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Zizek: Questions, help, file work.

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Guest wutlol

Can anyone explain this card to me?

 

 

Zizek, 04 (Slavoj, Ocean Rain, Liberation Hurts: An Interview With Slavoj Zizek, 7/01, http://WWW.ELECTRONICBOOKREVIEW.COM/...Y_ID=RASMUSSEN)

 

Zizek: I’m trying to avoid two extremes. One extreme is the traditional

pseudo-radical position which says, “If you engage in politics - helping trade unions or combating sexual harassment, whatever - you’ve been co-opted and so on. Then you have the other extreme which says, “Ok, you have to do something.” I think both are wrong. I hate those pseudo-radicals who dismiss every concrete action by saying that “This will all be co-opted.” Of course, everything can be co-opted [chuckles] but this is just a nice excuse to do absolutely nothing. Of course, there is a danger that - to use the old Maoist term, popular in European student movements thirty some years ago, “the long march through institutions” will last so long that you’ll end up part of the institution. We need more than ever, a parallax view - a double perspective. You engage in acts, being aware of their limitations. This does not mean that you act with your fingers crossed. No, you fully engage, but with the awareness that - the ultimate wager in the almost Pascalian sense - is not simply that this act will succeed, but that the very failure of this act will trigger a much more radical process.

What does Zizek mean by a "parallax view"? It seems like he's advocating the perm here.

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one of the examples zizek gives is the theoretical distinction between the political and the economic. a political theorist like ernesto laclau will say that economics is only one branch of politics, one among many: there's economic politics, cultural politics, racial politics, gender politics, and so on. zizek is loyal to old-school marxism, but not in the orthodox sense that politics is an ideological illusion which is actually determined by the economy (as per some naive interpretations of the notorious 'base/superstructure'-model). rather, for zizek, economics stands in a parallax relation to politics. what does this mean?...

 

consider this popular optical illusion i'm sure you've seen before:

http://www.askix.com/avav/images/optical_illusions/woman.gif

-- looked at a certain way, you see a young lady; looked at another way, you see an old lady.

 

what's interesting is you cannot see both at the same time - that is, at any one glance, you have to see one or the other. in fact, if you try to see both at once, you'll miss both, and the image becomes a formless mess.

 

similarly, zizek says you can't see politics and economics at the same time, and if you try to, you miss both. this is zizek's critique of laclau - that his leveling of economics to politics ends up leaving us with a chaotic flux of shifting demands and without a usable 'cognitive mapping' of our contemporary situation. laclau has consistently misconstrued zizek's position as orthodox economic determinism, but zizek instead advocates that we adopt a double perspective - looking from one to the other without reducing one to the other. that's the parallax view. it's an awareness of the gap, of their non-coincidence, of the necessary condition of minimal independence and mutual exclusivity.

 

so let's apply this to the above card: on the one hand, we have the economic perspective that global capitalism will co-opt all our local political struggles; on the other hand, we have the political perspective that we need to act locally to solve urgent problems. we're trapped between the danger of co-option and the danger of inaction. zizek's solution (in the above card) is: we have to act, to fully engage in local struggles, while always keeping 'the fundamental antagonism' in mind. what's the fundamental antagonism? the proletarian resistance to capitalism. so we know going in that our local acts are likely to fail, but how they fail, whether they fall in the direction of the goal-line, is what's key.

 

now, i'd caution you to avoid elevating this one snippet into 'zizek's position', since this is a very complicated question (in terms of revolutionary praxis, perhaps it's THE complicated question) and he qualifies his stance in a lot of nuanced ways in a lot of different texts, interviews, and lectures. for instance, he'll often emphasize that the compulsion to 'do something' is false, that when we act we shouldn't act out of moral obligation but out of innermost necessity (following bernard williams' distinction between 'ought' and 'must').

 

BUT you're right to read great potential here for 'the perm' (although i hate that vacuous buzz-word), and i try to elaborate on this a bit more in the following post:

 

http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2009-April/078518.html

_

 

p.s., speaking of extremely urgent calls to action, i invite you all to join the movement:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2246377316

http://groups.myspace.com/zizekversuscolbert

 

p.p.s., the link cited in the above card gives me a 404-error when i click on it.

Edited by Lazzarone
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Would folks be willing to put in the time in posting cards/blocks/etc for a 'community wide' zizek/cap k. I think that will help produce the best possible file and that way everyone can have true access. I can post the cards and blocks in a file w/ a TOC every few weeks w/ updates. Also this will help cut down on the amount of 'Zizek help' threads because we can move them and merge them in with this one.

 

 

---------------------------

 

NEG

 

Revolution 1NC Shell

 

 

AFF

 

Perm: Strategic Demands - Zizek '7

Edited by Rhizome
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IF they are a new block then sure - if they've read them before then no. Besides, it worked really well w/ Kevins D&G thread.

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its interesting that people would withhold their best blocks - then they wouldn't be scrutinized and checked for errors before use. this is why proprietary software (such as windows) ships with more bugs and defects than something like BSD or Linux. openness breeds more creativity and more success, typically. release your best blocks, give your best stuff, get the best stuff - goes both ways.

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I understand why something like this would work in a real situation like Open Source Software, but not in a competitive activity. If it actually does, maybe i'm wrong.

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Guest wutlol
IF they are a new block then sure - if they've read them before then no. Besides, it worked really well w/ Kevins D&G thread.

 

 

This sounds like a cool idea. Maybe if you post a few cards first, others will follow.

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I understand why something like this would work in a real situation like Open Source Software, but not in a competitive activity. If it actually does, maybe i'm wrong.

 

1. It is working. It's happening now. Peruse current debate developments and trends. Most observers at this point smell a paradigm shift coming.

 

2. I think the best collaboration would happen through either a wiki or drop box, so it produces a unified file. cross-x.com has utility for notation, not product, I think.

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IF they are a new block then sure - if they've read them before then no. Besides, it worked really well w/ Kevins D&G thread.

 

Where is this?

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Since I have no vested interest in policy debate, if I come on and Cap K stuff I'll be sure to post it.

 

This is a vote of confidence in a Tommy thread.

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Guest wutlol

What do you mean by "you can't see politics and economics at the same time"?

 

 

Can you explain/ give an example of what this means "that's the parallax view. it's an awareness of the gap, of their non-coincidence, of the necessary condition of minimal independence and mutual exclusivity."?

 

 

"zizek's solution (in the above card) is: we have to act, to fully engage in local struggles, while always keeping 'the fundamental antagonism' in mind."

 

 

Doesn't this contradict all the other explanations of the Act from his other books? That we should never engage in "psuedo activity" to solve problems within the current system?

 

If you were neg and were defending the Zizek "do nothing" alt, would you say he's contradicting himself?

 

 

 

"so we know going in that our local acts are likely to fail, but how they fail, whether they fall in the direction of the goal-line, is what's key."

 

 

To answer this (as neg), would you just explain why getting co-opted is *bad*, and won't amount to any radical change?

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Realizing that I ought to allow Lazzarone to respond to your inquiries, and given that Lazzerone has most likely read Zizek more robustly than I, I will merely make a logical judgment to your question:

 

"Doesn't this contradict all the other explanations of the Act from his other books? That we should never engage in "psuedo activity" to solve problems within the current system?"

 

Lazzerone

"we have to act, to fully engage in local struggles, while always keeping 'the fundamental antagonism' in mind...so we know going in that our local acts are likely to fail, but how they fail, whether they fall in the direction of the goal-line, is what's key."

 

I think both of the views are related, and in some way, Zizek's Act is contained within Lazeronne's explanation. Zizek makes the concession that in some cases, and under certain political and economic circumstances, one must withdraw from acting. But, as Hegelian as Zizek is, the withdrawal is animated by conscious awareness of the act's implications (or lack thereof) on the political and/or economic as such. I would say that the Act is not contradictory to Lazzerone's explanation, but each idea is meant to explain something different. When Zizek says to not act, it is always in the service of or awareness of 'the fundamental antagonism.'

 

I would just like reiterate - and this follows from Lazzerone's position - that Zizek writes about a large array of topics. When he goes from one topic to the other, it may appear that he contradicts himself. It is difficult to come up with a singular, universal Zizekian position; this goes for even when he says 'this is my position.' I like to try to understand Zizek's work as a kind of discussion; a discourse with a reader who asks questions which subsequently take Zizek in different directions.

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I haven't read Zizek's book a Paralax View, but I'm sure it provides some clarification.

 

p. 330 which talks about the paralax view in terms of academia and resistance. (unfortunately 334 and 335 aren't in the Google book)

 

Zizek discusses universal demands, "do-something"ism, and bombarding the system.

 

I'm sure Kevin's analysis will be more insightful, but I thought I would pass along the above for possible explanations. (and even evidence to contextualize such)

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zizek's stance only looks like a contradiction if you're looking for a universal answer to what will always be a highly specific question. 'to act or not to act' is simply unanswerable at so general a level, so zizek points out the dangers of both tendencies. 'do-nothing'-ism, for zizek, runs the risk of pseudo-radicalism, but 'do-something'-ism runs the risk of pseudo-activity (liberal-democratic reformism). we're forced to struggle between these two flawed extremes - in the parallax gap between them, actually. as i developed in the edebate post i already mentioned (in which i quote at length from zizek's tome 'the parallax view'), this opens up a new space for debate to occur:

 

this suggests a resuscitation of the traditional framework of policy debate, one wherein we (again) find it useful to ask, 'is this a policy demand of the u.s.f.g. that is strategically well-selected or is it a demand for which it is better to do nothing?'. notice that both the affirmative and negative teams have their respective roles in arguing out this question, and the matter is far from settled beforehand. indeed, to dismiss the u.s.f.g. is to rely on others to run things for you, to presume that all government is undemocratic, and to pose no real threat to the status quo {zizek's refutation of critchley}. in zizek's framework, we should consider, on a case-by-case basis, the usefulness of debating specific policy proposals, and the role of the tournament framework is defensible as a testing-ground to air out finite demands. this does not curtail debate-inspired activism, but just as old notions of fiat gave way to the primacy of discursive value, this paradigm does spare in-round discourse of having to be something it's not: it may [set precedents within] the activity, but it is poorly-suited to [spark revolutions within] the real world. this paradigm doesn't eliminate kritik ground; on the contrary, it releases it from the burden of presenting a policy alternative. that is to say, there are "false problems" - problems which it is effectively meaningless to debate, problems for which no solution need be given because it's instead more useful to point out how the way we're approaching said problem is itself part of the problem. but there are also true problems[...] in contradistinction to the statist paradigm and the activist paradigm, i'll call this the strategic paradigm.

