Schostak (Professor of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University) 11
(John, Wikileaks, Tahrir Square – their significance for re-thinking democracy, Manchester social movements conference, April, http://www.enquirylearning.net/ELU/politics/tahrirwikileaks.html)
In his study of the conditions of work imposed by neo-liberal practices in France, Christophe Dejours (1998) has argued that political strategies, particularly those on the left, have not employed appropriate strategies of analysis. Without a good analysis of contemporary circumstances, he argues, political strategies aiming at social justice will be deficient or wrong. And a good analysis for the production of appropriate strategies can only be accomplished through a multiplicity of collective reflections, debates and decision making in public spaces for public action(s). The protests that have spread since the food riots in Algeria on the 6th January, the revolution in Tunisia and then the revolution in Egypt and then riots spreading to Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Jordan and others have drawn lessons from each other providing experience for the development of local strategies. Any protest will give insights into the conditions underlying the protests and the community and state structures, discourses, practices, and processes that tacitly if not explicitly underlie the social, political and economic order at local, national, transnational and global levels. This is why, it seems to me, that critically exploring from an educational and research perspective what has happened in response to Wikileaks and has been happening in the Middle East is so important today.
Thesis: Politics is not the rearrangement of laws but the emergence of subjects at a certain place in relation to a Truth that becomes universal – it is not respecting difference but affirming an equality that defies the limits of being itself. This equality is communism
Bosteels ’11 (Bruno, Prof. of Romance Studies @ Cornell U., Badiou and Politics, pp. 29-33)
1. Politics, or a (mode of doing) politics, is first of all a process or a procedure, that is, an active form of militant practice, and not a form of the state. It is precisely with regard to this first principle that most hitherto existing political philosophies run aground, insofar as they subordinate the sequence of a given political process to the structural question about the (good) form of power. 2. As a process or procedure, a politics starts out from that point in the social order that signals the excessive power of the state. This point is the place, or site, of the political event. Every political event is anchored in a specific situation through such a symptomatic site, which otherwise appears to be near the edges of the void, or inexistent. 3· The state is the instance that doubly controls the situation, for example, by first counting all the inhabitants who have the right to be legal citizens, residents or nonresidents, and then, as in a census, by counting these members a second time in terms of various subcategories, or subsets: male and female, immigrant and indigenous, adults and minors, etc. 4· The difference between these two counting operations, first the elements of a set and then the subsets, corresponds to the difference between the simple presentation of a given situation and its redoubling or re-presentation in the state of this situation. Here as elsewhere, in an ambiguity on which I will have occasion to comment below, Badiou plays with the double sense of the "state": both the normal state of affairs (etat) and the political state (Etat). 5. The example of the census already intuitively indicates that there is always an excess of the power with which the stateof a situation exceeds this situation itself signaled by the "etcetera" or "other" that cannot fail to appear at the end of every list of categories. The number of ways in which we can order the subsets of a given census is in principle always larger than the number of members that figure in this census to begin with. What is more, in an infinite situation, this excess can be shown to be properly immeasurable. It is this simple and fundamental axiom of contemporary set theory that marks the onset, so to speak, of a political intervention. The state's excessive power in fact becomes visible only as the result of an emergent political subject.When everything runs its course as usual, this excess remains invisible even as the errancy of the state's superpower secretly continues to serve an intimidating function. It is necessary to put a limit on the excess that otherwise remains hidden behind the semblance of communal bonds and cultural identities. 6. A political process, thus, does not start out from a previously given bond or group, not even when this social bond is defined in terms of the class struggle, but precisely from a local unbinding of the common bond. It is also not the case that the state rejects the formation of new social bonds but rather what it seeks to avoid at all cost, even if this means allowing all kinds of separations and subversions, is the coming apart of the ideological glue that holds together our particular identities. There is a primacy of struggle over the classes, a primacy that subsequent attempts at classification may actually seek to pacify or stabilize. 7· Politics is not the art of the possible but the art of the impossible. To be more precise, a political process must make the impossible possible. This means in the first place to give visibility to the excess of power in the normal state of affairs. During the revolt of May '68, no less than during the still obscure sequence of later events – from the protests of Solidarity in Poland to the uprising in Chiapas to the second Intifada – this process involves a certain gamble, or wager, through which the state is forced to lay bare its inherently repressive nature as a violent excrescence, typically shielded in a military and police apparatus used both inside and outside its own borders. 