Why do people hate communists

The liberal communist

Criticism of the benevolent billionaires. An essay

Davos and Porto Alegre have been the twin cities of globalization since 2001: In Davos, the exclusive Swiss holiday resort, the global elite of managers, statesmen and media personalities meet for the World Economic Forum under heavy police protection and want us (and ourselves) to believe that globalization is happening yourself the best cure; In Porto Alegre, the subtropical Brazilian city, the counter-elite of the opponents of globalization meets and wants to make us (and ourselves) believe that capitalist globalization is not an inevitable fate - its slogan even holds out the prospect of “another world”. Obviously, however, the events in Porto Alegre have lost their bite - in recent years there has been less and less about it. Where have the guiding stars of Porto Alegre gone? At least some of them moved to Davos. The tone of the talks in Davos is now primarily set by a group of entrepreneurs who call themselves “liberal communists” and no longer see Davos and Porto Alegre as opposites. According to their claim, we can both have the global capitalist cake (i.e. successfully do business) and eat it (support the anti-capitalist cause of social responsibility, ecological concerns, etc.). Then you no longer need Porto Alegre: Instead, Davos can become Porto Davos. So who are these liberal communists? The usual suspects: Bill Gates and George Soros, the heads of Google, IBM, Intel, Ebay and court philosophers like Thomas Friedman. The real conservatives, they argue, are no longer just the old right with its ridiculous belief in authority, order and narrow-minded patriotism, but also the old left with its struggle against capitalism: both lead their mock battles without leading to the new realities To take note. The term “smart” is indicative of this new reality in the liberal communist Newspeak. To be smart means to be dynamic, nomadic and against any central bureaucracy, it means to believe in dialogue and cooperation as opposed to a central authority, in flexibility as opposed to routine, in culture and knowledge as opposed to industrial production, in spontaneous interaction and autopoiesis as opposed to fixed hierarchies. Bill Gates is the icon of what he himself called "capitalism without friction", the post-industrial society and the "end of work". The software wins over the hardware and the young technology freak over the manager of the old breed in the black suit. In the new company headquarters there is hardly any external discipline; Former hackers dominate the scene, work late into the night and grab free drinks in a green setting. The underlying idea is that Gates is a subversive hooligan from the fringes of society, an ex-hacker who took over the helm and disguised himself as a respectable manager. Liberal communists are top managers who enliven the spirit of competition or, conversely, countercultural computer geeks who have taken over the big corporations. Their dogma is a new post-modern version of Adam Smith's invisible hand: Market responsibility and social responsibility are not opposites, but can be brought under one roof for mutual benefit. Cooperation with employees, dialog with customers, respect for the environment, transparency of business deals - these are the success factors. Olivier Malnuit recently formulated the ten commandments of the liberal communist in the French magazine Technikart: 1. You should give everything away for free (free access, no copyrights) and only charge fees for the additional services that make you rich. 2. You should change the world, not just sell goods. 3. You should share while taking social responsibility seriously. 4. You should be creative: focus on design, new technologies and the sciences. 5. You should say everything: Do not engage in secrecy, support and practice the cult of transparency and the free flow of information; all of humanity should work together and interact. 6. You shouldn't work: You don't have a permanent job from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead you engage in smart, dynamic, flexible communication. 7. You should go to school again: keep learning new things. 8. You should be like a catalyst: Don't just work for the market, but enable new forms of social cooperation. 9. You shall die poor: give your wealth to those who need it, since you have more than you can ever spend. 