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potlatch #1

information bulletin of the french section of the lettrist international

22 June 1954

Translated by Gerardo Denís and Reuben Keehan

All the Water in the Sea Couldn't . . . - Debord
A New Myth - Conord
Make them Swallow Their Chewing-Gum - Conord, Dahou, Debord, Fillon, Straram, Wolman
Psychogeographical Game of the Week
The Dark Passage
A New Assignment - Dahou


You receive it often. In Potlatch, the Lettrist International deals with the problems of the week. Potlatch is the most engaged publication in the world: we are working toward the conscious and collective establishment of a new civilization.


All the Water in the Sea Couldn't . . .

On 1 December, Marcelle M., aged sixteen years, attempts suicide with his lover. After they have been saved, this individual — married, and old enough to look after himself — insists that he was driven to it against his will. Marcelle is referred to a children's court so he can "learn to appreciate his moral responsibility." In France, minors are sent to religious prisons and forced to spend their youth there.

On 5 February, eighteen anarchists who had attempted to reconstitute the CNT are condemned to death for military rebellion. Franco's firing squads keep the sinister "western civilization" safe from harm.

In April, the news weeklies publish a few picturesque photos of Kenya: the rebellious "General Chine" listening as he is sentenced to death; the cockpit of a Royal Air Force plane decorated with thirty-four silhouttes representing the number of natives strafed; a dead black, known as a Mau Mau.

On 1 June, in the ridiculous La Figaro, Mauriac reprimands Françoise Sagan for not preaching any of the great French values which bind the Moroccan people to us, for example — and this at a time when the Empire is going down the toilet. (Naturally, we wouldn't waste a second reading the novels and novelists of this little year, 1954, but when you look like Mauriac, talking about an eighteen-year-old girl is obscene).

The latest issue of the neo-surrealist — and previously innocuous — journal Medium tries its hand at provocation: the fascist Georges Soulès suddenly appears under the pseudonym, Abellio, while Gérard Legrand attacks North African workers in Paris.

Fear of the real questions and complacency toward outdated intellectual fashions unites literary professionals in such a way that they either fancy themselves as edifying or, like Camus, as rebellious.

What these gentlemen lack is the Terror.


A New Myth

The last of the llamas is dead, but Ivich has slanting eyes. Who will be his children now? Ivich waits . . . it doesn't matter where in the world.


Make Them Swallow their Chewing-Gum

Once more, Foster Rockett Dules calls you to arms: Guatemala has expropriated the United Fruit Company, the trust that since 1944 has exploited the people of that country and their gum to produce its indispensable chewing gum.

The God of Anti-communist Armies expressed himself in the following terms: "For these forces of evil to be eradicated, we have to resort to peaceful and collective action." This action is under way: weapons "made in the USA" have already been delivered to reactionaries in Honduras and Nicaragua; plots have surfaced with the support of massive sums of dollars; America is setting off on its crusade.

The methods that destroyed the Spanish Republic are being reproduced to the finest detail.

The students demonstrating under tank fire in Bogota and the revolutionary movement in Guatemala appear to be the only chance for freedom on the continent.

The government of J. Arbenz Guzman must arm the workers.

To economic sanctions, to imperialist military attacks, it must respond with a civil war waged in the oppressed countries of Central America, and with appeals for volunteers from Europe.

Paris, 16 June 1954

for the Lettrist International:

Psychogeographical Game of the Week

Depending on what you are after, choose an area, a more or less populous city, a more or less lively street. Build a house. Furnish it. Make the most of its decoration and surroundings. Choose the season and the time. Gather together the right people, the best records and drinks. Lighting and conversation must, of course, be appropriate, along with the weather and your memories.

If your calculations are correct, you should find the outcome satisfying. (Please inform the editors of the results.)

The Dark Passage

At the Galerie du Double Doute, passage Molière (82 rue Quincampoix), the exhibition of influential metagraphies went fruitfully. The continuation of lettrism now has a critical flak-jacket to protect it from any kind of roasting.

A New Assignment

Mohamed Dahou requests that the lettrist group in Orleansville designate five resolute people to place themselves at his disposal in Paris as soon as possible.


Editor in Chief: André-Frank Conord, 15 rue Duguay-Trouin, Paris 6e.