Professor emeritus at the Université Paris X, the philosopher Étienne Balibar has made the question of racism and its new forms of expression an important theme of his political philosophy, notably in his critique of capitalism and of liberal society. He is the author, among others, of Citoyen Sujet et autres essais d’anthropologie philosophique (2010) and La proposition de l’égaliberté (2011), published by Presses Universitaires de France. Passing through Montreal last November, he was keen to answer our questions.
Relations: Given the predominance of the question of human rights in our societies, as well as the official condemnation of racism, one might think that racism is a relic of ages past. Yet this is not the case. To what extent is it still a central – indeed, structural – phenomenon, particularly in the era of capitalist globalisation? In other words, what does it say about our societies?
In a fiery critical call for solidarity, rich with the language of class war, a number of European academics and artists call for a campaign of solidarity with the Greek people and a launch against the dehumanising and aggressive ideology of technocratic austerity.
"[T]he future of democracy and the fate of European nations are in question" under the restructuring of Greek debt and the "endless, devastating bailouts", according to the authors, who include French academics Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Jacques Ranciere and more. Public assets are being carved up for privatisation under the oversight of the troika, producing vast wealth for the international buyers but failing to address the sovereign debt crisis at all: "it has literally exploded into free fall in approaching 170% of GDP, while in 2009 it represented more than 120%".