Philosophy for Militants (Pocket Communism)

Philosophy for Militants (Pocket Communism)

Alain Badiou

Language: English

Pages: 122

ISBN: 1844679861

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.

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is to accept only those parts with a clear name: strawberries, pears, fruits, prickles, mud; and to forbid the parts that have no name at all, such as the mixture of apples, thistles and dead frogs. So the law always determines not only what is permitted and forbidden, but in fact what exists under a clear name, which is normal, and what is unnameable and so does not really exist, which means that it is an abnormal part of the practical totality. It is a very important point to remark, finally,

things, as Michel Foucault would put it. Finally, in the field of the law there exists only what responds to a clear description. The problem now is on the side of desire, because we can certainly say that desire is always the desire of something which in some sense, with regard to the law, does not exist. Desire is the search for something that is situated beyond the normality of the law. The real object of true desire is always something like an apple that is at the same time a thistle: the

conviction, even if I cannot really demonstrate this point here. In the last century, all the great fictional dispositions of the political field had their proper names. For me the problem today is not to renounce fiction – because without great fiction we can have no great belief and no great politics – but probably to have a fiction without a proper name. The point is to find another disposition between masses, classes, parties; another composition of the political field, because a great

to the real meaning of state disintegrations. They are negative phenomena of contemporary history, often responsible for tragic human situations. Well, you’re going to say: ‘But Quebec isn’t like that!’ F.G.: You’re taking the words out of my mouth . . . A.B.: I don’t spontaneously support a secession by Quebec, without really powerful arguments. I am not sure the path of the Quebec world in the making absolutely needs a state separatism. I believe it is possible to negotiate consistent

of early modern fiction in the realm of narrative prose? After all, in late medieval Latin, miles even became synonymous with knight-errant. Could we not say then that between the warrior and the soldier, the militant as knight-errant opened up a third figure – with all the charming Quixotry that is perhaps not foreign to Badiou’s very own style and wandering spirit in the talks that follow?11 1 In the original French edition this collection carries a much simpler and safer title, La relation

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