Pierre Naville to Champ Libre
Paris, 6 June 1978

Some time ago, I had the occasion to see an edition that you made of Le Collectivisme bureaucratique, the book by Bruno Rizzi. This text is only a small part of the entirety of the work that was first published in Paris in 1939. The notes that accompany the text[1] show that the person who did the editing didn’t know Rizzi’s work and had no relationship with him.

It so happens that I first met Rizzi in 1938 and that I continued to know him until his death, last year. I have always thought that it would be very necessary and important to publish here [in France] his works on bureaucratic collectivism and feudal economies in a much more complete fashion. I possess all the works printed by Rizzi himself in Italian, as well as unpublished works he left. I estimate that one could draw two interesting volumes from them and that they would find a public in France, because his ideas have often been taken up without one knowing them directly.

I write to you to know if you might undertake such an edition. I have been in touch with Editions Sugar in Rome, which reprinted part of these works, and it seems to me that one could work out acceptable conditions with them.

If this seems possible to you, I would be prepared to speak with you.

My best wishes,
Pierre Naville

[1] Guy Debord, perhaps. See letter dated 29 September 1976.

Champ Libre to Pierre Naville
8 August 1978

I respond today to your letter of 6 June, which you sent to our old address.

I’m not too surprised that you know the complete works of Bruno Rizzi. Everyone knows quite well that, for more than 50 years, you have known people who were better than you, without this ever giving you the occasion to make the least progress in intelligence or even only in dignity.

It is much stranger that, while we had forgotten about your existence, you come to boast to me, the one who finally reprinted it after so long.

Naville, how can you – ephemeral editor of La Révolution surréaliste, justly thrown out by André Breton, then a naïve lieutenant to a ridiculed and happy former statesman, then a Leftist intellectual, then a sociologist, then nothing – still have the wind to boast to us of your status as old censor of the truth?

When one thinks of those who have had the baseness to hide Rizzi, one comes up with the names of people who are a little less insignificant than you, those of Lefort and Castoriadis,[1] for example.

You now avow that you’ve always known Rizzi. Do you speak of him? Do you quote him in [any of] your many empty books and flat articles? Do you mention him to those who “research” you direct? Over the course of the last 40 years, why haven’t you gotten him published by one of the publishers who have accepted your own books? And, if these publishers hold you in such contempt that they have refused your single good proposition to them, couldn’t you have used your small savings to print a text that is so short and [yet] so important in the history of the struggles of the century?

And it is for Champ Libre that you try to play the roles of specialist and professor!

Go elsewhere, Naville, since it isn’t shame that you will die of.

Gérard Lebovici

[1] Claude Lefort and Cornelius Castoriadis, both former members of Socialisme ou Barbarie. Unlike Lefort and Castoriadis, Naville remained a committed member of the French Socialist Party.

Pierre Naville to Champ Libre
Paris, 11 September 1978

After a delay, I respond to your letter of 8 August.

I have determined that you don’t know Rizzi or what has been written about Rizzi any better today than you did yesterday.

In any case, I have determined that your publishing house has expressly refused to prepare a suitable and complete edition of the works of Rizzi, which is regrettable.

Pierre Naville

(Published in Editions Champ Libre, Correspondance, Vol. 1, Editions Champ Libre, Paris, 1978. Translated from the French and footnoted by NOT BORED! June 2012.)

To Contact NOT BORED!