Alfred Betschart : From Marxist to Anarchist. Sartre 1972-1980
Source : https://sartre.ch/marxanar

Translated from German : René Berthier

Article mis en ligne le 16 janvier 2023
dernière modification le 13 mai 2023

par Eric Vilain

Sartre is understood not only by most sartrophobes but also by most Sartrians as a thinker of Marxist existentialism. Two works that had a major impact on the political understanding of Sartre’s philosophy are titled Existential Marxism in Postwar France (by Mark Poster, 1976) and Sartre and Marxist Existentialism (by Thomas R. Flynn, 1984). The period from 1941 to 1972 is justified in speaking of Marxist existentialism, insofar as this period was indeed marked by Sartre’s increasing approximation and partial adoption of Marxist topoi.

After his return from the Stalag XII D prison camp near Trier in 1941, Sartre clearly expressed his political affiliation for the first time when he, who had previously refrained from any political engagement, founded an albeit ephemeral resistance group with the programmatic name Socialisme et liberté. Five years later, in 1946, he dealt theoretically with Marxism for the first time in Matérialisme et révolution (English : Materialism and Revolution), even if his knowledge of Marxism was largely limited to the works of Stalin.

In 1948, Sartre was one of the co-founders of the Rassemblement Démocratique Révolutionnaire, a left-wing socialist movement made up not least of former Trotskyists in favor of an independent, united, socialist Europe. In 1952 het was still distancing himself from the communists by differentiating between his principles and theirs (KUF 142)1 “, but it was in the midst of a phase of intense confrontation with Marxism. Five years later, Sartre wrote in Questions de méthode (Eng : Search for a Method) that Marxism is the philosophy of our time and existentialism is just an ideology.