Sunday, November 13, 2016

Alain Badiou: Reflections on the Recent Election

Four Points to the Way Ahead

The first point is that it’s not a neces­sity that the key of social organ­iz­a­tion lies in private prop­er­ty and mon­strous inequal­it­ies. It’s not a neces­sity. We must affirm that it’s not a neces­sity. And we can organ­ize lim­ited exper­i­ences which demon­strate that it’s not a neces­sity, that it’s not true that forever private prop­er­ty and mon­strous inequal­it­ies must be the law of the becom­ing of human­ity. It’s the first point.

The second point is that it’s not a neces­sity that work­ers will be sep­ar­ated between noble work, like intel­lec­tu­al cre­ation, or dir­ec­tion, or gov­ern­ment, and, on the oth­er side, manu­al work and com­mon mater­i­al exist­ence. So the spe­cial­iz­a­tion of the label is not an etern­al law, and espe­cially the oppos­i­tion between intel­lec­tu­al work and manu­al work must be sup­pressed in the long term. It’s the second prin­ciple.

The third is that it’s not a neces­sity for human beings to be sep­ar­ated by nation­al, racial, reli­gious or sexu­al bound­ar­ies. The equal­ity must exist across dif­fer­ences, and so dif­fer­ence is an obstacle to equal­ity. Equal­ity must be a dia­lectics of dif­fer­ence itself, and we must refuse that in the name of dif­fer­ences, equal­ity is impossible. So bound­ar­ies, refus­al of the Oth­er, in any form, all that must dis­ap­pear. It’s not a nat­ur­al law.

And the last prin­ciple is that it’s not a neces­sity that there exists a state, in the form of a sep­ar­ated and armoured power.

So these four points can be resumed: col­lect­iv­ism again­st private prop­er­ty,, poly­morph­ous work­er again­st spe­cial­iz­a­tion, con­crete uni­ver­sal­ism again­st closed iden­tit­ies, and free asso­ci­ation again­st the state. It’s only a prin­ciple, it’s not a pro­gram­me. But with this prin­ciple, we can judge all polit­ic­al pro­grammes, decisions, parties, ideas, from the point of view of these four prin­ciples. Take a decision: is this decision in the dir­ec­tion of the four prin­ciples or not. The prin­ciples are the pro­to­col of judge­ment con­cern­ing all decisions, ideas, pro­pos­i­tions. If a decision, a pro­pos­i­tion, is in the dir­ec­tion of the four prin­ciples, we can say it’s a good one, we can exam­ine if it is pos­sible and so on. If clearly it’s again­st the prin­ciples, it’s a bad decision, bad idea, bad pro­gram­me. So we have a prin­ciple of judge­ment in the polit­ic­al field and in the con­struc­tion of the new stra­tegic pro­ject. That is in some sense the pos­sib­il­ity to have a true vis­ion of what is really in the new dir­ec­tion, the new stra­tegic dir­ec­tion of human­ity as such.

Bernie Sanders pro­poses to con­struct a new polit­ic­al group, under the title, ‘Our Revolu­tion’. The suc­cess of Trump must open a new chance for that sort of idea. We can trust him for the moment, we can judge if it’s really a pro­pos­i­tion which goes bey­ond the present world, we can judge if some­thing is pro­posed which is in con­form­ity with the four prin­ciples. We can do some­thing. And we must do, because if we do noth­ing at all, we are only in the fas­cin­a­tion, the stu­pid­ity of fas­cin­a­tion, by the depress­ive suc­cess of Trump. Our revolution—why not—against their reac­tion, our revolu­tion, it’s a good idea. In any case, I am on this side.

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