Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Slavoj Zizek's new text on Iran

This piece is copyright-free. Please distribute widely.


Link to the French translation in Le Monde: http://www.lemonde.fr/opinions/article/2009/06/27/teheran-en-crise-ou-le-retour-aux-sources-de-la-revolution-de-1979-par-slavoj-zizek_1212498_3232.html


Link to the Greek translation in Eleftherotypia: http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.kosmos&id=58062


WILL THE CAT ABOVE THE PRECIPICE FALL DOWN?

Slavoj Zizek

When an authoritarian regime approaches its final crisis, its dissolution as a rule follows two steps. Before its actual collapse, a mysterious rupture takes place: all of a sudden people know that the game is over, they are simply no longer afraid. It is not only that the regime loses its legitimacy, its exercise of power itself is perceived as an impotent panic reaction. We all know the classic scene from cartoons: the cat reaches a precipice, but it goes on walking, ignoring the fact that there is no ground under its feet; it starts to fall only when it looks down and notices the abyss. When it loses its authority, the regime is like a cat above the precipice: in order to fall, it only has to be reminded to look down…

In Shah of Shahs, a classic account of the Khomeini revolution, Ryszard Kapuscinski located the precise moment of this rupture: at a Tehran crossroad, a single demonstrator refused to budge when a policeman shouted at him to move, and the embarrassed policeman simply withdrew; in a couple of hours, all Tehran knew about this incident, and although there were street fights going on for weeks, everyone somehow knew the game is over. Is something similar going on now?

There are many versions of the events in Tehran. Some see in the protests the culmination of the pro-Western “reform movement” along the lines of the “orange” revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia, etc. – a secular reaction to the Khomeini revolution. They support the protests as the first step towards a new liberal-democratic secular Iran freed of Muslim fundamentalism. They are counteracted by skeptics who think that Ahmadinejad really won: he is the voice of the majority, while the support of Mousavi comes from the middle classes and their gilded youth. In short: let’s drop the illusions and face the fact that, in Ahmadinejad, Iran has a president it deserves. Then there are those who dismiss Mousavi as a member of the cleric establishment with merely cosmetic differences from Ahmadinejad: Mousavi also wants to continue the atomic energy program, he is against recognizing Israel, plus he enjoyed the full support of Khomeini as a prime minister in the years of the war with Iraq.

Finally, the saddest of them all are the Leftist supporters of Ahmadinejad: what is really at stake for them is Iranian independence. Ahmadinejad won because he stood up for the country’s independence, exposed elite corruption and used oil wealth to boost the incomes of the poor majority – this is, so we are told, the true Ahmadinejad beneath the Western-media image of a holocaust-denying fanatic. According to this view, what is effectively going on now in Iran is a repetition of the 1953 overthrow of Mossadegh – a West-financed coup against the legitimate president. This view not only ignores facts: the high electoral participation – up from the usual 55% to 85% - can only be explained as a protest vote. It also displays its blindness for a genuine demonstration of popular will, patronizingly assuming that, for the backward Iranians, Ahmadinejad is good enough - they are not yet sufficiently mature to be ruled by a secular Left.

Opposed as they are, all these versions read the Iranian protests along the axis of Islamic hardliners versus pro-Western liberal reformists, which is why they find it so difficult to locate Mousavi: is he a Western-backed reformer who wants more personal freedom and market economy, or a member of the cleric establishment whose eventual victory would not affect in any serious way the nature of the regime? Such extreme oscillations demonstrate that they all miss the true nature of the protests.

The green color adopted by the Mousavi supporters, the cries of “Allah akbar!” that resonate from the roofs of Tehran in the evening darkness, clearly indicate that they see their activity as the repetition of the 1979 Khomeini revolution, as the return to its roots, the undoing of the revolution’s later corruption. This return to the roots is not only programmatic; it concerns even more the mode of activity of the crowds: the emphatic unity of the people, their all-encompassing solidarity, creative self-organization, improvising of the ways to articulate protest, the unique mixture of spontaneity and discipline, like the ominous march of thousands in complete silence. We are dealing with a genuine popular uprising of the deceived partisans of the Khomeini revolution.

There are a couple of crucial consequences to be drawn from this insight. First, Ahmadinejad is not the hero of the Islamist poor, but a genuine corrupted Islamo-Fascist populist, a kind of Iranian Berlusconi whose mixture of clownish posturing and ruthless power politics is causing unease even among the majority of ayatollahs. His demagogic distributing of crumbs to the poor should not deceive us: behind him are not only organs of police repression and a very Westernized PR apparatus, but also a strong new rich class, the result of the regime’s corruption (Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is not a working class militia, but a mega-corporation, the strongest center of wealth in the country).

