The philosophy of Alain Badiou is vital to the political work of the Green Party in that he describes the possibility of political action in regards to the event. And it can be easily said that September 11th is an example of the event in present time. People living after this event are in a new form of reality, and must be able to understand what kind of options are possible and what can occur when there is a disruption of predictable history and meaning. In fact, a new arena of the political emerges where previous assumptions disappear and there is a need to engage in this arena to reclaim freedom and a sense of purpose. The possibility of action and control are in fact more fully displayed after the event, and to an extent everything becomes politically important.
Before the event, there is the condition of individual choice and collective decision that are both simultaneous in modern democracy. Collective decision allows a determination of purpose while the individual choice is the basis of freedom. The pleasure of drive is the integration of individuals into reality through the mediation by structures where there is the inability of internal freedom within this determination of purpose. Reality is presented as universal and complete through transcendent structures. On the other hand, the enjoyment of desire is the independence from reality through the disruption made by free agency. There is the inability of external purpose within the autonomy of freedom while reality is presented as particular and consistent through immanent structures. Both aspects, absolute determination and absolute freedom, appear to be necessary to the human experience in different ways. The movement from an emphasis on determination to an emphasis on freedom occurs with the radical change of the event.
Structures have a specific nature. They arise from the multiplicity of reality to form connections and subsets, and present themselves as transcendent even though they are always immanent. The realization of the immanent state of structures is a transition from the appearance of a containment of finite reality by infinite structure to the containment of finite structures by infinite reality. Structures therefore only encompass parts of reality where the reproduction of structures is a continuous form and discontinuous content. It does not matter that parts have to be replaced in order to maintain the overall structure, and the transcendent appearance perpetuates this process. However, the creation of novelty is a continuous content and a discontinuous form. Any creation of new forms recognizes the immanent nature of structures while rearranging the parts that came from the background of reality. The event allows for a realization that any transcendent structure that looks universal is in fact immanent and particular. With the event, there is the chance for new structures to be created rather than the reproduction of what existed before. The structural rupture of the event allows the creation of novelty in a method ofexperimentation, and the new immanent structures that are created are a decision of free agency. Surrounded by structures, humans can only experiment in limited ways and can then have the chance to put these experiments into practice after the event.
The pure event has a unique nature. It is the introduction of infinite reality into structures and is a disruption that can not be predicted by the preexisting structures. The event is both unique and universal, where its unpredictable characteristic is applied to all of the structure and what that structure appears to contain. This means that as the structure appears to involve all of reality, the event would consequently disrupt all that is assumed to be truth and reality. The event as the intrusion of reality means that it is more than the sum of the parts within structures. Before the event, the virtual possibilities of reality precedes the actual implementation within structures. The appearance of a transcendent category that actualizes objects places them in isolation from each other. The transcendent category itself is outside of this process of actualization. In this context, free agency is limited to the emphasis of contradictions within these structures. After the event, all assumptions of previous structures are cleared away. The virtual and the actual are simultaneous within the event while the multiplicity of reality surrounds any particular immanent structure. The appearance of an immanent totality is then actualized along with all objects. In other words, both the structures and the product of structures are formed rather than having the structures exist as natural or eternal. Free agency is fully expressed as the reorganization of parts within the event.
The examination of the event and the structures that precede it can be clarified when looking at reality in structures as that of a framework, which is an adaptation of Badiou’s use of set theory. Since reality in itself is a multiplicity of singularities where there is absolute difference, the whole of reality is viewed as the many united as one. This is done through a process of partial equivalence that takes sections of reality and define the parts as the same to each other. The one that is formed is the general state of existence that has the form transcendent to the content. Partial difference is then introduced as the various combination of subsets of the one within this one. The parts are joined together in groupings in ways that maintain the overall major grouping of the one that contains all the subsets. The combination of subsets is the particular case of being that has the form immanent to the content. The external repetition of the one is a structure of partial equivalence and a general state of existence, while the internal difference of the subsets is a structure of partial difference and a particular state of being. This entire interplay of the one and the combination of subsets can be visualized as boxes within boxes, holding various objects that on their own are completely different from each other. The visualization in this manner can assist in the understanding of how structures are affected by the event.
