from Guy Debord

To the members of the SI
9 December 1970

Communique from the SI concerning Vaneigem.

Finally obliged to seriously say something precise on what the SI is and what it has to do, Raoul Vaneigem has immediately rejected it in its totality. Up to this point, he had always approved everything.

His 14 November [1970] statement of position has the ultimate and sad merit of expressing very well, and in few words, what was at the center of the crisis that the SI knew in 1969-1970. It is obviously upside-down that Vaneigem passionately envisioned the truth of this crisis, but he demonstrated it exactly and, displayed to this degree, the inversion didn't risk hindering the reading.

Vaneigem qualifies our position as "the last abstraction that can be formulated in, for and in the name of the SI"; and as he never perceived its precedents, he wants to combat this one, at least. Thus, we must speak here of the concrete, the abstraction and he who speaks of abstraction.

Since its origin, the concrete terrain of this crisis has equally been a defense of the concreteness of the activity of the SI and [a defense] of the real conditions in which the SI actually accomplishes this activity. The crisis began when certain situationists glimpsed and began to make known [the fact] that the others had let them surreptiously monopolize the responsibilities to be taken, as well as the greatest part of the operations to be executed: the critique that began concerning this under-participation (quantative and especially qualitative) in the editing of our principal communal publications quickly spread to the more dissimulated under-participation in matters of theory, strategy, meetings and external struggles, and even in current discussions on the simplest decisions that fell upon us. Everywhere there existed a de facto fraction composed of contemplative comrades, systematically approving and never manifesting anything other than the firmest stubbornness in maintaining inactivity. They comported themselves as if they estimated that they had nothing to win, but perhaps something to lose, in supporting a personal opinion or charging themselves with working, by themselves, on any of our specific problems. This position, of which satisfied silence was the principal weapon, also covered itself -- on its days of glory[1] -- with several general and always very euphoric proclamations on the perfect equality realized in the SI, the radical coherence of its dialogue, and the collective and personal grandeur of all of the participants. Up to the end, Vaneigem was the most remarkable representative of this sort of practice.

When several months of discussions and very precise texts had carried the critique of this deficiency to a degree at which none of the implicated individuals could any longer believe -- honestly, without deluding themselves -- that they could still entertain the illusion among their comrades, Vaneigem more than any other found refuge in silence. It was only in learning, on 11 November,[2] that our positions would henceforth be diffused outside of the SI that he immediately estimated that he could no longer remain in it.

Having arrived at this point, Vaneigem made allusion to "more or less skillful and always odious tactical maneouvres" on our part. He obviously will not make anyone believe that it would have been necessary to have a tactic, to be more or less skillful, or to maneouvre in any kind of manner to oblige a comrade -- who for many years has been a member of an organization always affirmed to be egalitarian -- to actually participate in the decisions of this organization and in their execution, or even to quickly avow that he can not and does not want to [participate]. The absence and silence of Vaneigem, or others, can without doubt disguise themselves for long enough using more or less petty maneouvres, but find themselves eliminated quite easily as soon as someone (it doesn't matter who) announces that he no longer wants to support them, whereas the contemplative position must, on its side, agree that it truly wants nothing other in the world than to continue to be supported among us. But Vaneigem used the plural, which evokes a past in which such maneouvres -- "always odious" -- were not aimed at him nor his current imitators. We will not content ourselves with recalling that Vaneigem -- who was never opposed, neither in writing nor at a single meeting, nor even, to our knowledge, in any personal interview with a member of the SI, to any of these so-called "maneouvres," never evoking in any manner their existence or their possibility -- would be inexcusably and miserably an accomplice to them. Naturally, we will go further: before the judgment of all the revolutionaries who already exist today, we formally defy him to immediately designate a single one of these "maneouvring tactics" that he had found out about, and let go, in the SI, during the ten years in which he was a member.

