CRIC – Festival of critical culture (June)

Finitude and Fragile Society – Socialism, Freedom and Secularism To be free is not to be...

Finitude and Fragile Society – Socialism, Freedom and Secularism

To be free is not to be free from normative constraints but to be free to negotiate, transform and challenge the constraints of the practical identities in light of which we lead our lives. The question is not if our freedom will be formed by social institutions – there can be no freedom that does not have an institutional form – but how and by which social institutions our freedom will be formed.

Martin Hagglund, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom

This year we celebrate five years of the CRIC festival which is designed as an open platform for the development and practicing of critical culture. It is more than clear that at this moment we are all facing possibly the most important challenges for which we have conversated only academically and epistemologically, struggling to apply them in the societal context – what does practicing mean, the rooting of a responsible, solidary, empathic and emancipatory critical community and culture. But, at the present time we are confronted with the most vulnerable face of the world, which does not exist anymore only in the smart books, in massive conferences and forums or in the intellectual paradigms. Now, in the real time and space we are experiencing the grief and fragility of that which we have lived as a perceived community, culture and political imagination.

We are facing the finitude of the world in its weakest domains. And it seems we were not ready at all for such a radical exposure. Until now, the suffering of millions of poor, rejected and repressed across the globe that screams due to the wounds that we are inflicting daily with our senselessness and greed, were left invisible – we ignored their pain and suffering with an utmost arrogance. This, because the “dying” always happens “somewhere there”, and not in our “civilized and emancipated” and “well ordered” world. The real and massive threat from a sickness turned upside down our imperatives of mobility, social interaction, and exchange of values. This time, the world screams in dystopia and speaks of a final time for new paradigms, for restructuring, reevaluating, and establishing radically different cultures and political vectors.

Even though CRIC – Festival for critical culture, is deeply rooted in the agora, we will still try, given the circumstances, to continue to research common formats through which we will open questions and will attempt to give answers to the issues that define the main topic of this year’s fifth jubilee edition, and which still seem quite relevant.

The topics that we will cover throughout this year are united in the title “Finitude and fragile society – freedom, socialism and secularism”, a title that refers to the book that Kontrapunkt will publish in July, and which was praised in many occasions worldwide. It is the book “This life – secular faith and spiritual freedom” by one of the most important authors of the present, Martin Hagglund.

We will focus on three main specific and delicate fields of our contemporary political and ideological surrounding. At the same time these are key fields that are determinants for the history of philosophical and political thought: freedom, secularism and socialism. CRIC will attempt to open and confront different epistemological perspectives, questions and polemics in relation to this (bare) life that exists in the frames of unequal and repressive societies. Societies which rest on the new capitalist narratives that suffocate and destroy the idea for empathic and solidary communities. What kind of political, socio-cultural and economic order would be close to some ideal for us as beings that face and cannot accept its own death? What kind of life should we live and what should we collectively do to make a radical change in the idea of communities? How are we to rethink and take again into consideration the concepts on freedom and equality? What kind of movement we can motivate in order to confront the current model of communities and offer just societal concepts and practices?

In times when the state has become the global hegemon again, the state that regulates, disciplines and punishes, we have to ask ourselves of the failure to enact new forces that could have broken the coercive dominance of the capitalist and political class through the state. On the other hand, witnessing models of mutual aid, self-organization and horizontal dispersion, we see a counterpower being deployed by communities around the world. We thus have to also ask ourselves, which are the means to sustain such practices beyond the current model of ‘disaster communism’.

Tuesday 09.06.2020 | 19 h

Franco “Bifo” Berardi | Lecture I can’t breathe: Respiration Chaos and Poetry.

Those who wage war against chaos will lose, because chaos feeds on war. Chaos is not good, and not bad, chaos is the speed of the infosphere that the human mind cannot elaborate. Only poetry can deal happily with chaos. Poetry in fact is the transformation of chaos into rhythm.

The global lock-down and the pandemic have inaugurated the age of chaos. The political technique has proven unable to deal with the bio-virus, and is going to prove unable to govern the collapse of the global economy and the spreading civil war that is already on display in the United States of America.

Tuesday 16.06.2020 | 20 h

Julie Reshe | Lecture Spreading the Virus of Love and Death )

Collective love and solidarity are for the most part associated with the life-sustaining feeling of happiness, joy, and fulfillment. Што ако таквото поврзување, е илузија која всушност им се заканува на колективната љубов и солидарност. What if such an association is an illusion that actually threatens collective love and solidarity. It hurts and destroys you, bringing you closer to death rather than making you more alive.

