It is clear for anyone who follows the social networks even only to a certain limited extent that, in the case of Spain, there is a huge half-disavowed half-acknowledged dispute in place as to whether Podemos has already exhausted its real potentiality, which, we should not forget, was not that of providing a safe political refuge for 16 to 18% of the electorate with a focus on the precariat–it was rather to take over the government of Spain. The extremely poor results in the latest Catalan elections of the left in general (Podemos was one of three contenders for that position, since ERC was really only focused on its nationalist idea and nothing else was at play for them) seem to point in the direction of, that is, to confirm, the catastrophic collapse of such pretensions, and probably deservedly so, given the great errors made by the party leadership over the last year and a half. Given that situation, one wonders whether it is wise for that very left to persist in the same theoretical schemes and old pieties, both rhetorical and practical–which is pretty much all one sees anyway. Sorry, but I do not think so. I think even less of the position of those who think that, in bad times, the only important thing is to maintain unity, which primarily means that the dissenters should just shut up. I happen to think Podemos started off with poor theoretical presuppositions that have taken, only three years later, a huge toll, as it was bound to happen. Of course I have no illusions as to the extent or impact of the discussion I want to propose, which will probably continue to be limited to my few friends and colleagues in the United States and half a dozen or so people from other countries. Still one has to say what one has to say.
Some time ago, in October 2016, I posted a blog entry which was a sort of review of a little book by Alain Badiou, True Life. The book was only available in French then, but now it is available in English. So I post the comment again to see whether there is any discussion (some customers here may have read it already!). Essentially, what I was proposing was that Badiou’s notion of the “central conflict today,” the conflict between general equivalence and a new equalitarian symbolization, is also what infrapolitics sees as the central conflict in political terms–that is, infrapolitics presupposes a posthegemonic democracy understood as a communist democracy of equality. It is an equality not subsumable under the principle of equivalence. This means, this infrapolitical communism goes through a destruction of actually-existing communism and actually-existing communist or so-called communist politics. So, to be provocative, infrapolitical communism against hegemonic communism (whatever the latter means, but those who continue to claim themselves at the specifically political level Gramscians and Laclauians must know)–and this is what some of us would like to propose. As a way of expanding the theoretical commitments and presuppositions of the Spanish left, if nothing else.
Here is the old post: