Libération - 50 years



Considerations on the role of Jean-Paul Sartre in the founding process of the newspaper


On May 23, 2023, the newspaper that renewed the French press with a bold, critical and irreverent style, in tune – in different intensities over the decades – with the ideals of a left open to changes in social life, of cultural patterns and political practices.

In fact, half a century of Libération has movable dates of celebration. Launched at a press conference on January 3, 1973, it reached readers on February 18 with the issue 0, aimed at disseminating editorial principles and attracting subscribers and donations. On May 23, the first issue officially came out, including, just below the title, the name of its director, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. At the age of 68, he took office with the credentials of the most influential left-wing intellectual in France since the post-war period and director of the mythical magazine Modern Times since October 1947.

A unifying and stellar figure in the project, Sartre inspired and imprinted the indelible mark of Libération as “the defender of all contestations”, in the happy definition of the journalist and philosopher Robert Maggiori.[1] In fact, the tabloid stood out for its relentless criticism of the power system, which generates inequalities, exclusions and discrimination, and for its unavoidable commitment to freedom of expression and truthful information.

In the following text, I outline the trajectory of the Libération, between the gestation of the project and the end of Jean-Paul Sartre's unique management, over the course of a year. A period of effervescence in the country and in the world, during which, despite persistent financial difficulties, the newspaper adopted a counter-hegemonic view of journalism, based on the defense of libertarian causes, social mobilizations and citizenship rights, with a tendentially socialist bias, but without being tied to orthodoxies. 


When opponents were already propagating the loss of influence of Jean-Paul Sartre in the French public scene, behold, the press appeared again as a beam of light for the founder of Modern Times and columnist for numerous publications. This time it was the Libération. The tabloid, conceived by Maoists and former Maoists from the far-left organization Gauche Proletarian (GP), introduced a radical critical component in the scenario of conservative hegemony.

In the early 1970s, the mainstream press was basically formed by newspapers from the Resistance and Liberation generations (Le Figaro, Le Monde, Fighting, The Morning, Le Parisien), by political weeklies launched during the crisis in Indochina and Algeria (The Express, Le Nouvel Observateur) and other recent ones (The Point), by illustrated variety magazines (Paris Match, It, Marie Claire). In general, coverage of social problems was episodic, and the most visible effort in this direction came from the Le Monde, which created the column entitled “Agitação”, focused on trade union news and civil society organizations and movements.

On the other hand, noted journalist Serge July, “the press of May 1968 was countercultural, with no sense of operational organization”.[2] But it is no less true that, despite the lack of resources and the lack of internal structure and distribution schemes, alternative, libertarian and underground from 1968 he helped to renew the standards of the French press. The range of options reflected the variety of yearnings of the new generations that converged in the assemblies and protests against the establishment. At least a dozen journals portrayed the creative and contesting effervescence, including three with bolder editorial and aesthetic concepts: Charlie Hebdo (1969), for humor and radical political satire; All! (1970), in defense of sexual minorities and anti-bourgeois, pro-Maoist values; Current (1970), which brought together groups of young authors from the extreme left.[3]

In the field of the revolutionary press, the newspapers of semi-clandestine, Maoist or non-Maoist organizations, advocated the ideological education of workers, awareness against the oppressive power and methods of direct and aggressive action, from strikes and factory occupations to eventual armed actions. The diffusion was restricted to militants and sympathizers, but it ran up against government repression and judicial processes to interdict them – and there was still competition from the public. Humanity, spokesman for the French Communist Party (PCF) and the most structured body of the left since the post-war period.

the dome of Gauche Proletarian considered that the inconsistencies of the so-called “free press” could be overcome by a daily newspaper that tried to reflect the sensibilities and multifaceted expressions that emerged in the ideological upheaval of 1968. Libération was born at the beginning of the 1972 school year. Discussions around a diary that advocated for the real development of political democracy and incorporated claims since 1968 brought together Jean-Paul Sartre, philosopher Michel Foucault, writer Maurice Clavel and filmmaker and critic of cinema Alexandre Astruc. With the support of these intellectuals, the number of people interested in the newspaper grew, and it didn't take long for the cramped office at 14 Rue de Bretagne to receive a surprising number of people, mostly young people, for meetings lasting three or four hours.

