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SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK – Democracy’s Fascism Problem

Sometimes faces become symbols of the anonymous forces behind them. Was not the stupidly smiling face of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem the symbol of the European Union’s brutal pressure on Greece? Recently, the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the European cousin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—acquired a new symbol: the cold face of E.U. trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who responded to massive public opposition to TTIP this way: “I do not take my mandate from the European people.”

Now a third such symbol has emerged: Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, who, on Dec. 23, 2015, scolded the Polish government for adopting a new law that subordinates Poland’s constitutional court to the authority of government. Timmermans also condemned the law that allows the Polish parliament to replace all executives at the country’s public television and radio companies. In an immediate rebuke, Polish nationalists warned Brussels “to exercise more restraint in instructing and cautioning the parliament and the government of a sovereign and democratic state.”

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