Occupy first. Demands come later
Critics say the Occupy cause is nebulous. Protesters will need to address what comes next – but beware a debate on enemy turf, writes Slavoj Žižek at Comment is Free.
In this piece, Žižek artfully makes the case for a renewal of classical socialist ideas in the face of the concrete, in many ways unique, challenges the new movements face today. He promotes mass political organisation (the “what is to be done” question). He warns of the danger of striking alliances with the likes of Bill Clinton by raising only the most minimal of demands. But also of the opposite error of “falling in love with ourselves”, getting drunk on the hubris of apparently spontaneous mobilisation without thinking soberly about the demands we raise to realise our goal of fundamental change.
Žižek has a real talent for taking “old” ideas and using them in an innovative way, in the process drawing out their utility. It’s able to challenge prevalent prejudices, but in a manner that appeals to the spirit of the times. It is an important rejoinder to the cult of novelty, the idea that the new circumstances of today render past experience obsolete. But also equally to dogmatism, the failure of the left to take seriously the new challenges that we face.
Read it online here