par Philippe Gottraux
1997, in La Revue des revues n° 23
Due to its origine in an extreme left-wing group, Socialisme ou Barbarie was never a journal like the others. First published in 1949 by a political group of the same name which had broken away from the Trotskist International Communist Party, the periodical retained throughout its existence the mark of its original revolutionary basis. The founders identified themselves not as an editorial staff but as militants. This attitude set Socialisme ou Barbarie off from other French, intellectual, leftist journals of the time such as Arguments or Les Temps Modernes. This identity was not without consequence on the group’s practices, collective editorial management was the rule ; it also reproduced the common far left-wing conception of expressing a unified and coherent point of view in writing despite inner discord and controversy which was rarely publicly aired. In the end, the journal collapsed in the wake of an orientational controversy typical among far left-wing groups. Despite that, the very existence of the journal prouved that it was possible to escape the iron framework that encased a large part of the French left-wing in the fifties and led to confusion between Marxism and Stalinism.
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