Trouble in Paradise

In his early writings, Marx described the German situation as one in which the only answer to particular problems was the universal solution: global revolution. This is a succinct expression of the difference between a reformist and a revolutionary period: in a reformist period, global revolution remains a dream which, if it does anything, merely lends weight to attempts to change things locally; in a revolutionary period, it becomes clear that nothing will improve without[ …]

Slavoj Zizek and ‘The Year of Dreaming Dangerously’, interview with Anna Maria Tremonti

[Abstract from CBC:] Come with us on a journey, through the logic, the musings, and the divergent thoughts of a philosopher with rock star status. Slavoj Zizek examines the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring and everything from HBO’s ‘The Wire’ to Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. […] Anna Maria Tremonti: Now, you know, I’ve got another clip I want you to hear. I was in Victoria, British Columbia, where municipal officials from around the province[ …]

Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Gotham City

The Dark Knight Rises attests yet again to how Hollywood blockbusters are precise indicators of the ideological predicament of our societies. Here is a (simplified) storyline. Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the previous installment of the Batman saga, law and order prevail in Gotham City: under the extraordinary powers granted by the Dent Act, Commissioner Gordon has nearly eradicated violent and organized crime. He nonetheless feels guilty about the cover-up of[ …]

Beyond the occupations

What to do after the occupations of Wall Street and beyond – the protests that started far away, reached the centre and are now, reinforced, rolling back around the world? One of the great dangers the protesters face is that they will fall in love with themselves. In a San Francisco echo of the Wall Street occupation this week, a man addressed the crowd with an invitation to participate as if it was a happening[ …]

Zizek at Occupy Wall Street (transcript)

[Transcript below. Talk given at Occupy Wall Street rally on October 9th, 2011.] They are saying we are all losers, but the true losers are down there on Wall Street. They were bailed out by billions of our money. We are called socialists, but here there is always socialism for the rich. They say we don’t respect private property, but in the 2008 financial crash-down more hard-earned private property was destroyed than if all of us[ …]

Capitalism and the assault on reason

In May 2010, large demonstrations exploded in Greece after the government announced the austerity measures that had to be adopted in order to meet the conditions of the European Union for the bailout money to avoid the state’s financial collapse. One often hears that the true message of the Greek crisis – and that of the more recent protests in France – is that not only the Euro, but the entire project of the European[ …]

Use Your Illusions

Noam Chomsky called for people to vote for Obama ‘without illusions’. I fully share Chomsky’s doubts about the real consequences of Obama’s victory: from a pragmatic perspective, it is quite possible that Obama will make only some minor improvements, turning out to be ‘Bush with a human face’. He will pursue the same basic policies in a more attractive way and thus effectively strengthen the US hegemony, damaged by the catastrophe of the Bush years.[ …]

Badiou: Notes From an Ongoing Debate

[Appeared in 2007, International Journal of Zizek Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 28-43 (pdf)] Introduction – Two dialectical axioms In his Logiques des mondes (Badiou 2006), Alain Badiou provides a succinct definition of “democratic materialism” and its opposite, “materialist dialectics”: the axiom which condenses the first one is “There is nothing but bodies and languages …,” to which materialist dialectics adds “… with the exception of truths.” This opposition is not so much the[ …]