Thinking through the Event: Alain Badiou versus Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri

Semra Akay, PhD

* Faculty of Arts and Science, Gaziantep University,


This article offers how the concept of the event is approached by two opposing post-Marxist thinkers – Alain Badiou, Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri. Since the beginning of the modern era, many events, which could be significant or not, have occurred, such as the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Zapatista movements, the Arab Spring, anti-globalisation movements, indigenous movements, agricultural movements and the contemporary global protests that have emerged in many parts of the world over the past few decades. They all have affected world politics in some ways. Hence, there are many ways to think about these events or conceptualise these events in distinctive ways. This article compares the approaches of Badiou, who has still been known for his commitment to Maoism, and Hardt & Negri, who established a postmodern relationship between biopolitics, capitalism and empire. The paper emphasises that although both Badiou and Hard & Negri believe that events bring up new possibilities, the event rarely occurs throughout history for the former. For the latter, global capitalism gives rise to the events. The paper stands with Hardt and Negri’s formulation as their perceptions enable us to perceive the novelties, potentialities, and creativeness of social uprisings that have become prevalent in the contemporary world.

KEYWORDS: Event, Cantorian Set Theory, Multitude, Everyday Politics, Capitalist Sovereignty


This article offers how the concept of the event is approached by two opposing post-Marxist thinkers – Alain Badiou, Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri. Since the beginning of the modern era, many events, which could be significant or not, have occurred, such as the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Zapatista movements, the Arab Spring, anti-globalisation movements, indigenous movements, agricultural movements and the contemporary global protests that have emerged in many parts of the world over the past few decades. They all have affected world politics in some ways. Hence, there are many ways to think about or conceptualise these events in distinctive ways. Many thinkers (e.g. Derrida, 2002; Gilles, 1990; Heidegger, 1999) have been interested in the conceptualisation of events for a long time. Among them, Badiou and Hardt & Negri perceived the event as a revelation, but their perceptions differed in many ways. This article compares the approaches of Badiou, who has still been known for his commitment to Maoism, and Hardt & Negri, who established a postmodern relationship between biopolitics, capitalism and empire.

French philosopher, Alain Badiou’s work is highly ambitious and easily recognisable because it diverges significantly from the dominant traditions that have emerged since the Second World War. It might be said that Badiou offers a political thought against Marx because Badiou’s political philosophy rejects any dialectical relation between the social-economic and the political (Lotz, 2021). Yet, his perspective stands against the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions; instead, he advocates a neo-Platonist position. In addition, his perspective has been strongly affected by the science of mathematics, which is central to his ontology. His work is an attempt to bring together “a new understanding of mathematics; a not exactly-Marxist relationship between philosophy and radical politics; a not-exactly Heideggerian vision of the relationship between philosophy and poetry; and finally a new dialogue with psychoanalysis and the question of love” (Badiou & Critchley, 2007, p. 358). It can be said that his sharp focus on the concept of the event constitutes a new insight into the philosophy. His unrelenting focus on the idea of “the event” offers new insights for philosophy and is based on a foundation of Cantorian set theory, which allows every situation of being to be infinite.

In contradistinction to this, American literary scholar Michael Hardt and Italian militant philosopher Antonio Negri, as post-Marxist scholars, constitute their philosophy through criticism of traditional Marxism. Yet, Negri and Hardt’s position can be associated with the effort to present a modern interpretation of Marxist thought. They attempt to seek the relationship between Marxist social theory and political philosophy. In light of this, they believe that political philosophy can only be described concerning a theory of subjectivity and labour informed by current global capitalism trends (Lotz, 2021). In general, they were inspired by a broad range of philosophers such as Spinoza, Althusser, Deleuze and Foucault, as well as utilised more interdisciplinary works. The core of their work can be summed up in the saying, “the multitude against Empire”. They see mass movements (the multitude) as standing in opposition to a new form of global sovereignty (Hardt & Negri, 2000). As part of their analysis, they see the concept of “the event” as crucial. In particular, they regard the works of Deleuze and Foucault as necessary in terms of their conceptualising of “the event”. In particular, the vitalist ontology of Deleuze and the biopolitics of Foucault are considered central to accurately conceptualising “the event”. Ultimately, what is crucial in terms of “the event” for them is that “being is made in the event.”  (Hardt & Negri, 2009, p. 63).

