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The Communist Hypothesis

A new program for the Left after the death of neoliberalism.
‘We know that communism is the right hypothesis. All those who abandon this hypothesis immediately resign themselves to the market economy, to parliamentary democracy—the form of state suited to capitalism—and to the inevitable and “natural” character of the most monstrous inequalities.’—Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou’s ‘communist hypothesis’, first stated in 2008, cut through the cant and compromises of the past twenty years to reconceptualize the Left. The hypothesis is a fresh demand for universal emancipation and a galvanizing call to arms. Anyone concerned with the future of the planet needs to reckon with the ideas outlined within this book.

Reviews

  • “A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!”
  • “A Little Red Book for our time?”
  • “An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser.”
  • “Shaking the foundations of Western liberal democracy.”
  • “One of the saddest, funniest books of the past 20 years.”

Blog

  • Stathis Kouvelakis: In Search of Lost Time



    In his Jacobin article belowStathis Kouvelakis argues that after five months of negotiations, Syriza’s choices remain the same: capitulate to Greece’s lenders or break with the euro. Kouvelakis made the following statement in response to the proposals offered by Tsipras yesterday:

    The list of the measures of the new austerity package proposed by the Syriza government is absolutely depressing. They amount to a total of 8 billion for the next two years (2,7 for 2015 and 5,2 for 2016) distributed in cuts and increase in taxes and social contributions.
 The proposed increases in taxes include an rise of the VAT, an indirect "flat" tax hitting disproportionately low-income people, expected to bring an extra 0,7 billion this year, and the double next year. A total of extra 1,8 billion is expected to come in the next two years from a pension "reform", via the restrictions in early retirement and the rise of the contributions of wage-earners for their pensions and their health coverage. The rise in taxes also includes a rise in corporate tax, and the (slightly amended) "special solidarity tax" instituted by the previous government. The privatizations will go on as scheduled by the previous government with some minor changes in the procedure. The government claims that it keeps the right to change the labour legislation and raise the minimum wage, although these points are unclear in the non-paper distributed to the media. There are also some rather symbolic gestures like an ultra-minimal cut in military spending (200 million) and a tax on luxury yachts.


    Needless to say that all the "red lines" have been crossed and that very little is left of Syriza's programme. 
Needless also to say that a new 8 billion "purge" to a country that had already lost 25% of its GDP can only lead to further recession, poverty and unemployment. 
But, of course, even this is still not sufficient for the Troika. The EU strictly follows the line of the Italian 68ers: "vogliamo tutto" / "We want it all". And it seems to work, since at each round they succeed in getting even more concessions without them making the slightest one!
 Will this downward spiral stop before it's too late!
 It's more than time for the social movements and the combative forces of the Left to wake up and fight!

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  • Durand, Keucheyan and Trouvé: The rupture comes now

    In the following article originally published for Mediapart (12 June), Cédric Durand, Razmig Keucheyan and Aurélie Trouvé call on the social and trade union movements to show solidarity with the Greek people at the 20 June demonstrations. If Greece does break with austerity, they argue, France will be faced with the decision of whether or not to join the project for the "democratic refoundation of Europe". Translated by David Broder.


    A man reads newspaper headlines in the center of Athens this morning. Photograph: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images

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  • Alain Badiou: "Mao thinks in an almost infinite way"

    Badiou's apparently "unrepentant" Maoism has been one of the most controversial, if misinterpreted, elements of his thought. In the conversation below, Badiou is pressed on the question by an anonymous Chinese philosopher, and maintains that Mao continues to provide a model for dialectical thought, if not for a historical project. Visit LEAP to read the original piece in full.

    Stock-up, bulk-out, or fill-in the gaps in your Badiou Bookshelf with 50% off until tomorrow!



    ILLUSTRATION / Wang Buke

    A Dialogue Between a Chinese Philosopher and a French Philosopher

    December 13, 2014, Manny Cantor Center, New York

    Some time ago, French philosopher (and venerable Maoist) Alain Badiou traveled to China to speak to a Chinese philosopher. Though his or her name appears to have been lost in the ashes of time, the transcript of this alleged meeting remains, and bears a noted resemblance to a series of conversations Badiou had with Lu Xinghua, a contentious proponent of the theorization of Chinese contemporary art. A restaging of this dialogue this past December in New York, with an actress as the skeptical interlocutor, provided a window into Continental philosophy’s most ardent Orientalist fantasies—and an hour or two of solid dialectical entertainment.

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Other books by Alain Badiou