Δευτέρα, 26 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Through the Futurological Roadblock: Revolution, Counter-Revolution, Repetition

Antonis Balasopoulos
Through the Futurological Roadblock: Revolution, Counter-Revolution, Repetition
Παρουσίαση στο συνέδριο Through the Roadblocks, Λεμεσός, Κύπρος, 25 Νοεμβρίου 2012

In a bold and ambitious essay he published a few years ago, Kojin Karatani argued that one could make a scientific case for the phenomenon of historical repetition and claimed Marx as the first thinker of a “repetitive structure” in history.[i] There are at least two structures of historical repetition in modernity, Karatani contended, and both of them actively and seriously preoccupied Marx: repetition at the level of the state, a phenomenon that lies at the core of Marx’s analysis in the Eighteenth Brumaire, and which concerns the cycle of state transformation from empire to nation and back to empire; and repetition in capital, which concerns the phenomenon, vital for Marx’s Capital, of periodic crises of capitalist accumulation. On the basis of plotting the interplay between these two types of repetition, Karatani proceeds to map the “world-historical stages of state capitalism” by suggesting that a more or less regular pattern of alternation between liberalism and imperialism as dominant modes of global economic policy can be traced in the sixty-year intervals that punctuate the period between 1750 and 1990.

This periodization, in turn, tends to render visible a third type of repetitive structure: revolution.  For as Karatani suggests, “countermovements against the state and capitalism have changed in accordance with the world-historical stages of state and capital” and thus exhibit parallel patterns of recursion. 1848 and 1968, emerging exactly 120 years (or two 60-year cycles) apart from each other, are both “civil society” revolutions, ones that do not put on the agenda the prospect of seizing state power. They are, Karatani, argues, both “type B” revolutions, the kinds of revolution that emerge during liberal stages in capitalist expansion. 1789 and 1917, on the other hand, separated by some 128 years from each other, are both state revolutions, ones that focus on taking hold of and transforming state power. Constituting “type A” revolutions, they correspond to imperialist stages of capitalist development and tend to either immediately precede or immediately follow upon war (indeed, they mark moments of passage between international and civil war).[ii]

If revolution, however, also tends to submit itself to a law of historical repetition (and let us remember that one of the original meanings of “revolution” since the late Middle Ages is precisely that, “the return or recurrence of a point or period of time”)[iii], so does counter-revolution. Indeed, and though Karatani doesn’t dwell on this, this is one of the fundamental preoccupations of the complex metaphorics of the opening pages of the Eighteenth Brumaire.  For when Marx writes of Luther donning “the mask of the Apostle Paul”, of the “Revolution of 1789 to 1814” draping itself “alternately as the Roman republic and the Roman empire”, and of the Revolution of 1848 as incapable of doing anything but parodying “now 1789, now the revolutionary tradition of 1793 to 1795”[iv], he is writing not of parodies or travesties of revolutions, but of real, actual revolutions. If the famous opening lines on Hegel and on the repetition of tragedy as farce are to be taken as bearing on Luther, the French Revolution and the Revolutions of 1848, then surely “parody” in these cases is a very different phenomenon than in the case of the counter-revolutionary coup of Louis Bonaparte, which constitutes the main subject of Marx’s polemic. In the former case, repetition is a phenomenon clearly linked to the authentic anxiety inspired by revolution:

[J]ust when they seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they [men] anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honored disguise and this borrowed language.[v]

In the wonderfully counter-intuitive inversion of this passage, the spirits or ghosts of the past, “the dead of world history”[vi] are not causes of anxiety; they are protective measures against anxiety. Anxiety does not originate in them, in the realm of “conjured spirits”; it originates in the real of revolution as an act of “creating something that has never yet existed”, of “revolutionizing” both “things” and “oneself.” There is very little sense in seeing the repetition inherent in revolution, the repetition that is here depicted as a necessary and inevitable means of shoring up the courage to go through with revolution, as an idle “farce”. If “farce” is involved at all, it is as a constitutive dimension, without which the tragic grandeur of Luther’s Reformation, of 1789, of 1848, would have been impossible. But then why speak of “farce” in the first place? Marx makes clear that he deploys the word purely within the context of the ironic work of the “ruse of reason”: the ghosts of the past inspire real, tragic heroism, but do so only so long as such heroism remains necessary for the bloody foundation of “modern bourgeois society”. They quickly disappear when the new, banal reality of the power that has been thus constituted reveals its true face. To the extent that it can be deployed as way of thinking the recursive element in revolution, farce is then not a result of repetition as such but rather of the fact that such repetition, in inspiring heroism and courage against the anxiety of the new, also serves to hide from historical actors—and quite specifically, from the bourgeoisie—the true, pedantically pragmatic nature of their struggle:

unheroic as bourgeois society is, it nevertheless took heroism, sacrifice, terror, civil war and battles of peoples to bring it into being. And in the classically austere traditions of the Roman republic its gladiators found the ideals and the art forms, the self-deceptions that they needed in order to conceal from themselves the bourgeois limitations of the content of their struggles and to keep their enthusiasm on the high plane of the great historical tragedy.[vii]

The case is very different when it comes to the farce of counter-revolutionary repetition: whereas Marx clearly and unambiguously states that in the case of revolutionary repetition “the awakening of the dead […] served the purpose of glorifying the new struggles, not of parodying the old” (emphasis added), he proceeds to remark that after 1848, a disastrous mutation regarding the very import of historical repetition has taken place:

From 1848 to 1851 only the ghost of the old revolution walked about, from Marrast, the républicain en gants jaunes, who disguised himself as the old Bailly, down to the adventurer, who hides his commonplace repulsive features under the iron death mask of Napoleon. An entire people, which had imagined itself an accelerated power of motion, suddenly finds itself set back into a defunct epoch and, in order that no doubt as to the relapse may be possible, the old dates arise again, the old chronology, the old names, the old edicts, which had long become a subject of antiquarian erudition, and the old minions of the law, who had seemed long decayed.[viii]

The contrast between these lines and the ones preceding them can hardly be overstated: if in the cases of Luther, 1789 and 1848, “the awakening of the dead” was intended as a means of finding “the spirit of revolution, not of making its ghost walk about again”[ix], in that of the period after 1848, revolution has effectively been reduced to a ghost of itself. The people regress into a “defunct” epoch. The resurrection of “the old dates”, the “old chronology”, the “old names”, and so forth becomes a tell-tale sign of bourgeois decay. Napoleon, the emblematic figure of what we could call “type A”, revolutionary repetition, is reduced to an “iron death mask” that hides the “commonplace repulsive features” of his entirely despicable nephew. Counter-revolution, in other words, transforms the very nature of repetition and constitutes a second, noxious type of recursion: whereas repetition originally was a means of withstanding the anxiety of the new and unknown, it now becomes an end in itself, a roadblock against historical progress. The “death mask” to which the nephew reduces his uncle is the dialectical opposite of the “masks” Luther, Cromwell, Robespierre, Danton or Napoleon wore: whereas in their case the seizure of past glory serves as a guarantee of renewal and revitalization of revolutionary energy in the present, in the case the coup makes apparent, it has become the sign of a reactionary reification, of a deadening of the past, which truly can be said to now weigh “like a nightmare on the brain of the living”.[x]

What these dense and remarkable pages make clear then, is first, that revolution and counter-revolution are both phenomena predicated on repetition, but constitute clearly different, in fact opposed, versions of the compulsion to repeat; and secondly, that for Marx the fusion of heroism and parody that defines the bourgeois epoch of revolutionary repetition is over, for with the second Napoleon the bourgeoisie confirms its terminal transformation into a reactionary, counter-revolutionary class. The period between 1848 and 1851, in other words, reveals the emergence of an irreversible change as regards the political import of repetition. And it is precisely in the context of this diagnosis that Marx concludes his introductory description of the impotent senility of French society in this period with the following famous remark:

The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped off all superstition in regard to the past. Earlier revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to drug themselves concerning their own content. In order to arrive at its own content, the revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead.[xi]

My contention in this essay is that our contemporary, largely academic “Left”—and I am referring particularly to the western Left in the period between the late 1960s and the present—has severely misunderstood and distorted the import of these words. It has done so because it has tended to detach them from the complex and dialectically inflected context in which they are embedded. The result has been the reification of the factor of novelty in thinking the reality of revolutionary processes and, reversely, the equation of any and all kinds of recursion with reactionary, indeed counter-revolutionary politics. This stance, which in my view has had disastrous consequences in our own conjuncture, has of course gained much of its legitimacy from a reading of Marx from the standpoint of a certain “modernist” ethos—that of “making it new”, which, as a variety of our more perceptive critics and philosophers (Jameson, Badiou) have discovered, is not that easy to distinguish from the spirit of capitalism itself. “Revolution” has become just another of the instances of a fetishization of “novelty” which converts the “new” into precisely the content of automatism and repetition, of the total and surreptitious war against any genuine change.[xii]

Hence, the subtly dialectical nature of the Brumaire’s understanding of repetition as both fundamental to revolutionary self-fashioning and as symptom of a counter-revolutionary turn has been largely ignored, along with the specific historico-political reason why Marx is willing to suggest that it will no longer be possible for future revolutions to draw their “poetry from the past”. It is not simply that in his eyes the bourgeoisie is exhibiting signs of historical decay, of incapacity to engender any further social progress—a matter practically disputed by much of the post 1960s Left’s barely hidden admiration for the kind of resilience 20th century post-war, “post-Fordist” capitalism exhibited. It is also that in 1852, when Marx was writing these lines, the “proletariat” from which he was expecting a new kind of revolution was only eight years old, having being “discovered” by no other than himself around 1844, when he was writing the Preface to his Critique of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Right”.[xiii] One could hardly expect this radically new social actor to be able to draw “the poetry” of its own “social revolution” “from the past” at the time the Eighteenth Brumaire was being written. But it would be equally illogical to expect that the same directive could and should have been valid sixty years later, when Lenin would return almost compulsively to the experience of the 1871 Commune in a series of writings which span the years 1907 to 1919, and which confer upon it the status of model and prototype for the dictatorship of the proletariat and the Soviet revolution.[xiv] One can imagine few interpretations of Marx’s supposed equation of proletarian revolution with the abolition of repetition as absurd as one that would end up declaring that Lenin and the Soviets were mere “parodies” of Marx and the Paris Commune. Yet it is indisputable that they were very much consciously donning their “masks” and explicitly draping themselves in the mantle of their revolutionary legacy—and crossing the borders of “national history” for that purpose.