This article seeks to examine the differences and similarities between Badiou and Hardt & Negri’s emphases on events, especially with regard to their perspective on the role of politics. The article offers different ways to think the event is perceived. The paper is organised into two sections. In the first section, both perspectives on conceptualising “the event” will be presented separately. In the second, their approaches to political events will be compared and contrasted. Finally, some alternative approaches to conceptualising politics will be evaluated after summarising the main arguments. It is challenging to reach thoughts on the event because the event in Badiou’s understanding arises from determining whether things are counted or not by the state. On the other hand, the foundation of Hardt & Negri’s event focuses on globalisation or a new form of capitalist sovereignty. The paper ends by discussing how everyday politics is grasped by both authors and stands with Hardt & Negri’s conceptualisation of the event. 

Alain Badiou’s Perspective on the Event

Alain Badiou’s concept of the event is distinctive and sophisticated. He develops his approach to events, particularly in his influential work Being and Event (Badiou, 2007). Badiou specifies his complex ontology according to mathematics; for him, mathematics is ontology. According to Badiou, “the operation of mathematics is itself the discourse of ontology, the description of being-as-being or pure multiplicity of itself.” (Hallward, 1998, p. 90). In this sense, it can be said that his position on mathematics is closer to Plato’s position. More specifically, his mathematical ontology is based on Cantorian set theory and algebra. Badiou states, “the ontological decision concerning infinity can then simply be phrased as an infinite natural multiplicity exists.” (Badiou, 2007, p. 48). Or stated another way, the set theory does not deal with wholes and parts but rather it “enables us to think [of] being as “inconsistent multiplicity” without reducing it to any transcendental unity which somehow lies beyond multiplicity” (Bassett, 2008, p. 897).

Perhaps it is necessary to begin with, the concept of the “situation” before fully considering the “event”. Badiou refers to a situation as a synonym for a “set”. Accordingly, a situation can be defined “as the presenting or “counting-out” of elements that belong to a given set” (Hallward, 2008, p. 101). The situation can only submit consistent elements. This means a situation results from the operation (counting or ordering procedure). According to the criteria of a situation, the “void” or “empty set” appears within the limits of the situation. The void is a universally included set; every possible set consists of the void itself and is the foundation of all possible construction. However, the void does not belong not just to any setting but also to the void itself. It is literally an empty or null set; it has no elements. For example, if the situation of capitalism is considered, while profits and property are counted in a situation, proletarian humanity is not calculated in it, and so proletarian humanity is the void or in an empty set (Crockett, 2013; Hallward, 2008). According to Badiou, there will be a fully deployed situation, which he refers to as a multiplicity, stabilised and loaned coherence based on a founding element that does not belong to the plurality. Badiou understands that an event can only occur when something is removed from the equilibrium of a fully deployed state (Smith & Doel, 2011).

What emerged here is an “excess” of subset according to the generation of ordinals. In a finite set with n elements, there are always subsets, which have an infinite number of elements. “That is to say that no multiple is in a position to make one of everything that is included… Inclusion is in irremediable excess over belonging”  (Hallward, 2008, p. 102). From Badiou’s point of view, the state of the situation, what Badiou calls the “meta-structure of a situation”, controls this excess and designates the subsets of a set. The state is thus one organisation involved with ordering the parts of the set. Put another way; the state “ensures that the potential anarchic organisation of social combinations remains structured in such a way as to preserve the governing interests of the situation.”  (Hallward, 1998, p. 92). In this regard, the state prevents the void from being revealed across all situations. For instance, in the capitalist situation, the proletariat remains unrepresented. The state controls the proletariat’s power from being revealed, so the question of the state appears to be the central point in Badiou’s conception of the “event”.

For Badiou, the event is “ “supernumerary” in a wholly “numerical” ontological scale.” for that, “it is a substanceless, perfectly transient fragment of pure chance which allows for the assertion of a truth to come.” (Hallward, 1998, pp. 94–95). This means that events are not predictable from within the situation; it is “self-founding”, and every single stage of the progression of the process is led by itself. This insight sheds light on Badiou’s understanding that the event does not possess “objectivity” since it has actors inside the action. Events occur at “evental sites”, which are not a part of the situation. An evental site is “totally singular: it is presented, but none of its elements is presented.” (Badiou, 2007, p. 507). However, an evental site is not the same as a void. Indeed, it is at the edge of the void, and also it is an odd multiple. An evental site is a place wherein “something new and decisive can happen, and as such, it ‘concentrates the historicity of the situation’. It opens the way to a pure beginning and the inauguration of a ‘new time’” (Bassett, 2008, p. 898). 

