“The R-Files” (short for “The Review Files”) is a new monthly feature of The Philosophical Salon. Under this heading, philosophers Frank Ruda and Agon Hamza take a look at what is happening in the world from the perspective of a particular philosophical text that matters to them, worries them, makes them angry, or arouses enthusiasm—theirs and, hopefully, that of our readers.
Part I. Aspects of Right-Wing Extremism (F. Ruda)
Recently, I’ve read a book, that after its English publication this year, has been widely praised for being almost shockingly contemporary. The reception was similar after its first publication in German in 2019. The book consists, essentially, of a lecture given by Theodor W. Adorno in Vienna in 1967. It was a public intervention intended to elucidate and contextualize the political biography, as it were, of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), which was founded in 1964 and which gained enough support to move into several local parliaments.
Adorno begins his analysis with the fact that, even after the demise of Nazism, the social presuppositions for fascism are still in place. Even after fascism, we are in a situation that could potentially lead into fascism. This quite openly resonates with our present situation, in which many see the soon-to-be-past administration of the United States, Orban’s Hungary, Duda’s Poland, Bolsonaro’s Brazil, Putin’s Russia or Erdogan’s Turkey as types of (proto-)fascist governments. This is not what sociologists, social theorists or philosophers claim, but fascism has become a denominator that is used frequently by late night show hosts and the like.[i] Is what we have seen happening in the last couple of years – for example, in the US – an embodiment, an example of fascism?
Such a claim can very easily sound too grandiose or appear specifically catastrophic. And it can certainly also bring with it the danger of no longer adequately analysing the coordinates of a genuinely new situation or of a genuinely new phenomenon, which is reduced in advance by affixing this label to it. Slavoj Žižek has, for example, stated somewhere that characterizing someone like Trump as fascist and his government in terms of fascism is ultimately rather a symptom of one’s own diagnostic laziness and does not elucidate the phenomenon in its novel form. But maybe there is, nonetheless, a sense to “generic fascism”[ii] that does not simply rely on vague or detailed analogies with the thirties? If we want to specify what we mean when we say “fascism” – and there seems to be some historical urge to do so in these quite regressive times –,the transcript of Adorno’s lecture comes at a depressingly opportune moment. Does Adorno help us develop an understanding of what is happening today in many places all over the world? Are we really witnessing a resurgence of fascism?
Adorno starts from the diagnosis, according to which, after the decline of German National Socialism, “the conditions for fascist movements are still socially, if not politically present.”[iii] What are the historical conditions of possibility for fascism? The answer is: “the still prevailing tendency of the concentration of capital… which cannot seriously be doubted.”[iv] This is obviously pertinent, and today truer still than over fifty years ago, since what we are witnessing is a greater concentration of capital than ever in the history of mankind. But why does capital concentration provide a socio-political condition for fascism? Because it comes with “the possibility of constantly downgrading strata of society that were clearly bourgeois in terms of their subjective class consciousness…”[v] The concentration of capital in the hands of the increasingly fewer poses a specific economico-ideological problem for the salaried bourgeoisie[vi], as Jean-Claude Milner called the disenfranchised former bourgeoisie. We get a bourgeoisie that differs from the former hereditary bourgeoisie, insofar as it can actually lose its socio-economic position if things don’t go well (economically), and it knows this to be the case.
This very knowledge poses a problem for the – potentially – unemployed salaried bourgeoisie, for the – potentially – broken former brokers, and for the Lumpenbourgeoisie, to modify Marx on this. Why? Because these groups are imbued with “a hatred of socialism, or what they call socialism,”[vii] which is one of the reasons why Joe Biden put so much effort into distancing himself from Sanders.[viii] How does the bourgeoisie, now turned potential Lumpen, rationalize the (potential and, therefore, surprisingly actual) loss of its own position? By blaming not “the apparatus that” actually “cause[d] it”, but by blaming “those who were critical of the system in which they once had a status.”[ix]
The fact that there are critics of a system that turns the previous bourgeoisie into a potential Lumpenbourgeoisie (and who, therefore, could be its allies) produces the fundamentally distorted bourgeois idea (and are there ever non-distorted bourgeois ideas?) that these critics must be the cause for the system’s debasing of its almost upper echelons. Because some people – on the “left” – criticize the system, the system does not work any longer. And when the system really doesn’t work, this is not perceived as proof that the former critics had a point, but that they are the reason for the system’s failure. This failure manifests in the feeling of a status transformation in certain elements of the bourgeoisie. This is not class consciousness, but a sense of one’s own socio-economic frailty and, therefore, concerns specifically those who are struggling (for example and classically, the petty bourgeoisie and the peasant). It is crucial, though, that there needn’t be an actual debasement but only a potential one: “they really feel potentially unemployed” (note the peculiar linkage of actuality and potentiality here).[x] The danger is greater when there is no danger in clear sight. After, in 2015, Angela Merkel accepted the refugee influx into Germany, the anti-immigrant fear was greatest in the parts of east Germany where there were pretty much no refugees. This is not simple delusion, but a distortion that results from a transformation of the very status of those who are afraid.