Then of course, there is the rather awkward fact that Marx himself waged serious war against attempts to reduce proletarian revolution to idle futurology. To the Brumaire’s 1852 presumably absolute directive against drawing the poetry of future revolution from the past, one should not neglect to compare The German Ideology’s 1845 resounding assertion: “Communism is not for us a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the now existing premise.”[xv] Nor should one forget that in the 1871 writings on the Paris Commune that were to prove so important for 1917, Marx noted: “The working class […] have no ready-made utopias to introduce par decret du people. […] They have no ideals to realize, but to set free the elements of the new society with which old collapsing bourgeois society itself is pregnant.”[xvi] Marx then is not at all, at least if we accept that he is minimally consistent, advocating vulgar futurology when he suggests that henceforth revolutions should draw their inspiration from the future. The future of which he speaks is not at all a neutral, calendrical dimension; it is not, as Benjamin would remark in an essay in which he attacked the social democratic character of futurological solace, “homogeneous, empty time”.[xvii] Marx’s “future” is at one with the working class (in and for) itself; to put it directly, the working class is that future. But this also means that in no way does the Brumaire prohibit future revolution, as long as it remains world-historical and therefore necessarily proletarian in nature, from drawing upon the proletariat’s own, and in 1852 as yet unformed, past. From the perspective of the mid-nineteenth century, a properly proletarian past to draw upon can only be something that will emerge as a past from the standpoint of the future of working-class struggle. The poetry of the new kind of social revolution that Marx is envisioning in 1852, the revolution that will break the demonic spell of counter-revolutionary parodies of the Bonapartist type, will be drawn from a future that includes, for instance, the 1871 Commune: it is a future that from the standpoint of the revolution of 1917 is of course the usable proletarian and revolutionary past.

I have suggested that the contemporary western Left has long been blind to the kinds of issues posed by a careful reading of the opening pages of the Brumaire. And I tend to think that this blindness has much to do with the triumph, around the late 1960s, and indeed around the largely cultural and theoretical revolution of 1968, of what one could term the “discontinuity thesis”. One of the sites to which it can be traced is the bitter and prolonged dispute between working-class historiography and structuralist Marxism, which, in the case of the UK and the British “New Left”, extends from 1964 to 1980 and the Thatcherite counter-revolution.[xviii] I do not have the time to say virtually anything of substance concerning this dispute, but I think it remains highly significant for at least one reason: the polarization between “agency” and “structure” effectively mirrors a polarization between the working class itself and the new, largely academically centered social movements of the late sixties, so that to privilege “structure” over “agency” and “discontinuity” or “rupture” over continuity and “experience” was also in effect to displace the working class itself as a social subject adequate to the tasks of a “revolution to come”, a revolution of which nothing could be known but its mystical and quasi-messianic novelty, its complete detachment from the structure of repetition that had theretofore both engendered and limited all preceding revolutionary innovation. It is obviously impossible to provide extensive evidence of the saturation of the contemporary “common sense” of the academic Left by reified and undialectical futurology in any systematic manner, so allow me to conclude by referring to a number of the symptoms of the futurological roadblock exhibited by a prominent and relentlessly vocal figure of this Left, Slavoj Zizek.

In an essay that appeared in the London Review of Books, and in the context of rehearsing all the well-worn platitudes on the “general intellect” and “immaterial labor” that have become de rigeur after Negri and Hardt’s Empire, Zizek confidently proclaimed that most of “today’s strikes” are held by what he terms a “salaried bourgeoisie”, and thus are not “proletarian protests”, but “protests against the threat of being reduced to proletarians.”[xix] Yet at the time these words were published, and in my native Greece, the steelworkers of Attica were already in the twelfth week of a mammoth strike, which was to last for 272 days and become the longest workers’ strike in contemporary Greece. In the meantime, workers at a recycling company in Crete would succeed in having their demands met after 118 days of striking[xx], whereas the anything but “bourgeois” workers at the “post-Fordist” services of the Phone Marketing company would wage a 114-day long and victorious strike from March to July[xxi]—all with Communist Party organizational support. At the end of July 2012, an Irish anarcho-syndicalist website bitterly remarked that when Zizek came to Greece in early June to address a Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) rally, he “didn’t bother” to pay a visit to the still striking steelworkers just a few kilometers away, who were then past the seventh month of their strike.[xxii] It would be strange if he had; not only did he infamously remark, in that same rally, that the Communist Party of Greece, which was the main organizational force behind the steelworkers, is a party that is still alive “only because it has forgotten to die”[xxiii], but he spent much of the previous year flirting with the “new social movement” he discovered at Occupy Wall Street, which he addressed with the following, surely reassuring words: “We are not Communists if Communism means a system which collapsed in 1990. […] The only sense in which we are Communists is that we care for the commons. The commons of nature. The commons privatized by intellectual property. The commons of biogenetics. For this, and only for this, we should fight.”[xxiv]

The working class does not exist, communist parties are zombies of the past, contemporary capitalism has nothing to do with the one Marx or Lenin analyzed and fought against, strikes are a bourgeois affair, salvation from the capitalist dead-end has the shapeless form of a vague “to come” that will in all events reflect the ultramodernity of “new social subjects”: this is the gist of the futurological chatter that poses as critical knowledge today. At the antipodes, there is the discourse produced by the strikers themselves, a discourse that vitally concerns the struggles of the present as mediating points in an open-ended continuum between past and future: the worker who states, in a November 2011 article on the strike, that strikers are not willing “to lose what our forefathers gained with their blood”[xxv]; the leader of the workers’ union, Giorgos Sifonios, stating, in the last of the strike meetings, that the Union struggles to preserve “the rights obtained by our forefaters”;[xxvi] a worker wife stating that “our children are proud because their fathers have not bent their heads down”;[xxvii] the steelworkers’ communist Union in Magnesia proclaiming that workers are fighting so that their “children will not become 21st-century slaves”;[xxviii] or the silent but eloquent image, in a recent documentary on the one-year anniversary of the strike, of a commemorative book on the Larko factory strike of 1977[xxix], donated to the strikers by an anonymous laborer, and containing the handwritten dedication: “as long as there is capitalist exploitation, there shall be worker solidarity”.

