Alain Badiou: Reflections on the Recent Election

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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.



I was think­ing about French poetry, which is in a play of Racine, in fact. It’s a beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful sen­tence. In French: “C’était pendant l’horreur d’une pro­fonde nuit.” In Eng­lish: “It was dur­ing the hor­ror of a pro­found night.” May­be Racine was think­ing of the elec­tion of Trump. It was dur­ing the hor­ror of a pro­found night. And so, it was like an oblig­a­tion for me to speak, to dis­cuss, that sort of event, in a neg­at­ive sense, because it’s impossible for me to be here in front of you and to speak of some­thing very inter­est­ing in aca­dem­ic terms. I think it’s a neces­sity to think, to dis­cuss, what hap­pens dur­ing the hor­ror of the pro­found night, just yes­ter­day. You know, for me, but I think for many people, it has been, in some sense, a sort of sur­prise. And we are often, in that sort of sur­prise, under the law of affects: fear, depres­sion, anger, pan­ic, and so on. But we know that philo­soph­ic­ally, all these affects are not really a good reac­tion, because in some sense, it’s too much affect in front of the enemy. And so, I think it’s a neces­sity to think bey­ond the affect, bey­ond fear, depres­sion , and so on — to think the situ­ation of today, the situ­ation of the world today, where some­thing like that is pos­sible, that some­body like Trump becomes the pres­id­ent of the United States. And so, my goal this even­ing is to present, not exactly an explan­a­tion, but some­thing like a cla­ri­fic­a­tion of the pos­sib­il­ity of some­thing like that, and also some indic­a­tions, sub­mit­ted to dis­cus­sion, con­cern­ing what we must do after that; what we must do, which is not pre­cisely to be under the law of affect, of neg­at­ive affect, but at the level of think­ing, action, polit­ic­al determ­in­a­tion, and so on. 

So, I begin by a very gen­er­al vis­ion, not of the situ­ation of the United States today, but the situ­ation of the world today. What is the world of today, where that sort of fact is pos­sible? And I think that the most import­ant point to begin is the his­tor­ic­al vic­tory of glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism. We must be in front of that fact. In some sense, from the 80s of the last cen­tury of the last cen­tury to today, that is for forty years, so almost half a cen­tury, we have the his­tor­ic­al vic­tory of glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism, for many reas­ons. First, nat­ur­ally, the com­plete fail­ure of social­ist states — Rus­sia, China — and more gen­er­ally the fail­ure of the col­lect­iv­ist vis­ion of eco­nomy and social laws of coun­tries. And, this point, is not a small point. This point is really a change not only in the object­ive situ­ation of the world today, but may­be at the level of sub­jectiv­ity too. Dur­ing more than two cen­tur­ies, there exis­ted in pub­lic opin­ion, always two ways con­cern­ing the des­tiny of human beings. We can say that, before approx­im­ately the 80s of the last cen­tury, we have always at the very gen­er­al level, the sub­ject­ive gen­er­al level, two pos­sib­il­it­ies con­cern­ing the his­tor­ic­al des­tiny of human beings. First, the way of lib­er­al­ism, in its clas­sic­al sense. Here, lib­er­al has many sig­ni­fic­a­tions, but I take lib­er­al in its prim­it­ive sense, that is, fun­da­ment­ally that private prop­er­ty is the key of social organ­iz­a­tion, at the price of enorm­ous inequal­it­ies, but the price is the price. At the end, for lib­er­al­ism, private prop­er­ty must be the key of social organ­iz­a­tion. And on the oth­er side, we have the social­ist way, the com­mun­ist way — there are dif­fer­ent words — in their abstract sense, that is, the end of inequal­it­ies must be the most fun­da­ment­al goal of human polit­ic­al activ­ity. The end of inequal­it­ies even at the price of viol­ent revolu­tion. So on one side, peace­ful vis­ion of his­tory as the con­tinu­ation of some­thing which is very old, that is, private prop­er­ty as the key of social organ­iz­a­tion, and on the oth­er side, some­thing new, some­thing which prob­ably begins with the French Revolu­tion, which is the pro­pos­i­tion that there is another way, that in some sense, the con­tinu­ity of the his­tor­ic­al exist­ence of human beings must accept a rup­ture between a very long sequence where inequal­it­ies, private prop­er­ty, and so on are the law of col­lect­ive exist­ence, and another vis­ion of what is that sort of des­tiny, and the most import­ant being in fact the ques­tion of equal­ity and inequal­ity, and this con­flict between lib­er­al­ism in its clas­sic­al sense, and the new idea under many dif­fer­ent names – anarchy, com­mun­ism, social­ism and so on — is prob­ably the great sig­ni­fic­a­tion of the 19th cen­tury and of a big part of the next cen­tury too.

