fragments of an attempted writing.
A friend on FB posted this, so fitting at the moment:

"Obama's electoral victory in the US belongs, at a certain level, to the same line. One can and should entertain cynical doubts about the real consequences of Obama's victory: from a pragmatic-realistic perspective, it is quite possible that Obama will turn out to be a "Bush with a human face," making no more than a few minor face-lifting improvements. He will pursue the same basic politics in a more attractive mode and thus possibly even strengthen US hegemony, damaged as it has been by the catastrophe of the Bush years .....

..... The danger Obama courted in his campaign is that he was already applying to himself what the later historical censorship applied to Martin Luther King, namely, cleansing his program of contentious topics in order to assure his eligibility. There is a famous dialogue in Monty Python's religious spoof The Life of Brian, set in Palestine at the time of Christ: the leader of a Jewish revolutionary resistance organization passionately argues that the Romans have brought only misery to the Jews, when his followers remark that they have nonetheless introduced education, built roads, constructed irrigation, and so on, he triumphantly concludes: "All right, but apart from the sanitation, education, medicine, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system and public health, what have the romans ever done for us?" Do the latest proclamations by Obama not follow the same line? "I stand for a radical break with Bush's politics! OK, I pleaded for full support for Israel, for continuing the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for refusing prosecutions against those who ordered torture, and so on, but I still stand for a radical break with Bush's politics!" Obama's inauguration speech concluded this process of "political self-cleansing" -- which is why it was such a disappointment even for many left-liberals in the US. It was a well-crafted but weirdly anemic speech whose message to "all other peoples and governments who are watching today" was "we are ready to lead once more";"we will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense."
           During the election campaign it was often noted that when Obama talked about the "audacity of hope," about a change we can believe in, he relied on a rhetoric which lacked any specific content: to hope for what? To change what? Now things are a little clearer: Obama proposes a tactical change destined to reassert the fundamental goals of US politics: the defense of the american way of life and a leading role internationally for the US. The US empire will be now more humane, and respectful of others; it will lead through dialogue, rather than through the brutal imposition of its will. If the Bush administration was the empire with a brutal face, now we shall have the empire with a human face -- but it will be the same empire .....

..... However, as already noted, the real tragedy of Obama is that he has every chance of turning out to be the ultimate savior of capitalism and, as such, one of the great conservative American presidents. There are progressive things that only a conservative with the right hard-line patriotic credentials can do: only de Gaulle was able to grant independence to algeria; only Nixon was able to establish relations with China -- in both cases, had a progressive president done these things, he would have been instantly accused of betraying national interests, selling out to the communists or the terrorists, and so on. Obama's predicament seems to be exactly the opposite one: his "progressive" credentials are enabling him to enforce the "structural readjustments" necessary to stabilize the system."

Slavoj Zizek, First As Tragedy, Then As Farce
pp. 107-110

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of this article:

    It's rather ironic.


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