Fuck ‘Europe’ and Fuck Zizek too! (A reply to Slavoj)
I had a chance to read this ridiculous piece by Slavoj Zizek on the Left’s responsibility as bearers of the legacy of liberalism, “Slavoj Žižek: Only a radicalised left can save Europe”. As the title of this post implies, I am not a supporter of his view.
From what I can tell, for Zizek, the job of the working class is now to clean up the mess that is ‘Europe’ after a three decades long neoliberal orgy. Surveying a scene littered with the remnants of national sovereignty in the form of the United Kingdom Independence Party, the National Front, Golden Dawn, Alternative for Germany and the like, Zizek lectured the eurofascists running the European Union of the danger posed to ‘Europe’ by the rump national fascists in the euro-skeptic parties:
“The lesson that the frightened liberals should learn is thus: only a radicalised left can save what is worth saving from the liberal legacy. The sad prospect that lurks if this doesn’t happen is the unity of the two poles: the rule of nameless financial technocrats wearing a mask of populist pseudo-passions.”
Is this asshole serious?
My reply to Zizek is simple: Fuck you, Zizek, fuck ‘Europe’ and fuck your liberal legacy.
Zizek is one of those leftists who see fascism lurking everywhere but in the EC and White House. As Mao once warned his own followers, these sorts of Leftists are making socialist revolution but do not know where the bourgeoisie is. In the present crisis, the Left of Europe imagines itself to be fighting fascism yet has no clue where the fascists are. According to Zizek, fascism resides not in the European Commission, but in the UKIP:
“There is no surprise in Le Pen’s message: the usual anti-elitist working class patriotism which targets trans-national financial powers and the alienated Bruxelles bureaucracy. And, effectively, Le Pen forms a clear contrast to the sterile European technocrats: addressing the worries of ordinary people, she brings passion back to politics. Even some disoriented leftists succumbed to the temptation to defend her: she rejects the non-elected Bruxelles financial technocrats who brutally enforce the interest of the international financial capital, prohibiting individual states prioritising the welfare of their own population; she thus advocates a politics that would be in contact with worries and cares of the ordinary working people – her party’s fascist outbursts are a thing of the past. . . What unites Le Pen and the European leftists who sympathise with her is their shared rejection of a strong Europe, and the return to the full sovereignty of nation states.”
In part, Zizek explains the problem is that the ruling class of Europe no longer know how to rule:
“In western Europe, we are effectively witnessing a growing inability of the ruling elite – they know less and less how to rule. Look at how Europe is dealing with the Greek crisis: putting pressure on Greece to repay debts, but at the same time ruining its economy through imposed austerity measures and thereby making it sure the Greek debt will never be repaid.”
What ruling class pushes its slaves to the point of social collapse? Over time, even slave-owners realize they must accommodate the minimum physical needs of their property — indeed, even a latrine must be dumped once in a while. But not our masters:
“This is what is so terribly wrong with the EU’s demands and commands: they don’t even give a chance to Greece, because Greek failure is part of the game.”
No one knows how to escape the crisis — not protestors nor technocrats: “the blind are leading the blind.” Austerity politics is not really science; it is, as Bush 41 once said of Reaganomics, voodoo economics — superstition.
Moreover, arrayed against Europe are not simply the euroskeptics and segments of the Left, but the US and Israel — two nations committed to the idea of national sovereignty. These enemies of Europe sense that,
“Europe is not just another geopolitical power block, but a global vision which is ultimately incompatible with nation-states, a vision of a transnational order that guarantees certain rights (welfare, freedom, etc).”
There is, says Zizek, “a surprising correlation between European unification and its loss of global military-political power.”
But, what explains this “surprising correlation”, Zizek? Somehow Zizek forgets to mention that the ‘European project’ was a means of integrating markets newly acquired by the US against the SU. The loss of European sovereignty was already prefigured as the outcome as the conflict of the two great wars; “Europe” as an idea is merely accommodation to the fact that Europe as a global military, economic and political force is finished.
In short, “Europe” is the community of losers; and the stench of Europe’s loss of global prominence clings to every aspect of the ‘European project’.
Does Zizek not understand that every other nation on the planet can smell the stench of defeat rising off this mass of former colonial masters? Mao’s entire global diplomacy rested on the idea Europe had to accommodate to its defeat in the war — like Ukraine today, Europe was trapped between two great powers and unable to set its own course.
Desperate as Europe was for any level of flattery — like some now decaying beauty now long past prime — Mao hoped to play on its pretensions to the advantage of former colonies. (Remember, unlike Europe, China, though poor and backward, managed to beat its opponents and purge the European stench of defeat from itself.)
You fucking Europeans flatter yourself that you have discovered the secret to civilized accommodation of peoples. Europe did not give up its pretensions to sovereignty any more than it gave up its pretensions to colonies full of brown people; its sovereignty was taken from it by two world wars and one hundred million dead. The EU is simply a way of managing defeat with the same technical efficiency as Europe managed the extermination of its unwanted populations.
The EU faces the problem that it can only live in defeat if the working class of Europe is forced to eat from dumpsters to survive — this is what it means to be unable to compete within the world market. For the Left to take up the mantle of liberalism in defense of “Europe” at this point means it must accommodate itself to dumpster diving.
This said, the Left has to figure out a way to say ‘no’ to “Europe” without saying ‘yes’ to the UK, France or Germany — personally, I think it lacks the imagination required to accomplish this.
Zizek wants us to believe the choice is between the EU or UKIP, National Front, AfD and Golden Dawn, when in fact the UK, France, Germany and Greece are already historically obsolete. The choice we face today is between “Europe” and mankind — and this last doesn’t need treaties between states. Every attempt to save “Europe” is a cynical attempt by the nation states of Europe to maintain their death grip on the throat of mankind.
The limitation of the Left has always been its inability to break with bourgeois forms: Even in 1967, Mao choked when forced to consider the idea of a true commune style form. It is rather pathetic to read what he saw as the defining obstacle to the commune:
“Would others recognize us? Maybe the Soviet Union would not recognize us whereas Britain and France would. And what would we do about our ambassadors in various countries? And so on.”
At the very height of the ‘revolution within the revolution’, Mao’s essentially passive attitude toward existing relations — lacking all sense of self-confidence and resoluteness — was clearly evident. All he could muster as an argument against the commune was the questions of whether bourgeois nation states — already decaying into history would recognize this new form.
For the Left, the dissolution of the European Union should be our openly stated aim. We should demand no less than replacement of this community of decaying nations states by the commune.
And fuck Zizek too!