-- http://cedadebate.org/pipermail/mailman/2009-April/077523.html

so, i don't think zizek is strictly a 'negative' or an 'affirmative' author - his work adroitly avoids such pigeonholes. for instance, in the above interview, zizek discusses naive misreadings of his explanations of revolutionary acts,

 

In the first act of liberation, as I develop it already in The Fragile Absolute, where I provide lots of violent examples - from Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, who kills his family (which I'll admit, got me into lots of trouble) to a more correct example, Toni Morrison's Beloved. But, of course, now, I'm not saying what Elizabeth Wright, who edited a reader about me, thought. I love her, an English old lady. I had tea with her once, and she said, "I liked your book, The Fragile Absolute, but something bothered me. Do I really have to kill my son to be ethical?" I love this total naïveté. Of course not! My point was to address the problem of totalitarian control. The problem is: how does a totalitarian power keep you in check? Precisely by offering you some perverse enjoyment, and you have to renounce that, and it hurts. So, I don't mean physical violence, or a kind of fetishization of violence. I just mean simply that liberation hurts. What I don't buy from liberals is this idea of, as Robespierre would have put it, "revolution without revolution," the idea that somehow, everything will change, but nobody will be really hurt. No, sorry, it hurts.


he could've easily been responding to a kritik debater who, after reading 'the fragile absolute', would say, "i liked your book, but something bothered me: do i really have to renounce all 'pseudo-activity' and sacrifice myself completely to a revolutionary cause?". zizek would again yell, "of course not!". don't confuse contradiction with honesty about the conflicts inherent in a complex world. there is no one right answer here; all answers have to be tried out in specific contexts.

and that's why it's vital that kritiks have substance (i.e., specific links). a kritik should never just be "some philosopher from slovenia says we shouldn't do anything except revolt, '99". if that's how you're using zizek's work, then the problem isn't with him, but with you.

"If you were neg and were defending the Zizek "do nothing" alt, would you say he's contradicting himself?"

no, i wouldn't, but let's be careful here: by 'do nothing', you mean, 'don't enact the affirmative plan (and similar reformist measures)'. the kritik, however, does do something, and something very important. as zizek says,

 



that's what kritiks do, and depending on the topic and the specific policy proposal, they can often do much more than illusory fiat.

"To answer this (as neg), would you just explain why getting co-opted is *bad*, and won't amount to any radical change?"

yes. but as zizek says in that interview, "I hate those pseudo-radicals who dismiss every concrete action by saying that “This will all be co-opted.” Of course, everything can be co-opted but this is just a nice excuse to do absolutely nothing." so you will need to show that their specific policy 'won't amount to any radical change', and they'll probably contend it will, and zizek evidence can help them defend that claim just as well. at best, however, this only takes out solvency. what you can further try to show is that the way they're approaching the problem contributes to the problem. that's the turn.

"What do you mean by "you can't see politics and economics at the same time"? Can you explain/ give an example of what this means "that's the parallax view. it's an awareness of the gap, of their non-coincidence, of the necessary condition of minimal independence and mutual exclusivity."?"

well that's what i tried to do with the optical illusion example: you can see a young lady and an old lady, but (1) the object itself doesn't change, and (2) you can't see both at the same exact second. that's an example of a parallax, as zizek defines it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallax#As_a_metaphor

what that wikipedia entry fails to note is that karatani got the concept from kant; in 'dreams of a visionary', kant writes:

 

Formerly, I viewed human common sense only from the standpoint of my own; now I put myself into the position of another's reason outside of myself, and observe my judgments, together with their most secret causes, from the point of view of others. It is true that the comparison of both observations results in a pronounced parallax, but it is the only means of preventing the optical delusion, and of putting the concept of the power of knowledge in human nature into its true place.


now, kant isn't giving us the tired moralism: 'look at things from other people's perspective'. no, he's saying, by looking at things from other people's perspective, we realize that our own perspective, as well as theirs(!), is delusional (i.e. subjective, subject-centered). and acknowledging this, ironically, is the only way to get out of our own delusion. what's objective isn't the things we form opinions about, since these change from person-to-person, but the structure of forming opinions itself, which everyone does; what's objective is neither the thing itself nor the subject, but the subject-to-object relation itself. that's the parallax.

karatani gives us a helpful metaphor for this in the first couple pages of his book, 'transcritique': the difference between looking at yourself in a mirror and looking at yourself in a photograph. when you look at yourself in a mirror, you see yourself as someone standing in front of you would see you - that is, you see yourself from someone else's perspective. but, because of this, all the limits of subjectivity remain intact - that is, i'm still looking at myself as another person looking back at me. a photograph, however, is different in that it's not subject-centered - it's a view as if from no one (or a bird's-eye or god's-eye view). that's not to say it's the objective truth. rather, by noticing the difference between the two, we can tell what's really going on when we (or anyone) looks at themselves in a mirror. ...does that make sense?

ok, have you ever heard a recording of your own voice and said 'yuck, i can't believe i sound like that'? well, why is that, when you hear your own voice everyday? the point isn't that you really sound like you do on a recording; the point is you don't really sound like anything, yet everyone really does affect how they sound to themselves, or else they wouldn't freak out when they heard their own voice recorded.

...that realization, that there is no real reality, that for reality to be at all it must be subjectively mediated, is what we're calling the parallax view.

so karatani goes on to apply this to practically every dispute in the history of philosophy, political theory, and economics....

between object and subject, there's relation.
between the empirical and the transcendent, there's the transcendental.
between hume and descartes, there's kant.
between objective and illusionary, there's appreceptory.
between bailey and ricardo, there's marx.
between price and labor-value, there's value-form.
between singularity and universality, there's the parallax.

...but i digress.

for our purposes, all we care about is that between pseudo-activity/'do-something'-ism and inactivity/'do-nothing'-ism, there's zizek...

 

What this means is that, in a truly radical political act, the opposition between a "crazy" destructive gesture and a strategic political decision momentarily breaks down. This is why it is theoretically and political wrong to oppose strategic political acts, as risky as they might be, to radical "suicidal" gestures a la Antigone, gestures of pure self-destructive ethical insistence with, apparently, no political goal. The point is not simply that, once we are thoroughly engaged in a political project, we are ready to risk everything for it, inclusive of our lives, but, more precisely, that only such an "impossible" gesture of pure expenditure can change the very coordinates of what is strategically possible within a historical constellation.


 

true radicality does not consist in going to the extreme and destroying the system (i.e., in disturbing too much the balance that sustains it) but consists in changing the very coordinates that define this balance. Say, once we accept the social-democratic idea of the modern capitalist market economy cum welfare state, it is easy to claim that one should avoid both extremes (i.e., the total freedom of the market, on the one hand, and excessive state intervention, on the other hand) and find the right balance between the two. However, the true revolution would consist in transforming the very overall balance of the social edifice, in enforcing a new structural principle of social life that would render the very field of the opposition between market and state obsolete. ... Revolution is not the assertion of spontaneity and rejection of every discipline but the radical redefinition of what counts as true spontaneity or discipline.


that's pages 204-5 and page 73 of zizek's book on deleuze. it's what allows zizek to say that the same act when done at different times may have dramatically different consequences - the same policy might, in one country in one moment, throw the elites into a panic, while in the same country a year later, might be advocated by the elites themselves. he's not chiefly concerned with what happens within the parameters already laid down but how those parameters themselves might be altered. take 'torture' - zizek doesn't intervene in arguing out the merits of whether the u.s. military should or should not torture suspected terrorists; instead he emphasizes this: the very fact that torture is now a matter of public debate says something disturbing about the state of our ethics. also in 'organs without bodies', an ostensibly topic-specific link on page 179,

 

charity is, today, part of the game as a humanitarian mask hiding the underlying economic exploitation


...so too with 'social services for persons living in poverty'? Edited by Lazzarone

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Danny Tanner sent this to me as a perm:

 

 

Zizek '7 /Slavoj, Insert quals of your choice here, "Resistance is surrender." http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n22/zize01_.html /

 

The lesson here [in Hugo Chavez's grabbing state power in Venezuela] is that the truly subversive thing is not to insist on "infinite" demands we know those in power cannot fulfill. Since they know that we know it, such an "infinitely demanding" attitude presents no problem for those in power: "So wonderful that, with your critical demands, you remind us of what kind of world we would all like to live in. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where we have to make do with what is possible." The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can't be met with the same excuse.

 

------

 

He said that his teams ran the card two ways:

 

 

1.) Perm - The plan is the strategic resistance that the critique alternative fails to incorporate. Without strategic points of resistance the alternative will be laughed off as utopian by those in power.

 

2.) The plan alone is a more subversive act that advocacy of the alternative for the same reasons. So even if we abandon the perm we'll still provide the greatest resistance in the round.