In Serge July's assessment, three impulses converged to create the Libération.[4] The first came from Jean-Paul Sartre. In the post-1968 period, disappointed with the ebb of insurgent mobilizations and dissatisfied with what he believed to be the passivity of the traditional left vis-à-vis the hegemony of capital, he approached Maoists who had come out of the student rebellions of the French May. Although there are certain convergences of his thinking at the time with the leftist line of Gauche Proletarian, Sartre essentially maintained political and intellectual autonomy. He has repeatedly expressed solidarity with the organization in the face of repressive measures by the Gaullist government of Georges Pompidou, including the police offensive to interdict newspapers. J'Accuse e The People's Cause.

In the early 1970s, he agreed to give his name to appear as director of both vehicles, in a kind of symbolic protection screen, due to his national and international reputation, to the threatened freedom of expression. He even went to the streets of Paris to sell copies of The People's Cause, in open defiance of the seizure orders.

But, according to July, in mid-1972, Sartre was already tired of playing this role and was motivated by the proposal of the new newspaper: “Sartre was one of the few French intellectuals of the time who immersed himself in reality, for having thought a lot about the story that was yet to be made. This can be read in the ten volumes entitled situations and, of course, in Modern Times. It is, therefore, the theoretical role that Sartre is led to play in this period in relation to concrete situations that naturally convinced him to engage in the madness of the Libération. He also played a unifying role for many people likely to work on such a project and who placed confidence in his ability to resist the authoritarian and sectarian tendencies of the ex-Maoists”.[5]

The philosopher encouraged the team to adopt an editorial style unlike anything in the mainstream press. “I remember meetings about the language the newspaper should have. Sartre wanted to find a new 'written-spoken' language, a written translation of popular speech, a language that would ensure the flow of communication”, recalled July.[6]

The second stimulus was given by the group of Maoist journalists, ex-Maoists and sympathizers, who had come from the Press Release Agency (APL), founded on June 18, 1971 and directed by Jean-Claude Vernier and Claude-Marie Vadrot. Sartre and Maurice Clavel agreed to be co-directors to signal repression that it had strong supporters. The editorial purpose of Press Release Agency APL accentuated the contrast: it wanted to “defend the truth, strengthen free information and confront information submissive to the orders of power”. It mixed the political radicalism of the Gauche Proletarian with the desire to win over readers with news focused on social demands. The daily bulletin of Press Release Agency it became a reliable source of information for trade unions, social movements, factory committees, student councils, and left-wing groups.[7]

The third impulse came from the Gauche Proletarian. From the experiences of J'Accuse e The People's Cause, both with low print runs and limited penetration, the organization started to defend the thesis that the seizure of power should be managed by speaking openly about popular issues, in order to form critical consciences and denounce the exploitation of workers. For this, a bold publication was needed, capable of giving visibility to social causes ignored by the mainstream press.

On the morning of December 6, 1972, a meeting between leaders of the Gauche Proletarian, intellectuals and journalists sealed the unit around the creation of the newspaper. There was consensus that the Libération it should not identify with Maoism, nor be exclusively political. With that, he would have credibility to support various forms of struggle (mobilizations, strikes, human rights movements). This was a point emphasized by Jean-Paul Sartre: it was necessary to avoid the “temptation of making a leftist newspaper”, as it would have the double risk of organizing itself internally as if it were “a family of militants” and ending up being perceived externally as more a spokesman for political "groupscules".[8]

In January 1973, Jean-Paul Sartre, Serge July, Jean-Claude Vernier, Jean-René Huleu, Philippe Gavi and Bernard Lallement founded the Libération, or simply Freed. The name was identical to that of the newspaper created in 1927 by the journalist and anarchist activist Jules Vigne, later one of the fierce newspapers of the Resistance. It became a daily post-war, with the subtitle "The great morning of information". The title Libération It was donated in 1973, for a symbolic franc, by the family of Emmanuel d'Astier de La Vigerie, creator of the newspaper that circulated from 1941 to 1964 and who died after the Algerian war.

