Slavoj Zizek, the prolific cultural philosopher whose last name has accents my blogging interface can’t create, has a thoughtful and well-written essay in the latest issue of the London Review of Books. It’s on the subject of “what to do about capitalism.” After dividing left-wing responses to capitalism into eight different types, he concludes with the following advice:
The lesson here is that the truly subversive thing is not to insist on ‘infinite’ demands we know those in power cannot fulfil. Since they know that we know it, such an ‘infinitely demanding’ attitude presents no problem for those in power: ‘So wonderful that, with your critical demands, you remind us what kind of world we would all like to live in. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where we have to make do with what is possible.’ The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can’t be met with the same excuse.
Zizek has a reputation as a far-out thinker, but his conclusion strikes me as common sense. Maybe he’s so avant-guard, he gets out in front of all the bad new ideas, and stumbles upon the good old ones again!