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The Meaning of Sarkozy

The reactionary tradition behind Sarkozy, and the communist hypothesis for the twenty-first century.

In this incisive, acerbic work, Alain Badiou looks beyond the petty vulgarity of the French president to decipher the true significance of what he represents—a reactionary tradition that goes back more than a hundred years. To escape the malaise that has enveloped the Left since Sarkozy’s election, Badiou casts aside the slavish worship of electoral democracy and maps out a communist hypothesis that lays the basis for an emancipatory politics of the twenty-first century.

Reviews

  • “Magnificently stirring ... a characteristically lucid polemic from a philosopher who is far from willing to abandon humanity to the vicissitudes of so-called global capitalism.”
  • “In the tradition of revolutionary pamphleteering.”
  • “Compelling ... He deconstructs, with languid, sarcastic ferocity, the notion that ‘France chose Sarkozy’ ... a very French piece of political venom.”
  • “Heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser ... a thundering, rallying tirade. ”
  • “Incisive, incredibly readable and funny critique.”

Blog

  • Badiou: Macron is the Name of a Crisis

    Macron is the name of a crisis of any politics that purports to "represent" political orientations in an electoral space. That clearly owes to the fact that the earthly disappearance of the communist hypothesis and its parties has little by little made the truth about parliamentarism apparent: namely, that ultimately it only "represents" small nuances in the dominant consensus around neoliberal capitalism — and not any alternative strategy. The far Right, in the brutal style of Donald Trump or the renovated Pétainism of Marine Le Pen, profits from this situation, since although it stands totally within that consensus it is alone in giving off the appearance of being on the outside.

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  • Building a Political Alternative: Stathis Kouvelakis on the French Presidential Election

    Feyzi Ismail's interview with Stathis Kouvelakis — a member of the Greek Popular Unity party and a supporter of La France Insoumise — about Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French presidential election and the prospects for the radical left was first published at Counterfire


    France Insoumise International Women's Day demonstration, March 2017. via Flickr.

    What is your assessment of Macron's victory over Le Pen and how did we get to this?


    We shouldn't underestimate the danger of Le Pen's result of 34.5%, even if she wasn't elected. This is a solid performance that makes her appear as a credible alternative for power, which means the slogan we have been hearing that says "Macron in 2017 equals Le Pen in 2022" has the potential to become true. This is one essential reason why against all odds the left should have been supporting a tactical vote for Macron for the second round. Abstention under these conditions was not an option.

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  • Let's Now Make Sure the Fight Continues



    A huge win for Emmanuel Macron on 65.1% and a bit of a slap in the face for the Front National, who failed to hegemonise either the Right or the so-called "anti-neoliberal" vote. These, indeed, are not united constituencies. There seems to have been a relatively poor turnout (5% or so lower than usual) plus about four million spoilt ballots, historic in the French context or indeed any advanced democracy. 

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Other books by Alain Badiou Translated by David Fernbach