Slavoj Zizek on Clinton, Trump and the Left’s Dilemma

José Saramago’s Seeing tells the story of the strange events in the unnamed capital city of an unidentified democratic country. When the election day morning is marred by torrential rains, voter turnout is disturbingly low, but the weather breaks by mid-afternoon and the population heads en masse to their voting stations. The government’s relief is short-lived, however, when vote counting reveals that over 70 percent of the ballots cast in the capital have been left[ …]

Philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks to Gary Younge (Podcast)

In a new book, Against the Double Blackmail, in response to Europe’s refugee crisis, philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that the left must shed its liberal taboos in favour of global, class solidarity. At a Guardian Live event, Gary Younge sat down with Žižek to discuss the immigration crisis, the response of the liberal left, and the future for Europe. [Appeared in The Guardian on April 19th 2016.] What happens to democracy when the majority is[ …]

Some Bewildered Clarifications: A Response to Noam Chomsky by Slavoj Žižek

Since Noam Chomsky’s “Fantasies” (July 21, 2013) present themselves as a reaction to my reply to his interview with a critical dismissal of my work, a brief clarification is needed. What Chomsky refers to as my “reply” is a non-authorized and not accurate transcription of my answer to a question from the public during a recent debate at Birkbeck college in London. As it would be clear from a full transcription, at that moment I[ …]

Trouble in Paradise

In his early writings, Marx described the German situation as one in which the only answer to particular problems was the universal solution: global revolution. This is a succinct expression of the difference between a reformist and a revolutionary period: in a reformist period, global revolution remains a dream which, if it does anything, merely lends weight to attempts to change things locally; in a revolutionary period, it becomes clear that nothing will improve without[ …]

Save us from the saviours

Imagine a scene from a dystopian movie that depicts our society in the near future. Uniformed guards patrol half-empty downtown streets at night, on the prowl for immigrants, criminals and vagrants. Those they find are brutalised. What seems like a fanciful Hollywood image is a reality in today’s Greece. At night, black-shirted vigilantes from the Holocaust-denying neo-fascist Golden Dawn movement – which won 7 per cent of the vote in the last round of elections,[ …]

Hegel versus Heidegger

One of the standard critiques of Hegel, first formulated already by the “young Hegelians,” concerns the apparent contradiction between Hegel’s dialectical method and his system. While Hegel’s method approaches reality in its dynamic development, discerning in every determinate form the seeds of its own destruction and self-overcoming, his system endeavors to render the totality of being as an achieved order in which no further development is in view. With the twentieth century interpreters of Hegel[ …]

Liberalism as politics for a race of devils

For liberalism, at least in its radical form, the desire to subject people to an ethical ideal – which is regarded as universal and thus universally binding – is the mother of all crimes, “the crime which contains all crimes,” for it amounts to the brutal imposition of one’s own view onto others, and is thus the root cause of civil disorder. This is why, liberals claim, if one wants to establish civil peace and[ …]

Basic instincts: The rioters’ impotent envy

Repetition, according to Hegel, plays a crucial role in history: when something happens just once, it may be dismissed as an accident, something that might have been avoided if the situation had been handled differently. But when the same event repeats itself, it is a sign that a deeper historical process is unfolding. When Napoleon lost at Leipzig in 1813, it looked like bad luck; when he lost again at Waterloo, it was clear that[ …]

The only church that illuminates is a burning church

Why is theology emerging again as a point of reference for radical politics? It is emerging not in order to supply a divine “big other,” guaranteeing the final success of our endeavours, but, on the contrary, as a token of our radical freedom, with no big other to rely on. Fyodor Dostoevsky was aware of how God gives us freedom and responsibility – he is not a benevolent master steering us to safety, but one[ …]