8. Politics as a procedure of truth, however, cannot be reduced to the typically youthful protest against the eternally oppressive and corrupt nature of the state apparatus. From the symptomatic site of the event, bordering the void that lurks everywhere in between the cracks of a census even if it cannot find a place in the images of representational politics, a militant subject emerges only when the particular terms of the various memberships that define society are put down and abolished in favor of a generic concept of truth as universally the same for all. 9. Politics, in other words, has nothing to do with respect for difference or for the other, not even the absolutely other, and everything with equality and sameness. This conclusion runs counter to the moral or moralizing consensus of contemporary politicians and political philosophers alike, which holds that a true (democratic) politics can contain the dangers of totalitarianism and fundamentalism only when a place is reserved for difference in the name of freedom. But the market, too, works with differences, or at least with semblances of difference. This is even the way in which the general equivalence of the underlying order is capable of reproducing itself. There is thus nothing inherently subversive, let alone revolutionary, about the affirmation of difference, becoming, or flux within the coordinates of contemporary capitalism. Only a strict egalitarian affirmation can break through this general equivalence of capital disguised as difference. 10. By traversing and deposing the different representations of identity with which the excess of state power maintains itself in its very errancy; a political procedure gradually begins to revolve around the notion of a generic set, that is, a set without determining attributes or qualities. Ultimately; politics is nothing if it is not the active organization of a generic equality; one possible name of which continues to be communism. 11. Indeed, with the notion of the generic, which according to Badiou is the most important conceptual contribution of Being and Event, we finally come back to Marx. It is, after all, he who, in the posthumous Manuscripts of 1844 and the Grundrisse, speaks of the possibility of the human as a generic species-being. Even more pertinently; it is Marx who in "On the Jewish Question;' speaking on the subject of complete human emancipation as opposed to purely moral or political emancipation, invokes the authority of The Social Contract where Jean-Jacques Rousseau-for Badiou one of the four great French dialecticians next to Pascal, Mallarme, and Lacan-had written: "Whoever dares to undertake the founding of a nation must feel himself capable of changing, so to speak, human nature and of transforming each individual who is in himself a complete but isolated whole into a part of something greater than himself from which he somehow derives his life and existence, substituting a limited and moral existence for physical and independent existence:'64 Perhaps there is no better description of the fundamental idea behind communism than to have confidence in this capacity of changing human nature itself – that is, above all, of transforming the human being from an egotistic independent individual, whose self-interest is so often invoked as an ideological legitimation for the natural superi ority of capitalism, into a generic species-being. This means not only that politics cannot be referred back to any ontology as first philosophy but also, and perhaps primarily; that all emancipatory thought must likewise refuse to rely on an anthropological preunderstanding of what constitutes human nature. There is no more political ontology than there would exist a political anthropology. Both expressions are equally oxymoronic. Badiou's plea for the generic nature of all truths, in this sense, can be considered a contemporary actualization of the fundamental idea behind communism. The question that I will try to tackle throughout the following pages, before coming back to meet its demand head-on in the book's conclusion, is whether and to what extent this idea of communist emancipation also continues to presuppose the tradition of Marxism, or whether we have now, in the age of terror, entered the terrain of a resolutely postMarxist, or non-Marxist, communism. Whence the question with which I will end: Communism without Marxism? In the contemporary renewal of the communist hypothesis, however, we should not overlook the fact that the concept of the generic also undergoes a decisive shift. For Badiou, in effect, this concept defines the nature of truth and not, as it once did for Marx, the human subj ect as a species being. It is the being of truth that is generic, not the communist subject. What is more, in spite of numerous allusions to the work of the young Marx, whose humanism Badiou would have learned how to rebuke from his teacher Althusser, the principal source of reference for the notion of the generic in Being and Event is not political but mathematical, insofar as it is a basic philosophical concept conditioned by the idea of a generic set, the existence of which in turn is demonstrated in an important scientific event in its own right by the mathematician Paul J. Cohen. For Badiou, indeed, set theory serves no more noble cause than to formalize how humanity can become a part greater than the sum of its elements. This leads me, in a last series of introductory remarks, to raise the thorny issue of the place of mathematics in relation to my reading of Badiou's philosophy in general and his thinking of politics in particular.
The Aff’s commitment to particularity amounts to defensive ethical mechanism- its based not in a radical project of good but instead in a cry to be counted within the existing order- this proposes an ethics that attempts to save people from exclusion rather than creating fidelity to a new space for inclusion. They speak as if the identity categories of Black and Woman are self-evident but instead of fighting for a Universal Good from their lived experience, their focus on defending these specific identities writ large makes oppression inevitable