Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 20, 2011

Marxist contrarians on the British riots

Filed under: economics,philosophy,Zizek — louisproyect @ 5:59 pm

Joel Kotkin is a contributor to Forbes Magazine, the “capitalist tool” publication founded by the late Malcolm Forbes and now run by his glassy-eyed libertarian son Steve. On his blog there, Kotkin advises in an article titled The U.K. Riots And The Coming Global Class War that both right and left “ideologues” get the British riots wrong:

What’s the lesson to be drawn?  The ideologues don’t seem to have the answers. A crackdown on criminals — the favored response of the British right — is necessary but does not address the fundamental problems of joblessness and devalued work. Similarly the left’s favorite panacea, a revival of the welfare state, fails to address the central problem of shrinking opportunities for social advancement.

You could struggle in vain to find any ideas in Kotkin’s article about how to expand “opportunities for social advancement” even though it concludes with the warning that “If capitalism cannot do that [expand opportunities] expect more outbreaks of violence and greater levels of political alienation — not only in Britain but across most of the world’s leading countries, including the U.S.”

The article exudes a sense that a return to the “good old days” when the bourgeoisie was more ambitious and entrepreneurial could solve the problem. Back in the earlier decades of the 20th century, “working class youths could look forward to jobs in Britain’s vibrant industrial economy and, later, in the growing public sector largely financed by both the earnings of the City of London and credit.” Of course, Britain has about the same prospects in becoming a “vibrant industrial economy” as I do in getting into a pair of trousers with a 31-inch waistband. We have both seen our better days. (I am working on a 33-inch size.)

Kotkin cites an erstwhile Marxmail subscriber as a guide to what might be needed:

As British historian James Heartfield has suggested, the rioters reflected a broader breakdown in “the British social system,” particularly in “the system of work and reward.”

My guess is that this probably the first time this year and maybe the decade that a self-described Marxist has gotten a tip of the hat in Steve Forbes’s magazine. Given the placement of the ad for Wells Fargo (“Learn more about how The Private Bank can help you”) just to the right of the link to Heartfield’s article that appears on Kotkin’s New Geography website, you get a sense of the cognitive dissonance at work.

Well, maybe not so dissonant after all. To start with, Heartfield’s article is titled “Britain Needs a Better Way to Get Rich Than Looting”. Maybe I am old-fashioned or something but the notion that “Britain” needs to get rich seems awfully devoid of class distinctions.  It is no accident that Kotkin has an affinity with one of Spiked online’s few remaining Marxists since he shares Heartfield’s love affair with suburbia. The Wiki on Kotkin states that he “believes in a ‘back to basics’ approach which stresses nurturing the middle class and families with traditional suburban development. “ For his part, Heartfield is as enamored of suburbia as Robert Moses. Just look at what he says on the website for his book “Let’s Build!”:

This book explains why Britain stopped building homes for its citizens to live in. For too long government policy has been in the grip of officials who want to stop new building.

Let’s Build! explains why all the reasons for not building new homes – the scare stories about the environment, about suburbia, about social cohesion – are just excuses.

Turning to the article itself, Heartfield took good care not to say anything that might offend Joel Kotkin. Writing for an editor who works for Forbes is obviously a lot different than writing for Jacobin or Metamute. Of course, if it were up to me I’d never bother dealing with the Joel Kotkins of the world.

Turning to the question of police brutality, Heartfield has a rather unique perspective on the cops: “Nobody would want to see the return of the old authoritarian policing, but the cadre that replaced them have lacked a guiding esprit de corps.” I confess that words escape me on this one. One cannot imagine Lenin ever fretting over the Czarist constabulary’s loss of a “guiding esprit de corps” but then again Lenin is just so passé.

Heartfield also mourns the disappearance of a respect for authority:

Lower down the scale teachers, parents and youth leaders have seen their authority undermined by a culture that disparages discipline, and sees “abuse” everywhere. Teachers’ unions have pointed out that changes in the law mean that a substantial minority are being investigated for allegations of abuse made by students at any time, meaning that they are reluctant to uphold discipline in the classroom. At the same time, teachers and social workers challenge parental discipline at every opportunity.

One does have to wonder how Frank Furedi maintains discipline in his own Spiked online ranks. If a member ever decided to write an article about the dangers of DDT, would they get a caning? Now we do know how that practice did have a certain frisson among private school boys…

When it comes to returning to the good old days, when happy workers went off to the coal mines or steel mills each day with a lunch bucket filled with ham sandwiches and a thermos bottle of steaming hot tea, Heartfield feels that recent methods such as these of getting rich have to be abandoned.

  • Susan Boyle grabbed the public’s affection on a TV talent show and made £10 million.
  • Geordie singer turned X-factor judge Cheryl Cole became Britain’s highest paid TV star.
  • City chiefs like Barclays Bob Diamond and HSBC’s Bob Duggan were awarded bonuses of £6.5 and £9 million last year, from funds boosted by the government’s £200 billion quantitative easing policy.

Ah, we should have realized all along. The collapse of the British coal, auto, steel and shipbuilding industries had nothing to do with global competition but rather the waywardness of those who preferred to make their millions singing show tunes and the like. Time to sell your Marxist literature on amazon.com, I’d gather.

Turning from the ridiculous to the ridiculouser, there’s Slavoj Zizek’s (who were you expecting, Mike Davis?) latest think piece on the London Review titled “Shoplifters of the World Unite”.  It provides stiff competition with Heartfield’s “Britain Needs a Better Way to Get Rich Than Looting” as contrarian title of the year. When Marxists harp on rioters shoplifting or why Britain needs to work on “getting rich”, one wonders whether they are interested in changing peoples’ minds or rather getting them to say things like “Can you believe what Zizek just wrote in the London Review?” In the U.S. we call such people shock jocks. Whether Marxism has any need of their talents is an open question.

Zizek’s article is filled with philosophical babble like this:

This is why it is difficult to conceive of the UK rioters in Marxist terms, as an instance of the emergence of the revolutionary subject; they fit much better the Hegelian notion of the ‘rabble’, those outside organised social space, who can express their discontent only through ‘irrational’ outbursts of destructive violence – what Hegel called ‘abstract negativity’.

Is this the same Hegel who believed that the Prussian state was the culmination of the historical dialectic? No wonder.

When you read Zizek’s analysis, you have to wonder if he hasn’t been listening to Rush Limbaugh:

The protesters, though underprivileged and de facto socially excluded, weren’t living on the edge of starvation. People in much worse material straits, let alone conditions of physical and ideological oppression, have been able to organise themselves into political forces with clear agendas. The fact that the rioters have no programme is therefore itself a fact to be interpreted: it tells us a great deal about our ideological-political predicament and about the kind of society we inhabit, a society which celebrates choice but in which the only available alternative to enforced democratic consensus is a blind acting out.

Well, clearly these rioters have to stop stealing clothing or television sets and carve out the time to read Zizek’s latest article on communism. That will resolve their “ideological-political predicament” once they figure out what he is trying to say.

Like Kotkin and Heartfield, Zizek blames the welfare state on the erosion of the public morale that would lead to such wanton acts of destruction:

Meanwhile leftist liberals, no less predictably, stuck to their mantra about social programmes and integration initiatives, the neglect of which has deprived second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects: violent outbursts are the only means they have to articulate their dissatisfaction.

The rest of the article continues in this flatulent direction and is not worth commenting on, especially since I am anxious to take a run in Central Park and work on getting that 34 inch waist down to a 33.