The newspaper's manifesto, initially written by Pierre Victor (one of the leaders of the Gauche Proletarian), revised by Philippe Gavi and finalized by Sartre, defines a principle (“Information comes from the people and returns to the people”) and a slogan (“People, take the word and keep it”).[9] The goal was to become the diary of progressive and left-wing readers, not contemplated in the options then existing in the French press, which immediately included changing journalistic practices: “While most editors in the mainstream press slavishly receive directives defined in expensive restaurants by formulators of official policy, the journalist of the Libération will find information in proletarian neighborhoods, factories and communities”.

From an editorial point of view, one of the priorities would be coverage of everyday life: “Libération it will not limit itself to informing about the strikes, the direct actions of all popular layers, silenced by the great press. It will address all the facts that contemplate the multiple facets of social life, the life of a people subject to injustice and violence”.


Jean-Paul Sartre occupied the Freed a small room when there were meetings, and did not get involved with editorial guidelines, in charge of Philippe Gavi and Serge July. The editorial secretary was Jean-René Huleu. Outside office hours, there was an advisory committee headed by Pierre Victor. Victor was credited with vetoing the participation of other renowned intellectuals, in addition to Sartre (“the theoretical director”, as he defined himself) in the first phase of the newspaper. The workerist dome of Gauche Proletarian continued to label them “bourgeois”.

At this stage, Sartre remained at the forefront of Modern Times, attending the Sunday meetings of the editorial committee. In theory, there were no connections between the two publications. The magazine continued to be literary, cultural and political, not necessarily in that order; O Libération it referred to counter-hegemonic journalism, with an iconoclastic spirit and the vigor of revolutionary rebellion.

In an interview with Nina Sutton of The Guardian, from London, Sartre exposed the general marks of critical journalism that Libération would try to implement.[10] The newspaper would not condone “institutions that oppress the people”, nor would it submit to hierarchies that hinder freedom of expression. The determining axis was to listen to the workers about their living conditions and try to present their manifestations as clearly as possible. “What the journalist must do – he is not there to write the story or interpret it – is to listen to what people have to say and convey their words to everyone who is not only concerned with the event itself, but with the situation as a whole.”

The following question had been discussed by the newspaper's founding group: would there be spaces for taboo topics? For Sartre, like the Freed he did not officially support any party, he was free to deal with society's problems and contradictions, without dogmatism. The reporter wanted to know if the Maoists agreed with this breaking of taboos, noting that some left-wing organizations did not usually go into depth about it. “The Maoists realized that the strategy of putting revolutionary politics above everything condemned them to being nothing more than a leftist group. They understood that the best way to talk to the masses is to talk to them about their problems,” he clarified.

Nina Sutton asked if the support of militants and more politicized readers would be enough to guarantee the newspaper's survival, even if produced at low cost. Was Sartre's least assertive response: “We'll have to see. But I hope so. You see, there is, emerging everywhere, an anti-hierarchy, a libertarian stream of consciousness that has not yet channeled into a force. And the Libération hopes to be the catalyst. For example, you have more and more young people shoplifting in big stores in the suburbs and, on the other hand, magistrates condemning them to pay fines. This indicates a weakening of the concept of ownership. They don't steal because they want to; they steal because they are hungry. They steal because the idea of ​​private property strikes them as theft. If you understand that then Libération it's your newspaper. Not that we defend shoplifting, but because these robberies belong to the same logic of contestation. Something that, in its relationship with private property, becomes stronger, more violent, more questioning”.

In an effort to publicize the Freed, on February 7, 1973 Sartre appeared at the studio of Radio France Culture to be interviewed by Jacques Chancel on the station's highest rated program, the radioscopy. Denis Bertholet was accurate when he said that, especially in this interview, “Sartre sees himself as a journalist: at the progressive vanguard of information, shaping the future in an alienated present”.[11] For 40 minutes, he spoke about his life, work, the refusal of the Nobel Prize, French politics, the craft of writing and the evolution of his thought. The longest parts were about journalism (“journalism is not to be confused with literature or politics; the biggest commitment is with information, it can be political, cultural, economic information, but it needs to be as reliable as possible to the readers") and the Libération (“There is room for another type of newspaper, like the one I accepted to direct, in which the work of journalists and the information disseminated does not depend on financial power, on the power of money that advertising imposes, and which prevails in conservative newspapers”) .

