Beyond the postmodern “moment”: Utopianism, aestheticism, and the avant-garde

by P.J. Laska The first item of interest for any inquest concerning the status of postmodernism will surely be the fact of continuing post-mortem activity of the sort Dostoevsky described in his grotesque tale “Bobok :”  “Prodolzhayetsya  zhizn’ kak by po inertsii”  [The (conscious) life of (the recently deceased) continues as if by inertia]—a phenomenon D. H. Lawrence commented on later in his Studies in Classic American Literature: “Post mortem effects. Ghosts. A certain ghoulish insistency.”  A contemporary example of this phenomenon was voiced recently by Paul Krugman:  “America’s political landscape is infested with many zombie ideas—beliefs about policy that … Continue reading Beyond the postmodern “moment”: Utopianism, aestheticism, and the avant-garde

Taking notes 21: The dangerous dreams of Slavoj Žižek

by Jerome Roos When George Orwell first sent in his celebrated dispatches from revolutionary Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, the British socialist magazine The New Statesman infamously refused to publish them for being too critical of the Stalinist crackdown on the Trotskyist and anarchist militias. As editor Kingsley Martin put it in a letter to Orwell, “it is an unfortunate fact that any hostile criticism of the present Russian regime is liable to be taken as propaganda against socialism.” Still, Orwell, who had been embedded in the Trotskyist POUM and had fought the fascists side-by-side … Continue reading Taking notes 21: The dangerous dreams of Slavoj Žižek

USA Inc.: Challenging the culture of violence and corruption

by Henry A. Giroux What is happening in America these days? From acts of violence to the corruption of corporations and the abuse of children, the USA seems quite far from the light of dawn that comes after twilight’s last gleaming. The promotion of violence in virtually all aspects of the media, the degradation of its education system and the war by the elites and the rich on the underprivileged and the have-nots, have created a new meaning for the war on poverty – there is indeed an active war waged upon the growing underclass and vulnerable, if not the … Continue reading USA Inc.: Challenging the culture of violence and corruption

We need to begin again

by Slavoj Žižek In his wonderful short text ‘Notes of a Publicist’—written in February 1922 when the Bolsheviks, after winning the Civil War against all odds, had to retreat into the New Economic Policy of allowing a much wider scope to the market economy and private property—Lenin uses the analogy of a climber who must backtrack from his first attempt to reach a new mountain peak to describe what retreat means in a revolutionary process, and how it can be done without opportunistically betraying the cause: Let us picture to ourselves a man ascending a very high, steep and hitherto … Continue reading We need to begin again