Remaining deaf to the complex dynamics of actually existing (and long persisting) working-class struggles, degenerating into a banal, short-lived celebration of whatever happens to claim the status of a “novelty”, the contemporary academic Left has abandoned the terrain of repetition to the monopoly of counter-revolutionary deployment. While Zizek and his kindred ideologues in the academic Left are engaged in the eternal pursuit of an immaculately conceived “revolution to come” that on closer inspection turns out to rehash all the stock footage of social reform and social democracy, state capitalism is busily demolishing the last vestiges of working-class victory in the previous century. The enemy everyone swears they are fighting, at least, is not at all ashamed to repeat the repressive strategies and tactics of its own forefathers, including of course the shameless reanimation of the only superficially dormant monster of fascist terrorism; it has left the quixotic pursuit of historically deracinated, groundless alternatives to those dedicated to regaling us with parodies of the Brumaire itself. But it is high time that this already over-ripe farce was over and done with.

[i] Kojin Karatani, “Revolution and Repetition”, Umbr(a): A Journal of the Unconscious (2008): 133.
[ii] Ibid., 144-145.
[iii] The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, ed. C.T. Onions, Vol. II (third ed.), Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1964, 1729.
[iv] Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, New York, International Publishers, 1994, 15.
[v] ibid., 15; emphasis added.
[vi] ibid., 16.
[vii] ibid., 16-17.
[viii] ibid., 17.
[ix] ibid., 17
[x] ibid., 15.
[xi] ibid., 18.
[xii] See Fredric Jameson: “the paradox from which we must set forth is the equivalence between an unparalleled rate of change on all the levels of social life and an unparalleled standardization of everything—feelings along with consumer goods, language along with built space—that would seem incompatible with just such mutability. It is a paradox that can still be conceptualized, but in inverse ratios: that of modularity, for example, where intensified change is enabled by standardization itself, where prefabricated modules, everywhere from the media to a henceforth standardized private life, from commodified nature to uniformity of equipment, allow miraculous rebuildings to succeed each other at will, as in fractal video. […] What then dawns is the realization that no society has ever been so standardized as this one, and that the stream of human, social and historical temporality has never followed quite so homogeneously. […] What we now begin to feel, therefore—and what begins to emerge as some deeper and more fundamental constitution of postmodernity itself, at least in its temporal dimension—is that henceforth, where everything now submits to the perpetual change of fashion and media image, nothing can change any longer” (The Seeds of Time, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1994, 15, 17-18); and Alain Badiou: “If in effect everything changes constantly, including the agents, the witnesses and the victims of such change, then there is no way of certifying that such change took place. As the principle of inertia suggests, the absence of any stable reference point means that movement cannot be proven. Our contemporary agitation might in fact be nothing else but the law to which our world is subjected, so that its perpetual ‘novelties’ are the expressions of the immobile permanence of this law. This is a viable hypothesis as regards the feverish developments of the capitalist economy. […] We need to entirely repose the question of real change, moving beyond the following antinomy: change will either have the form of total rupture, which indeed creates a ‘new man’ corresponding to it […] or it will appear as a continuum of incessant innovations, so that the only proof for its reality will have been the rapid obsolescence of what has been produced before” (“Que signifie change le monde?”, http://www.ens.fr/spip.php?article993&lang=fr, translation mine).
[xiii] See Joseph O’ Malley, “Introduction” to Karl Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Right”, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009,  lii-lv.
[xiv] See V.I. Lenin, “Marx’s Assessment of the Commune” (1907); “Lessons of the Commune” (1908); “In Memory of the Commune” (1911); “Task of the Proletariat in our Revolution” (“April Theses”, 1917); “Experience of the Paris Commune of 1871” (State and Revolution, 1917); “The Commune and the Soviets” (1918); and “Theses and Report on Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” (1919). All in Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin, Civil War in France: The Paris Commune, New York, International Publishers, 1993, 91-129.
[xv] Karl Marx with Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, New York, Prometheus Books, 1998, 57.
[xvi] Civil War in France, 61-62.
[xvii] Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History” (1940), in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books, 1969).
[xviii] The basic file of the dispute would consist of: Perry Anderson,  “Origins of the Present Crisis”, in English Questions, London and New York, Verso, 1992, 15-47; E. P. Thompson, “The Peculiarities of the English”, in The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays, New York and London, Monthly Review Press, 1978, 255-301; Perry Anderson, “Socialism and Pseudo-Empiricism”, New Left Review 35 (January-February 1966): 2-42;  E.P. Thompson, “The Poverty of Theory or an Orrery of Errors”, in The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays, 1-210; Perry Anderson, Arguments within English Marxism, New York and London, Verso, 1980.
[xix] Slavoj Zizek, “The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie”, London Review of Books, 34.2 (26 January 2012): http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n02/slavoj-zizek/the-revolt-of-the-salaried-bourgeoisie
[xxii] Workers Solidarity Movement, “Greek Steel Workers Strike - Greece on the verge of revolution? Think again...” http://www.wsm.ie/c/greek-steel-workers-strike-greece-verge-revolution
[xxiii] Slavoj Zizek, Speech at SYRIZA rally, Benaki Museum, 3 June 2012, http://www.syn.gr/gr/keimeno.php?id=27245
[xxiv] Slavoj Zizek Speaks at Occupy Wall Street: Transcript.” http://www.imposemagazine.com/bytes/slavoj-zizek-at-occupy-wall-street-transcript
[xxvii] Dina Daskalopoulou, “Greek Steelworks: How Steel was Bound in 70 Degrees Celcius”, http://www.daskalopoulou.gr/?p=2025
[xxviii] “Pressures on the Workers to Curtail Reaction”, Rizospastis, 30 October 2012, http://www.rizospastis.gr/story.do?id=7113814&publDate=30/10/2012
[xxix] “The Steelworkers are the Winners”, Communist Party of Greece video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrpeBsgiKVU, 10:36-10:41. 

