Have been digging around a little more to try and get to grips with Badiou.
Found this great interview with him over at Infinite Thought, done just before the Communist conference at Birkbeck. Two great excerpts which perhaps speak for themselves.
On the Communist idea
Communism is an old name but it is the name of the historical possibility of a world which is not under the rule of private property and so on. This idea is today different from any form of concrete realisation We are at the opening of a new sequence where there is a great interest for new ideas and old words. I think for the moment, this is at the conceptual level. I don’t think that communism is something which can be an immediate political programme. Communism is not the name of a programme. It has been the name of a programme, for Lenin or Mao. But nobody today thinks we can go immediately from the idea of communism – of a society which is collective, not under the law of private property – to a political programme tomorrow. The idea is that we are instead at the beginning of a new subjective sequence of the understanding of what is politics, what is new politics. It is why it is possible to discuss the old words without any precise political community.
On the Subjective Experience of Capitalism
We can say simply that global capitalism is not a vision of the future. It’s only a sort of continuity of itself. Capitalism is only a repetition. A repetition of the same world, the same necessity with many features of the repetition, the circulation of money, the generalities of communications, and so on. So there is something in that world which is also new and always the same. And I think it’s the profound experience of all people today. There are new objects, new cars, new phones, and so on. But in fact the experience of the world is the same. Is it possible to live in that sort of world for a long time? During a short time it’s always possible, we have some objects, some merchandise, we have the market, and so on. But in the long-run there is no vision of the future. There is the feeling of pure repetition. My philosophical conviction is that people cannot accept that sort of world for a long sequence. The subjective sequence which is accepting all that – there is no other possibility, the collapse of communism, there is no other possibility. It is why today we have a curiosity, a feeling concerning other possibilities. Not only communism, but religious possibilities, nihilistic possibilities too – no future – and pure immediate existence. But new forms of politics. The world today all that, especially young people, have a new interest have a new interest in this old word.
And from this perhaps less interesting, short interview comes a delightfully sharp reponse to a rather aggressive question.
Q)Don’t you think that there is a proper compromise between the unabashed capitalism of Sarkozy and your antiquated radical line?
A)Having begun its journey four centuries ago, capitalism, even unbridled, is much older and archaic that all the radical lines that one opposes to it. Let us cease considering that liberalism, fashionable in the 1840s, embodies modernity and reform. It is Communism which is a new idea in Europe.
Amazon tells me his new book “The Communist Hypothesis” will be out this Summer. Looking forward to it.