Skip to content or view screen version

In Memory of Jean Paul Sartre, 1905-80

de Rollebon | 24.11.2001 16:08

The intellectual degeneration of modern life continues. 21 years after his death, Sartre is not only unfairly ridiculed but its got to the stage where librarians haven't even heard of him...

I mean the title literally, for I come to praise Sartre, not to bury him. I never quite understood why he was such a laughing stock, a parody figure, a solopsistic humbug scrounging Pernod and Gitanes and cheating on poor Simone...
Beware, for ridicule is the first step to eradication. Waiting in a London library, looking at the shelves and thinking "Its between you and me, knowledge..." I enlisted the help of an assistant:
"Have you got anything by Sartre ?" I enquired:
"Excuse my ignorance, he replied, but what is Sartre ?
I did indeed, out of embarrassment.
What then , is ignorance , when the Prime Monster may be a borderline illiterate. Ignorance is wisdom, and no bar to a career, eh, Tony ?
For those who may have accepted this canard, deliberately constucted by the establishment, Sartre represents the most important philosophical advance on Marxism. Existentialism is NOT a call to passive contemplation but to ACTION. For a quick guide to Sartre's active anti-imperialism, read his introduction to Fanons The Wretched Of The Earth. For an entertaining understanding of existentialism, read LA NAUSEE, and dont confuse the main character with the author ! Its not a real diary, you know. A glance at his life clearly proves him to be the very opposite from a passive fraud. A Campaigner against Apartheid and French post-war colonialism, and almost assassinated for it, he stood firm with students and workers on the left while his near-equal Malraux joined in with de Gaulle, Camus withdrew from politics altogether (honorably), and R. Debray likewise. Like Trotsky, now parodied and disgraced by the actions of the SWP, he represents the most important fusion of politics, art, and philosophy. Sartre ultimately concluded that existentialism was nothing without the political framework of Marxism; such modesty is rare in any intellectual field. this is best summed up in CRITIQUE OF DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM. There is no doubt of the massive influnce he had on the Situationists, such as Vaneigem and Debord, even in opposition.
This is just a brief vindication of a great thinker who has only just passed from contemporary life. Please ensure his work lives on!

de Rollebon


Hide the following 5 comments

Also Andre Breton

24.11.2001 16:23

an artist who dared to link up with the left, particularly Trotsky.

de R

What do you mean?

24.11.2001 17:23

What do you mean?
Everyone knows who Sartre was. Might not be so familiar with his ideas though.
Anyway he nicked his great work 'Being and Nothingness' off perhaps the greatest philosopher of this century (Derrida aside) Martin Heidegger. Who wrote one of the greatest works of philosophy, 'Being and Time', long before Sartre's 'Being and Nothingness'.
As for existentialism being nothing without marxism, that is just bullshit. In fact you could say the opposite as marxism does not really deal with existence except in the economic sphere. Marxism is empty when it comes to an analysis of human existence and how we percieve our being. You could use any philosophical or religious system to fill that void, not just existentialism.
Marxism is essentially a political tool, whereas existentialism is an ontological one. To say one relies on the other is just bullshit man.
I like Sartre but Derrida has done what he and most other philosphers this century have tried to do. However Derrida and Heidegger are among the most difficult writers of modern philosophy which doesn't help much.
Philosophy should be compulsory at school I think, as much as writing and counting are. How else are we gonna change the way our fucked up society thinks?
Yours in misunderstanding
Peter Frampton


Sartre and the violence of the oppressed

24.11.2001 18:36

I think Sartre is a figure that the anti-capitalist movement could learn something from at the present time. In particular I refer to his views on violence and the oppressed which he expressed in the 1960s and 1970s. In short, Sartre defended the right of the opressed to resist their opressors through the use of force. For instance, he (quite rightly)defended the action of the palestinian commandos who took the Israeli athletes hostage -to demand the release of political prisoners- at the olmypic games in Munich during 1972.
Although he hesitated over supporting such direct action groups as the Red Army Faction in Germany -incorrectly in this authors opinion- he nevertheless advocated that oppressed people could advance their critique of their subordinate position within capitalist society by breaking out of a sterile political strategy that respects the limits of bourgeois legality! For instance, he once advocated that workers engaged in a strike had the moral right to use force aginst their bosses in order to further their struggle for justice.


Sartre and violence

24.11.2001 19:11

Sartre stole all his ideas on oppression and violence from Frantz Fanon, a black Martinician writer from the 40's and 50's. Fanons books include: 'Black Skin, White Masks', 'The Wretched of the Earth', 'Towards the African Revolution', he also wrote on the Algerian war of independance. He is one of the most important colonialist theorists to date. Every political activist should be aware of him.
Peter Frampton


heidegger was a nazi

25.11.2001 14:11

clearly, not everyone has herad of sartre now

phil osophy