The Communist Hypothesis

The Communist Hypothesis

Alain Badiou

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1844676005

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“We know that communism is the right hypothesis. All those who abandon this hypothesis immediately resign themselves to the market economy, to parliamentary democracy—the form of state suited to capitalism—and to the inevitable and ‘natural’ character of the most monstrous inequalities.”—Alain Badiou 

Alain Badiou’s “communist hypothesis,” first stated in 2008, cut through the cant and compromises of the past twenty years to reconceptualize the Left. The hypothesis is a fresh demand for universal emancipation and a galvanizing call to arms. Anyone concerned with the future of the planet needs to reckon with the ideas outlined within this book.

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idea, and it can only be the communist idea in its generic sense.’ That is why we must remain the contemporaries of May ’68. In its own way, it tells us that living without an idea is intolerable. And then a long and terrible resignation set in. Too many people now think that there is no alternative to living for oneself, for one’s own interests. Let us have the courage to cut ourselves off from such people. I am a philosopher, so let me tell you something that has been said again and again since

people watching the movie, they dare to sing the praises of a system that hands the organization of our collective life over to the lowest instincts, to greed, rivalry and unconscious egotism? They expect us to praise a ‘democracy’ whose leaders serve the cause of private financial appropriation so assiduously that they would astonish Marx himself – Marx who was already describing governments as ‘Capital’s executives’ 160 years ago? They want at all cost to make ordinary citizens believe that it

was certainly not to collectivize through force and violence in order to ensure accumulation at all costs in the cities. It was, quite the contrary, to industrialize the countryside locally, to give it a relative economic autonomy, in order to avoid the savage proletarianization and urbanization that had taken a catastrophic shape in the USSR. In truth, Mao followed the communist idea of an effective resolution of the contradiction between city and countryside, and not that of a violent

who are held in a state of colossal insignificance by the State. On the other hand, it is distinguished all along the way by proper names, which define it historically, which represent it, much more forcefully than is the case for other kinds of politics. Why is there this long series of proper names? Why this glorious Pantheon of revolutionary heroes? Why Spartacus, Thomas Müntzer, Robespierre, Toussaint Louverture, Blanqui, Marx, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Mao, Che Guevara and so many others? The

apparent in any political action (which is expressed by the formula ‘politics at a distance from the State’ as an obligatory refusal of any direct inclusion in the State, of any request for funding from the State, of any participation in elections, etc.), is also an infinite task, since the creation of new political truths will always shift the dividing line between Statist, hence historical, facts and the eternal consequences of an event. With this in mind, I will now conclude by turning to the

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