We have seen many world events, and recent years have been filled with any number of violent ones, from wars to genocides. But until September 11 we had had no symbolic event on a world scale that marked a setback for globalization itself. With the terrorist attacks we are confronted, says Baudrillard, with the pure event that concentrates in itself all the events which have never taken place. And we had all dreamt of this event because it was impossible not to dream of the destruction of American monopolistic power.
Continuing an analysis developed over many years, Baudrillard sees the power of the terrorists as lying in the symbolism of this slaughter. Not merely the reality of death, but a sacrificial death that challenges the whole system. Where the past revolutionary sought to conduct a struggle of real forces in the context of ideology and politics, the new terrorist mounts a powerful symbolic challenge, which, when combined with high-tech resources, constitutes an unprecedented assault on an over-sophisticated, vulnerable West.
'There is,' writes Baudrillard, 'no solution to this extreme situation.' As a response to it, conventional warfare is a non-starter, a non-event. It is merely 'the continuation of an absence of politics by other means.'
About the series: Appearing on the first anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, these series of books from Verso present analyses of the United States, the media, and the events surrounding September 11 by Europe's most stimulating and provocative philosophers. Probing beneath the level of TV commentary, political and cultural orthodoxies, and 'rent-a-quote' punditry, Baudrillard, Virilio, and Zizek offer three highly original and readable accounts that serve as fascinating introductions to the direction of their respective projects, and as insightful critiques of the unfolding events. This series seeks to comprehend the philosophical meaning of September 11 and will leave untouched none of the prevailing views currently propagated....Continua