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Censorship today: violence, or ecology as a new opium for the masses

Zizek, Slavoj (2008) Censorship today: violence, or ecology as a new opium for the masses. Lacan.com 18 , pp. 42-43.

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Official URL: http://www.lacan.com/zizecology1.htm

Abstract

Marco Cicala, a Leftist Italian journalist, told me about his recent weird experience: when, in an article, he once used the word "capitalism," the editor asked him if the use of this term is really necessary - could he not replace it by a synonymous one, like "economy"? What better proof of the total triumph of capitalism than the virtual disappearance of the very term in the last 2 or 3 decades? No one, with the exception of a few allegedly archaic Marxists, refers to capitalism any longer. The term was simply struck from the vocabulary of politicians, trade unionists, writers and journalists - even of social scientists... But what about the upsurge of the anti-globalization movement in the last years? Does it not clearly contradict this diagnostic? No: a close look quickly shows how this movement also succumbs to "the temptation to transform a critique of capitalism itself (centered on economic mechanisms, forms of work organization, and profit extraction) into a critique of 'imperialism'." In this way, when one talks about "globalization and its agents," the enemy is externalized (usually in the form of vulgar anti-Americanism). From this perspective, where the main task today is to fight "the American empire," any ally is good if it is anti-American, and so the unbridled Chinese "Communist" capitalism, violent Islamic anti-modernists, as well as the obscene Lukashenko regime in Belarus may appear as progressive anti-globalist comrades-in-arms... What we have here is thus another version of the ill-famed notion of "alternate modernity": instead of the critique of capitalism as such, of confronting its basic mechanism, we get the critique of the imperialist "excess," with the (silent) notion of mobilizing capitalist mechanisms within another, more "progressive," frame.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 12 May 2011 15:35
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:18
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2244

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