Srećko Horvat

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Srećko Horvat
Srećko Horvat.jpg
Srećko Horvat, January, 2014
Born (1983-02-28) 28 February 1983 (age 35)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy
Main interests

Srećko Horvat (born 1983) is a philosopher, author, and political activist. The German weekly Der Freitag called him as "one of the most exciting voices of his generation" [1] and he has been described as a "fiery voice of dissent in the Post-Yugoslav landscape" [2] His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, Newsweek and The New York Times.


Horvat was born in Osijek, Croatia, but lived for the first eight years of his life in exile in Germany, before returning to Croatia in 1991. [3] After returning to Croatia, he was involved in the hardcore punk scene of the 1990s,[4] graduated philosophy and general linguistics at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb,[5] started writing for Croatian magazines such as Zarez and with 25 years published two books, Protiv političke korektnosti (Against Political Correctness) and Znakovi postmodernog grada (Signs of the Postmodern City) in Croatia and Serbia. [6] Since then he has written several books in Croatian, and all his subsequent work in English (Poetry from the Future, The Radicality of Love, Subversion!), which was translated into dozens of languages, including Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Turkish, German and others. In 2008 he co-founded the Subversive Festival, where he served as program director until 2013. In 2016 he co-founded the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM 2025) along with Yanis Varoufakis.[7]

Political thought and activity[edit]

Horvat is regarded as one of the "central figures of the new left in post-Yugoslavia".[8] He has participated in different activist movements across the world, including the 2009 student protests in Croatia, Occupy Wall Street in 2011, and World Social Forum in Senegal and Tunisia.[9] He has visited the 2017 G20 Hamburg summit which he described as a „dystopian nightmare“, claiming that „the real problem is the dogmatic slumber of the leaders of the free world, represented at this G20 summit by Merkel, May and others, which is the origin of our current dystopian nightmare (wars, terrorism, the refugee crisis and climate change“. [10] Since 2016 he has been claiming that „the need for a progressive international movement was never as urgent as today“.[11] Asked about what the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal meant for the future of politics, he claims that „in the near future this will be remembered as the early days of a much more radical transformation of what we understand under politics“ [12].

The Subversive Festival[edit]

He was one of the founders of the Subversive Festival in 2008[citation needed], an annual festival which included Oliver Stone, Alexis Tsipras, Aleida Guevara, Slavoj Žižek, Tariq Ali, Zygmunt Bauman, David Harvey, Saskia Sassen, etc. In 2013 together with the programme team he left the Subversive Festival "due to differences in understanding the goals and direction of the activist platforms within Subversive Forum and, more generally, the general purpose of Subversive Festival".[13] The influence and significance of the Subversive Festival was often paralleled to the Praxis School, the Marxist humanist philosophical movement that originated in the SFR Yugoslavia, during the 1960s. In 2017 Horvat published the book Subversion! which the American linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky praised as a book "based on rich personal experience and participation in constructive subversion, along with wide reading from classics to the latest dreams of artificial intelligence" [14] According to Chomsky, "Horvat leads us on a whirlwind tour of the maladies and discontents of modern civilization and the many ways to right what is wrong and achieve a better future" [15]

Philosophical Theater[edit]

In 2014 Horvat launched a project called Philosophical Theatre (Filozofski Teatar) at Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. The underlying idea was to reestablish the close relationship between philosophy and theatre. [16] It is a monthly series of public debates with thinkers and artists. His guests included M.I.A., Vanessa Redgrave, Margarethe von Trotta, Adam Curtis, Herta Müller, Hito Steyerl, Mladen Dolar, Julia Kristeva, Eva Illouz, Tariq Ali, Bobby Gillespie, Thomas Piketty and others. According to the Croatian National Theater, the complete number of visitors of the program from 2014 since 2018 was around 20,000.[17]

Cancellation of 'Sane Society' television program[edit]

During 2013 Horvat was the host and author of an intellectual TV show on Croatian National Television called Zdravo Društvo (Sane Society) which tried to recreate the Balkan cultural space and hosted many intellectuals such as Renata Salecl, Rade Šerbedžija, Andrej Nikolaidis, Viktor Ivančić, etc. Officially it was called off by the management because of “austerity measures”. However, the Bosnian writer Miljenko Jergović wrote that the TV show likely would not have been removed if not for an opinion piece Horvat wrote in the Guardian that criticized an anti-gay-marriage referendum and, more generally, the movement of Croatian society in a culturally conservative if not fascistic direction.[18] Jergović wrote, "If he had written it in 1942 he would've ended up in Jasenovac concentration camp. If he had written it in 1972 he would've ended up in Lepoglava prison. But in 2014 he only lost his TV show because he wrote the truth about Croatia.”[19]


In English[edit]

Poetry from the Future, Penguin, 2019

Subversion!, Zero Books, 2017

The Radicality of Love, Polity Press, 2015

Welcome to the Desert of Postsocialism (with Igor Štiks), Verso, 2014

What does Europe want? The Union and its Discontents with Slavoj Žižek, Istros Books, 2013[20]

In French[edit]

• "Sauvons-nous de nos sauveurs", Éditions Lignes, 2013

In German[edit]

Nach dem Ende der Geschichte Laika-Verlag, Hamburg, 2013
Was will Europa? – Rettet uns vor den Rettern (with Slavoj Žižek) Laika-Verlag, Hamburg, 2013

In Croatian[edit]

Što Europa želi? (with Slavoj Žižek), Algoritam, Zagreb, 2013
Pažnja! Neprijatelj prisluškuje Naklada Ljevak, Zagreb, 2011
Pravo na pobunu (with Igor Štiks), Fraktura, Zagreb, 2010
Ljubav za početnike Naklada Ljevak, Zagreb, 2009
Budućnost je ovdje Svijet distopijskog filma, HFS, Zagreb, 2008
Totalitarizam danas Antibarbarus, Zagreb, 2008
Diskurs terorizma AGM, Zagreb, 2008
Znakovi postmodernog grada Jesenski i Turk, Zagreb, 2007
Protiv političke korektnosti. Od Kramera do Laibacha, i natrag", Biblioteka XX. Vek, Beograd, 2007.

In Spanish[edit]

· La radicalidad del amor Katakrak, Iruñea-Pamplona, 2016.



  1. ^ Der Freitag, "Occupy ist Lifestyle", 2014
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  7. ^ acTVism Munich (2016-02-10), Press Conference: Yanis Varoufakis & Democracy in Europe Movement 25, retrieved 2016-02-17
  8. ^ "Für manche Serben ist Europa eine Bedrohung", Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 2014
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  13. ^ "Open letter to friends of Subversive Festival", 2013
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  18. ^ Horvat, Srećko. "Croatia's vote forbidding gay marriage: a sign of the rotten heart of Europe". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  19. ^ Miljenko Jergović, "Cinizam Gorana Radmana", Jutarnji list, 2013
  20. ^ Slavoj Žižek; Srećko Horvat (2013). What Does Europe Want?. Istros Books, London. ISBN 978-1908236166.