Second, one should draw a clear difference between the two main candidates opposed to Ahmadinejad, Mehdi Karroubi and Mousavi. Karroubi effectively is a reformist, basically proposing the Iranian version of identity politics, promising favors to all particular groups. Mousavi is something entirely different: his name stands for the genuine resuscitation of the popular dream which sustained the Khomeini revolution. Even if this dream was a utopia, one should recognize in it the genuine utopia of the revolution itself. What this means is that the 1979 Khomeini revolution cannot be reduced to a hard line Islamist takeover – it was much more. Now is the time to remember the incredible effervescence of the first year after the revolution, with the breath-taking explosion of political and social creativity, organizational experiments and debates among students and ordinary people. The very fact that this explosion had to be stifled demonstrates that the Khomeini revolution was an authentic political event, a momentary opening that unleashed unheard-of forces of social transformation, a moment in which “everything seemed possible.” What followed was a gradual closing through the take-over of political control by the Islam establishment. To put it in Freudian terms, today’s protest movement is the “return of the repressed” of the Khomeini revolution.

And, last but not least, what this means is that there is a genuine liberating potential in Islam – to find a “good” Islam, one doesn’t have to go back to the 10th century, we have it right here, in front of our eyes.

The future is uncertain – in all probability, those in power will contain the popular explosion, and the cat will not fall into the precipice, but regain ground. However, it will no longer be the same regime, but just one corrupted authoritarian rule among others. Whatever the outcome, it is vitally important to keep in mind that we are witnessing a great emancipatory event which doesn’t fit the frame of the struggle between pro-Western liberals and anti-Western fundamentalists. If our cynical pragmatism will make us lose the capacity to recognize this emancipatory dimension, then we in the West are effectively entering a post-democratic era, getting ready for our own Ahmadinejads. Italians already know his name: Berlusconi. Others are waiting in line.



Persian translation:

آیا گربه به دره سقوط خواهد کرد؟

نوشته اسلاوی ژیژک

هنگامی که حکومتی خودکامه به بحران آخرین خود نزدیک می‌شود، مراحل اضمحلالش قاعدتاًً در دو مرحله اتفاق می‌افتد. پیش از فروپاشی نهایی، گسستگی اسرار آمیز به وقوع می‌پیوندد: به یکباره مردم در می‌یابند که بازی تمام شده است، آنها به سادگی دیگر نمی‌ترسند. قضیه فقط این نیست که رژیم مشروعیتش را از دست می‌دهد، بلکه اعمال قدرتش به خودی خود به عنوان واکنشی از سر ناتوانی و ترس تعبیر می‌شود. همه ما با این صحنه کلاسیک کارتونی آشنایی داریم: گربه به پرتگاهی می‌رسد، اما به راه رفتنش ادامه می‌دهد، و این حقیقت را که دیگر زمینی زیر پایش نیست نادیده می‌گیرد؛ فقط هنگامی افتادنش آغاز می‌شود که به پایین نگاه می‌کند و ژرفای دره را می‌بیند. رژیمی که اقتدارش را از دست می‌دهد، شبیه همان گربه بالای پرتگاه است: برای افتادن فقط کافیست که یادش بیاندازید به پایین نگاهی بیاندازد...

در کتاب شاه شاهان، که شرح کلاسیکی از انقلاب خمینی است، ریژارد کاپوشینسکی لحظه دقیق این گسست را نشان می‌دهد: بر سر چهارراهی در تهران، هنگامی که پلیس بر سر تظاهرکننده‌ای داد کشید که حرکت کند و او از جایش تکان نخورد، پلیس شرمنده صرفاً از خیر او گذشت؛ یکی دوساعت بعد، همه تهران این داستان را می‌دانستند و اگرچه درگیری‌های خیابانی هفته‌های متمادی ادامه داشت، همه به نوعی می‌دانستند که بازی دیگر تمام شده است. آیا اکنون هم اتفاق مشابهی در حال وقوع است؟

روایت‌های مختلفی از اتفاقات تهران وجود دارد. برخی در این اعتراضات اوج "حرکت اصلاح‌گرایانه" هوادارغرب را می بینند که در همان جهت انقلابهای "نارنجی" در اوکراین، گرجستان و غیره بود - واکنشی سکولار به انقلاب خمینی. ایشان این اعتراضات را به عنوان نخستین گامها در جهت ایرانی جدید، سکولار و لیبرال دمکرات می بینند که از بنیادگرایی اسلامی آزاد شده است. این تعبیراز سوی شکاکانی خنثی می‌شود که باور دارند احمدی‌نژاد واقعا برنده شده است: او صدای اکثریت است ، در حالی که هواداران موسوی از میان طبقه متوسط و فرزندان نازپرورده آنان می‌آیند. به طور خلاصه می‌گویند: بیایید توهم‌ها را به کناری بگذاریم و با این حقیقت روبرو شویم که، با احمدی‌نژاد، ایران رییس جمهوری دارد که لایق آن است. در مرحله بعد، کسانی هستند که موسوی را به‌خاطر تعلقش به نظام روحانی حاکم رد می‌کنند که تنها قیافه ظاهری‌اش از احمدی‌نژاد بهتر است: موسوی هم قصد دارد برنامه انرژی هسته‌ای را ادامه بدهد، مخالف به رسمیت شناختن اسرائیل است، به علاوه به عنوان نخست وزیر درسالهای جنگ با عراق از حمایت کامل خمینی برخوردار بوده است.

