The Generic Politics of Extinction Rebellion:
Toward A Badiouian Conception of Environmental Politics
Keywords:Ontology, Badiou, Universality, Radical Politics, Ecology
In this paper, I argue that for an emancipatory environmental politics to be fundamentally distinct from the liberal democratic tradition, it must take the form of what Alain Badiou terms a ’truth procedure’. This form of processual politics structured around an affirmative norm disclosed by an Event — which I here claim to be the emerging ecological crises vis-a-vis modern States — and determined by what Badiou designates the generic will, has the potential to maintain a receptive and reciprocal relation with the environment within which it is situated. To justify this claim, I enlist Alain Badiou’s formalist ontology and political thought. I begin with an exegesis of the latter and then, following a discussion of what I designate as the ecological Event, proceed to introduce the environmental activism movement, Extinction Rebellion — one of the first examples of a Badiouian political truth procedure in the 21st century — to animate Badiou’s abstract political thought. By referencing Extinction Rebellion and its indubitable success, I demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Badiou’s politics and articulate why it ought to guide future environmental-political theories and praxes. In pleading this case, I simultaneously affirm the emancipatory potential that inheres in XR, giving heed to its ontological form.
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