‘The Meaning of Sarkozy’ by Alain Badiou

Published by Verso in 2009.

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When Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President of the France in 2007, the world was shocked. Could this out and out right-winger really be the new leader of the Republic? Alain Badiou, in this sharp and focused intervention, claims that, in and of itself, the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as President is not an event, nor is it the cause for wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth.

To understand the significance of ‘Sarkozy’, we have to look behind the insignificance and vulgarity of the figure and ask what he represents, namely a reactionary tradition which goes back to the early nineteenth century.

To escape from the ambience of depression and fear that currently envelops the Left, Badiou casts aside the slavish worship of electoral democracy and maps out a communist hypothesis that can lay the basis for emancipatory politics in the twenty-first century.

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