Vaneigem, who feigns to believe that the SI will disappear because his absence must make it withdraw ("would still like to save a group," "to reconstitute the French section"), establishes that he didn't know how to make this group "anything of what (he) wanted it to be." We certainly do not doubt that Vaneigem wanted to make the SI an organization, not only revolutionary, but also of a sublime and perhaps even absolute excellence (cf. Treatise on Living [for the Younger Generations],[3] etc.). Over the years, other comrades have said that the real historical success of the SI did not, all the same, go so far, and especially too often allowed avoidable faults (their existence moreover rendering all the more unfortunate the myth of the admirable perfection of the SI, with which hundreds of stupid external spectators -- and unfortunately several spectators among us -- have gargled). But Vaneigem, in now adopting, post festum, the tone of the disabused leader, who had not "known" how to make this group "anything" of what he would have liked it to be, forgets to pose this crucial question: what has he ever tried to say, or do, by arguing or setting an example, so that the SI became even better or closer to the superior personal tastes that he proclaimed to have? Vaneigem did nothing for such goals; although, meanwhile, the SI didn't remain nothing! Before the evidence of what the SI has done, for any individual who knows how to think, Vaneigem today completely discredits himself by launching so childishly the sullen and burlesque counter-truth of the complete failure of the SI and of himself in particular. Vaneigem has never wanted to recognize a single bit of failure in the action of the SI, precisely because he knew that he was too intimately tied to this bit of failure; and because his real deficiences have constantly appeared to him to call for, as remedies, not their supercession, but simple peremptory affirmations that everything goes for the better. Now that he can no longer continue, the failure of which he must admit the existence is brusquely presented, to the scorn of all probability, as total failure, the absolute nonexistence of our theory and our action in the last ten years. This bad pleasantry judges him.

In this basic buffoonery,[4] the only thing that appears as a particularly pleasant detail is Vaneigem's very sociological-journalistic allusion to the "slight penetration of situationist theory into the worker milieu," and especially his overwhelming discovery -- made in the unexpected light of the Last Judgment of the SI, initiated for him by his departure -- that none of the situationists work in a factory! Because, if Vaneigem had known this sooner, since it appears to have affected him, he would certainly have signaled the problem and some radical solution to it.

In that case, it is necessary to recall that Vaneigem, when he was serious, didn't simply enunciate the admirable goals that he reserved for the SI. The one among us who spoke the most abundantly of himself, his subjectivity, and his "taste for radical pleasure," also had admirable goals for himself. But has he realized them, has he even concretely struggled to realize them? Not at all. For Vaniegem, as for the SI, Vaneigem's programme was only formulated to save himself all of the fatiques and all of the small historical risks of its realization. The goal being total, it was only envisioned in a pure present: it was already here as a whole, insofar as one could believe to make it believed, or it remained quite inaccessible; one never succeded in defining it or in approaching it. The qualititative, as the spirit of table-turning,[5] has made one believe that it is here, but it is necessary to admit that this was only an extended error! Vaneigem finally discovered that the mayonnaise in which he feigned to take pleasure did not taken shape.

In such a metaphysical light, one can certainly expect the pure moment of the Revolution and, in this relaxed expectation, one can amiably let it have the "care of recognizing its own" (but it will nevertheless be necessary that its own know how to recognize this revolution, and, for example, cancel their reservations for their vacations, if by misfortune the two phenomena happen to coincide).[6] Meanwhile, when it concerns questions more immediately close to our consciousness and direct action, such as the SI and Vaneigem in person, if one pretends that all that is wanted is already totally realized, mystique degrades itself into bluff. What one has affirmed to be perfect, one must one day affirm to be totally nonexistent. A joyous discovery, which affected none of the completely extra-historical radicality of Vaneigem. Thus, in recognizing today his total error about the SI, Vaneigem doesn't glimpse that he has already implicitly recognized a total error about himself. He believes he is still in 1961, ten years have passed like a simple dream, this negligible nightmare of history, after which Vaneigem once again finds his project, simply and purely "different," always equal to itself, of "absolutely re-making (his) own coherence." Yet, if the SI still hasn't existed, then Vaneigem still doesn't exist. But one day, perhaps soon? Tomorrow will raise coherence gratis! But since historical justice -- as much as real action in history -- is foreign to Vaneigem's preoccupations, he doesn't do justice to himself.

