Bashing Up Zizek

March 27, 2008

Coming home from Mathew Clayfield’s place drunk the other night (after showing him the latest cut of The Beautiful and Damned), I posted my first Internet blog suggesting someone should be assassinated. I was feeling a little belligerent at the time. I can’t stand that Bashir turkey so he got the brunt of my drunken blogging wrath. I like to keep Idea Fix raw, so I won’t withdraw the comment either, though it could be a little rash.

It’s a good introduction to this post. A review of Slavoj Zizek’s new book “Violence”. I’m no Lacanian Marxist-Stalinist but I do like Zizek. He comes from Slovenia and has connections to the proto-fascist group Laibach, that toy with Left and mostly Right modernist imagery and produce some truly excellent electronic music. Zizek in recent years has taken over the mantel of Jacques Derrida, as philosopher / theorist celebre and media darling. Zizek made an excellent series on film called The Perverts Guide To Cinema and there is a self-titled doco about the man that is also very good. I have read about ten of his books, including those on Iraq and Sept 11.

So this brings us to Zizek’s new book “Violence”. Violence, as I’m sure you’re aware if you know me, is a personal issue of major interest cinematically but also politically with its use, abuse and application in real life. To Zizek’s credit he gets straight to the heart of the matter.

Many post modern philosophers tend to stray away from issues like Violence preferring to make odd foot notes or harp on about the importance of the Other or some equally fatuous bullshit.

But others in art, film and literature have been trying to think the reality of Violence. I think I’m one of the few people in Melbourne to have a copy of William T Vollman’s seven volume massive tome on Violence, “Rising Up and Rising Down” and have even managed reading some of it. So it’s a great to see Zizek rolling up his sleeves in this arena for a bit of critical theory bifo.

Zizek is a funny philosopher. He’s half post-modernist do nothing, wait, read and produce endless piles of useless text philosopher and half revolutionary Neo Stalinist. I like the Neo Stalinist part better as it beckons action. I’m tired of the do nothing endless task of post modernism, it’s basically a (post) modern form of sophistry mostly and a pointless exercise in circular futility. Zizek at least through Lacan, Hegel and other readings tries to reactivate the revolutionary Left and good on him for it. He calls himself a Left Fascist. And I’m probably not that far from that position myself. Though I prefer Mussolini, Franco and Hitler as revolutionary models to Stalin. Of course all are flawed and dangerous ‘heroes’ and Zizek does his best to rehabilitate Stalin, even with some success. But you should just read Solzhenitsyn and/or Martin Amis’s Koba The Dread to get a wake up call about Uncle Joe. But what Zizek is trying to do for the Left, my ambitions are to do something similar for the Right, but I digress.

In his new book Zizek makes many fascinating points and diversions of his own but overall is only partially successful for his vision of a critique of Violence. Terrorist Violence, Zizek says, that we see all around the world in Israel, Spain, Africa, the UK, South and North America is only to reaction to the underlying hidden Violence inherent in Western Global Capitalism and Globalisation. This hidden state violence is the main problem that disenfranchises millions and excludes a huge proportion of the planet’s population from a meaningful existence. Zizek cleverly goes on to attack what he calls Liberal Communists like Bill Gates …and I would add Oprah Winfrey to that list. Those who give away large parts of their fortunes or promote charitable activities (Bono, Geldof, etc) all the while sitting at the top of the Capitalist tree, completely safe and benefiting Public Relations wise from their philanthropy and ‘generosity’, seeming Christ like in their endless giving and good nature. Zizek suggests with a Brecht quote, shooting these Liberal Communists in some future Neo Stalinist purge. This is a fun revolutionary fantasy, but highly unlikely, though his hostility to their smug privileged attitudes is understandable. The notion of admitting the Hidden Violence of Capitalism is a very important point. As we all know Capitalism is blind and only follows the mighty $ and leaves in its wake endless cultural emptiness and spiritual oblivion.

Zizek uses Heidegger to underpin the notion of the Violence inherent in Language, which is indeed true and has its own disenfranchising ramifications.

But (and it’s a big But)…to me Zizek hints at wanting to liberate the wretched billions who Capitalism quashes in a new form of Neo Stalinist dictatorship of the Proletariat. This is a vast recipe for disaster. First of all, if Global Capitalism is legitimately threatened as we have seen already in the past and as is happening now in the US, those under threat opt for my camp (in the Right/ Fascist wing of the body politique) and quickly back away from any Leftist notions of Universal liberty and freedom for all. If he thinks putting Bill Gates up against the wall is a good idea, I dare say Bill Gates and many others would quickly finance the counter-revolution to crush any such notion. Global capital and the privileged world of its top echelon will not allow anyone to penetrate their carefully guarded Tower fortresses. Zizek himself might find himself hauled off, ala rendition, to an undisclosed location for some water boarding and his own ‘good’ bullet if he actually could inspire what he hints at..

