from Guy Debord

To the Italian section of the SI in Milan
Copy to Mario Perniola in Rome
7 February 1969
Dear comrades:

As soon as I received your letter, I sent you a telegram on the most urgent and worrisome question.

"Coco of Nantes" is in the employ of the police. He came to see us in Brussels[1] in July 1968. After an unfortunate incident of drunkness that occasioned someone's death, the police of Nantes proposed to take care of this affair if he spied upon Comrade Chotard[2] of Nantes, and obviously other revolutionaries. He told us that he had accepted, with the only goal of leaving France. This was already very unpleasant. But then he returned to Nantes and, implicated in another crime, was set free (despite the fact that his first homicide was still not adjudicated). Since then, he strolls about and makes enqueries in several countries. We have immediately found him very suspect and have kept far away from him. We have also spoken of this affair with Chotard and together we have discovered several serious lies in his presentation of diverse facts and worrisome contradictions between the versions of this affair that he has given in Nantes and Brussels.

Immediately cease being associated with him and, if you have already communicated certain addresses to him, immediately advise the people concerned that you've learned that he is considered suspect by the revolutionary group in Nantes and by the SI in France.

I do not understand through whom he obtained your address. Did you tell him?

It would be best not to show him that he has been unmasked (he would immediately become even less prudent in his provocations here or there). If you need a pretext to tell him that you no longer want to see him, here is a sufficient motive (which is valid, of course): upon his return to Nantes, he declared that the situationists -- whom he met for several hours one evening, during which we spoke almost exclusively of the Nantes situation in May-June [1968] -- were only famous theoreticians deprived of all practice and were, to a person, "alienated" by this or that young woman (of whom he naturally knows nothing). I think this will be sufficient.

You have responded very well to the cretins from the ILS [International Link Service].

As for Cristina and Puni,[3] you certainly have good reason to choose the higher level of the group, rather than an abstract comraderie. Obviously, in Paris they appear to be weaker than you are. But we saw them very quickly, and this is a matter for you to judge. The judgment is thus pronounced. It certainly isn't these comrades who have changed: it is the "historic stage" of our activity that has changed, and thus they, without moving, have moved away. It will be necessary to quickly combat people like Alfrej-Galante[4] and all the pseudo-situationist Italian groups. For this you certainly will have great means as soon as the Italian journal [of the SI] comes out. Thus, move quickly to the fore with Mario[5] so as to put this practice on the road. Mario will soon send provisonal "statutes" for the SI that we will discuss for several days and then send back annotated. In any case, no document can definitively be adopted before the next conference of all the SI groups, which we must certainly have this year.

Send me the clipping from Il Giorno. Here, this news was only printed by Le parisien libere.[6]

Concerning the translation,[7] I have written to Raoul [Vaneigem] to say to Gallimard that Sugar must make contact with Gianfranco [Sanguinetti] and the people whom he will designate.[8]

Mario has written to me that Sugar is an acceptable publisher. Make the introduction. It will also be necessary to revise Silva's translations.[9]

Perhaps the most urgent matter is to find a publisher for an Italian translation of Enrages and Situationists [in the Occupations Movement]. It is good that Isaac's book[10] is translated, but much less important.

The Orgosolo stories[11] are very interesting. In general, one has the impression here that the social crisis grows in all of Italy, but is still held in check by the bureaucrats who "release ballast" by organizing day-long strikes.

Cordially yours,

P.S. The French edition of [The Society of the] Spectacle is completed exhausted. Can you get several copies from Einaudi (even those marked P.S.)? I would also like two or three copies of the Italian edition.[12]

[1] Where, at the end of June 1968, the French members of the SI went into exile.

[2] Yvon Chotard.

[3] Cristina Sensenhauser and Puni Cesoni.

[4] Pasquale Alfrej and Guiseppe Galante, sociology students, authors of the tract Boredom is always counter-revolutionary, which abusively carried the signature of the SI.

[5] Mario Perniola.

[6] On 23 January 1969, "the prohibition at the Saint-Louis lyceum of the projection of a film devoted to the events of May [1968]" was at the origin of violent demonstrations in the Latin Quarter, which were followed by a brief occupation of the Sorbonne. Il Giorno spoke of the intervention of commandos situazionisti di Nanterre [situationist commandos from Nanterre].

[7] Of the Treatise on Living [for the Younger Generations].

[8] The publisher Sugar would refuse the conditions imposed on him.

[9] Project for the publication of a collection of SI texts by the Silva publishing house, Milan.

[10] Harold Isaacs, Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution, 1925-1927 (translated [from the English] into French by Rene Vienet).

[11] On 11 November 1968, the population of Orgosolo and several Sardinian communes rose up, provoking a spontaneous strike that paralyzed the [whole] island.

[12] Of The Society of the Spectacle, published by De Donato.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 4, 1969-1972. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French and, where necessary, from the Italian, by NOT BORED! July 2005.)

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