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published on April 2, 2019

Robert Boncardo, Bryan Cooke

“Long Live the International Proletariat of France!”
Alain Badiou and the SONACOTRA Rent Strike 1975–1979

This article deals with Alain Badiou’s practical and theoretical engagements with the SONACOTRA rent strike, which ran from 1975 to 1979 and mobilized tens of thousands of immigrant workers across France. Drawing on the work Histoire politique du mouvement des foyers Sonacotra (1981), a retrospective study written collectively by members of Badiou’s Maoist group L’Union des communistes de France marxistes-léninistes (UCMFL), we demonstrate how the practical stakes of the movement were taken up in philosophical form in the contemporaneous text Theory of the Subject. Finally, we suggest that this interweaving of practice and theory is an exemplary instance of Badiou’s conception of politics as the immanent construction of a universal—a conception that links Badiou’s Maoist engagements with his current philosophical and political commitments, from Being and Event to Logics of Worlds.

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