[Marxism] New Yorker profiles Naomi Klein

Mehmet Cagatay mehmetcagatayaydin at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 2 10:00:17 MST 2008


Hello Gary,

Thank you for your response. I didn't read The Shock Doctrine completely. I downloaded it in pdf format and skimmed over the pages for couple of hours. The striking thing is she employs the concept of ideology in the narrowest sense which was identified by Eagleton as "false ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power". And her endeavor is destined to go down the drain not because of the weakness of her book to reveal the horrible crimes of a certain ideology, (which she accomplishes competently) but of the flaw that she misrepresents the concept of ideology. What I mean from ideology is, repeating Althusser, imaginary relations of people with their real conditions of existence. In this sense, you are right, I implied there is no escape from ideology. This is all right, but when the imaginary conception completely distorts the perception of our real conditions there appear ideological illusions that N. Klien appropriated her book to deal
 with. 

I compared the procedure of her book with cognitive behavioral therapy since at the end the reader is left with the intolerable reality of his existence but yet is inexplicitly invited to escape from the inescapable (as we all have imagination and existence). If you remember the final scene of the horrible Hollywood movie, Sphere, which also reflects how the modern science approaches to mental disorders, there, after entering an extra-terrestrial sphere and discovering that they've gained the power to materialize their fantasies (of course which led to terrible consequences), at the end our three scientists decides to use their power to forget everything about the sphere since nor subjectively they are neither objectively humanity is ready to deal with that magnificent power: just as how a person suffering from a mental disorder supposedly escapes from the fantasy with the assistance of the authoritative psychiatrist or therapist who has the proper
 exchange with reality, there, in the final scene, the cure is the question of how to escape from the fantasy before it is materialized and distorts the appropriate conditions of reality. What I suggested was the commonplace Lacanian process: Since there is no escape from the ideology, the only way to deal with its illusions is to identification with the unique ideology that targets to abolish the main cause of modern ideological illusions, i.e. commodity production, private property, etc. To be precise, I suggested everyone, but idiotically in a Marxist mailing list, to work on Marxism if you really intent to escape from your ideological illusions or to confront the strikes of what N. Klein calls as "ideological crusades".

I agree that it is a falsification to call Marxism as a narrative and I prefer to say Marxist theoretical practice. Nevertheless, inevitably there is a Marxist narrative, i.e. recurring elements in the literary application of Marxist theory to analysis. 

As regards to the Obama question and economic crisis, I experience difficulty to understand how our American friends are so optimistic about the stimulating effect of crises. In my thirty years of life, I witness numerous economic crises, (it is an ordinary affair here in Turkey), natural disasters, every form of political corruption and violence etc. etc. But I have never seen an ordinary man possessed by these shocking events and ended up being a socialist. Even myself, I just accidentally found myself reading the Manuscripts despite my initial intention were to read the interviews in Chomsky’s web site. I mean it has started by an accident. Here it is appropriate to recall what Badiou said on education. Knowledge must be organized to make way for an encounter. The problem is, as Zizek points out in the interview, when a shocking event occurs, there already several ideologies present to make sense out of the event. If one doesn't make to with the
 dominant bourgeois ideology which already makes sense, there is religion whose foremost reason of existence is to make sense out of everything. And it is extremely component in this profession. In other words, in the existent state of affairs knowledge has been organized to prevent any encounter. Here we need Marxist ideology but we need it not for to make sense out of the world but to let us to encounter something that opens the field of truth. What I'm trying to say is, if we leave the ideological battlefield by the reason of our subjective skeptical approach to ideologies, it would be the exact moment that we snatch defeat from the jaws of ideology. 

Regards, 


Mehmet Çagatay
http://weblogmca.blogspot.com/


      




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