Proofs of the nonexistence of Censor by his creator

Submitted by Steven. on June 17, 2013

I. Phenomenological


In the last ten years, and taking into account all of
the democratic countries, it seems to us that an intelligent censorship
would only have had to ban three or four books in total. But it would
have been necessary to make these books disappear absolutely, by every
possible means (…) It should not be a matter of criticizing the authors
of such books, but annihilating them (…) We must treat the authors of
certain books as disturbers of the public peace, as harmful to our
civilization, which they do not want to reform, but to destroy.

(Censor, Truthful Report)

Have you read The Trumpet of the Last Judgment Against Hegel, the
Atheist and the Antichrist
?[1] If you still do not know, I can tell
you, under the seal of secrecy, that it is by Bauer[2] and Marx. I truly
laughed wholeheartedly as I read it.

(G. Jung, letter to Arnold Ruge, December 1841)

Those who up until now regretted not knowing who the author of the
Truthful Report was, will now regret what they know. Those who
were so scandalized by the anonymity of Censor will now have reason to
be even more scandalized. Those who praised Censor because they believed
it would be good to be seen by a powerful person will no longer be proud
of it. And those who until now have prudently preferred to keep quiet
and only take a position after they knew the name of the author will
have given the measure of everything that their opportunism (like the
fearful hesitation that they believe makes a fortress when they are in a
predicament) lets take place.

In 1841, under the guise of denouncing Hegel as an atheist, Marx and
Bauer wrote and published an anonymous pamphlet that was in fact
directed against the Hegelian right-wing but that, due to its tone and
style, appeared to come from the metaphysical extreme-right of the time.
In reality, the pamphlet showed all the menacing revolutionary traits of
which the Hegelian dialectic was the bearer in that period, and it was
thus the first document that established the death of metaphysics and
the “destruction of all the State’s laws” that was its consequence.

Today, it is no longer a matter of demonstrating the atheistic and
revolutionary character of the Hegelian dialectic, but a matter of
knowing if there exists in the dominant class a strategic thought that
is capable of conceiving the prospects for capitalism. I have proved
that this thought does not exist. I used the following method. If class
power today possesses a thought and a project that deals with the
preservation of the dominant order, although it is translated into
practice with the misfortunes that we see all around us, what could
these things be? Everyone has been able to ascertain that, on every
occasion they speak, the representatives of power never say anything
that is serious, not even about the affairs that concern them the most.
And so one wonders, What do they say to each other when they are far
away from the public’s eyes and ears?

Thus, in August [1975], under the pseudonym of Censor, I wrote and
published 520 copies of the subsequently famous pamphlet Truthful
Report on the Last Chances to Save Capitalism in Italy.
This
pamphlet was sent to government ministers, members of parliament,
industrialists, union leaders and the journalists who are the most
respected by public opinion. This Truthful Report immediately
aroused great interest and a vast discussion that still continues
today.

But on one point, at least, everyone was unanimous, because everyone
believed that Censor existed, and they ventured to recognize him in this
or that person from the economic or political worlds (everyone from
Guido Carli to Cesare Merzagora, from Giovanni Malagodi to Raffaele
Mattioli himself, who according to some journalists directed “Operation
Censor” from beyond the grave).

All of them were deceived: Censor does not exist. And although
his world still exists, the class that he represents no longer has the
strength to produce a bourgeois of such lucidity and cynicism. Giorgio
Bocca wrote: “Here’s what makes Censor’s pamphlet so exceptionally
valuable in certain respects: it is one of the rare, extremely rare
examples of right-wing culture that doesn’t exist among us or doesn’t
have the courage to manifest itself.” Attributing the Truthful
Report
to Merzagora, Enzo Magri wrote that, “it is assuredly the
most cynical politico-economic diagnosis that has ever been made in
Italy (…) The logic is made of iron, forceful. Censor’s rigorous and
pitiless analysis leaves no room for any doubts.