So, dur­ing approx­im­ately near two cen­tur­ies, we have some­thing like a stra­tegic choice, con­cern­ing not only the loc­al events of polit­ics, the nation­al oblig­a­tions, the wars and so on, but con­cern­ing what is really the his­tor­ic­al des­tiny of human beings as such, the his­tor­ic­al des­tiny of the con­struc­tion of human­ity as such. In some sense, our time, from the 80s to today, is the time of the appar­ent end of this choice. The pro­gress­ive dis­par­i­tion of that sort of choice. We have today in fact the dom­in­ant idea that there exists no glob­al choice, that there is no oth­er solu­tion. It was the word of Thatch­er: no oth­er solu­tion. No oth­er solu­tion except, nat­ur­ally, lib­er­al­ism, or today gen­er­ally we speak of neo­lib­er­al­ism. No oth­er solu­tion. And this point is very import­ant because Thatch­er her­self is not say­ing that this solu­tion is a very good one. It’s not the prob­lem for her. The prob­lem is that it’s the only solu­tion. And so you know in the con­tem­por­ary pro­pa­ganda, the point is not to say that glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism is excel­lent, because it’s clear that it’s not. Every­body knows that. Every­body knows that mon­strous inequal­it­ies can­not be a solu­tion of the his­tor­ic­al des­tiny of human beings — every­body knows that. But the argu­ment is, “Okay, it’s not so good, but it’s the only real pos­sib­il­ity.” And so, in my opin­ion, the defin­i­tion of our time is the attempt to impose on human­ity at the scale of the world itself, the con­vic­tion that there is only one way for the his­tory of human beings. And without say­ing that this way is excel­lent, that this way is a very good one, but by say­ing that there is no oth­er solu­tion, no oth­er way. 

So, we can define our moment as the moment of the prim­it­ive con­vic­tion of lib­er­al­ism as dom­in­ant in the form that private prop­er­ty and free mar­ket com­pose the unique pos­sible des­tiny of human beings. And it’s also a defin­i­tion of a human sub­ject. What is, in this vis­ion, a human sub­ject? A human sub­ject is a beg­gar, a con­sumer, an own­er, or noth­ing at all. That is the strict defin­i­tion today of what is a human being. So that is the gen­er­al vis­ion, the gen­er­al prob­lem, and the gen­er­al law of the con­tem­por­ary world. 

Now, what are the polit­ic­al effects of all that, at the level of polit­ic­al life? What are the con­sequences of this dom­in­ant vis­ion of a world in which we can find only one way? All gov­ern­ments must accept that it is the case; in the world today we can­not be at the dir­ec­tion of the state without accept­a­tion of the vis­ion of the uni­city of the way. We have no gov­ern­ment in the world which is say­ing some­thing else. And why? Why, finally, if we exam­ine the pos­i­tion of the “social­ist” French gov­ern­ment, of the dic­tature [dic­tat­or­ship] of the Com­mun­ist Party in China, or the gov­ern­ment of United States, or the gov­ern­ment of Japan, of India, every­body says the same thing — that glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism is the unique way for the exist­ence of human beings. I think that all polit­ic­al decision, at the level of the state, today, is in strict depend­ency of what I name a ‘mon­ster’: glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism and its inequal­it­ies. In some sense, it’s not true that a gov­ern­ment today is some­thing free. It is not free at all. It is inside the glob­al determ­in­a­tion, and it must affirm that what it is doing is in depend­ency of this inter­i­or­ity of the glob­al determ­in­a­tion. And the mon­ster is more and more a mon­ster. We must know the real situ­ation con­cern­ing inequal­it­ies. We have the fun­da­ment­al phe­nom­ena of con­cen­tra­tion of cap­it­al; the con­cen­tra­tion of cap­it­al is some­thing extraordin­ary today. We must know that today 264 per­sons have as their prop­er­ty the equi­val­ent of 3 bil­lion oth­er people. It’s much more than in the prim­it­ive exist­ence of mon­archy and so on. Inequal­ity today is much more import­ant than in every oth­er situ­ation in the his­tory of human beings. And so that sort of his­tor­ic­al mon­ster which is also the unique way for the exist­ence of human­ity is really in the dynam­ic of more and more inequal­it­ies, and not at all of more and more freedom. 

