齐泽克In the Wake of Paris Attacks the Left Must Embrace Its Radical tern Roots
作者: 转载 / 7264次阅读 时间: 2015年11月18日

The political economy of the refugees: Global capitalism and military intervention 难民的政治经济学:全球资本主义和军事干预

As a long-term strategy, we should focus on what one cannot but call the “political economy of refugees,” which means focusing on the ultimate causes underlying the dynamics of global capitalism and military interventions. The ongoing disorder should be treated as the true face of the New World Order. Consider the food crisis now plaguing the “developing” world. None other than Bill Clinton made it clear in his comments, at a 2008 UN gathering marking World Food Day, that the food crisis in many Third World countries cannot be put on the usual suspects like corruption, inefficiency and state interventionism—the crisis is directly dependent on the globalization of agriculture. The gist of Clinton’s speech was that today’s global food crisis shows how “we all blew it, including me when I was president,” by treating food crops as commodities instead of as a vital right of the world’s poor.

Clinton was very clear in putting blame not on individual states or governments but on U.S. and EU long-term global policies carried out for decades by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international economic institutions. Such policies pressured African and Asian countries into dropping government subsidies for fertilizer, improved seed and other farm inputs. This allowed the best land to be used for export crops, which effectively compromised the countries’ self-sufficiency. The integration of local agriculture into global economy was the result of such “structural adjustments,” and the effect was devastating: Farmers were thrown out of their land and pushed into slums fitted for sweat-shop labor, while countries had to rely more and more on imported food. In this way, they are kept in postcolonial dependence and became more and more vulnerable to market fluctuations. For instance, grain prices skyrocketed last year in countries like Haiti and Ethiopia, both of which export crops for biofuel and consequently starve their populations.

In order to approach these problems properly, one will have to invent new forms of large-scale collective action; neither the standard state intervention nor the much-praised local self-organization can do the job. If the problem will not be solved, one should seriously consider that we are approaching a new era of apartheid in which secluded, resource-abundant parts of the world will be separated from the starved-and-permanently-at-war parts. What should people in Haiti and other places with food shortages do? Do they not have the full right to violently rebel? Or, to become refugees? Despite all the critiques of economic neo-colonialism, we are still not fully aware of the devastating effects of the global market on many local economies.

As for the open (and not-so-open) military interventions, the results have been told often enough: failed states. No refugees without ISIS and no ISIS without the U.S. occupation of Iraq, etc. In a gloomy prophecy made before his death, Col. Muammar Gaddafi said: “Now listen you, people of NATO. You’re bombing a wall, which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it. You’re idiots, and you will burn in Hell for thousands of migrants from Africa.” Was he not stating the obvious?

The Russian story, which basically elaborates Gaddafi, has its element of truth, in spite of the obvious taste of pasta putinesca. Boris Dolgov of the Moscow-based Strategic Culture Foundation told TASS:

That the refugee crisis is an outcome of US-European policies is clear to the naked eye. … The destruction of Iraq, the destruction of Libya and attempts to topple Bashar Assad in Syria with the hands of Islamic radicals—that’s what EU and US policies are all about, and the hundreds of thousands of refugees are a result of that policy.

Similarly, Irina Zvyagelskaya, of the oriental studies department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told TASS:

The civil war in Syria and tensions in Iraq and Libya keep fueling the flow of migrants, but that is not the only cause. I agree with those who see the current events as a trend towards another mass resettlement of peoples, which leave the weaker countries with ineffective economies. There are systemic problems that cause people to abandon their homes and take to the road. And the liberal European legislation allows many of them to not only stay in Europe, but also to live there on social benefits without seeking employment.

And Yevgeny Grishkovets, the Russian author, playwright and stage director, writing in in his blog agrees:

These people are exhausted, angry and humiliated. They have no idea of European values, lifestyles and traditions, multiculturalism or tolerance. They will never agree to abide by European laws. … They will never feel grateful to the people whose countries they have managed to get into with such problems, because the very same states first turned their own home countries into a bloodbath. … Angela Merkel vows modern German society and Europe are prepared for problems. … That’s a lie and nonsense!

However, while there is some general truth in all this, one should not jump from this generality to the empirical fact of refugees flowing into Europe and simply accept full responsibility. The responsibility is shared. First, Turkey is playing a well-planned political game (officially fighting ISIS but effectively bombing the Kurds who are really fighting ISIS). Then we have the class division in the Arab world itself (the ultra-rich Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Emirates accepting almost no refugees). And what about Iraq with its tens of billions of oil reserves? How, out of all this mess, does there emerge a flow of refugees?

