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The Proletariat Reloaded: Badiou Beyond Marxism and Anarchism

Jon Mazzalini

B & W 229 x 152 mm | Perfect Bound on White w/Matte Laminate | 226 pages | Paperback ISBN 978-1-910761-13-7 | E-book (ePDF) ISBN 978-1-910761-14-4 | 2 November 2021

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The idea of the proletariat has been in decline in political theory in the last few decades, but resurgent in practice for brief periods when events inspire collective political action. Against the relegation of the proletariat seen in post-Marxist and even some anarchist thought, Alain Badiou’s theory of the subject and event has helped to resurrect the proletariat, in theory at least. At the same time, through postanarchist theory we can see a number of points of convergence between Badiou’s thought and poststructuralist thought, ultimately leading us to a post-event theory which is an antidote to the schism between Marxian and anarchist approaches. It is an approach which seeks to dispense with the self-obsessive theorising which has seen contemporary political movements dilute their meaning, and instead focuses minds on the truth of contemporary events.

This book is an important and original attempt to overcome the opposition between Marxism and anarchism, a rift that opened up with the First International in the nineteenth century and has to this day never had a chance to heal. Today, we are simply overwhelmed by events. Yet radical political theory lacks an adequate way of responding to them. The wager of this book is that by bringing together Marxian and anarchist strands of thought — through Badiou’s category of the Event — we can once again meet the challenges of the present in a manner worthy of the name ‘radical politics.’

— Saul Newman, Professor of Politics, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Jon Mazzalini carefully reconstructs the development of Badiou’s thought and thus makes the mature Badiou — certainly one of the most influential living philosophers — wholly comprehensible. Still more importantly, Mazzalini offers a highly original reading of Badiou, contending that his work unwittingly shares much ground with postanarchism, and in particular with the writings of Saul Newman. This is a fascinating approach, which is of great interest both to those who are new to Badiou or postanarchism, and to those who are more familiar with either system of thought. Mazzalini convincingly and with great clarity places the whole of his own argument in the context of progressive struggles of the early twenty-first century, and thus makes this book of real relevance to lived political experiences.

— Nick Hewlett, Professor Emeritus, University of Warwick


Chp 1 / Marx’s Non-Philosophy, ‘Impossible Communism’ and a Non-Essentialist Proletariat

Chp 2 / Postanarchism and Badiou’s Early Dialectical Materialism: From Sartrean to Post-Althusserianism to Ontological Anarchism

Chp 3 / Being and Event and Postanarchist Ontology: Inevitable Intervention Against Inevitable States

Chp 4 / No More Heroes: Badiou, the Proletariat, Communism and Permanent Revolution

Chp 5 / Ideology and Insurrection: ‘Saint Badiou,’ Postanarchism, and Servitude

Chp 6 / Post-Evental Politics: The Self-Pricing of the Proletariat

Chp 7 / Conclusion

Appoendix: Terminology



Jon Mazzalini is an independent writer living in east London. He has a PhD from the University of London.

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Jon Mazzalini, The Proletariat Reloaded: Badiou Beyond Marxism and Anarchism (Oxford: Counterpress, 2021).


Mazzalini, Jon. The Proletariat Reloaded: Badiou Beyond Marxism and Anarchism. Oxford: Counterpress, 2021.