Slavoj Žižek on Cuba and Yugoslavia

Q: You’ve lived through the Cold War the, fall of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of Yugoslavia – did you think that in 2016 there would still be a Castro in power in Havana? Slavoj Žižek: No, I didn’t. But let me add two points. First, you know there are so many surprises, for me the big surprise was not that communism disintegrated in 1990. People usually say who would have imagined this happen even[ …]

From Myth to Symptom (Introduction)

The idea for putting together this book came out of the firm belief that a response to the dominant political and academic positions on the subject of the Republic of Kosovo was needed. Far from engaging in a debate with existing texts on the subject matter, this book goes at the heart of the problem: dealing with a very specific trajectory in which the Kosovo predicament has been circulating: beginning from a myth, and ending[ …]

“I’m a Fighting Atheist”, Interview with Doug Henwood

Question: A lot of readers of American underground publications read Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and the stuff coming out of small anarchist presses. What would they get from reading your work that they might be missing? Zizek: Martin Heidegger said that philosophy doesn’t make things easier, it makes them harder and more complicated. What they can learn is the ambiguity of so many situations, in the sense that whenever we are presented by the[ …]

The Morning After

Finally, it has happened – the long awaited implosion of the Milosevic regime. Where are they now, all those who claimed that the NATO bombardment only strengthened Milosevic’s hold onto power, would make him a national hero resisting world powers? In a kind of poetic justice, the circle has closed. Did we not see the same TV images – including the storming of the Federal Parliament building in Belgrade – more than a decade ago,[ …]

Why We All Love to Hate Haider

[New Left Review 2, March-April 2000 – pdf] Abstract: What is the significance of the EU’s boycott of the new Austrian government? Beyond the Tartuffery of official reactions to Haider in the West, Slavoj Zizek dissects the political function of the new rectitudes of the Third Way. The entry of Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party into a coalition government in Austria has been greeted with expressions of horror from the entire spectrum of the ‘legitimate’ democratic political bloc[ …]

Human Rights and Its Discontents

[Delivered at Bard College on November 15th 1999.] Thank you for the kind invitation. Let me go directly to the point: It is a well-known fact that the close-the-door button in most elevators is a totally dysfunctional placebo which is placed there just to give individuals the impression that they are somehow participating, contributing to the speed of the elevator journey. When we push this button the door closes in exactly the same time as when we just[ …]

Es gibt keinen Staat in Europa (There is no state in Europe)

For many long years in left-wing (and not only left-wing) mythology the State appeared as the original source of Evil, as a living dead sponging off the body of the community. The repressive, particularly ideological machinery of the State was presented as the process of supervising and maintaining discipline, as armour shaping the healthy body of the community. The utopian perspective, which henceforth opened up towards both the radical left-wing as well as the antiliberal[ …]

Ethnic Dance Macabre

The world today is more and more marked by the frontier separating its insiders from its outsiders, between the “developed” – those to whom human rights, social security and the like apply – and the others, the excluded. The main concern of the “developed” is to contain the explosive potential of the rest, even if it means the neglect of elementary democratic principles. This opposition, not the one between capitalism and socialism, is what defines[ …]