More to the point (and this is something I can never understand from the Left) what is the use of liberating the Proletariat? And for what? Dialectical materialism? Money? Wages? Please… this is so 19th century, stupid and narrow minded. We in the West are so far beyond mere subsistence living that this notion is antiquated. The prole is the lowest common dominator, the great unwashed, the uneducated, the uncivilised, etc. Why are these the people the Left want to rise up and liberate? It turns out conversely as we saw with the USSR into a gigantic levelling of Dasein, so that we are all made equally wretched. Rather than raising it, it brings everybody down. It is the purest recipe for misanthropy in practice and disaster I have seen formulated. It always amazes what most Uni students who flirt with the Left are recommending. For example, just liberate every Chinese and Indian peasant and give them a Western Standard of living with a car and the Ozone would disappear in ten years or less. Just as another ice shelf shears off Antartica. Communist liberationist stupidity has vast implications for Global Warming, overpopulation and plans for the future of humanity as a species. If your Green these days, you have to start thinking, at least a bit, like a Fascist.

A full 70 years of Lenin/Stalinism and what did it give us…pointless oppression, constant fear of purges, gulags and dread levelling on a vast scale. No wonder Ezra Pound gave the Fascist salute after his imprisonment, it wasn’t meant for people alive in the 60’s to see… it was meant for us. Capitalism creates class through its hidden Violence, we grant this. Capitalist vision only raises up the most ruthless, vicious, blinkered, ugly and corrupt to the top of shit heap, that too we grant. This does need a remedy and we are down with this part of Zizek’s plans. But only a renewed and fully understood Transcendental Fascist vision of a truly class free society, with its ideas of one People, one class, one struggle, etc. That one People is not the German Volk or some Eurocentric Hitlerian silliness, it is a now the World Volk, in all its diversity and Otherness. It is the 21st century human Dasein itself that speaks and wants to be heard. Fascism acknowledges the basic truth that people are not equal. Zizek talks about Simone De Beauvoir on the notion of inequality saying that regardless of how we want people to be equal, they are not in reality, due to a number of factors, many beyond the subject’s control. Fascism generally envisions and acknowledges Spencer’s Social Darwinism, that the best will fight their way to the top through the tenacity of the individual will. But also acknowledges the need for a political force to liberate the best in humanity, a real meritocracy that aims to give power to youth and the most dynamic and vital elements of a society. It also leaves room for the individual subject… this notion is often squashed under most communist dreams. You can’t free everybody on Earth, you just cant, you can liberate many and Capitalism does do this randomly through the free market, but only a new non-racist Fascist Internationale would ensure new elites form correctly. That the cream and integrity of all cultures and civilisations rises to the top is the aim.

Those vital elements from any culture, race, creed or sexuality that are awake and enabled… take hold of your manifest destiny! This is what Zizek misses. He claims Fascism is a kind of Super Capitalism that really leaves everything the same. That’s an old line of the Left and fails to understand true revolutionary Fascism, its vitality and dynamism to make real change. Regardless of Hitler’s policies, to say he worked solely for big Capital is a foolish statement. Hitler was inventing an entirely new world based around myth, a new vision of culture where art, society and people were one, a dislike of money and capital as the basis for society and a (somewhat) deluded form of Eugenics. If you loose the Eugenics stuff, you have a dynamic political framework still intact. Fascism’s gaols were not to serve Big Capital and high finance, though its mobilisation and continued success was happily employed and incorporated into the Fascist system. Fascism attempts to rise up the best to positions of natural rule, rank and position… just like Nietzsche’s mature philosophy recommends and in accord with what Heraclitus called the Ordering of Beings. Fascism is like Nature itself, cruel sometimes, but the way Being ‘is’.

Fascism is the political expression of Being itself.