34 σχόλια:

  1. Δεν ξέρω αν κάνω καλά, αλλά την αμαρτία μου θα την πω.
    Μου τράβηξε την προσοχή η χρήση λέξεων σε αυτό το κείμενο, με μία πρώτη ανάγνωση, παρά το νόημα του κειμένου που έχει θέσεις που συμφωνούμε και τις έχουμε ξαναδιαβάσει.
    Αntipodes, phenomenon, analysis, periodic και periodization έως metaphorics, parodying, polemic κ.α.
    Και έπειτα να συνεχίζεται το κρεσέντο χρήσης "διεθνών" λέξεων με farce και banal κ.α.

    Εύγε στον συγγραφέα γιατί δεν αυξήθηκε ξαφνικά η ικανότητά μου για κατανόηση αγγλικού κειμένου αλλά ήταν επιλογή δική του.

    Για τον ίδιο συγγραφέα μαθαίνουμε για νέες του δημιουργίες στο http://throughtheroadblocks.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/through-the-futurological-deadlock-revolution-counter-revolution-repetition/



    1. Ήταν μια πολύ ωραία εμπειρία η παρουσίαση της εργασίας. Ο φίλος του Ζίζεκ που παρακολουθούσε την ομιλία έφυγε από την αίθουσα και άκουσα αργότερα ότι ειπώθηκε ότι έπρεπε να με είχαν σταματήσει πολύ νωρίτερα. Ελπίζω αυτός που με κάλεσε να μιλήσω να μην βρήκε κανένα σοβαρό μπελά, θα δείξει.

    2. "...ειπώθηκε ότι έπρεπε να με είχαν σταματήσει πολύ νωρίτερα."
      Πέστε λεπτομέρειες, γιατί αυτό το "σταματήσει" είναι εξοργιστικό - τουλάχιστον...
      "Ο φίλος του..." - Έλληνας καθηγητής στο UK να υποθέσω;


      ΥΓ: Όσο και να έψαξα δεν βρήκα Δουζίνας σε ομιλητές

    3. Εκ Κροατίας ο φίλος στον οποίο αναφέρομαι, πατριωτάκι του Ζϊζεκ και όχι δικό μου.

      Λεπτομέρειες τι να πω, οι λεπτομέρειες που δεν λέω αφορούν ονόματα.

      Αυτά για όσους νομίζουν ότι υπάρχει "ελευθερία λόγου" στην "αριστερά"...

    4. Μέχρι να φτάσει κάποια πληροφόρηση για ότι συνέβη ας δούμε στην φώτο http://goo.gl/ET25L πως δημιουργούνται τα σύνδρομα κατωτερότητας.

      Σεβόμενος τους λόγους σου για μη αναφορά ονομάτων είπα να "φωτογραφήσω". LoL


  2. Kojin Karatani wrote ‘It is probably in Philosophy of History that Hegel wrote what Marx referred to: “by repetition, that which at first appeared merely a matter of chance and contingency, becomes a real and ratified existence.”’

    This needs an inversion and a paraphrase to land on its it feet (Marx has already done it, though not in so many words – so this is not my idea): “that which appeared a real and ratified pattern of repetition is merely a matter of chance and contingency”…

    1. Η 18η Μπρυμαίρ είναι η βασική απόδειξη ότι ο Μαρξ πίστευε στην επανάληψη στο επίπεδο του κράτους (καθώς και της επανάστασης και της αντεπανάστασης). Το Κεφάλαιο περιέχει εκτεταμένα εδάφια για την επαναλειπτικότητα των κρίσεων, που είναι καθολικά αποδεκτό δόγμα στην πολιτική οικονομία.

      Συνεπώς, δεν ξέρω πού βασίζεται η πρόταση περί "αντιστροφής" με τους όρους που λες, δηλαδή ότι αυτό που εμφανίζεται να έχει κανονικότητα είναι απλώς αποτέλεσμα τυχαιότητας. Δεν είναι καθόλου αυτή η σκέψη του Μαρξ για το θέμα.

    2. επαναλειπτικότητα =επαναληπτικότητα

    3. Η ‘μετατροπία’ μου (inversion) δεν εφαρμόζεται σ’ αυτά που είπε ο Μαρξ - στην παρένθεση, του προηγούμενου σχολίου εννοώ ότι κι ο Μαρξ χρησιμοποίησε την τεχνική της μετατροπίας, γυρίζοντας ανάποδα την διαλεκτική του δάσκαλου του. Στην προκειμένη περίπτωση η ‘μετατροπία’ που χρησιμοποίησα (in jest, don’t take me too seriously) αφορά και εφαρμόζεται στο κείμενο που κριτικάρεις – το οποίο, σε συμφωνία με εσένα, θεωρώ ότι σπρώχνει την ιδέα της ‘επαναλαμβανόμενης πατέρνας απο επανάσταση σε επανάσταση’ βεβιασμένα. (a little too far…)

    4. Παραμένει ένα αιώνια ενδιαφέρον θέμα κατά πόσο ο Μαρξ θεωρεί ότι "αναποδογυρίζει" τον Χέγκελ, και κατά πόσο όντως τον αναποδογυρίζει. Σίγουρα, στα πρώιμα κείμενα, και ειδικά στην Κριτική της φιλοσοφίας του δικαίου, δίνει και παίρνει η φόρμουλα του αναποδογυρίσματος. Δυσκολότερο να κρίνεις κατά πόσο αυτό ισχύει στην Μπρυμαίρ ή, ακόμα περισσότερο, στο Κεφάλαιο...