دست آخر، غم‌انگیز ترین این مواضع متعلق به "چپ گرایان" طرفدار احمدی‌نژاد است: مهمترین مسئله برای ایشان استقلال ایران است. احمدی نژاد برای این پیروز شد که برای استقلال کشور ایستادگی کرد، فساد نخبگان سیاسی را نشان داد و سرمایه نفت را درجهت ارتقای درآمد اکثریت فقیر به کار برد - احمدی نژاد واقعی این است ، یا اقلا به ما این‌گونه می گویند، که زیر تصویرمتحجر و منکرهولوکاست که رسانه‌های غربی از او ساخته‌اند، ‌پنهان است. بر اساس این دیدگاه، آنچه اکنون در ایران در حال وقوع است تکرار واقعه برکناری مصدق در۱۹۵۳ است - کودتایی با خرج غربیان برعلیه رییس‌جمهورمشروع و قانونی. مشکل این دیدگاه فقط انکار مستندات نیست: مشارکت بالای راًی‌دهندگان ازمیزان معمول ۵۵ درصد به ۸۵ درصد را فقط می‌توان به عنوان رأی اعتراضی تعبیر کرد. به علاوه،‌ این دیدگاه عدم درک خود را از نمایش اصیل اراده مردم به نمایش می‌گذارد، و قیم مآبانه می‌پندارد که برای ایرانیان عقب‌مانده، همان احمدی‌نژاد مناسب است - اینها هنوز آنقدر به بلوغ نرسیده‌اند که چپ سکولار بر ایشان حکومت کند.


این روایتها، با وجود تعارضات شدیدی که با هم دارند، همگی بر اساس محور تقابل بین تندروهای اسلامی با اصلاح‌گرایان لیبرال غرب‌گرا بنا شده‌اند. به همین دلیل است که نمی توانند جایگاه موسوی را تعیین کنند: آیا بالاخره موسوی اصلاح طلبی با پشتوانه غرب است که به دنبال آزادی فردی بیشتر و بازار آزاد است، یا عضوی از نظام روحانی حاکم که نهایتاً پیروزی‌اش هیچ تأثیر جدی در تغییرطبیعت رژیم ندارد؟ چنین نوسانات فاحشی در این تحلیل‌ها نشانگر آن است که همگی از درک طبیعت حقیقی این اعتراضات عاجزند.


رنگ سبزی که هواداران موسوی اختیار کرده‌اند، فریاد‌های الله اکبری که از پشت‌بامهای تهران در تاریکی شب طنین انداز می‌شود، به وضوح نشان می‌دهد که ایشان این عمل خود را تکرار انقلاب ۱۹۷۹ خمینی می‌دانند، ‌بازگشت به ریشه‌های آن و شرایط پیش از انحراف انقلاب . این بازگشت تنها شامل برنامه‌ها نمی‌شود؛ حتی بیش از آن شیوه فعالیت جمع را مد نظر دارد، اتحاد راسخ مردم، اتفاق نظر و یکپارچگی فراگیرشان، خود-سازماندهی ابتکاری‌شان، شیوه‌های فی‌البداهه‌ برگزاری اعتراضاتشان، ترکیب منحصر به فردخود انگیختگی و نظم اشان، یا آن راهپیمایی تهدید آمیز هزاران-هزارشان در کمال سکوت. ما اینجا با خیزش مردمی اصیلی از طرفداران مغبون‌شده انقلاب خمینی سروکار داریم.

چندین پیامد مهم از این دیدگاه نتیجه می‌شود. نخست، ‌احمدی نژاد قهرمان اسلام‌گرایان فقیر نیست، بلکه یک پوپولیست واقعا فاسد اسلامو-فاشیست است، یک یرلوسکونی ایرانی که ترکیب رفتارهای دلقک‌ مآبانه و اقتدارگرایی سیاسی ظالمانه‌اش حتی اکثریت آیت‌الله‌ها را هم معذب می‌کند. نان پخش کردنهای عوام‌فریبانه‌اش به فقرا نباید ما را بفریبد: پشت سراو نه فقط سازمانهای سرکوب‌گر پلیس ودستگاههای بسیار غربی شده روابط عمومی ، بلکه یک طبقه تازه به‌دوران رسیده ثروتمند قوی ایستاده که در نتیجه فساد رژیم به‌وجود آمده است ( سپاه پاسداران ایران نیروی شبه نظامی طبقه کارگر نیست، بلکه نهادی فوق‌العاده فاسد و قدرتمندترین مرکز ثروت در کشور است).

