Deflowered Revolution: An Ethical Examination of Neo-Liberal Tactics of Pacification
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AbstractDuring the last two decades we have become familiar with new forms of protest. These new types of protest direct their discontent towards the system in ways that involve the general public, trying to affect change by spreading the feeling of discontent so that governments succumb to wider pressure. These forms of protest are radically different from a strike at a factory or a mine in that they do not affect only those immediately involved – e.g. the owner of a business or multinational companies and government bodies. To a certain extent radical forms of protest such as rioting and looting share this principle. More recently, the Tottenham riots (London, UK) led to widespread looting of retail stores and were heavily criticized for being driven by consumerist desire. This was the view propagated by the media, government officials and surprisingly by leading voices of the left (Bauman, Žižek, Hall). Although we should not be hasty in dismissing looting, we should question the nature of the tactics of any forms of protest that allow themselves to become suspiciously linked with consumerist desire. This is so, because the claim that a desire for goods is the overriding determining factor here aims precisely at deflating the political significance of these riots. By employing Alain Badiou’s model of Ethics we are in a position to deal with the root of the problem: what allows for riots that involve looting to be susceptible to the Evils (privations) posed by the accusations of being associated with consumerist desire? What does a public unrest of this nature need in order to avoid ideological demeaning (accusations of consumerist desire) and sustain their fidelity to revolutionary Truth?
CitationAltintzoglou, E. (2016) Deflowered Revolution: An Ethical Examination of Neo-Liberal Tactics of Pacification, in Altintzoglou, E. and Fredriksson, M. (eds), Revolt & Revolution: The Protester in the 21st Century. Leiden: Brill, pp. 23-32.
TypeChapter in book
DescriptionOriginally published 2016 by Inter-Disciplinary Press.