We Must Rise from the Ashes of Liberal Democracy

Donald Trump’s January 20 inaugural address was ideology at its purest, its simple message relying on a series of obvious inconsistencies. At its most elementary it sounded like something that Bernie Sanders could have said: I speak for all you forgotten, neglected and exploited hardworking people. I am your voice. You are now in power. However, beyond the obvious contrast between these proclamations and Trump’s early nominations (Rex Tillerson, the voice of exploited, hardworking people?),[ …]

On the rise of Trump, the fall of the Democratic party, and the future of the global left

http://ga.video.cdn.pbs.org/videos/tavis-smiley/ac903ddf-eabd-4ab4-8d5e-136739ac5862/286524/hd-mezzanine-16×9/1b40cb54_tasm_20170301-16×9-mp4-baseline.mp4 Tavis Smiley: Good evening from Los Angeles. I’m Tavis Smiley. The role of the public intellectual in our society is arguably more important now than ever before. Believing that political issues are too important to be left only to politicians, Slavoj Žižek is considered a global rock star when it comes to philosophical debates. Whether it’s through the rerelease of his text, In Defense of Lost Causes or his forthcoming work, Lenin 2017, the Slovenian[ …]

Donald Trump’s topsy-turvy world

The most depressing aspect of the post-electoral period in the US is not the measures announced by the President-elect but the way the bulk of the Democratic Party is reacting to its historic defeat. Notably, its supporters oscillate between two extremes: the horror at the Big Bad Wolf called Trump and the obverse of this panic and fascination — the renormalization of the situation, the idea that nothing extraordinary happened, that it is just another[ …]

Why There Are No Viable Political Alternatives to Unbridled Capitalism

[Transcript below video.] I still believe in the saying of this old Frankfurt School fellow traveler Marxist Walter Benjamin who said that behind every rise of fascism there is a failed revolution. I think that even if we strategically, I’m not sure about it, accept this term Islam0-fascism for Islamic fundamentalists, this so called Islamic fundamentalism is strictly relative with the disintegration of secular Islamic left, which was pretty strong in the ’50s, ’60s and[ …]

Trump Against the Machine: How Political Elites Failed

[Transcript below video.] Slavoj Žižek: I know that even in the United States when you have someone like Donald Trump, I know that there is a lot of elitist liberal reaction. Like here we see the limit of democracy but in the wrong sense, in the sense that you see stupid ordinary people are seduced and so on and so on. Well, although Noam Chomsky doesn’t like me very much, I admire him sincerely and[ …]

The Hillary Clinton consensus is damaging democracy

Alfred Hitchcock once said that a film is as good as its villain—does this mean that the forthcoming U.S. elections will be good since the “bad guy” (Donald Trump) is an almost ideal villain? Yes, but in a very problematic sense. For the liberal majority, the 2016 elections represent a clear-cut choice: the figure of Trump is a ridiculous excess, vulgar and exploiting our worst racist and sexist prejudices, a male chauvinist so lacking in decency[ …]

Clinton, Trump and the Triumph of Global Capitalism

Roger Ebert once said that a film is as good as its villain. Does this mean that the forthcoming U.S. elections will be good since the “bad guy” (Donald Trump) is almost an ideal villain? Yes, but in a very problematic sense. For the liberal majority, the 2016 elections represent a clear-cut choice: Trump is ridiculous, excessive and vulgar. He exploits our worst racist and sexist prejudices such that big-name Republicans are abandoning him in[ …]

Brexit, the crisis of the Left, and the future of Europe (with Benjamin Ramm)

Slavoj Žižek is animated about Brexit. “You know, popular opinion is not always right”, he insists. “Sometimes I think one has to violate the will of the majority”. This sentiment may surprise some of his admirers, but our discussion highlights his long-standing ambivalence about democracy. The despair and confusion of the past week has only reinforced his outlook. Reflecting on the Leave voters who were alarmed to learn that their side had actually won, Žižek quips: “The worst surprise is to get[ …]

Democracy’s Fascism Problem

Sometimes faces become symbols of the anonymous forces behind them. Was not the stupidly smiling face of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem the symbol of the European Union’s brutal pressure on Greece? Recently, the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the European cousin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—acquired a new symbol: the cold face of E.U. trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who responded to massive public opposition to TTIP this way: “I do not take my mandate from the[ …]

Explaining the Panama Papers; or, Why does a dog lick himself?

The only truly surprising thing about the Panama Papers leak is that there is no surprise in them: Didn’t we learn exactly what we expected to learn from them? Yet, it’s one thing to know about offshore bank accounts in general, and another to see concrete proof. It’s like knowing that one’s partner is fooling around on you—one can accept the abstract knowledge of it, but pain arises when one learns the steamy details. And[ …]