Chancel asked where the money to support the newspaper came from. “It comes from donations from ordinary people, who give their addresses, their names”. Sartre highlighted the importance of a popular newspaper, “which defends direct democracy and the right of the people to speak for the people”. Chancel chimed in: “Humanity Isn't it a popular newspaper? Sartre replied that, as it was the official organ of the PCF, it expressed the party's opinion, unlike the Libération. “We are not a party newspaper. I am referring to a popular newspaper in which journalists can express what they think, but which do not speak for the people, but seek to give the people the right to speak”.

The priority of the project Freed came at the end of the program: “I don't take care of myself very much, you know, I have a lot to do. This morning it was Libération; this afternoon is Libération; tomorrow morning will be Libération” For three months he practically stopped writing anything that wasn't for the newspaper.

Under the leadership of Sartre, the Freed it did not accept commercial advertising, sponsorships, state subsidies or external funding, surviving with difficulties from sales on newsstands, subscriptions and eventual donations. The only exception were the small free advertisements published daily, ranging from real estate rentals to love proposals. Sartre rejected the commodification of information and never strayed from the certainty that "the free press exists where capital does not prevail". In his understanding, newspaper companies are governed by advertising and the selfishness of profit, they give in to sensationalism to distract the most conscienceless and are arm in arm with bourgeois power: “Information cannot depend on financial power, on the power of the money that advertising imposes, and which is what prevails in conservative newspapers”.

The cooperative company responsible for the newspaper paid everyone the same wages: 1.500 francs a month. This golden rule was fixed after internal disagreements, as one wing defended remuneration according to professional experience. At his behest, Sartre never received a penny; on the contrary, he contributed financially at times. And he ceded the copyright to the book We are right to revolt, published by Gallimard in January 1974 and the result of his political conversations with Pierre Victor and Philippe Gavi. Other intellectuals made donations, such as Michel Foucault (amount in kind) and Maurice Clavel (copyright of the book The parishioners of Palente).

The edition of Freed which circulated on April 18, 1973, with four pages, had the purpose of launching the campaign of subscriptions and donations, supported by recognized names in the intellectuality and in the artistic environment, such as Foucault, Clavel, Jean Chesneaux, Jean-Marie Domenach, Philippe Sollers, Jean-François Bizot, Jean Rollin, Serge Gainsbourg, Jeanne Moreau and Georges Moustaki. The headline: “Take your newspaper in your hands”. Along with the slogan “For a new journalism”, an appeal to readers to subscribe to the newspaper: “Since May 68, the need for a new daily newspaper has been felt by an entire movement crossed by divisions on the left, but still united in around the rejection of an authoritarian conception of life and a common aspiration: a democracy that rejects the exploitation of work, everyday violence in the name of profit, violence by men against women, repressed sexuality, racism, pollution of the environment… This movement of ideas hardly finds a place in today's daily press (…), where powerful interests prevail. An entirely free daily newspaper is needed; a newspaper that is not the mouthpiece of any party, in which ideas and facts confront each other. No advertising, no bank behind it, only a subscription can allow it to exist.”

At the top of the first page of number 1, the inaugural firecracker of the Libération by Sartre: “Renault: the 'secret boss'”. The call denounced the action of an anti-strike command within the car factory: “Renault is a nationalized company and one of the biggest advertisers. There is little chance of finding an article in the 'mainstream' press revealing the existence, in your administration, of an organized shock troop, which violently confronted the Renault strikers”.


O Libération came out for real on May 23, 1973, with eight pages, an ambitious print run of 50 copies and circulation five days a week. Titles were catchy and photos were well distributed. It featured political notes, reports, analysis texts, a pioneering column on the media, letters from readers and manifestations from ordinary citizens, in addition to the section on justice and human rights. The collective of journalists participated in the newspaper's assemblies and enjoyed greater freedom of opinion in the preparation of texts.

