Radio discussion of Democracy in What State

Reader Joe Clement had me on his radio show yesterday to discuss the book Democracy in What State — readers who can tolerate my mumbling can listen to the audio here.

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4 Responses to “Radio discussion of Democracy in What State

  1. Joe Says:

    Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me and explore another facet of awkwardness. I hope that my severely edited version of our 25-minute talk sounded alright for you. I’ve gotten a few… comments, in person, about how we were too abstract and highfalutin’. I have a hard time understanding where they were coming from though.

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I didn’t even really notice where it’d been cut specifically, so it seems like you did a great job on the editing. Sorry you got that reaction from some people, though I share your puzzlement.

  3. Joe Says:

    I think what some of those people did not get (or did and did not like) is that the book and our conversation were not about parsing out bourgeois democracy from communist/radical democracy, affirming the latter and exposing the former. I think NOT simply doing that was kind of the point of the book and what I hoped for in our talk. I think you put it best when you said, for Badiou, that it’s not like we’re critiquing capitalism in the name of democracy, but that democracy and something like capitalism have always gone together.

    I suspect that when people said we were abstract what they meant is we were talking about (however relatively straight-forward and simple) ideas instead of stuff that you’d see in the news or on the street. One fellow who works on the show says the five seconds we descend from our clouds was when you mentioned Chavez and Morales and what they’ve done once in power. That said, the problem with reviewing this book was that its most concrete moments are often enough oriented toward the French audience. So, except in a few places, the book doesn’t supply a lot of that kind of material for our audience. I think we may have benefited from a more substantial preliminary hashing out of things, during which I’d have probably made more of a point about bringing up examples.

  4. Adam Kotsko Says:

    More examples probably would’ve been good, but I don’t think that talking about ideas is problematic as such.


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