One of the best examples Badiou provides of an event is the French Revolution. According to him, while the French Revolution is an event which is neither presented in the situation nor can it be seen as belonging to its situation, the evental site is thus eighteenth-century France. This might seem contradictory; how can the event happen without belonging to a situation and not being present in the situation? However, Badiou explained that the state prohibits events; thus, the French Revolution was “an empty phrase used by its participants and enemies alike, with no real referent” (Pluth, 2010, p. 64). In short, according to Badiou, the event “belongs to that-which-is-not-being-qua-being.” (2007, p. 189). In other words, according to Badiou (2014, p. 62), “an event is linked to the notion of the undecidable.” In the absence of undecidability within a situation, there would be no event, only a monotonous repetition of the same.

Hardt & Negri’s Approach to the Event

Hardt & Negri do not conceptualise the event explicitly as Badiou has done. Their philosophy on events appears step by step throughout their works. In Empire (2000), Multitude (2005) and Commonwealth (2009), they develop their core philosophy based on a contemporary vision of Marxist thought.

In Empire, Hardt & Negri argue that, in our time, the era of the nation-state has ended because global capitalism globally destroys all national boundaries. The contemporary economic, cultural and legal transformations experienced across the world cannot be explained by colonialism and imperialism, but rather there is a new form of sovereignty, namely “Empire”. Empire is a “new form of sovereignty”, which is “now emerging and it includes as its primary elements, or nodes, the dominant nation-states along with supranational institutions, major capitalist corporations, and other powers”. (Hardt & Negri, 2005, p. vii). Thus, they use the term Empire to highlight the existence of a present universal order as opposed to nation-specific colonialism or imperialism. In conceptualising Empire in this way, no centre can be identified. Instead, it has a universal order which approves neither boundaries nor limits (Hardt & Negri, 2000).

Turning to the concept of the multitude, they maintain that there are two faces of globalisation. On the one hand, Empire spreads globally through networks and establishes a hierarchy through new control mechanisms and constant conflicts. However, globalisation also produces new kinds of solidarities and common networks which allow a variety of people who would otherwise be separate to act and communicate together. In other words, this aspect of globalisation can be said to be enabling us to discover the common. However, for Hardt & Negri (2005), the multitude cannot be defined as the people or the working class. The multitude cannot also be reduced to a single identity or a unity. Indeed, the multitude can be said to consist of unlimited internal differences. It involves not just culture, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality differences but also lifestyles, worldviews and differences in desire. Thus, the multitude is a multiplicity of distinct differences. Traditionally the working class has been used as a stand-in for all waged workers; however, the multitude in Hardt & Negri’s concept refers to all varieties of social production. In this sense, the multitude is a much broader term (Hardt & Negri, 2005) than traditional class-based concepts.

Considering their understanding of the event, Hardt & Negri do not theorise events similarly to Badiou. Some clues towards their knowledge of the event appeared in their first book, Empire (Hardt & Negri, 2000), but these were not sufficiently developed arguments. Their only real reference to events is when they describe them as erupting within the order of the imperial system in the chapter on “Alternatives within Empire”. However, their arguments and events’ conceptualisation was expanded dramatically in both Multitude and Commonwealth.

At the end of Multitude, their main argument concerning events appears by addressing the question, “When does the moment of ruptures come?” (Hardt & Negri, 2005, p. 357). They argued that “[r]evolutionary politics must grasp… the moment of rupture or clinamen that can create [a] new world. Grant politics always seek this moment, creating… a new constitutive temporality… inaugurating a new future” (ibid, p. 357). Moreover, they elaborate that “this long season of violence and contradictions… the extraordinary accumulations of grievances and reform proposals must at some point be transformed by a strong event, a radical insurrectional demand” (ibid, p. 358). As these quotes indicate for Hardt & Negri, the event must not just bring new possibilities but also must be rebellious.

They continue their argument in Commonwealth. In the book’s first chapter, they turn to Foucault to discuss biopolitics[1] as an event.  They argue that as biopolitics has the potential of the event, it disrupts the normative system. Moreover, such effects do not emerge from the outside but rather it comes from the inside. “[I]t ruptures the continuity of history and existing order…. as ruptures… as innovation, which emerges, so to speak, from the inside…[It] is the source of innovation and also the criterion of truth” (Hardt & Negri, 2009, p. 57). It is important to note that by borrowing the concepts of biopolitics from Foucault, it seems that their theory of the event has been altered from that proposed in Empire and Multitude. Accordingly, the event, in their terms, does not just entail forward momentum but also has the power to create a new world. In other words, events give meaning to history by demonstrating the truth of the eternal (Grant, 2010). At this point, we can discern a profound difference between Badiou and Hardt & Negri. Although both Badiou and Hardt & Negri’s thoughts can be found in the concept of communism or the pursuit of compelling visions of a postcapitalist world (Lotz, 2021), for the latter event can be found anytime and anywhere in the world.

