Friday, November 11, 2011

Slavoj Zizek and Harum Scarum

By saying "Asian values" have corrupted capitalism, Zizek aligns himself with generations of Orientalist thinkers.

Hamid Dabashi

".......In an interview with Al Jazeera, Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher, made a rather abrupt staccato observation - a hit-and-run strike worthy of an action hero - very much reminiscent of the fate of Elvis Presley and his Oriental sojourn:

"I think today the world is asking for a real alternative. Would you like to live in a world where the only alternative is either anglo-saxon neoliberalism or Chinese-Singaporean capitalism with Asian values? I claim if we do nothing we will gradually approach a kind of a new type of authoritarian society. Here I see the world historical importance of what is happening today in China. Until now there was one good argument for capitalism: sooner or later it brought a demand for democracy ... What I'm afraid of is, with this capitalism with Asian values, we get a capitalism much more efficient and dynamic than our western capitalism. But I don't share the hope of my liberal friends - give them ten years [and there will be] another Tiananmen Square demonstration - no, the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over.".....

Overthrowing the regime of knowledge

When people from one end of the Arab and Muslim world to another cry "people demand the overthrow of the regime", they mean more than just their political regime. They also mean the regime of knowledge that does not see from pogroms to the Holocaust as equally embedded in "Western values", does not see Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy and Spain, Totalitarianism in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe (Zizek's own backyard), horrid racism across the European history, and all other sorts of diseases spreading from one end of Europe to another as coterminous with capitalism while married to the West - and cherry picks democracy as their only offspring, and when aterritorial capitalism wreaks havoc like a bubonic plague around the globe he looks for an flu strain he calls "Asian values"......"

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