[Marxism] Zizek interview in the FT

Ruthless Critic of All that Exists ok.president+nbsy at gmail.com
Sat Mar 7 08:25:28 MST 2009

On Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 9:40 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/06b42e32-09dd-11de-add8-0000779fd2ac.html
> I've sort of lost the appetite for shooting fish in a barrel, but can't
> let this paragraph from the article slip by without comment:
> ---
> What we often fail to understand, he argues, is how Stalinism was a
> counter-revolution, reacting against the extreme “post-human” utopian
> ambitions that were championed by Bolshevik leaders in the 1920s.
> Communist extremists predicted the day when workers would live in a
> perfect society with no need for emotions, or even names, and all
> sexuality and family life would be suppressed. But Stalin was far more
> conservative, reacting against experimental art and insisting on the
> sanctity of family life. “Stalinism reacted against these negative
> dystopias that were even more terrifying. Stalinism was, in that sense,
> a return to normal life. People forget that.”
> ---
> This encapsulates exactly what is wrong with Zizek's "Marxism". It is
> utterly uninterested in socio-economic forces, such as the "scissor"
> effect that antagonized the peasants, the loss of Bolshevik cadre during
> the civil war, the failure of the revolutionary movement to take power
> elsewhere in the 1920s, etc. Everything gets reduced to a culture war
> over family values, as if Stalin were Jerry Falwell wearing a
> hammer-and-sickle instead of a cross. How Zizek manages to get the
> reputation of brilliant Marxist genius is one of the greatest mysteries
> of the past 50 years. But then again, reviewers still fawn over Woody Allen.

This is unfair...he is a cultural theorist, so he focuses on culture.
Are you also going to criticize Gindin or Panitch on the basis that
they "only talk about economics"?

The question here is: thus culture play a role? Since at least
Gramsci, Marxists have believed that yes, it does.

I don't think Zizek ever said that *only* culture matters. Where is he
saying that in the above passage?

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