And the pos­i­tion of the state today is the same every­where. It’s accep­ted law by the French gov­ern­ment, by the Chinese Com­mun­ist Party, by the power of Putin in Rus­sia, by the Islam­ic State in Syr­ia, and nat­ur­ally it’s also a law of the pres­id­ent of the United States. So, pro­gress­ively — and that is the most import­ant con­sequence con­cern­ing the elec­tion of Trump — pro­gress­ively, all the polit­ic­al olig­archy, all the polit­ic­al class, becomes the same group, at the level of the world itself. A group of people which is only abstractly divided: Repub­lic­ans and Demo­crats, Social­ists and Lib­er­als, Left and Right, and so on. All that sort of divi­sion today is purely abstract and not real, because all that lies in the same eco­nom­ic and polit­ic­al back­ground. This polit­ic­al olig­archy today in the West­ern world, is pro­gress­ively los­ing con­trol of the cap­it­al­ist machinery — that is the real­ity. Across crises, false solu­tions, all clas­sic­al polit­ic­al gov­ern­ments cre­ate, on a big scale, in their people, frus­tra­tion, mis­un­der­stand­ing, anger, and obscure revolt. All that again­st what is the unique way pro­posed by all mem­bers of the polit­ic­al class today, with some dif­fer­ences, but some small dif­fer­ences. The exer­cise of polit­ics today is the exer­cise of very small dif­fer­ences inside the same glob­al way. But all that has many effects on people in gen­er­al; effects of dis­or­i­ent­a­tion, total absence of ori­ent­a­tion or dir­ec­tion of life, no stra­tegic vis­ion of the future of human­ity, and in that sort of situ­ation a big part of the people search in obscur­ity on the side of false nov­el­ties, irra­tion­al vis­ions, and return to dead tra­di­tions, and so on. So, in front of polit­ic­al olig­archy, we have the appar­i­tion of new sort of act­iv­ists, new sup­ports of viol­ent and vul­gar dem­agogy, and these guys are much more on the side of gang­sters and mafia than on the side of edu­cated politi­cians. And so the choice here has been the choice between that sort of guy and the rest of the edu­cated politi­cians, and the res­ult has been the leg­al choice of the new form of polit­ic­al vul­gar­ity and some­thing sub­ject­ively viol­ent in the polit­ic­al pro­pos­i­tion.

