Let Us Demand the Impossible: Communism

[Abstract by ABC:] In the late 90s, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the end of history and the undisputed triumph of liberal “democratic” capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried.

But after 9/11, the GFC, the Arab Spring, and the protests spreading over Europe, the ideological gloss of capitalism may be beginning to fade. If the alternative is Putin’s muscular Tsarism or China’s authoritarian capitalism, then renovating the idea of communism may matter profoundly. For philosophical rock star and brilliant iconoclast Slavoj Zizek, it is something that we should demand, no matter how impossible it seems. The only true utopia today is that things can go on indefinitely the way they are.

In a star turn at the 2011 Festival of Dangerous Ideas to a packed house at the Sydney Opera House, Zizek kept going until there was no time left for questions. His talk was titled: “Let us be realists and demand the impossible: Communism”It was chaired by festival co-curator Ann Mossop.

[Was published by ABC on November 1st 2011. Talk delivered at Sydney Opera House on October 2nd 2011.]