Friday, November 23, 2007

Badiou on Sarko

Alain Badiou, who has become something of a guru to an intellectual generation younger than mine, has published a new and topical book, Sarkozy, de quoi est-il le nom? He talks about it here. Despite a few provocative statements--sarkozysme is the new form of giscardisme, or is it the new form of pétainisme (in a "logical, formal sense," mind you, not in the sense of a moral judgment)--Badiou's diagnosis seems quite conventional: change in global economic configuration compelling a rightward turn of social democracies everywhere, hardening of rhetoric on the extreme left with no means of moving from words to action, conflict-avoidance by all opposition leaders, etc.

1 comment:

Ron Tiersky said...

This tendency to put today's "pouvoir" in historical context used to appeal to me a great deal: so-and-so is a new form of Orleanisme as contrasted with..., another one is a new Bonaparte... In my view, the Great Story of French (r)evolution (forgive the cute usage, which I despise)has ended, although many think that France is still in History, rather than history. In my view, Historical France lurched toward an end in the great and without-much-consequence of 1968, and then the dream of a new and qualitatively superior society ended with the Mitterrand period - even though some in "la gauche francaise" (and "les droites")dreamed on. (Alain Touraine, a smart fellow, tried to have it both ways.) After Mitterrand, my course on French politics could no longer begin with the French Revolution, and I gave it over to the history department.

Sarkozy is the embodiment of the now (finally) immanent "new France" as a normal country (too bad for all of us who loved the Great Story). He obviously understands this (Chirac is a transition figure). Sarkozy looks outward and forward, Globalization and European integration obligent - he's probably forgetting how angry he was about '68. This is another very important part of the emerging situation, as I see it, along with an incipient decline in the prestige of strikes (I've talked about this in earlier posts) that are less and less seen as praiseworthy intransigence, and more and more as corporatist selfishness. (Some opinion poll should ask the unemployed and the SDF what they think of the demand to keep the 37 1/2 year pay-in.)