Che Brandes-Tuka a tradus în limba engleză o scrisoare pe care Slavoj Zizek i-a transmis-o Nadezhdei Tolokonnikova -membra a Pussy Riot – în închisoare și publicată inițial în Philosophie magazine. Între timp Nadezhda Tolokonnikova a fost mutată în Siberia -după cum a fost confirmat ieri-, dând un nou context referințelor staliniste din scrisoare.
I sincerely hope that you have been able to organize your life in prison around the little rituals that make your stay there at least tolerable and you have time to read. Your plight inspires in me the following reflections.
How to explain the fact that the performance by Pussy Riot provoked such violent reactions in Russia and elsewhere? The Western media have a shared responsibility for this: they took your party, as they saw in you a new form of liberal-democratic protest against the authoritarian state. But when they realized that you also denounced global capitalism, the journalists became more reserved and many of them have even stated to “understand” your detractors. Why so? Because Pussy Riot exposed the continuity between contemporary global capitalism and Stalinism.
In one of the last interviews before his fall, Nicolae Ceausescu was asked by a western journalist how he justified the fact that Romanian citizens could not travel freely abroad although freedom of movement was guaranteed by the constitution. The Conducator had answered: true, the constitution guarantees freedom of movement, but it also guarantees the right to a safe, prosperous home. So we have here a potential conflict of rights: if Romanian citizens were to be allowed to leave the country, the prosperity of their homeland would be threatened. In this conflict, one has to make a choice, and the right to a prosperous, safe homeland enjoys clear priority.
This Stalinist sophistry also applies to my country, Slovenia. On december 19, 2012, the constitutional court considered a referendum on the creation of a bad bank to absorb all the toxic assets to be unconstitutional – in effect banning a popular vote on the matter. The referendum was proposed by trade unions challenging the government’s neoliberal economic politics, and the proposal got enough signatures to make it obligatory. According to the Slovenian constitutional court, the referendum would have caused unconstitutional consequences. It has endorsed the reasoning of the international financial institutions that put pressure on Slovenia to apply more austerity measures.
Slovenia may be a small marginal country, but this decision is symptomatic of a global tendency towards the limitation of democracy. What is new today is that, since the 2008 financial crisis, the distrust towards democracy – once unique to third world countries or ex- Soviet countries – is gaining ground in the developed West itself. What was a decade or two ago patronising advice to others now concerns ourselves. For western Europe, the passage from the post-second world war welfare state to new global economy involves painful renunciations, less security, less guaranteed social care.
But is this mistrust justified? Are the experts the only ones who can save us? This economic crisis offers proof that it is not the people, but experts themselves who do not know what they are doing. In western Europe we are effectively witnessing a growing inability of the ruling elite – they know less and less how to rule. Look at how Europe is dealing with the Greek crisis: putting pressure on Greece to repay debts, but at the same time ruining its economy through imposed austerity measures and thereby making sure that the Greek debt will never be repaid.
It is therefore not surprising that you, Pussy Riot, made us uncomfortable: different from our leaders, you acknowledge your ignorance, you do not pretend to provide ready-made answers. You make us understand that today in Europe the blind are leading the blind. That is why it is so important that you persevere. Just as Hegel believed Napoleon to be the World Spirit riding a horse, you make us realize that we are all imprisoned.
Greetings from your comrade,