The insight that they could lose their privileges is reason enough to develop a strong fear of losing the privileges and to lament the probable cause for this perceived potential threat. The “politics of fear”[xi] at work here functions particularly well, because “convictions and ideologies take on their demonic, their genuinely destructive character precisely when the objective situation has deprived them of substance.”[xii] It is like a (per-)version of the logic of the threat, issued, for example, by a representative of power: it is the more effective the less actual it becomes. Power is, certainly, more effective when a serious warning is enough and one does not need to bring out the tanks when people protest, for example. This logic is also at work when it is enough for people to believe that there is gold in Fort Knox for things to continue to work. There is no need to display the gold all the time; it would even be rather absurd to do so. But in Adorno’s diagnosis this logic is given a new twist.
Now, the threat becomes all the more actual, the less actual and objective (i.e., the more potential) it is. The threat starts to be present almost everywhere, precisely when it appears to be nowhere; already Kierkegaard insisted that the real object of anxiety is possibility, or what could happen. And because, for the Lumpenbourgeoisie, it cannot be the system as such that produces this danger, what to do with this “anxiety about the consequences of overall social developments”[xiii]? This is not so much “status anxiety” (de Botton), but the unacknowledged system anxiety. What if the system that granted me my status fails (and somehow the system already seems to have failed, because, otherwise, I would not worry, or worse: maybe the system already failed, and this is why I had my status in the first place)? Of course, if the system is ultimately infallible, the reason for its failure must be external, coming from somewhere else – “the left”, “the South”, “Islam”. What turns out to be a condition for fascism in Adorno’s eyes is an anxiety that is ultimately an expression of an unavoidable legitimacy crisis of the system that is, at the same time, not avowed as what it is. The world might fall apart and explode, but this cannot be, under any circumstances, the fault of the world.
What I refer to as Lumpenbourgeoisie is, for Adorno, made up of all the elements of society that are “anticipating terror”.[xiv] This means that the anticipation of terror, “the feeling of social catastrophe”, itself “a distortion of Marx’s theory of collapse”[xv] of the capitalist non-world, is what provides the precondition for people turning (potentially) fascist. Certain conspiracy theories, like QAnon, might provide a fitting example here, since conspiracy theories have always been desperate and, in the last instance, failed attempts to look at the world rationally. It is the perception of a system crisis that does not want to be a perception of a system crisis and, therefore, does everything not to be. This is to say that those who feel that they could lose it all and seek an external culprit causing the havoc are not simply endorsing the system; they are no longer simply capitalists, but they have become anti-anti-capitalists. Anti-anti-capitalism is a condition of possibility for fascism. The animosity towards the critics of the system leads them to become blind endorsers of the system that causes them anxiety. The revamping of the system is, thereby, identified as the cure for the sickness that is caused by that very system.
Such a belief system is compatible with a peculiar kind of desire. In the anti-anti-capitalism of the Lumpenbourgeoisie, there is an “appeal to the unconscious desire for disaster, for catastrophe.”[xvi] This implies that many, also contemporary, catastrophist ideologies and ideological catastrophisms can easily gain a potential right-wing thrust (think of the endlessly reiterated fear of the decline of Western society and values, etc.). More importantly, it also implies that what Adorno describes as right-wing extremism has a complicated relationship to catastrophes. Not because catastrophes are as such right-wing, but because “someone who is unable to see anything ahead of them and does not want the social foundation to change… long for demise – though not the demise of their own group…the demise of all.”[xvii] When the thing on which one’s own existence hinges is threatened, it could be comforting to imagine how one takes charge of this threat and destroys the thing on one’s own terms. This means taking charge in a situation where one otherwise is a helpless object of an entirely opaque fate. It is like an appropriation of one’s own death: Heidegger, but perverse. This is why it is far easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Fascism, in this sense, is endorsing the fantasy of being actively able to end a world that is out of one’s control and, thereby, at least of being in charge of one’s own destruction.
