Guy Debord, Asger Jorn, Critique européenne des Corps académiques des Universités, Collèges et Instituts de recherche de la métropole de New York et de l’aire de Cambridge-Boston…. Paris, Mutant, 1962. Feuillet. [120 X 320 mm.] imprimé en marron sur papier beige, au verso texte en anglais.
Tract rédigé par Guy Debord et Asger Jorn en anglais et en français en réponse à l’annonce faite par le “Civil Défense Letter Committee” parue dans l’édition internationale du New York Times du 30 décembre 1961, du projet de construction d’abris anti-atomiques pour protéger la population américaine. Ce tract annonce également la publication, par le “Comité européen pour la poursuite de l’expansion humaine” de la revue Mutant pour le printemps 1962.
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WE SHOULD LIKE to point out the absurdity and complete emptiness of the declaration made by you as the “Civil Defense Letter Committee” in The New York Times of Saturday December 30, 1961 (international edition), unless one considers it only as a pure declaration of personal conscience against the new American defense policy. We regret the fact that there cannot be found a single element of real importance in all your oppositions, and we propose that you join us in a concrete attitude towards our common aim. We therefore suggest that you adopt the positive programme of the “Comité européen pour une relance de l’expansion humaine” (European Committee for the Persuit of Human Expansion), which proposes to create a new cultural Renaissance, a new practical liberty.
For this, it is necessary to subscribe to our three fundamental demands:
- I promise that I shall never, personally, under any circumstances, set foot in an atomic shelter.
It is better to die standing with all the cultural heritage of humanity, the perpetual modification of which must remain our task.
- I refuse to have anything whatsoever to do with the new aristocracy of the caves, and never to drink in the company of an owner or builder of an atomic shelter; for this subterranean aristocracy, even if it manages to survive the disaster, will be of the quality of sewer rats, and could in no case be considered a continuation of the human race.
- At this point in our present situation it is not so much the thermonuclear war, but rather the threat of this war, which shows the absolute bankruptcy of all the politicians in the world. The capitalist or bureaucratic leaders of both East and West already make use of their bombs every day, in order to secure power for themselves. Only if one realizes that they have placed themselves beyond the law can one establish a new legality. I therefore pledge myself not to expect the necessary upheavals of society by any of the existing formations of specialized politics.
In the first stages one can demand a neutralization of the defense program of States by their transference into an Armed Force controlled by the United Nations. At the same time military programme of conquest could be submitted to a world organization like UNESCO though radically transformed and divested of its dependency upon state bureaucracies. This organization would coordinate the development of spatial-interplanetary activities of different groups into a perspective of human solidarity. Only the unification of our military traditions in the whole world towards a spatial expansion can guarantee world peace, the alternative of peace and atomic war being false, because in fact there is no choice. The choice which imposes itself upon modern man is the continuation of imperialist competition of human destruction or the Renaissance of humanity on a spatial scale.
But the new frontier of mankind is not only in Outer Space: it is in the radical transformation of life on this planet. If the nations can come to an agreement to maintain peace by transforming it into spatial expansion, on the question of total expansion of mankind we cannot come to an understanding with the “nations.” We are not unconditional partisans of peace: the profound error of the intellectual Americans is their defense, devoid of imagination, of the actual peace which they wish to preserve. Nobody really likes this peace, which nourishes not only the menace of such a war, but also the total alienation of actual daily life, and the absolute boredom of a society on the road to cybernetization. Peace remains, like this life itself, without importance; and what is important is human expansion: the creation of events that suit us.
We are going to inform you in greater detail in our review Mutant, which will appear in the spring, of your underdevelopped attitudes, as well as those of the Russians. We hope that many of the subscribers to your manifest will join us in this perspective, which can give a future to your direction.
Correspondence: 32, r. de la Montagne-Ste-Geneviève, PARIS-Ve, FRANCE.