from Guy Debord

To Ben Morea
December 5, 1967
To Ben Morea and the comrades of Black Mask

We were surprised by your letter of the 27 November. Vaneigem assumed – and so did we all – that Beatrice and Murray [Bookchin] would have told you exactly why Vaneigem refused to meet you in New York.

To start with, Vaneigem was introduced to [Allan] Hoffman (The Totalist) by Beatrice. A few minutes of discussion left no doubt in his mind that there was a mystical shithead if ever there was. He turned out, what’s more, to be a proselyte of an astrological reading of Vaneigem’s writings! The situationists have always refused to have anything whatsoever to do with mystics.

Beatrice presented you, as a close friend and collaborator of The Totalist, and the fact that you had signed a poster with him did nothing to dissipate that impression. And the situationists have always refused to have anything to do with those who collaborate with mystics. We recognize – and have always approved – BM’s[2] disgust with mysticism. What is this collaboration if not the behavior of “a specialist of theory fearful of its practice.”

Moreover, it is very cheap to defend a tactical position by saying that anyone who disagrees is a coward. And such an old-fashioned “argument” doesn’t need [Wilhelm] Reich to back it up.

We shall of course be very glad to hear your explanation of all this, and to know what you intend to do about it.

On a tactical level, you would seem to overemphasising head-on activism as a be-all & end-all. Naturally, we are opposed neither to demonstrations nor to violence.

Until Vaneigem’s visit, there were no situationists in the U.S. Now that there are ([Robert] Chasse & [Tony] Verlaan), they shall react to these problems in the same way as situationists everywhere else.

Further dialogue between us must depend on a written reply to the questions raised above. Please send it to both Paris and London. Paris: Alice Becker etc.; London: Brenda Gravelle, 13, Redcliffe Road, London S W 10.

For the SI,
Guy Debord, Christopher Gray, Mustapha Khayati, Donald Nicholson-Smith[3]

[1] Letter drafted in English. [Note by NOT BORED!: we have not corrected any of the typographical errors in this text.] A summary was sent to J.V. Martin on 22 December 1967.

[2] Note by NOT BORED!: BM = Black Mask, Morea’s group and publication.

[3] Signatures follow the stamp of the Situationist International.

(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. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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