In sum, the strong punchline of Adorno’s argument that is worth discussing today is twofold. The angst of losing one’s beloved privileges is what, under capitalist conditions ,can turn into a condition for fascism.[xviii] But, at the same time, there is no capitalism without the angst of losing one’s privileges, since the tendency to concentrate capital in the hands of the increasingly fewer actors provides constant fuel for anxiety. This cannot but mean that there are Lumpen everywhere, and that there is no capitalism without potential fascism and a fascist potential.
Part II. Pandemic! 2: Chronicles of a Time Lost (A. Hamza)
I have just read Slavoj Žižek Pandemic! 2: Chronicles of a Lost Time, which is to be published, I believe, around the time of the publication of this piece. It is a sequel to his Pandemic!: COVID-19 Shakes the World[xix] that was published in the midst of the first wave, marked by lockdowns across Europe and the world.
I think this is a good book to think about the pandemic, but, more importantly, to reflect on the post-pandemic period. While having an experience with the virus both in terms of personal loses and political defeats (though, the personal is hardly political, let alone a philosophical problematic or object), I maintain that the Pandemic! 2 is, to date, the most compelling philosophical-political intervention into the situation. I am thinking of other books written on the pandemic, among which I would distinguish Mike David’s The Monster Enters and Andrea Malm’s Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency.[xx] This said, the present text is not a review of the book; I treat the book as a groundwork for thinking further about the pandemic and its effects.
There is, also, the opposite to the books I mentioned, that is to say, there is the greatest political and philosophical disappointment of the pandemic period, namely the Italian philosopher, Giorgio Agamben, whose text on the role of the state, social distancing and masks only turned his previous writings into caricatures of themselves. Agamben put his whole philosophical conceptual apparatus to work in order to make sense of the pandemic and the crisis that followed.[xxi] We are dealing here with a philosopher, or, perhaps, the philosopher who went the furthest in correcting Marx’s theory of value – but in a very specific sense – so that it could introduce, make space for, or include a theory of use. However, this is another topic, which goes beyond the scope of my text. What is interesting with Agamben is that his texts on COVID-19 should be used to shed light on his previous system, on, in other words, that his present texts only bring to fore the already-existing tendencies in his previous work. What some of us thought to be the constitutive dimension of Agamben’s work, the tension between Marxism and anarchism, turned out to be a fake dilemma. His reference to the conceptual apparatus composed of notions of biopolitics, sovereignty, bare life, and state of emergency to make sense of the present situation only highlighted his underlying liberal positions.
But back to the present book! There is no news in arguing that SARS 2 / COVID-19 has indeed “shaken the world,” ending the hitherto routine way of life, with all its rituals, habits, customs, et cetera. The pre-COVID-19 period will be confined to memory, a past, which we can only relate to or evoke nostalgically. As Žižek writes, “maybe, we should gather the courage to accept that, even if the vaccine against Covid-19 is discovered, we will remain in a viral world continually threatened by epidemics and environmental disturbances.”[xxii]
Pandemic – not in its medical, virologic dimension – should be understood as the culmination of all the tendencies, antagonisms and contradictions that were looming for a long time. This is what, I believe, let Žižek to argue that “the crucial ideological and political battle that is occurring today concerns the relationship between three domains: the pandemic, the ecological crisis, and racism.”
It has been said that the ongoing pandemic should be understood only as a warm-up, a foreplay for the ecological catastrophes to come. To formulate this in a rather ironic manner, if the world, especially the rich and developed part of the world, cannot deal with something like COVID-19, it will be certainly powerless in facing the melting of permafrost, heatwaves in places like Siberia, or elsewhere, wildfires, the rise of level of the sea, and so forth. We can also add the existential challenge we will be soon confronted with: not only the explosion of yet another refugee exodus, but the necessity to relocate millions, due to ecological or other catastrophes.
There are big news concerning the discovery of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine. I do not have enough knowledge of epidemiology to be hopeful or not, but I share Žižek’s concern raised above.
