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[ …]

Let Us Demand the Impossible: Communism

[Abstract by ABC:] In the late 90s, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the end of history and the undisputed triumph of liberal “democratic” capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried. But after 9/11, the GFC, the Arab Spring, and the protests spreading over Europe, the ideological gloss of capitalism may be beginning to fade. If the alternative is Putin’s muscular Tsarism or China’s authoritarian capitalism, then renovating the idea[ …]

Let Us Demand the Impossible: Communism (podcast)

[The video of this talk is available here and on YouTube.] http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/fodi_slavojzizek_full.mp3 [Abstract by ABC:] In the late 90s, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the end of history and the undisputed triumph of liberal “democratic” capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried. But after 9/11, the GFC, the Arab Spring, and the protests spreading over Europe, the ideological gloss of capitalism may be beginning to fade. If the alternative is[ …]

Resistance is Surrender

My critics make the following claims (Letters, 13 December 2007): 1. that my message to the left is that there is no chance of overcoming capitalism; all we can do is to ‘sit at home and watch the barbarity on television’; 2. that I advocate modest realistic demands rather than the pursuit of big impossible goals; 3. that in dismissing the Western democratic left, I support power-mad dictators like Chávez. That such mutually exclusive positions[ …]

Resistance Is Surrender

One of the clearest lessons of the last few decades is that capitalism is indestructible. Marx compared it to a vampire, and one of the salient points of comparison now appears to be that vampires always rise up again after being stabbed to death. Even Mao’s attempt, in the Cultural Revolution, to wipe out the traces of capitalism, ended up in its triumphant return. Today’s Left reacts in a wide variety of ways to the[ …]