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Theory On Democracy Essay

1537 words - 7 pages

The west adaptation of liberal democracy has created a democracy in which individual desire and private needs are the central ideology. This paradox relationship between capitalism and democracy has led to power politics in favor of the wealthy were democracy is now run by capitalism. Alain Badiou in his book The Rebirth of History criticizes exactly this failure of the liberal democratic system. He thus argues that riots are the crucial response and ultimately the solution to this hegemonic ideology. So it begs the question what in his view is genuine democracy? And how exactly is it achieved through riots? Riots do not arise out of equality or content; most often it is a persistent neglect of a certain group’s need that in turn motivates this phenomenon. Badiou then regards Historical riots as the true voice of democracy and demands that they become the ruling power. This makes up his view of genuine democracy, a system in support of communism that he refers to as Popular Dictatorship. Badiou makes a persuasive argument for the necessity of riots in creating a genuine democracy because the minority involved in those riots ultimately represent the general will i.e. the emergence of truth.
Riots show the inequalities of a society and for this reason he applauds the Arab Uprising and other mass movements for their stance against capitalism, categorizing them as Historical riots. Being that not every riot is has the same cause or hold the same potential to in effect change, Badiou categorized riots into 3 different categories. These categories are “respectively called Immediate riot, Latent riot and Historical riot” (Badiou, 22). This classification is necessary because some riots are “blindly progressive or blindly reactionary…” (Badiou, 21) and not all evolve into a Historical riot. Immediate riots fall in this category of blindly reactionary because they are reactions to unforeseen causes being “nearly always in the wake of a violent episode of state coercion” (Badiou, 22). Still there’s significance to this because these are people who still recognize the real situation and circumstance of the system they live under. They are able to put the puzzle together and understand that the cause of the riot is not an abnormal or mistaken act of the state but as societal disregard of their group. Because of the impulsiveness of Immediate riots it does not endure or achieve results unless they become Historical riots.
On the subject of Latent riots, though a bit more effective, falls short of the Historical riots. Latent riots are a grouping protests and strikes that are an improvement from Immediate riots in so far as it involves people from different social strata that gather in one place to protest a policy but later fail internally. Badiou’s example of the Sarkozy government and the pension reform that they tried to pass (Badiou, 28) is a great example of this. He applauds the strike for “First of all, the repeated chant of ‘Sarkozy resign’” (29) and...

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