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Slavoj Žižek: The Effects of Capitalist Dynamics and the Causes of Depression

Slavoj Žižek weighs in on the Future of Marx's Analysis of Capitalism and the Causes of Depression in Our Perilous Times... Same shit, different day; Žižek has found the way out, though, and it's hysteria... That said, I would rather say hysterical sublimity would suit the needs of one better when it comes to sublating depression...... Continue Reading →

Alain Badiou: The Age of the Poets

To celebrate National Poetry Day in the UK, we present an extract from Alain Badiou‘s illuminating work revisiting the age-old problem of the relation between literature and philosophy, The Age of the Poets, looking at literature’s unique position between science and ideology. Badiou proposes the essential link between poetry and communism in the twentieth century, through the common good of language, and gives reason to both the writing and reading of poetry in a time of revolution.

Poetry and Communism

Alain Badiou / 06 October 2016 / Verso

In the last century, some truly great poets, in almost all languages on earth, have been communists. In an explicit or formal way, for example, the following poets were committed to communism: in Turkey, Nâzim Hikmet; in Chile, Pablo Neruda; in Spain, Rafael Alberti; in Italy, Edoardo Sanguineti; in Greece, Yannis Ritsos; in China, Ai Qing; in Palestine, Mahmoud Darwish; in Peru, César Vallejo; and in Germany, the shining example is above all Bertolt Brecht. But we could cite a very large number of other names in other languages, throughout the world.

Can we understand this link between poetic commitment and communist commitment as a simple illusion? An error, or an errancy? An ignorance of the ferocity of states ruled by communist parties? I do not believe so. I wish to argue, on the contrary, that there exists an essential link between poetry and communism, if we understand ‘communism’ closely in its primary sense: the concern for what is common to all. A tense, paradoxical, violent love of life in common; the desire that what ought to be common and accessible to all should not be appropriated by the servants of Capital. The poetic desire that the things of life would be like the sky and the earth, like the water of the oceans and the brush res on a summer night – that is to say, would belong by right to the whole world.

Poets are communist for a primary reason, which is absolutely essential: their domain is language, most often their native tongue. Now, language is what is given to all from birth as an absolutely common good. Poets are those who try to make a language say what it seems incapable of saying. Poets are those who seek to create in language new names to name that which, before the poem, has no name. And it is essential for poetry that these inventions, these creations, which are internal to language, have the same destiny as the mother tongue itself: for them to be given to all without exception. The poem is a gift of the poet to language. But this gift, like language itself, is destined to the common – that is, to this anonymous point where what matters is not one person in particular but all, in the singular.

Thus, the great poets of the twentieth century recognized in the grandiose revolutionary project of communism something that was familiar to them – namely that, as the poem gives its inventions to language and as language is given to all, the material world and the world of thought must be given integrally to all, becoming no longer the property of a few but the common good of humanity as a whole.

That is why one moment – a singular historic moment – has been sung by all the communist poets who wrote between the 1920s and 1940s: the moment of the civil war in Spain, which as you know ran from 1936 to 1939.


By PICASSO, la exposición del Reina-Prado. Guernica is in the collection of Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid. Source

Let us observe that the Spanish civil war is certainly the historic event that has most intensely mobilized all the artists and intellectuals of the world. On one hand, the personal commitment of writers from all ideological tendencies on the side of the republicans, including therefore the communists, is remarkable: whether we are dealing with organized communists, social democrats, mere liberals, or even fervent Catholics, such as the French writer Georges Bernanos, the list is extraordinary if we gather all those who publicly spoke out, who went to Spain in the midst of the war, or even entered into combat on the side of the republican forces. On the other hand, the number of masterpieces produced on this occasion is no less astonishing. I have already noted as much for poetry. But let us also think of the splendid painting by Pablo Picasso that is titled Guernica; let us think of two of the greatest novels in their genre: Man’s Hope by André Malraux and For Whom the Bell Tolls by the American Ernest Hemingway. The frightening and bloody civil war in Spain has illuminated the art of the world for several years.

Finish the chapter, and read more, in The Age of the Poets

Further reading:
César Vallejo’s 
‘Hymn to the Volunteers of the Republic’
Pablo Neruda’s ‘Arrival in Madrid of the International Brigade’
Works by Nâzim Hikmet and Bertolt Brecht

Full book as PDF here

SubSense

The full book here.

“If the factory oscillates between pre-inscription and the unsayable, this is because it is caught in the trappings of its function as a machine and subtracted from its true essence, which is to be a political place, a production of truths.” – Alain Badiou

via A Requiem for the Factory — New Poetics of Labor

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Ontological Catastrophes and Transcendental Time Machines: Dialectics of Time and Event from Kant and Hegel, across Deleuze and Badiou, towards New Futures

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Revolution of the Present (Full Film)

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Identity and Universality + Radical Grace by Alain Badiou (Video)

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Postnihilistic Speculations on That Which Is Not: A Thought-World According to an Ontology of Non-Being

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The Original French Text of Badiou’s Article on The Uprising in Turkey and Beyond: Vive la création d’un nouveau foyer, dans le monde, de la politique à venir!

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Marx Reloaded: Documentary Featuring Rancière, Power, Negri, Hardt, Zizek and More

Žižek weighs in on Chávez: A heart larger than life

a human heart stripped of the tissue and muscle surrounding it

“There is an illness, I heard, when heart – as organ – simply grows too big and cannot function properly, unable to pump all the blood through its widened veins. Maybe Chávez really died of having too big a heart.”

~ Slavoj Žižek

Blog da Boitempo

13.03.11_Slavoj Zizek_A heart larger than lifeBy Slavoj Žižek.

Para a versão em português do artigo, clique aqui.

I must confess that, more often than not, I did not like what Hugo Chávez was doing, especially in the last years of his reign. I don’t mean the ridiculous accusations about his “totalitarian” dictatorship (to people who claimed this, I would advise a year or two in a real Stalinist dictatorship!). But yes, he did many crazy things. In foreign politics, one cannot excuse his friendship with Lukashenko and Ahmadinejad; in economic politics, a series of badly improvised measures which, instead of really solving problems, rather consisted in throwing money at them to cover them up; mistreating political prisoners and deserving a rebuttal from Noam Chomsky himself; up to – last and least – some ridiculous cultural measures like prohibiting Simpsons on TV.

But all this pales into insignificance compared with the basic project he was…

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The beat of a different drum ~ Slavoj Zizek

Open Cyprus in Europe

“The heart of the people of Europe beats in Greece” with Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek, one of the most prominent contemporary thinkers, Alexis Tsipras, president of the parliamentary group of SYRIZA/EKM and Kostas Douzinas, professor of Philosophy of Law at the of Birkbeck University of London, will talk about the overthrow of the neo-liberal policies which generate the crisis, exacerbate the recession and impose austerity, leading to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.
An energy and conviction that Slavoi Zizek verbalizes and makes him an adequate ambassador for Greece in their fight in Europe. As they said, »Solidarity is our weapon«. They said that the solidarity of their weapons, which was also Zizek warned in a speech that Europe must show its solidarity with the Greeks, or it too will fail, as it should be a core value of solidarity in Europe.

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Slavoj Žižek: The Empowerment of the Right and the Dissolution of the Left (Video)

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Žižek’s book on Hegel forthcoming

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Let us assume that most of the rioters are indeed stupid and mindless and all that, still these riots do have a political significance. These youths are symptoms of capitalism; they are an inevitable consequence of the internal dynamics of capitalism itself. The riots show us that things cannot go on the way they are. As Marx once put it, capitalism... Continue Reading →

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