Is Žižek a bogus Marxist?

Socialist Fight recently writes "Slavoj Žižek, a bogus Marxist who counterposes “authentic emancipatory politics” to imperialist barbarism"
On 8 May 2014 Slavoj Žižek published an article in the London Review of Books, Barbarism with a Human Face: Lenin v. Stalin in Kiev. It was a sophisticated attack on Marxism by using some correct arguments to make the reactionary, pro-imperialist points in the last paragraphs.

Žižek is a famous ‘Marxist’ philosopher and general savant on the modern world so we must take his words seriously. Wikipedia says of him:

“Žižek’ unorthodox style, popular academic works, frequent magazine op-eds, and critical assimilation of high and low culture have gained him international influence and a substantial audience outside of academia in addition to controversy and criticism. In 2012, Foreign Policy listed Žižek on its list of Top 100 Global Thinkers, calling him “a celebrity philosopher,” while elsewhere he has been dubbed the “Elvis of cultural theory” and “the most dangerous philosopher in the West.” Žižek’s work was chronicled in a 2005 documentary film entitled Zizek! A scholarly journal, the International Journal of Žižek Studies, was also founded to engage his work.”

This piece had as its purpose the defence of the Maidan coup in Kiev of February 2014, the rubbishing of the struggle against it by the people in Eastern Ukraine and portraying of Russia and Vladimir Putin as the main enemy. But before we go into the details of that it is necessary to take a brief look at the Žižek’s political character and his social values to assess the quality of his Marxism.

Žižek marries “Lacanian psychoanalysis with Hegelian philosophy” Wikipedia tells us. Lacanian psychoanalysis basically tried to develop Freud and take the unreconstructed (by Marx) Hegel so that the mysterious workings of the unconscious mind had no real material basis at all. Moreover this is a totally illegitimate ‘marriage’. Lacan’s unconscious is not Hegel’s unconscious. Noah Horwitz points to the real nature of the problem:

“their reading of Lacan via German Idealism and German Idealism via Lacan risks transforming Lacanian psychoanalysis into a discourse of self-consciousness rather than a discourse on the psychoanalytic, Freudian unconscious. In this manner, the very scandalous rupture that Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis affected in thought and in culture (that it thinks without and for me) is in jeopardy of being foreclosed through a return to German Idealism’s discourse of self-consciousness. Here, Lacan functions as a screen in order to rehabilitate the theses of German Idealism that psychoanalysis itself put into question.

In particular, the risk is that Lacan will be transformed into that ultimate German Idealist, Hegel. Slavoj Žižek … (asserts) that Lacan’s unconscious reveals itself to us in parapraxis, or “slips-of-the-tongue.” We are therefore, according to Lacan, alienated from language through the revelation of our desire (even if that desire originated with the Other, as he claims, it remains peculiar to us). In Hegel’s unconscious, however, we are alienated from language whenever we attempt to articulate a particular and end up articulating a universal… Hegel’s argument implies that, at the level of sense-certainty, we can never express the true nature of reality. Lacan’s argument implies, to the contrary, that speech reveals the true structure of a particular unconscious mind.”

You might be forgiven for thinking that in the real world people learn from their mistakes, or from practice and ‘slips of the tongue’ (Freudian or otherwise), ‘sense certainty’ and the ‘nature of reality’ (ideas in our heads) are always tested and solved, if at all......more here


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