ثانیاً، باید بتوان تفاوتی مشخص میان دو کاندیدای اصلی مقابل احمدی‌نژاد، یعنی مهدی کروبی و موسوی، قائل شد: کروبی عملاً یک اصلاح طلب است، او اساساً نسخه ایرانی از هویتی سیاسی را ارئه می‌دهد که به همه گروهها قول مساعدت می‌دهد. موسوی کاملا با او متفاوت است:‌ نام او مترادف بازدمیدن در رویایی عمومی است که انقلاب خمینی را به پیروزی رساند. حتی اگر این رویا یک "آرمانشهر" بود، باید در آن آرمانشهر اصیل انقلاب را جستجو کرد. این بدان معنی است که انقلاب ۱۹۷۹ خمینی را نمی‌توان به جریان تندروی اسلامگرایی که قدرت را در دست دارد تقلیل داد - این انقلاب بسی فراتر از آن بود. اکنون زمان به یاد آوردن شور وشوق باورنکردنی سال اول پس از انقلاب است، به همراه انفجار نفس گیر خلاقیت سیاسی و اجتماعی، تجربه‌های تشکیلاتی و بحثهای میان دانشجویان و مردم عادی. این حقیقت که چنین انفجاری باید خاموش می‌شد، گواه آن است که انقلاب خمینی واقعه سیاسی اصیلی بود، یک "گشایش" موقتی که نیروهای بی سابقه تغییر اجتماعی را آزاد می‌ساخت، لحظه‌ای که در آن "هر چیز ممکن به نظر می‌رسید". آنچه به دنبال آن واقع شد، بسته شدنی تدریجی بود که از طریق به‌دست گرفتن کنترل سیاسی توسط نظام اسلامی حاصل شد. به زبان فرویدی،‌ باید گفت حرکت اعتراضی این روزها "بازگشت سرکوب‌شد‌گان" انقلاب خمینی است.

و دست آخر، این بدان معناست که در اسلام پتانسیلی حقیقی وجود دارد - برای یافتن یک "اسلام خوب" لازم نیست به قرن دهم بازگردیم، آن را همین‌جا در مقابل چشمانمان می‌توانیم ببینم.

آینده نامشخص است - بسیار ممکن است آنان‌که بر اریکه قدرتند جلوی انفجار توده‌ها را بگیرند، و گربه ما هم به قعر دره سقوط نکند،‌ بلکه دوباره خود را بر زمین استوار بیابد. در هر صورت، رژیم ایران دیگرنه همان رژیم قبلی، بلکه قدرت خودکامه فاسدی میان بقیه خواهدبود. نتیجه هر چه شود، بسیار مهم است که به خاطر بسپاریم که هم اکنون شاهد واقعه‌ عظیم رهایی‌بخشی هستیم که در قالب جدال میان لیبرالهای غرب‌گرا و بنیاد‌گرایان ضد غرب نمی‌گنجد. اگر واقع‌بینی منفی نگرمان سبب شود ظرفیت درک بعد رهایی بخشی آن را از دست بدهیم، باید گفت که ما در غرب عملا در حال ورود به دوره پسا-دموکراتیکی هستیم که در آن به انتظار احمدی‌نژاد خودمان نشسته‌ایم. ایتالیایی‌ها اکنون نام او را میدانند: برلوسکونی. سایرین هم در صف منتظرند.


from: /bahmanhatefi.blogspot.com


533 comments:

  1. With all respect: But what does this really tell us? The means employed are simlar to those employed in 1979? But are these not the means employed in most revolutions?: the chanting of slogans, the mass mobilisation of the public. The repeated cries of "Allah Akbar" are an Islamic quirk, they are also defensive. As the statement is one of Islamic doctrine, it cannnot be measured against, and is in fact the same cry used by the supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The employment of the phrase 'we will not be moved' by everyone from fox hunters to animal rights protestors in the UK suggests no similarity in intention between such vastly disparate groups.
    The comparison with Berlusconi is rather simplistic, and indicative of, like the aforementioned fault, a social commentary that aims to seek likenesses, rather than to adequately explain real phenomena. And in this respect, quite why Ahmadinejad is an 'Iranian Berlusconi' rather than an 'Iranian George Bush', or, indeed, Sarkozy, Brown or Obama, is beyond comprehension. Do you really hold so much faith in our western leaders (aside from Berlusconi)?
    Next we have an over convenient identification of some rudimentary differences between Mousavi and Karroubi. Yet it is not pointed out that Karroubi would have been far short himself of delivering some of the demands of the protestors, rounded off nicely with some allussion to a momentary 'opening that unleashed unheard-of social forces...' in the year following the 1979 revolution. Unheard of then, now? Unheard by whom?
    There is a genuine liberal potential in Islam, for sure, but who is to say that that is what we are witnessing, and that our apparent failure to see it (who's failure, by the way? surely everyone is seeing it pretty clearly, it's arguably more popular in the West than the fall of the Berlin wall was) will land us with a tyrant like 'Berlusconi' (I have to smirk here. Where is the logical train of thought)? Apparently, for us to end up with Italian PM Berlusconi would somehow link with our having not welcomed a liberal strand of Islam, which opened up 'unheard of' forces 30 years ago and is repeating (rehearing them, or failing to)them now. Is this what the Italians did wrong?
    One may as well get Badouian and declare the whole thing an 'Event', claiming to have somehow foreseen it in 'Being and Event'.
    I think what we need is to let the Iranians speak, those that can, to stop making such awful attempts at interpreting a situation to which we have no access, and to stop making obscene generalistions, the type of which compare Berlusconi (presided over ex-Communist by President Napolitano) to Ahmadinejad, presided over by Khamenei. Maybe then we might leave praxis to the people at ground level, allowing amateur and professional journalists to tell us what is happening, spreading awareness by disseminating the information and technology open to us, this being one of the most striking revolutionary aspects of this current situation, and one which we cannot find analogy with in the past. This (twitter, flickr, facebook, blogger, etc) is the nature of the (a) revolution, that has already occurred.
    Just what is so frightening about not knowing what will happen next in Iran, not knowing the true nature of that particular revolution, of a President? To offer poor analogies just reduces philosophy and critique to what it surely rails against; the under-confident Conservative social forces that attempt to categorise and channel every new movement as it comes.
    We all want genuine change in Iran as in Italy, the UK, the US, Zimbabwe, Russia and on and on. Let us not belittle the enactment of change when it comes, with inadequate analyses.

