[Marxism] Further on Zizek and Meszaros [was Re: Marxist contrarians on the British riots]

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sat Aug 20 14:20:25 MDT 2011

Louis Proyect wrote

Lenin's Tomb, who once had a man-crush on Zizek, has much more patience 
for raking Zizek over the coals. I recommend this:


Thanks for this. Zizek as 'Marxist' opportunist, slapstick hobo. 
Erudition and random intuition, as is the case with countless others, is 
not profundity. It's past time for Marxists to disown him.

In response to Lou's take, I posted this some time ago (July 9, 2010):


Yes, what a farce. Zizek invites and deserves the lampoon, but he drags 
matters profound down with him. They couldn't have so easily trivialized 
what Istvan Meszaros, to my mind the greatest living philosopher, would 
have offered had he been invited. Not least because they surely would 
not have taken the trouble to understand what he was saying.

Louis Proyect wrote

Ralph Johansen wrote:


A totally idiotic article, but what one might expect from Der Spittle.


I raise this because, when it comes to worthwhile Marxist philosophers, 
hasn't anyone here read anything by Istvan Meszaros? Why do I have the 
feeling, one of astonishment, that he is virtually ostracized in left 
discussion? Google him. Read online the first chapter of his early work 
on The Origins of the Concept of Alienation 

There's little online by way of appreciation or critique, although he 
has written close to twenty works of profound philosophical analysis 
since he won the Isaac Deutcher prize for his 1970 work Marx's Theory of 
Alienation. I have learned more from reading his works than from any 
contemporary who comes to mind. It's quite possible that some after a 
cursory glance would dismiss him as prolix, repetitive or tiresome. I 
don't think so in the least. Not if you read closely. Someone 
[http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~rgibson/beyondcapital.htm] has written: 
'Humbling Experience-  Illuminating, Frustrating, Tedious, Exciting, All 
the components of learning something are in the process of engaging this 
text.  Meszaros has seen farther than most of us, faster, clearer.' 
Daniel Singer called his 1995 major work Beyond Capital 'magisterial', 
Henry Heller called it a 'great work' and a 'timely restatement of 
Marx's philosophy for the late 20th century', and although he has since 
extended his exposition and analysis many leagues beyond that work, 
little or no comment of value has been elicited online that I can find 
in a quick search. If ever we needed theory, and informed evaluation of 
theory to match the challenge of the times, as guide to program, tactics 
and strategy, it's now, in our pregnant present-day reality.

More information about the Marxism mailing list