Distortions in “The Impasses of Today’s Radical Politics” by Slavoj Žižek

[footnote 5, page 13: revolutionary worldstorn <– ~ ~ ~~n]
"im revolutionären Weltsturm unterzugehen« (to perish/founder in the revolutionary worldstorn)

[page 13: Hegelian-sounding reflexdive twist <– reflex+dive+twist + Engles]
(Engels further embellishes this line of thought with a Hegelian-sounding reflexdive twist: how could these nations not be reactionary when their existence itself is a reaction, a remainder of the past?) Engles stuck to this position to the end, convinced that, with the exception of Poles, small Slavic nations are all looking toward Russia, the bullwark of reaction, for their liberation.

[page 14: quite unmabiguous terms <– rather mabigous]
The great opponent of Engels is here none other than Lenin, who formulated his position in quite unmabiguous terms:

[page 14: proletariat must <– secession, double space in between)]
The proletariat must demand the right of political secession for the colonies and for the nations that 'its own' nation oppresses.

[page 15: big goals like builduing Socialism <– building+bildung+doing]
Lenin is also stuck onto this view: after the failure of the European revolution in early 1920s was clear, he saw the main task of the Soviet power to simply bring European modernity to Russia: instead of talking about big goals like builduing Socialism, one should patiently engage in spreading (bourgeois) culture and civilization, in total opposition to « socialism in one country.»

[page 15: there also is also only <– negation became another "also"]
Mignolo relies here on an all too naïve distinction between problem and solution: if there is a thing we really know from history, it is that, while "the identification of the problem doesn't mean that there is only one solution," there also is also only a single identification of the problem.

[page 20: English language is "denaturalized" <– indeed it is]
when the new Indian identity is effortlessly formulated in English, i.e., when English language is "denaturalized," when it loses is privileged link to the "native" Anglo-Saxon English-speakers.

[page 20: high-class and -cast <– high(-class and -cast)]
It is high-class and -cast post-colonial theorists (mostly Brahmin), not those who really belong to indigenous tribal groups, who celebrate the perseverance of local traditions and communal ethics as resistance to global capitalism.

[footnote 15, page 24: repeated province of footnote]
From a properly dialectical perspective, we should strive for (or, rather, endorse the necessity of) an exactly inverted approach: a wound as such is liberating – or, rather, contains a liberating potential -, so while we should defnitely problematize the positive content of the imposed universality (the particular content it secretly privileges), we should fully endorse the liberating aspect of the wound (to our particular identity) as such.*
To put it in yet another way, what the experience of English language as an oppressive imposition obfuscates is that the same holds for EVERY language: language is as such a parasitic foreign intruder.
* But what about the opposite experience of our own language as provincial, primitive, marked by pathologies of private passions and obscenities which obscure clear reasoning and expression, the experience which pushes us towards using the universal secondary language in order to think clearly and freely? Is this not the logic of the constitution of the national language which replaces the multiplicity of dialects?

[footnote 18, page 25: repetition of the province of footnote]
So, to recapitulate: the function of experiencing the foreign language as an oppressive imposition is to obfuscate this oppressive dimension in our own language, i.e., to retroactively elevate our own maternal tongue into a lost paradise of full authentic expression. The move to be accomplished when we experience the imposed foreign language as oppressive, as out of sync with our innermost life, is thus to transpose this discord into our own maternal tongue.*
Such a move is, of course, an extremely painful one, it equals the loss of the very substance of our being, of our concrete historical roots – as George Orwell put it, it means that, in a way, I have to "alter myself so completely that at the end I should hardly be recognizable as the same person." Are we ready to do it?
* But what about the opposite experience of our own language as provincial, primitive, marked by pathologies of private passions and obscenities which obscure clear reasoning and expression, the experience which pushes us towards using the universal secondary language in order to think clearly and freely? Is this not the logic of the constitution of the national language which replaces the multiplicity of dialects?

