[Marxism] The Power of Nonsense: Slavoj Zizek's Left-Fascist Farce
dan.dimaggio at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 16:07:01 MDT 2011
I appreciated this article on Zizek from the latest issue of Jacobin
magazine. The issue also has an article by Zizek himself. This makes
it one of the more interesting magazines on the left, since it appears
to be cultivating a space for debate.
Žižek is busy utterly recasting Marxism as a kind of linksfaschismus –
an anti-capitalist radicalism that has been unmoored from
self-emancipation, democracy, and reason and re-attached to Terror,
Dictatorship and an eternal, absolute and universal “Truth” capable of
being known only by an elite, and understood, he tells us, following
Badiou, never as Istina (truth as adequacy to the facts) but always as
Pravda – “the absolute Truth also designating the ethically committed
ideal Order of the Good.”
Getting Marx Wrong
In “The Jacobin Spirit” Žižek “Marxified” his argument for terror and
dictatorship by radically misconstruing what “Marx’s key insight” was.
He claimed Marx understood political democracy to be a mere
“democratic illusion” because without economic equality political
democracy can only be a tool of the ruling class, a part of the state
apparatus and therefore our “main enemy.” This gets Marx totally
wrong. And getting Marx right is not merely an academic exercise.
Looking back, what is at stake are those 100 million Communist corpses
memorialized by Vasily Grossman in Forever Flowing, with their “crazed
eyes; smashed kidneys; skull[s] pierced by a bullet; rotting infected,
gangrenous toes; and scurvy racked corpses in log-cabin, dugout
morgues.” Looking forward, what is at stake is the possibility of the
Left creating more corpses.
Marx’s key insight did indeed concern the relation between the social
question and political democracy, but rather than counterpoise the two
as Žižek does, Marx’s revolution in thought was, precisely, to
integrate them on the social ground of popular self-emancipation.
Žižek denies the very possibility of self-emancipation, so can see
only a clash between the social question and political democracy. He
seeks to resolve that clash by using terror and dictatorship to impose
“Communism.” That is what he means by “The Jacobin Spirit.”
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