Jean-Paul Sartre, defender of “The People’s cause”, a photograph of Bruno Barbey, by Nathalie Parienté
Sartre’s life could be split into two distinctive periods. The first from his birth in 1905 until 1945, dedicated almost religiously to words. Literature as a kind of priesthood. The second from 1945 onwards when he embraced the people’s cause well before it became the name of a newspaper in the Sixties. Words used as weapons. Often said, but sometimes slogans hit the nail on the head.
Although WW2 was not really « his war », it nevertheless marked the start of a need to fight for the freedom to write for Sartre. For Liberty itself, the hub of all his philosophical, literary and aesthetic thought processes. And ethics too, as he and Simone de Beauvoir would invent a new kind of « relationship » as a couple. From that point on it was important to be involved, as all power had to be questioned.
From 1945, other wars, practically all others in fact, would become his fight. He founded the magazine called « Les Temps Modernes ». The first cause he embraced was that of people of colour in the States and the issue of segregation. For the first time, says his biographer Annie Cohen-Solal, « Sartre will come face to face with his time ». (* 1) Later on, his...