Letters from ‘Glaucos’: The Correspondence of Guy Debord during the Portuguese Revolution

In: Historical Materialism
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  • 1 Instituto de História Contemporânea/Faculdade de Ciências Sociais a Humanas da Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

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Abstract

Guy Debord, founder of the Situationist International and filmmaker, kept a meticulous record of his correspondence between 1951 and 1994. Published by Fayard, the fifth volume of the correspondence includes several letters signed ‘Glaucos’ (a character from the Iliad), which were sent to Afonso Monteiro, Gianfranco Sanguinetti, Eduardo Rothe, and Jaime Semprún. In those letters, Debord developed several analyses of the ‘Carnation Revolution’, arguing that ‘the Portuguese proletariat’ had gone ‘further than the May 1968 movement’. Debord initially supported a local group called Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Revolução Social, but he would later criticise it for not taking sufficient action. He also encouraged Jaime Semprún to write La Guerre Social au Portugal, a book published by Éditions Champ Libre in May 1975. This article analyses Debord’s correspondence in 1974 and 1975, offering a critical assessment of how he related to the revolutionary situation in Portugal.

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