Jan 2007

Objects a in the Analytic Experience

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by JACQUES-ALAIN MILLER

I am going to bring an end to the secret: the title of the next Congress of the WAP. After "The Names-of-the-Father", it will be "The objects a in the Analytic Experience". From One (the Name-of-the-Father) to others (the objects a), this is a good sequence. No less good because it is the flip side of the sequence that is laid at the end of the seminar "L'angoisse" and that goes from the a, in the singular, to "The Names-of-the-Father" in the plural.

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Robespierre or the "Divine Violence" of Terror

by SLAVOJ ZIZEK

When, in 1953, Chou En Lai, the Chinese Prime Minister, was in Geneva for the peace negotiations to end the Korean war, a French journalist asked him what does he think about the French Revolution; Chou replied: "It is still too early to tell." In a way, he was right: with the disintegration of the "people's democracies" in the late 1990s, the struggle for the historical place of the French Revolution flared up again. The liberal revisionists tried to impose the notion that the demise of Communism in 1989 occurred at exactly the right moment: it marked the end of the era which began in 1789, the final failure of the statist-revolutionary model which first entered the scene with the Jacobins.

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Mao Zedong: the Marxist Lord of Misrule

by SLAVOJ ZIZEK

One of the most devious traps which lurk for Marxist theorists is the search for the moment of the Fall, when things took the wrong turn in the history of Marxism: was it already the late Engels with his more positivist-evolutionary understanding of historical materialism? Was it the revisionism AND the orthodoxy of the Second International? Was it Lenin? Or was it Marx himself in his late work, after he abandoned his youthful humanism (as some "humanist Marxists" claimed decades ago)? This entire topic has to be rejected: there is no opposition here, the Fall is to be inscribed into the very origins. (To put it even more pointedly, such a search for the intruder who infected the original model and set in motionm its degeneration cannot but reproduce the logic of anti-Semitism.) What this means is that, even if - or, rather, especially if - one submits the Marxist past to a ruthless critique, one has first to acknowledge it as "one's own", taking full responsibility for it, not to comfortably get rid of the "bad" turn of the things by way of attributing it to a foreign intruder (the "bad" Engels who was too stupid to understand Marx's dialectics, the "bad" Lenin who didn't get the core of Marx's theory, the "bad" Stalin who spoils the noble plans of the "good" Lenin, etc.).

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The Uses of the Word "Jew"

josbad1
Tilton Gallery - New York, NY - 11/17/2006

by ALAIN BADIOU

For the last couple of decades, the intellectual situation in France has been marked by countless discussions about the status to be accorded to the word "Jew" within the divisions of thought.
Undoubtedly, this has to do with the suspicion, based on some indubitable facts and some contrived ones, that anti-Semitism has made a 'return'. But had it ever disappeared? Or is it not rather crucial to see that a considerable change has taken place in the nature of anti-Semitism's forms, criteria and inscription in discourse over the last thirty years?


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Against the Populist Temptation


zizou
Tilton Gallery - New York, NY - 11/20/2006

by SLAVOJ ZIZEK

The general conclusion is that, although the topic of populism is emerging as crucial in today's political scenery, it cannot be used as the ground for the renewal of the emancipatory politics. The first thing to note is that today's populism is different from the traditional version - what distinguishes it is the opponent against which it mobilizes the people: the rise of "post-politics," the growing reduction of politics proper to the rational administration of the conflicting interests. In the highly developed countries of the US and Western Europe, at least, "populism" is emerging as the inherent shadowy double of the institutionalized post-politics, one is almost tempted to say: as its supplement in the Derridean sense, as the arena in which political demands that do not fit the institutionalized space can be articulated. In this sense, there is a constitutive "mystification" that pertains to populism: its basic gesture is to refuse to confront the complexity of the situation, to reduce it to a clear struggle with a pseudo-concrete "enemy" figure (from "Brussels bureaucracy" to illegal immigrants). "Populism" is thus by definition a negative phenomenon, a phenomenon grounded in a refusal, even an implicit admission of impotence.

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Bodies, Languages Truths

xxjosbad
Pratt Institute - Brooklyn, NY - 11/16/2006

by ALAIN BADIOU

Our question will be:
What is the dominant ideology today? Or, if you want, what is, in our countries, the natural belief? There is the free market, the technology, the money, the job, the blog, the reelections, the free sexuality, and so on. But I think that all that can be concentrated in a single statement:

There are only bodies and languages.
This statement is the axiom of contemporary conviction. I propose to name this conviction democratic materialism. Why?


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Five Years After: the Fire in the Minds of Men

by SLAVOJ ZIZEK

Two Hollywood productions were released to mark the 5th anniversary of the 9/11: Paul Greengrass's United 93 and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. The first thing that strikes the eye is that both try to be as anti-Hollywood as possible: both focus on the courage of ordinary people, with no glamorous stars, no special effects, no grandiloquent heroic gestures, just a terse realistic depiction of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. There is undoubtedly a touch of authenticity in the films - recall how the large majority of critics unanimously praised the film's avoiding of sensationalism, its sober and restrained style. It is this very touch of authenticity that should make us suspicious - we should immediately ask ourselves what ideological purposes it serves.

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zizek article from new york times

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Denying the Facts, Finding the Truth
By SLAVOJ ZIZEK
Published: January 5, 2007
The United States is continuing, through other means, the greatest crime of Saddam Hussein: his never-ending attempt to topple the Iranian government.

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