21st-century communism II

Recently, I linked to a criticism of the new wave of communist thinkers. Since then, I’ve come across two other articles on this topic: a critique of Slavoj Zizek’s work and an argument that the communist wave is presenting a real alternative to neoliberalism. That someone would seriously think that communism deserves another shot is disturbing (to say the least), but the second article is informative for its survey of current communist thought.


One comment

  1. I gave up on Gray’s critique given Žižek’s distance from my own semantics and principles, which is always a bit disturbing to me, but I skimmed and skipped around and was pleased to find that I’m not alone in concluding that Žižek’s underlying basis is formed of strawmen, nonsense, and worse.

    John Gray wrote: “But to criticize Žižek for neglecting these facts is to misunderstand his intent, for unlike Marx he does not aim to ground his theorizing in a reading of history that is based in facts.”

    John Gray ended: “Achieving a deceptive substance by endlessly reiterating an essentially empty vision, Žižek’s work—nicely illustrating the principles of paraconsistent logic—amounts in the end to less than nothing.”

    I’d imagine that Žižek is entertaining and perhaps even insightful in some particulars, since that could explain his popularity.

    Al Jazeera’s articles are slightly more coherent, but all the nonstate, decentralization references seem like code words I don’t understand. It all reminds me of OWS: very passionate about injustices while misunderstanding the situation and having no real solutions.

    I somehow doubt that revolution is feasible on this incoherent basis, at least in the US at this time. But the new communists’ explicit embrace of democracy and focus on destroying capitalism suggests that their mechanism will be a democratic or bureaucratic tyranny, which I believe is a very real threat.

    They are actually doing us a tremendous favor by retaining and building off of historical nomenclature. They would probably be more effective if they divorced themselves from it, since it is easier to suspend disbelief with the unknown.

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