In the history of the SI, Vaneigem occupied an important and unfortgettable place. In 1961, having joined the theoretico-practical platform constituted in the first years of the SI, he immediately shared and developed the most extreme positions, those that were then the most novel and that went towards the revolutionary coherence of our times. If, at that moment, the SI's contribution to Vaniegem certainly wasn't negligible -- it gave him the occasion, the dialogue, several basic theses and the terrain of activity to become what he wanted and could authentically be, and profoundly radical -- it is also true than Vaneigem made a very remarkable contribution to the SI: he had plenty of intelligence and culture, a great boldness of ideas, and all this dominated by the truest anger towards existing conditions. Vaneigem had genius then, because he knew perfectly to go to the extreme in everything that he knew how to do. And all that he didn't know how to do, he simply had not yet had the occasion to confront personally. He burned to begin. In the years 1961-1964 -- and this is a period that was important for the SI as well as for the ideas of modern revolution -- the SI was strongly marked by Vaneigem, perhaps more so than by any other. In was in this period that he not only wrote the Treatise and other texts that bore his signature in the journal I[nternationale] S[ituationniste] ("Basic Banalities," etc.), but also participated greatly in the [writing of the] anonymous collective texts in issues 6 through 9 of this journal, and [participated] very creatively in all of the discussions of this era. If he forgets all this now, we do not. If today he wants to spit in his own plate, so much the worse, because the revolutionary generation that formed in the subsequent years has already been served from it.

This period, the beginning of the 1960s, saw the general formulation of the most total revolutionary programme. The revolution, of which we announced the return and the new demands, was then totally absent, in truly modern theory as in individuals and groups concretely struggling in the proletariat, using new radical actions and seeking new objectives. A certain generality, a certain abstraction, sometimes even the usage of the tone of the lyrical utterance, were the inevitable products of these precise conditions and even found themselves necessary, justified, excellent. We weren't many at that moment, and Vaneigem was there, knowing and daring to say what we said. We did well.

Quite fortunately, the movement of modern society did not fail to more or less obviously follow the road on which we had engaged it; and at the same time the new revolutionary current, which, corollarily, did not fail to manifest itself, reprised much of our critique, partially armed itself with our theory (which obviously continued to develop and make itself more specific), and even was inspired by certain examples of our practical struggles. It was necessary for us to make more precise analyses, and also to experiment with diverse forms of action then becoming possible. The situationists, with their era, entered into more and more concrete struggles that deepened until 1968, and still more since then. [But] Vaneigem was already no longer there.

"How," he asks himself today, "did what had been passionate in the consciousness of a communal project transform itself into a malaise of being together?" But he is careful not to answer his question, which thus remains purely elegiac. How did pure gold change into base lead? In this case, quite simply because the consciousness of a communal project ceased to exist in a communal practice -- in what became the communal practice of the SI. Certain members lived the practice of the SI, with its difficulties and inconveniences, of which the worst was certainly having to struggle against the [leaden] heaviness introduced into our communal activity by the contemplative and self-admiring tendency of several situationists (cf. "The Questions of Organization for the SI," text from April 1968, reprinted in I.S. #12). On the contrary, Vaneigem only maintained the pure "consciousness" of the abstract generality of this project; and thus, to the extent that this concrete action widened itself, [his was] a consciousness always more obsolete and mendacious, a false consciousness on the so-called terrain of communal historic consciousness, simple bad faith. In these conditions, it was less and less impassionating to meet Vaneigem (and others who never impassionated anyone). It didn't please anyone to go on vainly repeating the same critiques, since become worn out. And, over the years, it was surely still more boring for Vaneigem to meet, in a completely changed style, comrades who, he knew quite well, knew his deficiencies almost as well as he himself knew them. Nevertheless, Vaneigem preferred to continue to figure formally among us, leaning upon the memory of an authentic participation and the always more remote and more abstract promise of a future accomplishment, playing on the quite cold relics of an amicable dialogue, and turning a deaf ear. As the president of Brosses wrote concerning a character of this type: "One can not decide to take up an annoyed side against a colleague, against a very amiable and sweet man who never responds to anything one says to him. The trouble is that sweet spirits are the most stubborn and insensitive of all. They never contest you. But one can not persuade them, nor determine them."

Over the course of the years 1965-1970, the disappearance of Vaneigem manifested itself quantatively (he hardly ever participated in our publications, except for the three short articles that he signed in the last three issues of I.S.[7] and he was often absent from meetings [and when he did attend] he generally kept quiet) and especially qualitatively. His very rare interventions in our debates were stamped by signs of the greatest incapacity to envision concrete historical struggles; pocked with the poorest loopholes concerning the maintainence of any relationship between what one said and what one did, and even with a smiling forgetfulness of dialectical thought. At the VIIth Conference of the SI in 1966, it was necessary to argue for two hours against a strange proposition Vaneigem made: he was certain that our "coherence" would always indicate, "in any debate on a practical action to be taken, after a deep discussion, the only just road to take, unequivocally recognizable from the start." So that, if a minority of situationists, at the end of the discussion, didn't declare themselves to be totally convinced, then they had thus proved that they didn't possess the coherence of the SI or that they had dishonestly hidden goals of sabotage, or at least a dissimulated theoretico-practical opposition. If the other comrades obviously defended the rights and duties of any minority in a revolutionary organization -- with a hundred concrete examples -- and even more simply the rights of reality, it is necessary to recognzie that, later on, Vaneigem never risked contradicting himself on this point by never finding himself, for even ten minutes, in the perilous situation of being in the "minority" on the least question debated by the SI. At the end of 1968, we recognized, against the advice of Vaneigem, the right to constitute tendencies in the SI if need be. Vaneigem glady rallied himself to the majority opinion, but nevertheless indicated that he could not even conceive how a tendency could ever come into existence among us. In the spring of 1970, a tendency formed itself to quickly and clearly resolve a practical conflict,[8] Vaneigem, of course, immediately joined it. It is useless to multiply examples.

This permanent refusal to envision a real historical development, which was the product of his awareness and his acceptance of a relative personal incapacity (which thus increased), was accompanied -- as was normal with Vaniegem -- by an enthusiastic insistence on a caricature of the totality, in the revolution as in the SI, on the magic fusion, one day, of a spontaneity finally liberated (for the masses and for Vaneigem personally) with coherence: in such a wedding of identifications, the vulgar problems of real society and real revolution would be instantaneously abolished even before one had the displeasure of considering them, which is obviously an amiable perspective for the philosophy of history at the end of a banquet. Vaneigem handled the concept of the qualitative by the ton, but resolutely forget what Hegel, in The Science of Logic, called "the most profound and most essential quality," which is contradiction. "In relating to it, actually, identity is only the determination of what is simple and immediate, of what is dead, insofar as contradiction is the source of all movement, of all life. This is only to the extent that a thing includes within itself a contradiction that shows itself to be active and alive." Vaneigem, except at the beginning, didn't love the life of the SI, but loved its dead image, which was a glorious alibi for his mediocre life and a totally abstract hope for the future. Seeing that Vaneigem was quite comfortably accomodated to such a phantom, one understands how he could totally disperse it with a single breath, exactly on 14 November 1970, when it became necessary for him to begin to express his dissatisfaction, because taking the side of satisfied silence was no longer sustainable.

