Sartre’s second volume of the Critique of Dialectical Reason1 presents us with an important irony: of all the phenomena of the twentieth century that demand a moral judgement, Stalinism must be near the top of the list – yet such judgement is hard to find in Sartre’s Critique. Part of my task in the following will be to explain this. It is not that moral judgement is wholly absent: Sartre describes the theory and practice of ‘Socialism in One Country’ as a ‘monstrosity’ [CDR2:103] characterised by ‘its uncouth, misguided crudity’ [CDR2:111], and he has no trouble with peremptorily asserting that the Russian Revolution’s good fortune at being pushed through by the ‘Man of Steel’ was matched on the debit side by Stalin’s ‘universal incompetence’ and his ‘dogmatic crudeness’ [CDR2:205].
Ronald Aronson and Andrew Dobson
Sartre is left out of this commentary on Sartre. As students of Sartre, should we not ground ourselves in what Sartre actually said, in an appreciation of what he was up to, as well as in a willingness to engage the scholarship about his work? Given the richness both of Sartre’s writing and the interpretative literature, an article discussing Sartre’s notion of freedom and criticising his views on morality can fairly be taxed if it lacks these attentions. Of course Andrew Dobson is entitled to argue against Sartre, or against our various interpretations of Sartre, and to show why an anti-Sartrean ethical understanding such as his own is warranted. But what he gives us is misleading, because above all he ignores Sartre’s own evolving conception of freedom, and Sartre’s own changing purposes.
The first issue of volume three of Sartre Studies International continues the journal’s primary aim of reassessing the relevance and validity of Sartrean ideals and aspirations to a contemporary world. The initial article by Andrew Dobson examines Sartre’s account of Stalin and Stalinism in the second volume of Critique de la raison dialectique, focusing in particular on the balance between historical judgement and historical explanation within a textual dynamics associated with praxis-process. Dobson’s contention that Sartre’s analysis of Stalinism lacks moral judgement is challenged in no uncertain manner by Ronald Aronson who asserts that Dobson has ‘removed Sartre’s ideas from their own complex problematic’, subjecting them without reflection and justification to his own common-sense view of moral behaviour.
Constance Mui, Kevin Gray, John Foran, and David Ross Fryer
Thomas Martin, Oppression and the Human Condition: An Introduction to Sartrean Existentialism Review by Constance Mui
Ian H. Birchall, Sartre against Stalinism Review by Kevin Gray
Ronald Aronson, Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It
David A. Sprintzen and Adrian van den Hoven, editors and translators, Sartre and Camus: A Historic Confrontation Reviews by John Foran
Nik Farrell Fox, The New Sartre: Explorations in Postmodernism Review by David Ross Fryer
A Reply to Alfred Betschart
of individual self-determination and the commitment to collective human self-determination animating even the ugliest forms of Marxism. Despite Stalinism, Sartre resonated with Marxism and, with characteristic ambition, between the mid-1940s and into
Marxists and anarchists in the First International and between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks in the RSDLP were the forerunners of Stalin's terror régime from the 1930s to his death in 1953. For Sartre, the prerequisite of a successful revolution is the
peaceful, harmonious, glorious future lay in store for humankind entails that no moral scruples should stand in the way of hastening the arrival of that new dawn—hence Stalinism. Camus argues for a sense of moderation, rooted not in God but in human nature
Jorge Lizarzaburu, Adrian van den Hoven, and Donovan Irven
condemning communism. Cox further notes that in “The Ghost of Stalin,” Sartre carefully distinguishes between the Kremlin and its henchmen: “The Red Army … was not oppressive, but Krushchev’s Kremlin made it look oppressive” (195). Finally, Cox goes into
A New Idea of Democracy in Sartre's Hope Now
himself, without any relational or market rules. On the contrary, if we consider equality the main principle, we could arrive at the flattened society of Stalinism and communist dystopia, at the cost of losing human rights such as freedom of speech and
The Role of the State
: 329–330 ) refers to a UNDP study from 1999 that explained 10 million died prematurely as a result of these transitions. This is more or less the same amount as during all Stalin's atrocities. Atrocities brought by the market may be not as noticeable