The newspaper supported social mobilizations and strikes; it focused on themes hitherto “hidden” in the press, such as sexuality, feminism, abortion and homosexuality; he denounced racism, the living conditions of the elderly, the dehumanization in prisons and asylums, tax increases, the excesses of large companies and government arbitrariness. International coverage filled two pages, with analyzes of US imperialist policy and the Watergate affair that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon; the Middle East War; the drama of exiles, refugees and poor immigrants in France and Europe; the struggles against Portuguese colonialism in Africa; the regime of apartheid in South Africa. The culture and arts section was eclectic, encompassing exhibits on cubism and modernism, Bob Dylan tours, interviews with progressive writers and artists, book reviews, comics, cartoons, and permanent opposition to any kind of censorship.

“Sartre's chronicles” addressed problems such as unemployment, wage squeeze and the exploitation of workers. On 15/11/1973, Sartre broke his silence on a problem practically banned in the French media: rape. He did not limit himself to condemning sexual violence against women; he asked for urgency in protective measures and hit the key of female emancipation and gender equality. He defended immigrants and mine workers in northern France (where he spent an entire day checking working conditions and talking to workers).

Despite the good acceptance and the reduction of graphic costs with offset printing, it only took one month for the Freed fall into the red with debt. The negative balance led the management to opt for a tidying brake, deciding to suspend circulation during the summer, from June 29 to September 17, 1973. The “Manifesto for the freedom of a small newspaper that spits in the soup of the press tycoons ”, released on June 22, 1973, explained that, without advertising and sponsorship, the daily could not sustain itself with subscriptions alone. “Not by chance, the newspapers that have resisted are supported by financiers. Business money allows the 'big press' to intoxicate a little more each day readers treated like consuming sheep”.

Three months after returning to the kiosks, financial difficulties again threatened the diary's survival. The alternative was to launch a new subscription and donation campaign on December 17, 1973. Under the title “The existence of the Freed it depends on its readers”, Sartre's text emphasized that the newspaper went against the rule of the French press, which aimed at profit and was subject to economic interests. “Libération escapes these servitudes and can tell the truth (…). Every reader who supports us will contribute to safeguarding freedom”. The reception was above expectations, with many checks sent to the editorial office, accompanied by messages of encouragement. Most of the debts have been paid off.

By early 1974, it was clear to those closest to him that Sartre could not continue for long at the helm of the Libération. Health problems worsened - hypertensive crisis, heart attack, neurological disorder, respiratory insufficiencies and greatly affected vision. Sartre had been accumulating stress for years, disorderly habits, excessive alcoholic beverages, dependence on amphetamines and two to three packs of cigarettes a day. But he kept writing. In the April 13, 1974 issue, he applauded the efficiency of workers' self-management at the Lip watch factory in Besançon, abandoned to its fate by its former owners.

While his name appeared on the file as a director, the Freed remained true to the original design. When the victory of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal was consolidated, which broke out on April 25, 1974, the headline came out in Portuguese four days later: “Liberdade!”. The call celebrated two acts of the revolutionary government: the closure of the “Gestapo”, in an allusion to the extinction of the PIDE (acronym for the International Police and State Defense, the spurious political police of the Salazar dictatorship), and the end of press censorship. Already in the edition of June 8, 1974, the newspaper did justice to the qualification of defender of all challenges. In addition to denouncing the extermination of mentally ill people, it reported the mobilization of feminist organizations against machismo in French society and promoted the concert at the Olympia of the Chilean song in exile, in honor of the singer and composer Victor Jara, tortured and murdered by the genocidal dictatorship of the general Pinochet, during the military coup of September 11, 1973.

On May 24, 1974, Sartre sent a brief letter to the editors of the Libération communicating his departure from management, but not from the newspaper. The text was edited four days later, on the first page, under the heading “Freed and Sartre”: “Dear comrades, you know my condition: you know that I am ill and that I cannot assume my responsibilities as director of our newspaper. But you also know that I remain entirely with you, that I assume the positions that our newspaper has taken and will take in its fight for the triumph of the working class. Whenever I can, I will write articles about the present situation”.