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Framework: We have an a priori ethical obligation to reject the plan if it is inconsistent with a revolutionary ethic. The plan violates this ethic because it sticks to the form of the bourgeois state apparatus, failing to engage in an existentialist leap of faith in the possibility of immediately smashing this order.

 

Zizek ‘2 /Slavoj, Male-model, born between the Real and the Imaginary, Zizek was raised by a Family of Wolves, a Slovenian rock group, famous for their number one hit, 'You, Me and Lycanthropy', Although Zizek graduated school with very few qualifications he left with a reputation as a comic genius, having invented the joke, In September 2005, Zizek caused a stir at the United Nations, when he arrived in a wheelbarrow, claiming to have 'traversed the fantasy" Revolution at the Gates,"page 5-9/

 

It is crucial to emphasize this relevance of "high theory" for the most concrete political struggle today, when even such an engaged intellectual as Noam Chomsky likes to underscore how unimportant theoretical know¬ledge is for progressive political struggle: of what help is studying great philosophical and social-theoretical texts in today's struggle against the nn>hlvr.il model of globalization? Is it not that we are dealing either with obvious facts (which simply have to be made public, as Chomsky is doing in his numerous political texts), or with such an incomprehensible complex¬ity that we cannot understand anything? If we wish to argue against this anti-theoretical temptation, it is not enough co draw attention to numerous theoretical presuppositions about freedom, power and society, which also abound in Chomsky's political texts; what is arguably more important is how, today, perhaps for the first time in the history of humankind, our daily experience (of biogenetics, ecology, cyberspace and Virtual Reality) compels of us to confront basic philosophical issues of the nature of freedom and human identity, and so on Back to 1 '.-rin: his State and Revolution is strictly relevant to that shattering experience of 1914 - Lenin's full subjective engagement in it is clear from this famous letter to Kamcncv written in July 1917: fnirt tout: If they kill mc, I atk you to publish my notebook "Marxism & the Slate" (duck in Stockholm). Ii it bound in a blur cover. It i> a collection ol ill (he quotation* from Man &r Fngels, likewise from Kauttky agaimt Pannckiiek. There is a ■- rie* of remark* & note*, formulation*. I think with a week"* wtnk it could be published. I intitule r ii imp. for not only Plckhanov but alto Kautsky got it wrong. Condition: all this it etttrr nous.' The existential engagement is extreme here, and the kernel of the Leninist "Utopia" arises from the ashes of the catastrophe of 1914, in his settling of the accounts with the Second International orthodoxy: the radical imperative to smash the bourgeois state, which means the state as such, and to invent a new communal social form without a standing army, police or bureaucracy, in which all could take part in the administration of social matter*. For Lenin, this was not a theoretical project for some distant future - in October 1917 he claimed: "We can at once set in motion a state apparatus constituting of ten if not twenty million people."' This urge of the moment is the true utopia. What we should stick to is the madness (in the strict Kicrkcgaardian sense) of this Leninist utopia - and, if anything, Stalinism stands for a return to the realistic "common sense". It is impossible to overestimate the explosive potential of The State and Revolution - in this book, "the vocabulary and grammar of the Western tradition of politics was abruptly dispensed with".* What then followed can be called - borrowing the title of Althusser's text on Machiavclli - la solitude de Lenine-. the time when he basically stood alone, struggling against the current in his own party. When, in his "April Theses" I9l7f, lenin discerned the AugenhUtk, the unique chance for a revolution, hi* proposals were rirtt met with stupor or contempt by a large majority of hU party colleagues. No prominent leader within the Bolshevik Party supported hi* call to revolution, and Pravda took the extraordinary step of dissociating the Party, and the editorial hoard a* a whole, from Lenin's "April Theses" - I nun was far from being an opportunist flattering and exploiting the prevailing mood of the populace; his views were highly idiosyncratic. Bogdanov characterized the "April Theses" as "rhe delirium of a madman",' and Nadezhda Krupskaya herself concluded: "I am afraid ii looks as..if..Launhas.apnc.craiv."*..This is the Lenin from whom we still have something to learn. The greatness of Lenin was that in this catastrophic situation, be wasn't afraid to succeed - in contrast to the negative pathos discernible in Rosa Luxem¬burg and Adorno, for whom the ultimate authentic act is the admission of the failure which brings the truth of the situation to light. In 1917, instead of waiting until the time was ripe, Lenin organized a pre-emptive strike; in 1920, as the leader of the party of the working class with no working class (most of it being decimated in the civil war), he went on organizing a state, fully accepting the paradox of the party which has to organize - even re¬create - its own base, its working class. Nowhere is this greatness more evident than in Lenin's writings which cover the time span from February 1917, when the first revolution abolished tsarism and installed a democratic regime, to the second revolution in October. The opening text of the present volume ("Letters from Afar") reveals Lenin's initial grasp of the unique revolutionary chance, while the last text (the minutes of the "Meeting of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies") declares the Bolshevik seizure of power. Everything is here, from "Lenin the ingenious revolutionary strategist" to "Lenin of the enacted Utopia" (of the immediate abolishing of the state apparatuses). To refer again to Kierkegaard: what we are allowed to perceive in these writings is Lertin-in-becoming: not yet "Lenin the Soviet institution", but Lenin thrown into an open situation. Are we, within our late capitalist closure of the "end of history", still able to experience the shattering impact of such an authentic historical opening? In February 1917 Lenin was an almost anonymous political emigrant, stranded in Zurich, with no reliable contacts to Russia, mostly learning about the events from the Swiss press; in October 1917 he led the first successful socialist revolution - so what happened in between? In February, Lenin immediately perceived the revolutionary chance, the result of unique contingent circumstances - if the moment was not seized, the chance for the revolution would be forfeited, perhaps for decades. In his stubborn insist¬ence that one should take the risk and go on to the next stage - that is, repeat the revolution - he was alone, ridiculed by the majority of the Central Committee members of his own parry; this selection of his texts endeavours to provide a glimpse into the obstinate, patient - and often frustrating - revolutionary work through which Lenin imposed his vision. Indispensable as Lenin's personal intervention was, however, we should not change the story of the October Revolution into the story of the lone genius confronted with the disorientated masses and gradually imposing his vision. Lenin succeeded because his appeal, while bypassing the Party nomenkla tura, found an echo in what I am tempted to call revolutionary micropol-itics: the incredible explosion of grass-roots democracy, of local committees sprouting up all around Russia's big cities and, ignoring the authority of the "legitimate" government, taking matters into their own hands. This is the untold story of the October Revolution, the obverse of the myth of the tiny group of ruthless dedicated revolutionaries which accomplished a coup d'etat.

 

The first thing to strike the eye of today's reader is how directly readable Lenin's texts from 1917 are. There is no need for long explanatory notes--even if the strange-sounding names are unknown to us, we immediately get what was at stake. From today's distance the texts display an almost classical clarity of the contours of the struggle in which they participate. Lenin is fully aware of the paradox of the situation: in the spring of 1917, after the February Revolution which toppled the Tsarist regime, Russia was the most democratic country in the whole of Europe, with an unprecedented degree of mass mobilisation, freedom of organisation and freedom of the press--and yet this freedom rendered the situation non-transparent, thoroughly ambiguous. If there is a common thread that runs through all Lenin's texts written 'in between the two revolutions' (the February one and the October one), it is his insistence on the gap which separates the 'explicit' formal contours of the political struggle between the multitude of parties and other political subjects from its actual social stakes (immediate peace, the distribution of land, and, of course, 'all power to the soviets', ie the dismantling of the existing state apparatus and its replacement with the new commune-like forms of social management).

This gap--the repetition of the gap between 1789 and 1793 in the French Revolution--is the very space of Lenin's unique intervention: the fundamental lesson of revolutionary materialism is that revolution must strike twice, and for essential reasons. The gap is not simply the gap between form and content. What the 'first revolution' misses is not the content, but the form itself--it remains stuck in the old form, thinking that freedom and justice can be accomplished if we simply put to use the already existing state apparatus and its democratic mechanisms. What if the 'good' party wins the free elections and 'legally' implements socialist transformation? (The clearest expression of this illusion, bordering on the ridiculous, is Karl Kautsky's thesis, formulated in the 1920s, that the logical political form of the first stage of socialism, of the passage from capitalism to socialism, is the parliamentary coalition of bourgeois and proletarian parties.) The parallel here is perfect with the era of early modernity, in which the opposition to the church's ideological hegemony first articulated itself in the very form of another religious ideology, as a heresy. Along the same lines, the partisans of the 'first revolution' want to subvert the capitalist domination within the very political form of capitalist democracy. This is the Hegelian 'negation of the negation': first the old order is negated within its own ideologico-political form; then this form itself has to be negated. Those who oscillate, those who are afraid to make the second step of overcoming this form itself, are those who (to repeat Robespierre) want a 'revolution without revolution'--and Lenin displays all the strength of his 'hermeneutics of suspicion' in discerning the different forms of this retreat. In his writings of 1917 Lenin saves his utmost acerbic irony for those who engage in the endless search for some kind of 'guarantee' for the revolution. This guarantee assumes two main forms: either the reified notion of social necessity (one should not risk the revolution too early; one has to wait for the right moment, when the situation is 'mature' with regard to the laws of historical development: 'it is too early for the socialist revolution--the working class is not yet mature') or the normative ('democratic') legitimacy ('the majority of the population is not on our side, so the revolution would not really be democratic')--as Lenin repeatedly puts, as if, before the revolutionary agent risks the seizure of state power, it should get permission from some figure of the big Other (organise a referendum which will ascertain that the majority supports the revolution). With Lenin, as with Lacan, the point is that the revolution can only be authorised by itself: one should assume the revolutionary act is not covered by the big Other--the fear of taking power 'prematurely', the search for a guarantee, is the fear of the abyss of the act. Therein resides the ultimate dimension of what Lenin incessantly denounces as 'opportunism', and his wager is that 'opportunism' is a position which is in itself inherently false, masking fear to accomplish the act with the protective screen of 'objective' facts, laws or norms.

