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“What you talkin’ ’bout Sartre?”

Friday, April 24, 2009
Jean-Paul Sartre, photography by Antanas Sutkus

Jean-Paul Sartre, photography by Antanas Sutkus

Being can generate only being and if man is inclosed in this process of generation, only being will come out of him.

Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, 24. [1]

No, seriously, what the fuck you talkin’ ’bout!?

Or this little diddy right here:

Negation has referred us to freedom, freedom to bad faith, and bad faith to the being of consciousness, which is the requisite condition for the possibility of bad faith.

The for-itself, as the foundation of itself, is the upsurge of the negation…What it denies or nihilates, as we know, is being-in-itself. [2]

Well if you want to find out then please tune-in (around a weeks time) to a special podcast between xMabaitx and myself in where we deconstruct (to a certain degree) the existentialist philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre and then rant and rave, argue and quibble, and generally bang our heads against the wall as we try to explain to our audience (and ourselves) what the fuck Sartre is talking about!

The podcast (or small podcast series) generally split up into:

  1. Being and Nothingness
    1. Being-in-itself, being-for-itself, being-for-others.
    2. Choice, anguish, freedom.
  2. Critique of Dialectical Reason
    1. Marxism & Individual Existentialism
    2. Class as social construct
  3. Sartre as activist and public intellectual
    1. Support for the Vietnamese against the French.
    2. Support of the Algerians against the French.
    3. Support of the Vietnamese against the Americans.
    4. His late 1960s decent into French Maoism (which is kinda like Libertarian Socialism with Maoist influence)
  4. Sartre and Zionism
  5. What does existentialist mean for us (xMabaitx and I) Marxists?

Although, not all of him is that hard to understand.

Our victims [3] know us by their wounds and schackles: that is what makes their testimony irrefutable.  They only need to know what we have done to them for us to realize what we have done to ourselves.  Is this neccesary?  Yes, because Europe is doomed. [4]

Now how’s that for taking it to whitey!


1. Sartre, Jean-Paul.  Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Eassy on Ontology.  Translated by Hazel E. Barnes.  New York: Citadel Press, 2001.

2. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, 49, 64.

3. Sartre here is talking about the victims of the white man, of white colonialism and white male hegemony and capitalism.

4.  Sartre, Jean-Paul, “Preface ” in The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon.  Translated by Richard Philcox.  New York: Grove Press, 2004, xlviii.


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