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Slavoj Zizek's Speech at Occupy Wallstreet Protests

Hi guys, this is a thread to talk about your opinions on the recent occupy wallstreet protests.  One of the interesting things I think that has come out of it is a speech by Slavoj Zizek to the protesters; here it is in part:

A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors. So he told his friends: Let’s establish a code. If the letter you get from me is written in blue ink ,it is true what I said. If it is written in red ink, it is false. After a month his friends get a first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theaters show good films from the West. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.

This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink. The language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom war and terrorism and so on falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here: You are giving all of us red ink.


Remember: the problem is not corruption or greed. The problem is the system that pushes you to give up. Beware not only of the enemies. But also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process. In the same way you get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice cream without fat. They will try to make this into a harmless moral protest.

The speech reminded me of the animal rights movement, especially the ideas presented in the book "Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows".  The book was written by social psychologist Melanie Joy and describes how our society maintains and perpetuates the practice of eating animals.  This is done by ignoring animal suffering, hiding it, encouraging people to accept it, raising children to believe it, justifying it, calling people in opposition to it extremists, and using reasonable moderates and professionals whom are already entrenched in the system to normalize it.  By entrenching everyone within the unnamed system, they have removed the 'red ink'.

And on the second part of his speech, concerning freedom:

We have freedom, but freedom is a word defined by our society, which is defined largely by our media and government, which is controlled mostly by the coorporate world.  When we lose our freedom, many of us will not know it, because we will lose both the idea of freedom and the true meaning of the word.  In order to remove freedom from a society those in control of that society needs only warp the definition of the word. 

When the word was first presented in our country, it was already warped to exclude some races, species, and sexes. 

Today the people of our country watch as the masses lose power over our society as money becomes more and more influential in society.  Money is shifting to wealthy (top 0.1%) at alarming rates, and every day that goes by we lose our power over our own government and society.  Power over government was considered an important part of our freedom by our forefathers, though our definition of freedom is changing to no longer include it.


I like that quote.  I find that the best true-isms are those that aren't subject specific, but fit the subject to which they're referring.

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