democracy...uh, sometime.

This is a "personal blog entry," and although the tone of this section isn't so intimate, I would like to share some of the reading I've been doing since the election...
I'm reading the new Zizek, and I don't know if people are skeptical about this guy or what---I mean, he is fascinated by Hitchcock and psychoanalysis---still, he is observant, and sometimes a blase, generalized attitude is what one really, really needs to enlarge context. Here is a passage, for thought or comment, from "Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle" (Slavo Zizek):

"However, are things really that simple? First, direct democracy is not only still alive in many places, such as the favelas, it is even being 'reinvented' and given a new boost by the rise the 'post-industrial' digital culture (do not the descriptions of the new 'tribal' communities of computer-hackers often evoke the logic of conciliar democracy?). Secondly, the awareness that politics is a complex game in which a certain level of institutional alienation is irreducible should not lead us to ignore the fact that there is still a line of separation which divides those who are 'in' from those who are 'out', excluded from the space of the polis---there are citizens, and then there is the spectre of the excluded Homo sacer haunting them all (a tortured individual without any legal protection reduced to mere survival--tt). In other words, even 'complex' contemporary societies still rely on the basic divide between included and excluded. The fashionable notion of the 'multitude' is insufficient precisely in so far as it cuts across this divide: there is a multitute within the system and a multitude of those excluded, and simply to emcompass them both within the scope of the same notion amounts to the same obscenity as equating starvation with dieting. The excluded do not simply dwell in a psychotic non-structured Outside: they have (and are forced into) their own self-organization (or, rather, they are forced into organizing themselves)---and one of the names (and practices) of this self-organization was precisely 'conciliar democracy'.

"But should we still call it 'democracy'? At this point, it is crucial to avoid what one cannot but call the 'democratic trap'. Many 'radical' leftists accept the legalistic logic of the 'transcendental guarantee': they refer to 'democracy' as the ultimate guarantee of those who are aware that there is no guarantee. That is to say: since no political act can claim a direct foundation in some trancendent figure of the big Other (of the 'we are just instruments of a higher Necessity or Will' type), since every such act involves the risk of a contingent decision, nobody has the right to impose his or her choice on others---which means that every collective choice has to be democratically legitimized. From this persepctive, democracy is not so much the guarantee of the right of choise as a kind of opportunistic insurance against possible failure: if things turn out badly, I can always say that we are all responsible. ... Consequently, this last refuge must be dropped; one should fully assume the risk. The only adequate position is the one advocated by Lukacs in History and Class Consciousness: democratic struggle should not be fetishized; it is one of the forms of struggle, and its choice should be determined by a global stragegic assessment of circumstances, not by its ostensibly superior intrinsic value. Like the Lacanian analyst, a political agent has to engage in acts which can be authorized only by themselves, for which there is no external guarantee."