from Guy Debord

To Donald Nicholson-Smith
14 December 1967
Dear Don

Since your telephone call, I have received the letter from Murray [Bookchin] and the long document[2] emanating from Tony [Verlaan]-Bruce [Elwell]-[Robert] Chasse in two copies. I suppose that you have read it in London but, as a precaution, I attach a copy of it to this letter.

Before examining the details of the long text in English, I had the impression that there was something just in their reproach according to which, in this affair, we have lacked coherence by putting their breaks into question. Nevertheless, there is perhaps some [over-] dramatization and some other reproaches (with respect to translation or the “bureaucratic” style of our message) that must be rejected.

For me, the situation is already quite clear: Murray is a perfect mystifier and Morea is in fact more of an authoritarian cretin with unsupportable pretensions than a “mystic.” (The difference of perspective between all the Americans and Raoul [Vaneigem] on the central question of the mystic, [Allen] Hoffman, thus expresses something typical . . .).

For me – I suppose for all of us – it is obvious that it is necessary to manifest a total break with Morea and Murray, which furthermore is our conclusion. It is only from this proclaimed break that one can still have a discussion with Chasse. And everyone can see by the style of Chasse’s letter, by seeing the crude fuckery that he engages in each time […][3] exactly the valuable interloctor, for us in America.

Once done, nothing indicates that we can surely be in accord with Chasse and Tony. I believe that the break would be regrettable.[4] But perhaps inevitable, in part due to the current misunderstanding? Chasse and Tony forget that the first aspect of the problem was, for us, finding out in whom we could place our total trust in America (where, after all, someone had opened a post office box in the name of the SI![5]). The past of their relations with us is not so convincing that they could put in doubt the seriousness of the SI, when the SI doubts them or their entourage. We must measure at what point an affective dissatisfaction – with us – drives them. (There is in their letter something like the letter from Theo [Frey] and Mustapha [Khayati] last year, before Don[6] and I went to Strasbourg.)

Naturally, it is now with them alone that we must discuss things, through writing and direct meetings. The first thing is to explain to them:

1) The good reasons for our letter to Morea.[7]

2) Our current conclusions concerning Murray-Morea.

3) To see or find out the real points of dispute between the SI and them [Chasse and Verlaan] – for example, the question of the autonomy of a group in America. We would like to take the discussion to the majority of voices in the current SI. If this “minority” status doesn’t suit them, they should completely cease to publish or reprint texts signed by the SI. At this point, they cannot go backwards. They must make a definitive choice.

Best wishes,

P.S. Call me Wednesday evening.

[1] Handwritten, not typed.

[2] “Chronology of Events,” 10 December 1967. [Translator: the phrase “Chronology of Events” is in English in the original.]

[3] Here two lines are missing from the photocopy made available to us.

[4] Translator: English in original.

[5] Translator: Tony Verlaan.

[6] Translator: note that “Don” is the recipient of this very letter, and so one would have expected the pronoun “you,” instead.

[7] Translator: see letter dated 5 December 1967.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "0": Septembre 1951 - Juillet 1957: Complete des "lettres retrouvees" et d l'index general des noms cites by Librairie Artheme Fayard, October 2010. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! February 2011. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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