The political importance of both the structures and the event relies on the emergence of change and novelty in both. Within structures, subjects do not participate independently of the systems of power, meaning, and production. Parts are determined by the relationships of structures that simplify reality. This is an actualization of the virtual. The decision to be participants in free agency is conducted through original choices, counter-narratives, and desiring-production along with the requirement of self-awareness for participation in free agency. It is at this point that humans have a recognition of the virtual. Within the event, it is the full understanding of structures as a subset of reality. Contradictions within and between structures reveal the surplus of reality not contained by structures. The event is not only the disruption of structures that allows full expression of free agency, but the event is the space of opportunity for a fidelity to decisions made within structures. Free agency can begin within structures, but after the event there is a need for a commitment to the project of creating something new when the old structures are taken away.
The nature of the event is something that can have positive or negative aspects. The event not only happens but it has consequences. When it happens, the event is unpredictable and contingent. It allows the full participation of free agency and makes structures within reality apparent. Because of its unpredictable nature, there is also no underlying support that was previously provided by structures of power, meaning, and production. In the open space after the event, the parts of reality could be reconstituted into different structures that are more limiting than the ones before it. The practice of free agency within structures is important since it determines either the dissipation or consolidation of power after the event. Revolution, as what can be done after the event, can be limited by a global reterritorialization that allows only limited local deterritorializations. For example, the containment of revolution by capitalism is expressed through small partial objects of desire and the containment of revolution by the state is expressed through structural reproduction. Revolution as the space for the creation of novelty requires an overall global deterritorialization and local reterritorializations that are the creation of immanent structures used by humans to assist in free agency. Revolution is therefore the development of self-awareness and the awareness of structures.
The big question remains as to how to deal with and prepare for the event when it suddenly occurs. The process of difference in repetition can be a preparation for the event, where structures repeat themselves while each time the internal relationships and compositions are different. But due to the fact that the event can only be unpredictable, there would still be an element of surprise because the difference in repetition is limited within structures. Therefore, the event can not be determined by past events and the event can not be created through the will of humans within structures. There can only be experimentation and waiting for the event so that the experiments can be put into practice afterwards. In the expectation of the event, it can be very easy to misrecognize what actually is the event. There can be an artificial binary opposition, two terms that all of reality is forced into, that is a precluded choice for humans. The small change in structures can be defined as the event itself and be a way for revolutionary change to be limited to small details. On the other hand, there can be the appearance of unity that obscures inherent contradictions where divergent elements are forced into an imaginary alliance. The event is defined as a small change in structures and the importance of the event is downplayed. In any case, those in power attempt to stall the event and the human experience of the event. As long as it looks like the event can be prevented, the full potential of new forms of the political, cultural, or economic will be contained by structures.
All events are compared to either birth or death in the human mind. Birth is the event that one never remembers, while death is the event that one never actually experiences since that would require the ability to exist after it. Regardless of the fact that each event is unique, humans attempt to group them together and make comparisons in order to understand them. But part of the potential for new political, cultural, and economic forms is to escape absolute predictability. In the current dialogue of the future, the event has been compared with issues surrounding the Rapture of Christian fundamentalism and the Omega Singularity of 2012. The Rapture is the moment where all those who are supposedly saved will be bodily transported to Heaven and the end of the physical world will begin for those left behind. The Singularity is the idea that there will be a moment in time where all subsequent history can not be predicted due to some massive change such as a major advancement in technology. This concept has been aligned with the idea that a new age will begin on December 21, 2012 according to the end of the Mayan calendar. In other words, the Singularity and the specific date can be the same thing. Both the Singularity of 2012 and the Rapture as a type of event has been appropriated by political and social groups for their own agendas. But both of these definitions of the event are in fact false events in that they do not allow the implementation of the revolutionary potential that developed within structures. The Singularity of 2012 is a predictable event and an unpredictable result, where it retains some element of unpredictability though there is hope for a future utopia. The Rapture is an unpredictable event and a predictable result, where it retains some element of predictability though there is no hope for the future. In other words, everyone knows when the Singularity will occur but not what will happen afterward, while the Rapture has no definite date but it is already prophesied what will happen afterward. Individual acts are the cause of both of these events and therefore the element of predictability takes away the radical change that the real event brings about. Instead, the Singularity of 2012 and the Rapture are a completion of an agenda rather than the disruption of structures. What Alain Badiou has contributed to modern political thought is to look at revolution not as violence but the imposition of sudden change where political action has the freedom to be enacted. It is possible for the Green Party, as an organization that works in the political within structures, to learn to prepare for the rupture that the event brings about and perhaps fully realize what the Green Party can do when the old order fades away.