Events: Rare or Often?

Having considered Badiou and Hardt & Negri’s concepts of the event individually, this paper will now compare and contrast these theories and identify their similarities and differences. The conceptualising of events has played an essential point in the thought of many continental philosophers, especially in how they relate to the creation of new opportunities in politics.

As mentioned, Badiou’s conceptualisation of events is based mainly on mathematical ontology (Cantorian set theory). In his account, the event happens at the edge of the void; consequently, there is always an excess of subsets. For Badiou, historical situations are unnecessary for events to happen. In Being and Event, he states that the evental site “is only ever a condition of being for the event,” and “there is no event save relative to a historical situation, even if a historical situation does not necessarily produce events.” (Badiou, 2007, p. 179). Thus, the event requires an interpretative intervention, which gives meaning to the event. Such intervention makes a truth (fidelity), which is then considered universal.

Hardt & Negri’s political event concept is very different from Badiou’s in many respects. They agree with Badiou that the event must be intense but also look at it from an entirely different perspective. For Hardt & Negri, the intense event occurs from the inside and does not enter from the outside (i.e. emerging from the void of the situation). Hence, they are critical of Badiou’s theory of the event as, according to them, it lacks consideration of the relations between freedom and power. They state that a “retrospective approach to the event, in fact, does not give us the rationality of insurrectional activity, which must strive within the historical process to create revolutionary event” (Hardt & Negri, 2009, pp. 60–61). In comparison, Hardt & Negri’s event concept bears a stronger resemblance to the Foucauldian or Delezuian event. For example, Deleuze & Guattari (1994, p. 110), in their work, What is Philosophy, states that “what History grasps of the event is its effectuation in states of affairs or lived experience, but the event in its becoming, in its specific consistency, in its self-positing concept, escapes History”. 

However, Bensaïd (2004), in his work, criticises Badiou’s concept of the event as being miraculous or pseudoreligious because there is not sufficient consideration of reason in Badiou’s review of an event. Bensaid asserts, “this is politics made tantamount to an act of levitation, reduced to a series of unconditioned events and ‘sequences’ whose exhaustion or end remain forever mysterious.” (Bensaïd, 2004, p. 98). Considering the causal reasons involved with the event, Slavoj Zizek (2008) proclaims, “It’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth [e.g. through climate change, nuclear war or wayward asteroids] than a much more modest, radical change in capitalism.”  (as cited in Frassinelli, 2011, p. 111). Similarly, Bassett (2008) argues that the distinct separation of events and situation is the main problem with Badiou’s conception of an event. He suggests that “[w]e may accumulate knowledge of the facts of a situation, but such an analysis is [not] discovered from any genuine truth process. The event is an excess, emerging from the void, and beyond the grasp of causal analysis however detailed and painstaking” (K. Bassett, 2008, p. 902).  In this sense, Hardt & Negri’s notion, based on Deleuze and Foucault’s concept, appears more plausible than Badiou’s as Hardt & Negri (2009) recognise that a retrospective approach, which is the central point for Badiou, is limiting in that it causes one to lose sight of the productivity of the event.

As Calcagno (2007) explains that for Badiou’s event, three conditions need to be met for it to be considered political. First of all, there must be a collectivity in the material of the event. Secondly, such collectivity must influence contemporary politics and the situation’s character. Lastly, the only possibility that political events can emerge is if there is a relationship between the event and the state. For Badiou, it seems that if these three conditions are met, then an event must have a universality of effect. Hence, the effects produced are not restricted just to their time but also have effects in the present.

Consequently, Badiou considers true political events to be rare. In Badiou’s account, typical examples of events are the French Revolution, the Paris Commune (1871), the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the 1968 Paris event (Newman, 2011) and Arab Spring (Badiou, 2012). He classified the modes of politics according to history based on such events. Consequently, in his classification system, there are four modes of politics: the revolutionary mode (the French Revolution, 1792-94), the classist mode (1848-1871), the Bolshevik mode (1902-1917) and the dialectical mode (the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1928-58). All these events, according to Badiou, sidestepped the traditional party-state model of political organisation and produced egalitarian, independent, and radically democratic forms of politics (Newman, 2011). In other words, such events can be considered a critique of political representation.

