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[ …]

Sinicisation

When Alain Badiou claims that democracy is our fetish, this statement is to be taken in the precise Freudian sense, not just to mean that we elevate democracy into an untouchable Absolute. ‘Democracy’ is the last thing we see before confronting the ‘lack’ constitutive of the social field, the fact that ‘there is no class relationship,’ the trauma of social antagonism. When confronted with the reality of domination and exploitation, of brutal social struggle, we[ …]

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[ …]

What Europe Can Learn from Ukraine

As the European Parliament elections scheduled to take place in late May draw near, one should keep in mind the recent events in Ukraine. The protests that eventually toppled Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his gang in late February were triggered by the government’s decision to prioritize good relations with Russia over the country’s possible integration into the European Union. Predictably, many Leftists reacted to the news about of the massive protests by patronizing the[ …]

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[ …]

Is There a Method to the Syrian Madness?

As I have written before, we all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, when he repeatedly delivered the motto of 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 United States is backing off its push to attack Syria, we can imagine peace protesters shouting at President Barack Obama: “How can you[ …]

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[ …]

A modest plea for enlightened catastrophism

How, out of the interaction of individuals, can the appearance of an “objective order” arise which cannot be reduced to that interaction, but is experienced by the individuals involved as something which determines their lives? This is the ultimate mystery of the so-called human or social sciences. The great theoretical breakthrough of Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s recent book The Mark of the Sacred is to link this emergence of what Lacan called this “big Other” to the[ …]

The power of the woman and the truth of Islam

What is Islam – this disturbing, radical excess that represents the East to the West, and the West to the East? Let me begin with the relationship of Islam to Judaism and Christianity, the two other religions of the book. As the religion of genealogy, of the succession of generations, Judaism is the patriarchal religion par excellence. In Christianity, when the Son dies on the cross, the Father also dies (as Hegel maintained) – which[ …]