Despite the lucid cynicism of Censor, or perhaps precisely because of
it, bankers and financiers have greeted my pamphlet with interest. A
good number of government ministers, parliamentary representatives and
upper-level State functionaries have courteously thanked its first
publisher. Some journalists have not managed to hide their admiration,
nor even their stupefaction, because the truth is one of the rare things
that is capable of causing them to be surprised and spiteful, but also
because Censor, in a single blow, destroyed the house of lies that they
had patiently but maladroitly constructed over the course of the last
few years – on the crucial question of the bombs of 1969, for example.
But how could one pretend that the journalists who were incapable of
understanding from whence came the Truthful Report could, on the
other hand, be capable of understanding what has been happening in this
country for years? Or from whence came the bombs of 12 December
1969?

All the same, Giorgio Bocca honestly recognized that “this book says
more true and terrible things about the hot autumn and the black
conspiracies than all of the revolutionary literature,” but by saying so
he implicitly admits that he does not know the truly revolutionary
publications, because, on 19 December 1969,[3] exactly one week later, I
published the truth about the bombs of 12 December.

More irritated than all the others, poor Massimo Rira noted in the
columns of the Corriere della Sera that “this influential person
lets it be clear that he knows important particular facts that reinforce
the thesis of a ‘State massacre,’” and, with consternation, he lets fly
a cry of the heart: “How can we not see a sign of the decadence of the
[State’s] institutions in this inability [to keep quiet] by those who
are committed to serve them in silence?” Enzo Magri adds: “The anonymous
author supports the thesis of a ‘State massacre.’ And the logic is made
of iron, forceful.” The predicament (sometimes noisy, sometimes silent)
into which the book has plunged the Italian ruling class and all the
political parties is complete and distressing. In the case of “Operation
Censor,” there is no doubt that the owners of the social spectacle have,
in their turn, been the victims of appearances.

Here are a few other examples of this “phenomenology of error.”

“Censor (…) is an enlightened and well-bred conservative, a great
tutor of the bourgeoisie, a delegate of private capital (…) Reading this
book, we can divine many things concerning Censor’s identity.” (Carlo
Rossella, Panorama)

“This pamphlet is certainly a beneficial provocation, an ‘Enough!’
declared to progressive unction (…) An authentic event, a novelty in
which we must rejoice, in the name of culture, even if we aren’t in
agreement.” (Europa Domani)

“Who is Censor? (…) His liberal philosophy, his penchant for contempt
and reprimands of the politicians, as well as the haughty character of a
great bourgeois possessing a very vast experience in the economic
domain, emanate from every page of his writing.” (Enzo Magri,
L’Europeo)

“Censor made his Truthful Report known in the worst
conditions: [only] 520 copies in all, published by a first-time editor,
and distributed in the middle of August. And yet its success was
immediate. Perhaps because the thesis of the author appeared suggestive
to many.” (L’Espresso)

“Despite his ‘conservatism,’ Censor casts a benevolent eye upon the
Communists and the historic compromise, believing that these new
political stabilizers will serve to keep capitalism standing.”
(Corriere d’Informazione)

“Published a few months ago in a numbered edition, this lampoon was
immediately reprinted in a commercial edition. But it is both just and
unjust, because it is both rare and precious, and thus unusual in
publishing; on the other hand, it is exemplary, like a model that merits
being proposed to a much larger audience (…) Censor constitutes a
political party all by himself: he could be the true gentleman of old
minting whose cultural tastes and economic interests are combined in his
life, but always safeguarding his decency of life and thought, with a
style of comportment and a morality that are true.” (Vittorio Gorresio,
La Stampa)

“Reading [it] reveals a conservative of vast and very refined culture
(…) We would like to know more: we would like to have proof of
everything that this anonymous person claims. And, until then, we
believe that Censor himself has a debt to pay to public opinion: to help
it obtain the proof; to speak clear to the bottom without limiting
himself to throwing a paving stone into the pool.” (Gianna Mazzaleni,
Il Resto del Carlino)


II. Ontological


Today, the first duty of the press is to undermine the
bases of the established political order.

(Karl Marx, New Rhineland Gazette, 14 February 1849)

I think of our life in Cologne with pleasure! We are not compromised.
That is the essential thing! Ever since Frederick the Great, no one has
treated the roguish German people like the New Rhineland
Gazette.