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  2. I am sorry to say but I think Zizek should continue analysing things he knows something about... .

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  3. I'm sorry but where is the concrete analysis here? To compare Berlusconi to Ahmadinejad on the basis of an electoral coup does not demonstrate some special knowledge on Zizek's part. Quite apart from the fact that Berlusconi's predicament now is that he is being caught with his trousers down, a bit like Clinton, and is refusing to step down on this, unproven, account; a bit different to what is happening to Iran, no?
    I would hazard to guess that Berlusconi falls more in the banning of headscraves camp, ala Sarkozy (if he cares at all), rather than the beating of women for not wearing headscarves. Do I like Berlusconi? Not one bit, yet he is still not a good like-for-like comparison with Iran's official (though unelected) President.
    I am sorry, again, but Zizek's text is comprised of a series of disparate non-factual remarks.
    I think, for sure, anyone can comment on the situation on Iran, but I am dissapointed in the remarks of one of our most illustrious phiolosopher figures.
    Is this the return to the roots of the 1979 revolution? Likely not, probably it's something quite different, even if it is in some respects cast in its image. Why over simplify? And why drag Italian politics into it when any nation may just as well make a comparison with the tyranny of the Iranian regime?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I disagree on one part - Berlusconi may be a corrupt mafioso, but his ruthless politics are appreciated by many italians. It is a neo-fascism which was popularized in northern italy mostly, and united the "traditional" mafiosi of the souths (including their corporations).

    But, with all due respect, to compare Berlusconi to Ahmadinejad is a bit too much. Italian police doesn't by far conduct what the Iranian regime is doing inside Iran.

    Last but not least, this is not about Italy, this ist not about Iraq, this is not about France, this is not about the USA (a country who is unable to charge their own war criminals):

    This is about the PEOPLE _in_ Iran.

    ReplyDelete
  5. it think his point is clear. we shouldn't pigeonhole this uprising in the usual western gaze as a pro-western against "islamic fundamentalism." The point i think he should make clearly that the "Islamic" state of Iran is not Islam, the repression is not Islamicaly ordained and this movement isn't against Islam. It has nothing to do with it. Iranians are Muslims and proud to be Muslims, that's what they are chanting on their rooftops, they want justice and change AND it has nothing to do with Islam or the West.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Guys,

    I don't think this is Zizek. It sounds like a mish-mash of his most famous phrases and references without any of his usual acute insights. Who wrote this? Zizek would never say something as hilariously neocon-ish as "Ahmadinejad is ... a genuine corrupted Islamo-Fascist."

    I'm willing to bet that this piece is a hoax.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Part of Iranians are practicing Muslims. Islam was forced to Iranians by Arabs.
    The reason people chant "Allaho Akbar" is they need a tool, something to unit them without offending anyone. Mousavi, Karubi, are just a mean for people of Iran to show their opposition against the government.

    People of Iran are very smart, they know both Karubi and Mousavi have lots of support from different political and financial institutions in Iran, and they are using them for a greater purpose.

    Imagine if they were to protest for say sun of the previous King of Iran in the streets, what kind of support would they have. Imagine if they chanted "viva Shah", who would follow?

    I have to agree with one point, this is a crack in the system. No matter what the results are, eventually this will result in collaps of the current formation of power in Iran.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Except for Anonymous at 11:04, none of the other comment writer's get what Zizek is saying. The people of Iran are attempting to carry out their unfinished revolution of 1979. The comparison between Ahmadinejad and Berlusconi can be made to Tony Blair or George Bush. They are support the consolidation of power into the hands of the wealthy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The great flowering in the first year after the fall of the Shah included the red part of the red-black (i.e., mullah) revolution. For the Iranian Left, whom I would have thought were Zizek's natural allies if not heroes, the revolution did not end with a door slowly closing, but with a trapdoor opening and a rope tightening.

    ReplyDelete
  10. But he stated that it has something so do with both Islam and the west... anyhow, the article is stirring strong emotions where it is posted, and we need to make people aware of the situation, being as we can, in this day and age, due to new technologies etc... so no harm done, I just wanted to pick up on a rather poor piece of political critique, where we may have expected something better!

    ReplyDelete
  11. James Martin I get what he's saying in that respect, but it's nonsense. It's as oversimplified as his reliance on the analogy between the Iranian regime and the Italian leadership, which you agree is superfluous. You may as well agree that the comparison with the aims of 1979 is superfluous, as one may as well make a comparison with any revolution that aims for freedom (which is generally what revolutions do).

