from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
7 May 1978
Dear Gerard:

I send you several documents that attached. Above all, there is a notice for Correspondence,[1] which could be placed on the back flap, since the back cover is already filled.[2] I obviously think that Moinet -- who shows in his most recent letter all that he is, persists in being and in signing his name to -- is horrible. But I believe that this description is applicable to all of our correspondents, and that the scorn is quite well dispensed, in the tone as well as in the historical considerations that justify it.

In the exchange of letter that [Jean-Jacques] Raspaud has communicated to me, I find that the German[3] is right, even from the purely literary point of view. But I especially dread the delays that can accumulate in an endless series when one opens such discussions with Raspaud, who is obviously sour and unhappy, in any case perfectly indifferent to the publication, already so delayed, of this book.[4]

Here is my response to Donald,[5] and a letter that I have tried to transmit to Gianfranco [Sanguinetti]. Whatever the immediate results of the Moro affair,[6] the only absolute thing is that one will never expose the real guilty parties, and thus one will have to invent several fake ones, which is unfortunately quite possible.

I have received the film[7] (which is a way of speaking, because -- after several vain negotiations by telephone -- I personally had to go get it at the du Puy station). Thank you for the Djambi.[8] It is far from being as bad as the text of the rules, which is pretentious, obscure and incomplete, if you can believe it. In fact, the game is quite amusing, but [only] for a dozen times perhaps. It is better if one makes it a game of betting, because otherwise there is no real possible strategy on the principal terrain on which one would want to situate it, that is, alliances and reversals of alliances. As long as the only goal of the game is to eliminate all the other players, there exists only one absolute form of success, which cannot be divided in any [other] fashion, with the result that, in this game of deception, one cannot deceive anyone. The rules suffer from a contradiction between the game's totalitarian goal and its representation of struggles of the "advanced liberal-democratic" type.

I read Bolloten[9] with interest. It is not written very well, but it is honest and clear, and many of his citations -- from anarchists as well as Stalinists -- are marvelous.

The Social War[10] quite probably issued the pirate issue of Le Monde [Diplomatique]. These are people who work more than others, in the austere genre; very familiar.

I heard on the radio that, finally, the publishers are putting out more than 20 books for the anniversary of May [1968]. One claims that the two best books are those published by Seuil. [Gerard] Guegan, who is below the worst,[11] has only pleased Poirot-Delpech.[12] The television has thus disappointed him in its turn, as Stalinism seems to have deceived Althusser.[13] From all sides, the intellectuals have reproached him more harshly for having lost an insignificant election than for having repressed twelve revolutions.

I await news from you, and especially with respect to the most urgent matters: Thierry Levy.[14]

Best wishes,

Concerning Champ Libre, one can say that, for the first time ever, a publishing house is stirring up the passions of people who do not know how to read. Passions that are forced to remain distant are generally malevolent. The contemporary spectator appears to perpetually watch for the fugitive occasion to make his opinion known on a great variety of things that he knows nothing about, but in every case he only expresses his dominant emotions: omniform envy, ambition without means, pretension without illusion. Because these are the traits that massively express a system of production that cannot dream of making consumers more successfully than it makes merchandise.

This desperate mediocrity has regularly hastened to say anything at all, so as to resemble the authorities, who [also] say anything at all. This mediocrity systematically forgets the obvious, dogmatizes from the rumors that it has itself invented and blindly talks nonsense about its own falsifications.

So as to dissipate with a single blow all the rumors that surround it, Champ Libre has only to publish without any other commentary the part of its correspondence that assumes a political character. Here is an irreplaceable documentation of the conditions that, fortunately, can no longer be called intellectual life, in an epoch in which all of society decomposes.

Publishing houses are not simply defined by the authors whom they accept or reject, but by the manner in which they accept or reject them. We believe that, until now, no publishing house preoccupied with commercial profitability or concerned with political considerations has ever undertaken its activity in such a revelatory light.

[1] Editions Champ Libre, Correspondence (see text below).

[2] Filled with a page from Le Monde dated 24 February 1976, on which appeared (as an advertisement) the Declaration of "Editions Champ Libre" on the "denial of entry" issued to Gianfranco Sanguinetti, who was turned back from the French border on 11 February 1976.

[3] Hanna Mittelstadt, from Editions Nautilus of Hamburg.

[4] Translator's note: Jean-Jacques Raspaud's translation of Debord's The Society of the Spectacle into German.

[5] Donald Nicholson-Smith. See letter dated 27 April 1978.

[6] Translator's note: see letter dated 21 April 1978.

[7] The copy of The Society of the Spectacle held by Francois Truffaut.

[8] A game of strategy.

[9] Translator's note: The Great Camouflage by Burnett Bolloten (1961), published in French translation in 1977.

[10] In November 1977, after the announcement of the death in prison of Baader and his companions, there appeared a fake issue of Le Monde Diplomatique that was created by the editors of The Social War.

[11] Yes, May (Editions Sagittarius).

[12] Bertrand Poirot-Delpech, critic at the newspaper Le Monde.

[13] Louis Althusser, professor at the Ecole normal superieure, on the rue d'Ulm.

[14] Translator's note: attorney working for Champ Libre.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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