Hardt & Negri’s concept of the event is no such classification system. For them, events are a creation of the multitude, expressing its desire and needs against the Empire. Hence in contrast to the rarity of Badiou’s event, they maintain that events are frequently occurring. In Empire, they provided many examples of such events, including the Tiananmen Square events (1989), the Intifada against the state of Israel, the May 1992 revolt (Los Angeles), the Zapatista rebellion, the massive strikes in Paris (1995) and so on. All of these events are considered to be biopolitical in nature.

Moreover, they display a lack of communication between them as they have neither a common language nor the same enemy. As a result of this incommunicability, they cannot move horizontally; instead, “they are forced instead to leap vertically and touch immediately on the global level” (Hardt & Negri, 2000, p. 55). In doing so, “they all directly attack the global order of Empire and seek a real alternative.” (ibid, p. 56-57). Thus, in Commonwealth, Hardt & Negri argue that “capitalist production [itself]… is becoming biopolitical” (p. 131) as the composition of the labour force has transformed. This transformation produces not only new capital but also new social relations, and these represent new mechanisms of exploitation and capitalist control. At the same time, the multitude exercises its power in the metropolis through the use of revolts and as such, Hart and Negri focus on the role of the metropolis as a site for uprisings. They describe that “all contemporary metropolises are pathologies in the sense that their hierarchies and divisions corrupt the common and block beneficial encounters through institutionalised racism, segregations of rich and poor and various other structures of exclusion and subordination.” (ibid, p. 257). Such inequality is hard to disguise, and due to the constant exploitation occurring in the metropolis, rebellions are fermented. However, Hart and Negri explain that revolts occur not just as a result of hierarchy and exploitation but also due to “the growth of networks of cooperation and communication, the increased intensity of the common and encounters among singularities. This is where the multitude is finding its home.” (ibid, p. 260).

In summary, Badiou and Heart and Negri have diametrically opposed positions regarding the frequency of events. Davis (2006) highlights that it is the first time the urban population has exceeded the rural population. Hence, in the contemporary world, cities are growing in unpredictable ways due to globalisation which is pushing people out of the countryside and into the cities. Agreeing with this observation, Hardt & Negri (2009) point out that significant inequalities among contemporary metropolises are a fundamental issue of our era. Consequently, reducing events to the rarity that Badiou suggests little help in understanding contemporary urban conflicts, and it also seems to prohibit the taking of progressive decisions. Thus with Badiou’s concept of the event, it appears that it offers no means through which to grasp the rapidly changing condition of our lives.

Conversely, Hardt & Negri have been criticised for their attempts to generalise all events worldwide. For example, Zizek (2009) indicates that Hardt & Negri’s account of the multitude rules itself, which he regards as unlikely and unnecessary:

“The problem with HN is that they are too Marxist, taking over the underlying Marxist scheme of historical progress… [T]hey rehabilitate the old Marxist notion of the tension between productive forces and the relations of production: capitalism already generates the ‘germs of the future new forms of life’, it incessantly produces the new ‘common’, so that, in revolutionary explosion, this New should just be liberated from the old social form.” (Zizek, 2009, p. 266).

Badiou has responded directly to Hardt & Negri’s work, arguing that there is no theory of the event in their work. Thus, during an interview, Badiou (2008) asserts, “There is always in Negri the conviction that the strength of capitalism is also the creativity of the multitude. Two faces of the same phenomenon: the oppressive face and, on the other side, the emancipatory, in something like a unity…There is no necessity of an event in Negri because there is something structural in the movement of emancipation.” (Badiou, 2008a, n.p.). To some extent, Badiou’s criticism seems justified; however, his position may not take account of the development in their thinking evident in the Commonwealth.

It is clear that both positions have different perceptions of the event. Moreover, while the concept of an event is crucial for Badiou, Hardt & Negri appear more interested in the revolutionary possibilities that events offer regarding their biopolitical production.


This paper contends that producing theories relating to the event is a crucial task because it assists us in developing a thorough understanding of the world, especially in the realms of politics and history. However, this short comparative examination has shown dramatic differences in theories and conceptualisations of the event evident in the work of Badiou and Hardt & Negri. However, some similarities are evident in their emphasis on the importance of the event. For instance, both groups of scholars recognise that the event involves rupture and thus brings new possibilities to the world and they also both advocate that the nature of such ruptures is strong.