We certainly haven't at all insinuated that Vaneigem had "secret intentions." Our Declaration of 11 November is far from being devoted to Vaneigem alone; and he knows quite well that the American situationists had just addressed to us, in the space of several days, three letters that completely contradicted each other, none of which believed it to be its duty to cite or correct the preceding one, which obliged us, in this case, to formulate the hypothesis of the "hidden aims" of these comrades, because we did not for an instant believe in their mental debility. But the conduct of Vaneigem among us had always been known by all, and was of an incontestable, wretched transparence. The question -- whittled down as time went on -- was whether what, in the SI, had so many times merited critique or laughter would finally be surmounted or would last up until the end. One now knows the answer. Neither Vaneigem, nor any one else, was taken by surprise by a debate of which several texts -- about which no one had ever expressed reservations -- had, over the course of several months, affirmed that the debate was decisive, that its conclusion was urgent, that each member must know that our communal action was entirety at stake. Vaneiegm never had anything to fear from this "critique in good faith that one has so often seen spread itself after the fact [apres coup]."[9] Here, as elsewhere, his irony is ill-advised, because we know well that, in the SI, there have been several cases of sudden and surprising breaks, where the explication of the behavior of an individual has only been given to us after the fact. We know even better that one of the rare exercises of Vaneigem's radicality had always been his approval of the SI's exclusions and his trampling without regret upon individuals who, the night before, he'd not pained himself to critique. And what actually is the meaning of this anti-historical rage against "after the fact" judgments of what has caused the event? Must we not, for example, respond [after the fact] to the impoverishments that Vaneigem accumulated in his text of 14 November? He never breathed a word of them beforehand. Here, we are quite obliged to critique after the fact a precise manifestation of a lack of unawareness that it would been quite reckless to prognosticate in all of its details before Vaneigem's final blast of brilliance.

"The coherence of critique and the critique of incoherence are one and the same movement, condemned to destroying each other and freezing into ideologies the moment that separation introduces itself between the different groups in a federation, between individuals in an organization, and between the theory and practice of a member of this organization" (Vaneigem, in I.S. #11 ). One couldn't say it better; and one could hardly denounce with more impudence, in abstract universality, the very fault from which one suffers, so as to make it believed that, since one has denounced it precisely in general and everywhere, one will be completely exempt from it. Vaneigem wasn't unaware that, in the last analysis, his comrades would not cover an imposture of this kind, even if estimable memories, and the remains of an indulgent friendship founded on them, can delay for some time the conclusion that the least lucidity can impose, at first in all the details and then at the center of the problem. We don't have to pretend to ourselves that we are sure of anything or of anyone. We are only sure of the movement of history, insofar that we know how to recognize it by participating in it; and, without doubt, insofar as each one of us can recognize it in himself and is capable of proving it. In any case, it is obvious that the real and necessary complicity in an enterprise such as the SI isn't founded on a community of defects or on the "communal project" of dazzling from afar a multitude of followers, by the flat and foolish image of our collective splendor: we have always been in complete accord in rejecting these people and denouncing this image, but it is not possible to really accomplish this effort thoroughly when, even in the SI, this attitude of vague and soft effusion, this piety of the SI, exists in fact, without even having the excuse of ignorant distance. One has thus allowed the confortably optimistic notion of the complementarity of the participants, "without other proof," to affirm itself in too exaggerated a manner. Each finds himself and no one loses himself, since several specialties have their place in the sun: the Chamfort of the totality, the loyal drunkard, the thrower of paving stones of excellent intentions, etc.[10] It is here that absence becomes a politics of peaceful co-existence, and approbation becomes a necessity that passes itself off as chance. And it is here that Vaneigem has deceived the most, if not himself -- he has seen other deceptions -- then at least his comrades.

