Slavoj Zizek: Paradise Regained or Lost Again?


We don’t really learn anything new from the Paradise Papers – we have been vaguely aware of it for a long time. What is new is not that our vague suspicions are now confirmed by precise data, but a change in what, following Hegel, one should call Sitten – public customs – which now seem to tolerate much less corruption. One should not idealize this new situation: a fight against corruption can easily be appropriated by conservative anti-liberal forces whose longstanding motto is ‘too much democracy brings corruption’. A new space is nonetheless opened up: demanding of the rich and powerful that they obey the laws can be subversive insofar as the system cannot really afford it, i.e. insofar as tax havens and other forms of illegal financial activities are a deeply ingrained part of global capitalism.

The first conclusion we are compelled to draw from this strange predicament is that class struggle is back as the main determining factor of our political life, in the good old Marxist sense of ‘determination in the last instance’: even if the stakes appear to be totally different, from humanitarian crises to ecological threats, class struggle lurks in the background and casts its ominous shadow.

The second conclusion is that class struggle is less and less directly transposed into the struggle between political parties, and increasingly takes place within each big political party. In the US, class struggle cuts across the Republican Party (the Party establishment versus Bannon-like populists) and across the Democratic Party (the Clinton wing versus the Sanders movement). We should, of course, never forget that Bannon is the beacon of the alt-right while Clinton supports many progressive causes, such as the fight against racism and sexism. However, at the same time we should never forget that the LGBT+ struggle can also be co-opted by mainstream liberalism against ‘class essentialism’ of the Left.

The third conclusion thus concerns the Left’s strategy in this complex situation. While any pact between Sanders and Bannon is excluded for obvious reasons, a key element of the Left’s tactics should be to ruthlessly exploit divisions in the enemy camp and fight for Bannon followers. To cut a long story short, there is no victory of the Left without the broad alliance of all anti-establishment forces. One should never forget that our true enemy is the global capitalist establishment and not the new populist Right, which is merely a reaction to its impasses. If we forget this, then the Left will simply disappear from the map… (my italics)

—Like A Thief In Broad Daylight: Power in the Era of Post-Humanity – Slavoj Zizek


3 thoughts on “Slavoj Zizek: Paradise Regained or Lost Again?

  1. Slsvoj Zizek: Class divisions also involve gangs that deal drugs with police, and other corrupt agencies, as well as all those who do under the table “work”, one offs, and anyone using cash, etc., avoiding any paper trail. As a result, we hardly know what ANY economy, capitalistic, etc., really is in accurate statistics


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