Clinton, Trump and the Triumph of Global Capitalism

Roger Ebert once said that a film is as good as its villain. Does this mean that the forthcoming U.S. elections will be good since the “bad guy” (Donald Trump) is almost an ideal villain? Yes, but in a very problematic sense. For the liberal majority, the 2016 elections represent a clear-cut choice: Trump is ridiculous, excessive and vulgar. He exploits our worst racist and sexist prejudices such that big-name Republicans are abandoning him in[ …]

The Cologne attacks were an obscene version of carnival

Who are the “hateful eight” in Quentin Tarantino’s film of the same name? The ENTIRE group of participants – white racists and the black Union soldier, men and women, law officers and criminals – they are all equally mean, brutal and revengeful. The most embarrassing moment in the film occurs when the black officer (played by the superb Samuel L. Jackson) narrates in detail and with obvious pleasure to an old Confederate general how he[ …]

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[ …]

ISIS Is a Disgrace to True Fundamentalism

It has become a commonplace in recent months to observe that the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is the latest chapter in the long story of the anticolonial awakening — the arbitrary borders drawn after World War I by the great powers being redrawn — and simultaneously a chapter in the struggle against the way global capital undermines the power of nation states. But what causes such fear and[ …]

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[ …]

Syria is a pseudo-struggle

All that was false in the idea and practice of humanitarian interventions exploded in a condensed form apropos Syria. OK, there is a bad dictator who is (allegedly) using poisonous gas against the population of his own state – but who is opposing his regime? It seems that whatever remained of the democratic-secular resistance is now more or less drowned in the mess of fundamentalist Islamist groups supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, with a[ …]

Deaths on the Nile

Now that the Egyptian Army has decided to break the stalemate and cleanse the public space of Islamist protesters, and the result is hundreds of deaths, one should first just imagine what an uproar this would have caused if the same bloodbath were to happen, say, in Iran. However, it is more urgent to take a step back and focus on the absent third party in the ongoing conflict: Where are the protesters who took[ …]

Why fear the Arab revolutionary spirit?

What cannot but strike the eye in the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt is the conspicuous absence of Muslim fundamentalism. In the best secular democratic tradition, people simply revolted against an oppressive regime, its corruption and poverty, and demanded freedom and economic hope. The cynical wisdom of western liberals, according to which, in Arab countries, genuine democratic sense is limited to narrow liberal elites while the vast majority can only be mobilised through religious fundamentalism[ …]

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[ …]

Defenders of the Faith

FOR centuries, we have been told that without religion we are no more than egotistic animals fighting for our share, our only morality that of a pack of wolves; only religion, it is said, can elevate us to a higher spiritual level. Today, when religion is emerging as the wellspring of murderous violence around the world, assurances that Christian or Muslim or Hindu fundamentalists are only abusing and perverting the noble spiritual messages of their[ …]