Isidore Isou to Champ Libre
Paris, 19 November 1979

You have found ridiculous the Creators’ Prize awarded by my friends and I to Ecrits by Erie Satie,[1] of which you are the publisher, but the prize was awarded to the writings of Erik Satie, whom you incarnate no more than Hitler or Goebbels incarnated German culture from Goethe to Nietzsche, of which they believed themselves to be the representatives, and this despite your attempt to act in a neo-Nazi fashion in the place of the great avant-garde composer of modern music.

At the same time, I am sending you a text dedicated to the liquidation of a reactionary movement engendered by an ex-Lettrist of whom you are the publisher and whose temporarily successful turpitudes have been attacked by my articles since July-August-December 1959.

If the work by or about this tendency still interests the public, and if you believe that one should not censor opposed conceptions, but should help them express themselves, my desire would be to bring together the entirety of my essays and tracts, printed or still unpublished, about this group, written over the course of 20 years, in a volume to be entitled Critique de l’Internationale Situationniste, and to have it published by you, [and] if not, [then] by someone else at another time. The enclosed article is thus only a part of the aforementioned volume, which would naturally be more consequential. If you are interested in the idea of publishing a collection of studies and responses dedicated to the movement supported by your collaborators, please be kind enough to inform me by a letter to my address.

Hoping for a response to my proposal concerning the publication of the entirety of texts and tracts entitled Critique de l’Internationale Situationniste, I am

Sincerely yours,
Isidore Isou

[1] See exchange of letters with Ornella Volta, published in Champ Libre’s Correspondence, Volume 1.

Champ Libre to Isidore Isou
5 December 1979

I can understand your bitterness if you have combatted the ideas of Guy Debord, without any kind of success, ever since July 1959. Neither your efforts nor those of many other people have been able to stop the course of his triumphs or obscure his obvious glory.

In the case of the others, one immediately understands their failure, since they have only ever been failures who are motivated by the most obvious and comic envy. But you, Sir, are armed with a System of Creation that, if I’m not mistaken, goes back to 1946. That’s the center of the problem. In a quarter-century, this System truly hasn’t marked the history of the world, since all of its force and coherence have only been able to convince around 10 people, and the majority of them for a very short period of time, and yet you yourself will admit that several have had serious reservations about it and haven’t hidden the fact that they have had different goals!

And if your System is without interest, all your opinions, which I want to believe legitimately derive from your System, are without value.

It is thus that I (expressing two or three opinions about you) have several reasons to estimate that what you have presented for more than twenty years as “temporarily successful turpitudes” – I mean the universal enthusiasm and the innumerable praises through which critique and the public have welcomed Debord everywhere – do not go as far as it seems they should on the properly “commercial” level. I also do not believe that Debord is a neo-Nazi comparable to Himmler or that one can detect any attempt by me to act in a neo-Nazi fashion, and I even think that, with respect to such judgments, one could speak of dementia, that is, if such accusations didn’t come from you.

The great difference in your [respective] destinies over the course of the last 20 years is that, from all the evidence, you think about Debord more than he thinks about you. But, finally, if one day he wishes to speak about you (I would publish it), you would not be completely forgotten about in the future.

Nevertheless, I find it abnormal that you come to solicit me, his publisher, who is also fortunate enough to be his producer – even if only for his last three films – to publish your heated anti-Debordist curses in the name of antediluvian dogmas. You should address yourself to your customary publisher, Mr. Gallimard, who appears to merit you. Then you can award your famous “Creators’ Prize” to your own work, to general satisfaction and without getting me mixed up in it.

Quite sincerely,
Gérard Lebovici

P.S. Enclosed is your text.

(Published in Editions Champ Libre, Correspondance, Vol. 2, Editions Champ Libre, Paris, 1981. Translated from the French and footnoted by NOT BORED! August 2012.)

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