Alain Badiou on the Uprising in Turkey and Beyond



A large proportion of the educated youth all across Turkey are currently leading a vast movement against the government’s repressive and reactionary practices. This is a very important moment in what I have called  “the rebirth of History.” In many countries around the world, middle school, high school, and university youth, supported by a part of the intellectuals and the middle class, are giving new life to Mao’s famous dictum: “It is right to revolt.” They are occupying squares and streets, symbolic places; they are marching, calling for freedom, “true democracy,” and a new life. They are demanding that the government either change its conservative politics or resign. They are resisting the violent attacks of the state police.

These are the features of what I have called an immediate uprising: one of the potential forces of popular revolutionary political action  – in this case, the educated youth and a part of the salaried petty bourgeoisie – rises up…

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3 respostes a “Alain Badiou on the Uprising in Turkey and Beyond

  1. ‘To our Turkish friends, we say: the greatest favor you can do for us is’/
    ‘giving new impetus to the universal history of Communism/
    ‘the educated youth must’ / ‘can and must surprise us’/
    ‘are giving new life to Mao’s famous dictum: “It is right to revolt.”

    Badiou writes here as a Master thinker, a philosopher king, a Dear Leader, or the archetypal Eurocentric thinker, telling those outside Europe what we ‘must’ do.
    The revolt in Turkey, Brasil or Syria is not being led by a desire to make ‘the greatest favor’ to Badiuo, the French left, or the West. They were born out of their own circumstances, have their own agenda, and are not trying to please the West.

    Contradicting himself, Badiou says he wants the Turkish (standing still, occupying parks, or demonstrating in the streets) not to follow the ‘Western’ capitalist path, while at the same time he tells them to enact a new chapter of the history of ‘Western’ Communism, of the Hegelian ‘universal history’ (uni-linear, exclusive, the spirit advancing always towards progress) of Communism. According to Badiou, the South should repeat the West anyway. And we have done this too many times (repeating Western Communism in Cambodia, China, North Korea and Cuba, among others) with not very good or with dismal results.

    Badiou does not suggest a way forward, or puts a thesis for consideration of those in the South. He just simple tell us, again and again, what we ‘must’ do. Too much of the old ways of speaking/ordering to the peoples outside Europe.
    Funnily enough, Badiou quotes Mao -a Non-European political leader- to justify and ‘salute’ the revolt. But for those in the South who know about 20th century history of China and the Chinese Communist Party, Mao does not incarnate only the leader of the revolution but also the mastermind of genocide and famine (60-70-80 or 90 million dead?), dictatorship and torture.

    We in the South have had enough of tyrants (from the right and the left), and we have had enough a ‘Master Western Thinkers’. I am afraid the revolt is also against the tutelage of the West.

    • I think this is time to learn of history failures and the exemple of turkish youth is a prove for such a martyrized country.
      West has failed in imposing its model but the “Eastern” model is forming too in a way the future will know. I can’t say how.
      But I am afraid of reproduce the same traces of ancient models like authoritarism, centralization, industrialization and natural resources depredation; that are signs of the present capitalist Big Epic Fail..

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