In late January the philosopher Alain Badiou was in Athens, where he gave three talks. The theme of the first of these was Plato, the second was on Lacan, while the third – the text of which appears below – was the most ‘political’. Each of the three talks had a packed-out audience. For this third talk, indeed, even the amphitheatre of the Law School did not suffice to contain the great number of attendees, with many of the large crowd of young people present filling out the stairs and floor. It took place on 25 January, and was jointly organised by the psychoanalysis review Alithia, the municipal elections movement Open City, and the SYRIZA youth organisation ‘Left Union’. It was supported by the Nikos Poulantzas Institute.
The principle that there is a single world does not contradict the infinite play of identities and differences
I would like to thank, and to salute, all our Greek friends, and beyond that all those who are today struggling against the terrible situation inflicted on the Greek people by the financial oligarchy that today holds power in Europe, in service of globalised capitalism.
Back in the autumn of last year, Platoon Kunsthalle Seoul built on the success of previous conferences in London, Berlin and New York on The Idea of Communism to present the 4th Idea of Communism Conference. The meeting gathered some of the most prominent theorists and philosophers of the contemporary left, including Verso authors Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou.
You can now view a recording of the entirety of Zizek’s fascinating talk on Youtube, as featured below. In the talk he delves into ideas expressed in both volumes of The Idea of Communism.
With contributions from Jodi Dean, Antonio Negri and Terry Eagleton, the Idea of Communism volumes offer a lively and thought-provoking overview of the ideas and debates provoking communist theory today.
To read more about the conference, including a mission statement from the organizers and the full list of speakers, click here.
What is that this is the issue of utmost urgency? What is this subject matter which requires not the suggestion nor participation of an impetuous alternative, but the brake pedal to the metal by the foot of a most sincere contemplation? As Zizek stressed, it is projecting the tomorrow of global capitalism that governs our today. The cause of systemic substitution lies in hostile relations which are unsolvable by old criteria.
While Zizek's fatal four threats – ecological catastrophe, the inappropriateness of the concept of private property in the discourse of intellectual property, the socio-ethical implications of contemporary scientific development, and newly generated apartheids and slums – to the sustainability of global capitalism, "the commons" meets the eyes of insight: the ecosystem as a common human habitat, knowledge as a common, scientific aspects as a common, and humanity as a common. A global resistance to prevent the privatization of these commons is in action, with the proliferation of a trans-strata collective comprehension that disregard means dispossession in the plot of this dramatic demonstration.