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 →
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
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
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
“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
| Download PDF 1 or PDF 2 [Same text, different appearances] | Click Here to Listen | Recommended Voice: Amy (English - GB) The Spirit shows itself as so impoverished that, like a wanderer in the desert craving for a mere mouthful of water, it seems to crave for its refreshment only the bare feeling of the divine in general.... Continue Reading →
A new manifesto for a high-tech future free from work by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams... "Neoliberalism isn’t working. Austerity is forcing millions into poverty and many more into precarious work, while the left remains trapped in stagnant political practices that offer no respite. Inventing the Future is a bold new manifest0 for life after capitalism. Against... Continue Reading →
"Humanity seems to be stuck in the perpetual now that is our networked world. More countries are witnessing people taking to the streets in search of answers. Revolution of the Present, the film, features interviews with thought leaders designed to give meaning to our present and precarious condition. This historic journey allows us to re-think... Continue Reading →
The Red Flag and the Tricolore by Alain Badiou 1. Background: the world situation Today the figure of global capitalism has taken over the entire world. The world is subject to the ruling international oligarchy and enslaved to the abstraction of money – the only recognised universal. Our own time is the painful interval between... Continue Reading →
When everything appears similar, nothing really is... ~ Alain Badiou Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away... ~ Philip K. Dick It is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism... ~ Fredric Jameson If you are trapped within the dream... Continue Reading →
Une très grande partie de la jeunesse éduquée anime en ce moment, dans toute la Turquie, un vaste mouvement contre les pratiques répressives et réactionnaires du gouvernement. Il s’agit d’un très important moment de ce que j’ai appelé « le réveil de l’Histoire ». Dans bien des pays du monde, la jeunesse des collèges, des... Continue Reading →
“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.”
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 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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Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy Presents: Transdisciplinarity and the Humanities: Problems, Methods, Histories, Concepts 2011–2013 (AHRC 914469) Workshop 2 Case Studies 1 – Transdisciplinary Texts: Dialectic of Enlightenment and Capitalism and Schizophrenia This two-day Workshop will examine the transdisciplinary dynamics and modes of concept construction of two now-classic transdisciplinary texts from the mid–late... Continue Reading →
Less Than Nothing "For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, whose influence each new thinker tries in vain to escape: whether in the name of the pre-rational Will, the social process of production, or the contingency of individual existence. Hegel’s absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy,... Continue Reading →
Zizek weighs in heavily on the meaning of the riots... Repetition, according to Hegel, plays a crucial role in history: when something happens just once, it may be dismissed as an accident, something that might have been avoided if the situation had been handled differently; but when the same event repeats itself, it is a... Continue Reading →
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 →