In some sense, this new polit­ic­al fig­ure — Trump, but many oth­ers today — are near the fas­cist of the 30s. There is some­thing sim­il­ar. But first without alas their strong enemies of the 30s, which were the com­mun­ist parties. It’s a sort of demo­crat­ic fas­cism — a para­dox­ic­al determ­in­a­tion — a sort of demo­crat­ic fas­cism, that is, they are inside the demo­crat­ic plane, inside the demo­crat­ic appar­at­us, but they play some­thing dif­fer­ent, another music, in that sort of con­text. And, I think it’s not only the case here, with Don­ald Trump — racist, machiste [macho], viol­ent, and also, which is a fas­cist char­ac­ter­ist­ic, without any con­sid­er­a­tion for logic or ration­al­ity; because the dis­course, the mode of speak­ing of that sort of demo­crat­ic fas­cism is pre­cisely a sort of dis­lo­ca­tion of lan­guage, a sort of pos­sib­il­ity to say any­thing, and the con­trary of any­thing — there is no prob­lem, the lan­guage is not the lan­guage of explan­a­tion, but a lan­guage to cre­ate some affects; it’s an affect­ive lan­guage which cre­ates a false unity but a prac­tic­al unity. And so, we have that with Don­ald Trump, but it has been the case before in Ita­ly with Ber­lusconi. Ber­lusconi may be, I think, the first fig­ure of that sort of new demo­crat­ic fas­cism, with exactly the same char­ac­ter­ist­ics: vul­gar­ity, a sort of patho­lo­gic­al rela­tion­ship to women, and the pos­sib­il­ity to say and to do, pub­licly, some things which are unac­cept­able for the big part of human beings today. But that was the case also with Orbán in Hun­gary today, and in my sense, in France, it has been the case with Sarkozy. And it’s also the case pro­gress­ively in India or the Phil­lipines, and even in Poland or in Tur­key. So it’s really, at the scale of the world, the appar­i­tion of a new fig­ure of polit­ic­al determ­in­a­tion which is a fig­ure which is very often inside the demo­crat­ic con­sti­tu­tion but which is in some sense also out­side. And I think that we can name fas­cists — because it was the case in the thirties; after all, Hitler was also vic­tori­ous in elec­tions — so I name fas­cist that sort of guy who is inside the demo­crat­ic play, but in some sense also out­side: inside and out­side. And inside to finally be out­side. So it’s really a nov­elty but a nov­elty which is inscribed inside the gen­er­al fig­ure of the world today because it’s also some­thing for many people, not of a solu­tion but a new man­ner to be in the demo­crat­ic play, where, on the side of clas­sic­al olig­archy, there is no dif­fer­ence at all. In some sense, the prin­ciple effect of Trump is an effect of some­thing new. In fact, in the details, there is noth­ing new, because it’s impossible to think that it’s new to be racist, machiste [macho], and so on — very old things, very old things. But in the con­text of the clas­sic­al olig­archy today, this very old thing seems to be some­thing new. And so, Trump is in the pos­i­tion to say that the nov­elty is ‘Trump’, in the moment when he’s say­ing things which are abso­lutely prim­it­ive and abso­lutely old, old-fash­ioned. And so, we are also in the time where some­thing like a return to the old exist­ence of some­thing can appear as some­thing new. And this con­ver­sion of the new in the old is also a char­ac­ter­ist­ic of that sort of new fas­cism. 

All that describes, I think, our present situ­ation at the level of polit­ics. We must con­sider that we are in a fatal dia­lectics of four terms. 

First, the com­plete bru­tal­ity and blind viol­ence of the cap­it­al­ism of today. Okay, in the West­ern world, we are not see­ing com­pletely this bru­tal­ity or viol­ence, but if you are in Africa, we see that, really, and if you are in the Middle East too, and finally if you are in Asia too. And so it’s a term, a fun­da­ment­al term, of our world today. It is the return to cap­it­al­ism to what is in fact it’s very sense, that is, sav­age con­quer­ing, sav­age fight of every­body again­st every­body, for dom­in­a­tion. So, com­plete bru­tal­ity and blood viol­ence of the sav­age cap­it­al­ism of today: the first term. 

Second term: the decom­pos­i­tion of the clas­sic­al polit­ic­al olig­archy. The clas­sic­al parties — Demo­crat, Repub­lic­an, Social­ist, et al. — decom­pos­i­tion in the dir­ec­tion, finally, of the appar­i­tion of a sort of new fas­cism. We don’t know the future of that sort of appar­i­tion: what is the future of Trump? In some sense, we don’t know, really, and may­be Trump doesn’t know his prop­er des­tiny. It was vis­ible in the night. You have the Trump before the power and the Trump in the power, who is in some sense afraid; not com­pletely sat­is­fied, because he knows that he can­not speak as freely as before. And to speak freely was exactly the potency of Trump, but now with the gov­ern­ment, the admin­is­tra­tion, the army, eco­nom­ists, bankers and so on, it’s another story. And so, we have seen in the night Trump passing from one play to another play, from one theatre to another theatre; and in the second theatre it was not so good, not so good as before. But we don’t know, really, we don’t know what is the real pos­sib­il­ity of that sort of guy when he becomes pres­id­ent of the United States. In any case, we have really a sym­bol of the decom­pos­i­tion of the clas­sic­al polit­ic­al olig­archy, and the birth of the new fig­ure of a new fas­cism, with a future that we don’t know, but I think is cer­tainly not a very inter­est­ing future for people in gen­er­al. 