Bye for now,

The Unrepentant Marxist

87 Comments

  1. I know taking Zzk seriously gives him way too much credit. But for the moment ignoring that his writings are nothing but the self-packagingof an image-commodit, how can anyone believe he’s a Marxist when he serves up moralizing instead of materialist analysis.

    Comment by Chuckie K — August 20, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  2. Yeah, we had types like that who emerged from the Marxist Left in the US, “scientific” ideologues like Lyndon LaRouche who interspersed psuedo-orthodox marxist mumbo jumbo about Marx and Hegel with racist descriptions of ghetto youth as “zombies” and “jungle bunnies”.

    Comment by Tom Cod — August 20, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  3. The more i read Zizek on current affairs, the more i lose interest, look at the stuff he writes/says on immigration in Europe. Let the liberals have him.

    Comment by Antonis — August 20, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

  4. Zizek is the Susan Boyle of political commentary.

    Comment by Sandwichman — August 20, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  5. It’s difficult living in America, a country viewed by others as a land where dreams are made of, when there are no jobs and the economy has significantly worsened.

    I feel like a peasant living in a county of wealth (Fairfield County Connecticut).

    There many poor people here too. My point is that there is no future for many Americans nationwide today.

    If these are the same reasons why they are rioting in the UK, I support it and it’s a matter of time before it happens here.

    The lower social class people are tired of having nothing, no future and no hope of it getting better.

    And the frustration of watching the ruling class have it all and the government gives them bonuses and support.

    I am sick and tired of the capitalist system feeding the rich and their wealth and leaving the rest of us in the cold.

    It’s a system without any moral or ethics, just greed.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 20, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

  6. I agree with much of the annoyance about Zizek’s style, but I don’t understand why it’s okay to expect less self-respect from victims of oppression. Do you think ‘acting out’ is the best that people can do? If you are thinking like organizers then you hold high expectations of those with whom you will need to ally. Otherwise you have given up on the humanity of people who have been victimized by oppression. Are you looking for opportunities to organize in the communities where the looting is happening? Do you know that the first thing successful organizers in such communities do is teach meditation and provide loving childcare at meetings where the first order of business is: What needs to happen in this community to improve our quality of life and what first step can I make towards building the organization that will be necessary to begin the process of change. Also: Are you aware of the high correlation between wife and child abuse and the level of loss of self-respect that goes hand in hand with looting? Or are the children in these families of no interest to you, except as examples of the system’s victims? It’s easy to take potshots at others, but I don’t hear the thinking of progressive organizers on this list. Barbara

    Comment by Barbara Regenspan — August 20, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  7. Really enjoyed this article, your right on the money here!

    Comment by SGuy — August 21, 2011 @ 2:23 am

  8. The assumption that Zizek and other petit-bourgeois “Marxist” pundits make is that “civilization” must be saved at all costs, by which they mean bourgeois propriety. I suppose that is also behind the Euston Manifesto-style leftists: the assumption that neo-liberal bourgeois democracy is not perfect, but at least it is the fairest game in town. Well, it isn’t for everyone: not for the unemployed, not for the people being killed in wars that U.S. imperialism caused, not for those who suffer in the ghettos and slums of the world. Dollars to donuts these people have full-time jobs, a full stomach, and get their paychecks from writing apologias for the system. They can’t see the barbarism that modern capitalism produces that makes burning a few cars and buildings a tea-time argument by comparison.

    It is also evident that Zizek doesn’t trust the masses, from which one wonders why he calls himself a Marxist. Why doesn’t he just revive Blanquism and be done with it?

    Comment by El Pelón — August 21, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  9. Don’t see why you’re trying to shoehorn Zizek in with Heartfield on this one; they’re hardly making the same points.

    “Zizek’s article is filled with philosophical babble”

    Try a dictionary, especially one with the entry “revolutionary subject.”

    I find it hard to believe that you really think “rioter = revolutionary”.

    “When you read Zizek’s analysis, you have to wonder if he hasn’t been listening to Rush Limbaugh”

    Why? Has Limbaugh wished that the rioters had been so organized and numerous that they’d have taken on the British government itself? Would he have pointed out that our official choices are such that, if we do anything else but accede to the diktats of bourgeois governments, we’re likely to be branded as “irrational”?

    “Like Kotkin and Heartfield, Zizek blames the welfare state on the erosion of the public morale that would lead to such wanton acts of destruction”

    Where on earth does he assert this?

    This must’ve been an off day: you’ve written _much_ better.

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 5:24 am

  10. El Pelón wrote:

    “the assumption that neo-liberal bourgeois democracy is not perfect, but at least it is the fairest game in town”

    And your assumption being that _anything else_ is preferable to it _at any time_?

    Don’t make me puke . . . .

    “Dollars to donuts these people have full-time jobs, a full stomach, and get their paychecks from writing apologias for the system.”

    Yes, how dare people have good jobs and full stomachs when others don’t: everyone should just be _poor_! That’ll show those rich bastards!

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 5:33 am

  11. Todd apparently has reading comprehension problem. But it’s no wonder, since bourgeois ideology makes you stupid.

    Comment by El Pelón — August 21, 2011 @ 5:58 am

  12. Do you think ultra left bilge can substitute for a serious critique?

    Comment by David Ellis — August 21, 2011 @ 10:15 am

  13. So what are your ideas to expand “opportunities for social advancement”?

    Comment by Cecilieaux Bois de Murier — August 21, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  14. My idea to expand opportunities for social advancement is to make the socialist revolution. Heartfield calls himself a Marxist but writes an article urging the British ruling class to function like characters in an Ayn Rand novel. Zizek is for “communism” but has absolutely nothing useful to say about the immediate tasks facing the working class. His article is filled with formulations that are found on rightwing talk radio shows–like the rioters not being that poor, etc. Ugh.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 21, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  15. El Pelota wrote:

    “Todd apparently has reading comprehension problem.”

    You got this:

    “The assumption that Zizek and other petit-bourgeois ‘Marxist’ pundits make is that ‘civilization’ must be saved at all costs”

    from what part of the article?

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  16. Ellis wrote:

    “Do you think ultra left bilge can substitute for a serious critique?”

    Zizek critiqued the rioters for being too conservative; how is that ultra-left or non-serious?

    Or are you one of these funny people who thinks riot = revolution?

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  17. Proyect wrote:

    “Zizek is for ‘communism’ but has absolutely nothing useful to say about the immediate tasks facing the working class.”

    There. See? A bit better.

    (Although I still don’t see how saying the rioters weren’t revolutionary enough is “nothing useful” [albeit it hardly being terribly surprising].)

    “His article is filled with formulations that are found on rightwing talk radio shows–like the rioters not being that poor, etc. Ugh.”

    Oh for the love of . . . !

    Here’s the quote (in context):

    “The protesters, though underprivileged and de facto socially excluded, weren’t living on the edge of starvation. People in much worse material straits, let alone conditions of physical and ideological oppression, have been able to organise themselves into political forces with clear agendas. The fact that the rioters have no programme is therefore itself a fact to be interpreted: it tells us a great deal about our ideological-political predicament and about the kind of society we inhabit, a society which celebrates choice but in which the only available alternative to enforced democratic consensus is a blind acting out.”

    Do you really think a right-wing talk-show host is going to use the riots to _attack_ the supposed “choices” we all have? I can hear them being loudly _grateful_ that poor people in Anglo-Saxon cultures are too _stupid_ to do anything but riot, a dark reflection of the critique Zizek wrote.

    You really want to take Zizek to task? Try reminding him that anything organized to the left of left-liberalism in Anglo-Saxon countries has been decimated since the 20s (pace to the propping up we got in WWII, but that was bound to disappear). That materialist enough for you?