However, one thing seems certain: whenever the situation ‘normalizes’, we will not go back to our old reality. If nothing else, the current crisis of COVID-19 rendered visible one fact: the nation-state is not an answer to the antagonisms produced by the dynamics of global capitalism. This is only one of the signs that compel us to overcome the political, ideological and economic confines imposed by the nation-state form.
The ongoing pandemic is in a way similar to the refugee crisis in Europe a couple of years ago. With regard to this problem, the majority of those on the left play the role of a moral agency, engaged in an attempt to humanize the refugees and their plights. Today’s left is mistaking patronisation for solidarity. The welcoming of the refugees is not enough. What is equally important is their systematisation: provision and medical care, enrolment in the education process, et cetera. One shouldn’t feel sympathy with the refugees, precisely because the causes of their sufferings are the results of the deadlocks, in which late capitalism finds itself. Differently put, by sympathising with the refugees we are depoliticising the very cause of the crisis. The refugee crisis is not a moral crisis, but a crisis caused by the dynamics of late global capitalism. The slogan “they are also like us” is the ultimate form of racism and replacement of class struggle with cheap moralisation. Along these lines, it is not enough even for us to locate the problems of the refugees only in the domain of imperialist or colonial struggle. The problem of the refugees (as well as the problem of the excluded, ecological catastrophes… – which will be the next cause of mass displacement of populations) should be located in the totality of capitalism.
Crisis like the one I have alluded to above (and many more to come) shows the limits of any form of grassroots democratic movements. Regardless of what a particular state does (or does not do), international cooperation, coordination and solidarity are sine qua non for battling the pandemic. The case of New Zealand with over 200 days of no infections, after which the situation immediately got worse, is a clear sign that individual states cannot contain a global problem. The pandemic made it “increasingly clear that only a global approach will work” (Žižek).
As he puts it, “healthcare, global ecology, food production and distribution, water and electricity supply, internet and phone connections – these are the priority, all other things are secondary.” We live in a world, in which the only choice is between solidarity and economy. But what if this is a fake one? We are in a historical situation, in which capitalism is preparing for its “post-” future, while the left is all too concerned with reinventing socialism. The bad news, as I see it, is that, if things continue on their own “spontaneous” path, the future will be socialist. But, unlike in the previous century, twenty-first-century socialism is being prepared for and planned by the capitalist class itself. Advocates of socialism and of its state form tend to ignore one of the basic theses of Marx, according to which capitalism is not defined by the type of state—whether it be democratic socialist, socialist centralist, or otherwise. What defines capitalism as a mode of production are capitalist relations of production.
The other concern is that the pandemic disturbed the (not-so-smooth) functioning of the global capitalist economy. There is something inherently wrong with a mode of social organization of production that is so highly affected by a few months of a “pause.” This shows us, as Žižek points out in the book, that “we should build an economy that is able to function when society is forced to press ‘pause’ and live in a prolonged standstill in which only the basics of life are provided.” He continues:
The new world will have to be Communist in the sense of Marx’s well-known maxim: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Are we not already moving toward this point? Not, of course, in the way Marx imagined it: a society of affluence in which everyone has a good life and works creatively. It will be a much more modest world in which everyone is provided with healthcare and enough food and resources to satisfy their basic needs, and everyone has to contribute to society in accordance with their abilities. Such a modest world can still be very satisfying spiritually and emotionally.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy is among those theorists who have proposed a rethinking of the notion of time. He writes that we should aim neither to contend with nor to reverse time (e.g., in the wake of ecological catastrophes); on the contrary, we have to reconfigure it. This “invites us to project ourselves into the future and to look back at the present from a point of view that we will ourselves have created.”[xxiii] In a Hegelian fashion, Dupuy argues that
“a catastrophic event not only belongs to the future as something that is fated to happen, but at the same time is contingent and accidental, something that might not happen—even if, from the perspective of the future perfect, it appears to be necessary.”[xxiv]
But where are we now? We are in a multi-dimensional global crisis. With the pandemic, the existing political world order, as we know it, is disintegrating. The question is when we will become aware of it. The period in-between the inauguration of disintegration and the moment we become aware of it might be a period of real catastrophes. In a very specific sense, our predicament is similar to the situation before the First World War. I should add here that we already are in a state of medical war. My fear is that the war will not be limited to the medical dimension, but will quickly assume other forms, such as militarized wars. As we speak now, there are wars exploding in the South Caucasus and Africa, while the ground is being prepared for other armed conflicts. It is almost as a rule that after a period of economic growth, war explodes. This was the case before the First World War, and this seems to be situation now.[xxv]
