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New Left Review I/40, November-December 1966

Willie Thompson

On Andre Gorz‘s ‘Sartre and Marx‘

The article by André Gorz on Sartre’s contribution to Marxism elucidates one of the most fundamental problems of socialist theory in the 20th century, a problem summed up in a phrase of the final paragraph, ‘the question of the possibility of suppressing the inhuman in human history’. That Sartre’s own answer to this question seems to be ‘probably not’ may be pessimistic, but is not made for that reason less possibly correct, and as Gorz rightly points out, the refusal to face it on such dishonest grounds as the question of Sartre’s ‘idealism’, ‘nihilism’, etc, to ‘. . . . fear that the discoveries we might make will shatter the . . . depths of our own commitment,’ is indeed the negation of Marxism. Sartte’s work is of a quality that deserves the most serious consideration and criticism. If we disagree with this bold thinker it is necessary to fully engage his views, and if he is wrong to be able to say precisely and in great detail why this is so.

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Willie Thompson, ‘On Andre Gorz’s 'Sartre and Marx'’, NLR I/40: £3

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