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  18. Thanks a lot Todd.

    I put a lot of effort into formulating essentially the same points you have and was about to post when I went back to take another look at the comments only to see that you beat me to it. So I wasted my time.

    Seriously, you have hit the nail on the head. The writer of this blog seems to have an obsessional complex about Zizek, and commenters here in agreement with him conjure up some illusions about what he writes, seemingly personally offended that he doesn’t fit into their simplistic, dated left dogmatism.

    Comment by don — August 21, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  19. Zizek sounds like he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. You can’t have it both ways you’re either for the working class or you’re not.

    Right wingers like Limbaugh, Coulter and Beck don’t walk in our shoes so they have absolutely no right to judge when they have amassed great wealth by putting down the less fortunate and the ideologues who support them and the working class.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 21, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  20. don wrote:

    “their simplistic, dated left dogmatism.”

    Don’t be an ass or mistake me for one because we happen to agree on this minor point. I have little doubt that Lou and I have much more in common because of _our_ “simplistic, dated left dogmatism” as you so simplistically and dogmatically put it, than you and I have on anything else.

    Deborah wrote:

    “You can’t have it both ways you’re either for the working class or you’re not.”

    If you’d bothered reading your Marx, you’d have known that the working class is _the best logical chance_ for the world to see the end of class society; that doesn’t translate into “the working class is incapable of error”.

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  21. I do believe in a classless society where there is no rich class or poor class or priveleged or peasant nor am I better than you or you than me.

    I know my manifesto and it sits like a bible on my nightstand.

    I am for a utopian society so your perception of me is wrong.

    My message is the working class and the less fortunate are oppressed by the bourgeois ruling class.

    You can’t possibly believe that statement is untrue.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 21, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  22. I am for a society where everyone is equal.

    The way it is now, the privileged ruling class barely pay their fair share of taxes on their wealth.

    It is a class struggle. Do you think the ruling class is struggling? No we the working class proletarians are.

    The marxist movement is about a classless society because we are those who are most victimized by the separations of the social classes in society today.

    The bourgeois doesn’t want to see a classless society, that would mean they’d have to give up their wealth and be one of us.

    It’s our struggle, not theirs.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 21, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  23. Always nice, however rare, to find a simplistic left dogmatist admit to being one.

    Comment by don — August 21, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  24. Todd, you’re spitting into the wind here. When it comes to Zizek, many of the so-called orthodox Marxists have a knee jerk reaction. I had a very ugly exchange with a couple of them on this site a few weeks regarding a talk Zizek had given in Jerusalem. I find that people become dyslexic almost when they hate a certain intellectual. Zizek made the same point in the context of Paris riots. Louis says that Zizek has nothing to say about the tasks facing the working class today BUT that is exactly what Zizek has been saying in all his talks AND in this very article, that the Left is bereft of a program of action. But then who has this program? American Left, so used to defeat for the last 30 years? Here we are in the middle of a major crisis in capitalism and people of Wisconsin sent Republicans to the legislature with a majoiry? That is actually what Zizek is addressing in this very article. He calls it the material force of ideology. His major contribution has been the critique of ideology. Now if some one wants to address that, then do it, but silly youtube style comments like “Zizek is the Susan Boyle of…”. Come on, people, grow up.

    Comment by Mazdak — August 21, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

  25. You know someone is scraping the bottom of the barrel when they start accusing people of dogma. As if by virtue of bucking a status quo, any status quo that suddenly makes one right and the quo wrong.

    Comment by SGuy — August 21, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

  26. Mazdak wrote:

    “a talk Zizek had given in Jerusalem”

    That one I’m not so sure about (although I have yet to listen to it).

    Deborah, I’m happy you’ve read the Manifesto, but you have a lot more to go. Please keep reading.

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  27. “…I am anxious to take a run in Central Park and work on getting that 34 inch waist down to a 33.”

    Not sure if you were being sarcastic there but while were on the subject of central park i was wondering if you had any thoughts on the strike that’s going on at the boathouse restaurant there.

    http://dumpdean.com/news/details/2011-08-boycott-the-boathouse-flyer-advises-would-be-patrons

    The operator of the restaurant is a real asshole of a character named dean poll and this isn’t the first time he’s picked a fight with organized labor. When he won a bid by the city to operate another restaurant Tavern on the Green one of the conditions was that he keep at least 80% of the staff. Tavern was already a union shop that was being represented by the nyhtc so Poll had to negotiate a contract with them. The son of a bitch basically tried to break the union demanding ridiculous concessions, (specifically an end to the unions pension and healthcare plans.) and when the union wouldn’t budge he walked away from the bid, and Tavern closed.

    Comment by Michael — August 21, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

  28. Not many opportunities for social advancement in America right now.

    It used to be if you found yourself unemployed, you could go back to college and earn a degree and get a better job than you had before and be better off.

    Now you can still expect to be unemployed as there are many people with advanced degrees that have been unemployed long term.

    So much for pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 21, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  29. Z in quotes, my rants follow
    “the suspicious shooting of Mark Duggan” – I’d call it murder
    “the UK rioters had no message to deliver” – its remarkable how any rioting, that contained some elements of looting and assaults on innocents, but happened over 20 years ago had a clear message, but now uprisings of the dispossessed are post ideological. Most London rioters spent most of their time chucking things at the police.
    “deprived second and third-generation immigrants” – most rioters where white, some maybe the grandchildren of immigrants but most aren’t. Any working class Londoner could tell you that but Z seems remarkably like the reactionary Starkey, blame it on the blacks. In the past Z has shown a distinct antipathy to Gypsies his prejudices seem to be expanding. Maybe he’s ditched his old au pair and has the housework done by an EDL member who supplies him with insights?
    “One of the forms this reaction took was the ‘tribal’ activity of the local (Turkish, Caribbean, Sikh) communities which quickly organised their own vigilante units to protect their property”. So let’s leave aside the word tribal. So all Sikhs and Turks are small shopkeepers, crazy stereotyping, he should get out more. Some are small shop keepers do they represent all of their “community”? Is there anything at all Marxist about this clown’s thinking. Depending where you were you would have found rioters whose family origins were Turkish of Sikh. I’m interested in the fact that he uses Caribbean in this section, is this the only tribe with class differences in it? Later he comes back to this he seems to think that small businessmen are as underprivileged as unemployed kids or low wage workers are (probably more underprivileged are university profs).
    “the shops looted were not in rich neighbourhoods, but in the rioters’ own” how stupid is he, the point of the state is to stop us getting near the rich during disorders like this.
    “it is envy masked as triumphant carnival.” Ah that’s why someone stole a few bottle of water, and got a few months in jail for it, she was a consumer

    Harry

    Comment by Harry Monro — August 21, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  30. As a matter of fact, I just came back from a run. I noticed an older Chinese guy (even older than me) with his wife and what must have been their grandson in a carriage. He had a balloon with words about boycotting the boathouse on it. I will definitely look into this.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 21, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

  31. Doesn’t sound like there’s any marxist in his thinking at all Harry.

    Sounds like he graduated from Rush Limbaugh University.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 21, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

  32. Zizek’s latest pile of doo-doo – apart from being filled with lies as usual – is just reassuring soft-soap for his fanbase. From his fan club, I’m still waiting to hear examples of these amazing ‘insights’ into ideology or whatever. Zizek ‘speaks’ to a petty bougie audience (or wannabe p.b.). Those reluctant to feel any affinity or solidarity with any class whatsoever – because they feel all ‘post-ideological’ or some other gibberish. Whether they’re socially inept PHD hacks, freelance graphic designers or skateboard salesmen. The type thoroughly infected with Clinton-era delusions of a hip, flexible economy with the Ipod playlist to match. The type who imagine themselves as some Nietszchian advancement from the values of their colleagues, teachers or families (revenge of the nerds). However, they’re very quick to realign their class interests when the poor actually raise their voices and disrupt the status quo. Then they can retreat into defending blood libel of Gypsies, Fox TV bullshit about ‘Islamism’ or infantilising rioters who have cheaper educations than themselves. Ironic that their own pseudy ignorance is a blindspot in their own class arrogance. Their heads are as much of a bubble as the economy that created them. They just haven’t realised their brains are bankrupt yet. Marxism’s just another brand to them. The sad part is that the young and curious are now looking to these (now-aging) Zizekian fools as the ‘way out’ of our current mess. Ditch the creep – if only for the sake of the children!