What we do know is that a complex economy of refugee transportation is making millions upon millions of dollars profit. Who is financing it? Streamlining it? Where are the European intelligence services? Are they exploring this dark netherworld? The fact that refugees are in a desperate situation in no way excludes the fact that their flow into Europe is part of a well-planned project.

Sure, Norway exists

Let me address my so-called leftist critics who find my breaking of the above-mentioned taboos in articles published in the London Review of Books and In These Times problematic. Nick Riemer, writing in Jacobin, condemns the “reactionary nonsense” I am “promoting”:

It should be obvious to Zizek that the West can’t intervene militarily in a way that avoids the “neocolonial traps of the recent past.” Refugees, for their part, aren’t wayfarers on someone else’s soil, present only under sufferance and, as such, the objects of “hospitality.” Regardless of the customs they bring with them, they should enjoy the same rights as the members of the diverse communities that make up Europe—a pluralism entirely ignored in Zizek’s astonishing reference to a unique “Western European way of life.”

The claim that underlies this view is much stronger than Alain Badiou's qui est ici est d'ici (those who are here are from here)—it is more something like qui veut venir ici est d'ici (those who want to come here are from here). But even if we accept it, it is Riemer who entirely ignores the point of my remark: of course “they should enjoy the same rights as the members of the diverse communities that make up Europe,” but which exactly are these “same rights” refugees should enjoy?

While Europe is now fighting for full gay and woman's rights (the right to abortion, the rights of same-sex married couples, etc.), should these rights also be extended to gays and women among the refugees even if they are in conflicts with “the customs they bring with them” (as they often obviously are)? And this aspect should in no way be dismissed as marginal: from Boko Haram to Robert Mugabe to Vladimir Putin, the anti-colonialist critique of the West more and more appears as the rejection of the Western “sexual” confusion, and as the demand for returning to the traditional sexual hierarchy.

I am, of course, well aware how the immediate export of Western feminism and individual human rights can serve as a tool of ideological and economic neocolonialism (we all remember how some American feminists supported the U.S. intervention in Iraq as a way to liberate women there, while the result is exactly the opposite). But I absolutely reject to draw from this the conclusion that the Western Left should make here a “strategic compromise,” and silently tolerate “customs” of humiliating women and gays on behalf of the “greater” anti-imperialist struggle.

Along with Jürgen Habermas and Peter Singer, Reimer then accuses me of endorsing “an elitist vision of politics—the enlightened political class versus a racist and ignorant population.” When I read this, I again could not believe my eyes! As if I hadn’t written pages and pages on criticizing precisely European liberal political elite! As for “racist and ignorant population,” we stumble here upon another Leftist taboo: Yes, unfortunately, large parts of the working class in Euroope is racist and anti-immigrant, a fact which should in no way be dismissed as as the result of the manipulation of an essentially “progressive” working class.

Riemer's final critique is: “Zizek’s fantasy that refugees pose a threat to the ‘Western’ ‘way of life’ that may be remedied by better kinds of military and economic ‘intervention’ abroad is the clearest illustration of how the categories in which analysis is conducted can open the door to reaction.” As for the danger of military interventions, I am well aware of it, and I also consider a justified intervention almost impossible. But when I speak of the necessity of radical economic change, I of course do not aim at some kind of “economic intervention” in parallel with military intervention, but of a thorough radical transformation of global capitalism that should begin in the developed West itself. Every authentic leftist knows that this is the only true solution—without it, the developed West will continue to devastate Third World countries, and with fanfare mercifully take care of their poor.

Along similar lines, Sam Kriss’ critique is especially interesting in that he also accuses me of not being a true Lacanian:

It’s even possible to argue that the migrants are more European than Europe itself. Zizek mocks the utopian desire for a Norway that doesn’t exist, and insists that migrants should stay where they’re sent. (It doesn’t seem to occur to him that those trying to reach a certain country might have family members already there, or be able to speak the language, that it’s driven precisely by a desire to integrate. But also—isn’t this precisely the operation of the objet petit a [the unatainable object of desire] ? What kind of Lacanian tells someone that they should effectively abandon their desire for something just because it’s not attainable? Or are migrants not worthy of the luxury of an unconscious mind?) In Calais, migrants trying to reach the United Kingdom protested against their conditions with placards demanding “freedom of movement for all.” Unlike racial or gender equality, the free movement of peoples across national borders is a supposedly universal European value that has actually been implemented—but, of course, only for Europeans. These protesters put the lie to any claim on the part of Europe to be upholding universal values. Zizek can only articulate the European “way of life” in terms of vague and transcendent generalities, but here it is in living flesh. If the challenge of migration is one of European universalism against backwards and repressive particularism, then the particularism is entirely on the part of Europe. … “The Non-Existence of Norway” isn’t a theoretical analysis, it’s a gentle word of heartfelt advice in the ear of the European bureaucratic class, one that’s not particularly interested in Lacan. For all his insistence on “radical economic change,” this epistolary structure ensures that such a change is, for the time being, entirely off the table. Hence the insistence that there is not, and can never be, a Norway. The capitalists do not intend to make one, and Zizek does not intend to address those that could. To which the Marxist response must be that if there is no Norway, then we’ll have to build it ourselves.

