The field is open

This is a great interview with Slovenian philosopher Slajov Zizek in which he discusses changes taking place in the global system and challenges to the current capitalism (liberal “Western” capitalism or “authoritarian,” or both).

He mentions his pessimism regarding Europe and its nationalist and anti-immigrant movements, which seems like the only alternative to the technocratic “let’s be competitive in the world market” approach. At one point he relates this to the way Israel has allied itself with Western conservative forces that are at their core racist and anti-semitic. This embodies itself in figures such as Andres Behring Brevik or Glenn Beck who are anti-semitic and fearful of minorities but simultaneously staunchly supportive of the state of Israel. Zizek states: “Israel has made a deal with the devil, with those political forces in the West who are almost by definition anti-semitic, telling them ‘you can play your racial games there, just allow us to do the same with the Palestinians.'”

This is an important point to me because as I see it, US support for Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians is deeply entrenched in the global capitalist system. Challenge this system, and we challenge the war profiteering and military aid that is part and parcel of it. This includes the numerous multinational corporations profiting off of conflict and the suffering of the poor, not only in Palestine but around the world.

In light of the Arab Spring and now Occupy Wall Street, there is reason to hope. At the very least, it is clear that the current system is no longer being taken for granted. As Zizek puts it, the existing system of “western” “democratic” capitalism has “lost its self-evidence, its automatic legitimacy. And now the field is open.”

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