So where do we stand today?

“Maybe, we don’t even stand but just lean forward in a very specific way. Near the children’s museum in Seoul, there is a weird statue, which, to the non-initiated, cannot but appear as a staged scene of extreme obscenity. It resembles nothing so much as a line of young boys leaning forward behind each other and sticking their heads into the rectum of the one in front; another boy stands at the front of the queue and has the head of the first leaning boy pushed into his crotch. When we inquire what this is about, we are informed that the statue is simply the staging of malttukbakgi, a fun game that both Korean girls and boys play up until high school. There are two teams; team A has one person stand up against the wall and the rest of the team have all their heads up in someone else’s butt/crotch area to form what looks like a large horse. Team B then jumps up onto the human horse one by one, each jumping with as much force as possible. If anyone from any team falls to the floor, that team loses.

Is this statue not a perfect metaphor for us common people, for our predicament in today’s global capitalism? Our view is constrained to what we can see with our head stuck into the arse of a guy just in front of us, and our idea of who is our Master is the guy in front whose penis and/or balls the first guy in the row appears to be licking – but the real Master, invisible to us, is the one freely jumping on our back, the autonomous movement of Capital.

There is a wonderful common Scottish verb, tartle, which designates the awkward moment when a speaker temporarily forgets someone’s name (usually the name of his or her partner in a conversation), and the verb is used to avoid that occasional embarrassment, as in, ‘Sorry, I tartled there for a moment!’ Have we all not been tartling in the last decades, forgetting the name ‘Communism’ to designate the ultimate horizon of our emancipatory struggles? The time has come to fully remember that word.

The present booklet may also appear to tartle, jumping as it does from our debt-driven economy to the struggle for the control of cyberspace, from the impasses of the Arab Spring to the futility of anti-Eurocentrism, from the superego-pressure of ideology to the ambiguous role of violence in our struggles. No single idea underlies this bric-a-brac, nothing like Negri’s ‘multitude’ or Piketty’s ‘soak the rich’ to orientate the book’s analyses towards a clear political strategy. The author nonetheless hopes that the attentive reader will discern beneath the multiple topics the Communist horizon.

Communism is today not the name of a solution, but the name of a problem, the problema of commons in all its dimensions – the commons of nature as the substance of our life, the problems of our biogenetic commons, the problema of our cultural commons (‘intellectual property’), and, last but not least, commons as the universal space of humanity from which no one should be excluded. Whatever the solution, it will have to deal with these problems. This is why, as Alvaro Garcia Linera once put it, our horizon has to remain Communist – a horizon not as an inaccessible ideal, but as a space of ideas within which we move.”

― Slavoj Zizek, Trouble in Paradise, From the End of History to the End of Capitalism

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