 

 

The Affirmative insulates the liberal-democratic order from revolutionary social change by presenting the appearance that the bourgeois state can effectively combat the very ecological destruction it is responsible for.

 

Zizek '2 /Slavoj, Male-model, born between the Real and the Imaginary, Zizek was raised by a Family of Wolves, a Slovenian rock group, famous for their number one hit, 'You, Me and Lycanthropy', Although Zizek graduated school with very few qualifications he left with a reputation as a comic genius, having invented the joke, In September 2005, Zizek caused a stir at the United Nations, when he arrived in a wheelbarrow, claiming to have 'traversed the fantasy" Revolution at the Gates, page 167-172/

 

The problem lies in the further implicit qualifications which can easily be discerned by a “concrete analysis of the concrete situation”, as Lenin himself would have put it. “Fidelity to the democratic consensus” means acceptance of the present liberal-parliamentary consensus, which precludes any serious questioning of the way this liberal-democratic order is complicit in the phenomena it officially condemns, and, of course, any serious attempt to imagine a different sociopolitical order. In short, it means: say and write whatever you like — on condition that you do not actually question or disturb the prevailing political consensus. Everything is allowed, solicited even, as a critical topic: the prospect of a global ecological catastrophe; violations of human rights; sexism, homophobia, anti-feminism; growing violence not only in faraway countries, but also in our own megalopolises; the gap between the First and the Third World, between rich and poor;the shattering impact of the digitalization of our daily lives ... today, there is nothing easier than to get international, state or corporate funds for a multidisciplinary research project on how to fight new forms of ethnic, religious or sexist violence. The problem is that all this occurs against the background of a fundamental Denkverbot: a prohibition on thinking. Today’s liberal-democratic hegemony is sustained by a kind of unwritten Denkverbot similar to the infamous Berufsverbot (prohibition on employing individuals with radical Left leanings in the state organs) in Germany in the late 1960s —the moment we show a minimal sign of engaging in political projects which aim seriously to challenge the existing order, the answer is immediately: “Benevolent as it is, this will inevitably end in a new Gulag!” The ideological function of constant references to the Holocaust, the Gulag, and more recent Third World catastrophes is thus to serve as the support of this Denkverbot by constantly reminding us how things could have been much worse: “Just look around and see for yourself what will happen if we follow your radical notions!” What we encounter here is the ultimate example of what Anna Dinerstein and Mike Neary have called the project of disutopia: “not just the temporary absence of Utopia, but the political celebration of the end of social dreams”.2 And the demand for “scientific objectivity” amounts to just another version of the same Denkverhot: the moment we seriously question the existing liberal consensus, we are accused of abandoning scientific objectivity for outdated ideological positions. This is the “Leninist” point on which one cannot and should not concede: today, actual freedom of thought means freedom to question the prevailing liberal-democratic “post-ideological” consensus — or it means nothing. The Right to Truth The perspective of the critique of ideology compels us to invert Wittgenstein’s “What one cannot speak about, thereof one should be silent” into “What one should not speak about, thereof one cannot remain silent”. If you want to speak about a social system, you cannot remain silent about its repressed excess. The point is not to tell the whole Truth but, precisely, to append to the (official) Whole the uneasy supplement which denounces its falsity. As Max Horkheimer put it back in the l930s: “If you don’t want to talk about capitalism, then you should keep silent about Fascism.” Fascism is the inherent “symptom” (the return of the repressed) of capitalism, the key to its “truth”, not just an external contingent deviation of its “normal” logic. And the same goes for today’s situation: those who do not want to subject liberal democracy and the flaws of its multiculturalist tolerance to critical analysis, should keep quiet about the new Rightist violence and intolerance. If we are to leave the opposition between liberal-democratic universalism and ethnic/religious fundamentalism behind, the first step is to acknowledge the existence of liberal fundamentalism: the perverse game of making a big fuss when the rights of a serial killer or a suspected war criminal are violated, while ignoring massive violations of “ordinary” people’s rights. More precisely, the politically correct stance betrays its perverse economy through its oscillation between the two extremes: either fascination with the victimized other (helpless children, raped women . . .), or a focus on the problematic other who, although criminal, and so on, also deserves protection of his human rights, because “today it’s him, tomorrow it’ll be us” (an excellent example is Noam Chomsky’s defence of a French book advocating the revisionist stance on the Holocaust). On a different level, a similar instance of the perversity of Political Correctness occurs in Denmark, where people speak ironically of the “white woman’s burden”, her ethico-political duty to have sex with immigrant workers from Third World countries — this being the final necessary step in ending their exclusion. Today, in the era of what Habermas designated as die neue Unubersichtlichkeit (the new opacity),~ our everyday experience is more mystifying than ever: modernization generates new obscurantisms;the reduction of freedom is presented to us as the dawn of new freedoms. The perception that we live in a society of free choices, in which we have to choose even our most “natural” features (ethnic or sexual identity), is the form of appearance of its very opposite: of the absence of true choices. The recent trend for “alternate reality” films, which present existing reality as one of a multitude of possible outcomes, is symptomatic of a society in which choices no longer really matter, are trivialized. The lesson of the time-warp narratives is even bleaker, since it points towards a total closure: the very attempt to avoid the predestined course of things not only leads us back to it, but actually constitutes it — from Oedipus onwards, we want to avoid A, and it is through our very detour that A realizes itself. In these circumstances, we should be especially careful not to confuse the ruling ideology with ideology which seems to dominate. More than ever, we should bear in mind Walter Benjamin’s reminder that it is not enough to ask how a certain theory (or art) positions itself with regard to social struggles — we ask how it actually functions in these very struggles. In sex, the true hegemonic attitude is not patriarchal repression, but free promiscuity; in art, provocations in the style of the notorious “Sensation” exhibitions are the norm, the example of art fully integrated into the establishment. Ayn Rand brought this logic to its conclusion, supplementing it with a kind of Hegelian twist, that is, reasserting the official ideology itself as its own greatest transgression, as in the title of one of her late non-fiction books: “Capitalism, This Unknown Ideal”, or in “top managers, America’s last endangered species”. Indeed, since the “normal” functioning of capitalism involves some kind of disavowal of the basic principle of its functioning (today’s model capitalist is someone who, after ruthlessly generating profit, then generously shares parts of it, giving large donations to churches, victims of ethnic or sexual abuse, etc., posing as a humanitarian), the ultimate act of transgression is to assert this principle directly, depriving it of its humanitarian mask. I am therefore tempted to reverse Marx’s Thesis 11: the first task today is precisely not to succumb to the temptation to act, to intervene directly and change things(which then inevitably ends in a cul-de-sac of debilitating impossibility: “What can we do against global capital?”),but to question the hegemonic ideological co-ordinates. In short, our historical moment is still that of Adorno: To the question “What should we do?” I can most often truly answer only with “I don’t know.” I can only try to analyse rigorously what there is. Here people reproach me: When you practice criticism, you are also obliged to say how one should make it better. To my mind, this is incontrovertibly a bourgeois prejudice. Many times in history it so happened that the very works which pursued purely theoretical goals transformed consciousness, and thereby also social reality. If, today, we follow a direct call to act, this act will not be performed in an empty space — it will be an act within the hegemonic ideological coordinates: those who “really want to do something to help people” get involved in (undoubtedly honourable) exploits like Mediecins sans frontieres, Greenpeace, feminist and anti-racist campaigns, which are all not only tolerated but even supported by the media, even if they seemingly encroach on economic territory (for example, denouncing and boycotting companies which do not respect ecological conditions, or use child labour) — they are tolerated and supported as long as they do not get too close to a certain limit.6 This kind of activity provides the perfect example of interpassivity:7 of doing things not in order to achieve something, but to prevent something from really happening, really changing. All this frenetic humanitarian, Politically Correct, etc., activity fits the formula of “Let’s go on changing something all the time so that, globally, things will remain the same!”. If standard Cultural Studies criticize capitalism, they do so in the coded way that exemplifies Hollywood liberal paranoia: the enemy is “the system”, the hidden “organization”, the anti-democratic “conspiracy”, not simply capitalism and state apparatuses. The problem with this critical stance is not only that it replaces concrete social analysis with a struggle against abstract paranoiac fantasies, but that — in a typical paranoiac gesture — it unnecessarily redoubling social reality, as if there were a secret Organization behind the “visible” capitalist and state organs. What we should accept is that there is no need for a secret “organization-within-an-organization”. the “conspiracy” is already in the “visible” organization as such, in the capitalist system, in the way the political space and state apparatuses work.8 Let us take one of the hottest topics in today’s “radical” American academia: postcolonial studies. The problem of postcolonialism is undoubtedly crucial; however, postcolonial studies tend to translate it into the multiculturalist problematic of the colonized minorities’ “right to narrate” their victimizing experience, of the power mechanisms which repress “otherness,” so that, at the end of the day, we learn that the root of postcolonial exploitation is our intolerance towards the Other, and, furthermore, that this intolerance itself is rooted in our intolerance towards the “Stranger in Ourselves”, in our inability to confront what we have repressed in and of ourselves — the politico-economic struggle is thus imperceptibly transformed into a pseudopsychoanalytic drama of the subject unable to confront its inner traumas. . . . (Why pseudo-psychoanalytic? Because the true lesson of psychoanalysis is not that the external events which fascinate and/or disturb us are just projections of our inner repressed impulses. The unbearable fact of life is that there really are disturbing events out there: there are other human beings who experience intense sexual enjoyment while we are half-impotent; there are people submitted to terrifying torture.. . . Again, the ultimate truth of psychoanalysis is not that of discovering our true Self, but that of the traumatic encounter with an unbearable Real.) The true corruption of American academia is not primarily financial, it is not only that universities are able to buy many European critical intellectuals (myself included — up to a point), but conceptual: notions of “European” critical theory are imperceptibly translated into the benign universe of Cultural Studies chic. At a certain point, this chic becomes indistinguishable from the famous Citibank commercial in which scenes of East Asian, European, Black and American children playing is accompanied by the voice-over: “People who were once divided by a continent ... are now united by an economy” — at this concluding highpoint, of course, the children are replaced by the Citibank logo. The great majority of today’s “radical” academics silently count on the long-term stability of the American capitalist model, with a secure tenured position as their ultimate professional goal (a surprising number of them even play the stock market). If there is one thing they are genuinely afraid of, it is a radical shattering of the (relatively) safe life-environment of the “symbolic classes” in developed Western societies. Their excessive Politically Correct zeal when they are dealing with sexism, racism, Third World sweatshops, and so on, is thus ultimately a defence against their own innermost identification, a kind of compulsive ritual whose hidden logic is: “Let’s talk as much as possible about the necessity of a radical change, to make sure that nothing will really change!” The journal October is typical of this: when you ask one of the editors what the title refers to, they half-confidentially indicate that it is, of course, that October — in this way, you can indulge in jargonistic analyses of modern art, with the secret assurance that you are somehow retaining a link with the radical revolutionary past.. . . With regard to this radical chic, our first gesture towards Third Way ideologists and practitioners should be one of praise: at least they play their game straight, and are honest in their acceptance of the global capitalist co-ordinates — unlike pseudo-radical academic Leftists who adopt an attitude of utter disdain towards the Third Way, while their own radicalism ultimately amounts to an empty gesture which obliges no one to do anything definite. There is, of course, a strict distinction to be made here between authentic social engagement on behalf of exploited minorities (for example, organizing illegally employed chicano field workers in California) and the multiculturalist/postcolonial “plantations of no-risk, no-fault, knock-off rebellion” which prosper in “radical” American academia. If, however, in contrast to corporate multiculturalism”, we define “critical multiculturalism” as a strategy of pointing out that “there are common forces of oppression, common strategies of exclusion, stereotyping, and stigmatizing of oppressed groups, and thus common enemies and targets of attack,” I do not see the appropriateness of the continuing use of the term “multiculturalism”, since the accent shifts here to the common struggle. In its normal accepted meaning, multiculturalism perfectly fits the logic of the global market.

