‘The Final Countdown: Europe, Refugees and the Left’ by Jela Krečič

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Following the results of the project of the NSK State Pavilion Venice, a publication titled The Final Countdown: Europe, Refugees and the Left is edited by Jela Krečič. The collected essays introduce some of the most powerful theoretical minds of our time, including Boris Buden, Mladen Dolar, Saroj Giri, Boris Groys, Agon Hamza, Jamil Khader, Robert Pfaller, Frank Ruda, Slavoj Žižek and Alenka Zupančič.

The collection deals with all the major political problems of today’s geopolitical situation: from the rise of populism to the immigration politics in Europe, including analysis of Brexit, and the phenomenon of Donald Trump. This is the first (one of the rarest) book to focus on the most troubling political tendencies of our time, from so-called refugee crises in Europe to inefficiencies of leftist politics. Authors of the book also critically tackle Political Correctness, identity politics, multiculturalism, post-colonial studies with a clear massage that justified fights of particular social, sexual, gender, religious, racial groups for social equality should be understood in the context of global capitalism and its continuous and ever more powerful antagonisms, conflicts and catastrophes form wars to ecological devastation. From this point of view, many authors conclude, derives a need for an universal emancipatory politics.

There is a commonly accepted notion that we live in a time of serious crisis that moves between the two extremes of fundamentalist terrorism and right wing populism. The latter draws its power from the supposed threat of immigrants: it proposes to resolve the immigrant crisis by placing the blame on the principal victims themselves, that is to say, on some form of otherness (immigrants, Islam, the LGBT community and similar). The predominant leftist position, which advocates multicultural tolerance and understanding, is no match for such aggressive populism.

The premise of The Final Countdown: Europe, Refugees and the Left is that our situation is indeed extremely dangerous, that near unimaginable catastrophes lurk just beyond the horizon, but that these new dangers also open up new spaces for radical emancipatory politics. Eleven distinguished thinkers take these perils as a challenge to provide sharp, specific analysis of our social and political predicament, combining a merciless critique of the prevailing leftist humanitarian approach with elements of a new vision for the Left.

The Final Countdown is therefore also a countdown to a new beginning; it is a practice of theory that is not here to lament but to re-think and reframe the very basic coordinates of how we understand and deal with today’s major political issues.

Edited and introduced by Jela Krečič
Published by IRWIN and Wiener Festwochen Vienna.