A BBC notification just popped up on my phone: “Some 400 migrants feared drowned after boat capsized off Libya, survivors tell Save the Children”. (14.04.15). As I write my term paper about how the SDGs offer little potential for “truly transformative change” despite grandiose claims about how the “stars are aligned” and how the SDGs will mark “paradigm shift” (yes it actually says these things) already before they have been formally established, I am having one of those moments where I feel like everything is a bunch of crap and there’s no point.
But, then came Badiou and the Unruly class on ‘the Event, its ruptures, their enfolding and their Residues’ and apparently we are witnessing the Rebirth of History.
Uuh yeah, fire!
“A paradigm shift is when you ask a question that can only be answered in a new paradigm” Maro put up on a slide in front of us. Indeed the main critique of ‘gender’ in the SDGs is that it continues to be disguised in depoliticized and normalized language so that everyone can agree on never actually challenging the structures that make ‘the masses’ (particularly women and people outside heteronormative identities and sexualities) subordinate.
Despite my cynical view on such development initiatives (safe to say this is a shared unruly view), I want to share my excitement with you about a rupture that I feel may be coming!! I feel like the two new parties that have been established in Denmark within a relative short period of time looks like that ‘unruly excess’ that refuses to be contained, but contains within itself a new political establishment.
I’m not sure Badiou would share this excitement with me, since, he writes about the Spanish indignados that “to demand a ‘real democracy’, as opposed to a bad democracy, does not create any enduring dynamic” (p.97). Furthermore, there has not been an Event; an intensification, contraction or localization in Denmark as seen in Tahrir Square that I can think of. But maybe Tahrir Square, or maybe the undeniable injustice of people drowning in the Mediterranean can somehow make visible the Truth without there being a physical movement?
Maybe because there is already one of the worlds most advanced welfare systems (despite its slow deterioration) and we can take for granted that the people fundamentally agree on having a welfare state we don’t need such a localized event? Maybe I am missing the point, I don’t know, but the people are fed up with politics, with politicians ‘throwing mud at each other’ as we say in Danish.
The oldest of the two parties, The Alternative, already has 2.4% of the votes according to a recent poll. Both parties are founded on a fundamental concern for the current state of democracy, as the Alternative writes in their manifesto the party “is for you who can tell that something has been set in motion. Who can see that something new is starting to replace something old. Another way of looking at democracy, growth, work, responsibility and quality of life.”
The other party, called The National Party, is established by 19-year-old Yahya Hassan, a newly renowned and controversial Danish/Palestinian poet. By reclaiming Danish values and with the slogan “We are Denmark” I think the party acts as an important counterweight to the fascist and racist ‘Danish People’s Party’ claiming to be everything Danish. Could the National Party be like ‘the organization’; the political becoming of the event that ‘is going to challenge the conservative power of the state, guardian of all temporal forms of oppression’? (p.70)
The question remains: “how are we to be faithful to changing the world within the world itself?” (p.67). Again, I really don’t have a clue how that is supposed to happen without the strict theoretical processes that should follow the Event that Badiou describes. But I will allow myself to be optimistic and hope that with the introduction of new parties, new politicians who (to some extent) speak another language than what is spoken in the halls of Christians Borg, and who reclaim what Danish means – a process that is attempting to preserve the characteristics of the Event has been set into motion.
With that, I’d like to ask you all, more generally:
What role does conventional politics play in creating ruptures? Is it possible??
Can we challenge politics by refusing to speak its language and play by its rules? Does this represent unruliness?