 

We must reject capitalism because it makes global extermination inevitable- future scenarios for nuclear war, genocide, and ecological devastation are predicated on the sustenance of the capitalist order.

 

Internationalist Perspective ’00 /Internationalist Perspective #36, spring, http://www.geocities.com/wageslavex/capandgen.html/

 

Mass death, and genocide, the deliberate and systematic extermination of whole groups of human beings, have become an integral part of the social landscape of capitalism in its phase of decadence. Auschwitz, Kolyma, and Hiroshima are not merely the names of discrete sites where human beings have been subjected to forms of industrialized mass death, but synecdoches for the death-world that is a component of the capitalist mode of production in this epoch. In that sense, I want to argue that the Holocaust, for example, was not a Jewish catastrophe, nor an atavistic reversion to the barbarism of a past epoch, but rather an event produced by the unfolding of the logic of capitalism itself. Moreover, Auschwitz, Kolyma, and Hiroshima are not "past", but rather futural events, objective-real possibilities on the Front of history, to use concepts first articulated by the Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch. The ethnic cleansing which has been unleashed in Bosnia and Kosovo, the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda, the mass death to which Chechnya has been subjected, the prospect for a nuclear war on the Indian sub-continent, are so many examples of the future which awaits the human species as the capitalist mode of production enters a new millenium. Indeed, it is just such a death-world that constitutes the meaning of one pole of the historic alternative which Rosa Luxemburg first posed in the midst of the slaughter inflicted on masses of conscripts during World War I: socialism or barbarism! Yet, confronted by the horror of Auschwitz, Kolyma, and Hiroshima, Marxist theory has been silent or uncomprehending. While I am convinced that there can be no adequate theory of mass death and genocide which does not link these phenomena to the unfolding of the logic of capital, revolutionary Marxists have so far failed to offer one. Worse, the few efforts of revolutionary Marxists to grapple with the Holocaust, for example, as I will briefly explain, have either degenerated into a crude economism, which is one of the hallmarks of so-called orthodox Marxism, or led to a fatal embrace of Holocaust denial; the former being an expression of theoretical bankruptcy, and the latter a quite literal crossing of the class line into the camp of capital itself. Economism, which is based on a crude base-superstructure model (or travesty) of Marxist theory, in which politics, for example, can only be conceived as a direct and immediate reflection of the economic base, in which events can only be conceived as a manifestation of the direct economic needs of a social class, and in the case of the capitalist class, the immediate need to extract a profit, shaped Amadeo Bordiga's attempt to "explain" the Holocaust. Thus, in his "Auschwitz ou le Grand Alibi" Bordiga explained the extermination of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis, as the reaction of one part of the petty bourgeoisie to its historical demise at the hands of capital by "sacrificing" its other -- Jewish -- part so as to save the rest, an undertaking welcomed by big capital, which could thereby liquidate a part of the petty bourgeoisie with the support of the rest of that same class. Quite apart from an economism which simply ignores the dialectic between the economy on the one hand, and the political and ideological on the other (about which more later), such an "explanation" asks us to conceive of genocide not as the complex outcome of the unfolding of the operation of the law of value in the diverse spheres of social life, but as the direct outcome of the utilitarian calculation of segments of the petty bourgeoisie and big capital. Auschwitz, the veritable hallmark of the fundamental irrationality of late capital, is transformed by Bordiga into a rational calculation of its direct profit interests on the part of the capitalists. However, an undertaking which fatally diverted the scarce resources (material and financial) of Nazi Germany from the battlefields of the imperialist world war, simply cannot, in my view, be comprehended on the basis of a purely economic calculus of profit and loss on the part of "big capital." While Bordiga's reaction to Auschwitz fails to provide even the minimal bases for its adequate theorization, the reaction of the militants of La Vieille Taupe, such as Pierre Guillaume, constitutes a political betrayal of the struggle for communist revolution by its incorporation into the politics of Holocaust denial. For Guillaume, Auschwitz can only be a myth, a fabrication of the allies, that is, of one of the imperialist blocs in the inter-imperialist world war, because it so clearly serves their interests in mobilizing the working class to die in the service of democracy; on the alter of anti-fascism. Hence, La Vieille Taupe's "fervor to contest the evidence of its [the Holocaust's] reality by every means possible, including the most fraudulent. For the evidence of genocide is just so many deceptions, so many traps laid for anticapitalist radicality, designed to force it into dishonest compromise and eventual loss of resolve." It is quite true that capital has utilized antifascism to assure its ideological hegemony over the working class, and that the Holocaust has been routinely wielded for more than a generation by the organs of mass manipulation in the service of the myth of "democracy" in the West (and by the state of Israel on behalf of its own imperialist aims in the Middle-East). And just as surely the ideology of antifascism and its functionality for capital must be exposed by revolutionaries. Nonetheless, this does not justify the claims of Holocaust denial, which not only cannot be dissociated from anti-Semitism, but which constitutes a denial of the most lethal tendencies inherent in the capitalist mode of production, of the very barbarism of capitalism, and thereby serves as a screen behind which the death-world wrought by capital can be safely hidden from its potential victims. This latter, in its own small way, is the despicable contribution of La Vieille Taupe, and the basis for my conviction that it must be politically located in the camp of capital. Marxism is in need of a theory of mass death and genocide as immanent tendencies of capital, a way of comprehending the link (still obsure) between the death-world symbolized by the smokestacks of Auschwitz or the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima and the unfolding of the logic of a mode of production based on the capitalist law of value. I want to argue that we can best grasp the link between capitalism and genocide by focusing on two dialectically inter-related strands in the social fabric of late capitalism: first, are a series of phenomena linked to the actual unfolding of the law of value, and more specifically to the completion of the transition from the formal to the real domination of capital; second, are a series of phenomena linked to the political and ideological (this latter understood in a non-reductionist sense, as having a material existence) moments of the rule of capital, specifically to the forms of capitalist hegemony. It is through an analysis of the coalescence of vital elements of these two strands in the development of capital, that I hope to expose the bases for the death-world and genocide as integral features of capitalism in the present epoch. The real domination of capital is characterized by the penetration of the law of value into every segment of social existence. As Georg Lukács put it in his History and Class Consciousness, this means that the commodity ceases to be "one form among many regulating the metabolism of human society," to become its "universal structuring principle." From its original locus at the point of production, in the capitalist factory, which is the hallmark of the formal domination of capital, the law of value has systematically spread its tentacles to incorporate not just the production of commodities, but their circulation and consumption. Moreover, the law of value also penetrates and then comes to preside over the spheres of the political and ideological, including science and technology themselves. This latter occurs not just through the transformation of the fruits of technology and science into commodities, not just through the transformation of technological and scientific research itself (and the institutions in which it takes place) into commodities, but also, and especially, through what Lukács designates as the infiltration of thought itself by the purely technical, the very quantification of rationality, the instrumentalization of reason; and, I would argue, the reduction of all beings (including human beings) to mere objects of manipulation and control. As Lukács could clearly see even in the age of Taylorism, "this rational mechanisation extends right into the worker's `soul'." In short, it affects not only his outward behavior, but her very internal, psychological, makeup. The phenomenon of reification, inherent in the commodity-form, and its tendential penetration into the whole of social existence, which Lukács was one of the first to analyze, is a hallmark of the real domination of capital: "Its basis is that a relation between people takes on the character of a thing and thus acquires a `phantom objectivity', an autonomy that seems so strictly rational and all-embracing as to conceal every trace of its fundamental nature: the relation between people." Reification, the seeming transformation of social relations into relations between things, has as one of its outcomes what the German-Jewish thinker H.G.Adler designated as "the administered man" [Der verwaltete Mensch]. For Adler, when human beings are administered, they are treated as things, thereby clearing the way for their removal or elimination by genocide. The outcome of such a process can be seen in the bureaucractic administration of the Final Solution, in which the organization of genocide was the responsibility of desk killers like Adolf Eichmann who could zealously administer a system of mass murder while displaying no particular hatred for his victims, no great ideological passion for his project, and no sense that those who went to the gas chambers were human beings and not things. The features of the desk killer, in the person of Eichmann, have been clearly delineated by Hannah Arendt. He is the high-level functionary in a vast bureaucratic organization who does his killing from behind a desk, from which he rationally plans and organizes mass murder; treating it as simply a technical task, no different than the problem of transporting scrap metal. The desk killer is the quintessential bureaucrat functioning according to the imperatives of the death-world. As a human type, the desk killer, that embodiment of the triumph of instrumental reason, has become a vital part of the state apparatus of late capitalism. Here, the Lukácsian concept of reification, the Adlerian concept of the administered man, and the Arendtian portrait of the desk killer, can be joined to Martin Heidegger's concept of das Gestell, enframing, in which everything real, all beings, including humans, are treated as so much Bestand, standing-reserve or raw material, to be manipulated at will. This reduction of humans to a raw material is the antechamber to a world in which they can become so many waste products to be discarded or turned into ashes in the gas chambers of Auschwitz or at ground zero at Hiroshima. While the reification which attains its culminating point in the real domination of capital may contain within itself the possibility of mass murder and its death-world, it does not in and of itself explain the actual unleashing of the genocidal potential which, because of it, is now firmly ensconced within the interstices of the capitalist mode of production. To confront that issue, I want to elucidate two concepts which, while not directly linked by their authors to the unfolding of the capitalist law of value, can be refunctioned to forge such a link, and have already been effectively wielded in the effort to explain genocide: the concept of the obsolescence of man [Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen], articulated by the German-Jewish philosopher Günther Anders, and the concept of bio-politics, articulated by Michel Foucault. For Anders, the first industrial revolution introduced the machine with its own source of power as a means of production, while the second industrial revolution saw the extension of commodity production to the whole of society, and the subordination of man to the machine. According to Anders, the third industrial revolution, in the epoch of which humanity now lives, has made humans obsolete, preparing the way for their replacement by machines, and the end of history (Endzeit). For Anders, the Holocaust marked the first attempt at the systematic extermination of a whole group of people by industrial means, opening the way for the extension of the process of extermination to virtually the whole of the human species; a stage which he designates as "post-civilized cannibalism" [postzivilisatorischen Kannibalismus], in which the world is "overmanned", and in which Hiroshima marks the point at which "humanity as a whole is eliminatable"[tötbar]. Anders's philosophy of technology is unabashedly pessimistic, leaving virtually no room for Marxist hope (communist revolution). Nonetheless, his vision of a totally reified world, and technology as the subject of history, culminating in an Endzeit, corresponds to one side of the dialectic of socialism or barbarism which presides over the present epoch. Moreover, Anders's concept of an overmanned world can be fruitfully linked to the immanent tendency of the law of value to generate an ever higher organic composition of capital, culminating in the present stage of automation, robotics, computers, and information technology, on the bases of which ever larger masses of living labor are ejected from the process of production, and, indeed, from the cycle of accumulation as a whole, ceasing to be -- even potentially -- a productive force, a source of exchange-value, in order to become an insuperable burden for capital, a dead weight, which, so long as it lives and breathes, threatens its profitability. This "obsolescence of man" can at the level of total capital thereby create the necessity for mass murder; inserting the industrial extermination of whole groups of people into the very logic of capital: genocide as the apotheosis of instrumental reason! Reason transmogrified into the nihilistic engine of destruction which shapes the late capitalist world. Michel Foucault's concept of bio-power can also be refunctioned to explicitly link it to the basic tendencies of the development of capitalism, in which case it provides a point of intersection between the triumph of the real domination of capital economically, and the political and ideological