    5. Όντως! Είναι ένα ζήτημα. Ο Μαρξ δεν αναποδογύρισε απόλυτα την διαλεκτική, έθεσε ένα υλιστικό αξίωμα το οποίο ανέτρεψε, αν όχι ολοκληρωτικά τον ιδεαλισμό του Χέγκελ (γιατί ο Χέγκελ δεν φαίνεται να είναι «ολοκληρωτικά ιδεαλιστής»), τουλάχιστον αυτο που κατά μια ανάγνωση του θεωρήθηκε ιδεαλισμός του.

      Σχετικά με τις εξελεγκτικές πατέρνες, η άρνηση της ύπαρξης τους θα ήταν τυφλότητα. Αυτο για το οποίο διατηρώ ένα σκεπτικισμό είναι όχι τόσο η επανάληψη της πατέρνας αλλά η «πίστη» στην περιοδικότητα με την οποία μπορεί να εμφανίζεται η επανάληψη. Λ.χ. το «κάθε δέκα χρόνια» κρίση τείνει να αναιρείται απο την πραγματικότητα. Ιδιαίτερα τα τελευταία χρόνια βλέπουμε το φαινόμενο της οικονομικής κρίσης μέσα σε κρίση, και την σχεδόν διαδοχική επανάληψη της κρίσης (χωρίς ανάκαμψη), ή τουλάχιστον μικρές ανακάμψεις και αναζωπυρώσεις της κρίσης πριν το ξεπέρασμα της, κι όλα αυτά χωρίς να ανταποκρίνονται στην προσδοκία να ανοίγει και να κλείνει ο κύκλος ανά κάθε δέκα περίπου χρόνια. Ζούμε σε μια ενδιαφέρουσα φάση της εξέλιξης του συστήματος, για το οποίο ένα πράγμα είναι σίγουρο: ότι δεν παει καλά...

    6. Η περιοδικότητα των κρίσεων συσσώρευσης και οι επιπλοκές που μπορεί να πυροδοτήσουν κρίσεις μέσα σε κρίσεις, να βαθύνουν την κρίση συγκεντρώνοντας κρίσεις σε πολλαπλά οικονομικά επίπεδα δεν αναιρούν το ένα το άλλο.

      Για την περιοδικότητα: homepages.warwick.ac.uk/~syrbe/mst/Crisisbook.doc

    7. http://www.joshuagoldstein.com/jgcyc03.pdf

      Το καλύτερο για μένα είναι ότι αν ισχύει η θεωρία Karatani, η επανάσταση αποκλείεται να είναι "τύπου Β" (1968) και μπορεί να είναι μόνο "τύπου Α" (1917) :-)

      Το άσχημο είναι βέβαια ότι η τύπου Α προϋποθέτει πόλεμο...

  3. "the polarization between “agency” and “structure” effectively mirrors a polarization between the working class itself and the new, largely academically centered social movements of the late sixties, so that to privilege “structure” over “agency” and “discontinuity” or “rupture” over continuity and “experience” was also in effect to displace the working class itself as a social subject adequate to the tasks of a “revolution to come”, a revolution of which nothing could be known but its mystical and quasi-messianic novelty, its complete detachment from the structure of repetition that had theretofore both engendered and limited all preceding revolutionary innovation. It is obviously impossible to provide extensive evidence of the saturation of the contemporary “common sense” of the academic Left by reified and undialectical futurology in any systematic manner"

    Very well put :-)


  4. Πολυ τσουχτερη κριτικη για την αριστερη ακαδημαικη διανοηση.Τους λες καταμουτρα οτι το εμπορευμα που πουλανε ειναι σαπιο,οτι καλα καλα δεν εχουν εντρυφησει στις βασικες αρχες του Μαρξισμου-υποτιθεται τον γνωριζουν σε τετοιο βαθος ωστε τον εχουν "εκσυγχρονισει"για να ανταποκρινεται στις σημερινες συνθηκες.Θα μπορουσε η κριτικη σου να τιτλοφορειται"η ανατροπη του μαρξισμου απο τον κυριο Ζιζεκ και την ευρωπαικη αριστερη διανοηση"

    Πολυ καλο αρθρο


  5. @Aντώνης

    ''Αιώνια'' απορία μου: πιστεύεις ότι η επαναληπτικότητα της δομής για την οποία κάνεις λόγο, αφορά την κεφαλαιοκρατία ειδικά, ή την ιστορία από τη σκοπιά των κρατικών/ταξικών κοινωνιών (από τη σκοπιά της επαναληπτικότητας δηλαδή του Κράτους); Η δέσμευση βέβαια είναι μεγάλη αν απαντήσει κανείς το δεύτερο.

    Ωραίο κείμενο.


    1. Ο ισχυρισμός Karatani είναι ότι αφορά τόσο τις κρίσεις συσσώρευσης όσο και το πέρασμα από "φιλελεύθερες" σε "ιμπεριαλιστικές" φάσεις επέκτασης. Κατά συνέπεια, τόσο την οικονομία όσο και το κράτος στην νεωτερική/καπιταλιστική εποχή.

