The question of societal mediation

It is always fun to watch and listen to Slavoj Žižek. But more than that, in the following snippet he addresses the important question of the potential to generalize self-organization. Watch it:

Some remarks

Žižek criticizes self-organized movements being not able to universalize themselves. Therefore he sees a need to reinvent the state, because self-organization can only steadily work with a very well organized state background (using the example of Bolivia).

In my own words Žižek asks how societal mediation — how needs and production come together — can work when capitalism and thus market mediation has been gone. This is an important question, but his answers are astonishingly far too simple.

First, I seems not helpful to use oppositional movements to blame them for not being durable. That’s not their purpose. They protest against something and while doing that in some cases they develop new modes of communication and decision making. These new modes may be helpful in the future, but they do not carry the ability to produce our daily livelihood. They rather act in a political sphere.

Second, building a new society is mainly about establishing a new mode of production beyond commodity, exchange, markets, and the state — and not to take over the old mode of commodity production and politically decide to use its results for different purposes.

Third, the need to have a stable permanently functioning structure on the societal level does not mean, that this can only be guaranteed by a state. One lesson which can be learned from the commons movement is that there can be durable institutions beyond the state. Also, these institutions can operate on the basis of self-organization. Žižek seems to sense in this direction, because at the end of his talk he is no longer speaking about the need »to reinvent the state«, but about the need to »reinvent large scale mechanisms« which does not necessarily imply a state.

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