Thursday, October 28, 2010

In The Time of Lobsters...

...the fact is that:

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.

This is not just some risible, slobbering babble from the worldth motht dangerith Marxitht because these measures and the fable of their "necessity" are bound together: This is not just an ideology, but a praxis – a skilled application of lessons from past experience to the present crisis.


  1. I love it that Zizek has referenced ONE of his claims:

    "What if the complete hopelessness of the situation, by stimulating the efforts of the workers and peasants tenfold, offered us the opportunity to create the fundamental requisites of civilization in a different way from that of the West European countries? (V. I. Lenin, ‘Our Revolution’ [1923], in Collected Works, vol. 33, Moscow 1966, p. 479.)"

    I'm not sure if he's got very far with the previous thirty two volumes, judging by this piece of analysis:

    "Ours is thus the very opposite of the classical early 20th-century situation, in which the left knew what had to be done (establish the dictatorship of the proletariat), but had to wait patiently for the proper moment of execution."

    The "drift" of the article is that Communist Parties in power found themselves in difficult situations, and resorted to unreal voluntarist propaganda. We're in "a situation" too, so maybe we ought to indulge ourselves in unreal voluntarism too. Perhaps the quotation above can be seen as a real Leninist applying the voluntarist, emancipatory kernal of Leninism, by backing the truck over the really existing Lenin, and the really existing Leninism.

    "Mao Zedong’s old motto is pertinent" [!]

    Chinese people do go in for this stuff: it suffices to recall the fortune cookies often served in Chinese restaurants. But at least Mao's biscuit barrel of ancient wisdom put the Chinese on a better footing than Latin Americans, who are devoid of intellectuals altogether:

    "What if, in truth, intellectuals lead basically safe and comfortable lives, and in order to justify their livelihoods, construct scenarios of radical catastrophe? For many, no doubt, if a revolution is taking place, it should occur at a safe distance—Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela"

    Supposedly, the goverments of Chavez and Morales are sustained by insane voluntarism alone:

    "Their situation is ‘objectively’ hopeless: the whole drift of history is basically against them, they cannot rely on any ‘objective tendencies’ pushing in their way"

    but these governments acually exist! It might be argued that the objective tendency of history up to now has been bringing about the present in its actual form.

    "we will have to reinvent aspects of the new" [sic]

    just appalling drivel from start to finish

  2. these deployments of the saturday morning chinaman and the distant jungle of south america...his fans enjoy this. He's getting bolder and bolder with it though, but notice how he worked up to working up over 6 years to the n-word as the punchline of his big- black-guy story. He operates like Ariel Sharon. Steadily, patiently expanding, building the staircase he's climbing one step at a time. In a couple years he will be reminding us that Mao said "Confucius say world in chaos, situation excellent." He might even do a yoda voice.

    the thing about the insane voluntarism is it's offered as a fantasy, a daydream that his audience can have with videogames or watchign V for vendetta or whatever. It's not intended to be more - it's just riling them up for the rich experience of cocaculture and an exhausting and pacifying involvement in the steered and guided fantasising.

    worser and worser -

    SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: Yeah, but let me tell you something else which may surprise you here. I will make a different comment, because in my country, Slovenia, the same thing is going on. Of course, in general, in principle, I support those who strike and so on. But did you notice how they are mostly—mostly—state employees with guaranteed employment and so on. A strange phenomenon is now exploding in Europe, getting more and more accentuated, which was here, we just didn’t notice it all the time. Those who dare to strike today are usually the privileged, those who have a guaranteed state employment and so on. And they strike for these things like, no, we don’t want to freeze our salaries; we want raise them up, while, for example, in my country, there are thousands of textile workers, women, who, if one were to offer them what—that situation with regard to which those who strike today are protesting, like "we guarantee you permanent employment, just with frozen salaries for next five years," they would say, "My god! That’s better than we dared to dream." This is what worries me a little bit, that this strike waves, you know, are clearly predominantly strikes of the, let’s call it in old Leninist terms, workers’ aristocracy, those with safe positions. The truly needy and poor one don’t even dare to strike.

    AMY GOODMAN: But talk about the mass protests in the street in France compared to what we don’t have here. We don’t see that in the streets.

    SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: OK, this is an old French tradition, and I wouldn’t even overestimate it. You know why? Because—this is what makes me sad. There is no alternate—again, we are always returning to the same problem—there is no global alternate vision. They are—sorry, but now I will appear like anti-worker, but I’m not, please believe me. They just think, "Oh, no, we want this. We want our piece of cake" and so on. Well, what the left is missing is a kind of a more global idea of how to restructure entire economy. I mean, they are not addressing the true causes. This makes me very sad. This is typical. All that the left can do today is to propose—sorry, oppose—protest against reductions. The left is, let me be very frank, in this social sense, a conservative force. In the social sense of social, fast changes and so on, it’s capitalists who are today the revolutionary class. This makes it very sad, the situation.

  3. The representatives of different social powers—trade unions, industrialists—maybe this is possible only in Scandinavia—they came together and concluded a kind of a social pact. .... It worked wonderfully.

    I mean seriously.

  4. “You may not have lived much under the sea—” ("I haven’t,” said Alice)—"and perhaps you were never even introduced to a lobster—" (Alice began to say, “I once tasted—” but checked herself hastily, and said, “No, never”) “—so you can have no idea what a delightful thing a Lobster-Quadrille is!”

    “No, indeed,” said Alice. “What sort of a dance is it?”