We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

We are the ones, we militants without a strategy of emancipation, who are (and who have been for some time now) the real aphasics! And it is not the sympathetic and unavoidable language of movementist democracy that will save us.

- Professor Alain Badiou, in an article arguing that “We need to rediscover the language of Communism.”

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • RAB

    I tried, gawd knows I tried, but I managed to get about half way through that article before deciding that is was unreadable incomprehensible bullshit.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Well to be fair, he has a point. The languages of communism and democracy are incompatible.

    Democracy, for all its failings, makes no provision for those who want say “If you bend over and try to relax, this will hurt a whole lot less……”

  • @Jaded:

    Yes, but no matter the sweetness or inscrutability of the language, you’re still being fucked in the arse…

  • dfwmtx

    That’s the lovely part of communist language; when the democratic vote goes against the communists they can always call it ‘fascism’. You can also call it an increase when the chocolate ration goes from 30 to 20 grams, and you can call it “welfare’ or “taxes” when the government wants to expropriate your money and give it to their supporters.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    RAB & JV, indeed wishing to be fair to the old boy, this is a translation from the French. Not just la plume de ma tante French either, but the obscure dialect known as French Radical Philosopher.

    It must be an interesting test of a translator’s skill: how to accurately convey the true incomprehensibility of the original.

    Whoever (Badiou or his translator) decided to repeatedly use “affect” as a noun was not technically mistaken but needs to be shot anyway pour encourager les autres.

    And Prof. Badiou needs to rediscover the language of men.

  • Dom

    Still, he has a nice name for a communist. Bad IOU and all that. I wonder if the French make fun of him.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Dom. To mock the man’s name like that is mean, uncalled for, and irrelevant.
    Wish I’d thought of it.

  • Sigivald

    Reminds me of comments on the ACA Exchanges over at Megan McArdle’s blog.

    One presumable progressive was literally blaming failures (hilariously, often of the Federally run exchanges) on “sabotage” by Red States.

    Imperialist Wreckers!

  • Regional

    Fascism is a higher form of socialism than communism, the National Socialist ‘Brownshirts’ battled the communists for control of the Left and in reality Europe is a Fascist state pretty much like the blueprint drawn up by the National Socialists in Germany at their conference in 1942 when they controlled Europe. All ideologies are crap.

  • RAB

    Thanks for the link Natalie, but holy god! no wonder the periodical only comes out 6 times a year, it will take most folks 2 months and some heavily thumbed dictionaries to figure out what the current issue was on about. He says in about para two that he has nothing further to add… then goes on for another 35 bleedin paragraphs, er adding nothing!

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    RAB, if you are willing to subscribe there’s another article in this issue called “How can the aporia of the ‘European people’ be resolved?” It looks positively snappy by comparison. Enjoy!

    While looking up aporia on Wikipedia, I came across this example of aporia in its rhetorical sense, which I felt needed quoting:

    I am at no loss for information about you and your family; but I am at a loss where to begin. Shall I relate how your father Tromes was a slave in the house of Elpias, who kept an elementary school near the Temple of Theseus, and how he wore shackles on his legs and a timber collar round his neck? Or how your mother practised daylight nuptials in an outhouse next door to Heros the bone-setter, and so brought you up to act in tableaux vivants and to excel in minor parts on the stage?

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Er… that wasn’t directed at anyone in particular.

  • Laird

    Well, I managed to struggle through the whole thing (cursing the translator at every turn), and while I agree with RAB that it is mostly unadulterated shit (which, to be fair, is a proper characterization of most modern attempts at philosophy) he does seem to have a kernel of truth buried in the dross: that an opposition movement needs more than mere opposition, but some positive alternative proposals, in order to be sustainable and ultimately successful. That is the failing of the Greek opposition which serves as the genesis of the article, but also of the American “Occupy” movement. These people are properly angry, but are so ignorant (of history and economics) that (1) they don’t really know what to be angry about and so seize upon superficial (or at least non-systemic) abuses, and as a consequence (2) can’t formulate a rational alternative to the false choices they are being offered. It’s easier to destroy than to build, and if you lack knowledge of engineering whatever you do manage to build will likely collapse. That is the dilemma facing the Greek (and American) protestors. Unfortunately, Badiou offers them even more false choices, albeit disguised in undecipherable philosopher jargon.

  • “How can the aporia of the ‘European people’ be resolved?”

    What if the people don’t want their aporia resolved? Not that this will stop the Badious of the world.

  • QET

    I for one thoroughly enjoyed perambulating through Badiou’s piece. It was like visiting a museum, or an old house full of antiques and smelling vaguely of must and mildew. There is a certain pietistic charm to his efforts to resurrect the old gods.