On January 26, Alain Badiou gave the closing lecture of the France-Culture forum, of which the Nouvel Observateur is a partner. Below appears an extract.
This text by Alain Badiou, which the Nouvel Observateur published as a pre-release, is a summary of the 'concluding lecture' which the philosopher gave this Saturday, 26 January, at the Sorbonne, at the end of the 'L'Année vue par... la philo' ['The year as seen by... philosophy'] forum, a day of debates organised by France-Culture in partnership with the Nouvel Observateur.
The awarding of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union in a Dutch newspaper cartoon was mocked by depicting the Nobel committee at the end of its deliberations, realising it forgot to select the peace laureate. One member shouts, ‘Quick, a name! A short one please!’
The true misjudgement of course is that the EU, rewarded for its supposed role in preventing war in post-1945 Europe, began as a sideshow to preparation for war with the Soviet bloc and today terrorises southern Europe, whilst lining up for war with Syria and Iran.
In the 1950s, the first initiatives towards Western European integration were taken by France to prevent a straightforward resurrection of West German economic and military power as favoured by the Atlantic ruling class. There was real compromise involved but early European integration still was part of the West’s Cold War line-up.
The sovereign language usually manages to subdue the inner syntax of civil language so that it is interpreted mainly as a series of goal-oriented actions whose meaning is construed to lie within the hegemonic political language. By restricting our understanding of revolution to national contexts, by associating it directly with well-defined goals and particular results, history, and political discourse since the end of the 18th century has delayed the emergence of a civil language according to which revolutionary history could appear as a single, albeit interrupted, campaign.