André Glucksmann

Last updated

André Glucksmann
Andre Glucksmann (cropped).jpg
André Glucksmann in January 2012
Born(1937-06-19)19 June 1937
Died10 November 2015(2015-11-10) (aged 78)
Paris, France
Alma mater École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud
Era 20th-/21st-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Nouveaux Philosophes
Main interests
Political philosophy

André Glucksmann (French:  [ɡlyksman] ; 19 June 1937 – 10 November 2015) was a French philosopher, activist and writer. He was a member of the French new philosophers.

Contents

Glucksmann began his career as a Marxist, but went on to reject communism in the popular book La Cuisinière et le Mangeur d'Hommes (1975), and later became an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russian foreign policy. He was a strong supporter of human rights. In recent years he opposed the claim that Islamic terrorism is the product of the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Human rights Inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled

Human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being" and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances; for example, human rights may include freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture and execution.

Early years

André Glucksmann was born in 1937 in Boulogne-Billancourt, the son of Ashkenazi Jewish parents from Austria-Hungary. His father was from Bukovina, which later became part of Romania, and his mother from Prague, which later became the capital of Czechoslovakia. [1]

Boulogne-Billancourt Subprefecture and commune in Île-de-France, France

Boulogne-Billancourt is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 8.2 km (5.1 mi) from the centre of Paris. Boulogne-Billancourt is a subprefecture of the Hauts-de-Seine department and the seat of the Arrondissement of Boulogne-Billancourt.

Austria-Hungary Constitutional monarchic union between 1867 and 1918

Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy in Central and Eastern Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed when the Austrian Empire adopted a new constitution; as a result Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary (Transleithania) were placed on equal footing. It dissolved into several new states at the end of the First World War.

Bukovina Historical region

Bukovina is a historical region, variously described as in Central or Eastern Europe. The region is located on the northern slopes of the central Eastern Carpathians and the adjoining plains, today divided between Romania and Ukraine.

Glucksmann's father was killed in World War II, and his mother and sister were active in the French Resistance. [2] The family "narrowly escaped deportation to the camps" during the Holocaust, which influenced Glucksmann's developing ideas of "the state as the ultimate source of barbarism". [2]

French Resistance collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime

The French Resistance was the collection of French movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. Resistance cells were small groups of armed men and women, who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare activities, were also publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, and maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines. The men and women of the Resistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of French society, including émigrés, academics, students, aristocrats, conservative Roman Catholics, and also citizens from the ranks of liberals, anarchists and communists.

He studied at the Lycée la Martinière in Lyon, and later enrolled at École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud. His first book, Le Discours de la Guerre, was published in 1968. [3]

Career

Early career

In 1975 he published the anti-Marxist book La Cuisinière et le Mangeur d'Hommes - subtitled Réflexions sur l'État, le marxisme et les camps de concentration, in which he argued that Marxism leads inevitably to totalitarianism, tracing parallels between the crimes of Nazism and Communism. [3] In his next book Les maitres penseurs, published in 1977 and translated into English as Master Thinkers (Harper & Row, 1980), he traced the intellectual justification for totalitarianism back to the ideas articulated by various German philosophers such as Fichte, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche. [4] In the years of the Vietnam War, Glucksmann rose to national prominence after expressing his support for Vietnamese boat people. [3] He began working with Bernard-Henri Lévy criticizing Communism. [5] Both had formerly been well known Marxists. Shortly afterwards they became known, along with others of their generation who rejected Marxism, as New Philosophers, a term coined by Lévy. [5]

Marxism economic and sociopolitical worldview based on the works of Karl Marx

Marxism is a theory and method of working-class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Totalitarianism political system in which the state holds total authority

Totalitarianism is a political concept of a mode of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. Political power in totalitarian states has often been held by rule by one leader which employ all-encompassing propaganda campaigns broadcast by state-controlled mass media. Totalitarian regimes are often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, restriction of speech, mass surveillance and widespread use of state terrorism. Historian Robert Conquest describes a "totalitarian" state as one recognizing no limits to its authority in any sphere of public or private life and which extends that authority to whatever length feasible.

National Socialism, more commonly known as Nazism, is the ideology and practices associated with the Nazi Party—officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party —in Nazi Germany, and of other far-right groups with similar aims.