How can the contemplative situationists think -- no matter how true their good will -- to struggle against hierarchical follower-ism that is manifest around the SI, and that we have so strongly rejected and condemned, when they themselves are in fact followers in the SI, but adorned with an abstract and proclaimed intention to egalitarian participation? At this moment, scorn for exterior followers in fact becomes an imaginary confirmation of internal equality. But it is necessary to understand this "followerism" in its real complexity. Neither Vaneigem nor the others have ever been servile approvers of a politics that they have in fact disapproved: it is only Vaneigem's last text that, very unjustly, gives this image of himself. In reality, Vaneigem and the other comrades have always followed the decisions taken in the practice of the SI because they have truly approved them and, we dare say -- as long as revolutionaries more consistent that us, or placed in more favorable conditions than we are, who have comprehended the strategy that we have followed and others that have been possible, haven't perceived our veritable errors -- because they were good for our communal project. Vaneigem, always very firm against our enemies, has, in the last ten years, never done or envisioned doing anything opposed to the radicalism of the declared action of the SI. He has only cooperated very badly in the exercise of this radicalism. Vaneigem seems to have never wanted to face the simple fact that he who speaks so well commits himself to being there a little in a number of analyses and practical struggles, under pain of being radically deceptive. The SI, insofar as it is a half-community, can not discharge the obligation to manifest its violence or real perspectives on diverse, concrete occasions. The distance that Vaneigem had, for a long time, taken with respect to our action dissimulated for him many of the relationships, which in reality were hierarchical, that existed in this action and which his attitude of flight accepted and encouraged. But this same distance was precisely taken so as to not see this reality, instead of aiding the effort to surmount it. After having placed his trust in the SI as the radical guarantee of the personal life that he had accepted, he came to be in the SI as he was in his own life.

Thus, the Treatise on Living is part of a current of agitation of which one has not heard the last, and part of a movement from which its author has departed. He has spoken so as not to be. Nevertheless, the importance of this book does not escape anyone, because (over time) no one, not even Vaniegem, can ecsape its conclusions. As Vaneigem let the old world tread on his feet, the project in which he believed became exorcism, a vulgar sacralization of an everyday routine that, recognizing at every moment the extremely unsatisfying character of what he accepted, had all the more need to construct for itself an independent empire in the clouds of a spectacular radicality.

It is the totality that consoles, alas, and sustains he who has decided to endure everything in every detail, even by affecting to find almost everything to be very good. Apart from his opposition, affirmed once and for all, to the commodity, the State, hierarchy, alienation and survival, Vaneigem is quite obviously someone who is never opposed to anything in the specific life that is made for him, his entourage and his haunts [frequentations] -- including, finally, his haunting of the SI. This strange timidity has prevented him from confronting what displeases him, but obviously not from resenting it sharply. He defends himself by circulating, by dividing his life into several permanent hourly and geographical sectors, between which he is left with a kind of railway freedom. Thus he consoles himself for a certain number of displeasures that he experiences everywhere by committing several miniscule acts of revenge on behalf of his so-often-humiliated radical importance, by engaging in small childish insolences, all likeably covered over with a gentle smile: in making people wait a little, in forgetting several times a very small detail of which he is in charge, in missing several meetings, in making himself, he believes, desired. It is in these things that he slightly compensates for the unhappy awareness of not having truly become Vaneigem, of having constantly withdrawn from adventure and even discomfort, and also from the search for the quality of moments and people; in brief, of not having done what he wants, after having said it so well.

Of the disastrous separation between theory and practice -- which his whole life illustrates, to the point of having rapidly sterilized his capacities as a theoretician -- without doubt nothing could be a more striking example than the following anecdote. On 15 May 1968, Vaneigem, having only arrived the night before, co-signed the circular From the Paris SI to the members of the SI; to comrades who have declared themselves in agreement with our theses, which called for immediate action on the most radical bases of what would become, in the following two or three days, the occupations movement. This circular analyzed the unfolding of the first days of May, said where we were (notably with respect to the Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne), envisioned the imminent possibilities of repression and even the possibility of a "social revolution." The first factory had been occupied the previous day and, at that time, the most imbecilic member of the most backward groupuscule didn't doubt that a very serious social crisis had begun. Nevertheless, Vaneigem, who was much better informed, as soon as he affixed his signature to our circular, boarded a train that very afternoon to return to the location of his Mediterranean vacation, which had long ago been scheduled. Several days later, learning abroad, from the mass media [English in original], of what had continued as foreseen in France, he naturally found it his duty to return, traversing with great difficulty the country, which was on strike, and rejoined us a week after his ridiculous blunder, that is, when the decisive days, during which we could do the most for the movement, had already passed. Therefore, we know well that Vaneigem truly loves revolution, and that it isn't courage that he lacks. We thus can only understand this as the limiting-case of the separation between a rigorous routine of an unskakably orderly everyday life and a real but greatly disarmed passion for revolution.