Sartre's name dropped from the header on June 20, 1974, replaced by Serge July, who prevailed in an internal dispute that led to the departure of two founders, Jean-Claude Vernier and Bernard Lallement. The editorial changes introduced by the tabloid in the French press landscape were visible and indisputable. But, to try to reduce debt and mitigate monthly deficits, the company decided to adhere to market standards, accepting advertising, sponsorships and shareholdings. The policy of equal pay was abandoned, with differentiation by positions and functions taking effect. The circulation, however, did not evolve; in the ranking of the daily press, it closed the year 1975 in a secondary position, with an average of 18 thousand copies. divided, the Gauche Proletarian self-dissolved in November 1973.

Sartre promised to collaborate as long as his state of health and commitments allowed. One of his crowning moments in Freed happened after leaving the leadership, with the publication of the splendid report, in first person, on the visit made to one of the founders of the German armed extreme left organization Fraction of the Red Army, better known as group Baader-Meinhof, on December 4, 1974. Andreas Baader, together with Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin, Jan Carl Raspe and Irmgard Möller, was imprisoned in the maximum security penitentiary of Stammheim, a suburb of Stuttgart, serving preventive detention in a confinement regime.

Contrary to what appears in some biographies, it was not the first time that Sartre showed solidarity with the political prisoners of the Red Army Faction. On July 1, 1973, Le Monde publicized the appeal of dozens of personalities for the German government to lift the forced isolation in Stammheim, among them Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Philippe Sollers and Marcellin Pleynet. In issue 332 (March 1974), Modern Times released the special dossier “West German political prisoners accuse”, denouncing the forms of torture practiced against radical opponents.

The first request for permission to visit Baader was denied by the government of Social Democratic Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. On November 21, 1974, the Libération released an open letter from Sartre protesting the decision. On December 2, 1974, the German magazine Der Spiegel published an interview by the French philosopher with journalist and feminist activist Alice Schwarzer, in which he treated as a “crime” and “political error” the murder of the president of the Superior Court of Berlin, Günter von Drenkmann, by militants of the 2nd of June Movement, an ally of the Baader-Meinhof, which took place on November 10, 1974. Coincidence or not, the Superior Court of Stuttgart finally authorized the trip to Stammheim. The meeting was not the most cordial, because Baader, weakened by the hunger strike against the prison regime, perhaps expected support for the armed struggle, but Sartre told him that he did not agree; he was there as a “sympathizer” and would like to discuss the principles defended by the group.

When he left Germany, Sartre knew that his mission was not over in the 60 minutes with the leader of the Baader-Meinhof, nor at the press conference in Stuttgart, in which he classified the isolation imposed on political prisoners as a method of torture: the cells were soundproof and had permanent artificial lighting. In his view, the deplorable confinements, made worse by the prolonged hunger strike, endangered the lives of the detainees, as they seemed designed to annihilate them physically and mentally.

Sartre decided to write the report on human degradation in the Stammheim penitentiary, which appeared in the edition of Libération of December 7, 1974, with the title “The slow death of Andreas Baader”, which was later republished in the press of several countries.[12] The two pages showed enviable stylistic conciseness. Direct observation overlaps with imaginative flight; judgments correspond to verifiable experience. The exposition rhythm remains undisturbed: without stumbles, without digressions, without useless pauses. While human rights organizations and more left-wing sectors praised the denunciation of prison conditions, the business media censured him for getting involved with terrorists. But who later understood the meaning of the visit to Baader was the journalist Pierre Bocev, correspondent for the Le Figaro in Berlin, for whom Sartre's initiative was "one of the most spectacular propaganda actions".[13]


Starting in the 2000s, two decades after Sartre's death in 1980, the journey of Libération faced turmoil. On June 29, 2006, Serge July resigned as editorial director. He lasted less than a year and a half living with banker Édouard de Rothschild, the majority shareholder since January 20, 2005. Rothschild demanded July's departure to inject more capital into the company. Libération had to bear the irony: from Mao to Rothschild, or from Sartre to Rothschild. Debts returned with the drop in revenue in the face of competition from the internet and free newspapers.