Its the way of what Zizek calls the Real, without all the Freudian/Lacanian trickery and language nonsense Zizek gets bogged down in with his mirror reflection narcissism…

I’ll grant Zizek’s notion that much modern oppression is due to Western Capitalism, but so what? It’s the old Left idea of the “Violence inherent in the system” mocked by Monty Python. There are other ways forward. New paths to beat bravely, new seas to set sail on. As soon as the younger generation wakes up and sees the Right and Fascism for what is, its archetype and Universal beauty (beyond the Hollywood bogeyman Nazi claptrap) , its metaphysical truth… the path to true political liberation, planetary responsibility and salvation will be clear. The sooner we can began on this path the better…

As Zizek says Violence is all about the hidden Power inherent in the Western system. He is right. Just his hinted solution is incorrect. Don’t get me wrong the Left have many good ideas and Zizek makes many good points and suggestions for change that I agree with, too numerous to go into here. Suffice to say some reasoned Liberation of the working class is essential, as often many vital individuals are unable to liberate themselves from its grip. I guess that’s why I consider myself a Left Fascist. As long as this liberation is sustainable, doesn’t overwhelm others and is not damaging to the planet, I’m all for it. The youth of tomorrow need to grab this Western hegemonic power of fake Western Democracy and reduce and alter its hidden Violent and destructive power to liberate as many peoples in all countries, from all classes, even using ‘Liberal Communists’ to do so, in a new bright array of the elite’s and ranks of tomorrow. We must not be afraid of wielding this Power and replacing democracy with something finer and purer. Some may still be oppressed and crushed by the power we wield? That is the nature of power and our current situation. We aren’t living in some fairyland utopian world. If the option is between an exciting and dynamic new non-racist Fascist Internationale array of elites or a return to the USSR dark ages and planetary destruction from environmental over crowding through the liberation of the world wide Proletariat and wretched of the Earth. I clearly choose the former. As would any half intelligent citizen of the West, who lets face it will bring about any (counter) revolution politically in the first place.

I also take umbrage against Zizek’s call for inaction, his clubfoot still in the post-modernist camp. That is a remnant of the Derridean cancer that continues to poison most half rate post-modernist thinkers. Inaction, the trace, the spectre, the undecidability of truth, nothing beyond the text… literary eccentricity at best or sophistry or bullshit at worst. Slap a deconstructionist across the face and say to them, “Deconstruct that, Bitch”. You get my point. Action is the only real language. Until action takes place the text is just that, scribbling on a piece of paper… while Rome burns mind you. And its way past fire extinguisher time people, endless scribbling will not do… time is running out for that. It’s now clear what direction we need to move in, lets just figure out the Right ideas, ideology, leaders, strategy and then…to borrow perversely a message from Capital… not Marx but Nike, “Just do it”.

4 Responses to “Bashing Up Zizek”

  1. A friend of mine just emailed me one of your articles from a while back. I read that one a few more. Really enjoy your blog. Thanks.

    Jason Whitmen

  2. Stathis said

    man/bipod seeks power to survive whether intelligent or unintelligent. Therefore violence exist within every bipod the moment it feels threatened. The reason for the threat can be stupid/ludicrous (he said Santa Claus doesn’t exist – thump on the head of sinful three year old) or even built with noble intent (ah the crimes committed in the name of noble IDEA)

    Violence is not inherent just in Western Capitalism – Violence is inherent full stop…

    There is no future world … life is violent at birth and violent at death

    Fancy words of philosophers are a ‘sexy’ way to more “violent sex”

    Come on let’s be real.

    Smash your thoughts and ideological system and begin to violently communicate your truly “correct” message to the masses (the small group of friends you have) and the result will be violence… of utterance or action.

    Do not fear violence but rather embrace it.

    To quote good old Boyd Rice

    Deppression is the apium of the people

  3. richard777 said

    Stathis,

    Yes, Violence is inherent full stop. Its not just a product of Capitalism obviously, just look at History. It will always be around, as long as there are people. Its just a question of Hegel’s Master/Slave dichtonomy really. Who is holding the club and who gets beat with it?

    Just see Tibet/China today for an example of that…

    As to their being no future world, well keep thinking that way and there certainly will not be.

    Philosophy can be ‘fancy words’ as you put it, but some philosophers go beyond mere sophistry, to name just a few… Heidegger, Nietzsche, Hegel, Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Bataille, Kierkegaard, etc.

    I don’t fear Violence as a concept, I have embraced its examination in word and image for some time now.

    Good Boyd Rice quote:

    Depression is the opium of the masses

    …I think you meant though? Very true. Boyd is a modern philosopher of considerable acumen.

    Violent utterance out.

  4. Stathis said

    Fancy words meaning that one hides behinds words (philosophers to be exact)fearing action per se. And the names you refer to are spot on. Plato bugs me a bit … but then again taste is subjective.

    To experience / to act – walking down a dark alley in New Orleans or Adelaide for that matter (my other home) – is more “philosophical” rather than attempting to create a system that can interpret our world.

    Language is a violent virus from inner space to paraphrase good old William.

    And yes opium not apium.

    So what are you working on now … after Pearls

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