The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

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T he year was a year of social unrest. These protests, howsoever, created a pattern. Like the student mobilization, these social movements represent radi- cal emancipatory attempts against the hegemonizing ideologues of democ- racy that vanguard contemporary capitalism. It is divided into ten short chapters and concluded with an unexpected theological twist. The first half of the book ex- amines the basic features of contemporary capitalism and the remaining half is largely attributed to the famous social movements of such as the Occupy Wall Street OWS and Arab Spring AS.

Jimenez over the dead corpse 1. That is why for him, it is important to locate these events of within the central antagonisms of contemporary capitalism. These events, he writes, are deadlocks, or distortions, coming from subjec- tive standpoints offering their own concept of objective reality 3. Mean- ing, that from their contours, reality is based on how they subjectively en- gage these deadlocks contemporary capitalism e. From this ideological deadlock, the question that basically arises is not only one of origin but also of its nature, namely, what is the status of global capitalism today?

What is then the framework of Capital today? Here comes his lenient backing from Lacan.

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Dream occurs in a subjective engagement of what one desires. The space or gap allows one to dream or desire for the fulfillment of such gap. For example, in China, they are starting to introduce capitalism without the bourgeoisie since social instability might be brought by that particular class They emerged from the visionary status of a secured future either seen economically, socially or politically. The middle class were proletarianized according to him Henceforth, movements were not a totality of forces acting on a certain cause but per- haps on multiple causes better be a personal interest of a certain class.

The first event: Occupy Movement. The democratic illusion lies when democratic institutions like banks IMF, World Bank and others co-opted hand in hand with corporations to exploit each social relation. They become modern slaves whose impetus to revolt is the structure of the exploitation itself: lack of economic security, unjustifiable wages, and illegal contract of work. In response, he asked these questions: how can we institutionalize collective decision-making beyond the framework of the democratic multi-party system?

Who will be the agent of this re-invention?

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Or, to put it in a direct way: who knows what to do today? Well, he gave a cunning answer: the people know the answer but never know the question. The OWS is successful at one point, but what has to be done af- ter it translates itself far away 77? What waits after today? It is the ultimate irony of history that radical individualism serves as an ideological justification for the unconstrained power of what the vast majority experience as an anonymous force that, without any democratic public control, regulates their lives.

What this means is that the culture war is a class war in a displaced mode—pace those who claim that we live in a post-class society. This, however, makes the enigma only more impenetrable: how is this displacement possible? If nothing else, we should recall how, years ago, Kansas was a hotbed of progressive populism in the US—and people have certainly not become more stupid over the last few decades. Nor would a direct psychoanalytic explanation in the old Wilhelm Reich style peoples libidinal investments compel them to act against their rational interests be adequate: it confronts the libidinal economy and the economy proper too directly, failing to grasp their mediation.

This categorization obviously does capture an aspect of social reality. Recall the coalition between the Church and trade unions in Germany in early , which prevented the legalization of Sunday opening for shops. The same goes for racism: it is the dynamics of class struggle itself that explain why open racism is more prevalent among the lowest strata of white workers. The third thing to underline is the fundamental difference between feminist, anti-racist, anti-sexist and other such struggles and the class struggle.

In the first case, the goal is to translate antagonism into difference the peaceful coexistence of sexes, religions, ethnic groups , while the goal of the class struggle is precisely the opposite, to turn class differences into class antagonisms.

The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

In the one case, we have a horizontal logic of the recognition of different identities, while in the other we have the logic of the struggle with an antagonist. Does not today s hatred of multiculturalism and of the immigrant threat function in a homologous way?

The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

Its very inconsistencies are symptomatic of the B inner contradictions of this view. He advocates Christianity, but remains a secular agnostic: Christianity is for him merely a cultural construct to oppose Islam. Furthermore, Breivik combines Nazi traits for example, his sympathy for Saga, the Swedish pro-Nazi folk singer with a hatred of Hitler: one of his heroes is Max Manus, the leader of the Norwegian anti-Nazi resistance. Breivik is not so much racist as anti-Muslim: all his hatred is focused on the Muslim threat.

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And, last but not least, Breivik is anti-Semitic but pro-Israel, since the State of Israel is the first line of defense against Muslim expansionism—he even wants to see the Temple in Jerusalem rebuilt. The true issue is not peace, but the liberation of the Palestinians—how the Palestinians are to get back part of the land taken from them and establish full political autonomy. In other words, the issue is not about peace in the same way in which, say, the colonial wars in Indochina or Algiers were not about peace between France and the colonized population.

But what if we are entering a new era in which this new reasoning will impose itself? In a way, Breivik was justified in his choice of target: he did not attack the foreigners themselves but those within his own community who were overly tolerant towards them.

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The problem is not foreigners, it 2 Incidentally, one should note here that in the s, in direct response to Nazi anti-Semitism, Ernest Jones, the main agent of the conformist gentrification of psychoanalysis, engaged in weird reflections on the percentage of foreigners a national population can tolerate in its midst without endangering its own identity—thereby accepting the Nazi problematic. Recent outbursts of homophobia in the East European postCommunist states should give us pause for thought. In early , thousands took part in a gay parade in Istanbul without violence or disturbance; in gay parades that took place at the same time in Serbia and Croatia Belgrade and Split , the police were unable to protect the participants, who were ferociously attacked by thousands of violent Christian fundamentalists.