    ReplyDelete
  12. You're all being duped. This piece was NOT written by Zizek. Anyone who believes it was is not familiar with his work or his style. I'm more and more sure that this is totally fake. Why would Zizek publish something on a totally unknown and anonymous blog like this? It makes no sense whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
  13. H's written it for the sake of the uprising in Iran, which is admirable in itself, and it's all over the net, not just here (it's written for net circulation)... also this same site carries open letters signed by Zizek.

    Maybe you're right, but unless you're Zizek I'm not sure that I believe you! Though it would excuse how bad it is.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mike, from my understanding, the piece was apparantly published here first.

    As I said above, Zizek would not deploy the neocon term "islamo-fascist" to describe Ahmadinejad.

    That was my first clue.

    There are several others, including his white-washing of Moussavi's history and the hilariously inane language that takes over in some spots:

    "...the incredible effervescence ... breath-taking explosion ... students and ordinary people"

    Not only would Zizek never stoop to using such an undialectical term as "ordinary people," that whole sentence from which I excerpted those phrases sounds more like it came from a movie review in the Kansas City Star than from a properly political-historical analysis of 1979.

    I'm convinced it's a hoax, and a badly transparent one at that.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Zizek can be great and can be bad (sometimes even in the same sentence), but this is too bad even for the worst Zizek. I think this is clearly a fake text. Would somebody like Zizek speak about the "Khomeini revolution" instead of the Iranian or Islamic revolution and would he defend the Moussavi option as a return to its first year, precisely when he assume office as prime minister after the "effervescent" beginnings of the revolution? would he speak of islamo-fascism? would he identify those first days of revolution with "good Islam" rather than with the leftist movements he avoids to mention explicitly? A fake, and a very bad fake indeed. But sometimes Zizek himself writes bad copies of himself, so everything is possible.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "SLAVOJ ZIZEK: Islamofascism. I want Islamofascism. (uproar from audience) No, I don’t want it. I want to debate it. No, very sincerely, can I make it a short point, please. Let me ask you a question. What I like in your idea of Islamofascism is to politicize it. Islamic fundamentalism, my God, we are not talking about a spiritual movement, we are talking of a violent political movement, so let’s at least use some political term, okay. I find nonetheless two things problematic. First one, then let’s call it simply fascism, you know. If we talk about Islamofascism, would you agree to call Mussolini or Hitler Christofascism or what?"

    ReplyDelete
  17. Zizek uses the term Islamo fascism in The Borrowed Kettle. He says something like--maybe the challenge to Islamo fascism will be... Islamo socialism? No idea if he wrote this or not, but that term is not something he avoids.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi guys,

    I have something that has nothing to do with this but (maybe) is very important.
    There is a document in here:
    http://www.iranian.com/main/blog/shorts/it-might-save-their-lives
    Can anyone translate it to Farsi. I have tried but as I can't type in Farsi and it is very diffcult for me.
    It describes how you can defend against riot police. (written by a riot police)

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I didn't say Zizek avoids the term; he has interrogated it, played with it, and twisted it around like he does with all phrases that circulate in popular culture/political imagination. What I am saying is that he's never used it in a straightforward, neocon fashion the way it is done in this piece.

    ReplyDelete
  20. NO, STUPID, there's nothing similar here to the rupture point of the Shah regime, because the Shah regime was humane, civilized, and this is a ruthless, brutal, inhuman pack of assassins. Had the Shah had the support of the civilized nations, had the intellectuals understood that to preserve his regime was in the interest od the Iranians, given the circumstances, Iran would be an infinite more advanced, more peaceful society. But Jimmy Carter didn't think so...

    ReplyDelete
  21. the shah was a brutal despot put in place by the Brits & the US and who used his Savak ruthlessly to arrest, torture, and kill the opposition.

    Shah-cha may not like the outcome of the 1979 revolution, as I do not, but to go beyond saying that the Shah's regime was westward leaning, pro-corporate and technocratic, with educated cosmopolitan elites, is ridiculous. Isn't that what George Bush planned for in Iraq? Do you like that regime too?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Shah-cha, you should crawl back into your hole, you project stupidity!

    The article by Zizek, above, is pretty straightforward. If you don't understand it the first time, please read it again. I have seen Zizek misuse a word maybe 2 times, but in several million words. He can be difficult but it is important to put more effort into understanding him.
    I don't agree with anything being superfluous, please don't tell me I do.

    Most important, Zizek says, "Whatever the outcome, it is vitally important to keep in mind that we are witnessing a great emancipatory event which doesn’t fit the frame of the struggle between pro-Western liberals and anti-Western fundamentalists".
    I live in California, I don't live in Iran. I have never been there and doubt that I'll ever go there. I have known many Iranian leftest and a few kind of lost in religion. I don't claim to understand precisely what is happening.
    I do know that it is a "Great emancipatory event taking place".

