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[ …]

Slavoj Žižek on Castro’s death (+ transcript)

[Transcript below video.] RT: Joining me live now here on the programme on RT International Slavoj Žižek – a philosopher and international director at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. Great to see you today. Thanks for coming on the programme. Let’s discuss the breaking news here, Mr. Žižek, that over the death of Fidel Castro, the age of 90. Socialist ideas seem to be gaining traction around the world. Take the rise of Bernie[ …]

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[ …]

Thanks to the EU’s villainy, Greece is now under financial occupation

my short essay on Greece after the referendum “The Courage of Hopelessness” was republished by In These Times, its title was changed into “How Alexis Tsipras and Syriza Outmaneuvered Angela Merkel and the Eurocrats”. Although I effectively think that accepting the EU terms was not a simple defeat, I am far from such an optimist view. The reversal of the NO of referendum to the YES to Brussels was a genuine devastating shock, a shattering painful[ …]

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[ …]

All we are saying is give Greece a chance

The European Union’s demand that Greece continue with the catastrophic austerity policies of the past five years flies in the face of democracy and sound economics. The Greek people in democratic elections decisively rejected these policies, which have led to a 26% shrinking of the economy, 27% unemployment and 40% of the population on the poverty line. A continuation of austerity will jeopardise the future of the EU and betray principles of democracy, prosperity and[ …]

The loneliness of the global policeman in a multi-centric world

Towards the end of September 2014, after declaring war on ISIS, President Obama gave an interview to “60 Minutes” in which he tried to explain the rules of the U.S. engagement: “When trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing, they don’t call Moscow. They call us. That’s always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation.” This holds also for environmental and humanitarian disasters: “When there’s a typhoon in the[ …]

Some Bewildered Clarifications: A Response to Noam Chomsky by Slavoj Žižek

Since Noam Chomsky’s “Fantasies” (July 21, 2013) present themselves as a reaction to my reply to his interview with a critical dismissal of my work, a brief clarification is needed. What Chomsky refers to as my “reply” is a non-authorized and not accurate transcription of my answer to a question from the public during a recent debate at Birkbeck college in London. As it would be clear from a full transcription, at that moment I[ …]

What Europe’s Elites Don’t Know

In one of his last interviews before his fall, despot Nicolae Ceausescu was asked by a Western journalist how he justified the fact that Romanian citizens could not travel freely abroad, though freedom of movement was guaranteed by the constitution. His answer: True, the constitution guarantees the freedom of movement, but it also guarantees the right of the people to a safe and prosperous home. So we have here a potential conflict of rights: If[ …]

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[ …]