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 21, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

  33. Kasper wrote:

    “apart from being filled with lies as usual”

    Really? Like what?

    Comment by Todd — August 21, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  34. Please remove me from this list.

    Comment by Barbara Regenspan — August 21, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

  35. Todd –

    “The rioters’ violence was almost exclusively directed against their own.”
    – ‘Their own’ being stores owned by multi-millionaires, aggressive gentrifiers happy to dismiss poorer neighbours as ‘scum’, and of course those lovely policemen who just happen to stop and search said ‘scum’ at every given opportunity (ie. constantly) when not murdering them, lying about it, and then brutally attacking peaceful protesters shortly after.

    “It is impotent rage and despair masked as a display of force; it is envy masked as triumphant carnival.”
    – Apart from the way he sneaks in that quasi-racist dismissive term ‘carnival’ (nudge, nudge, wink wink – it’s a “black thing”), rage and despair wasn’t exactly ‘masked’ (?) it was clear and present for all to see. It wasn’t “envy” – anyone who actually bothered talking to rioters would have heard how clear they were regarding what it was they were fighting against: opresion from the police and an oligarchy currently making their lives even worse. I also see no ‘triumph’ in being jailed on an industrial scale, on average sentences 25% longer than is normal for the same crime.

    “We live in cynical times, and it’s easy to imagine a protester who, caught looting and burning a store and pressed for his reasons, would answer in the language used by social workers and sociologists, citing diminished social mobility, rising insecurity, the disintegration of paternal authority, the lack of maternal love in his early childhood.”
    – Right-wing straw man, concocted from Conservative op-eds currently inundating us with the usual crap about moral values, lack of parental responsibility and supposedly mollycoddling teachers and social workers that don’t teach kids anything except “victim culture”.

    “second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects: violent outbursts are the only means they have to articulate their dissatisfaction.”
    – The riots were multi-racial, and if measured on a national scale, mainly white. The initial protest wasn’t “the only means” they had to be “articulate” – it was highly articulate before being brutally suppressed by a police force refusing to give even basic answers to what they demanded to know. Even during greater unrest, rioters were quite clear about weo their ‘enemies’ were. Invoking “immigrants” is his usual racist bullshit of separating “Europeans’ from non-whites in the service of rendering the former more ‘civilised’ in expressing dissatisfactions. I doubt he bothered to check the racial demographics or family backgrounds of those involved, as he hardly bothers to check primary sources when he pontificates on widely-reported news events.

    “This is why it is difficult to conceive of the UK rioters in Marxist terms, as an instance of the emergence of the revolutionary subject; they fit much better the Hegelian notion of the ‘rabble’, those outside organised social space, who can express their discontent only through ‘irrational’ outbursts of destructive violence – what Hegel called ‘abstract negativity’.”
    – More right-wing crap – “rabble”??? If they’re “outside organised social space”, how does that account for constant police surveilance and harassment day in day out – to the pint of illegal state murder? Or indeed the families currently being evicted upon arrest of one member? Also, current talk of supressing social network sites gives lie to ‘disorganised’ – riots were arranged, timed and enacted in ways that the police found hard to keep up with as they were being enacted. For Zizek “organised” means white, educated and middle class.

    As for his comparison with Islamic terrorism – well, that serves his racist right-wing narrative well, with the usual tabloid-level op-ed demons. The savages with their “irrational” demands banging on the gates of Europe as “organised” white people spill their lattes in terror? Those “liberals” who have supposedly been worrying about the Caliphate hordes invading Europe for an entire decade. A sneaky, disgusting trick to make rioters appear foreign, alien and beyond the purity of “western civilization”. He takes away their language, their citizenship and after the rest of the Hegelian/Lacanian babble, their humanity. He did similar regarding the French riots – removing the initial protest from discussion, discussing it as the sub-civilsed babble of a infantile horde, and playing up the most disgusting Sarkozism’s to sell his equally inept and greasy agenda.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 22, 2011 @ 12:00 am

  36. Kasper:

    Point 1: “Since then, riots have spread to dozens of London towns and suburbs, as well as to other cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Gloucester. Most rioting is taking place in poor areas where there are pre-existing antagonisms between the police and young people.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2835178.html

    Point 2: Are you out of your fucking head? Since when is the word “carnival” even close to being racist?

    “rage and despair wasn’t exactly ‘masked’”

    Did that (impotent) rage and force get anything done that couldn’t have been done better (not to mention more safely)? That _was_ the point. Or do you just slaver at the thought of busting heads?

    Point 3: “Right-wing straw man, concocted from Conservative op-eds”

    Quite true, but that’s how _lots_ of people, including working-class types that you seem so eager to lionize, are thinking right now. It’s _extremely_ easy for that type of ammunition to be used.

    Point 4: You brainless codpiece! That’s Zizek paraphrasing what the _LIBERAL LEFT_ was saying! Jesus! Have IQs dropped sharply in the Marxist gene-pool?

    “Even during greater unrest, rioters were quite clear about weo their ‘enemies’ were.”

    So “riots = revolution” for you? Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me.

    Point 5: – “More right-wing crap – ‘rabble’???”

    So you _really_ think they’re revolutionaries?

    Point 6: “As for his comparison with Islamic terrorism – well, that serves his racist right-wing narrative well, with the usual tabloid-level op-ed demons.”

    “The riots should be situated in relation to another type of violence that the liberal majority today perceives as a threat to our way of life: terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. In both instances, violence and counter-violence are caught up in a vicious circle, each generating the forces it tries to combat. In both cases, we are dealing with blind passages à l’acte, in which violence is an implicit admission of impotence.”

    Where’s the racism in pointing out that the liberal majority go fucking bananas about terrorism and use it to justify all kinds of oppression?

    Or do you think that bourgeois terrorism is just hunky-dory?

    So no lies anywhere, just a shoddy (deliberate?) attempt to attack someone who dares rain on the parade of the Holy Working Class.

    The only liar I read around here is you (unless you simply want to own up to stupidity).

    Comment by Todd — August 22, 2011 @ 2:45 am

  37. Kasper, I really liked your commentary because you really captured the rioter’s plight and why they are doing it.

    I also agree about Zizek.

    He appears to me that Zizek falls into the imagined catagory of conservative or right wing marxist.

    And since the words conservative or right wing are the antithesis to marxism, why this man affiates himself to the cause is puzzling.

    I don’t know, I guess that makes us ultra orthodox marxists as some have said.

    That’s ok by me, I’ve been called worse.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 22, 2011 @ 2:49 am

  38. Good god. Kasper, you are shockingly dumb.

    ‘Those reluctant to feel any affinity or solidarity with any class whatsoever – because they feel all ‘post-ideological’ or some other gibberish. Whether they’re socially inept PHD hacks, freelance graphic designers or skateboard salesmen. The type thoroughly infected with Clinton-era delusions of a hip, flexible economy with the Ipod playlist to match.’

    l – o – fucking – l.

