Over the last six years, Greece has provided the world with “an open-air political lesson.” The country’s deep economic and social crisis has exposed the fundamental contradictions of the European Union, and indeed the capitalist world as a whole. It has been a test case for movements seeking to put an end to the authoritarian anarchy of neoliberal capitalism. The Greek resistance to EU institutions and financial-market hegemony offered a beacon of hope. Yet the “movementist” politics of 2011 could not build anything lasting, and Syriza’s efforts as a party of government soon led to impasse. For Alain Badiou, it is not enough to mourn this defeat—we must understand why such a vigorous opposition could fail.
Greece and the Reinvention of Politics argues that an opposition of real consequence must revive the “communist hypothesis,” the vision of an alternative state structure. The “orienting maxims” that this hypothesis provides light the way for effective political action. Written in the storm of the crisis, the interventions collected in this book offer a path out of our contemporary powerlessness.
“Greece has long been a country with ‘too much history,’ a harbinger of broader developments in Europe. In the course of its recent crisis it provided the testing ground for several political approaches. Failure was general, but none was greater than the abject capitulation of Syriza. Alain Badiou surveys the wreckage calmly and with sadness, seeking the reinvention of a radical and class-based politics. This is indeed what Europe needs today, and the only positive outcome from the Syriza debacle.”
“Badiou’s sardonically compressed style is never less than pungent.”
“A thinker of tremendously invigorating moral fervour, able to rise to Swiftian scorn or fine Cocteau-like flourishes. Badiou’s passionate belief in human autonomy is inspiring.”
“Scarcely any other moral thinker of our day is as politically clear-sighted and courageously polemical, so prepared to put notions of truth and universality back on the agenda.”