Third, we have the pop­ular frus­tra­tion, the feel­ing of an obscure dis­order, in the pub­lic opin­ion of many people, and prin­cip­ally the poor people, the people of pro­vin­cial states, the peas­ants of many coun­tries, and also the work­ers without a job, and so on — all that pop­u­la­tion, which pro­gress­ively is reduced by the bru­tal­ity of con­tem­por­ary cap­it­al­ism, to noth­ing at all, which has no pos­sible exist­ence, and which stays, in some places, without jobs, without money, without ori­ent­a­tion, without exist­en­tial ori­ent­a­tion. And this point is the third very import­ant term of the glob­al situ­ation today. The lack of ori­ent­a­tion, of sta­bil­ity, the feel­ing of the destruc­tion of their world, without the con­struc­tion of another world; so a sort of void destruc­tion. 

And the last term, the fourth term, is the lack, the com­plete lack, of another stra­tegic way; the absence, today, of another stra­tegic way. There exist many polit­ic­al exper­i­ences — I don’t say that there is noth­ing at all on this side. We know new riots, new occu­pa­tion of places, new mobil­isa­tion, new eco­lo­gic­al determ­in­a­tion and so on. So, it’s not the absence of all forms of res­ist­ance, prot­est­a­tion — no, I don’t say that. But the lack of another stra­tegic way, that is, some­thing which is at the same level as the con­tem­por­ary con­vic­tion that cap­it­al­ism is the only way pos­sible. The lack of the strength of the affirm­a­tion of another way. And the lack of what I name an Idea, a great Idea. A great Idea which is the pos­sib­il­ity of uni­fic­a­tion, glob­al uni­fic­a­tion, stra­tegic uni­fic­a­tion of all forms of res­ist­ance and inven­tion. An Idea is a sort of medi­ation between the indi­vidu­al sub­ject and the col­lect­ive his­tor­ic­al and polit­ic­al task, and it’s the pos­sib­il­ity of action across and with very dif­fer­ent sub­jectiv­it­ies, but under the same Idea in some sense. 

These four points — the gen­er­al and stra­tegic dom­in­a­tion of glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism, the decom­pos­i­tion of clas­sic­al polit­ic­al olig­archy, the pop­ular dis­or­i­ent­a­tion and frus­tra­tion, and the lack of another stra­tegic way — com­pose in my opin­ion the crisis of today. We can define the con­tem­por­ary world in the term of a glob­al crisis which is not redu­cible to the eco­nom­ic crisis of the last years, which is much more, I think, a sub­ject­ive crisis, because of the des­tiny of human beings is more and more unclear for them­selves. 

