A Commentary on Jean-Paul Satre's Critique of Dialectical by Joseph S. Catalano

By Joseph S. Catalano

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Sartre , The Communists and Peace with a Reply to Claude Lefort. trans . Martha H . Fletcher and Philip R . Berk (New York: George Braziller, 1 968) (hereafter cited a s CPl . 25 Marxism and Existential ism phenomenon . There is a class struggle, but it is not between i deal categories . "I don't concern myself with what would be desirable nor with ideal relations which the Party-in-itself ( Parti-en-soi) sustains with the Eternal Proletariat; I seek to understand what is happening in France today, before our very eyes " ( CP, 1 20) .

Sartre concludes by turning his attention to the Party in France. Here , , 29 Marx ism and Existential ism at this time , he sees that a true de-Stalinization may be possible for the French Left . 17 For our part, it's been twelve years that we have been debat­ Communists . At first with violence , later i n friendship. But our goal was always the same: to cooperate with our feeble forces in achieving this union of the Lefts which alone can stil l save our country. Today, we return to the opposition: for this very simple reason , that there i s no other position to take; alliance with the C .

This explanation alone , however, is too simple ; it does not account for the description , in Being and Nothingness of love as a conflict between freedoms . From the perspective of the Critique, however, Sartre's de­ scriptions of interpersonal relations take on different meanings. As will be­ come evident, the distinction between the abstract and the concrete in the Cri­ tique relates, in general , to the distinction between the local significance of our actions and their historical import . It is now possible to interpret interper­ sonal relations , such as love , in an abstract but positive way.

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