Assange/Žižek not really all that leftist after-all?

Finally got to see the second episode of Julian Assange tv show in which he interviews David Horowitz and Slavoj Žižek. While the interview is certainly original and much better than what western tv has produced for the past few decades, it still seems as if all three take a bunch of conservative premises for granted. Some issues, such as that Latin American leftist leaders are "dictators" as Horowitz claims, are just left unanswered in the room and one can only imagine that Assange/Žižek did not refute such charges as they were simply too far out to be answerable.

In other fields they seemed to have arrived at a pro-capitalist consensus. For example, is it really true that:

1. The natural state of human existence is war (at all times)? There may have been many wars in the past, but if full-scale wars were to start now between the major powers, then that would mean nuclear destruction of everybody. At the same time, the internet has made that we are no longer that isolated from one-another. War seems less and less like something "sell-able" to the world’s populations (the US seems like an exception, but hopefully not much longer. Once the empire crumbles, hopefully most will notice that they are just humans like everybody else)

2. Either the US or western Europe up to some years ago were the most perfect places imaginable in the world? Both depended on heavy exploitation of third world countries, and on actively killing leaders of movements there who tried to better the situation in their countries.

3. The will of the people will at all times be a problem for those wishing to create another, more humane (=socialist/communist) society? Much technology has been invited that would allow participatory budgeting and a collectively planed economy.

Assange’s proposal of testing out different systems in different countries and then letting people move between these countries according to what they prefer seems to have been one of the more revolutionary proposals mentioned in the program. But then again — what to do if one of those systems eats up more natural resources than what is available for everyone (such as is the case right now with 1st world countries)?

At any rate, one of the more intelligent tv programs of our times.

2 thoughts on “Assange/Žižek not really all that leftist after-all?”

  1. It seems to me what Assange is proposing will lead to a race to the bottom in terms of wages – the large scale movement of very poor people to wealthy countries would ensure that. He told a reporter he believed in American Free Market capitalism – do his left-wing admirers realise he’s a right-wing Libertarian?

  2. It seems to me that this would be temporary. Let’s say all of Latin America moves to the US and all of Africa to Europe. That is not a very likely scenario, but let’s just imagine that. It would mean that the population of the US would go up by 184% and that of the EU by 135%. At first, competition for jobs would be fierce — about 2-3 times as much as now. But then a number of other factors would strike:
    — There would be no more cheap maquiladores south of the border to outsource production to, which ultimately lowers wages and drives unemployment also in the north.
    — There would be no more “illegal” workers north of the border who are impossible to organize and work for below minimum wages and who push the entire wage scale down.
    — The amount of jobs would grow. The overall number of jobs will always be somewhat close to the total population of a place over time. Germany and Norway may have somewhat similar geographic sizes, yet the amount of jobs is more than 10 times as large in Germany, given that there are 80 and not 5 million people living there. If the amount of people living in Europe/US were 2-3 times as many, then consequently the amount of things to do would grow correspondingly.

    Besides the amount of chaos that would result from hundreds of millions of people moving at the same time, creating one worldwide labor market may no be the worst thing that could happen to first world workers.

    But the question is rally: Can the planet support western consumption levels? If one or a handful of countries use up a large percentage of the world’s resources, can a fair comparison really be made by the individual? If one has the choice between living in a socialist country in the third world where people live more less sustainable with say the US or Norway where energy consumption is out of control, won’t most choose the unsustainable alternative?

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