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"I am like all leftists, defender of the people, but fascinated by the stars" - Slavoj Zizek


Slavoj Zizek has recently been interviewed by Télérama, a French magazine on the occasion of his new book in French: La Nouvelle Lutte des classes. Les vraies causes des réfugiés et du terrorisme (The New Class Struggle: The real causes of refugees and terrorism). Here is the translated version of the interview. 


Slavoj Zizek does not mince his words. The Slovenian philosopher, provocative prolix, gives us his analysis on the crisis of refugees.
Amber Heard lodges a complaint against Johnny Depp and Slavoj Zizek talks about the refugees ... This is how Zizek wants to appear in the headlines of TéléramaThe Slovenian philosopher, a star of the radical left, an indefatigable defender of the communist ideal, has ideas, opinions and projects that are flying in every direction. Our conversation was long, full of digressions and twists, as Zizek, provocative, hyperactive, fires all wood, passing willingly from the cock to the donkey, mixing Marx, Hegel, Stalin, politics and pop culture, to speak of Brexit, de Podemos, subaltern studies ... 







He also recounts his rewriting of Antigone , the latest series that enthuses him, The Man in the High Castle , inspired byPhilip K. Dick or the detective novels of the Icelandic Arnaldur Indridason . If he has not seen Maggie has a plan ,  Rebecca Miller, a film where her name appears, phantom philosopher, alongside Ethan Hawke , Greta Gerwig and Julianne Moore , he admits to having been seduced by a recent interview The actress Sienna Miller in which she talks about ... him - until he told the reporter that Zizek is more Lacanian than Freudian. "  I am like all the leftists, defender of the people, But fascinated by the stars! I will make my self-criticism when the time comes. Said Zizek. Meeting with a troublemaker of thought.
You are very critical of what you call the "humanitarian" attitude of the Left on the refugee problem.
I refuse this humanitarian approach which dominates in the well-thinking left and which moralizes the situation. It is the reverse of racist brutality against migrants. There are millions of refugees, poor and desperate, for whom there is of course something to be done. But the solution is not to open all borders to welcome them all in Europe, which would cause a huge catastrophe. The disaster has already taken place in a sense, especially in the Balkans, on this road Greece-Macedonia-Serbia-Croatia-Slovenia-Austria. It was chaos that reigned, which logically created distrust, protest, and anguish. Why not welcome the refugees in a more organized and coordinated way?
Do you propose, militarily?
Finally, it would be an opportunity to use in a very concrete way the army, which has thousands of young men in excellent physical shape. Reception centers should be set up near the epicenter of the crisis in Syria, Greece, Libya, counting, identifying and registering refugees, seeing how they can be accommodated and organizing transport to the countries of origin, Reception in boats, planes. Only the army could do such an organized task.
"We must speak openly about certain cultural problems, and differences among refugees"
The left is also faulty, according to you, that the populist right openly anti-immigrant?
Yes, in the sense that this well-thinking Left seeks to conceal the subjects who are angry, and refuses to approach them in public. We have to talk openly about certain cultural problems, and about the differences among refugees. Some are middle-class and educated, but the majority of Muslims have a traditional, patriarchal way of life which, of course, causes difficulties and is often incompatible with the Western conception of human rights. To pass over the problems, to deny them, is to give arguments to the anti-immigrants. This directly serves the radical right which is already living in total paranoia.
What problems need to be addressed?
The fact that some Muslims do not support our open, tolerant societies that defend the rights of women and homosexuals. And more generally this mode of liberty which, in our case, is more individual. In Germany, Sweden or the Netherlands, gay pride was attacked by Muslims. In order to prevent conflicts, strict rules and tolerance for the way of life of others are required. But where should tolerance stop?
An example: that some children in primary schools get pork-free food at the canteen, that seems normal, it's cultural difference. But that some go to a higher level seeking to ban the pig just, it is not possible. That some families refuse to allow their daughters to go to the pool and participate in water activities, why not, but refuse that all the girls wear mini-skirts so as not to tempt the boys, there no. As Jean-Claude Milner, who recently visited Ljubljana, says, not all Muslims are passive victims, some have active plans. And some of them set the tone.
A chapter of your book is devoted to the events of Cologne.
This was a kind of carnival ritual, which often took place as Tahrir Square in Egypt or Palestine, in Ramallah. They are not always rapes but sometimes harassment. I also bring it closer to a ritual that took place in the Paris of the 1730s: the massacres and torture of cats, the direct attacks of the printing apprentices against the bourgeois masters and their wives who loved these animals. Cats were associated with the most intimate aspect of domestic life: sex.
In Cologne, and in other cities, victims, the socially neglected, give a nihilistic, aggressive and obscene form to their situation by targeting the sex of women. They know very well what they are doing and are responsible for what they do. That is why it is totally naive to want to "educate" them, to enlighten them on our morals and the place of women in our societies. It is a contact problem of lifestyles; We should not do that in our countries, and that is precisely why they do it. We have to talk about these problems openly, and set rules. That is true antiracism. If we do not, we're heading for an explosion.
"It is necessary to tackle the situation that caused the refugees to flee their country rather than treat them as objects of humanitarian aid"
Yet you say that we are not dealing with a clash of civilizations.
Indeed, it is less a clash of civilizations between the Christian West and radicalized Islam than a shock within each civilization: the Sunnites against the Shiites in the Arab world; The United States and Western Europe against Russia. The tragedy of a country like Syria is that it has become an empty screen, through which the great powers are fighting. Each party claims to fight Daech to better reach its true enemy. Everything is driven by geopolitical interests, including the emergence of a new axis formed by Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia to fight the influence of Iran.
The refugee scene is brought to the forefront, but it is necessary to take a back shooting to obtain a broader, more general plan. What then appears is our absolute responsibility, ultimately, to use a Marxist vocabulary. We pay the price of the Western interventions of after September 11 and in particular the American occupation of Iraq. It is therefore necessary to address the situation that caused refugees to flee their country rather than treat them as humanitarian aid.
You also denounce the tendency of the left to criticize Eurocentrism.
It is indeed very fashionable to criticize Eurocentrism, identified with colonialism. Some say that the European idea is old, finite, even though thousands of people want to join Europe. There is a curious paradox here. But in the world as it is with a rather savage Anglo-Saxon capitalism on one side and the very authoritative capitalism that reigns in China, Turkey or Russia, I still prefer Europe.
Criticism of the European heritage is criticizing what is most precious to us, feminism, equality, solidarity, the welfare state, religious freedoms, protection of individual freedom from collective pressures, all These values ​​which we must reaffirm strongly in the refugee crisis, without fear that they appear to be Eurocentre.
Nor should we forget that the theoretical apparatus used to criticize the excesses of European liberalism comes from Europe. I can say in this provocative way that universalism is a European idea. Within the European tradition, a radical self-criticism has always been at work. Europe is the only civilization that includes doubt about itself.