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Virtue and Terror

Robespierre’s justification of the Terror in the French Revolution.
Robespierre's defense of the French Revolution remains one of the most powerful and unnerving justifications for political violence ever written, and has extraordinary resonance in a world obsessed with terrorism and appalled by the language of its proponents. Yet today, the French Revolution is celebrated as the event which gave birth to a nation built on the principles of enlightenment. So how should a contemporary audience approach Robespierre's vindication of revolutionary terror? Zizek takes a helter-skelter route through these contradictions, marshaling all the breadth of analogy for which he is famous.

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  • Happy Birthday Toussaint L'Ouverture

    Today marks the anniversary of the birth of the great revolutionary leader Toussaint L'Ouverture. L'Ouverture, an ex-slave, lead the Haitian revolution against French colonial rule - and in doing so radicalised the spirit of the French Revolution by expanding its aims to cover the universal human emancipation. The revolution, one of the most monumental in human history, created the first black republic anywhere in the world and has influenced countless revolutionaries since.



    This extraordinary document, signed by Toussaint in the name of his fourteen-year-old nephew Belair, was written by the leaders of the slave revolt to the colonial assembly in St-Domingue and the national commissioner Roume. After failed negotiations six months before, the letter testifies to an early and rapid radicalization of the revolution to encompass the call for general liberty based on the logic of indivisible, universal human rights.

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  • 50% off all Slavoj Žižek books through Sunday!


    To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of Absolute Recoil (on sale today!), every single Slavoj Žižek title is now 50% off until Sunday at 8pm ET.

    In the New York Review of Books, John Gray states that, "few thinkers illustrate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism better than the Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek." 

    Now is your chance to collect every book in his vast bookshelf, from his plea to repeat and expand on the ideas of Hegel, in Less Than Nothing, his analysis of how Western society can face up to the end times if the end of capitalism means the end of the world, in Living in the End Times, and the connections between totalitarianism and modern liberal democracy in Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?

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Other books by Maximilien Robespierre and Slavoj Žižek Edited by Jean Ducange Translated by John Howe