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齐泽克:柏林墙之后

中文版:《国外理论动态》;英文版LRB
斯拉沃热·齐泽克在《伦敦书评》第31卷第22期(2009年11月19日)发表文章,对柏林墙倒塌20年后的国际思潮变化进行了评论,认为某些前社会主义国家中新近出现的对过去的好日子的缅怀和另外一些国家中出现的反共思潮都是对现实不满的反应,不过采取了两种不同的形式。
齐泽克 柏林墙

柏林墙倒塌20年之后,听到这件事在当时被形容为奇迹这样的说法再寻常不过了。在波兰,瓦文萨当选为总统:谁曾想到这是可能的?但仅仅几年之后,一个更大的奇迹发生了:自由民主选举使前共产党重新掌权,瓦文萨被边缘化,受欢迎程度远远低于雅鲁泽尔斯基将军本人。

这种逆转常常被解释为预料中的民众的"不成熟",他们无法认清资本主义的现实:想要资本主义的民主自由和物质财富而不想适应一个风险社会--不想失去或多或少由共产党政权保障的稳定与安全。当"天鹅绒革命"的薄雾被新的民主资本主义的现实驱散时,民众的反应不外乎以下三种:缅怀共产主义"过去的好日子",拥护右翼民粹主义,以及迟到的反共偏执症。前两种反应很好理解,它们往往是重叠在一起的(如今天的俄罗斯)。不必过于认真地看待对共产主义的缅怀,它远非表达一种实际的、回到灰色的社会主义现实的希冀,它是一种哀悼形式,藉此摆脱过去。而民粹主义远非东欧特有,它是全球化漩涡中所有国家的共同特征。

更有意思的是最近从匈牙利到斯洛文尼亚无处不在的复活的反共思潮。2006年10月,针对执政的社会党所进行的大规模的抗议导致匈牙利瘫痪了数星期。抗议者将国家的经济危机归咎于其领导人,共产党的继任者。他们否认政府的合法性,虽然它是通过民主选举上台的,当警察力量被用来恢复最基本的社会秩序时,它被拿来与苏联军队1956年的镇压相比较。总之,据说1989年的"天鹅绒革命"必须被重复,因为在民主的假面下,什么都没有真正被改变,同样的黑暗势力拉紧了权力之线。2006年12月,波兰加强了"净化"法,宣布共产党秘密警察的合作者以及与旧政权有联系的人担任政府公职为非法。

同一过程的另一方面在波罗的海国家与斯洛文尼亚将纳粹合作者重新界定为"反共斗士";他们的合作,甚至他们参与对犹太人的大屠杀都被视作反共爱国主义战争中强硬而必不可少的组成部分,因为显得罪恶较轻。在使尤先科上台的乌克兰"天鹅绒革命"中,过去与德国占领者合作的乌克兰民族主义者又开始老调重弹。难怪,为了煽动一些后共产主义国家,欧洲议会通过了一项将纳粹主义与共产主义等同起来的决议。也难怪在斯洛文尼亚,民粹主义右翼谴责左翼是旧的共产主义政权的继任者。新的问题和挑战被用旧的斗争术语来描绘,争取同性恋权利的斗争被抹黑为共产主义者败坏民族道德伦理的阴谋的一部分。

这些幽灵是如何在这些许多年轻人几乎忘记了共产主义这回事的国家一再浮现的呢,其原因是什么呢?反共分子提出了一个简单的问题--如果资本主义确实比社会主义好,为什么我们的生活仍然这么悲惨?--并提出了一个同样简单直接的回答:因为我们仍然没有真正进入资本主义,仍然没有真正的民主。前共产主义者仍然以所有者和管理者的形式变相地掌权。我们需要另一场清洗,革命必须重复。人们不难发现,这与旧的共产党政权将其失败归咎于"残余力量"的持续影响是非常相似的。

新一代反共人士对社会的想像与传统左翼对资本主义的想像有着惊人的相似之处。在这样的社会中,形式民主掩盖了富有的少数人的统治。换句话说,反共人士没有看到他们所声讨的堕落的伪资本主义其实就是资本主义。实际上,人们认为,当共产党政权崩溃时,破灭的前共产党人比持不同政见的民粹主义者更适合运行新的资本主义经济。当反共英雄继续沉湎于建立在公正、诚实和团结基础上的新社会时,前共产主义者已经毫不费力地适应了新的资本主义规则。吊诡的是,在新的后共产主义条件下,反共人士主张一个真正民主的乌托邦,而前共产党人支持一个追求市场效率、充满腐败和存在肮脏诡计的残酷的新世界。

