21st century Robinhoods

Slavoj Zizek may be termed as a pop- philosopher in certain circles, but nevertheless he does provoke, as in this article.

Here he is, describing the self- styled Robin- hoods of modern capitalism aka liberal communists.

The article tends to become rhetorical towards the end, but some of the observations, indicated by Manuel Castells earlier in his book The Rise of the Network Society, are pertinent:

So who are these liberal communists? The usual gang of suspects: Bill Gates and George Soros, the CEOs of Google, IBM, Intel, eBay, as well as court-philosophers like Thomas Friedman. What makes this group interesting is that their ideology is becoming indistinguishable from that of Antonio Negri, who has praised postmodern digital capitalism, which, according to Negri, is becoming almost indistinguishable from communism….
Liberal communists are pragmatic, they hate ideology. There is no single exploited Working Class today, only concrete problems to be solved, such as starvation in Africa, the plight of Muslim women or religious fundamentalist violence. When there is a humanitarian crisis in Africa—and liberal communists love humanitarian crises, they bring out the best in them!—instead of employing anti-imperialist rhetoric, we should simply examine what really solves the problem: Engage people, governments and business in a common enterprise, approach the crisis in a creative, unconventional way, and don’t worry about labels


In the midst of any necessary tactical alliances one has to make with liberal communists when fighting racism, sexism and religious obscurantism, we should remember: Liberal communists are the enemy of every true progressive struggle today.

Of course, what Zizek terms as ‘liberal communism’ is more or less an echo of what Marx described as bourgeois socialism. Much as writers like Zizek provoke debate, it leads one more and more to Marx- he never ceases to surprise !

The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society, minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby to march straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires in reality, that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.

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bhupinder singh

reader, mainly and an occasional blogger

3 thoughts on “21st century Robinhoods”

  1. Thanks, Shivaji. I felt that Marx’s language is very contemporary, simpler and more to the point than Zizek’s.

  2. These liberal tpes must be exposed….we need people who feel abt dpind this..and not see it as philanthropy

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