Tuesday 23.06.2020 | 19 h

Svetlana Slapšak | Lecture Legitimizing Socialism: between the corona virus, Marx and Dionysus Savopoulos

In a song from the 80’s, the Greek singer Savopoulos says: love works in favor of socialism. That is the time of PASOK in Greece, about ten golden years, before that party lost its ideas and language, and fell into nationalism. The connection between love and politics is an old (ancient) phenomenon, it puts desire, pleasure and democracy at the center of politics.

During the corona virus epidemic (which may be just the beginning of the era of epidemic cultures), knowledge from practice, not from ideology, becomes important and is built into the consciousness of citizens, that equality is based on human needs, and not on their social position.

Marx’s key turn is experiencing a renaissance, which neoliberal capitalism immediately notices. On one hand, the issue of “the need” (ordinary survival, naked life according to Agamben) is cynically determined by the rules of “the need” (capital benefits and 1%), for example in European genocidal practices of abolishing the possibility of hospital treatment for the elderly population, and on the other hand, the public discourse of the “war” against viruses and the militarization of the public. In war, the advantaged actions and economy of the victims are easily determined, equality is abolished, needs are not taken into account. Thus, it is possible that most world leaders declare that the government structure has “defeated” the virus, and that the medical personnel which according to their determination and job vocation are most possible victims, to be politically manipulated, neglected and censored.

The answer gained from the practical knowledge, that everyone is equal and must be treated according their needs, arose from the risky situation of the epidemic, gives rise to resistance which is not managed by any party, and which seeks, arbitrarily finds and is not particularly intimated with some ideological structure, but with principles of equality of democracy and equitable distribution. This new struggle, which we are witnessing, recognizes racism, Nazism and other capillary ways of consolidating neoliberal capitalism, and there is no other way out but the struggle.

Thursday 25.06.2020 | 20 h

Tomislav Medak | Lecture Of fragility, disposability, brittleness: capitalist abandonment and care

Starting from the work that Valeria Graziano, Marcell Mars and I are developing with an extended network of practitioners, activists and scholars around Pirate Care ( — a project aimed at initiating processes of collective learning from the disobedient grassroots practices of care emerging in response to the neoliberal “crisis of care” — my talk will critically reflect on the notion of care. Throughout our lives we depend on the support of our kin, friends, strangers and institutions to sustain ourselves – and to sustain the world in which we and the future generations have to live. That interdependence of human and non-human existence defines the relations of care, and the effort to sustain them defines the labour of care. The constant labour necessary to sustain that interdependence makes our finite existence fragile and collective.

Yet, as the present pandemic has demonstrated once again, the labour of care is defined by highly unequal relations of care. Those who do the labour, mostly precarious working class, unwaged women and migrants, can expect the least protection in return. The “essential workers”, tasked with social reproduction, were the ones who had no choice but to take on the risk and indeed their communities were some of the hardest hit. Furthermore, the pandemic has demonstrated that social systems under capitalism, itself dependent on dynamism and just-in-time flows, are brittle when faced with an environmental disruption presenting a mass threat to human lives — that even food, the most fundamental of social goods — can become scarce for large segments of the population in a matter of days. Climate change and planetary ecological crisis makes the present threat, however, seem only an episode. We thus need a radical rethink of the kind of labour that is necessary in the face of runaway climate change characterized by greater intensity of major disruptions and the kind of ways we can democratically define and allocate that labour.

Tuesday 30.06.2020 | 20 h

Alfredo Saad Filho | Lecture The Three Crises of Global Neoliberalism: The Economy, Democracy and Health

Global neoliberalism has been through three phases, divided by the mid-1990s and the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). The first (‘transition’) phase emerged in opposition to the previous system of accumulation (Keynesian social-democracy, developmentalist, Soviet-style socialist, or whatever else). The main goal of this phase is the aggressive promotion and internationalization of private capital. The second (‘mature’) phase intensified the financialisation of social reproduction, institutionalized a limited democracy as its dominant political form, and legitimized the system of accumulation through a neoliberal subjectivity. The third phase involved the management of the consequences of the GFC through ‘fiscal austerity’, inevitably requiring the intensification of repression and new forms of exclusion, veiled by right-wing populist tropes. As part of this process, authoritarian governments were installed in several countries, often led by ‘spectacular’ leaders. Their rise has been coterminous with the hollowing out of the (earlier) neoliberal, technocratic and exclusionary democracies. This degenerating political dynamics was overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered the deepest economic contraction in the history of capitalism. Several governments have already expressed their intention to shift to a new long-term austerity as soon as possible, while relying on even stronger repression to secure political stability. This is untenable, for two reasons. First, intensified austerity will undermine (what remains of) democracy and, with it, the legitimacy of these governments; second, austerity will harm disproportionately the mass base of those authoritarian administrations. This points to the possibility of a long period of crisis politics with unpredictable implications. This session will examine the challenges to come, and the opportunities for the left.


