from Guy Debord

To the Black and Red group
20 June [19]67

Following your meeting with one of us, we reaffirm that Black and Red wasn't attacked at [Georges] Nataf's store. Your ten copies and every other newspaper in stock were only damaged by accident. And, if a polemic took place between us later on, we conducted it at the serious level that imposes itself when one has a disagreement with a publication put out by militants, whom no one has denied tried to pose certain problems in a serious fashion -- thus, in no way would this kind of humorous method,[1] which was used in this case to once and for all counter the delirium of someone who unfortunately appears to us to be totally irresponsible, be used upon you.

To the extent that one of you evoked your economic loss in the affair, find enclosed a money order for 17 Francs. This sum does not come from poker. Moreover, we are astonished that anarchists pose such conventional questions about the origin of resources of other groups.

We assure you that the members of the three groups that have come to constitute the Anarchist International[2] are not in any way our "disciples," nor do they rank among our "gorillas." We responded to Nataf together because we have been implicated together by the serious and repeated falsifications made by Nataf over the last several weeks. On the other hand, we consider the position on this question taken by these comrades, insofar as they are members of the A.F. [Anarchist Federation], to be the only one that conforms to the dignity of revolutionary militants and, in any case, the only one that permits dialogue with us. But this dialogue does not imply that they have abdicated an independence that, for our part, we desire to see everywhere. In the precise case of these comrades, their independence with respect to the SI is more than obviously proclaimed by the very fact that they are anarchists. (You know that the SI has never seen eye-to-eye with anarchism, although we render tribute to its precise historical merits, and we certainly are not enemies of those who are honorably connected to them.)

It is quite obvious that we want to maintain with you the independence that we approve among the others. A group that periodically finds itself surrounded by unknown people, or people known to be suspect, who are interested in hurting it, who claim to speak in its name and who compromise it according to their bizarre ambitions -- such a group must learn different means of defending itself. The SI is one such group; and we do not doubt that, if Black and Red also finds itself to be such a group, you will understand through practical activity all the aspects of this question.

It is true that we have rejected many people: we have held them incapable of participating in all degrees of our activity. We believe we have said several truths about modern society; and we are sure of having always said the truth about individuals (severely, we admit it). It is easy to understand that it is exactly for this reason that there have been some reactions of keen displeasure and a lot of gossiping about the SI, not only in Strasbourg.

As it is always bad to replace a fundamentally exact critique with an indirect study of superficial gossip, we must emphasize that the note by Comrade Lagant,[3] according to which we ourselves are behind certain idiotic noises that circulate about us, is a completely arbitrary imputation. Comrade Lagant will certainly have the honesty to recognize that, not knowing anything about us directly, he has merely given a personal impression that reveals nothing other than the fact that he considers us to be jokers. This is his right. But this is the only objective fact that one can have on this question.

We assure you that, from our side, we have never judged Black and Red according to the vague noises about the perspectives and means of Fontenis,[4] etc. We content ourselves with knowing your texts and now your direct declarations.

As far as the last point evoked [in your letter], we can only take action on your immediately proclaimed disapproval of our attitude towards Nataf. Because we have not undertaken a discussion on the appropriateness of this detail of our activities:

1) It is obvious that you truly do not know the affair (and it is also obvious that you have reacted without trying to find out).

2) We do not know Black and Red well enough to know if we truly have a basic agreement on what is acceptable and unacceptable; because it is only from this that one could have frank discussions pro or con concerning a particular application.

Good health.

For the SI
[Guy] Debord, [Mustapha] Khayati, [Donald] Nicholson-Smith, [Rene] Vienet

[1] All of the books at the George Nataf bookstore were defaced [tamponnes]. [Translator: cf. "Miseries of the Bookstore," Internationale Situationniste #11, p. 61. Nataf believed himself authorized to "present himself as charged with or likely to be charged with the publication or reprinting of the review I.S., or some other text by the SI."]

[2] The Revolutionary Anarchist Group, the Libertarian Group of Menilmontant and the Anarchist Group of Rennes.

[3] In his editorial for issue 38 of Black and Red.

[4] Georges Fontenis led the Libertarian Communist Federation -- created in 1953 after the collapse of the French Anarchist Federation -- to participate in the legislative elections of 1956, which involved its disappearance and provoked the creation of Black and Red.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 3, 1965-1968. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! September 2005.)

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