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[ …]

Philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks to Gary Younge (Podcast)

In a new book, Against the Double Blackmail, in response to Europe’s refugee crisis, philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that the left must shed its liberal taboos in favour of global, class solidarity. At a Guardian Live event, Gary Younge sat down with Žižek to discuss the immigration crisis, the response of the liberal left, and the future for Europe. [Appeared in The Guardian on April 19th 2016.] What happens to democracy when the majority is[ …]

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[ …]

From Myth to Symptom (Introduction)

The idea for putting together this book came out of the firm belief that a response to the dominant political and academic positions on the subject of the Republic of Kosovo was needed. Far from engaging in a debate with existing texts on the subject matter, this book goes at the heart of the problem: dealing with a very specific trajectory in which the Kosovo predicament has been circulating: beginning from a myth, and ending[ …]

A crisis in manufacturing consent

The reactions of both party establishments, Republican and Democrat, to Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’s unexpected success in the U.S. primaries is basically the same: Their success demonstrates the crisis of our democracy; it is an abnormality that we should somehow control and contain. This reaction tells us a lot about how our democracy effectively functions: It is tolerated if properly controlled by political establishment, or, as Noam Chomsky noted years ago, “it is only when[ …]

Beyond Mandela Without Becoming Mugabe

[Transcript below video.] In view of the difficult situation in which we all, in Europe, are, now I have quite many things to say. So, let me begin. Today, the very idea of a radical social transformation appears as an impossible dream, but this term (impossible) should make us think. Impossible and possible are distributed in strange ways today. One the one hand, in the domain of personal freedoms and scientific technology, we are told,[ …]

The courage of hopelessness

The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben said in an interview that “thought is the courage of hopelessness” ─ an insight that is especially pertinent for our historical moment, when even the most pessimistic diagnosis as a rule finishes with an uplifting hint at some version of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The true courage is not to imagine an alternative, but to accept the consequences of the fact that there is no clearly discernible alternative: the[ …]

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[ …]

Greeks, don’t give in to the EU’s austerity ultimatum

Over the past five years, the EU and the IMF have imposed unprecedented austerity on Greece. It has failed badly. The economy has shrunk by 26%, unemployment has risen to 27%, youth unemployment to 60% and the debt-to-GDP ratio jumped from 120% to 180%. The economic catastrophe has led to a humanitarian crisis, with more than 3 million people on or below the poverty line (The moral crusade against Greece must be opposed, Opinion, 29 June).[ …]

Slavoj Zizek: What does it mean to be a great thinker today?

[Partial transcript from the end of the video is below] And here I even agree with my friend, although a right-winger – but you can learn from conservative intelligent right-wingers – Peter Sloterdijk, who said the problem today is we don’t have enough alienation. We have … we should break this politically correct, multi-culti stupidity ‘We have to understand the other.’ No. How can we understand the others when they don’t understand themselves, when we[ …]