One of the world's leading radical philosophers analyses the failure of the Syriza experience in Greece
In a series of seven trenchant interventions Alain Badou 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.
"In the past few years, Alain Badiou's oeuvre has imposed itself as the most significant philosophical import from the Continent."
Alberto Toscano, author of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea, The British Journal of Sociology
"Whatever his pessimistic assessments of the contemporary situation (St Paul in the place of Lenin?), Badiou’s emphasis on activity and production, his insistence on fidelity as the resurrected of the dormant Events of a seemingly extinct political praxis, can only be energizing for us."
Fredric Jameson, New Left Review
"One of the most important philosophers writing today."
"A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!"
"An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser."
"Badiou’s sardonically compressed style is never less than pungent."
"Shaking the foundations of Western liberal democracy."
Times Higher Education Supplement
"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."
"French philosophy still has a kick in it, and it can still turn heads. You have been warned."
Jonathan Rée, Prospect
"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."
Mark Fisher, Frieze
"Badiou has been an intellectual hero of France's anti-capitalist left since the Paris street protests of 1968."
"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."
Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS, University of London