22 Mar 2011

Zizek on the picket line supports UCU strike

Well good to see him supporting all those of us taking industrial action at the University of London today.

Some splendid sentiments in A typical essay from the hombre

The system react with characteristic venom. The same is true of the UCU strike itself – the press will be at pains to describe its actants as bedraggled, ugly, Trotskyite perverts, ivory tower intellectuals and so on to stress the traditional association of political opposition with ugliness – the same will be true, we predict without checking, of the right-wing reaction to Saturday. We have already seen Labour and Conservative politicians dip into their stores of insult, ‘retards’ among the most well know, to describe anti-cuts protesters disrupting council meetings.

Gaga perhaps anticipates this in the closing section of the essay on the monstrous. Considering Montaigne essay on ‘deformity’ she notes that like public nudity, what is ‘deformed’ is only an effect of social constructions of the body, just as nudity is only sexual, and therefore mass nudity only problematic for the New York police due to this social formation. Emphatically Gaga notes ‘we call contrary to nature what we call contrary to custom’, ‘we only accept the regular and it is this which blinds us from seeing the prodigy of what we have never seen before’. The greatest lie of capitalism is perhaps its naturalisation – the idea that it is simply the law of nature that it is this way. The cuts cannot be helped, just as capitalism cannot be helped. Deborah Orr, at the high of the student protests displays this logic with stunning clarity. “Fiscal discipline really is necessary”, Orr opines “The truth is that they [so-called "adults" failing to protest] are too wise to waste their energy on something so silly. Protesting against the cuts is like protesting against water’s stubborn habit of flowing downwards”. My God! The bleak hand of capitalist realism! Protesting cuts is equivalent to being against the direction of the fundamental laws of the cosmos!

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