transformation of capitalist rule, while at the same time making it possible to grasp those features of capital which propel it in the direction of genocide. The extension of the law of value into every sphere of human existence, the culminating point of the real domination of capital, is marked by the subordination of the biological realm itself to the logic of capital. This stage corresponds to what Foucault designates as bio-politics, which encapsulates both the "statification of the biological", and the "birth of state racism". Bio-politics entails the positive power to administer, manage, and regulate the intimate details of the life -- and death -- of whole populations in the form of technologies of domination: "In concrete terms ... this power over life evolved in two basic forms ... they constituted ... two poles of development linked together by a whole intermediary cluster of relations. One of these poles ... centered on the body as a machine: its disciplining, the optimization of its capabilities, the extortion of its forces, the parallel increase of its usefulness and its docility, its integration into systems of efficient and economic controls, all this was ensured by the procedures of power that characterized the disciplines: an anatomo-politics of the human body. The second ... focused on the species body, the body imbued with the mechanics of life and serving as the basis of the biological processes: propagation, births and mortality, the level of health, life expectancy and longevity, with all the conditions that can cause these to vary. Their supervision was effected through an entire series of interventions and regulatory controls: a bio-politics of the population." Such a bio-politics represents the subjugation of biological life in its diverse human forms to the imperatives of the law of value. It allows capital to mobilize all the human resources of the nation in the service of its expansion and aggrandizement, economic and military. The other side of bio-politics, of this power over life, for Foucault, is what he terms "thanatopolitics," entailing an awesome power to inflict mass death, both on the population of one's enemy, and on one's own population: "the power to expose a whole population to death is the underside of the power to guarantee an individual's continued existence. .... If genocide is indeed the dream of modern powers ... it is because power is situated at the level of life, the species, the race, and the large-scale phenomena of population." Nuclear, chemical, and biological, weapons make it possible to wield this power to condemn whole populations to death. Bio-politics, for Foucault, also necessarily entails racism, by which he means making a cut in the biological continuum of human life, designating the very existence of a determinate group as a danger to the population, to its health and well-being, and even to its very life. Such a group, I would argue, then, becomes a biological (in the case of Nazism) or class enemy (in the case of Stalinism, though the latter also claimed that biological and hereditary characteristics were linked to one's class origins). And the danger represented by such an enemy race can necessitate its elimination through physical removal (ethnic cleansing) or extermination (genocide). The Foucauldian concept of bio-politics allows us to see how, on the basis of technologies of domination, it is possible to subject biological life itself to a formidable degree of control, and to be able to inflict mass death on populations or races designated as a biological threat. Moreover, by linking this concept to the real domination of capital, we are able to see how the value-form invades even the biological realm in the phase of the real domination of capital. However, while bio-power entails the horrific possibility of genocide, it is Foucault's ruminations on the binary division of a population into a "pure community" and its Other, which allows us to better grasp its necessity. Such a perspective, however, intersects with the transformations at the level of the political and ideological moment of capital, and it is to these, and what I see as vital contributions to their theorization by Antonio Gramsci and Ernst Bloch, that I now want to turn in an effort to better elucidate the factors that propel capital in the direction of mass death and genocide. What is at issue here is not Gramsci's politics, his political practice, his interventions in the debates on strategy and tactics within the Italian Communist Party, where he followed the counter-revolutionary line of the Stalinist Comintern, but rather his theorization of the political and ideological moment of capital, and in particular his concept of the "integral state", his understanding of the state as incorporating both political and civil society, his concept of hegemony, and his understanding of ideology as inscribed in practices and materialized in institutions, which exploded the crude base-superstructure model of orthodox Marxism and its vision of ideology as simply false consciousness, all of which have enriched Marxist theory, and which revolutionaries ignore at their peril. In contrast to orthodox Marxism which has equated the state with coercion, Gramsci's insistence that the state incorporates both political and civil society, and that class rule is instanciated both by domination (coercion) and hegemony (leadership) allows us to better grasp the complex and crisscrossing strands that coalesce in capitalist class rule, especially in the phase of the real domination of capital and the epoch of state capitalism. For Gramsci, hegemony is the way in which a dominant class installs its rule over society through the intermediary of ideology, establishing its intellectual and cultural leadership over other classes, and thereby reducing its dependence on coercion. Ideology, for Gramsci, is not mere false consciousness, but rather is the form in which humans acquire consciousness, become subjects and act, constituting what he terms a "collective will". Moreover, for him, ideology is no mere superstructure, but has a material existence, is materialized in praxis. The state which rests on a combination of coercion and hegemony is what Gramsci designates as an integral state. It seems to me, that one major weakness of the Gramscian concept of hegemony is that he does not seem to apply it to the control exercised over an antagonistic class. Thus, Gramsci asserts that one dominates, coerces, antagonistic classes, but leads only allied classes. Gramsci's seeming exclusion of antagonistic classes from the ideological hegemony of the dominant class seems to me to be misplaced, especially in the epoch of state capitalism, when the capitalist class, the functionaries of capital, acquire hegemony, cultural and intellectual leadership and control, not just of allied classes and strata (e.g. the middle classes, petty bourgeoisie, etc.), but also over broad strata of the antagonistic class, the working class itself. Indeed, such hegemony, though never total, and always subject to reversal (revolution), is the veritable key to capitalist class rule in this epoch. One way in which this ideological hegemony of capital is established over broad strata of the population, including sectors of the working class, is by channeling the disatisfaction and discontent of the mass of the population with the monstrous impact of capitalism upon their lives (subjection to the machine, reduction to the status of a "thing", at the point of production, insecurity and poverty as features of daily life, the overall social process of atomization and massification, etc.), away from any struggle to establish a human Gemeinwesen, communism. Capitalist hegemony entails the ability to divert that very disatisfaction into the quest for a "pure community", based on hatred and rage directed not at capital, but at the Other, at alterity itself, at those marginal social groups which are designated a danger to the life of the nation, and its population. One of the most dramatic effects of the inexorable penetration of the law of value into every pore of social life, and geographically across the face of the whole planet, has been the destruction of all primitive, organic, and pre-capitalist communities. Capitalism, as Marx and Engels pointed out in the Communist Manifesto, shatters the bonds of immemorial custom and tradition, replacing them with its exchange mechanism and contract. While Marx and Engels stressed the positive features of this development in the Manifesto, we cannot ignore its negative side, particularly in light of the fact that the path to a human Gemeinwesen has so far been successfully blocked by capital, with disastrous consequences for the human species. The negative side of that development includes the relentless process of atomization, leaving in its wake an ever growing mass of rootless individuals, for whom the only human contact is by way of the cash nexus. Those who have been uprooted geographically, economically, politically, and culturally, are frequently left with a powerful longing for their lost communities (even where those communities were hierarchically organized and based on inequality), for the certainties and "truths" of the past, which are idealized the more frustrating, unsatisfying, and insecure, the world of capital becomes. Such longings are most powerfully felt within what Ernst Bloch has termed non-synchronous strata and classes. These are stata and classes whose material or mental conditions of life are linked to a past mode of production, who exist economically or culturally in the past, even as they chronologically dwell in the present. In contrast to the two historic classes in the capitalist mode of production, the bourgeoisie and proletariat, which are synchronous, the products of the capitalist present, these non-synchronous strata include the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie, and -- by virtue of their mental or cultural state -- youth and white-collar workers. In my view, Bloch's understanding of non-synchronicity needs to be extended to segments of the working class, in particular those strata of the blue-collar proletariat which are no longer materially synchronous with the high-tech production process upon which late capitalism rests, and the mass of workers ejected from the production process by the rising organic composition of capital and its comcomitant down-sizing. In addition, the even greater mass of peasants streaming into the shanty towns around the great commercial and industrial metropolitan centers of the world, are also characterized by their non-synchronicity, their inability to be incorporated into the hyper-modern cycle of capital accumulation. Moreover, all of these strata too are subject to a growing nostalgia for the past, a longing for community, including the blue-collar communities and their institutional networks which were one of the features of the social landscape of capitalism earlier in the twentieth century. However, no matter how powerful this nostalgia for past community becomes, it cannot be satisfied. The organic communities of the past cannot be recreated; their destruction by capital is irreversible. At the same time, the path to a future Gemeinwesen, to which the cultural material and longings embodied in the non-synchronous classes and strata can make a signal contribution, according to Bloch, remains obstructed by the power of capital. So long as this is the case, the genuine longing for community of masses of people, and especially the nostalgia for past communities especially felt by the non-synchronous strata and classes, including the newly non-synchronous elements which I have just argued must be added to them, leaves them exposed to the lure of a "pure community" ideologically constructed by capital itself. In place of real organic and communal bonds, in such an ideologically constructed pure community, a racial, ethnic, or religious identification is merely superimposed on the existing condition of atomization in which the mass of the population finds itself. In addition to providing some gratification for the longing for community animating broad strata of the population, such a pure community can also provide an ideological bond which ties the bulk of the population to the capitalist state on the basis of a race, ethnicity, or religion which it shares with the ruling class. This latter is extremely important to capital, because the atomization which it has brought about not only leaves the mass of humanity bereft, but also leaves the ruling class itself vulnerable because it lacks any basis upon which it can mobilize the population, physically or ideologically.The basis upon which such a pure community is constituted, race, nationality, religion, even a categorization by "class" in the Stalinist world, necessarily means the exclusion of those categories of the population which do not conform to the criteria for inclusion, the embodiments of alterity, even while they inhabit the same geographical space as the members of the pure community. Those excluded, the "races" on the other side of the biological continuum, to use Foucauldian terminology, the Other, become alien elements within an otherwise homogeneous world of the pure community. As a threat to its very existence, the role of this Other is to become the scapegoat for the inability of the pure community to provide authentic communal bonds between people, for its abject failure to overcome the alienation that is a hallmark of a reified world. The Jew in Nazi Germany, the Kulak in Stalinist Russia, the Tutsi in Rwanda, Muslims in Bosnia, blacks in the US, the Albanian or the Serb in Kosovo, the Arab in France, the Turk in contemporary Germany, the Bahai in Iran, for example, become the embodiment of alterity, and the target against which the hatred of the members of the pure community is directed. The more crisis ridden a society becomes, the greater the need to find an appropriate scapegoat; the more urgent the need for mass mobilization behind the integral state, the more imperious the need to focus rage against the Other. In an extreme situation of social crisis and political turmoil, the demonization and victimization of the Other can lead to his (mass) murder. In the absence of a working class conscious of its historic task and possibilities, this hatred of alterity which permits capital to mobilize the population in defense of the pure community, can become its own impetus to genocide. The immanent tendencies of the capitalist mode of production which propel it towards a catastrophic economic crisis, also drive it towards mass murder and genocide. In that sense, the death-world, and the prospect of an Endzeit cannot be separated from the continued existence of humanity's subordination to the law of value. Reification, the overmanned world, bio-politics, state racism, the constitution of a pure community directed against alterity, each of them features of the economic and ideological topography of the real domination of capital, create the possibility and the need for genocide. We should have no doubt that the survival of capitalism into this new millenium will entail more and more frequent recourse to mass murder.