    ReplyDelete
  23. And that EXACTLY is the problem with Iranians in LA. Pre-revolution immigrants, primarily rich through oil-related economies of the Pahlavi's corrupt Iran settled in a safe haven where they could raise their children to ignore their cultural roots - not a cliche, a reality. Perhaps rather than blindly defending someone's evaluation of the country YOU pretend to have some connection to - educate yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why would anyone bother to fake an essay by Zizek and put it on this site? Maybe Zizek just wanted to write something brief and accessible in support of a current political topic.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Look here for more explanation directly from Zizek in his voice, on this subject. http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2009/06/slavoj-zizek-masterclass-day-4-notes-towards-a-definition-of-communist-culture/
    The above article is rearticulated. Also, find it in youtube. If you don't believe it is Zizek, then you are lost.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yes, it's Zizek's. I wrote an e-mail asking him and he answered me that it is his text. End of the story.

    ReplyDelete
  27. http://lyziswelt.blogsport.de/2009/04/27/genosse-izek-im-us-tv-ueber-hitchcock/

    ReplyDelete
  28. So, according to Zizek Iranian people want to go back to the first years of the revolution, those years full of political efervescence when there were lots of different political organizations. I don't know if this is true, but Moussavi appears as a very unlikely symbol of those years; his tenure as Prime Minister started just after those years and he had a central role in the suppresion of the dissident organizations:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/23/world/around-the-world-iranian-leftists-warned-to-limit-activities.html?scp=24&sq=Hussein+Moussavi&st=nyt

    ReplyDelete
  29. The lecture where he speaks about Iran and basically restates what is written in this article can be found on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  30. whoever is Slavoj Zizek, or who has written this should talk about things he knows and not about italian politics that is a mess of its own. The link between Berlusconi and Ahmadinejad is simply ridicolous and offensive. Do your own business Mr. Slavoj Zizek...

    ReplyDelete
  31. I can't believe people take Mr. Zizek seriously. He knows he's a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I linked to this essay from a blog on The New York Times Web site and I can confirm that Mr. Zizek told me directly that it is his work.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh shut up. This isn't even a good Zizek parody. I talked to him myself and he said that it wasn't his, and that Robert and Carlos were idiots, and he slobbered on the phone.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Zizek canot be sure if he is Zizek because Deleuze said that Lacan said that one can ever really know anyways; doesn't change the content of the article, which is poor, whoever Zizek really is.

    ReplyDelete
  35. i don't think the piece was intended for the audience that's commenting on it.

    ReplyDelete
  36. im iranina. i should tell u that this analyse is the most nearer one to the true story. trust me

    ReplyDelete
  37. 'i don't think this piece was intended for the audience that's commenting on it' (two posts back). then for what audience? precisely what credentials do we lack? i hope you're not being a cultural snob of some sort. many people know zizek's work and understand it. it's just that some of it is bull.

    ReplyDelete
  38. and , 'i'm irania' are you italian?

    ReplyDelete
  39. For those who still don't believe this is zizek's work I refer them to his "Populism, Democracy and Iran" on youtube.

    As an Iranian in New York, I was amazed how cleverly he is able to analyze and understand the situation compared to most of the media (Guardian, CNN, BBC, FOX, NY Times) which primitively try to understand what is happening in Iran in a pre-established framework.

    However, I agree this written work might be confusing. Hence I suggest to watch his discussion to get a better understanding of his analysis.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Nooshin Farhid28 June 2009 at 01:35

    I agree with what Zizak is saying about Ahmadinejad and his mega-corporation basij, however, some of the comments he is making about the ‘Good Islam’ and spirit of ‘Khomeini’s Revolution’ are nonsense, he doesn’t know much about the experience of being in the heart of 1979 revolution. And he ignores the fact that 'Khomeini' hijacked the people’s revolution in the absence of a real democratic leadership. Also, Mousavi is not very different from the fundamentalists unless he defies the two significant basis of the Islamic regime: the existence of a Supreme Leader and the existence of elite militia structure: Basij.