After that, what is to be done? The ques­tion of Len­in. I think, con­cern­ing the pres­id­en­tial elec­tion here, the elec­tion of Trump, I think we must affirm that one reas­on for the suc­cess of Trump is that the true con­tra­dic­tion today, the real con­tra­dic­tion today, the most import­ant con­tra­dic­tion can­not be between two forms of the same world. The world of glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism, of imper­i­al­ist wars, and of lack of any Idea con­cern­ing the des­tiny of human beings. I know that Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump are very dif­fer­ent — I am not say­ing we should identi­fy Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton, but this dif­fer­ence, which is import­ant… there exists a level where this dif­fer­ence, that is the dif­fer­ence between new fas­cism and old polit­ic­al olig­archy — and all polit­ic­al olig­archy is less hor­rible than new fas­cism, so I under­stand per­fectly that at the end we prefer Hil­lary Clin­ton — but we can­not for­get that in some sense this dif­fer­ence is inside the same world. It’s not the expres­sion of two dif­fer­ent stra­tegic vis­ions of the world. And I think the suc­cess of Trump is pos­sible only because the true con­tra­dic­tion of the world can­not be expressed, can­not be sym­bol­ized, by the oppos­i­tion between Hil­lary Clin­ton and Trump, because Hil­lary Clin­ton and Trump are in the same world — very dif­fer­ent, but very dif­fer­ent in the same world. And so, in fact, dur­ing all the pre­par­a­tion of the elec­tion, dur­ing the primar­ies, the true con­tra­dic­tion, in my opin­ion, has been between Trump and Bernie Sanders. It was a true con­tra­dic­tion. We can think what we want con­cern­ing the two terms of this con­tra­dic­tion. We can say that Trump is may­be some­thing excess­ive, on the side of a new fas­cism and so on, and we can say that Bernie Sanders is some­thing which is in some sense of social­ist nature, finally, Bernie Sanders is in the neces­sity to go on the side of Clin­ton and so on and so on, but I think at the level of sym­bol­iz­a­tion, which is so import­ant, the true con­tra­dic­tion of our world was sym­bol­ized by the oppos­i­tion of Trump and Bernie Sanders, and not by the oppos­i­tion of Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton, because we have in Bernie Sanders, the pro­pos­i­tion of Bernie Sanders, some­thing, some points which are bey­ond the world as it is. And we do not have some­thing like that in the pro­pos­i­tion of Hil­lary Clin­ton. And so, we have a les­son of dia­lectics; that is, the the­ory of con­tra­dic­tions. In some sense, the con­tra­dic­tion between Hil­lary Clin­ton and Trump was a rel­at­ive con­tra­dic­tion and not an abso­lute one; that is, a con­tra­dic­tion in the same para­met­ers, in the same con­struc­tion of the world. But the con­tra­dic­tion between Bernie Sanders and Trump was in fact the begin­ning of the pos­sib­il­ity of a true con­tra­dic­tion; that is, a con­tra­dic­tion with a world and some­thing which is bey­ond the world. In some sense, Trump was really on the side of react­ive and obscure pop­ular sub­jectiv­ity, inside the world as it is, but Bernie Sanders was on the side of ration­al, act­ive and clear pop­ular sub­jectiv­ity, ori­ented bey­ond the world as it is, even in some­thing which was unclear — unclear, but bey­ond the world as it is. 

So the res­ult of the elec­tion is of a con­ser­vat­ive nature, it’s purely con­ser­vat­ive, because it’s the res­ult of a false con­tra­dic­tion, in some sense, a con­tra­dic­tion which is not a true con­tra­dic­tion, and which is also, across this elec­tion, the con­tinu­ation of the crisis of today, the crisis of the four terms I explained before. Today, again­st Trump, we can­not desire Clin­ton, or some­body of the same fig­ure. We must cre­ate a return, if it is pos­sible, to the true con­tra­dic­tion; it’s the les­son of that sort of ter­rible event. That is, we must pro­pose a polit­ic­al ori­ent­a­tion which goes bey­ond the world as it is, even if it is, at the begin­ning, in a not com­pletely clear man­ner. When we begin some­thing, we have not the com­plete devel­op­ment of that thing. But we must begin. We must begin, which is the point. After Trump, we must begin. It’s not only to res­ist, to neg­ate and so on. We must begin some­thing, really, and this ques­tion of the begin­ning is the begin­ning of the return to the true con­tra­dic­tion, to a real choice, to a real stra­tegic choice con­cern­ing the ori­ent­a­tion of human beings. We must recon­struct the idea that again­st the mon­strous inequal­it­ies of the present cap­it­al­ism, again­st also the new gang­sters of clas­sic­al polit­ics, like Trump, it’s pos­sible to cre­ate, once more, a polit­ic­al field with two stra­tegic ori­ent­a­tions, and not only one. The return of some­thing which has been the occa­sion of the great polit­ic­al move­ment of 19th cen­tury and of the begin­ning of the last cen­tury. We must, if I can say some­thing in a philo­soph­ic­al man­ner, we must go bey­ond the One, in the dir­ec­tion of the Two. Not one ori­ent­a­tion, but two ori­ent­a­tions. The cre­ation of a new return to a new fun­da­ment­al choice as the very essence of polit­ics. In fact, if there is only one stra­tegic way, polit­ics pro­gress­ively dis­ap­pears, and in some sense, Trump is the sym­bol of that sort of dis­par­i­tion, because, what is the polit­ics of Trump? Nobody knows. It’s some­thing like a fig­ure and not a polit­ics. So the return to polit­ics is by neces­sity the return of the exist­ence of a real choice. So, finally, at the level of philo­soph­ic­al gen­er­al­it­ies, it’s the dia­lect­ic­al return to the real Two bey­ond the One, and we can pro­pose some names for that sort of return. 

