Via Lenin’s Tomb, I came across this article by Slavoj Zizek, about how to re-think Marxism, where do we go now, etc. Standard stuff. A lot of the discussion is about Lenin (the real one, not the entombed) and some of the things he said, but the substance comes towards the end, where it is suggested that, responding to the disappointing failure of the proletariat to bring about socialism, we should relocate our focus onto the tension between ‘the excluded’ and ‘the included’.
Who are these excluded and included? As far as I can tell, it’s what Zizek calls “new forms of social apartheid—new walls and slums.” So slum-dwellers, immigrants, and the various ‘unrepresented’ indigenous or marginalised peoples of the world seem to be intended. And this issue of ‘exclusion’ seems to be supposed to inform and influence lots of other issues, like climate change and control of software.
What’s problematic is that Zizek, while admitting that “the predominant liberal notion of democracy also deals with those excluded”, leaves it somewhat unclear as to what differentiates the his concern with the excluded from liberalism. “The obsession of [representaitve liberal democracy] is the protection of all kinds of minorities: cultural, religious, sexual, etc..What gets lost in this is the position of universality embodied in the excluded.” But in what concrete way is this ‘position of universality’ to be preserved?