Slavoj Žižek on Peter Sloterdijk: The revolution does take place, just differently

Peter Sloterdijk is one of the most accurate diagnosticians of our time. In his work Rage and Time, from the distinction between Eros (desire, that is the desire to possess, that is the possession of objects) and Thymos (pride, that is giving-willing, that is recognition) he offers an alternative history of the West – that is, as history of anger management. The “Iliad”, its founding text, begins in fact with the word “anger.” Homer calls the goddess[ …]

What does Europe want? Beyond the multiculturalist deadlock

Back in the 1930s, Hitler offered anti-Semitism as a narrative explanation for the troubles experienced by ordinary Germans – from unemployment to moral decay and social unrest. Simply evoking the “Jewish plot” made everything clear by way of providing a simple “cognitive mapping.” Does today’s hatred of multiculturalism and of the immigrant threat not function in a similar way? Strange things are happening, financial meltdowns occur which affect our daily lives, but these events are[ …]

If there is a God, then anything is permitted

Although the statement “If there is no God, everything is permitted” is widely attributed to Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (Sartre was the first to do so in his Being and Nothingness), he simply never said it. The closest one gets to this infamous aphorism are a hand-full of apoproximations, like Dmitri’s claim from his debate with Rakitin (as he reports it to Alyosha): “‘But what will become of men then?’ I asked him, ‘without God and[ …]

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[ …]

Anti-immigration politics: barbarism with a human face

Recent incidents – such as the expulsion of Roma, or Gypsies, from France, or the resurgence of nationalism and anti-immigration sentiment in Germany, or the massacre in Norway – have to be seen against the background of a long-term rearrangement of the political space in western and eastern Europe. Until recently, most European countries were dominated by two main parties that addressed the majority of the electorate: a right-of-centre party (Christian Democrat, liberal-conservative, people’s) and[ …]

The Un-Shock Doctrine

The Left today faces the difficult task of emphasizing that we are dealing with political economy—that there is nothing “natural” in the present crisis, that the existing global economic system relies on a series of political decisions—while simultaneously acknowledging that, insofar as we remain within the capitalist system, violating its rules will indeed cause economic breakdown, since the system obeys a pseudo-natural logic of its own. So, although we are clearly entering a new phase[ …]

Europe must move beyond mere tolerance

When, a decade ago, Slovenia was about to join the European Union, one of our Eurosceptics offered a sarcastic paraphrase of a Marx brothers joke about getting a lawyer: Do we, Slovenes, have troubles? Let us join the EU! We will have even more troubles, but we will have the EU to take care of them! This is how many Slovenes now perceive the EU: it brings some help, but it also brings new problems[ …]

Barbarism With A Human Face

The recent expulsion oF illegal Roma (“Gypsies”) from France back to Romania sparked protests across Europe from both the liberal media and top politicians–and not only those on the Left. The expulsions, however, proceeded–and they are the tip of a much larger iceberg of European politics. Incidents like these have to be seen against the background of a long-term re-arrangement of the political space in Western and Eastern Europe. Until recently, the political space of[ …]

Best of 2010: Barbarism with a Human Face

A month ago, a book entitled Germany Does Away With Itself by Thilo Sarrazin – a bank executive who was considered politically close to the Social Democrats – caused an uproar in Germany. Its thesis is that German nationhood is threatened because too many immigrants are allowed to maintain their cultural identity. Although the book was overwhelmingly condemned, its tremendous impact suggests that it touched a nerve. Incidents like these have to be seen against[ …]

Liberal multiculturalism masks an old barbarism with a human face

The recent expulsion of Roma, or Gypsies, from France drew protests from all around Europe – from the liberal media but also from top politicians, and not only from those on the left. But the expulsions went ahead, and they are just the tip of a much larger iceberg of European politics. A month ago, a book by Thilo Sarrazin, a bank executive who was considered politically close to the Social Democrats, caused an uproar[ …]