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[ …]

La La Land: A Leninist Reading

Among the PC reproaches to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, the one that stands out for its sheer stupidity was that there are no gay couples in the film which takes place in LA, a city with a strong gay population… How come those PC Leftists who complain about the sub-representation of sexual and ethnic minorities in Hollywood movies never complain about the gross misrepresentation of the lower class majority of workers? It’s OK if[ …]

Trump Against the Machine: How Political Elites Failed

[Transcript below video.] Slavoj Žižek: I know that even in the United States when you have someone like Donald Trump, I know that there is a lot of elitist liberal reaction. Like here we see the limit of democracy but in the wrong sense, in the sense that you see stupid ordinary people are seduced and so on and so on. Well, although Noam Chomsky doesn’t like me very much, I admire him sincerely and[ …]

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.[ …]

Philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks to Gary Younge (Podcast)

In a new book, Against the Double Blackmail, in response to Europe’s refugee crisis, philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that the left must shed its liberal taboos in favour of global, class solidarity. At a Guardian Live event, Gary Younge sat down with Žižek to discuss the immigration crisis, the response of the liberal left, and the future for Europe. [Appeared in The Guardian on April 19th 2016.] What happens to democracy when the majority is[ …]

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[ …]

Leaving Democracy to the Experts

On June 19, the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s confinement to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks rendered public the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex. The document was classified not only during TISA negotiations, but for five years after it enters into force. While the TISA negotiations have not been censored outright, they have been barely mentioned in the media— a marginalization and secrecy that are in[ …]

How capital captured politics

In May, an international trade agreement was signed that effectively serves as a kind of legal backbone for the restructuring of world markets. While the Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa) negotiations were not censored outright, they were barely mentioned in our media. This marginalisation and secrecy was in stark contrast to the global historical importance of what was agreed upon. In June, WikiLeaks made public the secret draft text of the agreement. It covers 50 countries[ …]

How WikiLeaks opened our eyes to the illusion of freedom

We remember anniversaries that mark the important events of our era: September 11 (not only the 2001 Twin Towers attack, but also the 1973 military coup against Allende in Chile), D-day, etc. Maybe another date should be added to this list: 19 June. Most of us like to take a stroll during the day to get a breath of fresh air. There must be a good reason for those who cannot do it – maybe[ …]

Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange: our new heroes

We all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, in his first campaign: “Yes, we can!” – we can get rid of the cynicism of the Bush era and bring justice and welfare to the American people. Now that the US continues its covert operations and expands its intelligence network, spying even on its allies, we can imagine protesters shouting at Obama: “How can you use drones for killing? How can you[ …]