A Marxist for Trump

[Note: The embed feature of vice.com does not seem to work correctly; link to video is provided below the transcript.]  Slavoj Žižek: I think it’s totally wrong to say Trump is really a dangerous right-wing fundamentalist. No. He is nothing. He is an opportunist, the way I see it. Narrated: Slavoj Žižek is Slovenian philosopher, Marxist, and celebrity intellectual whose sharp criticism of mass culture and politics have made him the ‘Elvis of cultural theory’.[ …]

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[ …]

Are the worst really full of passionate intensity?

Now, when we are all in a state of shock after the killing spree in the Charlie Hebdo offices, it is the right moment to gather the courage to think. We should, of course, unambiguously condemn the killings as an attack on the very substance our freedoms, and condemn them without any hidden caveats (in the style of “Charlie Hebdo was nonetheless provoking and humiliating the Muslims too much”). But such pathos of universal solidarity[ …]

Barbarism with a Human Face

Again and again in television reports on the mass protests in Kiev against the Yanukovich government, we saw images of protesters tearing down statues of Lenin. It was an easy way to demonstrate anger: the statues functioned as a symbol of Soviet oppression, and Putin’s Russia is perceived as continuing the Soviet policy of Russian domination of its neighbours. Bear in mind that it was only in 1956 that Lenin’s statues started to proliferate throughout[ …]

Anger in Bosnia, but this time the people can read their leaders’ ethnic lies

Last week, cities were burning in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It all began in Tuzla, a city with a Muslim majority. The protests then spread to the capital, Sarajevo, and Zenica, but also Mostar, home to a large segment of the Croat population, and Banja Luka, capital of the Serb part of Bosnia. Thousands of enraged protesters occupied and set fire to government buildings. Although the situation then calmed down, an atmosphere of high tension still hangs in[ …]

Barbarism With A Human Face

The recent expulsion oF illegal Roma (“Gypsies”) from France back to Romania sparked protests across Europe from both the liberal media and top politicians–and not only those on the Left. The expulsions, however, proceeded–and they are the tip of a much larger iceberg of European politics. Incidents like these have to be seen against the background of a long-term re-arrangement of the political space in Western and Eastern Europe. Until recently, the political space of[ …]

The Palestinian question: the couple symptom/fetish

There are two different modes of ideological mystification which should in no way be confused: the liberal-democratic one and the Fascist one. The first one concerns false universality: the subject advocates freedom/equality, not being aware of implicit qualifications which, in their very form, constrain its scope (privileging certain social strata: rich, male, belonging to a certain race or culture). The second one concerns the false identification of the antagonism and the enemy: class struggle is[ …]

The Two Totalitarianisms

A small note – not the stuff of headlines, obviously – appeared in the newspapers on 3 February. In response to a call for the prohibition of the public display of the swastika and other Nazi symbols, a group of conservative members of the European Parliament, mostly from ex-Communist countries, demanded that the same apply to Communist symbols: not only the hammer and sickle, but even the red star. This proposal should not be dismissed[ …]

Passion: Regular or Decaf?

Those who virulently criticized Mel Gibson’s The Passion even before its release seem unassailable: Are they not justified to worry that the film, made by a fanatic Catholic known for occasional anti-Semitic outbursts, may ignite anti-Semitic sentiments? More generally, is The Passion not a manifesto of our own (Western, Christian) fundamentalists? Is it then not the duty of every Western secularist to reject it, to make it clear that we are not covert racists attacking[ …]

Liberation Hurts, Interview with Eric Dean Rasmussen

Eric Dean Rasmussen: In The Puppet and the Dwarf one of your theoretical maxims is that “in our politically correct times, it is always advisable to start with the set of unwritten prohibitions that define the positions one is allowed to adopt.” You argue that although proclamations for various forms of multiculturalist spirituality are currently in vogue, professing “serious” religious beliefs – that is, proclaiming one’s faith devoutly and unironically – is an exemplary case of an[ …]