Carnivals come cheap: Zizek Visits Occupy Wall Street… And Cannot Speak.


Interesting video here showing Slavoj Zizek at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York. His speech can be read in full here, but what I love about the video is that, for some technological reason no doubt, he cannot himself speak. The crowd around him who can hear directly have to shout out what he’s saying so that others further away can hear. In a strangely symbolic way, his message is internalised, and is only heard when the crowd themselves amplify it.

I like that, partly because Zizek has been in danger for a while of becoming a caricature of himself – and thus able to be ridiculed and dismissed without his message being heard. And his message is good.

In particular I like these lines, which I think fit well with my post on the protests:

Carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after when we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days, you know, like, ‘Oh, we were young, it was beautiful…’ Remember that our basic message is, ‘We are allowed to think about alternatives.’ A taboo is broken. We do not live in the best possible world. But there is a long road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We know what we do not want, but what do we want? What social organization can replace capitalism? What type of new leaders do we want? Remember: The problem is not corruption or greed; the problem is the system which pushes you to be corrupt.

He goes on to ask what exactly Christianity is… and outlines briefly that this is Christianity: people gathered in empathy, in solidarity with the poor, concerned to get a grip on a corrupt system and change it together. That’s not happening in church on Sundays people. Just admit it.



One response to “Carnivals come cheap: Zizek Visits Occupy Wall Street… And Cannot Speak.”

  1. Jon Rogers

    From what I’ve read, they’re not allowed any amplification, so this is the way that all the speakers at the protest have had to speak. I bet it’s easier to remember what they actually said than the average political speech or sermon. I kind of like the format it imposes.