Could Brexit Breathe New Life Into Left-Wing Politics?

Late in his life, Freud asked the famous question “Was will das Weib?”, “What does a woman want?”, admitting his confusion when faced with the enigma of the feminine sexuality. A similar perplexity arouses today, apropos the Brexit referendum—what does Europe want? The true stakes of this referendum become clear if we locate it into its larger historical context. In Western and Eastern Europe, there are signs of a long-term re-arrangement of the politica. Until recently,[ …]

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek warns about ‘New Invisible Walls’

He does not hold back when it comes to his criticism of Europe and he is considered a revolutionary by many for his ideas to transform the global economic order. Slavoj Žižek is a straight talking philosopher. We meet here in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and he is my guest in the Global Conversation. Sergio Cantone: Slavoj Žižek, according to you, globalisation is one of the primary sources of the current migration crisis. Slavoj Žižek: I think[ …]

Dear Britain: Elena Ferrante, Slavoj Zizek and other European writers on Brexit

Dear Britain, When Stalin was asked in the late 1920s which is worse, the right or the left, he snapped back: “They are both worse!” And this is my first reaction to the question of whether or not to leave the EU. I am not interested in sending love letters to the British public with the sentimental message: “Please stay in Europe!” What interests me is ultimately only one question. Europe is now caught in[ …]

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[ …]

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[ …]

Stranger Danger: To Resolve the Migrant Crisis We Must Recognize the Stranger Within Ourselves

The big news of the last week was the deal between Turkey and European Union on how to contain and regulate the flow of refugees. It brought a sigh of relief: The crisis is over. Europe succeeded in stemming the Muslim invasion without betraying humanitarian compassion. But did it? To see clearly what is wrong with this deal, let us reach back to one of our great classics. In Canto VI of Inferno (lines 77-89), Dante[ …]

What our fear of refugees says about Europe

Jacques Lacan claimed that, even if a jealous husband’s claim about his wife – that she sleeps around with other men – is true, his jealousy is still pathological. Why? The true question is “not is his jealousy well-grounded?”, but “why does he need jealousy to maintain his self-identity?”. Along the same lines, one could say that even if most of the Nazi claims about the Jews were true – they exploit Germans; they seduce German[ …]

The Need to Traverse the Fantasy

Adam Kotsko, a professor of humanities at Shimer College in Chicago, in an email to me, provided the best characterization of the reactions to my latest text on the refugees and Paris attacks: I notice that the responses always seem to be a referendum on you, almost a Rorschach test for what people think of you. If they think you’re a terrible quasi-fascist, pro-Western ideologue, they find stuff to support that. If they assume you’re[ …]

The Pervert’s Guide to Europe, with Jürgen Kuttner

Democracy is being gradually abolished. Almost everything that was criticised in the past of ‘real socialism’ is now coming back. GDR-nostalgics (Ostalgie) can count themselves lucky: barbed wire at the borders, refugees and smugglers, uncontrollable parallels between intelligence services and monitoring organizations, tendencies towards the planned economy industry, fraud and manipulation in business and politics, which furthermore do not make their actions more transparent or democratically legitimate, but simply ask for trust. Europe is turning.[ …]