What’s the Latest Development?
Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek was most recently in London on a panel with Julian Assange and Amy Goodman to discuss the future of information with respect to journalism. Žižek believes WikiLeaks is something more than journalism on steroids, the kind displayed in the film “All the President’s Men” where two Washington Post journalists take down Richard Nixon. Speaking of Assange, Žižek says: “You are a terrorist in the way that Gandhi was. … He tried to stop the normal functioning of the British state in India. You are trying to stop the normal functioning of information circulation.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Today, communism must be something different from the kind Karl Marx wrote about in the 19th century. So what is contemporary communist to Žižek? When asked if he has ever truly been a communist, Žižek replies: “Not as you might imagine. Marx wrote about the commons—he meant land and property. I mean information. When we pay rent to Bill Gates that is a new kind of enclosure. WikiLeaks represents a threat to such control of information.” Ever the iconoclast, Žižek criticizes China more than the U.S. because “they are afraid of their citizens’ imaginations. It is China that is colonizing Africa.”