In his review of Alain Badiou's The Communist Hypothesis for Dissent, Tim Barker begins by agreeing it is indeed a very handsome edition and one that must be an important statement of Badiou's beliefs. He also agrees that Leon Wieseltier's "automatic dismissal of Badiou as a 'heartless bastard' is analytically unsatisfying." Barker then poses the question: What is it about this moment which has made communism (or at least these communists) so popular?
In the case Badiou, it is something less than sinister. It is the frustration and confusion that Richard Wolin has described on this website: "[The] traditional left-wing solutions were noble yet flawed; and we remain uncertain in what ways or directions they need to be supplemented." Most Dissent readers will have, as I do, strong disagreements with the diagnosis and prescriptions provided by the thinkers in question. But it is important to note that their appeal speaks directly to a crisis of the Left which calls for more than the simple repetition of social democratic slogans.
Visit Dissent to read the review in full and come along next week to an event in New York City where Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek will discuss Philosophy and Communism.