Thursday, July 08, 2010

The BBC's Marxism

"If Karl Marx came back today, he'd probably still be a philosopher, but would he also be a film critic and a psychoanalyst?" Unbelievably, the visuals show Marx transforming into Zizek, affirming the reincarnation. "Zizek," the BBC's Paul Mason informs the audience as his face emerges from the portrait of Marx, "is probably the world's most influential Marxist." He's risible, an X-Files fanatic, but harmless; the weapons he recommends to his acolytes for their struggle to topple the existing global order are "psychoanalysis and a season ticket to your local cineplex." In an interview that follows, the BBC's audience gets to hear more of what the world's most influential Marxist has to say. His fascinating insights include a remarkably original philosophical claim that communism was "worse than fascism" because communists pretend to be nice and are really evil whereas fascists wear Pure Evil t-shirts with information on calories, sodium, etc.. by imperial and metric measures to identify themselves.

At Marxism 2010, Zizek explains how industrial strikes in China are being incited by the communist party and that while of course he "thinks [BP is] disgusting" and isn't on their payroll (whoooohoooooo!!!!), still it would be "completely ridiculous" and "easy" "personalising" "stupid anti-capitalism" to "make them pay" or "screw them" - the US treasury and US public alone should pick up the check for the damage. That would be, he explains, "a communist response".

You know those people who criticize the twin brothers, these two versions of State Socialism, the Western welfare state and Stalinism they usually do it from a dream of councils, soviets, immediate democracy and so on and so on. I claim that that one also has to be abandoned. This was the big dream which died ... I claim this is an illusion.

There is inexplicable guffawing, applause and hooting over his every idiotic word, however mundane or foolish. Perhaps the most puzzling round of applause he earned was for declaring there was no working class in Congo. The gathered communist conference participants sound rather like the prompted audience in Studio 8H than anything else.

The Zizz, Badiou, the reassertion of the obsolete genre of academic philosophy over the social sciences and this disquieting, bogus neo-Universalist discourse about "the idea of communism" seems to have something to do with the long transition of the world system from capitalism to the next thing and the effort to steer it away from democracy and socialism toward a notion of communism as the direct despotism of the current ruling class and its elites similar to Plato's Republic.