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[ …]

The Idea of Communism (Introduction)

The long night of the left is drawing to a close. The defeat, denunciations and despair of the 1980s and 1990s, the triumphalist ‘end of history’, the unipolar world of American hegemony — all are fast becoming old news. In Europe, in the year 2000, Jürgen Habermas and Ulrich Beck enthused about the European Union and its common currency, prophesying that it would become the model for the future of humanity. How different the reality[ …]

From Myth to Symptom (Introduction)

The idea for putting together this book came out of the firm belief that a response to the dominant political and academic positions on the subject of the Republic of Kosovo was needed. Far from engaging in a debate with existing texts on the subject matter, this book goes at the heart of the problem: dealing with a very specific trajectory in which the Kosovo predicament has been circulating: beginning from a myth, and ending[ …]

The return of public vulgarity

A couple months ago, Donald Trump was unflatteringly compared to a man who noisily defecates in the corner of a room in which a respectful drinking party is going on. Are other Republican candidates for the U.S. presidency substantially any better? We probably all remember the scene from Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty in which relations between eating and excreting are inverted: People sit at their toilets around the table, pleasantly talking, and when they want to[ …]

Is something rotten in the state of Turkey?

My short comment on the “war on terror” published online by New Statesman has triggered a series of critical reactions which definitely looks like a well-coordinated campaign, so it deserves a short reply. With regard to the statements quoted in my text and falsely attributed to Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish intelligence, things are simple and clear. After friends informed me about these statements, I searched for them on the web and found a couple of[ …]

Beyond Mandela Without Becoming Mugabe

[Transcript below video.] In view of the difficult situation in which we all, in Europe, are, now I have quite many things to say. So, let me begin. Today, the very idea of a radical social transformation appears as an impossible dream, but this term (impossible) should make us think. Impossible and possible are distributed in strange ways today. One the one hand, in the domain of personal freedoms and scientific technology, we are told,[ …]

How Alexis Tsipras and Syriza Outmaneuvered Angela Merkel and the Eurocrats

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 pessimist diagnostics finishes with an uplifting hint at the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. True courage, however, is not to imagine an alternative, but to accept the consequences of the fact that no discernible alternative exists. Indeed, the dream of an alternative is a sign of[ …]

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[ …]

Greece gives Europe a chance to awaken

The unexpectedly strong NO in the Greek referendum is a historical vote, cast in a desperate situation. I was informed that in Athens people are telling a new version of a joke that originally circulated the Soviet Union in its last decade about Rabinovitch, a Jew who wants to emigrate. In the new version a young Greek man visits the Australian consulate in Athens and asks for a work visa. “Why do you want to[ …]

A modest rejoinder

Josh Cohen’s review of my last two books misrepresents my position so thoroughly that I think a short clarification is required. I prefer to disregard his resumé of my reading of Hegel which begins with a total nonsense: “Where, in the standard reading of Hegel, one element comes into conflict with another external to it, in Žižek’s reading, conflict is internal or ‘immanent’ to the first element.” It is precisely in the standard reading of[ …]