Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Meaning of Sarkozy by Alain Badiou


A trenchant and witty dissection of the French political scene by the leading radical philosopher.

Alain Badiou, in this sharp and focused intervention, claims that, in and of itself, the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as President is not an event, nor is it the cause for wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. To understand the significance of "Sarkozy," we have to look behind the insignificance and vulgarity of the figure and ask what he represents, namely a reactionary tradition which goes back to the early nineteenth century. To escape from the ambience of depression and fear that currently envelops the Left, Badiou casts aside the slavish worship of electoral democracy and maps out a communist hypothesis that can lay the basis for emancipatory politics in the twenty-first century.

download (3.8 pdf scanned)

mirror 1: megaupload

Saturday, November 14, 2009

First As Tragedy, Then As Farce by Slavoj Zizek


From the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown—but underlying both is the irrationality of global capitalism. In this bravura analysis of the current global crisis—following on from his bestselling Welcome to the Desert of the Real—Slavoj Zizek argues that the liberal idea of the “end of history,” declared by Francis Fukuyama during the 1990s, has had to die twice. After the collapse of the liberal-democratic political utopia, on the morning of 9/11, came the collapse of the economic utopia of global market capitalism at the end of 2008. Marx argued that history repeats itself—occuring first as tragedy, the second time as farce—and Zizek, following Herbert Marcuse, notes here that the repetition as farce can be even more terrifying than the original tragedy.

The financial meltdown signals that the fantasy of globalization is over and as millions are put out of work it has become impossible to ignore the irrationality of global capitalism. Just a few months before the crash, the world’s priorities seemed to be global warming, AIDS, and access to medicine, food and water—tasks labelled as urgent, but with any real action repeatedly postponed. Now, after the financial implosion, the urgent need to act seems to have become unconditional—with the result that undreamt of quantities of cash were immediately found and then poured into the financial sector without any regard for the old priorities. Do we need further proof, Zizek asks, that Capital is the Real of our lives: the Real whose demands are more absolute than even the most pressing problems of our natural and social world? .


mirror 1: rapidshare

mirror 2:

related reading on The Activist “In Defense of Slavoj Zizek”.