from Guy Debord

To René Riesel
Sunday, 1 August 1971
Dear René,

I understand quite well that you slightly prolonged your vacation: Paris is not very gay at the moment. As I didn’t see you Friday or Saturday, I’d like to believe that you determined that it is the worst of the week-ends[1] to drive, and that we do not need another accident to deplore![2]

I’m leaving here today. I will return around the 20th, perhaps a little earlier, and I will tell you when as soon as I can.

As you guessed from reading my pneumatically sent letter of this past Monday, Gianfranco [Sanguinetti] was expelled [from France] a while ago.[3] An excellent attorney, working a little like a character in an American detective novel, who had over the course of two days telephoned a half-dozen high functionaries of the Prefecture [of police] and the [Ministry of the] Interior, and met with them, had obtained for Gianfranco a delay of 48 hours, even three supplementary days, to present a solution [un recours]. But Marcellin – his chief advisor in his absence during the week-end[4] – completely refused, knowing that G. was a “dangerous international agitator,” as were the delicate[5] theoreticians who slum with him. In sum, the Reason of the State has spoken. To a rare degree, which surprised the attorney as much as the functionaries in question, the gods thus grabbed G. on Tuesday morning and, to prevent him from meeting with his attorney, kept him from view for eight hours and then roughly placed him on board an airplane for Milan, [with] his passport entrusted to the captain until they landed.

Jean-Marc [Loiseau], who was there at the beginning of this affair, can give you the details. All this is quite regrettable, because our collaboration had begun to find the suitable style and frankness. But there are some good aspects: no one since the Italian F.A.[6] has so honored us with their hostility than our Minister of the Interior, a fine connoisseur.

I am hesitant to take the opportunity to immediately publish a tract: the information is good to transmit, but there’s the risk of “acting like Leftists” [“faire gauchiste”], a little tearful in the very form, “democratic,” if not in the content. No doubt it would be better to coldly report the history of the matter in I[nternationale] S[ituationniste] #13, as is our custom. In any case, my doubts do not allow me to resolve the question without having your opinion. In your absence, the choice is silence until issue #13. For this, and more generally – because Marcellin seems decided upon hurting us a little – he could indeed have the idea to seize this brave issue, so [long] awaited. In my opinion, you must preoccupy yourself with getting your Press Federation card as soon as possible.

In the process [of the expulsion], we also lost the key to the P.O. Box, but I think that G. will send it to you very quickly. Meanwhile, you can get the mail without the key.

I think that it will be necessary to warn [J. V.] Martin, who recently sent me some anodyne information, of the expulsion of G., which I’ve done by post card.

Chico[7] passed through to see me before going somewhere (I don’t know where). He asked that you pay the printer Gutenberg “this week” (the one that is coming to an end). He says that this printer has been truly very good but that, perhaps, he has heard much – from you-know-who – that we will never pay him, though he hasn’t wanted to believe it. I believe that you must pay him a certain advance – five thousand francs, perhaps – and announce a mass of texts for September. That would be a generosity that doesn’t cost much and might reassure him.

I’ve again seen [Gérard] Lebovici, who will in principle decide at the end of August if he will reprint the [Van Gennep] collection of I.S. (in fact he doesn’t hide the fact that he wants to, and seeks a printer that will do a good job on the binding: it appears this is rare in France). Without declaring to Van Gennep that we have formally decided on the matter, we must move towards the settlement of our accounts with him. By sending him 15,000 francs – if this is less than the total of what we still owe him – can you make sure that he gives 10,000 of it to Kloosterman?[8] It would also be better to no longer order any more copies for the kiosk until the end of August.

You must have received [news of] the astonishing attack against Jean-Marc[9] by Lotrous and Christian.[10] There’s a quite amusing aspect to this, but what is the least [amusing aspect] is that the reader could easily suppose that Jean-Marc had been our secret agent, attacking on [our] order, on the basis of documents that we had perfidiously transmitted to him (the other hypothesis would be that we do not know him, and that he stole all of it from who-knows-where, but the comparison with Lefebvre[11] supports the first one). No doubt we will see that neither hypothesis is true, but obviously it will be necessary to do it without defending Loiseau in a manner that would in fact deny his autonomy, which is precisely what we’d want to affirm. He’s read to me a draft response that appears to me to be very correct.

Best wishes,

[1] Translator: English in original.

[2] Translator: a reference to the motorcycle accident involving a member of the Italian section of the Situationist International in December 1969.

[3] Translator: see letter dated 30 July 1971.

[4] Translator: English in original.

[5] Translator: the French here, délicats, also means thoughtful, sensitive, fussy, difficult and demanding.

[6] Translation: the Italian Anarchist Federation.

[7] Francisco Alves.

[8] Jaap Kloosterman, of the Institute for Social History in Amsterdam, and the Dutch translator of The Society of the Spectacle.

[9] In the pamphlet Perspectives prolétariennes, Jean-Marc Loiseau had formulated several judgments that Christian Sebastiani believed were directed against him personally.

[10] La Resa dei conti. Lettre ouverte a Perspectives prolétariennes by Pierre Lotrous and Christian Sebastiani, July 1971.

[11] Translator: in 1962, the SI had accused Henri Lefebvre of plagiarizing the group’s “Theses on the Commune.”

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "4": Janvier 1969 - december 1972 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2004. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2012. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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