Democracy and Capitalism Are Destined to Split Up (transcript)

Transcript below. People often ask me: ‘how can you be so stupid and still proclaim yourself a communist. What do you mean by this?’ Well, I have always to emphasize that, first, I am well aware that – let’s call it like this – the twentieth century’s over. Which means that all, not only communists solution, but all the big leftist projects of the twentieth century failed. Not only Stalinist communism, although there its failure[ …]

Sinicisation

When Alain Badiou claims that democracy is our fetish, this statement is to be taken in the precise Freudian sense, not just to mean that we elevate democracy into an untouchable Absolute. ‘Democracy’ is the last thing we see before confronting the ‘lack’ constitutive of the social field, the fact that ‘there is no class relationship,’ the trauma of social antagonism. When confronted with the reality of domination and exploitation, of brutal social struggle, we[ …]

How the United States Rolls

Towards the end of September, after declaring war on ISIS, President Obama gave an interview to “60 Minutes” in which he tried to explain the rules of U.S. engagement: “When trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing, they don’t call Moscow. They call us. … That’s always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation.” This also holds for environmental and humanitarian disasters: “When there’s a typhoon in the Philippines,[ …]

How WikiLeaks opened our eyes to the illusion of freedom

We remember anniversaries that mark the important events of our era: September 11 (not only the 2001 Twin Towers attack, but also the 1973 military coup against Allende in Chile), D-day, etc. Maybe another date should be added to this list: 19 June. Most of us like to take a stroll during the day to get a breath of fresh air. There must be a good reason for those who cannot do it – maybe[ …]

Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange: our new heroes

We all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, in his first campaign: “Yes, we can!” – we can get rid of the cynicism of the Bush era and bring justice and welfare to the American people. Now that the US continues its covert operations and expands its intelligence network, spying even on its allies, we can imagine protesters shouting at Obama: “How can you use drones for killing? How can you[ …]

Freedom in the Cloud

We all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, when he repeatedly delivered the motto of his first campaign, “Yes, we can!”—we can get rid of the cynicism of the Bush era and bring justice and welfare to the American people. Now that the United States continues with covert operations and expands its intelligence network, spying even on their allies, we can imagine protesters shouting at Obama: “How can you use drones[ …]

Why the free market fundamentalists think 2013 will be the best year ever

The Christmas issue of the Spectator ran an editorial entitled “Why 2012 was the best year ever”. It argued against the perception that we live in “a dangerous, cruel world where things are bad and getting worse”. Here is the opening paragraph: “It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world. That sounds like an extravagant claim, but it is borne out by evidence. Never[ …]

Capitalism; How the left lost the argument

One might think that a crisis brought on by rapacious, unregulated capitalism would have changed a few minds about the fundamental nature of the global economy. One would be wrong. True, there is no lack of anti-capitalist sentiment in the world today, particularly as a crisis brought on by the system’s worst excesses continues to ravage the global economy. If anything, we are witnessing an overload of critiques of the horrors of capitalism: Books, newspaper[ …]

Can you give my son a job?

Khrushchev’s speech in 1956 denouncing Stalin’s crimes was a political act from which, as his biographer William Taubman put it, ‘the Soviet regime never fully recovered, and neither did he.’ Although it was plainly opportunistic, there was just as plainly more to it than that, a kind of reckless excess that cannot be accounted for in terms of political strategy. The speech so undermined the dogma of infallible leadership that the entire nomenklatura sank into[ …]