However, their perspective on the importance of the historical situation is one of the most important differences between their approaches. While for Badiou, the event is unpredictable within the existing situation and thus, the historical position does not have any importance to any event to take place, Hardt & Negri argue that history is essential because it reveals events that occur from the inside. Moreover, as discussed, Badiou’s event concept has been criticised because it offers no consideration of the “pre-evental” situation. Neglecting this aspect means that his event emerges as a kind of miracle, which has been identified as a weakness in his argument. On the other hand, although Hardt & Negri’s event offers more opportunities, their project can also be criticised as utopian as Zizek (2009) makes this point, contending that even though their ideas provide insight into the logic of contemporary capitalism, their perspective on the political juncture is utopian.

In a sense, however, this is inevitable as the kind of politics they promote focuses on creating a new world. Thus, Hardt & Negri advocate mass movements; in this sense, their political position simply reflects their Marxist ideology. According to them, the multitude is capable of running counter to our desires for democracy, freedom and singularity. Indeed, if contemporary global social movements are carefully analysed, such a multitude can be seen in each movement (see also Castells, 2015; Harvey, 2018; Merrifield, 2012, 2013, 2014). Regardless of race, ethnicity, age, and class, in many global movements, different identities assemble to show their common frustration and anger against the “undemocratic system of globalisation” (Merrifield, 2014, p. VIII). For example, inspiring one another, protesters took to the streets in the 2010s in cities as diverse as Tunis, Cairo, Benghazi, Madrid, Athens, New York, Ferguson, Baltimore, London, Istanbul and Seol. The indigenous movement in Spain and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States were inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt (Akay, 2021; Calhoun, 2013; Merrifield, 2014). Consequently, Hardt & Negri’s multitude of concepts enables us to grasp the everyday politics of our cities faces.

Nevertheless, Hardt & Negri suggest that the Commonwealth must be ended, and a list of demands presented to be presented to restore or reinvent a new political conception of the world.  We “must demand the support of life against misery… that governments must provide everyone with the basic means of life”; we “must demand equality against hierarchy, allowing everyone to become capable of participating in the constitution of society, collective self-rule, and constructive interaction with others” and we “must demand open access to the common against the barriers of private property.” (Hardt & Negri, 2009, pp. 380–381). Although such demands might be vital in the modern world, they do not compass any original thinking. Frassinelli (2011, p. 128), for instance, sees a telling assumption in their perspective; “who is the ‘we’ who should make their content a concentre terrain of struggle and force them upon governments which are both unable to provide such things as basic means for ‘everyone’ and… reluctant to get rid of ‘the barriers of private property.’”

Alternatively, Badiou’s politics can represent a form of neo- or post-anarchism (Bassett & Dewsbury, 2012). Badiou thinks the Party-State cannot solve the problems of the 20th or 21st centuries. This is because we are now at a “distance from the state,” which he calls “politics without party” (Calcagno, 2007; Crockett, 2013; Lotz, 2021). What he means by distance from the state is that we currently lack the necessities to enter into an organisation that the state does not define. However, it should be noted that for Badiou, the state includes the government, the media and those who make economic decisions. Thus, he declares, “when you allow the political process to be dominated by the state you’ve already lost the game because you’ve abdicated in advance your own political independence.” (Badiou, 2008b, p. 651).  What he offers as an alternative is that “ if we are to propose a new articulation between destruction and subtraction, we have to develop a new type of negation or critique, one that differs from the dialectical model of class struggle in its historical signification” (ibid, p. 654). However, despite such forceful pronouncements, he has not yet gone further and suggested how such articulation should appear. Hence, his notion of politics seems idealised and abstract, which led to rarefied political events and hard to take place (Newman, 2011). The rise of the anti-globalisation movements, indigenous rights movements, agricultural movements, black lives matter movements and other types of movements, thus, are dismissed as irrelevant by Badiou’s abstract event formulation. In this regard, Hardt & Negri’s philosophy enables us to perceive the novelties, potentialities, and creativeness of social uprisings that have become prevalent in the contemporary world. Such a conceptualisation also allows us to appreciate everyday forms of emancipatory politics, which Badiou fails to address.


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[1] In the works of Foucault, biopolitics refers to an alternative production of subjectivity. It addresses “living man” ‘‘to a multiplicity of men . . . to the extent that they form . . . a global mass that is affected by overall processes characteristic’’ of life. (Foucault & Ewald, 2003, pp. 242–243). In their work, Hardt & Negri give a positive meaning to Foucault’s biopolitics. According to them, biopolitics refers to a new era of capitalist production.

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