(Georg Weerth, letter to Marx, 28 April 1851)

Naturally, Marx and Bauer’s anonymous pamphlet created a scandal, but
after a few weeks its “rightist” provenance was placed in doubt, and its
authors’ subversive imposture appeared in all its menacing reality. A
century and a half later, six months has not been sufficient for Italy
to perceive Censor’s nonexistence and thus his personal emancipation
from metaphysics.

Just as Saint Anselm[4] claimed to provide ontological proof of the
existence of God by considering that, if a Being of infinite perfection
was conceivable, then it was not inconceivable that this Being could
fail to have the fundamental attribute of existence. In the same way,
but a millennium later, the Italian bourgeoisie candidly believed that a
bourgeois as perfect as Censor – since he had all the qualities that it
lacked (sincerity, rationality, culture, etc.) – could not fail to have
the attribute of existence and, due to that attribute, could contribute
to the bourgeoisie’s salvation.

Why did our decadent bourgeois so easily believe in the existence of
an ally such as Censor? It is quite simple. They believed in it
because they needed to. And yet, in the words of Vittorio
Gorresio, “the only person who could possibly identify the author of the
Truthful Report was Raffaele Mattioli, who has unfortunately
disappeared.” But if conceiving of a bourgeois like Censor obligated the
bourgeois to invent him, this is the best proof of the fact that, in our
ruling class, there exists no one who can flatter himself with having
the qualities that it would like to attribute to Censor.

If we can now, retrospectively, be astonished that, for so many
months, none of the people who wrote about Censor publicly expressed any
doubts about his existence, it is less surprising to see that many
“progressive” bourgeois and a part of the non-Stalinist Left applauded
the Truthful Report “despite [its author] being a rightist or
precisely because he is a rightist,” as Giorgio Bocca said. In any case,
Censor belonged to a right wing that did not appear more cynical than it
really was, but that assuredly spoke more cynically than it had
ever dared to before. It is in fact sufficient to consider the appalling
extremism that the Italian bourgeoisie in its current disarray has
accepted and even admired, if one wants to understand the full magnitude
of that disarray. Thus, it is worth quoting here several passages from
the Truthful Report that provide its exact measure.

“Thus we do not seek to prove that contemporary society is
desirable (…) We say that this society suits us because it
exists
and we want to maintain it to maintain our power over it.”
(Preface)

“Today, from the point of view of the defense of our society, there
only exists a single danger in the world, and it is that the workers
succeed in speaking to each other about their conditions and
aspirations without any intermediaries. All the other dangers are
attached to, or even proceed directly from, the precarious situation
that places before us this primary problem, which in many respects is
concealed and unacknowledged.” (Preface)

“(…) we will lose all of our reasons for managing a world in which
our objective advantages have been suppressed (…) Capitalists must not
forget that they are also human beings, and as such they cannot accept
the uncontrolled degradation of all human beings and thus the
personal conditions of life that they especially enjoy.” (Preface)

“All of the historically dominant forms of society have been imposed
on the masses, who quite simply must be made to work, either by
force or by illusion. The greatest success of our modern civilization is
that it has been able to place an incomparable power of illusion
at the service of its leaders.” (Chapter I)

“This society produces more and more things to watch. Some people
have asked us, moved by perfectly irrelevant sentimentality: ‘Must we
also love this society?’” (Chapter I)

“Our workers have in no way decided upon what they produce. And this
is quite fortunate, because we might wonder what they would decide to
produce, given what they are. It is quite sure, whatever the infinite
variety of conceivable responses, that a single truth would be constant:
they would assuredly not produce anything suitable for the society that
we manage.” (Chapter I)

“Because one must be able to choose between two equivalent
commodities, one must also be able to choose between two
representatives.” (Chapter I)

