The Left’s Fidelity to Castro-ation

I am critical of Cuba not because I am anti-Communist but because I remain a Communist. We all remember the classic scene from cartoons: a cat walks over the precipice and magically goes on, floating in the air—it falls down only when it looks down and becomes aware that it has no ground under its feet. In the same way, one can say that, in the last decades, Cuban “socialism” continued to live only because[ …]

The Spectre Is Still Roaming Around! (Introduction)

The first, automatic reaction of today’s enlightened liberal reader to The Communist Manifesto is: Is the text not simply wrong on many empirical accounts, with regard to the picture it gives of the social situation, as well as with regard to the revolutionary perspective it sustains and propagates? Was there ever a political manifesto that was more clearly falsified by subsequent historical reality? Is The Communist Manifesto not, at best, an exaggerated extrapolation of certain tendencies discernible in the[ …]

The Idea of Communism (Introduction)

The long night of the left is drawing to a close. The defeat, denunciations and despair of the 1980s and 1990s, the triumphalist ‘end of history’, the unipolar world of American hegemony — all are fast becoming old news. In Europe, in the year 2000, Jürgen Habermas and Ulrich Beck enthused about the European Union and its common currency, prophesying that it would become the model for the future of humanity. How different the reality[ …]

“It Doesn’t Have to Be a Jew”, Interview with Josefina Ayerza

Zizek: Yes, in a way. To arrive at this, you need an enemy, you need a figure of an enemy. Question: The Jews or…. Zizek: It doesn’t have to be a Jew. It can be somebody who is constructed according to the same logic that is at work in anti-Semitism. It is very interesting to see how, even when the enemy is not the Jew, it is still constructed in the same way, as some[ …]

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[ …]

Disposable Life (+ transcript)

[Transcript below video.] Under capitalism, the problem is not there are evil people here and there. The problem is the basic logic of the system – as it was developed by Zygmunt Bauman and many others. Some people even claim that if you look, in a non-humanitarian way, just at the pure logic of today’s global capitalism, then you arrive at the ratio even – some people claim – of 20% to 80%. That is[ …]

Barbarism with a Human Face

Again and again in television reports on the mass protests in Kiev against the Yanukovich government, we saw images of protesters tearing down statues of Lenin. It was an easy way to demonstrate anger: the statues functioned as a symbol of Soviet oppression, and Putin’s Russia is perceived as continuing the Soviet policy of Russian domination of its neighbours. Bear in mind that it was only in 1956 that Lenin’s statues started to proliferate throughout[ …]

Who needs charity from rich capitalists? The ethics of giving and the Communist vision

In his recent book Rage and Time, Peter Sloterdijk has attempt to assert – as the solution to what one might call the “antinomies of the Welfare State” – an “ethics of gift” over against mere egotistic market exchange. His proposal brings us unexpectedly close to what can only be called the Communist vision. What Sloterdijk proposes is a kind of new cultural revolution, a radical psycho-social shift based on the insight that, today, the[ …]

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[ …]

Best of 2011: Only Communism can save liberal democracy

1989 marked not only the defeat of the Communist State-Socialism, but also the defeat of the Western Social Democracy. Nowhere is the misery of today’s Left more palpable than in its “principled” defence of the Social-Democratic Welfare State: the idea is that, in the absence of a feasible radical Leftist project, all that the Left can do is to bombard the state with demands for the expansion of the Welfare State, knowing well that the[ …]