics in their examinations of the "ambiguous" status of a publishing house, albeit the best. It is necessary to concretely recognize what a publishing house is, and what function it can have, "seeing with a disabused eye" the conditions of its existence and the relations that they imply.
Champ Libre is a publishing house -- existing, obviously, in a market society, although, without doubt, it is less "commercial" (in the sense that one gives this term in intellectual and artistic questions) than all the others, pirate or "official." The very active hostility that this publishing house has encountered everywhere in the milieu of contemporary falsification certainly honors it, and even identifies it in large part with the party of truth. As such, it thus merits approval and defense (but no more, and especially not total approval and defense) by contemporary revolutionaries, even though it has not approved of and supported revolutionaries wherever they might be: this is not its role, which would imply that one recognizes in it a properly contradictory, directorial power, since this authority -- being identical with the function of a totalitarian party, but without having anything of its practical and ideological reality -- would be founded on a kind of divine right. Whatever certain people may say, I am not the Weltgeist seated behind the bottles, and Champ Libre is not my creation. Thus, this can not in any way be the tribunal of the truth and coherence of the direction of Champ Libre's movement. The thing that many refuse to understand, that is, the obviously and precisely political aspects of Champ Libres -- Bakuninist, Korschist, Debordist, etc, which of course cannot become unified and coherent in their theses, and this not because Lebovici, the editor, is a hesitant and uncertain personality, incapable of choosing among these theses, but because he need not do so -- is in fact the least important aspect of the general critical function that Champ Libre (society being what it is at the moment) begins to perform and which is effectively out of proportion with the normally limited importance of publishing houses, especially those with bad distribution. Given the current Stalinization of the world, one can risk making a remote analogy between Champ Libre and certain effects brought about by the actions of Hungarian intellectuals in 1956, although the audience here is, for the moment, more limited.
At the publishing house, which I consider exactly according to the terms of analysis that I have exposed to you, I am neither associated, nor employed. Thus I exercise in it no "co-responsibility," neither general nor particular, having there with respect to whomever it might be -- the owners, the authors or the public -- neither rights, nor duties, nor functions.
In the several intellectual and artistic enterprises for which I have had responsibility, it was total responsibility only, without any control or limitation by anyone else; and I have always signed my name, at the exclusion of all pseudonyms. I have neither the taste, the time, nor the means to be an editor, and I certainly have not purchased Editions Champ Libre in secret. I am not the "literary editor," the acquisitions editor, a reader or a literary agent; moreover, I don't believe that in this domain there exists a single species of employment that can exercise its responsibilities with complete independence; there would always be a Guegan or Vienet, or even a Pauvert or a Bourgois, to deal with. This question is never posed. To Editions Champ Libre, I am nothing other than an author, with exactly the same contract that I had with Buchet. I am so little inclined towards literary mundanities that I find that, up until now -- though I have not committed a crime against anyone -- I haven't even penetrated into the locales of the rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve; I cite this fact because it is uncommon for an author and certainly impossible for a collaborator in publishing.
You retort that perhaps they are others who think or who have pretended to think that I have an effective co-responsibility of this sort -- small or large, it doesn't matter -- which, in reality, can only proceed from the status that I do not have and do not want to have (I refuse both the advantages and the inconveniences). You think that I give the impression of sharing responsibility for Champ Libre by unilaterally and perhaps imprudently adorning it with a "prestige" that one generally recognizes in me where matters of subversion are concerned. If this is so, one never risks misleading the idiots who confuse a publishing house with the Paris Commune, or a reprinting of [Balthasar] Gracian with the insurrection of the Anabaptists of Munster; but this doesn't render me the least responsible for what this editor does, for the worst or for the best, because one is only responsible when one has an authority by oneself or a delegation of authority. As far as the influence that I might exert here or there, I am naturally responsible for the original content of what I do or say, but certainly not for the usage that one would like to make of it, in complete freedom, for the best or for the worst, Gianfranco Sanguinetti or Marc Guillaume.
