Champ Libre to Enzo Nizza (Editions La Pietra)
6 December 1978

Our friends in Italy inform us of a little rumor that your publishing house intends to publish an Italian translation of the journal Internationale Situationniste. We hope that this project hasn’t been envisioned by one of your employees, [who is] dangerously irresponsible, and that you yourself have never thought about it seriously. In any case, you will not think about it at all henceforth.

In fact, ever since 1975, Editions Champ Libre has possessed the rights to the complete reprint of this journal, and we would never grants those rights to a publisher like you, who has been and continues to be close to Stalinism.

In 1971, Mr. Feltrinelli – who was more famous than you in the same line – asked to publish a translation of that journal, and he was refused for the same reasons. He insisted quite strenuously and, finally, he wasn’t able to.[1]

Do not believe that your recent publication of a short masperized[2] collection of the SI’s documents, which Mr. Viénet signed in 1968,[3] gives you the opportunity to feign to be in contact with people who are more serious than you. Mr. Viénet is free to participate in dialogues with the Stalinists that you’ve brought together: this clown is scorned by everyone here [in France], and for several years.[4] But your efforts at recuperation must limit themselves to that stale bit of merchandise.

We wish that you take good note of the inanity of a project to which we are opposed and will continue to be opposed in the firmest manner.

Gérard Lebovici

Enclosed: pages 110 and 111 of a book that Editions Champ Libre published in 1972.[5]

[1] Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (1926 – 1972) was an Italian publisher of Stalinist sympathies. For more information on his interest in publishing the situationists, see Letters concerning an Italian translation of situationist texts. He supposedly died trying to blow up a high-voltage power-line pylon.

[2] A neologism created from the name of a French publishing house, Editions Maspero, that was notorious for publishing expurgated versions of important texts.

[3] Enragés et situationnistes dans le mouvement des occupations (Paris: Gallimard, 1968).

[4] He was fired from Champ Libre in early 1973.

[5] La Véritable Scission dans L'Internationale: Circulaire Publique de L' Internationale Situationniste.

Enzo Nizza (Editions La Pietra) to Gérard Lebovici[1]
Milan, 19 December 1978
Dear Sir,

I have received your letter of 6 December.

I am surprised that a publishing house as serious and as generally well informed as yours doesn’t know that an Italian edition of Internationale Situationniste can already be found, here and there, in the best Italian bookstores. Obviously its distribution is semi-clandestine, because our government doesn’t permit the free circulation of a book as dangerously revolutionary as that one. I’m sending you a copy of it under separate cover, and I only hope that it will not be seized at the border. How is the distribution in France? I suppose that, given the current economic crisis, your profits have dropped somewhat. But this will pass. . . .

Enzo Nizza

[1] The Italian original appears at the end of this letter in the volume being translated here.

Champ Libre to Enzo Nizza (Editions La Pietra)
15 January 1979

Your imbecilic pleasantries leave us indifferent. It hardly matters to us that pirates publish little things. We have said to you that you don’t have the rights.

Remember it!

Gérard Lebovici

Paolo Salvadori to Gianni-Emilio Simonetti[1]
5 February 1979

I know that you are a stupid creature and, among all the “pro-situs,” the most notorious imbecile in Italy or the most mystified cretin, with a head given over to all the prostitutions. I have learned that a well-known whorehouse, which wants to get publicity as a “meeting place” for professional anti-situationists, and where you hang out (as everyone knows), has conceived the idea of applying itself to an Italian edition – surely falsified and inevitably improper – of the journal Internationale Situationniste and that these people would be assured of your services [as translator] to fill out the aberration.

One would say that you are naïve, as well.

In truth, if one didn’t already know your desperate opportunism, one might refuse to believe that you’ve been able to have the unpardonable thoughtlessness to agree to collaborate, not to mention propose your own involvement, in such an imprudent operation. “The painter-philosopher who, from situationism, truly knows all that can be known,” and who discreetly made this known in the 1 June 1975 issue of L’Espresso must also know that this project would be beyond his means. In saying this, I don’t mean that, under the circumstances, you wouldn’t be capable of showing us all that one should not do with a text, and this is especially so because I count on not seeing you do it. But it is definite that the pretentious and malevolent illiteracy that is your your trademark, and the fact that you flail around in the poverty of all the vain attempts to re-cretinize the youth and commercially exploit our party, leave no doubt about the quality of the results that one could expect. Furthermore, the real question is elsewhere.

You shithead: you cannot be ignorant of how much we scorn you; and your associates, Galante and Alferi, have been personally informed of this since 1969.[2] Thus you cannot ignore the fact that we don’t want such an edition.

I am sure that you would like to meet with me, which is as extremely improbable as that thing that we don’t want to appear.

Nevertheless, to dissipate any misunderstanding to which you might be exposed, and to help you not fall into an error that would be so greatly unfortunate because of the displeasure that it would occasion, I would like to draw your attention to the personal risk that you would run due to the sole fact that this public rumor designates you as the possible translator of the hypothetical edition, while so many honorable people are ready to clarify the concept with all the arguments at hand.

Because if this affair doesn’t remain here; if you only see in the anti-copyright[3] notice concerning the original texts one of the “absences of prejudice” that serve your mercantile interests so well, without seeing that this notice only broke with the miserable conditions of literary property with the goal of establishing responsibility for the use of theory; if, in short, you must insist on believing that the SI dissolved so that you, new philosopher (in the company of other champions of neo-thinking), can claim to “surpass” it at clearance-sale prices and make money on the deal – well! In that case, I believe that without another word you need tangible proof of the reality of these [situationist] ghosts, which for some time have desired to make you feel their vivid dissatisfaction.

