from Guy Debord

To Alexander Trocchi
Monday [25 June 1962]
Dear Alex:

Today I sent you a package of 50 copies of the tract[1] that we made for our friend Uwe [Lausen].[2] The “support committee," as you see, is composed of our greatest celebrities.

Might we be able to obtain in England the help of one or two important people in the cultural world?[3] The simplest procedure by which to intervene would be to write a letter of protest to the president of the tribunal. This affair is an interesting example of the general problem that we have already discussed together: how can we obtain an “artistic” and culturally quite solid “cover” before being knocked out by the cops?

Among British personalities, we must especially not count on Roland Penrose[4] since that bastard didn’t want to help you in a very similar affair.[5]

See you soon, amicably,

[1] Declaration of 25 June 1962 concerning the charges against the SI in West Germany (cf. Guy Debord, Oeuvres, Gallimard, 2006, p. 595).

[2] Uwe Lausen, sentenced to three weeks in prison on 5 July 1962. The SI protested by issuing a tract on 16 July 1962. Its title, Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, was a reference to Freud. [Literally “Uneasiness in Culture,” this famous book by Freud is better known in English as Civilization and Its Discontents.]

[3] Alexander Trocchi’s response, dated 2 July: “At this moment I am very isolated here in London […] Moreover, there isn’t much time between the arrival of the tracts and the judgment in Munich.” [This would seem to mean that Trocchi couldn’t do very much with the 50 tracts when he received them.]

[4] Roland Penrose, the inaugurator and organizer of surrealism in England. In 1947, he was one of the founders of the Institute for Contemporary Arts.

[5] Hands Off Alexander Trocchi (cf. Guy Debord, Oeuvres, Galimard, 2006, pp. 534-535). [This tract was the SI’s response to the arrest of Trocchi on charges of drug possession.]

(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! March 2011. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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