In the midst of and at the end of the "orientation debate" -- which involved the exclusion or resignation of almost all of the members of the Situationist International (SI) -- Guy Debord wrote two very important texts: "Remarks on the SI Today" (written on 27 July 1970) and "Document Beyond Debate" (written on 28 January 1971). Those who don't read French have had to rely on the excerpts translated by Ken Knabb, who published them in "The Situationist International Anthology" in 1981. In the course of translating the other documents involved in the "orientation debate," we have discovered that "excerpts" isn't the right word to describe Knabb's versions of these two important texts by Debord. In both cases, Knabb has dropped out more than half of the text, even though neither one is very long. Knabb's deletions clearly weren't made in service of brevity or clarity. No, they were made in the service of an agenda: without fail, Knabb removed all the comments or anecdotes concerning "internal" matters, events and personalities. We can't imagine why. Without these passages, we know nothing about what the other situationists were like (Rene Vienet's sense of humor, Mustapha Khayati's attempt to re-join the SI after resigning). Debord's texts aren't simply shorter in Knabb's translations: they are fundamentally different texts; they haven't so much been translated as falsified.
And so we have endeavored to present the full, true versions of these texts on our website:
"Remarks on the SI Today"
"Document Beyond Debate"
the orientation debate: table of contents