社会主义的乌托邦主义者的唯一答案是资本主义的现实主义吗?柏林墙倒塌之后随之而来的一定是资本主义成熟时代的来临和所有的乌托邦的破灭吗?万一这个时代也依赖于它自己的乌托邦呢?1989年11月标志着"快乐的90年代"的开始以及弗朗西斯·福山的乌托邦式的"历史的终结"。相反,"9·11"标志着"快乐的90年代"的象征性终结:它暗示了我们当前时代的开始,在这样一个时代,新的"柏林墙"在以色列与(约旦河)西岸、欧盟周边、和美国-墨西哥边界--同样也在单一国家内部到处涌现。

看来,福山的90年代的乌托邦不得不死亡两次:"9·11"中的民主自由式的政治乌托邦之死并没有影响到全球市场经济的经济乌托邦,但是2008年的金融危机做到了这一点。在20世纪90年代,有人相信人类已经找到了最佳的社会经济秩序。过去几十年的经验清楚地表明:市场并不是一个仅凭自身就可以运转得很好的良性机制。它需要暴力来为它的运行创造必不可少的条件。面对因他们的构想的实施带来的动荡,市场原教旨主义者的应对方式是典型的乌托邦"极权主义":他们将失败归咎于妥协--仍然有太多的政府干预--并希望市场信条能更激进地付诸实施。

今天,我们看到中国的经济获得了蓬勃发展,因而想知道它什么时候会成为一个西方意义上的民主国家。但是要是它永远不会成为一个西方意义上的民主国家呢?如果亚洲与欧洲股票市场(托洛茨基式的沙俄特性)的联合证明其在经济上比自由资本主义更有效呢?如果它表明我们所理解的民主制不再是经济发展的条件与引擎,相反却是它的障碍呢?

如果是这样的话,也许后共产主义的失望不应该被作为"不成熟的"的预期的标志,当东欧人民抗议共产主义政权时,他们中的大多数人要求的并不是资本主义,他们希望团结和某种公正;他们渴望能自由地过自己的生活而不受政府控制,能聚集在一起谈论他们所喜欢的事情;他们希望从原始的意识形态教条与虚伪中解放出来。实际上,他们渴望某种"有人情味的社会主义"。也许这种情绪是我们的第二次机会。

[马淑贞译:清华大学人文社会科学学院中文系]

Vol. 31 No. 22 · 19 November 2009
page 10 | 1375 words


























































    Post-Wall

Slavoj Žižek

It is commonplace, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to hear the events of that time described as miraculous, a dream come true, something one couldn’t have imagined even a couple of months beforehand. Free elections in Poland with Lech Walesa as president: who would have thought it possible? But an even greater miracle took place only a couple of years later: free democratic elections returned the ex-Communists to power, Walesa was marginalised and much less popular than General Jaruzelski himself.

This reversal is usually explained in terms of the ‘immature’ expectations of the people, who simply didn’t have a realistic image of capitalism: they wanted to have their cake and eat it, they wanted capitalist-democratic freedom and material abundance without having to adapt to life in a ‘risk society’ – i.e. without losing the security and stability (more or less) guaranteed by the Communist regimes. When the sublime mist of the ‘velvet revolution’ had been dispelled by the new democratic-capitalist reality, people reacted in one of three ways: with nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ of Communism; by embracing right-wing nationalist populism; with belated anti-Communist paranoia. The first two reactions are easy to understand, and they often overlap (as in today’s Russia). The same rightists who, decades ago, were shouting ‘Better dead than red!’ are now often heard mumbling ‘Better red than eating hamburgers.’ The nostalgia for Communism shouldn’t be taken too seriously: far from expressing an actual wish to return to a grey Socialist reality, it is a form of mourning, of gently getting rid of the past. And nationalist populism, far from being peculiar to Eastern Europe, is a common feature of all countries caught in the vortex of globalisation.

Much more interesting is the recent resurrection of anti-Communism, everywhere from Hungary to Slovenia. In October 2006, large protests against the ruling Socialist Party paralysed Hungary for weeks. Protesters blamed the country’s economic crisis on its leaders, the Communists’ successors. They denied the legitimacy of the government, although it came to power after democratic elections, and when police were used to restore a minimum level of civil order, comparisons were drawn with the Soviet army’s crushing of the 1956 uprising. In short, it was said that the Velvet Revolution of 1989 had to be repeated since, beneath the false appearance of democracy, nothing had really changed, the same dark forces were pulling the strings of power. In December 2006, Poland strengthened the ‘lustration’ law, which made it illegal for collaborators with the Communist secret police and others linked with the old regime to hold public office.

