Books/Alain Badiou/Can Politics Be Thought

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‘Can Politics Be Thought?’ by Alain Badiou


In Can Politics Be Thought?—published in French in 1985 and appearing here in English for the first time—Alain Badiou offers his most forceful and systematic analysis of the crisis of Marxism. Distinguishing politics as an active mode of thinking from the political as a domain of the State, Badiou argues for the continuation of Marxist politics. In so doing, he shows why we need to recapture the emancipatory hypothesis of Marx’s original gesture in order to actualize its radical potential. This volume also includes Badiou’s “Of an Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of the State,” in which he rebuts claims of Communism’s death after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“Distinguished by his unique combination of philosophical stringency and political engagement, Alain Badiou is not afraid to question the very fundamentals of our liberal-democratic consensus.”

— Slavoj Žižek

“This elegant and indispensable translation of a crucial text from Alain Badiou’s 1980s political writing redirects the entire English-language discussion of Badiou’s communism. The real break is not between Badiou’s communism and Marxism but between Badiou’s militant, political Marxism and the Marxist analytics of political economy. Badiou gives us a Marxist subjectivity released from and by the defeats of the twentieth century and armed with new capacities to think and move.”

— Jodi Dean