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retired

zizek is a liberal -- another zizek fail.

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because this is precisely the liberal promise Zizek rails against:

 

here, here, here, here and here

 

How Zizek really thinks about protest:

 

The big demonstrations in London and Washington against the US attack on Iraq a few years ago offer an exemplary case of this strange symbiotic relationship between power and resistance. Their paradoxical outcome was that both sides were satisfied. The protesters saved their beautiful souls: they made it clear that they don’t agree with the government’s policy on Iraq. Those in power calmly accepted it, even profited from it: not only did the protests in no way prevent the already-made decision to attack Iraq; they also served to legitimise it. Thus George Bush’s reaction to mass demonstrations protesting his visit to London, in effect: ‘You see, this is what we are fighting for, so that what people are doing here – protesting against their government policy – will be possible also in Iraq!’

Edited by retired

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I think Zizek knows that oftentimes protests are co-opted by the government or by advanced industrial society as a whole due to their fairly non-critical nature, the fact that they are still within the parameters of what is legitimate and what is not. Zizek's stance on protest in Egypt is a straightforward political analysis: the government there has lost its legitimacy. This has nothing to do with his criticism of the "liberal promise," as you call it. What he said before still stands.

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On the contrary - this is not an example of Zizek being hypocritical or "lapsing into liberalism," but is entirely consistent with and even a strong example of what he is arguing.

 

Zizek says the problem with these types of protests is when they are not aimed at denying the legitimacy, interests, or power of the government per se - but rather some external symptom. This is dangerous because it allows the government to say it is good and just "in spite" of this - because it is benevolent enough to allow this disagreement to take place. The protest is not something which challenges power - it fits within its pre-defined framework. This is the opposite of what's going on in Egypt. The protest is directly aimed at ending the government - there is no way the government can claim to be fulfilling the demands of the people in some transformed way. Also, on multiple occasions, the protest has even resisted these attempts by the government to make an appeal to having a "human face":

 

"Is something similar going on in Egypt? For a couple of days at the beginning, it looked like Mubarak was already in the situation of the proverbial cat. Then we saw a well-planned operation to kidnap the revolution. The obscenity of this was breathtaking: the new vice-president, Omar Suleiman, a former secret police chief responsible for mass tortures, presented himself as the "human face" of the regime, the person to oversee the transition to democracy."

 

"When President Obama welcomed the uprising as a legitimate expression of opinion that needs to be acknowledged by the government, the confusion was total: the crowds in Cairo and Alexandria did not want their demands to be acknowledged by the government, they denied the very legitimacy of the government. They didn't want the Mubarak regime as a partner in a dialogue, they wanted Mubarak to go. They didn't simply want a new government that would listen to their opinion, they wanted to reshape the entire state. They don't have an opinion, they are the truth of the situation in Egypt. Mubarak understands this much better than Obama: there is no room for compromise here, as there was none when the Communist regimes were challenged in the late 1980s. Either the entire Mubarak power edifice falls down, or the uprising is co-opted and betrayed."

Edited by THodgman
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