from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
Wednesday, 7 April 1971
Dear Gianfranco,

I’ve received your letter #2 and – just now – letter #3, dated 5 April [1971]. I have also recently received, thanks to a new notice from the post office, the first letter sent by M.[1] As I came to suspect, it remained at the post office.

With respect to the leftists in Italy, thanks for the diagram. Something about which I am no longer very sure: was it Ruffolo[2] who had been denounced by the anarchist prisoners as a “snitch” [“mouton”] in the anarchist journal to which we responded? Or another one of the provocateurs sent to the Italian section? (Who?)

Apropos of Fallisi,[3] he accompanied Ginosa[4] on his (physical) attack on Paolo,[5] which turned out badly for them. All the same, must we suppose that he knows why he was in such solidarity with Ginosa? Ginosa has claimed almost everywhere – exactly like the Chotard of Nantes[6] – that the SI had proposed to him that he join, though he had preferred to wait, and that’s why we were annoyed with him! It was to deny this that they believed it would be useful to attack Paolo.

It is truly extraordinary that they make use of the same trap as December 1969[7] (already quite worn-out back then) to draw you into the same holiday as Valpreda![8] But perhaps it’s now a question of another – more recent – banned demonstration in which you participated, or one in which you did not but “were spotted there.” Can you be represented by an attorney who could say that you are away on a trip and who could get to know the dossier? In any case, for a story that is officially so insignificant [minime], there’s no worry about being judged in absentia for it. By contrast, there is much to fear, when one is present, about being suddenly accused of much worse. In the current police-politics of Italy, one can say that “those who are absent are always right.”

We here think that your current position in Milan will very soon become more and more risky. Wouldn’t it be better to return to Paris?

It would indeed be better to be very prudent. Thus, skiing, one more time![9]

Paolo has sent us a note (De Donato[10] is bankrupt). Paolo now says that he announced to Silva that he will deliver the completed translation[11] (I think that, after receiving clarifications concerning certain terms,[12] he has produced a very scrupulous translation). Silva has decided that the book will appear in two volumes in the fall. Paolo agreed to let us write the preface ourselves, if we want the Silva edition to be an “official” publication of the SI. Thus, he has fortunately abandoned his threatening demands of last year. In fact, we can clearly see that, apart from organization (that is to say, the place in which his dialectics must be practiced without straying into ideology), he has a sufficiently rigorous intellectual honesty.

Thus, here’s what we think: we would prefer that the Silva edition (which is very good in its choice of texts) is not an official publication of the SI for the following reasons:

1) As a general rule, all that concerns “anthologies” of old texts must be made by “men of culture,” not by our own self-contemplation.

2) The old texts include [texts by] Vaneigem, which is just from a “moderate and cold historicist” point of view, but I think that we, as [members of] the SI, can no longer reprint Vaneigem, when [elsewhere] we expose the mendacious character of such texts produced by such an author (and their illusionistic effect on the right of the pro-situs).[13]

3) This is in the line of our recent theses on the SI, which seek to leave more room for the autonomous existence of our theory, beyond our control.

Finally, Paolo can certainly produce a suitable translation – while we have too much delayed work [to do], and Paolo recognizes that, on the essentials, his exclusion [from the SI] was just.

Best wishes,

[1] Mario Masanzanica. [Translator: a friend of Gianfranco Sanguinetti.]

[2] Translator: Raffaele Ruffolo.

[3] Translator: Joe Fallisi, an anarchist in the Ludd group.

[4] Translator: Eddie Ginosa, an anarchist in the Ludd group.

[5] Translator: Paolo Salvadori, a former member of the Italian section of the Situationist International.

[6] Translator: Yves Chotard.

[7] Translator: a reference to the explosion of a bomb at the Piazza Fontana on 12 December 1969.

[8] Translator: The anarchist Pietro Valpreda was accused of being the perpetrator of the attack at the Piazza Fontana. Arrested, he wasn't released until December 1972.

[9] Translator: escape to Switzerland.

[10] Translator: an Italian publishing house.

[11] Translator: a translation of Internationale Situationniste into Italian.

[12] Translator: see letter dated 2 April 1971.

[13] Translator: see the SI’s text on the resignation of Vaneigem.

(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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