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N.B.: Please first read: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/www.kaloskaisophos.org/rt/rtdac/rtdactf/rtdac-ha-dac-open-letter-to-helen-arnold.html An Open Letter to Helen Arnold: Please Resume Good-Faith Negotiations. Scab Translator Finally Admits Guilt
Renewed Polite Request from a Member of the "Association Cornelius Castoriadis"
cc: Cybèle Castoriadis, Sparta Castoriadis, Zoé Castoriadis, Philipppe Caumières, Pierre Dumesnil, Daniel Ferrand, Olivier Fressard, Sophie Klimis and Nicolas Poirier
January 18, 2010
Dear Vincent Descombes:
Please be so kind as to answer my letter of December 14, 2009 (see again below), requesting that negotiations resume between the Association Cornelius Castoriadis (ACC), of which you are President, and myself, concerning the Castoriadis translation work I was authorized by the ACC to prepare. So far, despite my polite request and polite reminders, you have not even had the simple human courtesy to respond.
I note that, after I made my polite request that you send me the names of the new members of the Council of the ACC, suddenly, for the first time in ten years of the ACC's life (six election cycles from 1999 to 2009), these members' names were printed on the ACC website http://www.castoriadis.org/fr/readText.asp?textID=92 I'm glad that my initiative has spurred the ACC to finally make at least some information public. For the past ten years, all meetings of the ACC Council have been held in secret. The agenda for such meetings is not announced in advance, and the Council solicits no input from the rank-and-file members concerning the agenda. Nor are rank-and-file members informed after each ACC Council meeting what was actually decided during those secret get-togethers (neither the time nor the date is known to us at the base).
You also failed to reply to my polite request for the minutes of the last General Assembly meeting. Nor did the information on the ACC website report the actual voting totals. How many votes did each candidate receive? And how many of those votes were voted by proxy and by whom? Surely a democratic organization would report such basic information.
As you recollect, you were selected temporary President upon the death of the former ACC President Pierre Vidal-Naquet. There was no open nomination process. Indeed, rank-and-file members were completely excluded from the process of your secret selection. We were simply told after the fact that you had been handpicked by the remaining Council members. That is hardly an exemplarily open process for an organization that is named after the most radical direct-democratic thinker of the 20th century.
It was after your selection that you promised that I could meet with the Council and resolve the outstanding issues surrounding my still valid but not honored translation contract and surrounding the scab translator the Association has allowed to take my place while I have sincerely been awaiting a response from the Council. You broke your promise and still have not made any amends for your failure to keep your word. You sadly dishonor your name in the world of your fellow philosophers and in the world at large.
Moreover, the Council refuses to make available the names of the ACC's rank-and-file members. Only incumbent Council members, apparently, have access to that list. (I requested copies for everyone and that request was never answered directly.) And certain Council members have used this secretly-held information to obtain enough proxy votes in the past to elect as replacement Council members those whom they have selected in advance, without consultation with the members as a whole. (There is no advance nomination process, and so those who would give their proxy votes do not even know who might be in the running.) Indeed, the election that made you President of the Council and of the Association Cornelius Castoriadis was carried out on this highly dubious basis. Attendance has been so small at General Assembly meetings I have attended in the past that a few Council members hold enough proxy votes to cancel out the votes of the few non-Council members who still bother to attend. (Many former ACC rank-and-file and even ex-Council members have told me that they do not wish to participate any longer in the sad and shocking farce you now preside over that dishonors the memory of their beloved friend Cornelius Castoriadis.) It is as if the ballot box were being stuffed on a secret basis.
That is how you and your fellow ACC Council members were elected. Please think about that every time you are identified as "President" of the "Association Cornelius Castoriadis," a position you had promised would lead to an open discussion of the Association Cornelius Castoriadis's ill-considered decision to authorize a scab translator, Helen Arnold, in my place. Of course, all Castoriadis volumes translated into English should be boycotted pending a resolution of the prior matter you had solemnly promised would be addressed.
May I sincerely and politely request again that you reply to tell me when you will honor your promise that I can meet with the ACC Council? Let us make 2010 the year when this long outstanding issue is resolved amicably to the satisfaction of all parties.
Please be so kind as to reply to this polite missive by the end of the week. It is at that time that this correspondence will be posted on the internet as an "Open Letter to Vincent Descombes, President of the Association Cornelius Castoriadis, Who Fails to Honor His Word and Continues to Support Scab Labor." The other current members of the Association Cornelius Castoriadis Council--Cybèle Castoriadis, Sparta Castoriadis, Zoé Castoriadis, Philipppe Caumières, Pierre Dumesnil, Daniel Ferrand, Olivier Fressard, Sophie Klimis and Nicolas Poirier--may wish to urge you to honor your word by resuming negotiations; otherwise, they too may be deemed complicit in the support of scab labor.
David Ames Curtis
Polite Request from a Member of the "Association Cornelius Castoriadis"
December 14, 2009
Dear Vincent Descombes:
Please be so kind as to provide me with a list of the current members of the Council of the Association Cornelius Castoriadis, of which I am a member, as well as a copy of the minutes for the last Assemblée Générale. I was unable to attend that meeting in Paris because I have been in the States this Fall attending to serious family-health issues.
I also ask you to let me know when I might meet with the members of the current ACC Council in order to resume negotiations that were cut off unilaterally in 2003 concerning the translations I was duly authorized by the ACC Publication Committee to undertake. A preliminary agreement was drafted in 2003 by the Secretary of the ACC and myself to replace the original agreement I had reached with the Publication Committee, but I have heard nothing since then. There is thus an ongoing labor dispute that must be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. I have repeatedly reiterated my willingness to resume negotiations at any time.
In the meantime, I ask that you halt all publication activity in English translation, so that the prior matter of my labor dispute with the ACC might first be resolved. I remind you that as elected President of an "Association loi 1901" registered with the Préfecture de Police, you are the person legally and morally responsible and answerable on this matter. You are no longer merely the temporary president and so I await fulfillment of your solemn promise to me that I might take up this outstanding matter directly with the association. As a philosopher, you are, perhaps more than others, obliged to keep your word and not break it as you have, however, unfortunately done up to this point. My public criticism of an organization to which we both belong should be a spur to you to seek an amicable solution, not an excuse to avoid a fair and open confrontation of views, which, to your discredit, you have opted to pursue as a course of inaction so far.
Hoping to hear from you at your earliest possible convenience. I am sure an amicable agreement can be reached if all parties remain respectful and sincere in their efforts.
Please note that I will be back in Paris starting January 23, 2010 but will be glad to resume preliminary negotiations with a designated representative before that date by post, e-mail, or telephone
David Ames Curtis