Z’s intro para:
Badiou is right: anti-capitalism cannot be directly the goal of political action - in politics, one opposes concrete political agents and their actions, not an anonymous “system.” However, if one may apply here the distinction between goal and aim, if not goal, it should be its ultimate aim, the horizon of all its activity.
Z’s concluding para:
The proper Deleuzian paradox is that somethinmg truly New can ONLY emerge through repetition. What repetition repeats is not the way the past “effectively was”, but the virtuality inherent to the past and betrayed by its past actualization. In this precise sense, the emergence of the New changes the past itself, that is, it retroactively changes (not the actual past - we are not in science fiction - but) the balance between actuality and virtuality in the past. Recall the old example provided by Walter Benjamin: the October Revolution repeated the French Revolution, redeeming its failure, unearthing and repeating the same impulse. Already for Kierkegaard, repetition is “inverted memory”, a movement forward, the production of the New, and not the reproduction of the Old. “There is nothing new under the sun” is the strongest contrast to the movement of repetition. So, it is not only that repetition is (one of the modes of) the emergence of the New - the New can ONLY emerge through repetition. The key to this paradox is, of course, what Deleuze designates as the difference between the Virtual and the Actual (and which - why not? - one can also determine as the difference between Spirit and Letter). Let us take a great philosopher like Kant - there are two modes to repeat him: either one sticks to his letter and further elaborates or changes his system, as neo-Kantians (up to Habermas and Luc Ferry) are doing; or, one tries to regain the creative impulse that Kant himself betrayed in the actualization of his system (i.e., to connect to what was already “in Kant more than Kant himself”, more than his explicit system, its excessive core). There are, accordingly, two modes of betraying the past. The true betrayal is an ethico-theoretical act of the highest fidelity: one has to betray the letter of Kant in order to remain faithful to (and repeat) the “spirit” of his thought. It is precisely when one remains faithful to the letter of Kant that one really betrays the core of his thought, the creative impulse underlying it. One should bring this paradox to its conclusion: it is not only that one can remain really faithful to an author by way of betraying him (the actual letter of his thought); at a more radical level, the inverse statement holds even more - one can only truly betray an author by way of repeating him, by way of remaining faithful to the core of his thought. If one does not repeat an author (in the authentic Kierkegaardian sense of the term), but merely “criticizes” him, moves elsewhere, turns him around, etc., this effectively means that one unknowingly remains within his horizon, his conceptual field. When G.K. Chesterton describes his conversion to Christianity, he claims that he “tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen years behind it.” Does the same not hold even more for those who, today, desperately try to catch up with the New by way of following the latest “post-” fashion, and are thus condemned to remain forever eighteen years behind the truly New?