[page 27: stronger that all <– "than"(comparison) became "that"(reference) + repeated part]
Is then a conference on the idea of Communism also destined to become this kind of pseudo-event, a Communist biennale? Or are we setting in motion something that has the potential to develop into an actual force of social transformation? It may appear that one cannot act today, that all we can really do is just to state things. But in a situation like today’s, just to state what can be is much stronger that all calls to action which are as a rule just so many excuses NOT to do anything. Let me quote Alain Badiou’s provocative thesis: "It is better to do nothing than to contribute to the invention of formal ways of rendering visible that which Empire already recognizes as existent."

[page 28: stronger that all <– "than"(comparison) became "that"(reference) + repetition of the part]
But where is the potential for change in such a stance? It may appear that one cannot act today, that all we can really do is just to state things. But in a situation like today’s, just to state what is, a constatif, can be the strongest performatif, much stronger that all calls to action which are as a rule just so many excuses NOT to do anything – such a subversive constatif was described long ago by John Jay Chapman (1862-1933), a today half-forgotten American political activist and essayist who wrote about political radicals:

[page 30: we sould remember <– soul'd remember]
PM Erdoğan's utopia for Istanbul (and we sould remember that he was the Mayor of Istanbul for four years) was a huge shopping mall and a huge mosque in Taksim Square and Gezi Park.

[page 30: invisible injunction (inscribed into the very form of our free speech) <– repeated part]
Walter Lippmann, the icon of American journalism in the XXth century, played a key role in the self-understanding of the US democracy; in Public Opinion (1922), he wrote that a "governing class" must rise to face the challenge – he saw the public as Plato did, a great beast or a bewildered herd – foundering in the "chaos of local opinions." So the herd of citizens must be governed by "a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality" – this elite class is to act as a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the "omni-competent citizen". This is how our democracies function – with our consent: there is no mystery in what Lippmann was saying, it is an obvious fact; the mystery is that, knowing it, we play the game. We act as if we are free and freely deciding, silently not only accepting but even demanding that an invisible injunction (inscribed into the very form of our free speech) tells us what to do and think. As Marx knew it long ago, the secret is in the form itself. In this sense, in a democracy, every ordinary citizen effectively is a king – but a king in a constitutional democracy, a king who only formally decides, whose function is to sign measures proposed by executive administration. This is why the problem of democratic rituals is homologous to the big problem of constitutional democracy: how to protect the dignity of the king? How to maintain the appearance that the king effectively decides, when we all know this is not true?

[page 34: invisible injunction (inscribed into the very form of our free speech) <– repetition of the part]
The large majority – me included – WANTS to be passive and just rely on an efficient state apparatus to guarantee the smooth running of the entire social edifice, so that I can pursue my work in peace. Walter Lippmann wrote in his Public Opinion (1922) that the herd of citizens must be governed by "a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality" – this elite class is to act as a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the "omni-competent citizen". This is how our democracies function – with our consent: there is no mystery in what Lippmann was saying, it is an obvious fact; the mystery is that, knowing it, we play the game. We act as if we are free and freely deciding, silently not only accepting but evendemanding that an invisible injunction (inscribed into the very form of our free speech) tells us what to do and think. "People know what they want" – no, they don’t, and they don’t want to know it, they need a good elite, which is why a proper politician does not only advocate people’s interests, it is through him that they discover what they "really want."

[page 39: Hegel pointed (out) the way here … his account of the "right of distress]
So what is the elementary gesture of this Master? Surprisingly, Hegel pointed out the way here – let us begin with his account of the "right of distress Hegel pointed the way here in his account of the "right of distress (Notrecht)"

[page 43: in the project he proposes to them <— not sure if "project"?]
Therein resides the act of a true political leader: after listening to him, people all of a sudden realize what they always-already knew they wanted, it clarifes to them their own position, it enables them to recognize themselves, their own innermost need, in the project he proposes to them.

done :)

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http://materializmidialektik.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Zizek_Politics.pdf

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hmm apart from several typos, footnote 15 and 18 are identical. is this an emphasis to the "torturing aspect of language"?

