Hello book lovers,
I am Alin and welcome to my channel. Today I am going to talk about one of my favourite books of 2020, it is a book written by Alain Badiou about Donald Trump being elected the president of the United States. The book was published for the first time in 2019.
Who is the author?
- First, of all, who is Alain Badiou? Probably some of you haven’t heard of him, he is an important French intellectual and philosopher who has written books on many philosophical topics and political issues.
- He is a known communist supporter and he argues for a return to the communist project.
- Well known in the academic world, he gained more fame after the accusations of antisemitism in 2005, when he published and an article called “The Uses of the Word Jew“.
- He denied those accusations by arguing that not all the attacks on the Israeli state are attacks on religious identity, in this case, the Jewish identity.
- But also for another book that was published in 2007, it is a pamphlet titled “The Meaning of Sarkozy” about the presidential regime of the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
- I haven’t read the article or the book, but I would like to read them to have a better understanding of his ideas and his persona and see if those accusations are well-founded or not.
- I have to mention as well, I haven’t read any other books by Badiou besides this one. I’ve heard his name mentioned lots of times by Slavoj Zizek and that’s how I decide to read one of his books. And it definitely wasn’t a waste of time.
What is this book about?
- I haven’t read a book like this in ages, this book grabbed my attention immediately. The book comprises two lectures that Badiou delivered at UCLA in 2016, after the election of Donald Trump.
- As I was preparing this video, I found one of the lectures on YouTube, so if you don’t have time to read the book, you can always watch/listen to the lecture Reflection on the Recent Election by Alain Badiou here.
- In these two lectures, Badiou talks about how it was possible to elect a person like Trump and how can we fight these type of populist figures.
- Badiou believes that the first thing we should look at is the victory of global capitalism and the disappearance of any alternative to the capitalist system after the fall of communist regimes.
- He points out that political propaganda today is trying to make us think that capitalism is the only way forward – anyone who would oppose this system, which he calls it a ‘monster’ wouldn’t be tolerated.
- And this ‘monster’s fundamental law is not ‘freedom’ but inequality, inequality between people (he gives an example that 200 something people have the same wealth as 7 billion people)
- What makes people like Donald Trump or Bolsanaro in Brazil to be elected? He believes there are four reasons:
- 1) violence that’ can’t be seen in the West but in other parts of the world, where the capitalist system is built on the backs of others;
- 2) the disappearance of the political oligarchy and appearance of democratic fascism;
- 3) popular frustration and the feeling of a disorder or the fear for the future;
- 4) no political strategy to create another path to capitalism, there is a lack of ideas and only these ideas could create a conversation and bring new things forward
- he calls Trump a democratic fascist – what does that mean? A democratic fascist is a politician who seems to oppose the system and the political oligarchy, he seems to bring novelty, but it is just a person who is emotionally exploiting people and not explaining or defending a view
Who is this book written for?
- This book about Donald Trump is definitely targeting people who have some basic knowledge about the world of politics and they would like to see a different perspective on a world leader.
- I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in politics and philosophy. I wouldn’t say it is a book for teenagers but I believe 16 or 17-year-olds might be interested in reading it, especially if they are interested in world events and things like that.
What did I like about ‘Trump’?
- It’s an easy book to read, the language is accessible because it comprises two public lectures. At the same time, this compact book has lots of interesting and innovating things to say about the contemporary world.
- The author explains a lot of things about the capitalist system, how we think about it and how we should start to change our thinking about it. I did not find any boring parts, sometimes I felt that he is repeating himself but that was good for me because it reinforced some of his ideas in my mind.
Did I learn anything from this book?
- I think I’ve asked myself some questions that I did not ask before and I am more aware of the ‘dangers’ his putting forward in his book.
- I think his idea about how we became uncritical of capitalism and we think of it as a universal system without putting any alternative to it, it made me think about it for a few days.
- I was like… what the hell is happening to humanity? It must be another system which is better than capitalism. Definitely. And I am not proposing a return to the communist paradise, as I am not a communist.
- I would rate this book 5 stars out of 5. It is one of those great short books, filled with lots of interesting and innovative ideas. In one word: FANTASTIC
I hope you guys enjoyed this video and don’t forget to hit that like button, add a comment and subscribe to my channel to see new videos every week