    ReplyDelete
  41. مردم ایران از آنچه که نویسنده فکر می کند، باهوشتر هستند. اگر مردم شعارهای اول انقلاب را تکرار می کنند به این دلیل نیست که خواهان بازگشت به وضعیت 30 سال گذشته هستند، بلکه روشی است تا به حکومت اعلام کنند که نتوانسته است به هیچ یک از وعده های انقلابی خود عمل کند. بعبارت دیگر تکرار این شعارها وسیله ای برای رسوا کردن حکومت است. نویسنده مدعی است که مردم خوهان برگشت به اسلام رهایی بخش 30 سال گذشته هستند اما نمی گوید چه تضمینی هست که درصورت بازگشت به وضعیت اول انقلاب دوباره و بعد از 30 سال درجایگاهی که اکنون هستیم، قرار نگیریم. یک نفر به این آقا که سنگ خود را به سینه می زند بگوید که چیزی به نام حکومت اسلامی وجود ندارد. بزرگان اسلام هم هیچ یک چنین ادعایی نداشته اند. اسلام پیوسته می گوید که در زمین عدل را بپا داریدو صالحان را به حکومت برگزینید. اما چیزی در مورد مکانیزم حکومت نمی گوید. در اسلام هر یک از ریش سفیدان مذهبی (و نه حاکمان)مرجع دینی (و نه حاکم) بعد از خود را به مردم معرفی کرده و وی مادام العمر (و بدون رای گیری) در این سمت باقی می ماند و جانشین خود را پیش از مرگ به مردم معرفی می کند. نه پیغمبر نه علی و نه خلفا هیچ یک مکانیزم دیگری ( چه از نوع ولایت فقیه و چه از نوع دمکراسی و انتخابات) به آن نیافزوده اند و معنی آن این است که اسلام نه مکانیزم حکومت را تعیین می کند و نه مدعی حکومت اسلامی است. سرکوب اخیر به خوبی مردم ایران را با مفهوم مردم سالاری دینی و حکومت اسلامی آشنا کرد. قران صراحتا می گوید و اکثر هم لا یعقلون ( بیشتر مردم نمی دانند.) با چنین رویکردی دیگر انتخابات که به معنی نظر اکثریت است، جایگاهی در اسلام ندارد.مرحوم دکتر شریعتی، اقبال و دیگران نیز از ایدئولوژی دینی برای رهایی مسلمانان از چنگ استثمارگران غالبا غیر مسلمان، بهره برده و به حکومت دینی اعتقادی نداشته اند.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Krad,

    Zizek's text isn't confusing, it's just plain simplistic and not very knowledgeable about modern Iranian history. His paeans to Moussavi are embarrassing, and his description of Ahmadinejad as an "islamo-fascist" is straight from the American Enterprise Institute's playbook.

    The extent of Zizek's understanding of Iran is nicely summed up by this quote from an article he wrote for In These Times:

    Iran is the only large Arab state which not only does not diplomatically recognize Israel, but resolutely denies its right to exist as a state.

    http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2280/

    ReplyDelete
  43. 1. Generally I like Zizek, he's cool, he knows however he has ideas that I simply don't accept them all
    2. The article has been written hastily and lacks adequate amount of efficient and useful information, in fact it seems not a professional political analysis-voila particularly for such a complicated situation. I believe he has not enough information about Iran and therefore he's missing a good comprehending of today's situation.
    It's not simply like this and it doesn't help to just mention a fact which is obvious for those who are challenging this tough situation. Let me say, for instance, just keeping account of Hodjatiah fanatics- like Messbaah Yazdi- will add lots of new, complex alternatives which trace a whole different storyline rather the scenario of Islamofascist authoritarianism, although this will probably be a part of every scenario in view of the fact that it's a well-tried, quick in action blade for cutting through obstructions.
    So the article has a few sentences which I like and it also has lots useless info, I'm not going to say for everyone but at least for me as an individual who lives in Iran and is involved in the situation.

    3. But what is the soul of this article? If you ask me I would say it's a kind of Ok-it's-my-opinion answer to the question "what do you think? 50 words or less give me a digest".
    Not very serious, not very complicated.

    4. I'm not sure if you have left inclinations, but if you do, you must know that what Berlusconi, Ahmadinejaad and so on, do has no difference for the proletariat; for the working class, for liberty, for human future all are the same and dangerous. What is the difference between a bullet shot or a club hit? between a wounded man or a dead man? when all will end in a same result. Let me assure you we are all walking down a same road.
    This comparison should not be treated literally and superficially but one has to see what is waiting for us at the end of the day, take another look at this part:"If our cynical pragmatism..."
    5. It's not important who has written this article-however I think it was proved to be Zizek's- it still has it's pros and cons. Anyway I don't think that a bad stuff should be appreciated cuz its author is known to be good and vice versa.
    6. I want to apologize if my English was not proper :-)

    ReplyDelete
  44. The Iranian people have been living under false hope and promises for over 20 years. This piece does not help their cause one bit.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I agree that this is probably not Zizek's work. His observations are usually much more in-depth and researched. If it is indeed Zizek's, I'm sure we are all awaiting an edit and rewrite.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wow, for a bunch of smart people you are way out of line and far off the mark. Worse, perhaps what he implies is in store for us here in the U.S. is fast approaching. I am certainly not going to waste my time on pontificating blow-holes. Sometimes simple, clear and almost childlike says it better than any other way.

    I would suggest you ask some dedicated twitters. In any language you choose. This is no false hope and it helps much.

    ReplyDelete
  47. سلام دوستان اسم من مجید و در تهران زندگی می کنم باید به جرات بگم 70درصد از جوانان از این حکومت شدیداً بیذار هستند چون چه از لحاظ بین المللی و چه از لحاظ داخلی ما را بسیار تحت فشار و بدگمانی کشاندن.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Zizek has not completely understood the reasoning behind midnight chanting of Allah o' Akbar,this an act to symbolise unity of people. The young as the children of the revolution are using the langauge they have been brought up with to fight the system. Chanting "Allah O'Akbar" was the very method used in the 1979 revolution to show popular discontent, interetingly the present regime has announced this act as illegal and antisocial.In the present political landscape there is little/no desire by the young to reignite the fires of the 1979 revolution or its principles. Iranians are using the system to fight the system.

    ReplyDelete
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