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.
2009), p. 41. Chapter Two The Figure of the Soldier In any period of time, in any sequence of history, it is important that we maintain a relationship with what exceeds our possibilities – with what, as an idea, exists beyond the natural needs of the human animal. In crucial experiences, such as the construction of love, artistic creations, scientific discoveries or political sequences, we are offered the chance of exceeding the limits of our vital and social determinations. Within our own
that sort of representation a heroic figure. ‘Figure’, because the type of action that is at stake here is essentially a recognisable form. ‘Heroic’, because heroism is properly the act of the infinite at work in human actions. ‘Heroism’ is the luminous appearance, in a concrete situation, of something that assumes its humanity beyond the natural limits of the human animal. I firmly believe that our current historical moment is disoriented. The previous century was essentially the century of
thinking of politics could still be applicable, his conclusion on the one hand seemed to be resoundingly affirmative, even to the point of becoming openly prescriptive. Thus, Badiou first attempts to define the essence of Marxism: ‘Reduced to its bare bones, Marxism is jointly the hypothesis of a politics of non-domination – a politics subtracted from the count of the State – and the designation of the most significant event sites of modernity, those whose singularity is maximal, which are worker
labourers, capable of holding steady for days in the midst of winter, under the sole watchword of ‘together, all together’, gathering in immense assemblies and mobilising up to one-third of the total population all the way into certain small towns in the provinces.12 Let us finally name the newly arrived proletarians from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, situated as always since the nineteenth century at the strategic centre of genuine politics, with or without legal papers, knowing how to
which accept very often the existence of an authoritarian framing for the collective destiny of humanity, and in any case feel no kind of fascination for the type of political regime that today dominates the West. There is something like a paradoxical relationship between three terms: democracy, politics and philosophy. We must pass from democracy to philosophy. In fact, such is the road followed in the creation of philosophy among the ancient Greeks. The birth of philosophy is evidently