Another aspect of the same process is the redefinition in the Baltic countries and in Slovakia of Nazi collaborators as ‘anti-Communist combatants’; their collaboration, even their participation in anti-semitic pogroms, is justified as a tough but necessary part of the patriotic struggle against Communism, as a lesser evil. In the Ukrainian Velvet Revolution that brought Viktor Yushchenko to power, the same songs were sung that used to be sung by Ukrainian nationalists who collaborated with the German occupation. No wonder that, at the instigation of some post-Communist countries, the European Parliament passed a resolution equating Communism with Nazism. And no wonder that, in Slovenia, the populist right reproaches the left for being a ‘force of continuity’ – with the old Communist regime. New problems and challenges are seen in terms of old struggles and the call for gay rights darkly interpreted as part of a Communist plot to demoralise the nation.

How and why are these ghosts being raised in countries where many young people don’t even remember Communism? Anti-Communists ask a simple question – ‘If capitalism is really so much better than socialism, why are our lives still miserable?’ – and offer an equally straightforward answer: it is because we don’t yet have capitalism, we don’t yet have true democracy. Ex-Communists are still in power, disguised as owners and managers. We need another purge, the revolution must be repeated. One can’t help noticing the resemblance with the way the old Communist regime used to put the blame for its failures on the continuing influence of the ‘forces of the past’.

This new generation of anti-Communists has an image of society that is uncannily similar to the traditional leftist image of capitalism: a society in which formal democracy is a mask concealing the rule of a wealthy minority. In other words, the anti-Communists don’t see that what they are denouncing as a perverted pseudo-capitalism simply is capitalism. Indeed, one could argue that, when the Communist regimes collapsed, the disillusioned former Communists were better suited to run the new capitalist economy than the populist dissidents. While the heroes of the anti-Communist protests continued to indulge their dreams of a new society based on justice, honesty and solidarity, the ex-Communists were able without difficulty to accommodate themselves to the new capitalist rules. Paradoxically, in the new post-Communist condition, the anti-Communists stood for the utopian dream of a true democracy, while the ex-Communists stood for the cruel new world of market efficiency, with all its corruption and dirty tricks.

Is capitalist realism the only answer to socialist utopianism? Was what followed the fall of the Wall really the era of capitalist maturity, the leaving behind of all utopias? What if that era relied on a utopia of its own? November 1989 marked the beginning of the ‘happy 1990s’, Francis Fukuyama’s utopian ‘end of history’: liberal democracy, he announced, had effectively won, the advent of a global, liberal world community lurked just around the corner, and the remaining obstacles to this happy ending were merely contingent (pockets of resistance where the local leaders hadn’t yet grasped that their day was done). In contrast, 9/11 marked the symbolic end of the ‘happy 1990s’: it signalled the beginning of our current era, in which new walls are springing up everywhere, between Israel and the West Bank, around the European Union, on the US-Mexico border – but also within single states.

It seems that Fukuyama’s 1990s utopia had to die twice: the collapse of the liberal-democratic political utopia on 9/11 did not affect the economic utopia of global market capitalism, but the 2008 financial meltdown surely has. In the 1990s, it was believed that humanity had finally found the formula for an optimal socio-economic order. The experience of the last few decades has clearly shown that the market is not a benign mechanism that works best when left alone. It requires violence to create the conditions necessary for it to function. The way market fundamentalists react to the turmoil that ensues when their ideas are implemented is typical of utopian ‘totalitarians’: they blame the failure on compromise – there is still too much state intervention – and demand an even more radical implementation of market doctrine.

Today we observe the explosion of capitalism in China and ask when it will become a democracy. But what if it never does? What if its authoritarian capitalism isn’t merely a repetition of the process of capitalist accumulation which, in Europe, went on from the 16th to the 18th century, but a sign of what is to come? What if ‘the vicious combination of the Asian knout and the European stock market’ (Trotsky’s characterisation of tsarist Russia) proves economically more efficient than liberal capitalism? What if it shows that democracy, as we understand it, is no longer the condition and engine of economic development, but its obstacle?

And if this is the case, maybe post-Communist disappointment should not be dismissed as a sign of ‘immature’ expectations. When people protested against Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, most of them weren’t asking for capitalism. They wanted solidarity and a rough kind of justice; they wanted the freedom to live their own lives outside state control, to come together and talk as they pleased; they wanted to be liberated from primitive ideological indoctrination and hypocrisy. In effect they aspired to something that could best be described as ‘socialism with a human face’. Perhaps this sentiment deserves a second chance.

 

 

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