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[ …]

Philosopher Slavoj Žižek settles the “Is it OK to punch a Nazi?” question once and for all

“Is it OK to punch a Nazi?” is a question that has ricocheted around Twitter ever since Jan. 20, when “alt-right” provocateur and American white supremacist Richard Spencer got slugged on video by a masked protester during Donald Trump’s US presidential inauguration. Footage of the punch spread quickly around the internet, where it became a topic of much debate, a website and even a meme.  […] Quartz: So, is it OK to punch a Nazi?[ …]

Donald Trump’s topsy-turvy world

The most depressing aspect of the post-electoral period in the US is not the measures announced by the President-elect but the way the bulk of the Democratic Party is reacting to its historic defeat. Notably, its supporters oscillate between two extremes: the horror at the Big Bad Wolf called Trump and the obverse of this panic and fascination — the renormalization of the situation, the idea that nothing extraordinary happened, that it is just another[ …]

Refugees, Conservatism, and Cultural Incompatibility

[Transcript below video.] We who try to be decent people are bombarded by some kind of moral political pressure from two sides. First there is the worst one, of course, this anti-immigrant populist side; like, ‘why should we even allow refugees in; it’s their fault; third world travel and so on, there are enough poor people here; they come from another civilization; it means conflict,’ and so on and so on. So there is all[ …]

Broken Eggs, But No Omelet

After the electoral triumph of the anti-immigrant Eurosceptic parties in France and the United Kingdom in May, many liberals expressed their shock and worry. However, there was something of a feigned naiveté in their indignation and wonder at the Right victories. What one should wonder about is why it took the anti-immigrant Right so long to make a decisive breakthrough. When Jean-Marie Le Pen—founder of the French far-right National Front party that triumphed in France’s[ …]

Who needs charity from rich capitalists? The ethics of giving and the Communist vision

In his recent book Rage and Time, Peter Sloterdijk has attempt to assert – as the solution to what one might call the “antinomies of the Welfare State” – an “ethics of gift” over against mere egotistic market exchange. His proposal brings us unexpectedly close to what can only be called the Communist vision. What Sloterdijk proposes is a kind of new cultural revolution, a radical psycho-social shift based on the insight that, today, the[ …]

We don’t want the charity of rich capitalists

There is something profoundly strange about Peter Sloterdijk’s attempt to assert – as the solution to what one is tempted to call the “antinomies of the Welfare State” – an “ethics of gift” over against mere egotistic market exchange. His proposal brings us unexpectedly close to what can only be called the Communist vision. Sloterdijk is guided by the elementary lesson of dialectics: sometimes, the opposition between maintaining the old and changing things does not[ …]

Save us from the saviours

Imagine a scene from a dystopian movie that depicts our society in the near future. Uniformed guards patrol half-empty downtown streets at night, on the prowl for immigrants, criminals and vagrants. Those they find are brutalised. What seems like a fanciful Hollywood image is a reality in today’s Greece. At night, black-shirted vigilantes from the Holocaust-denying neo-fascist Golden Dawn movement – which won 7 per cent of the vote in the last round of elections,[ …]

A vile logic to Anders Breivik’s choice of target

In Anders Behring Breivik’s ideological self-justification as well as in reactions to his murderous act there are things that should make us think. The manifesto of this Christian “Marxist hunter” who killed more than 70 people in Norway is precisely not a case of a deranged man’s rambling; it is simply a consequent exposition of “Europe’s crisis” which serves as the (more or less) implicit foundation of the rising anti-immigrant populism – its very inconsistencies[ …]

Anti-immigration politics: barbarism with a human face

Recent incidents – such as the expulsion of Roma, or Gypsies, from France, or the resurgence of nationalism and anti-immigration sentiment in Germany, or the massacre in Norway – have to be seen against the background of a long-term rearrangement of the political space in western and eastern Europe. Until recently, most European countries were dominated by two main parties that addressed the majority of the electorate: a right-of-centre party (Christian Democrat, liberal-conservative, people’s) and[ …]