‘Communism: An Idea that Divides’ A Masterclass by Slavoj Žižek

Presented by The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in 2013, audio recordings by Backdoor Broadcasting Company.

It seems that in 1989, with the disintegration of Communism, the two centuries of the radical Leftist “paradigm” were over, that this “paradigm” exhausted its potentials, in spite of some recent half-baked attempts to resuscitate it (in Latin America, in Nepal…); that today, Communism is simply no longer an Idea that divides.

So what does divide today? The answer seems no less clear: the endless struggle between liberal permissiveness and fundamentalist intolerance. However, do these two poles not implicate and strengthen each other?

The true line of division remains the one between the totality of the existing global capitalist universe (whose immanent political antagonism is the one between liberal democracy and fundamentalism) and the radical emancipatory (i. e. Communist) idea of breaking out of the very space of this division.

Lecture 1:

Economy: The Vicious Cycle of Capitalist Reproduction

25th November 2013

Introduction by Professor Costas Douzinas (Birkbeck):



Lecture 2:

Ideology: The Terror of Permissive Biopolitics

27th November 2013



Lecture 3:

Struggle: Towards a New Master

29th November 2013



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