    Comment by adude — August 22, 2011 @ 4:54 am

  39. The reality is there is a class divide and a class conflict.

    This is not imaginary or an illusion created by some bored, unemployed and angry young people.

    And I wouldn’t say that we are classifying ourselves as the holy working class. We are the proletariat and they are the ruling bourgeois.

    Has anyone here who is pro Zizek ever heard of the Bolsheviks and 1917? Lenin. Ring a bell?

    It was the workers revolution.

    It is us against them because it’s our fight to be one classless society where we can be on an equal playing field and end their oppression of us for good.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 22, 2011 @ 5:22 am

  40. Deborah –

    On the money what Zizek is – he’s a pseudo Marxist, sold to people unwilling to let go of their right-wing instincts. Hence his racism, misogyny, Islamaphobia, anti-semitism – and now his class libels – can confirm the comfy bigotries of dripster hipsters who want to feel good about their status. They get the luxury of treating his junk as some daring thought experiment. They can can explain it away as some cheeky irony, or a deconstructive subversion of that moralising, humourless Left they heard about from Larry David sitcoms.

    Todd –

    Zizek doesn’t have to say n*gg*r to be racist (although he’s not averse to using that word for the amusement of audiences elsewhere). If you could read properly, you could see how he uses creepy racial innuendo at every turn (like marginalising the rioters as ‘2nd generation immigrants’ and then comparing them with terrorists). A nod and a wink to the kind hipster audience who try to be polite, but wish ‘they’ would just go way so their primo property could gain value. The rioters were no revolutionary vanguard, but “rabble”? Nah. Maybe on TV news, but big boys like yourself should understand why they might be presented that way. It’s very convenient to present active dissent as the wild instincts of a threatening ‘outside’. Living in England, the level of rioting outside London was wildly over-hyped, as was the “violence” (unless you consider windows to have human rights). These things tend to be for ideological/policy purposes. It’s clear he scans TV and the moral panic columnists, to gauge what ‘society’ is like, or from people who hang onto his every word anyway. Then he slaps some Hegelian hogwash on top, to sell it as subversive rad-theory. Like his crap about ‘riots’ generated by the Danish cartoons, as though a few dozen angry guys outside embassies presented some existential threat to “our way of life”, causing us to reconsider the white man’s burden. Then having the cheek to claim insight on the “Muslim mentality”. Or his big wheeze of pretending we have a ‘liberal majority’, with a permissive multiculturalism so hegemonic that it denies us our true impulses (I’m sure those cops currently smashing down thousands of poor people’s doors would agree).

    Apologies for assuming someone branding themselves as “Left” should attend to the interests of the working class, and not infantilise/dismiss them with a remote control and some guesswork (as you seem to do). That many, many others opine from this ‘evidence’ – whatever their class – doesn’t make it true. An awful lot of people believe the universe is 6000 years old. You’re obviously too much of a gullible jag-off* to realise Zizek always uses this trick – speaking through mainstream media sock-puppets, and then offering his own as an answer (his hands must be busy, being as textually flatulent as he is). Some of us are aware that socks with hands in ’em aren’t actual people. However, fools like yourself seem all too willing to piss down their socks, as soon as they get a whiff of Zizek’s barbaric hordes being less than servile.

    A-Dude –

    I’m sure skateboard sales will pick up when the next college semester kicks in. Until then, don’t have a cow, man. Sweet!

    (*Zizek’s target market – big moolah in that one)

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 22, 2011 @ 5:51 am

  41. Todd, read the thread on Zizek’s talk in Jerusalem and of course listen to him as well. Make up your own mind. My point was the dyslexic stupidity of the likes of W.Kasper. You won’t be able to talk sense to these guys. They’re birds of the same feather as Adam Kirchner who called Zizek an anti-semite by isolating segments and out of context quotations. Now Kirchner has an agenda; he is a Zionist propagandist but what is the deal with these guys? Now, note that I’m not saying Zizek is beyond criticism but the vulgarity of these attacks are pathetic. Just a waste of energy. Btw, what is all this crap about Zizek’s target market and all that garbage? last I checked he wasn’t writing for Vanity Fair or doing commentary for the CNN. Apparently unless you give talks to 20 like-minded people in a basement or get printed in a publication that nobody reads then you’re after money.

    Comment by Mazdak — August 22, 2011 @ 6:28 am

  42. Hey Nazdak (mispelling intentional) –

    Why not try defending your hairy millionaire hero, instead of shouting names at anyone not wearing the same t-shirt? C’mon give it a try – I await your challenging intellectual engagement with baited breath. Teach us some ‘sense’ by trying to construct an argument for a change. Or are you just gonna yell “suck my dick” and whinge to the other commentators like you did last time? What college dept does this methodology work in? Maybe I could get a fast-track PHD…

    BTW Zizek gives commentary on TV – in several countries – all the time. But going by your poo-poo of publications “nobody reads”, it seems celebrity is all the intellectual authority you need to accept his nonsense. Unlike us vulgarians who’ve actually read Zizek, and call bullshit on his bullshit. But maybe critical thinking is too much wasted energy these days.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to read this month’s Vanity Fair, without idiotic denouncements from vulgar Zizekians.

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 22, 2011 @ 7:19 am

  43. “Zizek doesn’t have to say n*gg*r to be racist (although he’s not averse to using that word for the amusement of audiences elsewhere).”

    Right. Since words in your little world mean whatever you want them to mean, I see where this is going.

    Kindly get pushed, Humpty.

    Comment by Todd — August 22, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  44. Zizek Claim: leftist liberals, no less predictably, stuck to their mantra about social programmes and integration initiatives.the neglect of which has deprived second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects

    Todd, Your Task: Cite a minimum of two leftist liberals recommending “integration initiatives” and who designated the rioters as second and third generation immigrants.

    The sentence is ambiguous (in a way very typiucal of zizek, so that a reader could even sort of fall between the readings) – It could be read as Zizek asserting

    – “left liberals recommended integration initiatives which I zizek believe the neglect of which has deprived second and third gen immigrants of…”

    or it could say

    – “left liberals recommended initiatives the neglect of which, they claim has deprived second and third generation immigrations”

    But the simultaneity of these possible readings opens up a space for a reader who wants the content asserted but disavowed – who wants innuendo and the “credit” of a critical posture toward what is insinuated – who wants just to have that idea out there, of the rioters as immigrants, know it is false, and yet attribute it to no subject, all at the same time.

    Above you insist it says that Zizek claims there exist left liberals who referred to the rioters as second and third generation immigrants. Because Zizek is making this claim about left liberals, you say,about what they claim about the rioters, not directly claiming this about the rioters (a perfectly gramatically legit reading), it’s not a lie. It’s not a lie because left liberals really did claim that the rioters were immigrants, and Zizek is not affirming their claim just noticing it. (He certainly doesn’t contradict it).

    So to show this is not a lie you must bring forward these left liberals.

    When you fail to find any evidence of those leftists liberals Zizek accuses of this, (as you will, because he’s lying,) you will be tempted to switch to the second reading and say “well he never claimed there were any left liberals who said that – that is his own view of the rioters,” and to accuse anyone who adheres to your former reading of idiocy.

    (To clarify where this externalising – as immigrants with “no stake in the comminity” – and bestialising – mindless, speechless, beasts whose instincts have been desublimated by capitalism into “consumerism” – of the rioters places them in Zizek’s vision, read Zizek’s other recent piece: The tragic irony of this implicit deal [between Israeli right and US right] is that, in the European history of last centuries, Jews themselves were the first “multiculturalists”: their problem was how to survive with their culture intact in places where another culture was predominant.