  6. Να το αφήσω εδώ; Το ανέκδοτο τής ημέρας:


    1. όπα σύντροφε βοήθα, γιατί εκτός των 7 έχουμε και τους 777 "κατασκευαστές πλυντηρίων" που πιπιλίζουν τα μικροαστικά μυαλά για την καπιταλιστική κυβέρνηση της αριστεράς καθημερινά. Στη βάση κι εκτός διανόησης, αυτά δεν είναι καθόλου ανέκδοτα, αλλά σοβαρά ζητήματα.

  7. Ζωοφιλική συνιστώσα θα αποκτήσει ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ; Πότε θα κάνει ξαστεριά για τους καταπιεσμένους ζωόφιλους και τους συντρόφους τους;


    1. Αυτοί που θέλουν να έχουν τέτοια σχέση με τα ζώα δεν είναι φιλόζωοι. Οι φιλόζωοι να προσεγγίσουν το ταξικό κίνημα, και ξαστεριά στο σοσιαλισμό!

  8. Ο Σλαβόδις ενθουσιώδης αναγνώστης των Κοάν στο leninreloaded:


    1. "In this lecture Slavoj Žižek discusses Badiou's conception of the Event and supernumerary element, the universality of truth, the paradox of inactivity, the temporality of analysis, American ideology, the problem of bodhisattva, politics of sacrifice and the gap between ethics and enlightenment in relationship to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Ayn Rand, Jean Pierre Dupuy, Alain Badiou, Karl Marx, Jacques-Alain Miller, Jacques Lacan, George Orwell, Theodor Adorno and Adam Kotsko focusing on retroactivity, the symptomal point, freedom of choice, capitalism, Stalinism, the Dali Lama, suffering, reincarnation, nirvana and Mahayana."

      Ο Χριστός κι η Παναγία.

  9. Αχ Σλαβόι... Δοκίμασα να τον ακούσω λίγο (για να ρίξω κάνα γέλιο) αλλά ρούφαγε την ρέουσα μύτη του και την σκούπιζε τόσο συχνά με τα δάχτυλα του που δεν μπορούσα ν’ ακούσω τι μαλακίες έλεγε , και σταμάτησα…
    Γεγονός. Δεν καλαμπουρίζω - δες το με τα μάτια σου (αν έχεις λίγο χρόνο για σκότωμα – but be warned: it’s not even entertainment) -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwm_dR-XMSY

    1. Πήγαινε περίπου στο 0:50, όλα τα λεφτά. Ζίζεκ για «Σταλινισμό», η σχολή τής Φρανκφούρτης δεν ήταν αρκετά αντισταλινική ... και ... Βουδισμός, αγνωστικιστικός υλισμός ... μετενσάρκωση,[1] Μαχαγιάνα, γραφειοκρατία η μόνη μας επαφή με το θείο ... Κάφκα ... οι δύο Νταλάι Λάμας ... το όνειρο τής ζωής του Ζίζεκ [;] ... Χιναγιάνα ... Μπόντισατβα ... ο λόγος ύπαρξης και δικαιολόγησης τής γραφειοκρατίας ... μην σταματάς σε λίγο έρχεται ... το Ζεν 1:08 ... Ζεν Ζεν Ζεν .... Νιρβάνα ... σμελς λάικ τιν σπίριτ ... Μάο ... αντίφαση εντός των κόλπων τού λαού και αντίφαση με τους εχθρούς τού λαού ... Ντελέζ ... πρότυπο θυσίας[2] ... Κότσκο ... Χόμερ Σίμπσον και χειραφέτηση ... καλό κουράγιο ...

      [1] μύθο του Ηρός [Πολιτεία]
      [2] http://leninreloaded.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/alain-badiou-19112008.html ---> Ανθρώπινης Μοίρας τού Μαλρό

    2. Το αγαπημένο μου σημείο ήταν η ανάλυση της θεωρίας του ιστορικού υλισμού στον Στάλιν ως κυνικής επιλογής αυτού που αναμένω βάσει στυγνών υπολογισμών να κερδίσει την πολιτική κούρσα.

      Πολύ ωραία αυτοπροσωπογραφία του Ζίζεκ για τον ωμό κυνισμό που επέδειξε αβαντάροντας οτιδήποτε "πουλάει."

    3. Ρε δεν παίζει, παίρνει κόκες αυτός σίγουρα. Πάντως το φαινόμενο Ζίζεκ δεν πρέπει να υποτιμηθεί. Ο άνθρωπος αυτός έχει σίγουρα πολλές γνώσεις και αμφιβάλλω αν η σκέψη του βρίσκεται σε όση συγχυση φαίνεται οτι βρίσκεται. Έχει χαρακτηριστεί ακαδημαϊκός ροκ σταρ και νομίζω σωστά. Οι ροκ σταρζ (όχι οι ροκ καλλιτέχνες) είναι/ήταν γενικώς άτομα που τα ενδιαφέρει η προσωπική τους προβολή, τρέφονται απο την προσοχή του κοινού, θέλουν να προκαλούν και γενικά παράγουν ένα έργο χαμηλής ποιότητας χωρίς να είναι απαραίτητα ατάλαντοι. Ο Ζίζεκ λοιπόν είναι μάλλον πουλημένος α λα καρτ αριστεροδιανοούμενος παρά χαζός και αυτόν μάλλον τον κάνει πιο επικίνδυνο. Αντιπροσωπευτικό δειγμα του που μπορεί να καταντήσει η προοδευτική διανόηση χωρίς κομμουνιστική προοπτική.

    4. Για κόκα τον κόβω κι εγώ. Πολλές γνώσεις έχουν κι αυτοί που κερδίζουν σιδερώστρες, πλυντήρια και ταξίδια στη Χαβάη σε τηλεπαιχνίδια, αλλά δεν τους λέμε "ακαδημαϊκούς ροκ σταρ."

