saturday morning marxism

Posted by anya on March 7th, 2009 filed in Uncategorized

In an old joke from the defunct German Democratic Republic, a German worker gets a job in Siberia; aware of how all the mail will be read by the censors, he tells his friends:

“Let’s establish a code: if a letter you get from me is written in ordinary blue ink, it is true. If a letter you get from me is written in red ink, it is false.”

After a month, his friends get the first letter:

Everything is wonderful here. The shops are full, food is abundant, apartments are large and properly heated, cinemas show films from the West, there are many beautiful girls ready for an affair – the only thing you can’t get is red ink.

One starts by agreeing that one has all the freedoms one wants –
then one admits that the only thing missing is the ‘red ink’:
we feel ‘free’ because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.

from Zizek.

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