Unfortunately for your repose, the response that the manager of the house in question, Enzo Nizza, has been able to give has not only revealed that little rascal (as much by the indecency of the tone as by the content), but has also revealed his difficulty in denying the existence of a project that he doesn’t dare hide and that would be – yes, for him as well – quite unhealthy to support. Sending you a copy of his response, I also enclose a pair of letters that concern you and that, since they concern you, could figure as little things in your archives of “the history of the movement in Italy,” which was announced in the 25 May 1978 issue of Panorama, and thus you know that I am not the only one to have supposed that your archives wouldn’t be sufficient to conclude such a project – which, in the final analysis, only proves that they are even more profoundly equivocal than they already appear.

No doubt there was nothing accidental about the meeting between a vulgar falsifier playing the role of publisher – who, one tells me, has been recently “de-Stalinized,” of course, so as to figure better in “the discovery of the negative” – and a sophisticated ignoramus, who is avid to be a certified specialist in the job of translator – who has come to offer his poor head, which no longer knows where to go to seek profits, to a [political] party, Stalinist, naturally. It is you who declare that, by doing this, you want to perform a “Dadaist act.” What awaits you, without leaving anything to chance, is “the simplest surrealist act.”

A thing done has an end.[4] Put yourself in order.

Paolo Salvadori

[1] The Italian original appears at the end of this letter in the volume being translated here.

[2] Cf. Touched by enemy hands, the gold of the International turns to coal, Internazionale situazionista #1, July 1969.

[3] English in original.

[4] Cosa fatta, capo ha, a remark attributed to Mosca de'Lamberti (1215).

Telegram response by Gianni-Emilio Simonetti to Paolo Salvadori[1]

Rumors that present me as promoter and translator journal in question for Enzo Nizza or for others are absolutely lacking foundation. Letter follows.


[1] The Italian original appears at the end of this letter in the volume being translated here.

Gianni-Emilio Simonetti to Paolo Salvadori[1]
21 February 1979

This isn’t the first time that I’ve been threatened with death and it probably won’t be the last. He who is a connoisseur of the history of intolerance can already perceive in my family name the mark of those who, for centuries, live “disgraced by fortune and the eyes of men.”[2]

That said, I’ve never had the intention (or the opportunity), nor will I in the future, of translating, having translated, publishing or having published in Italy or elsewhere a collection of the journal Internationale Situationniste. If someone claims the contrary he is lying! If Enzo Nizza has claimed this, then he lied! For my part, I had a few meetings with Nizza in 1977 and 1978, but to date I haven’t had any work, planned work or [even] simple consultation with his publishing house. Even less have I associated with him [personally].

I don’t believe I’ve ever had the occasion to know you. This letter [from you] confirms for me how useless this would be in the future. Yet there remains the fact that I cannot evaluate with suitable attention your manner of giving body and credit to rumors that a simple telephone call (even by a proxy) would have instantly dissipated.

Gianni-Emilio Simonetti

[1] The Italian original appears at the end of this letter in the volume being translated here.

[2] The Simonetti family can trace its noble roots back to the 12th century. The quote comes from William Shakespeare’s 29d sonnet.

Paolo Salvadori to Gianni-Emilio Simonetti[1]
25 February 1979

You’ve fallen far to simulate virtuous surprise when one speaks of copyright infringements in publishing and to suppose that lies were told by the person whom you hope will employ you, while the sole fact that you show neither embarrassment nor shame indicates that you are a Stalinist.

And [you are one], philosopher, from the moment that you can say that you are threatened by becoming what you are, without having the slightest idea that this is the equivalent of confirming the reason for it, or confirming that, for you, you bastard, this doesn’t seem to be an excellent reason. And yet who can say that only I had foreseen it, since you confirm to me how much such a prediction is in the process of spreading?

You are right to be worried and to send a telegram in advance of the type of denial contained in your letter, which contains more contradictions and stupidities than words.

Therefore, leave your intentions where they are, and understand this well: you are finished manipulating revolutionary texts and even post cards.

I understand quite well that you would not recognize me [if you saw me].

Paolo Salvadori

[1] The Italian original appears at the end of this letter in the volume being translated here.

Gianni-Emilio Simonetti to Paolo Salvadori[1]
9 March 1979

Only today have I received your express letter, and I respond to you by return mail. I reassure you of my surprise; I reaffirm my commitment (which doesn’t date from today) to not get mixed up with texts from the I.S. (among other considerations, all the printed materials that I have collected over the years, and that have survived searches [by the police], have been in Amsterdam since 1977), and how much I am a stranger to the politico-editorial decisions of Enzo Nizza. This distance from Nizza dates back almost a year, and has extended to many people who, in the past, I’ve met in Italy and elsewhere.

Certain police actions that I’d considered to be serious, and that I’d come to know by chance, convinced me of the opportuneness of the text on the post card[2] as well as my agreeing to speak with a journalist from L’Espresso. I am in a position to furnish detailed explanations about this (but not in a letter). These questions can be summarized as an attempted pogrom at the European level that, at the time (1975), wanted to lump Left Communists, anarchists and situationists together with the fascists (thus creating “anarcho-fascists”), but so as to proceed to a witch hunt. It turns out that I was mistaken about the tasks, evaluations and effects; one must count in my favor the isolation, hatred and small part of the repression that has effected me personally.

Finally, I didn’t say that “I wouldn’t recognize you,” because I believe in the principle of the “encounter.” I only stated that all this has made it impossible for such an encounter to be anything other than a confrontation (in such case, I would leave all the responsibility to you, for I have a heart condition) and – without reservations or ruses – I regret that.

Gianni-Emilio Simonetti

[1] The Italian original appears at the end of this letter in the volume being translated here.

[2] Not included or quoted in the volume being translated here.

(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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