10. You should be the state: Companies should be partners of the state. Liberal communists are pragmatic - they hate a doctrinal approach. Today there is no longer an exploited working class, but concrete problems must be solved: hunger in Africa, the fate of Muslim women, religiously motivated fundamentalist violence. If there is a humanitarian crisis in Africa (liberal communists love humanitarian crises because they bring out the best in them), we should not practice anti-imperialist rhetoric, but rather come together and find the best way to solve the problem, we should let the people, the state and the economy work together, we should start to make a difference instead of relying on central state aid, we should approach the crisis creatively and unconventionally. Didn't Marx say that all political upheavals are insignificant compared to the invention of the steam engine? And wouldn't Marx say today: what are all the protests against global capitalism compared to the internet? Above all, liberal communists are real world citizens - people who worry. They worry about populist fundamentalism and irresponsible greedy capitalist corporations. They see the "deeper causes" of today's problems: mass poverty and hopelessness create fundamentalist terror. Your goal is not to make money, but to change the world (and make even more money as a by-product). Even now, nobody in human history has donated more money to charity than Bill Gates: He demonstrates his charity by donating hundreds of millions of dollars to education, the fight against hunger and malaria and other causes. The whole point is that you can't give away that much money until you've taken it first (or, as the liberal communists would call it, once you've created it). The justification goes that if you want to help people, you must have the necessary resources. And experience - that is, the realization of the terrible failure of the centrally controlled and collectivist approaches - teaches us that private entrepreneurship is by far the most effective route. When the state regulates the business of entrepreneurs and taxes them excessively, it undermines its own official purpose (to improve the lives of the majority of people, to help the needy). Liberal communists want their lives to have a deeper meaning. Their motto is social responsibility and gratitude: They readily admit that society has been incredibly good to them because it enables them to develop their talents and amass wealth. Therefore, they consider it their duty to give something back to society and to help people. This charity makes business success worthwhile. On the shelves of US supermarkets is a chocolate-flavored laxative advertised with a paradoxical slogan: Are you constipated? Eat more of that chocolate! So buyers should eat more of something that actually causes constipation. The way the chocolate laxative works can be seen across the ideological landscape of today - it makes someone like Soros so vulnerable. It stands for ruthless financial exploitation - combined with its opponent, the humanitarian concern about the catastrophic social consequences of the unbridled market economy. Soros' daily work is a lie personified: he devotes half of his working hours to financial speculation, the other half to "humanitarian" activities (he finances cultural and democratic activities in post-communist countries by writing essays and books) to the effects of his own speculation run counter to. The two faces of Bill Gates are exactly like the two faces of Soros: On the one hand there is a merciless businessman who destroys or buys out competitors and practically strives for a monopoly, on the other hand the great philanthropist who likes to say: “What for Is it good to have computers when people don't have enough to eat? ”According to liberal communist ethics, the relentless pursuit of profit is contrary to the principle of charity: charity is part of the game, a humanitarian mask that is just the underlying economic exploitation. Developed countries always “help” the underdeveloped and thus evade the central question, namely their complicity in the miserable situation of the Third World and their responsibility for it. When it comes to the contrast between “smart” and “not smart”, outsourcing is the key concept. The (necessary) dark side of production - disciplined, hierarchical work, environmental pollution - is exported to “not smart” locations in the Third World (or invisible ones in the First World). The ultimate liberal communist dream is to export the entire working class to invisible sweat shops in the third world. Let us not be under any illusions: Liberal communists are the enemy of any real progressive struggle today. All other enemies - religious fundamentalists, terrorists, corrupt and inefficient state bureaucracies - are tied to local circumstances. Precisely because they want to eliminate the secondary malfunctions of the global system, liberal communists directly embody what is wrong with the system. It may be necessary to forge tactical alliances with liberal communists to combat racism, sexism, and religious conspiracy theories, but it is also important to remember what exactly they want: Liberal communists are facilitators of a structural violence that sets the terms creates for the outbreak of subjective violence. The same Soros who gives away millions to support educational projects has ruined the lives of thousands with his financial speculation, creating the conditions for the intolerance he castigates. Slavoj ŽiŽek Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst (after Lacan), is international director of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Birkbeck. In April 2006 he published "The Parallax View" on MIT Press. (The German edition will be published by Suhrkamp Verlag in mid-September)