Earlier on in his work, Žižek has identified the “four horse riders” of the apocalypse, the antagonisms that cannot be controlled within capitalism.[xxvi] Accordingly, he argues:
“Socialism wants to solve the first three antagonisms without addressing the fourth—without the singular universality of the proletariat. The only way for the global capitalist system to survive its long-term antagonism and simultaneously avoid the communist solution, will be for it to reinvent some kind of socialism—in the guise of communitarianism, or populism, or capitalism with Asian values, or some other configuration. The future will thus be communist… or socialist.”[xxvii]
Žižek is one of the rare contemporary Marxists who acknowledges the primacy of “thinking” over “doing.” On many occasions, he has called not only for a reinterpretation, but for a reformulation of Marx’s Thesis 11. In the present book, he does the same, but – to use his parlance – he gave it another twist:
“my hypothesis is that the Covid-19 pandemic announces a new epoch in which we will have to rethink everything, inclusive of the basic meaning of being human, and our actions should follow our thinking. Perhaps today we should invert Marx’s Thesis XI on Feuerbach: in the twentieth century, we tried to change the world too rapidly, and the time has come to interpret it in a new way.”
How should this be read? In Seminar XVIII, Lacan provided what can be called the truth of interpretation: according to him, “interpretation is not tested by a truth that would decide by yes or no, it unleashes truth as such. It is only true inasmuch as it is truly followed.”[xxviii] Žižek reads this as the dialectical unity of theory and practice, that is to say, the ‘test’ of the analyst’s interpretation lies in the truth-effect it unleashes in the patient. We must act not in a way as to aim the changing the world because practice itself is a moment of the concept. And just as the truth-effect in Lacan’s theory of interpretation is not superimposed onto the world but added to it, so in Hegel’s theory of the concept as the unity of practice and theory, only the concept can be truly added to a world.
Unreflective practices cannot but handle what is already there. When Žižek calls us to “step back and think,” it is not a call of the “beautiful soul,” a position that presupposes the higher moral position of a given subjectivity that will do no wrong. The urge to do nothing doesn’t imply a neutral position with regard to a certain political development, a political event, popular uprising, or even elections, nor does it criticize or even celebrate them from a certain (usually a safe) distance. Žižek does not urge us to withdraw from acting into thinking, thus occupying a position that, from a higher “moral” ground, is always afraid of wrongdoings. What the beautiful soul tends to forget is that moral insights don’t have a say in how spirit actualizes itself and takes a particular form. This can be summarized by distinguishing between two types of politics: we should leave Politics (with a capital P) for thinking, and, in this way, we will be able to be more realistic about what politics (with a small p) can in fact accomplish. This does not mean that we shouldn’t do it, but it means that, though pragmatism today is in line with the inherently corrupt and dirty work of politics, we should have no illusions there.
Another thing we have to learn is not just to step back and think, but to realize that, in the post-COVID period (whatever it might be), we need to do different kind of politics. While I maintain that the distinction between two types of politics will remain valid, I think a new form of political organization will be required.
Early this year, I was appointed a political advisor to the now deposed prime minister of the Republic of Kosova. Less than two months into office, Albin Kurti’s government was overthrown by a ‘soft coup’, which led Žižek to qualify it as the “first Corona coup.”[xxix] His government left office in early June of this year.
Louis Althusser once said that you cannot see everything from everywhere. I am within the situation, so my analysis on this issue will be from within that perspective. But where one is on the inside, maybe one can have a different view on the totality. Party politics, with its mostly parliamentary basis, is not an adequate perspective on the specificities of the totality in Kosova. This presupposes a nation-state, something which Kosova is not. So, the game that is played is that of pretence that some stable rules already exist in the background, while we are pushed back to the starting point time and again. The rules falter, and elections are re-scheduled again. This has been the case till now.
One of the main problems is that we don’t know what it really means to do party politics in an inconsistent state, which is not a nation-state, precisely because there is a certain inconsistency to the electoral game. It becomes untrustworthy. Perhaps, even popular supports stop having the same meaning when representation is not grounded on a stable level to power. This is something we have to think about very seriously. I think that, in a certain sense, this government had to fall. With this coup, a certain era has ended in Kosova. I do not belong to those who mourn the past, develop nostalgia, or even a melancholic approach to the past. From the perspective of the present, we can even say that the coup was inevitable and, as such, it opened up the space for a new beginning for Kurti and his movement.