1980s and 1990s

In 1985, Glucksmann signed a petition to President Reagan urging him to continue his support for the Contras in Nicaragua. [6] After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Glucksmann became an advocate for the use of nuclear power. [3] In 1995 he supported the resumption of nuclear tests by Jacques Chirac. [7] He supported the NATO intervention in Serbia in 1999. He also called for Chechnya to become independent. [8]

Philosophy

Glucksmann speaking at a conference in Paris, 2002 Andre Glucksmann2.jpg
Glucksmann speaking at a conference in Paris, 2002

In his book Dostoyevsky in Manhattan, Glucksmann asserts that nihilism, particularly as depicted by Dostoyevsky in his novels Demons and The Brothers Karamazov , is the 'characteristic form' of modern terrorism. Drawing on Ivan Karamazov's dictum that "If there is no God, everything is permitted", Glucksmann argues that:

The inner nature of nihilistic terrorism is that everything is permissible, whether because God exists and I am his representative, or because God does not exist and I take his place. [9]

His 2006 book Une rage d’enfant is an autobiography which talks about how his experiences as a young Jew in occupied France led to his interest in philosophy and his belief in the importance of intervention:

My style of thinking is to compare what happens on the TV, in the news and so on, and then extract what I can from books of philosophers to understand it. Philosophy for me is like subtitles. The problem comes from current events but the answer is supplied by philosophy. [10]

Glucksmann criticises the notion that Islamic terrorism is a product of the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, arguing that the first victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims:

Why do the 200,000 slaughtered Muslims of Darfur not arouse even half a quarter of the fury caused by 200-times fewer dead in Lebanon? Must we deduce that Muslims killed by other Muslims don’t count – whether in the eyes of Muslim authorities or viewed through the bad conscience of the West? [9]

Later years

Glucksmann supported military action by the West in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was highly critical of Russian foreign policy, supporting for example Chechen independence. [11] However, he was against the Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence from Georgia, arguing that Georgia is essential to maintaining European Union "energy independence," vis-a-vis Russia, through access to oil and gas reserves in the former Soviet republics: "If Tbilisi falls, there will be no way to get around Gazprom and guarantee autonomous access to the gas and petroleum wealth of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan". [11]

Glucksmann in Festival SOS 4.8 in Murcia, 2009 Glucksmann.JPG
Glucksmann in Festival SOS 4.8 in Murcia, 2009

As proof of Russia's plans to use energy blackmail, Glucksmann referenced a biting anti-Gazprom satirical song performed at the annual satirical award show "Silver Rubber Boot", which made jokes like: "If the Eurovision Song Contest denies victory to Russia again, we are going to drive to their concert and block their gas with our bodies!" [12] Glucksmann cited this as evidence that the Russian people want to cut off gas to Ukraine and Europe. He wrote:

Consider a popular song performed by a military choir in Moscow. Its chorus depicts the “radiant future” that Gazprom is preparing: “Europe has a problem with us? We will cut off its gas..." The Russian public loves the song. [13]

Glucksmann supported Nicolas Sarkozy for the April–May 2007 presidential election. [14]

In August 2008 he co-signed an open letter with Václav Havel, Desmond Tutu, and Wei Jingsheng calling upon the Chinese authorities to respect human rights both during and after the Beijing Olympic Games. [15]

He was a signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism. [16]

Death

Glucksmann died in Paris on 10 November 2015 at the age of 78. [3] He is survived by his son Raphael, who announced Glucksmann's death on Facebook. [17]

In reaction to his death, President François Hollande said that Glucksmann always "listened to the suffering of peoples". [5] Former president and opposition leader Nicolas Sarkozy commented on Glucksmann's death by saying: "[Glucksmann] turned a page in French thought from the second half of the 20th Century". [5]

Works

Note: Many of his works were translated into German by his long-term colleague Helmut Kohlenberger.

Interviews

Related Research Articles

Dominique de Villepin Prime Minister of France (2005–2007)

Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007 under President Jacques Chirac.

Gazprom Russian oil and gas company

Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom is a large Russian company founded in 1989, which carries on the business of extraction, production, transport, and sale of natural gas. The company is majority owned by the Government of Russia, via the Federal Agency for State Property Management and Rosneftegaz. The remaining shares are listed on public stock markets of Moscow, London and Frankfurt. The Gazprom name is a portmanteau of the Russian words Gazovaya Promyshlennost. Gazprom is in the process of moving from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, where it is constructing Europe's tallest building for its new headquarters. Gazprom is the world’s largest oil producer, with producing oil through the largest natural gas field in the world, the Shtokman field.

Union for a Popular Movement French centre-right political party

The Union for a Popular Movement was a centre-right political party in France that was one of the two major contemporary political parties in France along with the centre-left Socialist Party (PS). The UMP was formed in 2002 as a merger of several centre-right parties under the leadership of President Jacques Chirac. In May 2015, the party was renamed and succeeded by The Republicans.

Bernard-Henri Lévy French film director and philosopher

Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French public intellectual. Often referred to in France simply as BHL, he was one of the leaders of the "Nouveaux Philosophes" movement in 1976. The Boston Globe has said that he is "perhaps the most prominent intellectual in France today". His opinions, political activism and publications have also been the subject of several controversies over the years.

Nicolas Sarkozy 23rd President of the French Republic

Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-BocsaKOGF, GCB is a retired French politician who served as President of France and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra from 16 May 2007 until 15 May 2012.

Gilles Kepel French academic

Gilles Kepel, is a French political scientist and Arabist, specialized in the contemporary Middle East and Muslims in the West. He is Professor at the Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) and director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Chair at PSL, based at Ecole Normale Supérieure. He has been described by Alain Elkann as “the best possible guide through the frightening labyrinth of militant Islam.”

Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly magazine, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as above all secular, skeptic, and atheist, far-left-wing, and anti-racist publishing articles about the extreme right, religion, politics and culture.

The 2005 French riots was a three-week period of riots in the suburbs of Paris and other French cities, in October and November 2005. These riots involved youth of African, North African, and French heritage in violent attacks, and the burning of cars and public buildings.

François Fillon Prime Minister of France (2007–2012)

François Charles Armand Fillon is a retired French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 2007 to 2012 under President Nicolas Sarkozy. He was the nominee of the Republicans, the country's largest centre-right political party, for the 2017 presidential election.

2007 French presidential election

The 2007 French presidential election, the ninth of the Fifth French Republic was held to elect the successor to Jacques Chirac as president of France for a five-year term.

Rachida Dati French politician and Member of the European Parliament

Rachida Dati is a French politician and Member of the European Parliament, representing Île-de-France. Prior to her election, she held the cabinet post of Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice. She was a spokesperson for Nicolas Sarkozy during the French presidential election of 2007. After his victory, Sarkozy appointed her to his Government on 18 May 2007. She was elected mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris on 29 March 2008.

François Asselineau French politician and official

François Asselineau is a French politician and an Inspector General for finances.

Popular Republican Union (2007) extra-parliamentary French political party

Popular Republican Union is a French political party, founded in 2007 by François Asselineau. The ideology of the party is a hard Eurosceptic, and seeks the withdrawal of France from the European Union, the euro and NATO.

Toulouse and Montauban shootings

The Toulouse and Montauban shootings were a series of Islamist terrorist attacks committed by Mohammed Merah from 11–19 March 2012 in the cities of Montauban and Toulouse in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France. He targeted French Army soldiers as well as children and teachers at a Jewish school. Seven people were killed and five wounded. On 11 March, Merah shot dead an off-duty French Army paratrooper in Toulouse. On 15 March, he killed two off-duty uniformed French soldiers and seriously wounded another in Montauban. On 19 March, he opened fire at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, killing a rabbi and three children, also wounding four others. Merah filmed his attacks with a body-worn camera.

Emmanuel Macron 25th President of the French Republic

Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is a French politician serving as President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra since 2017. He was Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs from 2014 to 2016.

André Rogerie French WW2 General

André Rogerie was a member of the French Resistance in World War II and survivor of seven Nazi concentration camps who testified after the war about what he had seen in the camps.

The Republicans (France) French right-wing political party

The Republicans is a centre-right, Gaullist, conservative political party in France.

Paul Nikolaevich Evdokimov was an Orthodox Christian theologian, professor at the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, and émigré.

Raphaël Glucksmann French film director and journalist

Raphaël Glucksmann is a French journalist and film director. He was also an adviser to former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

Thomas Porcher French economist

Thomas Porcher is a French economist. He is a member of the left-wing association of economists called Les Économistes atterrés.

References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 February 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. 1 2 Matheson, Tamara Chaplin; Chaplin, Tamara (1 December 2007). "Turning On the Mind: French Philosophers on Television". University of Chicago Press via Google Books.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "French philosopher André Glucksmann dies at 78". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  4. "French Jewish philosophers Andre Glucksmann dies at 78". Times of Israel.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "French philosopher Andre Glucksmann dies at 78". BBC News.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  6. "Anti-Americanism". Google Books. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  7. "Jacques Iraq aka Jacques Chirac". Diglander.it. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  8. "Murió el filósofo André Glucksmann, un crítico de los totalitarismos". Clarin.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  9. 1 2 "Bin Laden, Dostoevsky and the reality principle: an interview with André Glucksmann". Open Democracy.net. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  10. "Meeting the Challenge Of 9/11: Blueprints for More Effective Government". Google Books. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  11. 1 2 "French Philosophers Andre Glucksmann Dies at 78". NDTV.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  12. "André Glucksmann, former Leftist, Nouveau Philosophe, Sarkozy Backer, Dies". Ten Dance Coatsey.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  13. A Hot Summer in Europe, André Glucksmann City Journal, 30 July 2009
  14. Pourquoi je choisis Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Monde , 29 January 2007 (in French)
  15. "Olympic Watch: Human Rights". Olympic Watch.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  16. "Prague Declaration: Selected signatories". Institute for Information on the Crimes of Communism. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  17. "Outspoken French intellectual Andre Glucksmann dies at 78". The Washington Post.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  18. "Le testament philosophique d'André Glucksmann". Bibliobs.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  19. "Une rage d'enfant". France Culture.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  20. "Le Discours de la haine". France Culture.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  21. "Ouest contre Ouest". France Culture.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  22. "Dostoïevski à Manhattan". Laffont.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  23. "LA TROISIÈME MORT DE DIEU". NIL editions.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  24. "Silence, on tue". Grasset.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  25. 1 2 "André Glucksmann, la ferveur et l'engagement". Lefigaro.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  26. "Cynisme et passion". Grasset.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  27. "La Force du vertige". Babelio.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.