Affect and Transformative Ideas
10 The sublime object(s) of utopia
10The sublime object(s) of utopia
The question of ‘what is to be done?’ animates not only the critical analysis of organic crises but also the matter of political organisation. Indeed, it is with regard to the matter of political organisation that the decoupling of the normative drive from particularistic analyses of those crises, obtains its clearest public expression. What might it mean for there to exist an organisation of action whose political purposes only ever fully emerge in conjunction with that action? How might such an organisation prevent itself from lapsing either into the convenience of pragmatic justification (doing whatever it takes to bring about an end whose form always remains partially undisclosed) or the proto-religious certainty of idealist conviction (commanded by some or other image of the Social Good)? Moreover, this matter of political organisation animates anew the question of how the discursive space once occupied by utopia might now produce transformative ideas.
Badiou’s text, The Communist Hypothesis, gestures towards the kind of political organisation that we might associate with knowledge developed through the interpretive practices of radical desublimation and the impress of constitutive anxiety. The suggestions which the text makes on political administration share two points, in particular, with that kind of knowledge production. To begin, political organisation turns upon practices of interpretation rather than the formalisation of operational directives. To this end, the form of transformative organisation with which Badiou aligns himself – communism – is a process, being “better understood as an...
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