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Žižek's New Book in French: The New Class Struggle - The Real Causes of Refugees and Terrorism

Slavoj Zizek has recently published 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). The following excerpt is the English translation of the introductory section of the book:

Against double blackmail

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in her classic book "The Last Instants of Life", has described her now famous description of the five stages we are experiencing in the announcement of a terminal illness: denial (we simply refuse to accept the situation : "It can not happen to me, not mine"); Anger (which explodes when we can no longer deny the situation: "How can this happen?"); Blackmail (hope that we can somehow extend the deadline or minimize the situation: "Let me live just long enough to see my children complete their studies"); Depression (libidinal disinvestment: "I'm going to die, so why do I care about anything?"); Acceptance ("I can not fight against the disease, so prepare me to die"). Kübler-Ross applies these five stages to all forms of personal catastrophe marked by loss (unemployment, death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction). It also emphasizes that they do not necessarily follow in the same order, nor necessarily all of them.


.....denial (we simply refuse to accept the situation : "It can not happen to me, not mine");  
Anger (which explodes when we can no longer deny the situation: "How can this happen?"); 
Blackmail (hope that we can somehow extend the deadline or minimize the situation: "Let me live just long enough to see my children complete their studies"); 
Depression (libidinal disinvestment: "I'm going to die, so why do I care about anything?"); 
Acceptance ("I can not fight against the disease, so prepare me to die").






Today, in Western Europe, the reaction of the authorities and public opinion to the influx of refugees from Africa and the Middle East seems to be a combination of these different reactions. There are those - less and less numerous - who react by denial: "It is not so serious, do not worry us. "Those who give in to anger:" Refugees pose a threat to our way of life - not to mention radical Islamists hiding among them. They must be stopped at all costs! "Those who try blackmail:" OK, set quota and fund refugee camps, but in their own country! Those who fall into depression: "We are lost, Europe is turning into Europastan! A reaction is, however, totally absent here, the last stage described by Kübler-Ross: acceptance, which in this case means the elaboration at European level of a coherent plan proposing a solution to the refugee problem.

The terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 further complicated the situation. We must of course condemn unconditionally these atrocities, but ... This "but" does not announce any kind of extenuating circumstance - there can be none - but indicates that these atrocities must be really condemned. Such condemnation requires much more than the usual description of the media, the simple and poignant spectacle of the solidarity of all (civilized, democratic and free people) against the murderous Islamic monster. There is something strange about the solemn declarations that we are at war with the Islamic state - all the world's superpowers against a religious group controlling a small strip of land that is essentially desert ... This does not mean, Is not necessary to us to destroy the Islamic state, without conditions and without "but" - the only "but" is that we must really use to destroy it, which requires much more than pathetic statements and Calls for the solidarity of all "civilized" forces against the demonic fundamentalist enemy. It is not a question of repeating the familiar litany of the well-thinking Left that "terror can not be fought by terror, violence causes more violence", the time has come to ask questions Unpleasant: how does the Islamic state manage to survive? As we all know, in spite of official condemnations and rejections on all sides, there are forces and states that not only tolerate it but also support it.

As David Graeber pointed out recently, had Turkey established a blockade as severe as that imposed on the Kurdish regions of Syria against the territories of the Islamic State, and if she had testified to the PKK and the YPG, The "benevolent indifference" with which the Islamic State has shown itself, the latter has long since collapsed, and the attacks of Paris would certainly not have occurred. Similar things happen in Saudi Arabia, the main ally of the United States in the region (which considers favorably the war waged by the Islamic state against the Shiites), and even Israel, when it comes to condemning the state Islamic state, observes a suspicious silence motivated by an opportunistic calculation (the Islamic State fights the pro-Iranian Shiite forces, which Israel considers its main enemy).

The agreement concluded at the end of November 2015 between the European Union and Turkey (the latter will reduce the number of refugees entering Europe in exchange for generous financial aid, originally fixed at 3 billion euros) is a shameful and disgusting act , A real ethical and political catastrophe. Is this how we intend to carry out the "war on terror", yielding to Turkish blackmail and rewarding one of the main leaders in the progression of the Islamic state in Syria? If the pragmatic and opportunistic justification for this agreement is clear (corrupting Turkey is not the most obvious way of limiting the influx of refugees?), Its long-term consequences will be catastrophic.


The agreement concluded at the end of November 2015 between the European Union and Turkey (the latter will reduce the number of refugees entering Europe in exchange for generous financial aid, originally fixed at 3 billion euros) is a shameful and disgusting act , A real ethical and political catastrophe.

This obscure background clearly shows that the "total war" against the Islamic state is not being seriously addressed - that the countries concerned do not really intend to carry it out. We are not dealing here with the clash of civilizations (the Christian West against radicalized Islam), but with a shock within each civilization: in the Christian space, the United States and Western Europe against the Russian Federation; In the Muslim space, the Sunnites against the Shiites. The monstrosity of the Islamic state serves as a fetish concealing all these conflicts in which each party claims to fight Daesh to better reach its true enemy.

A more serious analysis going beyond the common ground of the "war on terror" should, in the first place, argue that the Paris attacks constituted a sudden and momentary interruption of the normal course of everyday life. (It is significant that the attacks did not target political and military institutions, but symbols of everyday popular culture - restaurants, the rock concert hall, the football stadium ...) This form of terrorism - A temporary disruption - tends to characterize attacks on developed Western countries, thus clearly distinguishing them from the many developing countries in which violence is a constant reality. Think of everyday life in Congo, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon ... Where are the surges of international solidarity faced with the incessant atrocities perpetrated there? Let us remember that we now live in a kind of greenhouse in which terrorist violence exists mainly in the collective imagination in the form of a threat punctually carried out, unlike those countries where life Is marked by a more or less uninterrupted violence and terror, generally with the participation or complicity of the West.






The monstrosity of the Islamic state serves as a fetish concealing all these conflicts in which each party claims to fight Daesh to better reach its true enemy.

In his book The Crystal Palace. Within the framework of planetary capitalism, Peter Sloterdijk demonstrates that the capitalist system, through the processes of globalization, has come to determine all conditions of life. One of the first major signs of this development was the construction of the Crystal Palace in London, which hosted the first world exhibition in 1851. This was a tangible example of the inevitable exclusive character of globalization, A kind of vast inner world whose invisible boundaries are nevertheless almost impassable from the outside, and which today is inhabited by one and a half billion "winners" of globalization; Those who are excluded, those left behind, are three times more numerous. Consequently, as Sloterdijk writes, "the inner space of the world of capital is not an agora, nor an open-air fair, but a greenhouse that has attracted inwardly all that was once in the world Outside ". This interior, built on the excesses of capitalism, determines absolutely everything: "The central fact of modern times is not that the Earth revolves around the sun, but that money runs around the Earth. After the process of transforming the world into a sphere, "social life [...] could only take place in a wider interior, in an internal space ordered as a house and endowed with an artificial climate". From now on, with the absolute predominance of cultural capitalism, all the upheavals that are likely to transform the world system are contained: "Under such conditions no historical event could happen" - all disturbances of this kind would be " Moreover, of domestic accidents ".

Sloterdijk rightly points out that capitalist globalization is not only synonymous with openness and conquest but also materializes the idea of a closed sphere in which the privileged interior is separated from the outside. These two aspects of globalization are inseparable: the global dimension of capitalism rests on the radical class division it has imposed on the entire planet, separating those who are protected by the sphere from those who are excluded from it and who are This fact in a position of vulnerability.