In an interview with Euronews in which he somehow wasn’t wearing his trademark stained black t-shirt, Zizek discussed globalization, migration, and the alarming worldwide rise of right-wing candidates like Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump. While Zizek is ultimately fearful of Le Pen, whom he thinks could end Europe as we know it, he is much more hopeful about Trump. Here’s the relevant snippet:
Sergio Cantone: “Donald Trump. The phenomenon of Donald Trump.So the US is facing a kind of revolutionary period?”
Slayoj Zizek: “Of course, Trump is personally disgusting, bad racist jokes, vulgarities and so on. But at the same time did you notice how he said some very correct things about Palestine and Israel? He said we should also see Palestinian interests and approach the situation in a more neutral way. He said we should not just antagonise Russia, find a dialogue there. He was even for higher minimal wages. He hinted that he would not like simply to cancel Obama’s universal health care, Obama care …”
Sergio Cantone: “He is a liberal centrist …”
Slayoj Zizek: “Yes! That’s my provocative thesis! That if you scrap this ridiculous and, I admit it, dangerous surface, he is a much more opportunist candidate and his actual politics perhaps will not be so bad.”
Zizek’s “Maybe Trump is not so bad!” posturing is very Zizek in its joyful counter-intuitiveness. But Zizek does have broad similarities with Trump, including his penchant for “straight talk”—this interview is pure straight talk—his strange physical appearance, and his stance on political correctness. (He thinks it’s not just bad but racist.)
Of course, Zizek is basically arguing for liberal centrism against what he calls the “proto-fascist authoritarian capitalism alternative” of China and Russia, so his cottoning to Trump should be placed in that context. Either that or he’s just showing loyalty to his fellow Slovenian, Melania Trump.