Slavoj Žižek on Trump and the Republican Party

[This is an extract from Slavoj Žižek’s appearance at Left Forum on May 22nd 2016. The primary topic is Trump and the Republican Party, but he digresses among others to WikiLeaks, normalisation of torture and rape, and of course toilets. Transcript below the video.] …today. I’m sorry. I speak too long, I will start to, try to, cut it short a little bit. I want to address, with Trump, what Amy was addressing; Donald Trump problem.[ …]

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[ …]

The Universal Exception (Preface)

The big Other between violence and civility Slavoj Zizek   The ‘universal exception’, according to Lacan, is the fundamental feature of the symbolic order (the ‘big Other’) as the order of universality: each universality is grounded in its constitutive exception. This feature is to be supplemented with its no less paradoxical obverse, the so-called ‘not-All [pas tout]’: an order (or rather, a field, a signifying space) with no exception that is eo ipso not-all, and[ …]

“I’m a Fighting Atheist”, Interview with Doug Henwood

Question: A lot of readers of American underground publications read Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and the stuff coming out of small anarchist presses. What would they get from reading your work that they might be missing? Zizek: Martin Heidegger said that philosophy doesn’t make things easier, it makes them harder and more complicated. What they can learn is the ambiguity of so many situations, in the sense that whenever we are presented by the[ …]

In the Wake of Paris Attacks the Left Must Embrace Its Radical Western Roots

In the first half of 2015, Europe was preoccupied by radical emancipatory movements (Syriza and Podemos), while in the second half the attention shifted to the “humanitarian” topic of the refugees. Class struggle was literally repressed and replaced by the liberal-cultural topic of tolerance and solidarity. With the Paris terror killings on Friday, November 13, even this topic (which still refers to large socio-economic issues) is now eclipsed by the simple opposition of all democratic[ …]

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[ …]

In the Grey Zone

The formula of pathetic identification ‘I am …’ (or ‘We are all …’) only functions within certain limits, beyond which it turns into obscenity. We can proclaim ‘Je suis Charlie,’ but things start to crumble with examples like ‘We all live in Sarajevo!’ or ‘We are all in Gaza!’ The brutal fact that we are not all in Sarajevo or Gaza is too strong to be covered up by a pathetic identification. Such identification becomes[ …]

‘Manning is free’

Dear Chelsea, We often hear that today’s radical left is unable to propose a feasible alternative. What you did simply was the alternative. To quote Gandhi, you were the change you wanted to see. For this, you risked everything, your life included. You didn’t do it for any personal gain like money or fame. What you did was also not part of any large political project. You found yourself in the position of a person[ …]