André Gorz

André Gorz was the pen-name of Gérard Horst, an iconoclastic figure whose work on politics, ecology and social philosophy made him a leading voice of the New Left. A German Jew, he fled to Switzerland to avoid Nazism before becoming a French citizen and journalist with close links to Jean-Paul Sartre, whose existentialist philosophy was a profound influence on his thought. His early work aimed to reconcile Marxism and Existentialism, and gave rise to his role as a leading thinker in the New Left alongside his friend Herbert Marcuse. He rose to international fame with his 1980 book Farewell to the Working Class, in which he criticized the traditional Marxist preoccupation with the proletariat, arguing that changes in science, technology and society had rendered obsolete the idea that the working class would be the revolutionary agent of change. His writings on political ecology and his ecological critique of capitalism were hugely influential among young activists. He died in 2007, committing joint suicide with his beloved wife, to whom he wrote a moving love letter which Polity has published as Letter to D. Polity has also published important book Reclaiming Work.