Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something to Consider: Slavoj Zizek - "First as Tragedy, then as Farce"

In my adventures through downtown St. John's, I have found myself becoming extremely annoyed by a campaign that is supposed to address and bring attention to youth homelessness. The problem is that I am a hippie and this campaign is sponsored by banks and oil companies.

In this clip, Zizek discusses how charity actually achieves the opposite of what it intends. Making this easier to follow, the audio track is accompanied by an animation provided by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

"It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property."
 If you would like to hear and see Zizek's full talk, you can view it on RSA's Youtube channel here.


Anonymous said...

Charity, whether giving bailouts to banks or change on the streets, is a horizontal kind of giving, reinforcing class and hierarchy.

Fraternity involves actually doing things and caring for one another, rather than believing that money can take the place of love. Fraternity is a horizontal.

It's fairly plain to see that sleepout 120 represents one of these, Occupy the other.

occupier said...

Instead of perpetuating the structures that create and maintain poverty, as Zizek emphasises, "The real aim is to try to reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible." That is precisely why Occupy is here.

Gudahtt said...

In what respect is Sleep Out 120 sponsored by banks and oil companies?

Last I checked, the donations were going to Choices For Youth, The Naomi Center, and the Waypoints program (at least according to this article: http://www.themuse.ca/articles/52607 ) I'm fairly certain neither of those organizations are banks...

What exactly about it do you find annoying? From my perspective, I see a campaign based on direct action, aimed at drawing attention to the issue of youth homelessness. Seems kinda similar to the camp at Harbourside Park.

occupier said...


Please see this link for Choices for Youth corporate sponsors, including banks and oil companies. Choices for Youth sponsors Sleep Out 120.


Kyle said...

It's quite similar to the camp at Harbourside Park, and while we've tried to make those connections with them through talking to them, they're not interested. Involvement with Occupy/Harbourside Park will taint their message.

It's true that Choices for Youth is not a bank, and I'm certain that they assistance they offer is valuable, but they are funded by RBC, Scotia Bank, and TD Canada Trust.

Gudahtt said...

Well then, that's unfortunate. I don't see how they'd make that connection. A lot of people get the impression that Occupy has to be some radical thing, when really it can be whatever you decide to make of it. Corporate sponsorship is no reason not to participate. It's not as though we're likely to hold a Chevron protest at Harbourside anytime in the near future.

Choices for Youth is still a great program, funded by banks or not. I'll not bother speculate about their reasons for being involved; it could be traced to greed I'm sure, keeping up appearances and all that. But it's not as though Choices for Youth is driving this cycle. Sponsoring Choices for Youth may not absolve TD of any blame, but it certainly doesn't pass along that blame to Choices. The same goes for Sleep Out 120.

Anonymous said...

Sleep Out 120 is a local campaign, that comprises of social workers, child and youth care workers, who work with youth on a daily basis who are struggling with homelessness.

They raise money for Choices for Youth and without the help of Chevron and other companies Choices for youth (Including the young men's shelter) would not run.

Sleep Out 120 is modelled of 5 days for the homeless which happens all across Canada. If they're perpetuating homelessness then I guess all of Canada is too..?

Anonymous said...

@last anon,

Yes, all of Canada is too.