 

Our alternative is to break the habit of acting and do nothing. We should reject affirmatives slogan of being for or against. We must realize that every action that we take is taken as part of a prescripted role—our choices are limited to our politics. Doing nothing opens up a new space of activity that allows us to critically examine the normative situation. We don’t know all the answers—but that’s the point, to engage in truly suicidal gestures that don’t have some transcendental guarantee.

 

ZIZEK ‘4 /Slavoh, Male-model, born between the Real and the Imaginary, Zizek was raised by a Family of Wolves, a Slovenian rock group, famous for their number one hit, 'You, Me and Lycanthropy', Although Zizek graduated school with very few qualifications he left with a reputation as a comic genius, having invented the joke, In September 2005, Zizek caused a stir at the United Nations, when he arrived in a wheelbarrow, claiming to have 'traversed the fantasy “Iraq: The borrowed Kettle” Pg: 72-87/

 

The stance of simply condemning the postmodern left for its accommodation, however, is also false, since one should ask the obvious question: what, in fact, was the alternative? If today’s ‘post-politics’ is opportunistic pragmatism with no principles, the predominant leftist reaction to it can be aptly characterized as ‘Principled Opportunitism’: one simply sticks to the old formulae (defense of the welfare state, and so on) and calls them ‘principles’, dispensing with the detailed analysis of how the situation has changed – and thus retaining one’s position of Beautiful Soul. The inherent stupidity of the ‘principled’ Left is clearly discernible in its standard criticism of any analysis which proposes a more complex picture of the situation, renouncing any simple prescriptions on how to act: ‘there is no clear political stance involved in your theory’ – and this is from people with no stance but their ‘principled opportunism’. Against such a stance, one should have the courage to affirm that, in a situation like today’s, the only way really to remain open to a revolutionary opportunity is to renounce facile calls to direct action, which necessarily involve us in an activity where things change so that the totality remains the same. Today’s predicament is that, if we succumb to the urge of directly ‘doing something’ (engaging in the anti-globalist struggle, helping the poor…) we will certainly and undoubtedly contribute to the reproduction of the existing order. The only way to lay the foundations for a true, radical change is to withdraw from the compulsion to act, to ‘do nothing’ – thus opening up the space for a different kind of activity. Today’s anti-globalalization movement seems to be caught in the antimony of de- and reterritoralization: on the one hand, there are those who want to reterritoralize capitalism (Conservatives, ecologist, partisans of the nation-state and champions of local roots and traditions); on the other, there are those who want an even more radical deterritoralization, liberated from the constraints of capital. But is this opposition not too simple? It is not ultimately a false alternative? Is not the capitalist ‘territory’ (everything must pass through the grid of market exchange) the very form and vector of radical deterritoralization – its operator, as it were? (And does the same not go for the nation-state, this operator of the reassure of local traditions?) Possitivity and Negativity are inextricably intertwined here, which is why the true aim should be a new balance, a new form of de- and reterritoralization. This brings us back to the central sociopolitical antimony of late capitalism: the way its pluralist dynamic of permanent deterritoralization coexists with its opposite, the paranoid logic of the One, thereby confirming that, perhaps, in the Deleuzian opposition between schizophrenia and paranoia, between the multitude and the One, we are dealing with two sides of the same coin. Were the left to choose the “principled” attitude of fidelity to its old programme, it would simply it would simply marginalize itself. The task is a much harder one: thoroughly to rethink the leftist project, beyond the alternative of accommodation to new circumstances and sticking with the old slogans. Apropos of the disintegration of “state socialism” two decades ago, we should forget that, at approximately the same time, Western social-democratic welfarist ideology was also dealt a crucial blow, that it also ceased to function as the Imaginary able to arouse a collective passionate following. The notion that ‘the time of the welfare state has past’ is a piece of commonly accepted wisdom today. What these two defeated ideologies shared was the notion that humanity as a collective subject has the capacity somehow to limit impersonal and anonymous sociohistoric development, to steer it in a desired direction. Today, such a notion is quickly dismissed as ‘ideological’ and/or ‘totalitarian’: the social process is perceived as dominated by an anonymous Fate which eludes social control. The rise of global capitalism is presented to us as such a Fate, against which we cannot fight – either we adapt to it or we fall out of step with history, and we are crushed. The only thing we can do is make global capitalism as human as possible, to fight for ‘global capitalism with a human

face’ (this, ultimately, is what the Third Way is – or, rather, was – about).

