Darko Fritz on Mon, 14 Feb 2000 17:59:40 +0100


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Syndicate: FW: FW: FW: FW: McKenzie Wark on Zizek


     #  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
     #  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
     #  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
     #  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg
body
     #  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net


____________________________________________________________________________
____
no copyright 2000 rolux.org - no commercial use without permission. <rolux>
is a
moderated mailing list for the advancement of minor criticism. more
information:
mail to: majordomo@rolux.org, subject line: <rolux>, message body: info.
further
questions: mail to: rolux-owner@rolux.org. <rolux> archive:
http://www.rolux.org



------Syndicate mailinglist--------------------
 Syndicate network for media culture and media art
 information and archive: http://www.v2.nl/syndicate
 to unsubscribe, write to <syndicate-request@aec.at>
 in the body of the msg: unsubscribe your@email.adress

     #  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
     #  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
     #  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
     #  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg
body
     #  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net


____________________________________________________________________________
____
no copyright 2000 rolux.org - no commercial use without permission. <rolux>
is a
moderated mailing list for the advancement of minor criticism. more
information:
mail to: majordomo@rolux.org, subject line: <rolux>, message body: info.
further
questions: mail to: rolux-owner@rolux.org. <rolux> archive:
http://www.rolux.org



------Syndicate mailinglist--------------------
 Syndicate network for media culture and media art
 information and archive: http://www.v2.nl/syndicate
 to unsubscribe, write to <syndicate-request@aec.at>
 in the body of the msg: unsubscribe your@email.adress



        Why do we all love Zizek?

        Where would we be without Slavoj Zizek? Where would the purely
        rhetorical leftism of the intellectuals be without hos
        rhetorical skills? Why, we would have to actually learn
        something about policy. We would have to immerse ourselves in
        all the boring details of how to administer education or
        welfare, or reform the taxt system, or any of the intricate,
        detailed, troublesome issues that actually do differentiate
        social democratic from liberal or conservative politics.

        Note what Zizek is saying: the far right are indeed right to
        oppose a simple minded oppositionalism to the technics of
        politics, the little problems of instituting justice. What the
        far left and the far right share is a lack of patience for the
        problem of allocating resources. Oh for the good old days of
        debt financing! Where the problem of the tradeoff between
        different allocations of scarce state resources was simply to
        borrow more, and more, and more...  As for whether there might
        be negative effects on the economy as a whole from this approach
        to finscal policy, oh let's not bother thinking about that. Too
        complicated. Too hard.

        And something that involves a real competence, a knowledge of
        how political economy actually works, a familiarity with the
        evidence and the arguments from the applied knowledge of state
        craft.

        The only thing 'post political' thesedays is the pseudoleftism
        exemplified by Zizek's column on Austrian politics. This rush to
        embrace populism and its defusal of politics, its fantasy of
        replacing the technics of politics with the fantasy of ideology.

        This is a fatal temptation for 'the left' -- the point at which
        it outs itself as not being 'the left' at all, but really just a
        variant of the rhetoric of the right. It is not the populist
        right that is acting 'like' the left in its oppositionalism.
        Quite the reverse.  'The left' is really part of the right. A
        left wing conservatism, loning for the good old days when
        rhetoric and ideology really seemed to rule, when the
        specialisation of knowledge as applied to the problem of justice
        had not developed within and around the state.

        Populism's appeal is for the reinstatement of special status,
        usually for groups such as organised labour, small business or
        farmers. Usually there is an unstable alliance of two or three
        of these groups.  They long for a return to the protection of
        the state. They want the benefits of international trade but
        don't want anyone else to benefit.  They want other people's
        markets opened while their own to remain closed. In this sense
        the response from other European powers to the Austrian
        situation is quite appropriate: a threat to withdraw the
        benefits Austria enjoys within the (limited and still protected)
        world of intra-European trade and immigration.

        The instinct of leftist intellectuals is torn by the rise of
        populism.  We learned the hard way, in the 30s, that flirting
        with it is very, very dangerous. But intellectuals also want
        their privileges maintained within the state. They (we) want the
        benefits of globalisation but not the costs. We want to travel,
        to work abroad, have our work known everywhere. Yet we also want
        a privileged relation to the state, an authority legitimated by
        it (even if only as its internal opposition).

        Increasingly irrelevant to the actual problems of state, wary of
        too close a flirtation with populism but attracted to its
        oppositional rhetoric, there is nowhere for the old style
        intellectual to go but into the media. There the old rhetorics
        still have a function -- that of filling up column inches.
        Providing the illusion of an ideological debate -- something
        simple that journalists can dramatise. But what a sorry end for
        leftism: retailing old rhetorics to journalists, filling space
        in magazines -- and providing comfort to populists in their
        refusal of the detail of politics, the technics of justice, the
        calculus of compromise. It is not that social democracy hs
        betrayed its followers. Quite the contrary, it is the
        intellectuals who have failed social democracy, by failing to
        grow up, as it has had to, and provide real benefits for its
        constituencies.

        And how pathetic that it takes the populist right to mount a
        critique of social democracy when it fails! Where are the
        intellectuals who refused the benefits of complicity with social
        democracy in power, who had something more than a rhetorical
        critique of its shortcomings?

        k

        ______________________________________
        McKenzie Wark http://www.mcs.mq.edu.au/~mwark
        Guest Scholar, American Studies, New York University
        "We no longer have origins we have terminals"




------Syndicate mailinglist--------------------
 Syndicate network for media culture and media art
 information and archive: http://www.v2.nl/syndicate
 to unsubscribe, write to <syndicate-request@aec.at>
 in the body of the msg: unsubscribe your@email.adress