    But what if we are entering an era where this new reasoning will impose itself? What if Europe should accept the paradox that its democratic openness is based on exclusion – that there is “no freedom for the enemies of freedom”, as Robespierre put it long ago? In principle, this is, of course, true, but it is here that one has to be very specific. In a way, there was a vile logic to Breivik’s choice of target: he didn’t attack foreigners but those within his own community who were too tolerant towards intruding foreigners. The problem is not foreigners, it is our own (European) identity.)

    What all this wriggling will cover up is that Zizek as usual is using this imaginary left liberal sock puppet to introduce imagery and ideas he wants to purvey – that the rioters are foreign intruders, those “toxic neighbors” he evokes elsewhere whose real “malignant property” (“wife-beating”, “daughter-raping,” homophobia etc) the “liberal multiculturalists” and rootless pc cosmospolitans want to ignore in order to pretend they are “ordinary fellow men”. (That “decaffeinated other” bit is just a hipster wording of Mein Kampf’s complaint of the de-toxified image of Jews Jewish owned media, liberal and Jewish culture product presents) He wants to portray the rebellious British working class as mindless others, foreigners with “no stake in the community”, who don’t speak or think. He invents and stresses a foreigness through these imaginary left liberals. His own words are: “Rabble”. “Beast”. “Barbarian”.

    He said the same bullshit – told the same lies – about the rioters in Paris:

    “When those in the suburbs start to burn cars, the soldiers came looking for explanations, but they were not, as people feared, some Muslim fundamentalists. No, the fist thing they were burning were their own mosques and so on.”

    Lies lies and more lies. But more importantly, note the imagery for an ignorant US audience – “soldiers [coming] to look for explanations”…as if he’s describing an occupied country. The real course of events, which cannot be told if he is to sustain this vision of mindlessly violent thoughtless out-of-control savage horde errupting just to assert its difference and unintegrated indigestible otherness that Zizek claims renders democracy impossible and threatens “us” and our Europe and prosperity, is simply erased, denied, scissored out of history – the police killings, the protests, the provocations and escalations by Sarkozy.

    Now Zizek’s fans don’t mind that Zizek accused innocent young men; mainly Muslims, overwhelmingly French but mainly of Arab or francophone African descent, of burning mosques in Paris, because these people aren’t fully human to his fans any more than they are to Zizek – as far as the fans are concerned Zizek can say whatever the fuck he wants about my neighbours. Beast, rabble, barbarian, burning mosques…Or of the Strojans (stealing cars, committing murder, their children even dangerous to the landowners nearby); the fans don’t mind the evocations of “half-ape blacks” and the constant vision of mindless hordes wailing lilililililili….

    Anyone honest can see that the “envy as triumphant carnival” is a racist image, not only due to the English connection with Notting Hill but a long tradition of envisioning black people’s self government as a risible “carnival”, pathetic imitation of white behaviour:

    Here’s one from 2004 as part of the demonisation of Aristide:

    “A Port-au-Prince, le pathétique carnaval dont Jean-Bertrand Aristide s’était proclamé roi a pris fin.”
    http://www.liberation.fr/evenement/0101480059-debarquement

    But I understand Zizek’s fans can’t admit their emotional defensiveness comes from the guilt in their enjoyment and fear it will be taken away or exposed as what it is too much – shamed – and so lost.

    Very often Zizek operates as he does here with the “left liberals” who designate the rioters immigrants (something he cannot do in his own voice without risking being too obviously a racist liar to retain your loyalty). He introduces an idea, image, topos intitially through the mouth of a sock puppet from whom initially he seems to be taking some distance; a (real or imagined) “typical conservative” or “liberal” who conveniently says what Ziz wants said but not introduced as his own thought. There is a feint as if he will contradict the conservative, the liberal, the fascist, but he doesn’t; having introduced his reactionary myth or lie or canard this way, he then treats it as established, accepts what was introduced as fact. But as if it had been imposed on him by reality.

    As here, he evoked the “conservatives” who see humanity as driven by tribalist, territorial instincts but then he confirms this to be true and especially on display in the riots. He says the conservatives don’t even know how right they are! but in such a mealy mouthed way as to allow his fans to say no its Tebbit that calls these rioters beasts, not Zizek, Zizek is only paraphrasing, or mindreading, Tebbit, when he has explicitly said the conseravtives have missed the confirmation of their views. Just as he managhed to call Obama a sterile mulatto/mule – sterile looking with his big ears, “diluted black skin” in such a way as it appeared he was forced to say this by Sarah Palin. The point of introducing Tebbit is to use him as a kind of glove with which Zizek places in the discourse these loathesome ideas which he himself desires to disseminate and normalise but can’t first introduce in his own voice. Brasillach- or the pseudo Brasillach quote he plundered from the Aryanist website Skadi, and which everyone seems to love as much as the Nazi propaganda snippet he’s been passing off as Gramsci – is used similarly. This manoeuvre is endlessly repeated.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 22, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  45. Todd:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/08/anders-behring-breivik-pim-fortuyn

    The problem is not foreigners, it is our own (European) identity.

    Now who is saying this? Is this Zizek’s view? Or Zizek’s interpretation of Breivik’s view? Is this a view Zizek attributes to Breivik as his conscious stance, or as the implication which Zizek as “critic” derives from Breivik’s expressed ideas and actions but which is not exactly what Breivik perceived his own stance to be? Or is if ambiguous precisely to resist a decision of this sort, to leave it available for the reactionary uses you may wish to put it to but with an alibi, a veil? So you can fall in between, slip around within? And so that it seems to emanate from nowhere and everywhere, to be a “hard truth”, a reality with which we have no choice but to deal and whose component elements (“our identity” “foreigners”, the dangers to us, “European”) we must accept? And if this is intended as Breivik’s view, what is Zizek’s attitude toward this view? When he says it has a “vile logic”, what does that mean? Is it stressing a “logic” albeit vile (Nietzschean flatery) – is Zizek saying well it makes sense to kill the “liberal multiculturalists” who invite the toxic intruders in? Or is he stressing the logic behind his choice of target is “vile” (because he should have been killing the foreigners)?

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 22, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  46. To provoke people when I’m asked about racism, I like to do my line I love racism, I can’t imagine my life without racism, there there’s no progressive movement now without racism. I’m not crazy…Now comes the preacher part, the real….what do I mean by this is that there is something false about this respectful multiculturalist tolerance…my God, for me political correctness is still inverted racism…let’s cut the crap, let’s say we want to become friends, there has to be a politically incorrect exchange of obscenity. You know, some dirty joke or whatever, whose meaning is “cut the crap we are now real friends”. And I can tell you this from my wonderful experience here, you want a shocking story you will hear it. How did I become here a friend, a true friend, am not advising anybody to do it because it was a risky gesture, but it worked wonderfully with a -with a -with a black, African-American guy. No? How did I become? We were very friendly, already, but not really, but then I risk and told him, it’s a horrible thing I warn you, is it true that you blacks you know have a big penis, no? but that you can even move it so that if you have on your leg above your knee a fly you can Boff! smash it with your penis. The guy embraced me and told me dying of laughter “now you can call me a nigger.” Like when blacks tell you “you can call me a nigger” means they really accept you no?

    http://www.radioopensource.org/slavoj-zizek-what-is-the-question/

    Todd, these are not the words of a normal person, this story of taming the big black guy (ihe’s been telling it since the mid 90s – initially the vanquished other was an ethnic Albanian in the Yugo army – and since it became about “the big black guy” he’s pushed and pushed it, adding the embrace, the image of grinning subservience, then only in 2008 daring to introduce this punchline.).