To be clear, we cannot use the same political, methodological, or conceptual apparatus in the present as before. I am not saying this under the banner of political realism. Far from it. I, like others, truly believe in political change and, frankly, we are all desperate for it. But the left has no good theory or discourse to account for or analyse its own failures. We are very good at denouncing the others. The outcome of this is either depression or resentment of the left itself. Maybe, the answer to the dilemma has been already been formulated by Frank Ruda: to act as if the worst has already happened.
The reason I took this detour is to illustrate the inherent connection between a few concepts elaborated by Žižek in the new book: the interconnection between the primacy of thinking, the necessity to dirty one’s hands, and the rethinking of organizational strategy. We need to wake up from an ideological dream, the dream which is not opposed to reality as such, but which structures and determines the way we see, relate to, and experience reality itself.
The reversal of Thesis 11 should be: acting should always come after thinking. And, in the times of the pandemic, when a crisis is manifested in many dimensions of life, acting for the sake of acting can only serve as a way to render the existing order even more efficient. In Žižek’s words, we should privilege the owl of Minerva (German contemplative philosophy) to the Gaelic rooster (French revolutionary thought).[xxx] The (post)pandemic situation will demand this.
[i] In 2018 even the EU issues a statement which declared that “Fascism is on the rise again, in Europe and around the world” and claimed that the task is to understand “where… it come[s] from, and how to stop it…” Cf. https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/news-media/news/fascism-rise-where-does-it-come-and-how-stop-it-common-european-response.
[ii] Alain Badiou, Logics of Worlds, Being and Event, 2 (London / New York, 2009: Continuum), 72.
[iii] Theodor W. Adorno, Aspects of Right-Wing Extremism (London / New York: Polity 2020), 1.
[vi] Jean-Claude Milner, Clarté de tous (Paris : Verdier, 2011).
[vii] Adorno, Aspects, 1.
[viii] Slavoj Zizek, „Biden’s Win Changes Nothing”, at: https://www.rt.com/op-ed/506197-zizek-biden-win-changes-nothing/. “Communism” is clearly even worse.
[ix] Adorno, Aspects, 1.
[x] Ibid., 2.
[xi] Alain Badiou, The Meaning of Sarkozy (London / New York: Verso, 2008).
[xii] Adorno, Aspects, 3.
[xiii] Ibid. Translation modified, F.R.
[xiv] Adorno, Aspects, 8.
[xvi] Ibid., 9.
[xviii] Classes in crisis are especially prone to flirt with fascism – and this is why Adorno here identifies the petty bourgeoisie and the peasants (including small winery owners) as precisely such classes. The crisis anxiety can then easily be translated into an anxiety of losing one’s national identity.
[xix] Slavoj Žižek, Pandemic!: COVID-19 Shakes the World, New York/London: OR Books, 2020
[xx] Mike Davis, The Monster Enters: COVID-19, Avian Flu and the Plagues of Capitalism, New York/London: OR Books, 2020; Andreas Malm, Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty-First Century, London/New York: Verso, 2020
[xxi] Giorgio Agamben, A Che Punto Siamo? L’epidemia come politica, Milan: Quodlibet, 2020
[xxii] All the references to this book are from a manuscript, hence the page number cannot be provided.
[xxiii] Jean-Pierre Dupuy, A Short Treatise on the Metaphysics of Tsunamis (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2015), p. 6.
[xxiv] Ibid., 8.
[xxv] One should also bear in mind the rapid militarization of many countries, and China’s repeated concern that its army, unlike those of the USA and Russia, despite being super equipped with weaponry, is not experienced in real battlefield. And this is only one of the aspects of the condensation of antagonisms.
[xxvi] According to Žižek, these four riders are ecological crisis, biogenetic revolution, intellectual property, and new forms of proletarization. Slavoj Žižek, Living in the End of Time (London: Verso, 2010), p. x.
[xxvii] Slavoj Žižek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farcel London: Verso, 2009, p. 95.
[xxviii] Jacques Lacan, D’un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant, Paris: Seuil, 2007, p.13.
[xxx] Slavoj Žižek, Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism, London/New York: Verso 2012, p.220.