I came to know Editions Champ Libre quite late, in the summer of 1971, because it already had a certain modern and subversive prestige, and because they proposed to me to re-publish [The Society of the] Spectacle against the Masperizer Buchet. I certainly think I've done nothing to lower Champ Libre's subversive value and this is good. I have not been too involved in it, since I have only published one small book. Without doubt, if I had written Le Tapir or Les Irreguliers, no one would reproach me for having increased its subversive prestige.
You have good reason to believe that I have never intervened so as to "refuse" a text, but only positively so as to get one published; and I ask you to continue to believe it, because it remains true. Nevertheless, it is necessary to note that I maintained this [second] type of intervention only in extremely limited circumstances. I have perhaps advised Lebovici on the publication of a dozen texts from the past that I find important. Among contemporary authors, I have only recommended the publication of two books: Censor and The Social War in Portugal. It is useless to add that I do not regret it. It is quite true that neither of these books were refused by some caprice of Lebovici's, and this is quite natural: as I gave this advice freely, if a single one had been badly received, it would obviously have been my right to never again make gifts of this nature. Here is exactly the advantage of not mixing theoretical authority with subjection in the salariat. Moreover, being devoid of all patrimony and all malingerers, I have from my youth estimated that I must be capable of living off of my several other talents, without consenting to negotiate with those on this side of things ("good opportunities," as Vaneigem or Vienet would say, were hardly lacking for me in the twenty years before Champ Libre came into existence).
Concerning the majority of the re-published "classics" -- Clausewitz, Gracian, etc. -- I absolutely do not see what my revolutionary reputation might add to them and still less what they might add to my revolutionary reputation (or even to my not-too-spectacular personal notoriety), since I have kept myself far from consecrating scholarly prefaces to them or adding to them my name as the person responsible for the collection or any other affair. Moreover, I find that all this -- for the happy few who know that I recommended these books (in any case, my name is not used to recommend these books to the public) -- is only testimony to a certain general culture, about which I have never sought to brag, but I do not dream of being embarrassed about it due to Vincennco-cadrist illiteracy. And I do not believe that Champ Libre has dumfounded our contemporaries with a disconcerting display of historical science: rather, I am struck by the idea of finding out how many other editors are ignorant and unfortunate in their choices of incapable people to pay. It is thus necessary to leave to their annihilation those who, against all good sense, claim that everything that Champ Libre has published has my literary (and maybe political) approval. And consequently what is refused can not imply a political condemnation on my part: you will remark that if I found myself placed in the extravagant situation envisioned in the first case, I would be automatically constrained by the "censorship" implied by the second case, as Denevert feigned to believe a long time ago. But fortunately I have neither the one nor the other of these obligations, not being an editor, nor employed in publishing.
But you go further perhaps by speaking of my "historical merits" -- why not my current activities or the quite legitimate interest in my next works? -- which have "allowed me to acquire enough influence on the spirit of an editor," whom you no doubt estimate to be malleable and capricious. I do not believe I can conclude from your letter whether you judge someone to be positively guilty or compromised if he or she speaks to someone known to be an editor, just as one says that those who sup with the Devil must provide themselves with long spoons. In any case, I give no consideration to this opinion or those who feign to take it up. This being clear, I find that it is quite normal that the people who frequent me sometimes have the intelligence to take advantage of people, whether it is a question of theoreticians, editors or workers. But will they be my henchmen for that? I am sure that you do not have a single example that shows that I have ever pursued such goals. One directs men by taking positions [of authority], not by accumulating "historical merits." No doubt I have influenced many people, but I have always found that those on whom I have had the most influence are the people who are the most autonomous and the most capable of acting (with the result that this influence surely does not remain unilateral). At the other extreme of the spectrum, many are content with being able to say that they have seen me.
You have very justly recognized my style in the communique on the last border adventure of Sanguinetti and occasionally elsewhere, as in the letter to the Ratgebists signed by Lebovici, which was not written by me under that form, but includes a number of elements for response that I furnished to him. If such people believe themselves able to play on the ignorance of their past and their present, so as to simulate a totally frightening virtue, it is good that they recognize my style at the turning point. It is a style that they never dared to confront when they had more means to do so than they do today. But today one sees this style, and even my phrases, more or less successfully detourned, used in other places and likewise without mentioning me. Those who use them thus will certainly say that what counts is the strength and truth of a formula, which belongs to those who think to make use of it. Should I be the only one in the world not to have the right to write like Debord without risking the demoralization of the proletarians of Barcelona, or without making all of pirate publishing stamp its feet with jealousy?