    These are the words and thoughts of someone with a deeply white supremacist vision of humanity. It is EVERYWHERE in his writing, from his charging Stella Sandford with a “politically correct” fear of acknowledging what Simone de Beauvoir bravely asserted, that “blacks really are inferior” —

    (white racism has a performative efficiency, he argues – white mind, German spirit, is so powerful, that white racism actually makes the “white race” superior and transforms “blacks” into what white racists imagine them to be. This wisdom, spiced with quotes from Heidegger, he attributes actually to Beauvoir. His typical shell game then produces the conclusion that those liberal multiculturalists who deny white racial superiorty are “the real racists” since they deny the extent of the damage white racism has done to “blacks”; these pc liberals deny the power of white thought has made “blacks” what white racists imagine.)

    — to his crude Social Darwinism http://www.lacan.com/thesymptom/?page_id=952:

    So, back to Singer, one cannot dismiss him as a monstrous exaggeration – what Adorno said about psychoanalysis (its truth resides in its very exaggerations) [5] fully holds for Singer: he is so traumatic and intolerable because his scandalous “exaggerations” directly renders visible the truth of the so-called postmodern ethics. Is effectively not the ultimate horizon of the postmodern “identity politics” Darwinian – defending the right of some particular species of the humankind within the panoply of their proliferating multitude (gays with AIDS, black single mothers…)? The very opposition between “conservative” and “progressive” politics can be conceived of in the terms of Darwinism: ultimately, conservatives defend the right of those with might (their very success proves that they won in the struggle for survival), while progressives advocate the protection of endangered human species, i.e., of those losing the struggle for survival. [6] .

    He knows very well what he is evoking with a “carnival” of “envy”.

    http://www.lacan.com/zizfrance1.htm

    The fundamentalist Islamic terror is NOT grounded in the terrorists’ conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of the global consumerist civilization: the problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that THEY THEMSELVES secretly consider themselves inferior (like, obviously, Hitler himself felt towards Jews) – which is why our condescending Politically Correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only makes them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that they secretly already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. (This clearly goes for Dalai Lama who justifies the Tibetan Buddhism in WESTERN terms of the pursuit of happiness and the avoidance of pain.) Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists really lack is precisely a dosage of “true” “racist” conviction into one’s own superiority.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 22, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  47. from a libcom.org thread callinicos, zizek, et al, talking shit at marxism ’10 as follow-up to lecolonel’s excellent antizizek intervention demolition #114 25 page pdf See as well Geoff Boucher’s critique of specifically Zizek’s politics (in In defence of lost causes and The parallaw view), which, again this time despite its Trotskyist concluding words, accurately points to the weaknesses in Zizek’s stance;
    Quote:

    Suspended somewhere between Robespierre and Mao, trapped in a conceptual framework that is “more Jacobin than Marxist,” denouncing
    the post-Marxists for their cultural turn away from political economy, yet, paradoxically, spending four hundred pages calling for cultural revolution rather than discussing the actuality of Marxian economics.

    http://zizekstudies.org/index.php/ijzs/article/view/262/340

    Comment by ricorocha — August 22, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

  48. Kasper, comrade you got it so right Zizek pseudo-marxist.

    I’d like to add imitation marxist, impersonating marxist and phony marxist.

    Maybe he’s an infiltrator you know a spy for the American Rush Limbaugh’s right wing fascist radio network?

    I’m an American and don’t get why so many people listen to Limbaugh and people like him. Hate speech packaged as talk radio.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 22, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

  49. Deborah –

    I’ve been quite suspicious of who Zizek’s ‘associates’ may be lately. He’s very quick to poo-pooh any uprising (of any shape or form, anywhere), almost like clockwork. He’s actively discredits and misquotes many leading Left figures, lies about political situations in countries of US interest (including Yugoslavia) and bangs on with Muslim demonization time and time again. His racism and misogyny also seems part of a concentrated effort to exclude feminist and anti-racist agendas from the Left ‘mainstream’ (ie. excluding what were it’s most vibrant aspects from the 80s to the 00s). There is also little talk of class struggle. If anything, he’s more likely to offer apologias for oil corporations and NATO.

    Zizek uses all the usual signifiers (from Lenin to Lacan) that would be palatable to his audience. It’s not like Rush Limbaugh would be that useful for influencing left-liberal students or academics, or indeed get columns in widely-read liberal/Left journals. How did he emerge out of nowhere to such prominence anyway? The answer may lie in Slovenia’s position during the break-up of Yugoslavia. His career in parliamentary politics was murky enough. How did this pro-US liberal interventionist suddenly become a Marxist firebrand?

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 22, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  50. You have a valid point there Kasper.

    At least the credit I will give Limbaugh is you pretty much know what he stands for and he’s very predictable.

    With Zizek it seems like he’s masquerading as a marxist, when his beliefs are completely opposite.

    Someone like that you have to be careful of because your’re not quite sure what their true agenda is.

    I realize that the rioters aren’t going to start any revolution, but I applaud their courage for standing up against the establishment.

    I wish we had more people in America willing to do that by protesting and revolting against record high unemployment, hunger, homelessness, cuts to seniors and disabled and safety nets for the poor who are mainly the unemployed who exhausted their benefits and became homeless.

    The rioters response is reactionary to their conditions and struggles.

    A lot of the conditions in Britain are similar to what’s going on here in America.

    People are angry and things are not improving and the future looks bad.

    Eventually somethings got to give.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 22, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

  51. chabert wrote:

    “Todd, Your Task: Cite a minimum of two leftist liberals recommending “integration initiatives” and who designated the rioters as second and third generation immigrants” . . . .

    You mean there weren’t any second or third generation immigrants in the riots?

    “So to show this is not a lie you must bring forward these left liberals.”

    Let me get this straight: I’m supposed to (negatively) produce for you proof that liberal-capitalist societies don’t produce liberals and integration initiatives? I’m guessing that you want me to fail to produce such proof so you can proudly call Zizek a liar, the assumption being that negative proof must prove something.

    Tell you what: prove to me first that you aren’t a member of the EDL or some other fascist org (or just a cop) who’s shown up here to sow dissension. Obviously if you can prove this, you aren’t some scumbag trying to stir up trouble while jerking off over your keyboard.

    “The sentence is ambiguous”

    Not for someone who reads (or teaches) English (without this particular axe to grind).

    “What all this wriggling will cover up is that Zizek as usual is using this imaginary left liberal sock puppet to introduce imagery and ideas he wants to purvey – that the rioters are foreign intruders”

    So you’re now arguing that Zizek is some kind of crypto-racist?

    If, as you contend, Zizek’s words are so ambiguous as to permit two meanings, an “open” one and a “secret” one (that, it seems, only you have managed to divine), how do you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you’re right?

    “He wants to portray the rebellious British working class as mindless others, foreigners with ‘no stake in the community’, who don’t speak or think.”

    Kid, you’re a fucking (workerist) loon. There’s no other way to describe your ridiculous, conspiracist nonsense.

    “Anyone honest can see that the ‘envy as triumphant carnival’ is a racist image, not only due to the English connection with Notting Hill but a long tradition of envisioning black people’s self government as a risible ‘carnival’, pathetic imitation of white behaviour”

    So, somebody uses the word in a racist manner; therefore, anyone using the word itself must by definition also intend the same meaning?

    See, if I want to learn the meaning of a word, I go here:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carnival

    “Todd, these are not the words of a normal person”

    That’s true: they’re not the words you might use.

