UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) — Digging Deeper CXII: February 1, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
First as Tragedy, Then as Farce
(London and New York: Verso,2009).
The "blatant irrationality" (81)of global capitalism is more and moreevident, requiring the resuscitation of the"communist hypothesis" (87).]
Introduction: The Lessons of theFirst Decade.
The title, which refers to"the attacks of September 11, 2001 andthe financial meltdown of 2008," is fromMarx's
and his "AContribution to the Critique of Hegel'sPhilosophy of Right" (1-3). After the fallof the Berlin Wall an "end of history"(Fukuyama) was envisaged, but this forthe superrich to feel comfortable in theirincreasingly secluded communities theutopian vision "had to die twice" (4-5). Itis not for us to judge communism, but for"the communist idea" (as a Hegelian
) to judge us (6). Today's critical Left engages in "soilingthose in power," nothing more (6-7). Thepresent task is not that of "directclimactic confrontation," but"undermin[ing] those in power withpatient ideologico-critical work, so thatalthough they are still in power, one all of a sudden notices that the powers-that-beare afflicted with unnaturally high-pitched voices" (7).
Ch. 1: It's Ideology, Stupid!
[A"diagnosis of our predicament" (5).]
The 2008financial meltdown was in fact widelyanticipated, but was presented as havingcome out of the blue (9-11). Thebehavior of both right and left revealedthat there is no alternative undercapitalism to state intervention; thequestion, rather, is "What kind of stateintervention is necessary?" (16; 11-16). That the Left lacked "a viable globalalternative" stood revealed (16-17).
Crisis as Shock Therapy.
It is naive tothink that financial and economic crisisautomatically gives rise to "a radicalemancipatory politics": reactionarypanic, or shock à la Naomi Klein's
, is much more likely(17;17-21). Bourgeois ideology insiststhat capitalist social relations are
e.g. Guy Sorman, who speaks of "neuroeconomics" (21-27).
TheStructure of Enemy Propaganda.
Jacques Alain-Miller invokes a Lacanian"subject supposed to know" (e.g. AlanGreenspan), an illusory "transferentialillusion," as key to the architecture of thefinancial universe (27-30; 31-32). Theparadoxical revival of interest in AynRand (30-31). "T]he
culture war is aclass war
in a displaced mode" thatencourages people to act against theirown interests (33-34). Now a new, morespiritual and socially responsiblecapitalism is supposedly emerging fromthe crisis (34-35). But instead we shouldconsider whether the Madoff Ponzischeme may not be seen as "an extremebut therefore pure example of whatcaused the financial breakdown itself"(36; 35-37).
Human, All Too Human...
The denial of ideology at the presentepoch shows we are "more than everembedded in ideology" (37). Theappropriation of Martin Luther King isexemplary in this regard (37-38).Capitalism congratulates itself for beingresponsible for the success of the veryfeatures of society it resisted tooth andnail so as to appear to be non-ideological(38-39). We should reject all narrativehumanizations as ideological disguises(39-44). Their obverse is an interest"toxic subjects," which are used to justifythe normalization of the state of exception (emergency) (44-48). Nixon;Berlusconi (44-51).
The "New Spirit" of Capitalism.
The "new " capitalism'sproducts (e.g. Starbucks coffee) evokethe Lacanian RSI (real-symbolic-