***

and repetition of this part in page 31 and 34 looks like an "invisible injunction (inscribed into the very form of our free speech)"

the herd of citizens must be governed by “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality” – this elite class is to act as a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the “omni-competent citizen”. This is how our democracies function – with our consent: there is no mystery in what Lippmann was saying, it is an obvious fact; the mystery is that, knowing it, we play the game. We act as if we are free and freely deciding, silently not only accepting but even demanding that an invisible injunction (inscribed into the very form of our free speech) tells us what to do and think

***

two continuations of this same part:

… As Marx knew it long ago, the secret is in the form itself. In this sense, in a democracy, every ordinary citizen effectively is a king – but a king in a constitutional democracy, a king who only formally decides, whose function is to sign measures proposed by executive administration.

… “People know what they want” – no, they don’t, and they don’t want to know it, they need a good elite, which is why a proper politician does not only advocate people’s interests, it is through him that they discover what they “really want.”

***

Surprisingly, Hegel pointed out the way here – let us begin with his account of the “right of distress Hegel pointed the way here in his account of the “right of distress (Notrecht)”

^^and this repetition, a use of a Notrecht that "reveals the finitude and therefore the contingency of both right and welfare of right as the abstract embodiment of freedom without embodying the particular person, and of welfare as the sphere of the particular will without the universality of right" – "a confict which is unavoidable and necessary insofar as it serves as an indication of the finitude, inconsistency, and 'abstract' character of the system of legal rights as such"?

***

Hegel’s solution to the deadlock of the Master – to have a Master (like a King) reduced to its Name, a purely symbolic authority totally dissociated of all actual qualifications for his job, a monarch whose only function is to sign his name on proposals prepared by experts – should not be confused with the cynical stance of “let’s have a master about whom we know he is an idiot” – one cannot cheat in this way since one has to make a choice: either we really don’t take the master figure seriously (and in this case the master simply doesn’t function performatively), or we take the master seriously in our acts in spite of our direct conscious irony (which can go up to actually despising the master). In the latter case, we are simply dealing with a case of disavowal, of “I know very well, but…”: our ironic distance is part of the transferential relation to the master figure, it functions as a subjective illusion enabling us to effectively endure the master, i.e., we pretend not to take the master seriously so that we can endure the fact that the master really is our master.

***

The aesthetic lesson of this paradox is clear. The horror of the Holocaust cannot be represented; but this excess of represented content over its aesthetic representation has to infect the aesthetic form itself. What cannot be *described* should be *inscribed* into the artistic form as its uncanny distortion. Perhaps a reference to Wittgenstein’s *Tractatus* can again be of some help here. According to the *Tractatus*, language depicts reality by virtue of sharing a logical form in common with it.

4.121 Propositions cannot represent logical form: it is mirrored in them. What finds its reflection in language, language cannot represent. What expresses itself in language, we cannot express by means of language. Propositions show the logical form of reality. They display it.

We know that a picture of a sunset represents a sunset because both the picture and the sunset share a similar “pictorial form.” Similarly, a proposition and what it represents share a similar “logical form”: a proposition depicts a fact, and just as a fact can be analyzed into independent states of affairs, a proposition can be analyzed into independent elementary propositions. Wittgenstein here draws a distinction between saying and showing: while a proposition says that such-and-such fact is the case, it shows the logical form by virtue of which this fact is the case. The upshot of this distinction is that we can only say things about facts in the world; logical form cannot be spoken about, only shown: "4.1212 What can be shown, cannot be said." If we read this proposition together with the final proposition ("Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."), the conclusion is that what we cannot speak about can be shown, that is, directly rendered in/by the very form of speaking. In other words, Wittgenstein’s "showing" should be understood not merely in a mystical sense, but as inherent to language, as the form of language. Let us return to our example of trauma: we cannot directly talk about or describe it, but the traumatic excess can nevertheless be "shown" in the distortion of our speech about the trauma, in its elliptic repetitions and other distortions.

Less Than Nothing, page 25

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hmmm i think we'll have to extract an inventory of these traumatic impasses

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/Zizekstudies/permalink/10152016128365777/

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http://ijzsinformal.activeboard.com/t56433384/distortions-in-the-impasses-of-todays-radical-politics-by-sl/

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