In a series of seven trenchant interventions Alain Badiou analyses the decisive developments in Greece since 2011. Badiou considers this Mediterranean country “a sort of open-air political lesson”, with much to tell us about the wider situation. Greece is exemplary of “our fundamental contradictions in Europe, which are also ultimately the fundamental contradictions of the world such as it is—the world served up to the authoritarian anarchy of capitalism.”
Notwithstanding the Greeks’ heartening opposition to the financial markets’ hegemony, Badiou considers it also important to address the reasons why this opposition failed. “Movementist” politics may arouse widespread sympathy, but for the French philosopher they have “absolutely no effect other than to temporarily trap the movement in the negative weakness of its affects.”
Badiou argues that a consequential opposition inspired by the emancipatory politics of the past—or by what he calls “the communist hypothesis”—should set its compass by the “orienting maxims” proposed in this book, defining a direction for political action.
“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.”