Philosophy for Militants (Pocket Communism)
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An urgent and provocative account of the modern ‘militant’, a transformative figure at the front line of emancipatory politics. Around the world, recent events have seen the creation of a radical phalanx comprising students, the young, workers and immigrants. It is Badiou’s contention that the politics of such militants should condition the tasks of philosophy, even as philosophy clarifies the truth of our political condition.
To resolve the conflicts between politics, philosophy and democracy, Badiou argues for a resurgent communism – returning to the original call for universal emancipation and organizing for militant struggle.
and prolonged work to find the strategic means for victory. And the result is not a democratic State in the usual sense of the term, but the dictatorship of the proletariat, aiming to annihilate the resistance of the enemy. At the same time, all this is presented as being entirely universal, because the objective is not the power of a particular class or group, but the end of all classes and all inequalities, and, in the final instance, the end of the State as such. In this conception, democracy
century. We are bound to uphold the new truths in the context of their local affirmation, encircled by endless conflicts. We must find a new sun – in other words, a new mental country. As Stevens says: ‘The sun is the country wherever he is’.6 1 Translator’s Note : See Jean-François Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. Georges Van Den Abbeele (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), p. 31. 2 Translator’s Note: See for instance ‘Zarathustra’s Prologue’, in Friedrich
student conflict in Quebec? Alain Badiou: What I find interesting first of all is the scale and determination of the phenomenon. Basically, what is happening in your country is a sudden and widespread resistance to a global phenomenon, which is trying to apply the business model to every kind of human activity. Like a business, the university is supposed to become selffinancing, whereas historically it was built up according to quite different rules. The conflict obviously took the particular and
act as a stimulant for your conception of the world? A.B.: In the book’s overall argument, I took Quebec first of all as a particular example. But you’re right to speak of a stimulant. The history of Quebec sums up several features of world history in recent centuries: a long-standing European colonisation, the exceptional presence of two world powers, the English and the French, etcetera. There is no equivalent to this anywhere else. And that created a society, a subjectivity, which combined
seem to have reflected further upon the importance of the history of prose fiction for his philosophy as a whole. For the early theory of the novelistic element, see Alain Badiou, ‘The Autonomy of the Aesthetic Process’, in The Age of the Poets and Other Writings on Poetry and Prose, ed. and trans. Bruno Bosteels (London: Verso, forthcoming). Chapter One The Enigmatic Relationship between Philosophy and Politics Before broaching the paradoxical relationship between philosophy and politics, I