Philosophy for Militants (Pocket Communism): Alain Badiou, Bruno Bosteels: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
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By Hans G. Despain "This little book functions well as an accessible introduction to the political philosophy of Badiou. Do not take serious the title or the picture of the gun on front. Both seem to be a poorly choosen marketing ploy."
"The book has three short articles, a political interview concerning the secession of Quebec from Canada, and a forward by Bruno Bosteels (the author of Badiou and Politics (Post-Contemporary Interventions)) well worth reading."
"The foundation (or philosophical ontology) of Badiou's work is mathematics as was Plato's. The aim of Badiou's philosophy however is unambiguously political. What draws me to Badiou is his commitment to defend Truth. The analogue to Truth in the political realm is the concept of Justice (p. 32)."
"In other words, at bottom Badiou is a philosophical realist."
"Badiou underscores the importance of following Plato in distinguishing between correct and mistaken opinion on the one hand, and opinion and truth on the other (p. 28). This is important because according Badiou contemporary Western political regimes are based on the Platonic ignoble lie. Parliamentary democratic politics are driven not by Justice but by opinion polls; not by Truth but by _spin_. In other words, Justice and Truth are not the concern of contemporary Western politics, rather the aim of Western "democracies" are (economic) dominance and (political) power-control."
"Badiou maintains that the time is now ripe for political transformation expressed politically by mass protest (p. 20), demonstrations of resistance, movements of "occupy" (p. 21), and the rise of consciousness for new forms of a political dawn (p. 19). These are occurring because the Rousseauian "General Will" is not finding expression in Western political institutions and political praxes. Badiou "completely agree[s] with Slavoj Zizek when he argues that the question of the general will is to today the central question of politics" (p. 76). Instead of the General Will, we have the rule of oligarchic minority ruling over the majority of citizens for the benefit of the oligopolistic Western corporations, where the main role of the State is to prohibit and control (p. 22)."
"Curiously Badiou argues that to address the oligarchic/oligopolistic hegemony we need not a new science (i.e. new conception of Truth), nor even necessarily a new philosophy (i.e. new conception of Justice), but a "new fiction" (i.e. a new conception of possible different realities) (pp. 77 - 80). It is the conceptions of a new reality, via fiction, that we can gain courage for political transformations toward the augmentation of justice. Indeed for Badiou the "conditions" of philosophy are meditations of circumstances and "events" in science and politics to be sure, but also in _art_ and _love_ (pp. 3 - 4) (see for example In Praise of Love)."
"Badiou capture his politics well in a sentence from a 2008 article, where he maintains politics can be understood as "collective action, organized by certain principles, that aims to unfold the consequences of a new possibility which is currently repressed by the dominant order." My translation of this is that when the "General Will" is suppressed by the dominant order, injustice is the likely political result (e.g. unemployment, inequality, etc.) and masses of people will begin to grope for alternatives, drawing from various sources of fiction, theology, and philosophy."
"In the second essay of the book, Badiou analyzes the symbol of the "Solider" as the heroic figure of the contemporary era. He argues the Solider is an impoverished heroic figure. It is more of a hangover from the Warrior of the past. But whereas the Warrior was motived by Justice and Truth, the Solider finds motivation in following `orders' in spite of the degree of truth or falsehood and the degree of justice or injustice. The good solider is always to follow orders of the superiors. If the orders from the oligarchic/oligopolistic superiors are Just and Truthful, the solider is truly a Heroic figure. "But what happens if war, in our days, has become one giant obscure slaughter?" (p. 58). Then our soliders become vehicles of mere violence, injustice, and philosophical confusion."
"Philosophy then is defined by Badiou as a "logical revolt" (p. 11) against political dominance of injustice and falsehoods. The "logical revolt" is turned into action by protests of the collective agent, typically the Youth (p. 20). The youth find their inspiration for protest and resistance in political dictums of Rousseau and Mao. Namely, when there is a lack of Justice and a lack of Truth, "It is just to revolt."
"However there is a paradoxical relationship between democracy, politics and philosophy (p. 24). Democracy is a necessary condition for philosophy, but the political visions of philosophy are often ill-suited for democracy. This is because the opinions of the masses can often be of the mistaken kind. Badiou maintains that it is "truth" and "justice" that links and mediates democracy, politics, and philosophy."
"Much like mathematics we choose initial "axioms." In mathematics if those axioms generate truth we keep them, if they generate falsehoods and/or contradictions we amend them. Political axioms should generate justice, if they generate injustice and/or social contradiction we should amend them (p. 33). The problem is that the "State has no other major task except to prohibit, by all possible means, including violent ones" (p. 22). Amendments to unjust political economic power-relations are impeded, whereby "It is just to revolt."
In ‘The Meaning of Sarkozy’, the French philosopher Alain Badiou argues that Sarkozy’s victory represented the rise of fear at the ballot box: fear of immigrants, fear of trade-unionists, fear of the Burka, fear of the youths in the Paris...
We are living in times of global capitalist crisis. In this situation, we are witnessing a return of critique in the form of a surging interest in critical theories (such as the critical political economy of Karl Marx, critical theory, etc) and revolutions, rebellions, and political movements against neoliberalism that are reactions to the commodification and instrumentalization of everything.
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