“Migrants are more European than Europe itself” is an old leftist thesis that I too have often used, but one has to be specific about what it means. In my critic’s reading, it means migrants actualize the principle—“freedom of movement for all”—more seriously than Europe. But, again, one has to be precise here. There is “freedom of movement” in the sense of freedom to travel, and the more radical “freedom of movement” in the sense of the freedom to settle in whatever country I want. But the axiom that sustains the refugees in Calais is not just the freedom to travel, but something more like, “Everyone has the right to settle in any other part of the world, and the country they move into has to provide for them.” The EU guarantees (sort of, more or less) this right for its members and to demand the globalization of this right equals the demand to expand the EU to the entire world.

The actualization of this freedom presupposes nothing less than a radical socio-economic revolution. Why? New forms of apartheid are emerging. In our global world, commodities circulate freely but not people. Discourse around porous walls and the threat of inundating foreigners are an inherent index of what is false about capitalist globalization. It is as if the refugees want to extend the free, global circulation of commodities to people as well, but this is presently impossible due to the limitations imposed by global capitalism.

From the Marxist standpoint, “freedom of movement” relates to the need of capital for a “free” labor force—millions torn out of their communal life to be employed in sweatshops. The universe of capital relates to individual freedom of movement in an inherently contradictory way: Capitalism needs “free” individuals as cheap labor forces, but it simultaneously needs to control their movement since it cannot afford the same freedoms and rights for all people.

Is demanding radical freedom of movement, precisely because it does not exist within the existing order, a good starting point for the struggle? My critic admits the impossibility of the refugee’s demand, yet he affirms it on account of its very impossibility—all the while accusing me of a non-Lacanian, vulgar pragmatism. The part about objet a as impossible, etc., is simply ridiculous, theoretical nonsense. The “Norway” I refer to is not objet a but a fantasy. Refugees who want to reach Norway present an exemplary case of ideological fantasy—a fantasy-formation that obfuscates the inherent antagonisms. Many of the refugees want to have a cake and eat it: They basically expect the best of the Western welfare-state while retaining their specific way of life, though in some of its key features their way of life is incompatible with the ideological foundations of the Western welfare-state.

Germany likes to emphasize the need to integrate the refugees culturally and socially. However—and here is another taboo to be broken—how many of the refugees really want to be integrated? What if the obstacle to integration is not simply Western racism? (Incidentally, fidelity to one’s objet a in no way guarantees authenticity of desire—even a brief perusal of Mein Kampf makes it clear that Jews were Hitler’s objet a, and he certainly remained faithful to the project of their annihilation.) This is what is wrong with the claim “if there is no Norway, then we’ll have to build it ourselves”—yes, but it will not be the fantasmic “Norway” refugees are dreaming about.


«拉康在哪一点上是黑格尔主义者? 齐泽克 Slavoj Zizek
《齐泽克 Slavoj Zizek》

    [catid] => 535
    [upid] => 439
    [name] => 齐泽克 Slavoj Zizek
    [note] => 斯拉沃热·齐泽克(Slavoj Zizek),斯洛文尼亚卢布尔雅那大学社会学和哲学高级研究员,拉康传统最重要的继承人,他长期致力于沟通拉康精神分析理论与马克思主义哲学,将精神分析、主体性、意识形态和大众文化熔于一炉,形成了极为独特的学术思想和政治立场,成为20世纪90年代以来最为耀眼的国际学术明星之一,被一些学者称为黑格尔式的思想家。
    [type] => news
    [ischannel] => 0
    [displayorder] => 10
    [tpl] => 
    [viewtpl] => 
    [thumb] => 2010/11/1_201011222148431yCIo.thumb.jpg
    [image] => 2010/11/1_201011222148431yCIo.jpg
    [haveattach] => 0
    [bbsmodel] => 0
    [bbsurltype] => 
    [blockmodel] => 1
    [blockparameter] => 
    [blocktext] => 
    [url] => 
    [subcatid] => 535
    [htmlpath] => 
    [domain] => 
    [perpage] => 20
    [prehtml] => 
    [homeid] => 0
    [upname] => 拉康学派