This essay first appeared in Libération. Translated by David Broder.
The new and substantially updated edition of Balibar's now classic introductory text The Philosophy of Marx is currently 40%, alongside all the other books on our Marx primer reading list.
The question that came to my American friends’ lips after Trump’s election was always the same: "Who’s next? Do you think that Le Pen will win the French elections?" They foresaw either a sort of domino effect or the onset of contagion, grounded in the devastation of the redistributive policies that have been torn apart by neoliberalism. They saw Brexit as a warning, a forerunner. The fall of Renzi as well as Hollande’s announcement that he will not stand for re-election echoed Clinton’s defeat. The question of whether Merkel would "hold on" in the face of the German far Right became a strategic variable.
James Ingram's translation of "Dissonances within Laïcité" first appeared in Constellations in September 2004.
The “debate” over the prohibition of the “Islamic headscarf” and other “visible,” “conspicuous,” or “ostentatious” signs of religious belonging in public schools revived by the conclusions of the Stasi Commission, the intervention by the President of the Republic, and the introduction of a “simple and clear” bill by the Minister for Education, has seen no end of opacities and and displacements. The contradictory implications of the demand for a legislative intervention, which its promoters sought to ignore or imagined would be easily mastered, have proved to be uncontrollable in the national as well as the international sphere.
The controversial banning of the "Burkini" by several French municipalities last week - and it's overturning by the state council - has once again brought the question of what laïcité actually means, and who it works for, in contemporary France. In this short article, originally published in Libération and translated here by David Broder, Etienne Balibar traces the vicissitudes of the concept to show how we have ended up with the "monster of identitarian laïcité".
Jérome Skalski's interview with Étienne Balibar about the period surrounding Reading Capital was published in L’Humanité in March 2015. This translation by Patrick King and Salar Mohandesi first appeared in Viewpoint.
Reading Capital: The Complete Edition — the first unabridged English translation of the collective work, including contributions from Balibar, Louis Althusser, Jacques Rancière, Pierre Macherey, Roger Establet — is out now.
Jérome Skalski: Fifty years ago Louis Althusser’s For Marx, and, under his direction, Reading Capital, were published. What was the context of the debate at that period?
Étienne Balibar: To put it very briefly, I would say that the question speaks to an intellectual and even academic dimension, and a political and ideological one.
In this paper, originally a contribution to the “Louis Althusser” Colloquium organized by La Pensée, the Bagriel Péri Foundation and the Rational Material Research Group, at the Oscar Niemeyer Forum, 19-20 March 2015, Althusser's most famous student analyses the relation of Althusser's thought to communism. The essay was translated by Joseph Serrano and appears here courtesy of the journal Crisis and Critique, where it was originally published.
The first full and unabridged English edition of Reading Capital is now available to purchase from the Verso website. All our books by Althusser are available with 50% off all this week.