Alain Badiou: What is Called a Failure?

SubSense

The mid-1970s saw the begin­nings of the ebb the ‘red dec­ade’ ushered in by the fourfold cir­cum­stances of national lib­er­a­tion struggles (in Viet­nam and Palestine in par­tic­u­lar), the world­wide stu­dent and youth move­ment (Ger­many, Japan, the USA, Mex­ico . . .), fact­ory revolts (France and Italy) and the Cul­tural Revolu­tion in China. It finds its sub­ject­ive form in a resigned sur­render, in a return to cus­toms — includ­ing elect­oral cus­toms – defer­ence towards the cap­italo-par­lia­ment­arian or ‘West­ern’ order, and the con­vic­tion that to want some­thing bet­ter is to want some­thing worse. It finds its intel­lec­tual form in what, in France, acquired the very strange name of ‘the new philo­sophy’. Des­pite the change of name, we have here, almost unchanged, all the argu­ments of the Amer­ican anti-com­mun­ism of the 1950s: social­ist regimes are loath­some des­pot­isms and bloody dic­tat­or­ships. At the level of the state, this social­ist ‘total­it­ari­an­ism’ must be con­tras­ted with…

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