Franco “Bifo” Berardi (born 2 November 1949) is an Italian communist philosopher, theorist and activist. He was a key figure in the Italian Autonomia movement of the 1970s that embraced the worker’s capacity for social change. His work mainly focuses on the role of the media and information technology within post-industrial capitalism. Berardi has written over two dozen published books, as well as a number of essays and speeches. He was also part of the staff of Radio Alice 40YearsAfter, the first free pirate radio station in Italy, from 1976 to 1978. Currently he is working with the magazine DeriveApprodi Editore, as well as teaching social history of communication at the Accademia di belle Arti in Milan. He is the co-founder of the e-zine and of the telestreet movement, founding the channel Orfeo TV Recent publications include: The Uprising (2012); The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy(2009); and Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the Pathologies of Post-alpha Generation (2009). Berardi lives and works in Bologna.

Julie Reshe is a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute of Psychoanalysis of the Global Center for Advanced Studies, where she teaches online seminars on subjects such as philosophy and psychoanalysis. She studied psychology at the University of Oxford and received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Philosophy of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the leading center for the study of philosophically oriented psychoanalysis. She studied under the supervision of Alenka Zupančič, the key theorist of modern psychoanalysis, who was herself supervised by the philosophers Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. She has authored 2 books and over 100 academic and popular articles. Her recent book Introduction to Philosophy: The Plasticity of Everyday Life was a bestseller in Russia and has been longlisted for the Alexander Piatigorsky Award.

Alfredo Saad-Filho is Professor of Political Economy and International Development at King’s College in London. Previously, he was Professor of Political Economy at SOAS University of London and Head of SOAS Doctoral School. He was Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2011-2012. Alfredo was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Medal of the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil, and the SOAS Director’s Teaching Prize. He has taught in universities and research institutions in Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mozambique, Switzerland and the UK. His publications include 9 books, 70 journal articles, 50 book chapters, and 30 reports for UN and other international agencies. His research work has been published in two dozen countries and in 15 languages, and presented over 200 academic events in 30 countries.

Tomislav Medak earned a degree in Philosophy and German language and literature from the University of Zagreb/Croatia (1997). His theoretical interests are in contemporary political philosophy, media theory and aesthetics. He has coordinated the theory program and publishing activities of the MaMa – Multimedia Institute, Zagreb since 2000. He is a »free software« advocate and project leader of the Croatian Creative Commons team. Since 2001 he has been working with the Zagreb-based experimental theatre collective BADco. as a performer, dramaturge and director.He is also a volunteer for the urban activist initiative Right to the City Zagreb.

Svetlana Slapšak has been trained in Classical Studie /Linguistics at the University in Beograd, with the MA on the translations/loans of the Greek word SHEMA and the PhD on translations, adaptations and loans from Greek in Vuk Karadzic’ Serbian Dictionary, she moved towards Balkanology and Women’s Studies in the 1980s. As a dissident student and later author and activist, often harassed by the secret police, her passport was denied for several times or more than 7 years 1968-1988. Fired from her post at the Institute for Arts and Literature in Beograd in 1988, following a bogus trial by the Milosevic regime, for her public opposition to the Serbian nationalism and the decomposition of Yugoslavia and her action in favor of the longest detained consciousness prisoner in Yugoslavia, ethnic Albanian Adem Demaqi (29 years in 1987). Moved to Ljubljana in 1991. Coordinator of Anthropology of Ancient Worlds and Anthropology of Gender at ISH (Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis), Ljubljana Graduate School of Humanities. Dean of ISH since 2005. Editor-in-Chief of ProFemina, a quarterly for Women’s studies and culture in Beograd, since 1994. Laurie Chair in Women’s Studies at Rutgers, USA, 1994-1995; Invited at EHESS Paris, 1998; Fellow at NIAS, Wassenaar, 1999-2000; Fellow at Max Planck Institute, Berlin, 2000; Fellow at Collegium Budapest, 2005. Recipient of Miloš Crnjanski Award for essays, 1990; American PEN Freedom of Expression Award 1993; Helsinki Watch Award, 2000; Helen Award, Montreal, 2001.

Споделено на: јануари 25, 2021 во 3:52 pm