Lebovici exists; you have met him. It is he who founded and directs Champ Libre, and I truly do not see how it could be someone else. General Joffre, intelligent for once, said that one never knew who won the battle of the Marne, but what was definite was the fact that, if someone had lost, it was him. Thus, it is Lebovici (and not you or I) who bears all the blame for publishing Jean-Paul Charnay and Manz'ie, and for the same reason it is he (and not I) who deserves all the credit for publishing Cieszkowski and Anarcharis Cloots.
We come to your rejected book. You are absolutely wrong to believe that this rejection, if it was vague and cloudy, masks a hidden principle, which would be my pre-existing hostility; such a principle doesn't exist, not in general nor in your particular case. As it is already quite violent to believe such a principle does exist, I suppose that you have not believed that the allegations made by Lebovici were the maladroit recitation of a lesson that I taught him and, consequently, it is not doubtful that I entirely left to him the responsibility (I agree with you that Censor is a "work of combat," but profound and successful); on the other hand, I -- no more than you -- do not judge works by the pound, but everyone isn't Gracian or the author of The Prince, and, moreover, certain subjects do not lend themselves to a small format: Machiavelli also wrote the Discourses on the First Deacde of Titus-Livy.
Having been absent from Paris for a long time, I am unfamiliar with the rejection and your discussions of [possible] corrections. I have only subsequently received a photocoppy of the manuscript, without a word of commentary: no doubt because, quite exceptionally, I announced and recommended your first book. I have made no response and no one has asked me for one. It is thus necessary to admit that Lebovici's rejection arises from his own tastes. Why shouldn't he have them? Wasn't it also an effect (a different one) of his tastes that he took your first work? (except the fragments from the beginning of the manuscript that you yourself read to me, I naturally didn't see the second version until the book was published).
Obviously I have not given "my agreement" to this rejection, for all of the reasons that I have given. The only exact point of your letter on this question in effect says that I have "let this rejection pass." If I found this book to be as excellent as its subject, and later learned that it wasn't published, I certainly would have supported its value (whatever you might imagine I think of you), without nevertheless having the right to impose it. But in the advent of such a possibility, had I given such advice to Lebovici, would he have published it immediately? I have confessed to you that I do not find this book to be excellent. You have read, and even written, better books. Consider it yourself from this angle.
It isn't a question of a basic political disagreement. I approve of the revolutionary intentions of the Spanish proletariat and the authors who approve of it. But this does not immediately give it a sufficient reason to be published as a book. I have said, daring an example by touches me personally, that the value of "The Explosion Point of Ideology in China" (a text too short to be a book) didn't reside in its anti-Maoist radicalism, but in the fact that it revealed for the first time the essentials of what had been happening in China, by giving a coherent explanation, exhaustive in the principal details, of several events that everyone had presented as unexplainable (there is much of this type of merit in The Social War), an explanation that has been confirmed by all that has happened in the last nine years and that was written in a tone of the original epoch.
I add that I obviously find your work on Spain much more revolutionary, and much more interesting, than those that Champ Libre has published on Ireland and Italy, to say nothing of the horrors written about Germany. And, in this sense, a publishing house can not be just, if one compares the authors from different periods that it publishes. Wanting to make progress, it brings to others the prejudices of its too-large initial indulegnce by becoming more exacting with the authors who come later. I suppose that Lebovici would like the books that he publishes, and even the books of each of the authors, to generally make progress over the previous one.
I do not understand why you now think that the publication of the Summary "burns" you with all the useful publishers in Paris. Or, rather, I understand that this book was immensely displeasing -- this was your goal -- but previously you had not made use of publishers, nor did you seek them. And, in the Summary, you said exactly what you wanted to say, and Champ Libre gave you the means, which others would surely have refused to do. Finally, I do not know if the Spanish revolution, at this moment especially, needs a publisher in Paris. Though I recommend it to you less highly than Champ Libre, I communicate to you the address of a publisher of whom I know nothing, but who prepares to publish Spectacle: Castellote Editor, Rios Rosas, 51 - bajo B., Madrid.
