This text by Alain Badiou first appeared on the Mediapart blog. Translated by David Broder.
I understand the bitterness of those remonstrating after the first round of the elections, particularly those left disappointed by Mélenchonism. That said, whatever they do, or say, there was no particular aberration, no swindle, in this vote.
In this column from Le Monde, philosopher Alain Badiou argues that voting only reinforces conservatism. He instead advocates "reinventing communism." Translated by David Broder.
20 March French presidential debate.
A lot of the electorate is still undecided about the presidential vote. I myself can understand. It is not so much that the programmes of the candidates considered eligible are somehow in the dark, or confused. It is not so much — to pick up on a turn of phrase I once applied to Sarkozy, which enjoyed a certain success — that we have to ask ourselves "what they are the name of." Rather, all this is only too clear.
Marine Le Pen is the modernized — and thus feminized — version of what the French far Right has always been. A tireless Pétainism.
François Fillon is a Pétainist in a three-piece suit. His (personal or budgetary) philosophy can be reduced to "saving every penny." He is not all that attentive to where his own pennies come from, but he is filthy miserly, intransigent, when it comes to fiscal spending and in particularly the money meant for the poor.
Benoît Hamon is the timid, rather limited representative of "left-wing socialism"; something that has always existed, though it is harder to identify or to uncover even than one of those characters we never see.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon — certainly the least disagreeable — is nonetheless the parliamentary expression of what we today call the "radical" Left, on the precarious boundary between the old ruined socialism and a spectral communism. He masks his programme’s lack of boldness or clarity with an eloquence worthy of Jean Jaurès.
Emmanuel Macron, for his part, is a creature brought out of nothing by our true masters, the latest capitalists, those who have bought up all the papers as a precaution. If he believes and says that Guiana is an island or that Piraeus is a man, it is because he knows that no one in his camp has ever been committed by what they said.
On November 9th, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. Alain Badiou responded in a talk at the University of California, Los Angeles, co-sponsored by the program in Experimental Critical Theory and the Center for European and Russian Studies. Below we share the transcript of his response, originally published at Mariborchan — an eloquent reflection not only on the specific events that unfolded last week, but on the situation of the world today.
Alain Badiou was Ali Baddou’s guest on France Inter on 9 September.
As defendant, Mr. Badiou — profession, philosopher — do you admit having wanted to corrupt the youth, together with your accomplice Socrates?
Yes, if by "corruption" we mean proposing to the youth that it seek out its own way, by itself, by discussing it, thinking about it and reflecting on it rather than following the path already traced out by its predecessors, by governments, by the authorities and by tradition. The philosopher is supposed to corrupt youth — in a sense that is his job, his professional task.