Gérard Lebovici to Mara Jerez
Paris, 13 March 1981
Dear Mara,

I would like to thank you for your agreement in principle concerning the project that we spoke about during our most recent conversation.

Keeping in mind your hesitations and reservations about certain lyrics, as well as the impossibility of you being ale to record the songs before the end of April at the earliest, which you told me about, the people whom I represent have decided to abandon the project of recording an album. No one will replace you.

Best to you,
Gérard Lebovici

Maria Jerez to Gérard Lebovici
Geneva, 21 March 1981
Dear Sir,

I was personally relieved to learn that your friends have abandoned the project of recording an album. I believe that it is never in haste that one does good work. The people’s heritage constituted by popular songs often explains the true story better than society’s specialized historians and their variants. This is what caused me to think that Gabriel, Manuelito and José do not mess around with the old popular songs, among others, because they are the veritable history of today, and today the more this touches, the more it strikes, the more it hits . . .[1] and the closer we come to the “truth” that we defend with so much pride and relentlessness.

Today, it is legitimate to respond to fire with fire, with the infernal “music” of the factory, as well as with the crazy aggression of the loud words that are stronger than their damned machines, no?

You insisted on the integrity of the lyrics that you have shown me. But I sought in vain for biting cries, spitting in the faces of the pigs, [and] I hardly discovered even a hint of revolt in them. These days, this isn’t enough. Not enough. I leave vitriol of the second degree to the intellectuals of the Right and the Left, and I assume that Manuelito, Gabriel and José agree with me, because they have proved to me that mankind isn’t dead!

I thank you for having brought to light a certain vocation that, libertarian (or anarchist . . . I don’t know the difference between the two), has always been dormant in me.

I would love it if you would agree (because I have no contacts among them) to deliver to the people (to the friends) imprisoned in Segovia one or two [audio] cassettes that you will receive (with a translation of the lyrics): they aren’t that good technically, but that hardly matters, given the affair that preoccupies us.

To conclude, allow me to say to you that I would have appreciated a means of communication other than a laconic pneumatically sent letter. I didn’t understand much in it: you threw yourself [into this project], just like that, impromptu, with an enthusiasm that was, in my opinion, excessive, totally crazy, totally on fire, quickly, quickly: “I want to help them, one absolutely must help these people who find themselves imprisoned in Segovia,” you said. Until then, I was like you; I was even in agreement, because I also suffer from the illness of the “spontaneous.” Nevertheless, I was less in agreement that you estimated that it would be normal for me to drop everything, quickly, so as to place myself at the disposition of the Gentleman – or the people whom you represent. You must understand that, having my own activities, I cannot let myself drift at will from one to the other, unharmed, and this is the crucial point – unless the demand was part of a political emergency. Therefore, I did not think that this was the case. And if it was – then you had to present it to me as such. Finally, my hesitations or reservations, as well as the necessity of a perfectly normal period of time if we wanted to do good work, do not explain your evasive response.

There it is. All of it. Without rancor.

Please accept my friendly and revolutionary salutations.


P.S. Champ Libre’s Correspondence has informed me of your profound contempt for all forms of opportunism. Agreed: it is a stew that disgusts me as much as dining with French bourgeois (have you remarked how poorly they eat?).

[1] The French here is plus ça tape plus ça frappe, plus ça cogne . . .

Mara Jerez to Gérard Lebovici
Paris, 29 March 1981

Enclosed you will find copies of our different letters.

1) A letter from my pen, addressed to you and reaffirming my positions with respect to our cultural-anarcho-commercial “transaction”!

2) The complaint of the singer Mara[1] – in this case, me.

The senders of this poetry: the “unknowns” of the Pro-Presos[2] Committee of Segovia have made a rhyme of what they think about me with great frankness. I thank them for it; nothing is worse than stifled rancor. The unique problem here is the origin of their inspiration: who, other than you, Dear Sir, knows enough of my little story to act with the dignity of a second-rate gossip?

In case your memory and/or your honesty would be particularly weak at this moment, I allow myself to recall to you the following.

1) I believe that the anarchist ideal (libertarian or autonomous, no matter: the ideal of the exploited, the rebellious in general) was the flowering of the human being (correct me if I am wrong!!). But then explain to me why Paco would be suspect due to his origins (are the Basques in the trashcan of history??). Why is “La Magny” only good for the dykes? I think that these sentiments can only trouble the bourgeois order, but apparently the libertarian label that you attach to your ideas is synonymous with reactionary and obscurantist words!!? – And if the inheritors of Durruti think as you do, then, what a shame!

2) At first verbally, then in writing, I committed myself to sending cassettes of rebellious, if not revolutionary, songs to the prisoners in Segovia. According to the Pro-Presos Committee of Segovia – or its representative – this signified that I judged them: [to be] louts, unknowns, libertarians, what?! (For your guidance or to refine even more the French tone of my “complaint,” I indicate to you here that the word “lout” [voyou] is identified with the word autonomous, not libertarian.)

I hope that – in these circumstances – you will have the decency to send them the recordings as well as copies of our different letters, along with a letter that is addressed to them (I will have the courtesy of translating it into French for you). The entirety will be sent to you in an envelop with their address very soon. In case I cannot rely on your capacities as an intermediary, I will alert you when the material will be sent out, in whatever fashion, all the same.


P.S. Little property owner that I am, I claim the right to choose my camp, that of the little people, that of the plebs who are imprisoned or not. And to assert this choice, I use songs, among other weapons. Perhaps your social status prevents you from understanding that, indeed, “hija de puta o no,”[3] I attempt to express myself “como me sale del coño.”[4] This ending, as beautiful as the preceding one, could serve to restructure my complaint!!!

