Tag Archives: Slavoj Zizek

Chto Delat Summer School: Slavoj Žižek and Mladen Dolar

A SERIES OF LECTURES BY SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK AND MLADEN DOLAR
Chto Delat Summer Educational Program
 August 20—23, 2012

Monday, August 20
National Center of Contemporary Art
Moscow, Zoologicheskaya, 13
11.00—14.30
– Mladen Dolar, OFFICERS, MAIDS AND CHIMNEY SWEEPERS
– Slavoj Žižek, WHY PSYCHOANALYSIS MATTERS MORE THAN EVER
16.00—18.30 – THE URGENCY OF THOUGHT: PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS, PSYCHOANALYSIS (panel discussion)

Chinese Pilot Jao Da (Lubyansky proyezd, 25)
22.00 – Concert by the band Arkady Kots

Tuesday, August 21
Institute of Philosophy of Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, Volkhonka, 14
15.00—18.00 – Slavoj Žižek, IS IT STILL POSSIBLE TO BE A HEGELIAN TODAY? (lecture introduced by Mladen Dolar)

Wednesday, August 22
European University in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Gagarinskaya, 3
17.00—19.00 – Mladen Dolar, WHAT, IF ANYTHING, IS AN ATOM?
20.00 – Chto Delat film screening

Thursday, August 23
European University in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Gagarinskaya, 3
12.00—14.00 – Slavoj Žižek, WELCOME TO THE DESERT OF POST-IDEOLOGY
16.00—19.00 – IS THERE A REASON IN HISTORY? STATE AND REVOLUTION TODAY (panel discussion)

* Advance registration required to attend the events at the European University in St. Petersburg: e-mail sociopol@eu.spb.ru or phone +7 812 3867633
* Advance registration required to attend the events at the National Centre of Contemporary Art in Moscow: e-mail pr@ncca.ru or phone +7 (499) 254 84 92
* For all organizational questions and press inquiries, phone +7 903 5931935 or e-mail oxana_san@yahoo.com
* All events in Moscow (August 20-21) will be accompanied by translation
* All events in St. Petersburg (August 22-23) will be conducted in English

 

 

 

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“The True Blasphemy”: Slavoj Žižek on Pussy Riot

The True Blasphemy

Pussy Riot members accused of blasphemy and hatred of religion? The answer is easy: the true blasphemy is the state accusation itself, formulating as a crime of religious hatred something which was clearly a political act of protest against the ruling clique. Recall Brecht’s old quip from his Beggars’ Opera: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?” In 2008, Wall Street gave us the new version: what is the stealing of a couple of thousand of dollars, for which one goes to prison, compared to financial speculations that deprive tens of millions of their homes and savings, and are then rewarded by state help of sublime grandeur? Now, we got another version from Russia, from the power of the state: What is a modest Pussy Riot obscene provocation in a church compared to the accusation against Pussy Riot, this gigantic obscene provocation of the state apparatus which mocks any notion of decent law and order?

Was the act of Pussy Riot cynical? There are two kinds of cynicism: the bitter cynicism of the oppressed which unmasks the hypocrisy of those in power, and the cynicism of the oppressors themselves who openly violate their own proclaimed principles. The cynicism of Pussy Riot is of the first kind, while the cynicism of those in power — why not call their authoritarian brutality a Prick Riot — is of the much more ominous second kind.

Back in 1905, Leon Trotsky characterized tsarist Russia as “a vicious combination of the Asian knout and the European stock market.” Does this designation not hold more and more also for the Russia of today? Does it not announce the rise of the new phase of capitalism, capitalism with Asian values (which, of course, has nothing to do with Asia and everything to do with the anti-democratic tendencies in today’s global capitalism). If we understand cynicism as ruthless pragmatism of power which secretly laughs at its own principles, then Pussy Riot are anti-cynicism embodied. Their message is: IDEAS MATTER. They are conceptual artists in the noblest sense of the word: artists who embody an Idea. This is why they wear balaclavas: masks of de-individualization, of liberating anonymity. The message of their balaclavas is that it doesn’t matter which of them got arrested — they’re not individuals, they’re an Idea. And this is why they are such a threat: it is easy to imprison individuals, but try to imprison an Idea!

The panic of those in power — displayed by their ridiculously excessive brutal reaction — is thus fully justified. The more brutally they act, the more important symbol Pussy Riot will become. Already now the result of the oppressive measures is that Pussy Riot are a household name literally all around the world.

It is the sacred duty of all of us to prevent that the courageous individuals who compose Pussy Riot will not pay in their flesh the price for their becoming a global symbol.

Slavoj Žižek

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Filed under feminism, gay rights, international affairs, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, Russian society

Free the Tarnac 9! (Petition)

Petition: Free the Tarnac 9

The following petition was published under the title “No to the New Order” in the November 27th edition of Le Monde. To add your name to the petition go to this site (in French).

A recent operation by the French police, intensively covered by the media, ended in the arrest and indictment of nine people under anti-terrorist laws. The nature of this operation has already undergone a change: after the revelation of inconsistency in the accusation of sabotaging French railway lines, the affair took a manifestly political turn. According to the public prosecutor: “the goal of their activity is to attack the institutions of the state, and to upset by violence – I emphasize violence, and not contestation which is permitted – the political, economic and social order.”

The target of this operation is larger than the group of people who have been charged, against which there exists no material evidence, nor anything precise which they can be accused of. The charge of “criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity” is exceptionally vague: what exactly is an association, and how are we to understand the reference to “purposes” other than as a criminalization of intention? As for the qualification “terrorist”, the definition in force is so broad that it could apply to practically anything – and to possess such and such a text or to go to such and such demonstration is enough to fall under this exceptional legislation.
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