Let's finish with the question of our personal relations, which will be much simpler. Here, there are fewer principles to affirm or deny, and there certainly aren't reproaches to be made. For each of us, the use of his time and the recognition of affinities legitimately situate themselves in a Stirnerian field. (We had none of those organizational links that are undone by formal splits.) I am happy that you recall that, during the several months that we met each other quite often, I treated you amicably. It was sincere, and you assuredly merited it, due to your book on Portugal, which was brilliantly written under quite overwhelming conditions of urgency; the firmness of all your positions; the pleasantness of your conversation, etc. After some time, and quite suddenly, a certain ennui appeared to me to constantly dominate the major portion of each of our dialogues. I am persuaded that you had the same impression, because these things dialectically engender themselves quicker than many others. Understand well that I do not at all mean to say that you were boring (you would then be perfectly justified in making the same reproach towards me, extrapolating from the same experiences). I merely affirm that our conversations became gloomy. I believe that people who, together, bore each other are better off not seeing one another, whatever their agreement on a number of questions, and especially without believing oneself obligated to reconcile [edifier] the larger theoretico-practical divergences that are not implicated. As this was not a more serious and more public disagreement, but simply a personal question of the use of time, to say that I don't have the time seems to me to translate the real point well enough. I am much less inclined to try to elucidate or transform the atmosphere of certain relations because, on the one hand, I still have a constant obligation to meet with a number of people and, on the other hand, relative solitude greatly pleases me.
So as to not completely limit this question to what appears to be the sphere of the nebulous caprice -- but whose caprice? -- I will say that I have had the impression that our relations took a bad turn after the evening I brought you to a dinner[-party] of young workers, almost all of them unemployed. I was surprised by the great severity of your judgment of those people, which you issued on the way out of their place, especially given the fact that, according to your own accounts and conclusions, so many sad pro-situs have successively surrounded you that you now occasionally need some time to see right through them and reject them. (But perhaps, as Champ Libre seems to do elsewhere, too much inaugural patience risks recouping itself as arguable demands later on?) Given this cutting judgment [of the young unemployed proletarians], of which I said to you then that I did not approve, but that it didn't appear to me to merit the least effort to make you come back, it would even be quite normal for you to hold me responsible for that evening, since it was obvious that I did not find myself too good to associate with the people whom you deplored. I certainly do not want to exaggerate the meaning of this quite harmless incident, but it is a fact that, afterwards, there was no longer the same sympathy between us. I do not intend to eulogistically affirm the lively interest of these young people, who at least haven't appeared to me -- either this evening or otherwise -- either stupid or unpleasant, no more than I intend to make facile pleasantries about a theoretician of proletarian autonomy who is so unkind about several actual proletarians. One completely has the right to find them negligble. But, nevertheless, who will be the basis for a revolution in Spain, as elsewhere, if not people like them? Now that your most recent letter has provided me with more information, I can critique your tendency, there where you are personally involved, to make judgments that are quite disproportionate to the facts and the people.
Thus, here is my remoteness from every angle and it isn't much. And, if by chance you feared that I had not suspiciously imagined it myself or that I had left it to be reported by a bearer of calumny, I do not know which is worse, [and] I declare to you quite willingly that there was nothing worse.
Concerning my letter to the Portugeuse, it is true that you haven't received the second circulation; and still others only came to know it a long time after you did. As you have seen, it is a text that concerns me personally, infinitely more than it concerns the Portuguese revolution, that is, according to the ranking of the grandeur of the problems that these unhappy Portugeuse have, alas, chosen for themselves. At first I sent it to those who were in Lisbon. A few days later, the counter-coup that I feared was launched in the easiest and most disastrous manner; and so the usefulness of several bits of information have unfortunately long-since lost their freshness. I will add that the only man who, abroad [outside of Portugal], has publically taken up the defense of the truth of the Portugeuse revolution -- this man, according to me, must analyze the defeat (by explaining the very instructive mechanism and by showing the same responsible people in another stage of their action, in November 1975), instead of minimizing it in passing, with the greatest optimism, as if it was a slight unevenness in the distance to be covered; and especially in another book, one dedicated to the Iberian revolution, during its second major battle. Whatever Lebovici thought of your most recent book, this point (made from afar) is its most serious fault.Salud.
