Adbusters recently devoted a 3 page blog segment to academia’s favorite frenemy. While the articles don’t offer any groundbreaking incite, they do offer some light and entertaining reading on Communism and the state of capitalism.
Here are some highlights:
On ivory tower intellectualism,
“Don’t get caught in the pseudo-activist pressure to do something. Let’s do it,” ‘rise up’ and so on, Žižek exclaims, “The time is to think.”
It is possible that communism has the potential to halt capitalism’s indefinite reproduction, whilst simultaneously opening the horizon to a very different, less grim, more egalitarian future. But to a majority, the case of the Soviet Union is a case-and-point as to why communism is an invalid alternative to capitalism. To Zabala and Žižek this is simply not the case. The “communism already failed” assumption rests on a sort of ideological and historical naiveté: “communism is not an eternal set of rules that are present in every epoch of history to be applied rapidly, but simply a movement that has to be reinvented in each new historical situation.”
On the fall of capitalism,
According to Žižek, there are four stumbling blocks that capitalism will, invariably, come to face – thwarting its indefinite reproduction:
1. “The looming threat of ecological catastrophe.” 2. “The inappropriateness of the notion of private property for so-called ‘intellectual property’.” 3. “The socio-ethical implications of new techno-scientific developments (especially in biogenetics).” 4. “New forms of apartheid, new walls and slums.”
These four issues are interrelated, sharing a concern with what Hardt and Negri call “the commons.” Žižek defines the commons as “the shared substance of our social being whose privatization is a violent act which should be resisted.” These include: the commons of culture, the commons of cognitive capital (language, education, means of communication), the commons of external nature (threatened by pollution and exploitation), and the commons of internal/bodily nature (threatened by biogenetic companies).