Democracy and Capitalism Are Destined to Split Up (transcript)

Transcript below. People often ask me: ‘how can you be so stupid and still proclaim yourself a communist. What do you mean by this?’ Well, I have always to emphasize that, first, I am well aware that – let’s call it like this – the twentieth century’s over. Which means that all, not only communists solution, but all the big leftist projects of the twentieth century failed. Not only Stalinist communism, although there its failure[ …]

The spectre of Putogan

The well-coordinated official Turkish campaign against me deserves a short conclusive comment. Some on the Turkish side twisted the New Statesman’s apology for the reference to a fake interview into an apology for (i.e., the revocation of) all the main claims of my text. However, my text published in the NS was not “based” on the fake Andalou interview, it was written and published elsewhere (in Germany) before, without the reference to that fake interview,[ …]

We need to talk about Turkey

There is something weird about the solemn declarations that we are at war against the Islamic State – all the world’s superpowers against a religious gang controlling a small patch of mostly desert land… This doesn’t mean that we should not focus on destroying Isis, unconditionally, with no “but…”. The only “but” is that we should REALLY focus on destroying it, and for this much more is needed than the pathetic declarations and appeals to[ …]

Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, with Stephen Kotkin

Books by Kotkin STEPHEN KOTKIN: I think there are a lot of people out there, but I can’t see anyone. Which is fortunate. I get stage fright. I have to thank Jean Strouse again for the year at the Cullman Center. There are many pages of this book that would not be in there had it not been for the New York Public Library’s collection, and I am very grateful. In fact, we were just[ …]

Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, with Stephen Kotkin (podcast)

[Video version available here.] http://media.nypl.org/audio/LIVE_2015-3-31_Kotkin_and_Zizek.mp3 Books by Kotkin STEPHEN KOTKIN: I think there are a lot of people out there, but I can’t see anyone. Which is fortunate. I get stage fright. I have to thank Jean Strouse again for the year at the Cullman Center. There are many pages of this book that would not be in there had it not been for the New York Public Library’s collection, and I am very grateful.[ …]

How the United States Rolls

Towards the end of September, after declaring war on ISIS, President Obama gave an interview to “60 Minutes” in which he tried to explain the rules of U.S. engagement: “When trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing, they don’t call Moscow. They call us. … That’s always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation.” This also holds for environmental and humanitarian disasters: “When there’s a typhoon in the Philippines,[ …]

The loneliness of the global policeman in a multi-centric world

Towards the end of September 2014, after declaring war on ISIS, President Obama gave an interview to “60 Minutes” in which he tried to explain the rules of the U.S. engagement: “When trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing, they don’t call Moscow. They call us. That’s always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation.” This holds also for environmental and humanitarian disasters: “When there’s a typhoon in the[ …]

Barbarism with a Human Face

Again and again in television reports on the mass protests in Kiev against the Yanukovich government, we saw images of protesters tearing down statues of Lenin. It was an easy way to demonstrate anger: the statues functioned as a symbol of Soviet oppression, and Putin’s Russia is perceived as continuing the Soviet policy of Russian domination of its neighbours. Bear in mind that it was only in 1956 that Lenin’s statues started to proliferate throughout[ …]

Who can control the post-superpower capitalist world order?

To know a society is not only to know its explicit rules. One must also know how to apply them: when to use them, when to violate them, when to turn down a choice that is offered, and when we are effectively obliged to do something but have to pretend we are doing it as a free choice. Consider the paradox, for instance, of offers-meant-to-be-refused. When I am invited to a restaurant by a rich[ …]

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot’s prison letters to Slavoj Žižek

Dear Nadezhda, I hope you have been able to organise your life in prison around small rituals that make it tolerable, and that you have time to read. Here are my thoughts on your predicament. John Jay Chapman, an American political essayist, wrote this about radicals in 1900: “They are really always saying the same thing. They don’t change; everybody else changes. They are accused of the most incompatible crimes, of egoism and a mania[ …]