 See Semprun's letter to Debord dated 17 December 1976.
 Bastid is Jean-Pierre Bastid, a writer for the cinema.
 Denevert is Daniel Denevert, whose assemblage of the "orientation debate" of the Situationist International was also refused by Champ Libre.
 Jean-Patrick Manchette, a writer of detective stories.
 After trying (unsuccessfully) to join the SI, Jean-Pierre George wrote "Les situationnistes: instructions pour une prise d'armes" for Le Magazine Litteraire #14 (January 1968).
 Note by Alice Debord: pseudonym for Francois George, unmasked by Jaime Semprun in Summary of Recuperation.
 Mustapha Khayati, Mustapha Martens (one of Khayati's pseudonyms) and Jean-Pierre Bastid.
 Jaime Semprun's Summary of Recuperation, illustrated by a number of examples drawn from recent history was published by Champ Libre in 1975.
 Note by Alice Debord: Other authors publishers by Editions Champ Libre.
 Title of the pamphlet attributed to Censor (Gianfranco Sanguinetti).
 The Social War in Portugal, by Jaime Semprun.
 Translator of Debord's The Society of the Spectacle into Portugeuse.
 German: "world spirit."
 Gerard Guegan, an editor at Champ Libre; Rene Vienet, an ex-situationist with literary aspirations; Jean-Jacques Pauvert, a famous author; and Christian Bourgois, a publisher.
 The first publisher of The Society of the Spectacle (November 1967).
 Note by Alice Debord: the second of five successive addresses of Editions Champ Libre.
 Marc Guillaume, author of Eloge du desordre (Gallimard, 1978), among other works.
 In the jargon of the situationists, falsified. Inspired by the name of the publisher Francois Maspero, and signifying the falification or amputation of texts.
 Note by Alice Debord: written by Bastid & Martens, and Gerard Guegan, respectively.
 See Debord letter to Lebovici dated 16 April 1972.
 A neologism that designates the proletariat that receives a salary.
 English in original. See William Shakespeare, Henry V: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers." Also used at the end of the film version of The Society of the Spectacle (1973) to signify the situationists.
 Founded in 1969 as an alternative to traditional universities, the Universite de Vincennes was the home of such well-known "post-structuralist" philosophers and sociologists as Michel Serris, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. Debord's dislike of Vincennes theorists was in part a response to their theories, but also to their means of supporting themselves. Michel Foucault "undertook a number of research projects for the Ministere de l'Equipment in the 1970s [...] Many well known sociologists and philosophers participated in research financed by this Ministry, such as Deleuze and Guattari who also undertook contract research [...] Lefebvre points out that recuperation has taken a specific form in the years after 1968 in that technocrats got the critics themselves to work out what would be applicable out of the radical critique. Many Marxists sociologists at this time accepted contracts from State ministries." Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas, translators' introduction to Henri Lefebvre, Writings on Cities (Blackwell, 1996). As for "cadrist," it refers to cadres, business executives.
 See letter from Guy Debord to Gerard Guegan dated 17 November 1972.
 See the Declaration of Editions Champ Libre.
 See letter dated 19 October 1976.
 Debord's "The Explosion Point of Ideology in China" was originally published as an anonymous pamphlet in August 1967; it was reprinted under his name in Internationale Situationniste #11, October 1967. [Note by Alice Debord: reprinted by Gallimard in 2004, along with "The Sick Planet."]
 See letter dated 15 November 1975.
 That is, Jaime Semprun. Note similarities with the closing of Debord's letter to Gianfranco Sanguinetti dated 21 April 1978.
(Published in Editions Champ Libre, Correspondance, Volume I: Paris, October 1978. Reprinted in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2006. Footnotes by the translator, except where noted. A handful of corrections were made in March 2014.)