“Of those minds and hearts that have become discouraged because, for
the last ten years, they have taken the end of the troubles of a
particular time for the end of the time of troubles, we ask, ‘Must we be
resigned to the idea that any certainty that has been triumphantly
conquered will be ceaselessly put into question, and is the crisis in
society destined to always last?’ We will respond coldly, ‘Yes.’ (…) Our
world is not made for the workers, nor for the other strata of
impoverished salaried workers whom our reasoning must place in the
simple category ‘proletarian.’ But every day our world must be made
by them, under our command. This is the fundamental contradiction
with which we must live.” (Chapter I)

“And precisely because we dare to admit that the Italian workers, who
have taken the offensive in the social war, are our enemies, we know
that the Communist Party is our support.” (Chapter VI)

“Because we should not forget for an instant that the workers, at
least when they work and do not revolt, are the most useful reality in
the world and merit our respect, for in a certain way they (under our
well-informed direction) produce our wealth, i.e., our power.” (Chapter
VII)

“Henceforth we must know that the abundance of fabricated objects
demands (with ever-greater urgency) the setting up of a [true] elite,
one that precisely shelters itself from such abundance and keeps for
itself the little that is really precious (…) The law that dominates
here is, of course, that everything that we distribute to the poor can
never be anything other than poverty: cars that cannot circulate because
there are too many of them; salaries paid in inflated money; meat from
livestock fattened up in several weeks by chemical feed, etc.” (Chapter
VII)

“We (…) designate the Republic of Venice as our model of a
qualitative society (…) Venice had the best ruling class in history: no
one resisted it, nor purported to demand an accounting from it (…)
Venice was terrorism tempered with happiness, the happiness of
each person in his proper place.” (Chapter VII)

We could continue to quote many other truths contained in the
Truthful Report. These are such simple truths, moreover, that
anyone would be obligated to admit them, once they have been spoken
aloud, but they are such atrocious truths that, until now, no leader has
wanted to do so: these are the truths of this world, and if they
are not pleasing, it is this world that we must transform. And since no
one among all those who wrote long articles on Censor protested against
any of these atrocities, all these excellent bastards – in accordance
with the principle he who says nothing, consents – have accepted
them.[5] We must remember this.

If the virtuous admirers of Censor had been intelligent, they would
have immediately realized that such a pamphlet could only have been
written from the point of view of the social revolution (cui
prodest?
[6]), and if they had been unintelligent, but less deficient
and less desperate, they would at least have concluded that Censor, as a
bourgeois, was quite imprudent and completely unrealistic, since his
central project of reconstituting a ruling elite worthy of the name is
quite obviously the most impossible utopia. “Operation Censor,” and the
unlimited stupidity that it revealed,[7] have shown this in the purest
experimental light to anyone who by chance had nourished the slightest
illusion on the subject. But all these naïve spokesmen for decadence,
upon hearing about an elite, already dreamed that they were a part of
it.


III. Historical


In the hospitality of war
We left them their dead as a
gift
To remember us by.

(Archilochus, Fragments)

There are times in which one can only dispense contempt sparingly,
because of the large number of people who need to receive it.

(Chateaubriand, Memoirs from Beyond the Grave)

One should not believe that I was motivated by a particular hostility
to Italy: I am an internationalist.[8]

What did I propose to do by writing such a book and inventing such a
person? I proposed to harm Italian capitalism, which is the weakest and
most stupid element of class domination in the world, and, more
particularly, to harm all those who are engaged in the unfortunate
enterprise of rescuing it: the neo-capitalist bourgeoisie and the
so-called Communist Party.

Who could be served by such a Truthful Report? This is
something that no one wondered. As the article devoted to the pamphlet
in Il Borghese showed, it could only harm the Right. For the
Christian Democrats and the other bourgeois governing parties,
“Operation Censor” has been even more unfortunate than their enormous
errors and brazen provocations because the Truthful Report
definitively denounced them. For the Stalinist-bureaucratic Left, my
pamphlet has been more harmful than a hundred wildcat strikes because it
irrefutably demonstrates what the Left’s real goals are in Italy today.
The enforced silence with which only the press organs of the Italian
Communist Party – otherwise so docile in publishing the directives from
the Minister of the Interior – have greeted my book is the best proof of
this.