    5. Αυτοι που κερδίζουν ταξίδια στη Χαβάη κλπ δεν ειναι ακαδημαϊκοί, ούτε παίρνουν visiting θέσεις σε Ivy League πανεπιστήμια. Μην είσαι εμπαθής Αντώνη, ο άνθρωπος είναι απατεώνας και τσαρλατάνος, αλλά ούτε ανίδεος ούτε χαζός είναι. Κοροιδεύει τον κόσμο και ο κόσμος που έχει συμφέρον να κοροιδεύεται τον βλέπει σα θεό. Τώρα, η αστική διανόηση που δεν προσποιείται οτι είναι αντισυστημική και αριστερούτσικη και δεν εχει κανένα πρόβλημα να πει οτι αγαπά τον καπιταλισμό δικαίως τον θεωρεί αδιαφορο γιατί δεν έχει τίποτα να της προσφέρει.

    6. Η συντριπτική πλειοψηφία της σημερινής διανόησης είναι του είδους που περιγράφεις, αλλά ο άνθρωπος είναι ολοκληρωτικά ανίκανος στοιχειώδους ειρμού, ενώ φάσκει και αντιφάσκει σε κάθε πρόταση.

      Σόρι λοιπόν, αλλά γιατί είμαι εμπαθής; Είπα ποτέ ότι ο Μπαλιμπάρ είναι βλάκας; Ή ο Νέγκρι; Τι ακριβώς λογίζεις εσύ ως εξυπνάδα στον Ζίζεκ; Ότι λέει ωραία ανέκδοτα;

    7. Γι'αυτό και η συντριπτική πλειοψηφία της σημερινής διανόησης, της ακαδημαϊκής τουλάχιστον, δεν του δίνει σημασία. Δηλαδή σοβάρα φαντάζεσαι τον Ζίζεκ προσκεκλημένο σε συνέδρειο κάποιου Αγγλοσαξωνικού τμήματος φιλοσοφίας της αναλυτικής παράδοσης; Τι να τους πει δηλαδή; Για το πως ο Χιτσκοκ και ο Λακάν μπορούν να ανανεώσουν τη σκέψη του Ρωλς; Εδώ το τμήμα φιλοσοφίας του Cambridge ξεσηκώθηκε όταν το εν λόγω ίδρυμα έδωσε τιμητικό τίτλο στον Ντεριντά. Ο Ζίζεκ πηγαινοέρχεται απο δω και απο κει δίνοντας διαλέξεις σε διάφορα τμήματα κοινωνικών επιστημών στα οποία κατοικούν διάφοροι προοδευτικούτσικοι αριστεροί λιγουλάκι ακαδημαικοι οι οποίοι θέλουν μεν να κάνουν κριτική στον καπιταλισμό αλλά δεν θέλουν βρε παιδί μου να γίνουν και κομμουνιστές οι άνθρωποι. Τους προσφέρει λοιπόν την κατάλληλη ιδεολογική σούπα για μπορούν να θεωρούν τους εαυτούς τους αντι και critical ναουμ αλλά να μην είναι και με τους εργάτες γιατι τους βρωμαν τα χνώτα τους. Ο Ζίζεκ ξερνάει κάθε χρόνο ένα βιβλίο αλλά δεν τον έχω δει να εκδίδει κανα άρθρο σε ακαδημαικό περιοδικό. Αυτό που λέω λοιπόν ειναι οτι ο Ζίζεκ είναι διανοουμενίσκος-έμπορας, όχι επαγγελματίας φιλόσοφος. Ως τέτοιος είναι μια χαρα επιτυχημένος και συνεπέστατος στις επιλογές του. Έχει βρει ένα κοινό (αριστεροί λιγουλάκι) και τους πουλάει ενα προιόν (μπουρδοιδεολογία που δικαιολογεί την ύπαρξη τους). Το να τον κρίνεις ως φιλόσοφο και όχι ως πραματευτή είναι λάθος κατά την ταπεινή μου άποψη. Αυτό θέλω να πω, τίποτα παραπάνω.

    8. Έχω επανελειμμένα πει ότι ο Ζιζεκ ΔΕΝ είναι φιλόσοφος και ότι είναι τρελό να συγκρίνεται με τον Μπαντιού, που ΕΙΝΑΙ φιλόσοφος.

      Ο Ντεριντά το ριξε αρκετά στην τρελή μετά το 90, αλλά κανείς δεν μπορεί να αρνηθεί ότι έγραψε βιβλία φιλοσοφίας -- ότι, πχ, το Λόγος και Φαινόμενα ή τα βιβλία του για τον Χούσερλ, ή το Περί γραμματολογίας είναι βιβλία φιλοσόφου.

  10. Ε τοτε το οτι φασκει και αντιφασκει και παρολα αυτα καταφερνει να πουλαει το προιον του σημαινει οτι μαλλον ξερει πολυ καλα τι κανει και δεν βρισκεται σε συγχυση. Τεσπα δε διαφωνουμε σε κατι ουσιωδες οποτε ειναι ψηλοανουσια η συζητηση. Αυτο που με απασχολει ισως ειναι το κατα ποσο ο τσαρλατανισμος του ζιζεκ εχει αντικειμενικες καταβολες στο μεταμοντερνισμο και την continental φιλοσοφια η ειναι καθαρα υποκειμενικος, δικος του δηλαδη.

    1. Σε ένα βαθμό έχει αντικειμενικό χαρακτήρα, τα υπόλοιπα οφείλονται σε χρήση ουσιών + κουτοπονηριά + πολύ τηλεόραση από τους αναγνώστες του.