We can observe a similar weird alliance in the US: how can the American Christian fundamentalists, who are, as it were, by nature anti-Semitic, now passionately support the Zionist policy of the State of Israel? There is only one solution to this enigma: it is not that the US fundamentalists have changed, it is that Zionism itself, in its hatred of those Jews who do not fully identify with the politics of the State of Israel, paradoxically became anti-Semitic, for it has constructed the figure of the Jew who doubts the Zionist project along anti-Semitic lines. Israel is engaged in a Faustian pact.

A leading advocate of the standard Christianconservative agenda Hagee sees the Kyoto Protocol as a conspiracy aimed at manipulating the US economy; in his bestselling novel Jerusalem Countdown, the Antichrist is the head of the European Union , Hagee has been to Israel twenty-two times and has met with every Israeli prime minister since Begin.

Jewish critics of Israel are regularly dismissed as self-hating Jews. However, are not the real self-haters those who secretly hate the true greatness of the Jewish nation, precisely the Zionists who have allied themselves with anti-Semites? How did we end up in such a bizarre situation? The same goes for the disappointment after To put it in terms of the Ninotchka joke, as the name of the Polish movement proclaims, the dissident protesters wanted freedom and democracy without the ruthless capitalist lack of solidarity, but what they got was precisely freedom and democracy without solidarity.

Due to its overwhelming majority in the Hungarian parliament, Prime Minister Viktor Orbaris rightistpopulist Fidesz Party has the power to amend the constitution; furthermore, it has imposed new rules that will allow it to approve legislation in as little as a day and without substantive debate. A law that creates a media control body, with members appointed by the ruling party in parliament. All media outlets will be required to register with the body to operate lawfully.

While most critics limit themselves to urbi, they neglect the orbi dimension of current events in Hungary. A new law on religion gives automatic recognition to only fourteen religious organizations, forcing the remaining groups over of them, including representatives of world religions such as Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims to go through a difficult re-registration process.

The applicant organizations will have to prove at least one hundred years of international existence or twenty years of established activity in Hungary; their authenticity and theology will be evaluated by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Parliament s Human Rights and Religions Committee, and finally voted on by a two-thirds majority of the Parliament.

We could go on with this list, including the change to the very name of the state: no longer the Republic of Hungary, but just Hungary, the apolitical-ethnic sacred entity. These laws were widely criticized both inside and outside Hungary as a threat to European freedoms—the former US ambassador to Hungary even ironically suggested the country would once again need Radio Free Europe. The basic paradox of these laws resides in the tension between content and form.

Contemporary Culture from the Arab World and Beyond

Although they are presented with regard to their content as antitotalitarian laws, that is, although their apparent target is the rump of the Communist regime, their real target is liberal freedoms—these laws are the true attack on Europe, the true threat to the European legacy. It is easy to point out the obscene absurdities of these laws—for example, in Hungary today, dissidents who fought the old regime but are now faithful to the liberal-democratic legacy are treated by the ruling party as if they were complicit with the horrors of Communism.

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But liberal complacency is mistaken for another reason: it remains focused on the urbi of Hungary, forgetting how the orbi of global capitalism is implicated in it. In other words, beyond the easy condemnation of Orbans rule, we have to ask why this drift of post-Communist Eastern Europe towards rightist-nationalist populism has occurred.

Back in the s, Max Horkheimer responded to facile critics of fascism by saying that those who did not want to talk critically about capitalism should also keep silent about fascism. Does not the democratic critique of this law strike an odd note in relation to the criticisms of the other laws? The point to be made was formulated clearly by the philosopher G. The case of Hungary thus indicates the ambiguity of anti-European sentiment.

Let us join the EU! This is how, today, many Slovenes perceive the EU: it brings some help, but it also brings new problems with its regulations and fines, its demands for finance to help Greece, etcetera. Is, then, the EU worth defending? The true question is, of course, which EU are we referring to?

A century ago G. The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. Some of them love human dignity so much that they are ready to legalize torture—the ultimate degradation of that dignity. I can participate in this universal dimension directly, irrespective of my special place within the global social order.

No wonder that, for those fully identified with a particular way of life, the appearance of Christ was seen as either a ridiculous joke or a traumatic scandal. But the impasse of Europe goes much deeper. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in , a secret deal had been struck; Germany recognized Croatia, and Yugoslavia was doomed. In Washington, the US ensured that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans and the defunct Nato was reinvented as an enforcer.

How can we break out of this deadlock? A debate in Germany may indicate the path. Utterly failed.

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If all sides do not share or respect the same civility, then multiculturalism turns into legally regulated mutual ignorance or hatred. The conflict about multiculturalism is already a conflict about Leitkultur: it is not a conflict between cultures, but a conflict between different visions of how different cultures can and should coexist, about the rules and practices these cultures have to share if they are to coexist.

At this level, of course, we are never tolerant enough, or else we are always already too tolerant, neglecting of course, they would have agreed with it. Such ignorance is quite common among quasi-leftists defending Yugoslavia. I still remember my amusement when, in his condemnation of the NATO bombing of Serbia, Michael Parenti gave way to outrage at the senseless attack on the Crvena Zastava car factory that, he claimed, produced no arms I should note that, while serving in the Yugoslav Army in , I was equipped with a Crvena Zastava machine gun!

The initial mutual mistrust was dispelled in the first confrontation with the Israeli soldiers guarding the Wall, and a sublime solidarity developed, with a traditionally dressed Palestinian woman embracing a Jewish lesbian with spiky purple hair—a living symbol of what our struggle should be. So, perhaps, the Slovene euroskeptic missed the point with his Marx Brothers joke. In his later years, Freud expressed his perplexity at the question.

The only way out of this impasse is for Europe to resuscitate its legacy of radical and universal emancipation. Do not simply respect others, but offer them a common struggle, since our most pressing problems today are problems we have in common.