 

Act, Evil, and Antigone

 

Whenever a political project takes a radical turn, up pops the inevitable blackmail: ‘Of course these goals are desirable in themselves, if we do all this, however, international capital will boycott us, the growth rate will fall, and so on.’ The sound barrier – the qualitative leap that occurs when one expands the quantity of resistance from local communities to wider social circles (up to the state itself) – will have been broken, and the risk will have been taken to organize larger and larger social circles along the longs of the self-organization of excluded marginal communities. Many fetishes will have to be broken here: who cares if growth stalls, or even becomes negative? Have we not had enough of the high growth rate whose effects on the social organism were felt mostly in the guise of new forms of poverty and dispossession? What about a negative growth that would translate into a qualitatively better, not higher, standard of living for the wider popular strata? That would be a political act today – to break the spell of automatically endorsing the existing political framework, to break out of the debilitating alternative ‘either we just directly endorse free-market globalization, or we make impossible promises along the lines of magical formulae about how to have one’s cake and eat it, about how to combine globalization with social solidarity’. Nowhere in today’s resistance to the political proper more palpable than in the obsession with ‘radical Evil’, the negative of the act. It is as if the supreme Good today is that nothing should really happen, which is why the only way we can imagine an act is in the guise of catastrophic disturbances, a traumatic explosion of Evil. Susan Neiman was right to emphasize why September 11 took so many leftists social critics by surprise: Fascism was, for them, the last appearance of a directly transparent Evil. Since 1945 they have been, for decades, perfecting the art of ‘symptomal’ reading, a mode of reading which taught us to recognize Evil in the guise of its opposite: liberal democracy itself legitimizes social orders which generate genocide and slaughter; today, massive crimes results from anonymous bureaucratic logic (what Chomsky called the invisible ‘backroom boys’). With September 11, however, they suddenly encountered an Evil which fits the most naïve Hollywood image: a secret organization of fanatics who fully intend, and plan in detail, a terrorist attack whose aim is to kill thousands of random civilian victims. It is as if Arendt’s ‘banality of evil’ was again inverted: if anything, the al Qaeada suicide attackers were not in sense ‘banal’, but effectively ‘demonic’. So, it seemed to leftist intellectuals that were they directly to condemn these attacks, they would somehow undo the results of their complex analyses, and regress to the Hollywood-fundamentalist level of George W. Bush.

 

[Zizek in 2004 continues 5 paragraphs later….]

 

The concept of radical, ‘irresistible’ Evil, be it the Holocaust or the Gulag, is therefore the constitute limit and point of reference of today’s predominate notion of democracy: ‘Democracy’ means avoiding the ‘totalitarian’ extreme; it is defined as a permanent struggle against the ‘totalitarian’ temptation to close the gap, to (pretend to) act on behalf of the thing itself. Ironically, it is thus as if one should turn around the well-known Augustinian notion of evil as having no positive substance or force f its own, be just absence of good: Good itself is the absence of evil, the distance towards the Evil thing. It is this liberal blackmail of dismissing every radical political act as evil that one should thoroughly reject—even when it is painted in Lacanian colours, as in the case in Yannis Stavrakakis’s recent critical reply to my reading of Antigone, which focuses on the danger of what he calls the ‘Absolutization’ of the event, which then leads to a totalitarian disaster. When Stavrakakis writes that ‘ Fidelity to an event can flourish and avoid absolutization only as an infidel fidelity, only within the framework of gideluty, fidelity to the openness of the political space and to the awareness of the constitutive impossibility of a final structure of the social, he thereby introduces a difference, which can be given various names, between the unconditional-ethical and the pragmatico-political: the original fact is the lack, the opening, which pertains to human finitude, and all postive acts always fall short of this primordial lack: thus we have what Derrida calls the unconditional ethical injunction, impossible to fulfil, and positive acts, interventions, which remain strategic interventions… One should put forward two arguments against this position:

 

1. ‘Acts’ in Lacan’s sense precisely suspend this gap between the impossible injunction and the positive intervention – they are ‘impossible’ not in the sense of ‘it is impossible that they might happen’ but in the sense of the impossible DID happen. This is why Antigone was of interest to me: her act is not a strategic intervention that maintains the

 

 

gap towards the impossible Void; Rather, it tends to enact the impossible ‘absolutely’. I am well aware of the ‘lure’ of such an act—but I claim that, in Lacan’s later versions of the act, this moment of madness beyond strategic intervention remains. In this precise sense, the notion of the act not only does not contradict the ‘lack in the Other’ which, according to Starvrakakis, I overlook – it directly presupposes it: it is only through an act that I effectively assume the big Other’s nonexistence, that is, I enact the impossible within the co-ordinates of the existing socio-symbolic order.

 

2. These are (also) political acts, for politics cannot be reduced to the level of strategic pragmatic interventions. In a radical political act, the opposition between ‘crazy’ destructive gesture and a strategic political decision momentarily breaks down – which is why it is theoretically and politically wrong to oppose strategic politically acts, risky as they may be, to radical ‘suicidal’ gestures a la Antingone: gestures of pure self-destructive ethical insistence with, apparently, no political goal. The point is not simply that, once we are thoroughly engaged in a political project, we are ready to put everything at stake for it, including our lives, but, more precisely, that only such an ‘impossible’ gesture of pure expenditure can change the very co-ordinates of what is strategically possible within a historical constellation. This is the key point: an act is neither a strategic intervention in the existing order, nor its ‘crazy’ destructive negation; an act is an ‘excessive’, Tran-strategic intervention which redefines the rules and contours of the existing order.

 

[Zizek continues 2 paragrahs later…]

 

There is a will to accomplish the ‘leap of faith’ and step outside the global circuit at work here, a will which was expressed in an extreme and terrifying manner in a well-known incident from the Vietnam War: after the US army occupied a local village, their doctors vaccinated the children on the left arm in order to demonstrate their humanitarian care; when, the day after, the village was retaken by the Vietcong, they cut off the left arms of all the vaccinated children…. Although it is difficult to sustain as a literal model to follow, this complete rejection of the enemy precisely in its caring ‘humanitarian’ aspect, no matter what the cost, has to be endorsed in its basic intention. In a similar way, when sender Luminoso took over a village, they did not focus on killing the soldiers or policeman there, but more on the UN or US agricultural consultants or health workers trying to help the local peasants—after lecturing them for hours, and then forcing them to confess their complicity with imperialism publicly, they shot them. Brutal as this procedure was, it was rooted in an acute insight: they, not the police or the army, were the true danger, they enemy at its most perfidious, since they were “lying in the guise of truth”—the more they were ‘innocent’ (they ‘really’ tried to help the peasants), the more they served as a tool of the USA. It is only such a blow against the enemy at his best, at the point where the enemy ‘indeed helps us’, that displays true revolutionary autonomy and ‘sovereignty’ (to use this term in its Bataillean sense). If one adopts the attitude of ‘let us take from the enemy what is good, and reject or even fight what is bad’, one is already caught in the liberal trap of ‘humanitarian aid’.

 

[zizek 2004 , once again, continues 3 LONG paragraphs later…]

 

But should we still call it ‘democracy’? at this point, it is crucial to avoid what one cannot but call the ‘democratic trap’. Many ‘radical’ leftist accepts the legalistic logic of the ‘transcendental guarantee’: they refer to ‘democracy’ as the ultimate guarantee of those who are aware that there is no guarantee. That is to say: since no political act can claim a direct foundation in some transcendent figure of the Big Other (of the ‘we are just instruments of a higher Necessity or Will’ type) since every such act involves the risk of a contingent decision, nobody has the right to impose his or her choice on others—which means that every collective choice has to be democratically legitimized. From this perspective, democracy is not so much the guarantee of the right choice as a kind of opportunistic insurance against possible failure: if things turn out badly, I can always say that we are all responsible…Consequently, this last refuge must be dropped; one should fully assume the risk. The only adequate position in the one advocated by Lukacs in History and Class conciseness: democratic struggle should not be fetishized; it is one of the forms of struggle, and its choice should be determined by a global strategic assessment of circumstances, not by its ostensibly superior intrinsic value. Like the Lacanian analyst, a political agent has to engage in acts which can be authorized only be themselves, for which there is no external guarantee.

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1. It is working. It's happening now. Peruse current debate developments and trends. Most observers at this point smell a paradigm shift coming.

 

2. I think the best collaboration would happen through either a wiki or drop box, so it produces a unified file. cross-x.com has utility for notation, not product, I think.

please see #2

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As the file gets larger sure otherwise the dis-ad impact by tomak thread has show how this works perfectly fine.

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I sincerely doubt this will work. My first reaction when seeing this thread was oh sweet maybe someone's got some cards I haven't cut that are good and I can jack them. Tommy makes it sound reasonable by saying if you've already read the blocks there's no incentive to keep them private but that's just patently untrue. Teams will give up cites when pressed for them and occasionally things get put up on case lists from the block but this happens just because people don't want to violate community norms and look like dicks when people ask them for cites or copy them down during a debate.

 

PS -

Do nothing cap alts annoy the shit out of me. inb4 Blah, blah, strategy, blah, good cards, blah. I don't care it just seems absurdly counterintuitive.

Edited by Felix Hoenikker

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