In reality, all the political parties have suffered from its
publication, because they are all each other’s accomplices. But with
this operation, the poor Italian State, which has spared us nothing in
these last few years – bombs and assassinations that can no longer be
counted, although ever since 1969 the workers and almost the entire
population have been continuously provoked, deceived and insulted by
these crimes, which the bourgeoisie has applauded and about which the
Stalinists have cordially kept silent – this State of
provocateurs
has finally been provoked in its turn.

In the Truthful Report, there are not only truths, truths that
that capitalist thought not only does not have the courage to say, but
also does not even have the strength to think. Thus, we must wonder: Who
does the truth harm? And, Who benefits from the truth? In human history,
the truth has always been Public Enemy Number 1 for all power and the
principal ally of those who are exploited. And the Stalinists know these
facts better than anyone, because, more than anyone else, they have made
a specialty of combatting them, in Russia and elsewhere.

What did I want to prove by publishing this pamphlet? Above all, I
wanted to prove that the card of the “historic compromise” is the card
of the least-backwards capitalism, the one that has enough intelligence
to have understood that the so-called Communist Party and the union
bureaucracies are its best allies in the permanent social confrontation
in which it is opposed to the workers, and this I did not want to
demonstrate to the capitalists, who know it all too well due to their
experiences, but to the workers. The fact that the bourgeois have taken
quite seriously the proposition advance by Censor that they should
conclude the “historic compromise” without any further ado demonstrates
that they think that they must in fact conclude it. “Censor is serious,”
L’Europeo wrote, “so serious that his pamphlet can certainly be
considered as a real and authentic manifesto of the Italian political
and economic right wing.” “One immediately understands,” Il
Giorno
wrote, “that Censor is serious, and doesn’t get lost in the
hypocrisies or the bowing and scraping [les salamalecs].”

On the other hand, I wanted to prove that the party of social
revolution can understand the party of Stalinist-bureaucratic reaction
much better than reaction is capable of understanding itself, and I have
[also] proved that the party of reaction can neither understand nor
simply recognize the party of revolution, even when it comes forth to do
battle.

What the Italian workers are in the process of learning is quite
simply what their Portuguese comrades have just learned, what the French
revolutionary workers understood in 1968, and what the Russian and
Czechoslovakian proletariats (exploited as they are by the vile
bureaucratic capitalism that dominates those countries) have always
understood: the so-called Communist bureaucrats and unions are not at
all disposed to accept the abolition of the capitalist exploitation of
work
in any country in the world. And in Italy, in particular, they
are the best servants of our disastrous capitalism, to which they offer
their services to spare it from bankruptcy.

In the decline and fall of Italian capitalism, Censor is nothing
other than the reverse image, as in a mirror, of the Italian
bourgeoisie,
and the lucid extremism of this nonexistent bourgeois
shows the extent and depth of the revolutionary current that invented
him. The difference between the two is that, while this revolutionary
current exists, Censor does not.

The Ministers of the Interior in all the countries, just like the
bureaucrats of the so-called Communist parties, feel the same impotent
anger about the reappearance of the modern revolutionary movement. In
Italy, where the Italian Communist Party hopes to use class struggle as
a way of participating in the management of power, and desperately seeks
its opportunity, this anger can only be even greater than elsewhere.
Because at this point, if revolutionaries can already harm power, which
on its own greatly harms itself[, then power is in real trouble]. Look
at Portugal: for a year and a half, we have prevented any governmental
power from really constituting itself there. The “historic compromise,”
that Holy Alliance between the bourgeois and Stalinist bureaucrats,
which one today proposes to introduce in Italy, has already reigned in
Portugal since 24 April 1974: it reigns but it does not govern.
Pitiful result, ridiculous failure!

What do I want to see happen? The triumph of my party, naturally. And
my party is the party of the autonomous organization of workers’
assemblies that assume all the powers of decision-making and execution.
It is the party of revolutionary workers’ councils, the delegates to
which are revocable at any moment by the base; the only party that
fights all the bourgeois and bureaucratic ruling classes everywhere; the
party that, every time it manifests itself, undertakes to realize the
abolition of all classes and the State, salaried work and the commodity,
and their entire spectacle. And I will never serve any other.