I withdraw my previous friendly and revolutionary salutations, which I [now] send to people other than you.

[1] A parodic song composed by Guy Debord. See letter to Lebovici dated 11 March 1981.

[2] Presos is the Spanish word for “prisoners.”

[3] Spanish for “daughter of a whore.”

[4] Spanish for “I speak like a cunt.”

Champ Libre to Mara Jerez
13 April 1981

I am responding to your two long letters so that one cannot seriously accuse me – me! – of “evasion.” I only regret that you now demonstrate so much activity and passion about an affair that is over, though you exhibited such an absence of haste when the project was still possible.

Thus I will say to you or, in fact, I will once again say the specific things that you seem to want to forget.

I contacted you to record an album with 20 songs in support of the prisoners in Segovia, as a supplement to the book Appeals from the Prison in Segovia,[1] which I published in November [1980]. I told you that your economic requirements, whatever they might be, would be taken care of by me. After making me wait for your response, you finally accepted in principle, but announced there had to be a delay of at least two months. The discussion had taken a long time to reach that point, and if I perhaps lacked sufficient eloquence to convince you quickly, I certainly didn’t lack patience.

As soon as I had your agreement in principle, accompanied by your inviolable conditions, notably on the question of [recording] dates, I hurried (my time is less precious than yours) to inform the delegates of those who had undertaken to act, in several different ways, to liberate those prisoners. They soon after responded that, ever since the Army had driven Suarez from power, the general conditions for this campaign had changed greatly and would change even more (which I tried to make you understand). And, on the question of the songs, these delegates estimated that a record, and the cassette copies that were still appropriate to distribute at the beginning of April, were somewhat outdated in their content two months later, given the speed of the events, and thus the record risked falling back into the simple appearance of an “artistic” exploitation of a more serious situation. I know these people are quite expert in the judgment of the changes in political-social conditions. And so, when they had reached certain conclusions, there was nothing to object to.

I faithfully reported to them, to clarify as much as possible for them your strange personality and your motivations for what you told me. I insisted on the fact that you preferred, due to a principle that I did not judge, to be paid modestly by means of a barter of technical equipment in exchange for singing at a later date, instead of being paid more richly, in money, and immediately. For my part, I had no objection to the idea that you or other friends of yours would contribute lyrics to the records or even to make two or three [records] on the same theme, etc. Those delegates had no objections either. But they told me that the time had passed, and they no longer wanted the record.[2] They also told me to assure you that no one else could sing in your place. I transmitted this response to you in a few words, by pneumatic letter, since it was clear that there was no longer anything to discuss.

One of them told me that he had met you in 1958 (we are no longer very young and our lives are already marked by all that we have done and have refused to do), and that you had sung a beautiful song that said, “Como la corriente del rio es tu amor.”[3] He added that there was a resemblance to your love of revolution: it had passed and nothing remained of it.

Since you had confirmed this essential conclusion, I refused to enter into a polemic with you concerning the many inconsistencies in your two letters. I will limit myself to mentioning two of them.

This one first, because it is the most comic: whatever your current conceptions or your effective progress on the question of the use of Spanish folkloric music, or old workers’ songs, it is quite extraordinary to see you take such a dogmatic and trenchant position on the subject, while it has been precisely you who have sung these old melodies the best on the sole record that, to my knowledge, you recorded alone.

Second, I cannot accept that you now say that I didn’t communicate to you properly the necessary haste and urgency of the anticipated project. Among the lyrics that I sent you was a song entitled “El pronunciamiento del 29 enero de 1981,”[4] which, if not a “cry,” was at least a warning to the multitude of cowards and imbeciles (not all of whom are Leftist politicians or big or little profiteers playing cultural roles) whom one could convince that Colonel Tejero’s golpe[5] one month later had failed, and that the king still guaranteed the loyalty of the Army, which, in fact had commanded him since 29 January. Did you know this on your own?

Therefore, believe that I am not at all capricious, and that I am not at all responsible for the fact that diverse historical events, like the half-hidden pronunciamiento of the Spanish generals or your tour of Switzerland, modified the conditions for several envisioned projects.

Like you, I received from Madrid the complaint that is dedicated to you with a certain bitter humor. I am persuaded that its authors are without prejudices and completely indifferent to the origins (ethnic? social?) of Mr. Paco Ibanez, the erotic tastes of Madame Magny,[6] or anything else. I believe that they have simply wanted to mock you by ironically attributing to you an incoherent and incongruous discourse, because it was your evasion that seemed incongruous and quite out-of-place to them.

I have transmitted your documents to the people [in Spain] whom I know. As for the authors published by Champ Libre who are still in prison in Segovia, if good sense fails you on the question of carceral censorship, you can send your files directly to José, Gabriel or Manuelito, whose apellidos[7] you know. And if you prefer a less irresponsible means, I believe that you can ask to send them to the “autonomous people” in care of Madame Ana Sanchiz Garrote, attorney at law, Pio XII, 57 bajo, Madrid 16.

Since I no longer have your revolutionary greetings, I will send them to myself.

Gérard Lebovici

[1] Included in this book was Guy Debord’s text To libertarians.

[2] See letter from Debord to Lebovici dated 11 March 1981.

[3] Spanish for “Your love is like the current of a river.”

[4] Written by Guy Debord.

[5] Coup d’etat.

[6] Madame Claude-Edmonde Magny.

[7] Spanish for last names.

(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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