Lenin’s Tomb alerts us to a recent talk and article by Žižek, in which he trots out the standard propaganda against Roma people in an effort to ‘understand’ racism. Talking about European right-wing xenophobic politics, he throws in this comment:
In a homologous way, there was, in Slovenia, around a year ago, a big problem with a Roma (Gipsy) family which camped close to a small town. When a man was killed in the camp, the people in the town started to protest against the Roma, demanding that they be moved from the camp (which they occupied illegally) to another location, organizing vigilante groups, etc.
As Lenin points out, this recycles the traditional anti-gypsy crap: they are anti-social, trouble-makers, out to rob you, don’t want to work, bring it on themselves – which you can hear now in Denmark or Norway or the Netherlands or Germany or Sweden or …
From where does he gain this information? From the reputable source of his nanny, who used to be a social worker with the Roma:
She told me this that, of course, don’t idealise them, at a certain level it is of course true, they are living in illegal camps, they are living off stolen cars, they, definitely it is true, she confirmed this for me, steal from the fields, and so on and so on.
AUFT wonders why Mr Z didn’t get taken down for his discussion of child porn in The Parallax View. But my own sense is that Mr Z has to be read against his own context in Slovenia and the former Yugoslavia. A telling signal here is that every person from the ‘former’ Yugoslavia I have met cannot stand him. Why? Because he was part of the city-based, liberal intelligentsia he castigates these days. And what did they want? The breakup of Yugoslavia, based on the curious idea that Slovenia is not Balkan but part of Mitteleuropa. And at that time he was fashionably skeptical of Marxism, as all good liberal intellectuals were, especially those who had nannies. In many respects, his work may be seen as a complex symptom of dealing with that complicity and that situation, so much so that he is still, deep down, an idealist thinker.
‘Reasonable racism’ anyone? I am waiting for Alasdair Maclagan to champion that cause.