December 1975

[1] Author’s note: Die Posaune des Juegsten Gerichts ueber
Hegel den Atheisten und Antichristen: Ein Ultimatum
(Leipzig,
1841).

[2] Bruno Bauer (1809-1882) was a philosopher, historian and
theologian. Nine years older than Karl Marx, he studied with Hegel, who
died in 1831.

[3] Author’s note: “Is the Reichstag Burning?” (Milan).
[Translator: written by Eduardo Rothe and Puni Cesoni, and issued
in the name of the Italian section of the Situationist International, of
which Sanguinetti was a member.]

[4] Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was the author of the
Proslogion (“The Discourse on the Existence of God”).

[5] Author’s note: These bourgeois and these journalists, who
preferred to be scandalized by Censor’s anonymity rather than the truths
contained in his Truthful Report, are in fact the same people
who, until now, have not shown the least qualms about committing or
covering up the crimes and monstrous errors of power, of which cynical
Censor, had he existed, would have been ashamed. The nonexistence of
Censor, so obvious to anyone who read my pamphlet with a grain of salt,
but which no one imagined for so long, thus definitively proves the
nonexistence of Italy’s political personnel, bourgeois intellectuals and
bureaucrats. We knew that the majority of our journalists do not know
how to write; now we know that they do not know how to read. No
contemporary event has shown these people to be so stupid, and since it
is not possible that the Italians themselves are equally so, this is the
best proof of the stupidity of the others who speak in their
place, and thus the Italian proletariat must take its affairs directly
into its own hands, so as to not leave for an instant more the monopoly
of its government and its words to imbeciles of such appalling
incompetence.

[6] Latin for “Who benefits?”

[7] Author’s note: I would like to make clear that I did not
lower myself by using subtlety to deceive the “qualified” public to
which I sent the Truthful Report. Anyone with an average level of
culture would have immediately and very easily recognized that, for
example, the letter attributed to Louis XVIII is in fact a very
well-known literary fake written by Paul-Louis Courier; the letter
attributed to a Russian diplomat is a very recognizable passage from a
well-known work by Nietzsche; there are long détournements of
Tocqueville, and an entire page of the Report was taken from
The Real Split in the International (Paris: Editions Champ Libre,
1972); or a thousand other obvious flippancies. The last phrase of the
Truthful Report, in itself, is a properly Swiftian enormity. And
yet no one noticed any of this and drew the only possible
conclusion.

[8] Author’s note: If something can console the Italian
intellectuals and politicians for having proved their incompetence, it
might be the consideration that, in this case, their police are even
worse. Some time before giving the manuscript of the Truthful
Report
to the printer, I was released from prison, where I had been
thrown, in March 1975, on the extravagant charge of possessing a
stockpile of weapons of war, a stockpile whose ghostly existence had
never been found except in the completely fantastic enunciation of the
accusation against me. This arbitrary act at least allowed the police to
conduct four successive searches of both of my residences, and the ones
who were in charge found nothing of note in the manuscript, then
partially completed, which they read with indiscrete stupidity. At the
time, a directive from the Minister of the Interior had orchestrated (in
almost every newspaper, including the Stalinist ones and those published
by their Leftist imitators) a campaign of calumnies that presented the
Situationist International as the hidden power – simultaneously
anarchist and fascist – that organized terrorism in all of Italy. I am
honored to have been a member of the SI, which, by completely different
means than terrorism, had unleashed into the world a more authentic and
vaster subversion. But it turns out that the SI was dissolved in 1972,
due to the very fact of the success of its historical operation, and
this dissolution took place at the very moment that the SI had promised
to do it: “We will dissolve into the population” (Internationale
Situationniste
#7, April 1962). Moreover, I personally co-signed the
act of dissolution with Guy Debord, the author of the well-known book
The Society of the Spectacle in April 1972 (cf. The Real Split
in the International
). Thus it was perfectly vain to mount such
police machinations an entire historical period too late! If they
absolutely want to find the situationist critique at work today, they
should seek it in the factories held by revolutionaries in Portugal.