Václav Havel

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Václav Havel (born October 5, 1936) is a Czech writer and dramatist. He was the last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic.

Havel discerned the fraudulence of what I would call the 'interpassive socialism' of the Western academic Left. These leftists aren't interested in activity-merely in 'authentic' experience. They allow themselves to pursue their well-paid academic careers in the West, while using the idealised Other (Cuba, Nicaragua, Tito's Yugoslavia) as the stuff of their ideological dreams: they dream through the Other, but turn their backs on it if it disturbs their complacency by abandoning socialism and opting for liberal capitalism. What is of special interest here is the lack of understanding between -the Western Left and dissidents such as Havel. In the eyes of the Western Left, Eastern dissidents were too naive in their belief in liberal democracy-in rejecting socialism, they threw out the baby with the bath water. In the eyes of the dissidents, the Western Left played patronising games with them, disavowing the true harshness of totalitarianism. The idea that the dissidents were somehow guilty for not seizing the unique opportunity provided by the disintegration of socialism to invent an authentic alternative to capitalism was pure hypocrisy. From: The National Interest; Washington; Winter 1999/2000;. Copyright National Affairs, Inc. Winter 1999/2000.

"Kosovo and the End of the Nation-State"



  1. Žižek, S. (2000) The Fragile Absolute, or Why the Christian Legacy is Worth Fighting For, London and New York: Verso. p. 56

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