Now that the alibi of the SI has been withdrawn from Vaneigem, and given that he continues to proudly announce the objective of perfecting his coherence on foot and in cars, alone and "with the greatest number," he must wait for all those who will associate [frequenteront] themselves with him and will not be stupid enough -- which will be a minority, without doubt -- to ask him, at one time or another, how, where, doing what and struggling for which precise perspectives he will henceforth put in play his famous radicality and his remarkable "taste for pleasure." The charming silence that speaks volumes on the mysteries of the SI will no longer suffice; and his responses to these questions will be full of interest.

We have here responded seriously to what clearly no longer exists. This is because we continue to occupy ourselves with the theoretical tasks and the practical conduct of the SI, and because, in this single perspective, all this has importance. It is this change, and our bad humour or our impatience, that has obliged us to settle a state of fact, to break with a certain situationist conservatism that has for too long demonstrated its force of inertia and its pure will for reproduction. We no longer want with us, neither Vaneigem, nor those who still aspire to imitate him, nor other comrades whose participation can almost completely be summarized as a formalist game in the organization, hollow correspondences on trifles "between sections," false nuances and interpretations that are sustained and withdrawn, from one continent to another, and six months later, on simple decisions taken in ten minutes by all those who, being there, have direct experience of the question -- while the participation of these same comrades in our theory and real activity reduces itself to something nearly imperceptible. The revolutionaries who are not members of the SI -- without regally draping themselves in the "quality" of being a situationist -- have done much more to diffuse our theory (and even, several times already, to develop it) than several immobilized "situationists." We will prove once again that we will not play with being the leadership of a new revolutionary current, by breaking as precisely as possible with the derisory myth of the SI, inside as well as outside of it. Today as before, the real activity of the SI pleases us more. And the reality of the revolutionary era in which we have entered is even more our veritable victory.

At the moment, in an out-of-date university style, Vaneigem affects to want to let "the historians" judge the action of which he has taken part. Among other things, he thus has forgotten that "the historians" do not judge, but history, that is to say, those who make it. As long as they haven't been eaten alive (as one of our friends from long ago once said), the professional historians only follow [history]. And so, on this question as on so many others, the historians will only confirm the judgment of the SI.

Guy Debord[11]

[1] The jours de fete might also suggest "birthdays," as in anniversaries of May 1968.

[2] The day that the "11 November 1970" tendency was declared by Guy Debord, Rene Riesel and Rene Vienet.

[3] Known as The Revolution of Everyday Life in English.

[4] The bouffonnerie fondamental carries an echo of the title of Vaneigem classic text, "Basic Banalities."

[5] An allusion to Marx's comments about the commodity in Das Capital:

The form of wood, for instance, is altered if a table is made out of it. Nevertheless, the table continues to be wood, an ordinary, sensuous thing. But as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than if it were to begin dancing [umdrehen] of its own free will.

[6] A reference to Vaneigem's absence from Paris during the first-half of May 1968.

[7] "Some Theoretical Topics that Need to be Dealt With without Academic Debate or Idle Speculation," I.S. 10, March 1966; "Aiming for Practical Truth," I.S. 11, October 1967; and "Notice to the Civilized Concerning Generalized Self-Management," I.S. 12, September 1969.

[8] See the letter addressed by all sections of the SI by Debord, Rothe and Sebastiani, dated 14 February 1970.

[9] Apres coup can also mean "when it is too late."

[10] Raoul Vaneigem, Guy Debord, Patrick Cheval (?), etc.

[11] [Footnote by Alice Debord:] This communique would be co-signed by Rene Vienet.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 4, 1969-1972. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2005. Footnotes by NOT BORED! except where noted.)

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