Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Right Is The New Left: The World's Most Influential Marxist

During this year’s protests against the Eurozone’s austerity measures—in Greece and, on a smaller scale, Ireland, Italy and Spain—two stories have imposed themselves.

The predominant, establishment story proposes a de-politicized naturalization of the crisis: the regulatory measures are presented not as decisions grounded in political choices, but as the imperatives of a neutral financial logic—if we want our economies to stabilize, we simply have to swallow the bitter pill. The other story, that of the protesting workers, students and pensioners, would see the austerity measures as yet another attempt by international financial capital to dismantle the last remainders of the welfare state. The imf thus appears from one perspective as a neutral agent of discipline and order, and from the other as the oppressive agent of global capital.

There is a moment of truth in both perspectives....Yet while each story contains a grain of truth, both are fundamentally false....the protesters’ story bears witness yet again to the misery of today’s left: there is no positive programmatic content to its demands, just a generalized refusal to compromise the existing welfare state. The utopia here is not a radical change of the system, but the idea that one can maintain a welfare state within the system. Here, again, one should not miss the grain of truth in the countervailing argument: if we remain within the confines of the global capitalist system, then measures to wring further sums from workers, students and pensioners are, effectively, necessary.

One often hears that the true message of the Eurozone crisis is that not only the Euro, but the project of the united Europe itself is dead. But before endorsing this general statement, one should add a Leninist twist to it: Europe is dead—ok, but which Europe? The answer is: the post-political Europe of accommodation to the world market, the Europe which was repeatedly rejected at referendums, the Brussels technocratic expert Europe. The Europe that presents itself as standing for cold European reason against Greek passion and corruption, for mathematics against pathetics. But, utopian as it may appear, the space is still open for another Europe: a re-politicized Europe, founded on a shared emancipatory project; the Europe that gave birth to ancient Greek democracy....


  1. I don't really have a problem with Zizek's appearance in this, since if the makers of this film had the budget, they could've got the American PJ O'Rourke to say that we were in deep shit, and it still would've been correct.

    I had a look at a text by Jacques Bidet. I didn't really understand his ideas about economics. He has some interesting things to say about the sociology of capitalist society. I'm assuming he's a serious man on account of he's edited an eight hundred page book about Marxism.

    The cartoon isn't right about Marx's journalistic career. Marx's Rheinische Zeitung was published by and for the liberal bourgeoisie. Marx's career as a liberal journalist would have been finished after 1848 anyway. The writer forgets that bourgeois hegemony, in Germany, arrived later. There wasn't any trade off like this, between security and adventure. The cartoon suggests that social change depends on subjective choices that are the same throughout history. A person could defend this thesis, but they wouldn't be drawing too much on Marx.

    I'm not sure what the business with the pills is about. I think Antonin Artaud used to be a popular character in academic texts before the recession. Maybe they wrote a script about Artaud, and changed it to be about Karl Marx, to make it more culturally relevant.

    Marx's Das Kapital, in the cartoon, seems less like a book you'd read than a sort of talisman to ward off evil. I don't believe the pages really open. It made me think of the old Barthes text about Einstein's equation E = Mc squared.

    I can only extend my best wishes to Nina Power, wanting to take two Zizek pills, and my best wishes, as ever, to the authors of this blaawg.

  2. Gawd is Kamarad Nymphomania's ''two red pills'' meant to say that we are now to meta-reflectively accept Marxism as the opiate of the masses because reality needs an opiate,to be reality? I had no idea that she looked like a Puritan Bible thumper that way.

    Interesting how while Avatar is ostensibly and manifestly anti-imperialist, the trailer shows its ''perverse core'' when the character in the last shot screams THIS IS OUR LAND!!!

  3. thanks catmint- pj o'rourke or anyone could have said everything said but that kind of person wouldn't agree to play one of this madhouse inmates. the trailer looks like madhouse characters - zizek the reptile tongue bulge eyed maniac, negri of the deserted merry go round, nina power is a slow witted child who got into mommy's makeup and evidently put lipstick on her forehead and finks she wants wed piws pweez. it really is this kind of movie madhouse parade, these loons are what we find after the opening headline:apocalypse, the cheesy clichés of zombie movies complete with chorus grunting "uh!" and he stupid cartoon of the stupid kid's movie.

  4. and the german banker is positioned as their doctor.

  5. I'm not sure what the business with the pills is about.

    and that's the thing it's not about anything but brand i.d. jolt, the sweet "i'm you! don't you recognise me?" for the fanatics.its post post modern, completely empty of sense, but abundant in opportunities to pretend to make sense. Ity doesn't matter that it is vacuous, it matters that it looks like teevee. That's all, it's suitable screen filler and product placement promotion for entertainment commodities.

  6. it IS Negri - I thought, for some reason it was Jacques Bidet - he speaks such good French! - & Alberto Toscano

  7. negri like baby jane
    the media's own selection, and in most cases its own creation - zizz, toscano and power from central casting, negri is found material but so perfect because he is the image of ultraleft futility and varfing, known for the vacuous poeticism of his manifestos and for being on the edges of deadly farces like stupid pointless accidental murder or a student acolyte. That empty cheesy versailles-velvet merry go round in front of the hotel de ville...cut to zizz standing around as if magically surrounded by blue and red pills turned into trams. ooooeeeee, it's the matrix! then that mean shot of power staring stupidly, like a baby doll the string of which has yet to be pulled, then the string is pulled and she emits a zizekism in a baby voice. it's really unbelievable.

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