Great Friends of Old What's-His-Name

From Internationale Situationniste #12 (September 1969).

Submitted by Fozzie on April 18, 2023

"Don't say: Mr Teacher, sir. . . Say: Drop dead, you bastard!"

The death of André Breton and an invitation from Havana were enough to turn the ex-surrealists of L'Archibras into apologists for the Castroite bureaucracy. In January 1968, the great political mind of this bunch, Jean Schuster, along with the ex-Stalinists Borde, Châtelet, Marguerite Duras, Mascolo and a few other suckers, signed a declaration asserting that "it is in Cuba and through the Cuban revolution that the demand for communism has discovered not only a living center, but its potential for the future." Eight months later, with the exceptions of Borde and Châtelet, the persons cited above had the unpleasant surprise of having to express their respectful regrets at "comrade Castro's" cynical speech of 23 August approving the Russian army's "socialist" intervention in Czechoslovakia, an intervention whose strategic intention was undeniably to eradicate the threat of a proletarian revolution.

When the disturbances that would become the occupations movement were beginning in France, the Castro-surrealists' only perceptible contribution was the publication of a small tract on 5 May proclaiming that "the surrealist movement is at the disposal of the students" (the italicization of this remarkable inanity is ours).

And yet in June 1969, long after the carnival was over, a "Writers' and Students' Committee," led by Schuster himself and littérateurs like Duras and Mascolo, published a text in the Italian periodical Quindici that went so far as to accuse the situationists of having as much to do with revolution "as they did with literature"! With an aplomb more than worthy of their masters past and present, the authors of this text concluded that the SI's activity in May was limited to writing slogans on walls — and only those phrases that would edify "certain bourgeois sensibilities." This omniscience seems fantastic enough for having seen all the walls of Paris at the time, on which so many unknowns spontaneously wrote, reproduced or adapted everything that they wanted, or that appealed to them among inscriptions they had already seen. But these "writer-students" pushed the imposture to the point of presenting Viénet's book as "proof" of their claims. They know very well that this book attributes no more than five or six inscriptions to the situationists and the Enragés, and that these are presented in the specific times and places where they had some practical significance. And that Viénet, recounting the entirety of our conduct in that period, cites a number of facts and documents that are obviously much more important as far as subversion is concerned. But Schuster and the other scumbags were happy to announce the following dogma: "that which no bourgeois could appreciate in May. . . was not situationist."

We'll let our readers be the judge of these characters — even in literature, their one little substitute for living — especially if it is pointed out that an article published in L'Archibras on 18 June reported admiringly on one of the first radical speeches to the Sorbonne assembly: "One voice dared (...) to demand amnesty for 'looters' (...) this proposition was met with angry jeers. This was the beginning. . . ." It concerned René Riesel's speech during the election of the first occupation committee, also quoted by Viénet.1 The only place where liars of the caliber of Jean Schuster and his friends can escape humiliation is in regimes where they can work with a police force that forbids any recourse to reality — a place like Cuba, for example.

  • 1See p.49 of Enragés and Situationists.