On the rise of Trump, the fall of the Democratic party, and the future of the global left

http://ga.video.cdn.pbs.org/videos/tavis-smiley/ac903ddf-eabd-4ab4-8d5e-136739ac5862/286524/hd-mezzanine-16×9/1b40cb54_tasm_20170301-16×9-mp4-baseline.mp4 Tavis Smiley: Good evening from Los Angeles. I’m Tavis Smiley. The role of the public intellectual in our society is arguably more important now than ever before. Believing that political issues are too important to be left only to politicians, Slavoj Žižek is considered a global rock star when it comes to philosophical debates. Whether it’s through the rerelease of his text, In Defense of Lost Causes or his forthcoming work, Lenin 2017, the Slovenian[ …]

Zizek! (transcript/subtitles)

What would be my… how should I call it, spontaneous attitude towards the universe? It’s a very dark one. The first thesis would have been a kind of total vanity: there is nothing, basically. I mean it quite literally, like… ultimately…there are just some fragments, some vanishing things. If you look at the universe, it’s one big void. But then how do things emerge? Here, I feel a kind of spontaneous affinity with quantum physics,[ …]

Sexuality in the Posthuman Age

[Appeared in Stasis 2016, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 54-69 – pdf] It is the profound distrust of sexual love that is the main feature of Platonov’s work throughout the 1920s. His great novels from this period—Chevengur and especially The Foundation Pit—are usually interpreted as a critical depiction of Stalinist utopia and its disastrous consequences. Such a view of his work is deeply misleading. Why? The utopia Platonov stages in these two works is not[ …]

The Guardian webchat

[Note: Some questions have been shortened and made more precise] You are defending Lenin and communism and you criticize capitalism, state and liberalism. But you reject the revolutionary potential of the world working class … Why? First, I’m not defending Lenin. I’m just saying that October Revolution was an authentic emancipatory event. But at the same time I’m well aware, that Stalinism was from the very beginning inscribed at least as a possibility in October[ …]

What does Europe want? Beyond the multiculturalist deadlock

Back in the 1930s, Hitler offered anti-Semitism as a narrative explanation for the troubles experienced by ordinary Germans – from unemployment to moral decay and social unrest. Simply evoking the “Jewish plot” made everything clear by way of providing a simple “cognitive mapping.” Does today’s hatred of multiculturalism and of the immigrant threat not function in a similar way? Strange things are happening, financial meltdowns occur which affect our daily lives, but these events are[ …]

Liberalism as politics for a race of devils

For liberalism, at least in its radical form, the desire to subject people to an ethical ideal – which is regarded as universal and thus universally binding – is the mother of all crimes, “the crime which contains all crimes,” for it amounts to the brutal imposition of one’s own view onto others, and is thus the root cause of civil disorder. This is why, liberals claim, if one wants to establish civil peace and[ …]

Deleuze and the Lacanian Real

Why is structuralism serious? For the serious to be truly serious, there must be the serial, which is made up of elements, of results, of configurations, of homologies, of repetitions. What is serious for Lacan is the logic of the signifier, that is to say the opposite of a philosophy, inasmuch as every philosophy rests on the appropriateness, transparency, agreement, harmony of thought with itself. There is always some part hidden, in a philosophy, an[ …]

Through the glasses darkly

John Carpenter’s 1988 film They Live, one of the neglected masterpieces of the Hollywood left, is a true lesson in the critique of ideology. It is the story of Nada – Spanish for “nothing” – a homeless labourer who finds work in Los Angeles as a construction worker. One of the other workers, Frank Armitage, takes Nada to a local shantytown to spend the night. Noticing some suspicious behaviour at a nearby church, he decides[ …]

An Interview with Slavoj Zizek, Interview with The Believer

Slavoj Žižek is as paradoxical as his world-renowned work, as much a serious intellectual as a comedian. Were it not for his vivid examples drawn from popular culture, the tangential though insightful ideas in his many books would be lost on the world and limited to a select few. He is an expert in Lacan, Stalin, Hitchcock, and Christianity, and coming from Slovenia has a fresh, surprising response to Western consumer products. He is a[ …]

Bring me my Philips Mental Jacket

Do we today have an available bioethics? Yes, we do, a bad one: what the Germans call Bindestrich-Ethik, or ‘hyphen-ethics’, where what gets lost in the hyphenation is ethics as such. The problem is not that a universal ethics is being dissolved into a multitude of specialised ones (bioethics, business ethics, medical ethics and so on) but that particular scientific breakthroughs are immediately set against humanist ‘values’, leading to complaints that biogenetics, for example, threatens our[ …]