Thursday, August 07, 2008

"On The Murder Mile"

"Mention brutal suppression of Chinese workers’ labour rights, appalling working conditions, detention without charge, the absence of an independent judiciary, absence of freedom of assembly, hastily expedited death sentences which feed the organ transplant market … and the occupation of so-called ‘autonomous’ regions such as Tibet, and opponents will focus on Tibet to the exclusion of all other charges. Essentially, the contention is that if one opposes the Chinese military industrial complex’s occupation of Tibet (and let’s not talk about any of those other things you mentioned), then one must necessarily favour restoration of a Lamaist theocracy — as if the only alternatives are dictatorship … or dictatorship. Any criticism of the Chinese dictatorship is part of a ‘racist’ ‘culture war’ and a conscious attempt to strengthen the hand of American imperialism. And besides, Beijing rescued Tibetans from feudalism and slavery — from themselves. In other words, Tibetans are children and cannot be relied upon not to enslave themselves, as any return to self-government must entail. Poor little Tibetans, can’t govern themselves. Just who are the racists here?"

- from the Journal of the Internationalist Workers' Tendency.

I've posted it to demonstrate that there really is original, critical thinking arising from what we used to call the Marxist Left (as distinguished from the Pseudo-Left) and it's resulting in ideas with which you can actually engage, either in dispute or agreement. As with the anti-dogmatic IWT, the same can be said about the Alliance for Workers Liberty, and as mentioned only yesterday, Platypus.

They are not "degenerates," and they have not "turned into monkeys":

But seriously. . . here's Slavoj Zizek on Marxism & The World Stage (first of four):


Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...


Are you still besotted with this person? Can you, or anyone, please explain to me how he managed to create an analogy between leftists defending Saddam in 2003 and decent Germans trying to defend Jews in 1939? Is he for serious?

I get the idea that he wants to say that for the critic of American Imperialism, the question of innocence or guilt should not be relevant.

I didn't quite understand the little story about the jealous husband. Surely there is a difference between a husband being jealous while his wife is completely innocent and faithful, in which case the jealousy is indeed a pathology, and a husband being jealous because his wife is actually sleeping around. How can this distinction, between a real thing and an imagined grievance, not matter to the way we regard the husband’s jealousy? I'm not sure I understand what it is he asking of his audience.

I believe Slavoj’s specialty is in deconstructing movie plots in Lacanesque psychoanalytical terms (I could be wrong there, didn’t check). If so, I am thinking that he seems to regard real life situations, wars, conflicts between peoples and countries, not as histories but as stories to be played with. He is a self-indulgent, overgrown child and he is not even cute at that.

And that jealous husband bit.. I wonder...

6:44 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"Is he for serious?"

I would say yes, very much so, if in a bit of a crazy way, which brilliant people tend to be. I would also observe that it is almost impossible to cite or paraphrase or quote Zizek without losing the context entirely.

The other thing I like about Zizek is that he's not interested in providing answers, but rather in forcing us to reconsider our questions, and is less interested in asserting arguments than in forcing reappraisals of assumptions. This is so positively refreshing. I learn stuff reading Zizek, even if I might disagree or misunderstand his points from time to time.

It seems to me you may have answered your own opening question:
". . . for the critic of American Imperialism, the question of innocence or guilt should not be relevant."

I highly recommend his lecture "The Euthanasia of Tolerant Reason," which is on Youtube. Rambling all over the place, but there's a thread that runs through it.

6:57 PM  

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