Lessons From the “Airpocalypse”

In December 2016, smog in big Chinese cities became so thick that thousands fled into the countryside, trying to reach a place where one could still see blue sky—this “airpocalypse” affected half a billion people. For those who remained, moving around began to resemble life in a post-apocalyptic movie: people walking around with large gas masks in a smog where even nearby trees were invisible. The class dimension played a crucial role: Before the authorities[ …]

Best of 2011: Only Communism can save liberal democracy

1989 marked not only the defeat of the Communist State-Socialism, but also the defeat of the Western Social Democracy. Nowhere is the misery of today’s Left more palpable than in its “principled” defence of the Social-Democratic Welfare State: the idea is that, in the absence of a feasible radical Leftist project, all that the Left can do is to bombard the state with demands for the expansion of the Welfare State, knowing well that the[ …]

Let Us Demand the Impossible: Communism

[Abstract by ABC:] In the late 90s, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the end of history and the undisputed triumph of liberal “democratic” capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried. But after 9/11, the GFC, the Arab Spring, and the protests spreading over Europe, the ideological gloss of capitalism may be beginning to fade. If the alternative is Putin’s muscular Tsarism or China’s authoritarian capitalism, then renovating the idea[ …]

Let Us Demand the Impossible: Communism (podcast)

[The video of this talk is available here and on YouTube.] http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/fodi_slavojzizek_full.mp3 [Abstract by ABC:] In the late 90s, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the end of history and the undisputed triumph of liberal “democratic” capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried. But after 9/11, the GFC, the Arab Spring, and the protests spreading over Europe, the ideological gloss of capitalism may be beginning to fade. If the alternative is[ …]

A permanent economic emergency

[New Left Review 64, July-August 2010 – pdf] During this year’s protests against the Eurozone’s austerity measures—in Greece and, on a smaller scale, Ireland, Italy and Spain—two stories have imposed themselves. The predominant, establishment story proposes a de-politicized naturalization of the crisis: the regulatory measures are presented not as decisions grounded in political choices, but as the imperatives of a neutral financial logic—if we want our economies to stabilize, we simply have to swallow the bitter[ …]

Resistance is Surrender

My critics make the following claims (Letters, 13 December 2007): 1. that my message to the left is that there is no chance of overcoming capitalism; all we can do is to ‘sit at home and watch the barbarity on television’; 2. that I advocate modest realistic demands rather than the pursuit of big impossible goals; 3. that in dismissing the Western democratic left, I support power-mad dictators like Chávez. That such mutually exclusive positions[ …]