In “Occupy Wall Street: what is to be done next?”, Slavoj Žižek discusses the goal of the protesters, their stance, and what is to be done now. Now that the protest is over, and the passion has worn off, Zizek feels that the true test lies in what will happen to mundane life. Have their efforts made an impact and will there be a change?
Zizek then goes on to address the problem. He feels that the war we are fighting is not a war against poverty, greed, and corruption but rather it is a war against the institution that allows these concepts to exist. Like Marx, he blames these issues on the institution of capitalism. “The problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt.” The blame has been on people and their lack of morality in greedy endeavors. The problem is, how can we blame the individuals, when it is the system that breeds such behavior.
So what to do now? Zizek feels that it is not enough to revolt and just express passion, their must be a plan or an idea to challenge the current system. “one should also begin to think seriously about what to propose instead of the predominant economic organization, to imagine and experiment with alternate forms of organization, to search for the germs of the New.” Zizek feels communism can be that new organization. He agrees with Marx’s insight that the key to actual freedom resides in the “apolitical” network of social relations. If we want actual improvement the change should not take place in the political sphere.
The problem is these protesters are expressing their unjust situation without a proper plan because they don’t know of how to go about a change. Zizek ends the article with a powerful point, we feel free because we have the freedom to express ourselves, but how effective are our words. We have the terms, the ideas, and the passion; but will we ever have the power to make our concepts concrete?
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