As you know, my vis­ion is to pro­pose the cor­rup­ted word of ‘Com­mun­ism’, cor­rup­ted you know by bloody exper­i­ences and so on. The name is only a name, so we are free to pro­pose oth­er names, not a prob­lem. But we have some­thing which is inter­est­ing in the prim­it­ive mean­ing of this old and cor­rup­ted word. And this mean­ing is in fact com­posed of four points, four prin­ciples, and these sort of prin­ciples can be a sup­port for the cre­ation of a new polit­ic­al field with two stra­tegic ori­ent­a­tions.

The first point is that it’s not a neces­sity that the key of social organ­iz­a­tion lies in private prop­er­ty and mon­strous inequal­it­ies. It’s not a neces­sity. We must affirm that it’s not a neces­sity. And we can organ­ize lim­ited exper­i­ences which demon­strate that it’s not a neces­sity, that it’s not true that forever private prop­er­ty and mon­strous inequal­it­ies must be the law of the becom­ing of human­ity. It’s the first point.

The second point is that it’s not a neces­sity that work­ers will be sep­ar­ated between noble work, like intel­lec­tu­al cre­ation, or dir­ec­tion, or gov­ern­ment, and, on the oth­er side, manu­al work and com­mon mater­i­al exist­ence. So the spe­cial­iz­a­tion of the label is not an etern­al law, and espe­cially the oppos­i­tion between intel­lec­tu­al work and manu­al work must be sup­pressed in the long term. It’s the second prin­ciple. 

The third is that it’s not a neces­sity for human beings to be sep­ar­ated by nation­al, racial, reli­gious or sexu­al bound­ar­ies. The equal­ity must exist across dif­fer­ences, and so dif­fer­ence is an obstacle to equal­ity. Equal­ity must be a dia­lectics of dif­fer­ence itself, and we must refuse that in the name of dif­fer­ences, equal­ity is impossible. So bound­ar­ies, refus­al of the Oth­er, in any form, all that must dis­ap­pear. It’s not a nat­ur­al law. 

And the last prin­ciple is that it’s not a neces­sity that there exists a state, in the form of a sep­ar­ated and armoured power. 

So these four points can be resumed: col­lect­iv­ism again­st private prop­er­ty,, poly­morph­ous work­er again­st spe­cial­iz­a­tion, con­crete uni­ver­sal­ism again­st closed iden­tit­ies, and free asso­ci­ation again­st the state. It’s only a prin­ciple, it’s not a pro­gram­me. But with this prin­ciple, we can judge all polit­ic­al pro­grammes, decisions, parties, ideas, from the point of view of these four prin­ciples. Take a decision: is this decision in the dir­ec­tion of the four prin­ciples or not. The prin­ciples are the pro­to­col of judge­ment con­cern­ing all decisions, ideas, pro­pos­i­tions. If a decision, a pro­pos­i­tion, is in the dir­ec­tion of the four prin­ciples, we can say it’s a good one, we can exam­ine if it is pos­sible and so on. If clearly it’s again­st the prin­ciples, it’s a bad decision, bad idea, bad pro­gram­me. So we have a prin­ciple of judge­ment in the polit­ic­al field and in the con­struc­tion of the new stra­tegic pro­ject. That is in some sense the pos­sib­il­ity to have a true vis­ion of what is really in the new dir­ec­tion, the new stra­tegic dir­ec­tion of human­ity as such. 

Bernie Sanders pro­poses to con­struct a new polit­ic­al group, under the title, ‘Our Revolu­tion’. The suc­cess of Trump must open a new chance for that sort of idea. We can trust him for the moment, we can judge if it’s really a pro­pos­i­tion which goes bey­ond the present world, we can judge if some­thing is pro­posed which is in con­form­ity with the four prin­ciples. We can do some­thing. And we must do, because if we do noth­ing at all, we are only in the fas­cin­a­tion, the stu­pid­ity of fas­cin­a­tion, by the depress­ive suc­cess of Trump. Our revolution—why not—against their reac­tion, our revolu­tion, it’s a good idea. In any case, I am on this side.