In August 2017, the Altice Media Group, owned by French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, acquired most of the shares, but later must have concluded that it was not a good deal. By agreement with the employees' association, on September 2, 2020 the Altice transferred 99,99% of the share control to a non-profit entity. It did not mean greater autonomy, as, legally, governance remained under the control of Drahi, who exercised the right to appoint the current editor-in-chief and general manager.[14] On January 23, 2023, Serge July returned to Libération signing notes and articles on the editorials page.

O Libération remains influential among opinion makers, particularly in left-wing areas, always against the conservatism that characterizes much of the French press. In 2022, it reached fifth place among the main newspapers with national circulation, with an average daily circulation of around 96.500 copies.[15] Even emphasizing its resilience in the journalistic environment, the progressive profile and the necessary place it occupies in the informative production, there is no way to ignore the differences of the current version in relation to the DNA of rebellion that distinguished, as a libertarian and critical newspaper, the ultra-combative Libération of Sartre.[16]

*Denis de Moraes, journalist and writer, is a retired professor at the Institute of Art and Social Communication at the Fluminense Federal University. Author, among other books, of Media criticism and cultural hegemony (Mauad).


[1] Robert Maggiori. The critique method: journalism et philosophy. Paris: Seuil, 2011, p. 32.

[2] Serge July, “Libération, journal d'opinion?”, Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, Paris, March 26, 2018

[3] Michael Rolland. “La presse parallèle française des années 1968, entre transferts culturels et spécificités nationales”. In: Christophe Bourseiller; Olivier Penot-Lacassagne (eds.). Counter-cultures! Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2013, p. 193-208.

[4] "Libération et la génération de 68: un entretien avec Serge July”, Mind, no. 5, Paris, May 1978.

[5] Ibid.

 [6] Ibid.

[7] See Jean-Claude Vernier, “Tout dire à des gens qui veulent tout savoir: l'expérience de l'Agence de Presse Libération”, Mediamorphoses, 19-20 November 2007.

[8] Geraldine Muhlmann. Une histoire politique du journalisme, XIX-XX siècles. Paris: PUF, 2004, p. 311.

[9] See the full manifesto of the founding of the Libération in Francois Samuelson. Il était une fois Libération: reportage historique agrémenté de cinq entretiens inédits (Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Maurice Clavel, Benny Lévy, Serge July). Paris: Flammarion, 2007, p. 139- 143. On the trajectory of the newspaper, see also Alain Dugrand. Libération (1973-1981): a moment d'ivresse. Paris: Fayard, 2013; Bernard Lallement. Libé: l'oeuvre impossible de Sartre. Paris: Albin Michel, 2004; Jean Guisnel. Liberation, the biographie. Paris: La Découverte, 2003; Pierre Rimbert. Release, from Sartre to Rothschild. Paris: Raisons d'Agir, 2005.

[10] Nina Sutton, “Jean-Paul Sartre talks about the launch of Libération”, The Guardian, March 10, 1973.

[11] Denis Bertholet. Sartre. Paris: Perrin, 2005, p. 532.

[12] The Portuguese translation of “The slow death of Andreas Baader” can be read at:

[13] Pierre Bocev, “Andreas Baader, dandy rouge sang”, Le Figaro, 1 of August of 2008.

[14] See Sandrine Cassini, “Le transfert du quotidien Libération à une fondation raises des réserves”, Le Monde, May 15, 2020; Melanie Volland, “Libération 2020-2021: une 'indépendance' toujours sous l'étroit contrôle d'Altice“, La Letter A, March 11, 2021. Available at:–une-independance-toujours-sous-l-etroit- -controle-d-altice ,109649694-evg.

[15] In the 2022 report, audited by L'Alliance pour les Chiffres de la Presse et des Médias (ACPM), the circulation verification body in France, Libération occupied fifth place, in average daily circulation, among newspapers with national circulation. Here is the data, accessed on May 21, 2023: Le Monde, 472.767 copies; Le Figaro, 351.526; The Team, 215.362; Les Echos, 138.421; Libération, 96.551; La Croix, 84.781; Today in France, 73.423. Consult the ACPM portal:

[16] This text builds on issues addressed in my book Sartre and the press (Mauad), whose research was supported by Capes and CNPq.

the earth is round exists thanks to our readers and supporters.
Help us keep this idea going.

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank