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text archives > presituationist texts > lettrist international >

potlatch #7

information bulletin of the french section of the lettrist international

3 August1954

Translated by Gerardo Denís, Greil Marcus and Reuben Keehan

". . . A New Idea in Europe" - Bernstein, Conord, Dahou, Debord, Fillon, Véra, Wolman
Best News of the Week
A Funny Life
The Great Victories of France
Bad Times for Ivich
The Destruction of the Rue Sauvage

". . . A New Idea in Europe"

Leisure is the real revolutionary question. In any case, economic prohibitions and their modern corollaries will soon be completely destroyed and superseded. The organization of leisure — the organization of the freedom of a multitude a little less driven to continuous work — is already a necessity for capitalist states just as it is for their Marxist successors. Everywhere, one is limited to the obligatory degradation of stadiums or television programs.

It is above all for this reason that we must denounce the immoral condition imposed upon us: this state of poverty.

Having spent a few years doing nothing, in the common sense of the term, we can speak of our social attitude as avant-garde — because in a society still provisionally based in production, we have sought to devote ourselves seriously only to leisure.

If this question is not openly posed before the collapse of current economic development, change will be no more than a bad joke. The new society which once again takes up the goals of the old society, without having recognized and imposed a new desire — that is the truly utopian tendency of socialism.

Only one task seems to us worth considering: the perfecting of a complete divertissement.

More than one to whom adventures happen, the adventurer is one who makes them happen.

The construction of situations will be the continuous realization of a great game, a game the players have chosen to play: a shifting of settings and conflicts to kill of the characters in a tragedy in twenty-four hours. But time to live will no longer be lacking.

Such a synthesis will have to bring together a critique of behavior, a compelling town planning, a mastery of ambiances and relationships. We know the first principles.

The supreme attraction that Charles Fourier found in the free play of passions must be reinvented for the rest of time.

for the Lettrist International:
M.-I. Bernstein, André-Frank Conord, Mohamed Dahou, Guy-Ernest Debord, Jacques Fillon, Véra, Gil J. Wolman

Best News of the Week

Washington, D.C., July 29 (A.P.) — In a speech delivered to a religious convention, Mr. Richard Nixon, the vice-president of the United States, declared that he believed those who imagined "a full bowl of rice" could prevent the people of Asia from turning toward communism were "gravely deluding themselves."

"Economic well-being is important," continued the vice-president, "but to claim that we can win the people of Asia to our side simply by raising their standard of living is a lie and a slander. This is a proud people, with a great record behind them."

A Funny Life

With the title, "A funny exhibition," a regional paper named Nice-Matin revealed, regarding a metagraphic exhibition by the Lettrist International at Galerie du Double Doute, that "this new artistic form is not entirely free because it proposes the conditioning of feelings and actions of viewers."

Because we were reproached, we ought to admit that there is no real difference between a metagraphic picture and a daily newspaper. In both cases, one may well ask in whose service the "conditioning of feelings and actions" is undertaken.

The exhibition at the Galerie du Double Doute did not seem to us any more "unusual" or "bizarre" than the conditions of existence that certain people have to put up with. It so happens that some folk actually pay good money for a miserably reactionary regional paper called Nice-Matin. Others even work for it . . .

The Great Victories of France

Ms Geneviève de Galard has brilliantly endured what would without doubt have to be the second greatest ordeal of her life. She has seduced the Americans . . . After all, the worst had been feared . . . Ms Geneviève — "the angel" — has no need for "enlightenment" or preparation. She is more than capable of coming up with the right responses all by herself . . . When she declared that Dien Bien Phu has shown how "France has a soul, and the French still fight for honor," there were tears in the Americans' eyes . . . It was a triumph of simplicity and kindness. Geneviève can maintain the allure of a young woman from a good family and a good head with the greatest of ease. Her last ordeal involved shaking around two thousand hands . . . Quite certainly, Ms de Galard's trip has been of great service to the French cause. (From a particular Le Monde correspondent, Washington, 29 July).

Bad Times for Ivich

Even clandestine literature has its limits: the meaning of A.-F. Conord's article published in Potlatch #6, "The Definition of myth" was confused by unfortunate typographical errors. Nevertheless, our readers would naturally have rectified this for themselves.

The Destruction of the Rue Sauvage

One of the most beautiful spontaneously psychogeographical places in Paris is in the process of disappearing.

Rue Sauvage, in the 13th Arrondissement, the site of the most moving nocturnal view in the capital, located between the tracks of the Gare d'Austerlitz and an area of empty ground along the Seine (rue Fulton, rue Bellievre) has — since last winter — been enclosed with several of the kind of debilitating structures that line the suburbs and house unfortunate people.

We deplore the disappearance of a little-known street, little-known and therefore more alive than the Champs Elysees for all its bright lights.

We have no predilection for the charms of ruins. But the civilian barracks that we build in their place are so gratuitously ugly as to be an open invitation to dynamiters.

Potlatch is sent to various addresses supplied to the editor.

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