From the 27 January edition of Daniel Mermet’s Là-bas si j’y suis. Translated by David Broder. Based on French transcript.
Frédéric Lordon: Well, the upcoming elections… There is something weird. For me, the prospect of this election awakens very mixed feelings. Very contradictory feelings.
I should say that as the years have come and gone — and it is a while since I stopped voting — I have truly come to consider the Fifth Republic’s institutions’ electoral pantomime as something empty, a dead end.
And from a certain point of view, what happened with Nuit Debout was the expression of this same frame of mind. Playing the game within these institutions is either a game lost in advance, or an entirely senseless one. And the only political question…
First published in Le Monde Diplomatique. Translated by David Broder.
A system that has veteran TV journalist Christine Ockrent commenting on Trump’s election on France Culture and Bernard-Henri Lévy interviewed about it by pundit-commentator Jean-Michel Aphatie two days later is just as absurd as a problem that claims to provide the solutions. But more than that, it is a dead system.
We should not be surprised that the theme of the living-dead is enjoying such a resurgence in TV series and films. They are representations of our era, and perhaps it is indeed the confused sentiment of this era, both dead-already and still-alive, that is secretly working away at our sensibilities, making the zombie appear as the figure that best expresses the present moment.
Frédéric Lordon, author of The Willing Slaves of Capital: Spinoza and Marx on Desire, writes on the fallout of Brexit and the Left’s reactions to it. This piece was originally published on Le Monde Diplomatique and translated by David Broder.
It is said that looking out to sea from Dover on foggy days, the British are accustomed to remark with their inimitable wit that ‘the continent has been cut off’. But at least they’re only joking. Whereas when the pro-EU commentariat exclaim that ‘the UK has been cut off’ after Brexit, they are deadly serious. We should take the poverty of this kind of argument as a solid indicator of the political and rhetorical extremes the ‘defend Europe’ camp has reached, now it has nothing else left – or only this and the spectre of ‘war’ – to try and hold back a wave now at the point of sweeping everything away. Unable to convince populations with evidence of its good deeds, neoliberalism – its European branch in the lead – has no other resource than to oscillate between the imaginary of the turnip and the camp (ramparts, watchtowers, barbed wire) in order to get them to put up with it.