    “These are the words and thoughts of someone with a deeply white supremacist vision of humanity.”

    http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/2002/2002-October/025230.html

    Dennis Perrin is _not_ a man with a deeply white supremacist vision of humanity either, I can assure you.

    You asked me at the start of your urinary output to find you at least two leftist liberals; I think I’m replying to one.

    Comment by Todd — August 22, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

  52. Todd, are you quite confident of the race of the people you are schooling in “what blacks mean” with these anecdotes? The black men in my family would not care to be assaulted with these penis jokes as Zizek so successfully subdued his big black best friend. *Interns* laughing at the (rather different) remark of a successful white person their superior in a company, according to that white superior, doesn’t prove much to me. I have laughed at sexist and racist jokes made by my bosses too. But you have revealed just about everything one needs to know to explain your defensive love of Zizek with these stories.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 22, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

  53. Fortunately, the rioters could care less about what Kotkin and Zizek think about them. Of course, the notion that the rioters were engaged in a “blind acting out” is absurd, as anyone who followed the eruption of them knows. They showed a remarkable degree of social organization, and, in many instances, targeted transnational retailers and distributors. They started with anger over the death of Duggan, an anger fueled by their own experiences with the police, and then expanded it to loot the large retailers in their neighborhoods and surrounding areas. Strictly speaking, Zizek is correct, the rioters aren’t a “revolutionary subject”, but then, who said that they were? And what was his purpose by saying otherwise? Apparently, to launch another sally against the liberal welfare state. I’m no fan of it either, but there are ways of challenging it that don’t involve this sort of demonization of people. My guess is that Zizek is frightened by the extent to which young people, as in Greece, North Africa and the Middle East, are bent upon shattering the taboos of social control that have existed since the end of World War II. If he lived in San Francisco, he’d probably be one of the first to condemn the protests against BART, because, after all, the protesters aren’t a “revolutionary subject” and their disruption of transit service (sitting aside, for the moment, that the overreaction of BART is responsible for it) is indicative of their irrationality. There are some serious questions in relation to the riots, particularly their own peculiar form of entrepreneurial looting, but that’s demonstrative of their internalization of neoliberalism, and not their irrationality. Overcoming the internalization of the values of the oppressor is not a justification for dismissal, but one of the stages of radicalization that can, in appropriate circumstances, lead towards a revolutionary sensibility. Whether it can happen in this instance remains to be seen, but that’s what the left should engage, instead of describing them as contemporary, boorish lumpen proletarians.

    Comment by Richard Estes — August 23, 2011 @ 12:04 am

  54. The largely middle class audience to whom Zizek speaks matter a lot. They teach, manage and formulate policy over the working class, and influence ideology production. Their ideas on race, immigration, Islam, women etc. etc. would hardly be enlightened if Zizek’s sold to them as the cutting edge of the far Left. Or conversely, if a little more enlightened on these matters, they can come way with the view that the Left is now represented by rape jokes and racism; thus deterring further involvement.

    As for “internalising neoliberalism” – you may find riots such as this emerge because whole communities have far from “internalised” it. That’s why they have cops to bully (or kill) those surplus to it’s requirements. “Entrepeneurial”? I take it we should dismiss the rioter’s motives because they didn’t spontaneously collectivise the loot in some T.A.Z? They would have sold goods stolen in 1911, 1811 or 1711 – at far, far cheaper rates to their impoverished neighbours than looted shops would have (to me, it sounds as close as you can get to “socialist values” under the circumstances). Is eating just a perverse internalisation of the oppressor’s values, then? Should we demand a more purity of motive from the poor than we ever would from higher income brackets?

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 23, 2011 @ 12:25 am

  55. “Should we demand a more purity of motive from the poor than we ever would from higher income brackets?”

    Of course not, but that is not the measure of direct action. It is fair to observe that, in some, if not many, instances, they acted upon values that they observed in the higher income tax brackets. There are reports that there was fencing of the goods looted. There are also reports that rioters targeted designer brands (as they did, for example, in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles and Berkeley in 1992). It is important, I think, to address this and avoid imputing a more radical dimension to such acts than is warranted. Unfortunately, in relation to consumerism, I believe that many low income communities have internalized the values of neoliberalism, one sees it throughout the culture, at least here in the US. Of course, the riots could be the beginning of a more radical response to austerity and police suppression, but that remains to be seen. Compare the riots in England to the ones in Greece, where the anti-authoritarians, regardless of what Louis thinks of them, have a clearer sense of what they are doing and why. Or, maybe, they just communicate it better.

    Comment by Richard Estes — August 23, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  56. This is supposed to be a marxist forum.

    Communism is as far left and liberal ideology as ideologies go.

    Why is it that so much of the conversation hear sounds like pre-recorded messages from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter?

    If your swing is right, conservatism or what ever you want to call it, then why say you’re a marxist?

    It just seems like it’s like a costume that some people wear and then they go home take it off and show their true colors.

    With me I am upfront leftist, liberal and communist.

    It’s not a costume I wear, it’s who I really am.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 23, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  57. “I’m supposed to (negatively) produce for you proof that liberal-capitalist societies don’t produce liberals and integration initiatives?”

    No. In order to prove this statement –

    Meanwhile leftist liberals, no less predictably, stuck to their mantra about social programmes and integration initiatives, the neglect of which has deprived second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects

    – made by Zizek is true as you claim, you are to name the people referred to here as the “leftist liberals” who stuck to their manta, and to exhibit some evidence which shows that they “stuck to their mantra about social programmes and integration initiatives, the neglect of which has deprived second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects”. That’s simple. I offered the easiest possible standard of justification of the plural – just two who expressed this “mantra” in response to the riots. And you can’t even find one. Because the statement is a lie – leftist liberals did not respond to the riots with remarks about “integration” and “immigrants”.

    “So, somebody uses the word in a racist manner; therefore, anyone using the word itself must by definition also intend the same meaning?”

    Well in Zizek’s little world Zizek can”t unilaterally control the meaning of words. Carnival has connotations which he cannot shut off. But it is clear enough that he did not wish to shut them off but to exploit them. His text is often excused as sloppy. But it isn’t, it is very carefully constructed, with its innuendo, ambiguities, equivocations, dog whistles. That is why there is all this verbatim cut and paste, the phrases repeated precisely, with only small adjustments for different audiences. Because this kind of propagandistic text takes time, and every word matters.

    “See, if I want to learn the meaning of a word, I go here:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carnival

    Well if that’s really true, that you find that sufficient, you may have at least a slight case of asperger’s, which might be be an alternative, and less despicable, reason for the unjustified weight you give to Dennis Perrin’s anecdote as proof that “when blacks say ‘you can call me a n—–r’ it means they really accept you.”‘

    I leave you with a blogosphere classic from Kai Cheng:

    The phrase “politically correct” can be used in two distinct ways: either with its original literal meaning, or with the mocking sarcasm that’s common these days. I’ll get to the former in a moment, but I’ll begin with the latter. As it’s commonly used, “PC” is a deliberately imprecise expression (just try finding or writing a terse, precise definition) because its objective isn’t to communicate a substantive idea, but simply to sneer and snivel about the linguistic and cultural burdens of treating all people with the respect and sensitivity with which they wish to be treated. Thus, the Herculean effort required to call me “Asian American” rather than “chink” is seen as a concession to “the PC police”, an unsettling infringement on the free-wheeling conversation of, I suppose, “non-chinks”. Having to refer to black folks as “African Americans” rather than various historically-prevalent epithets surely strikes some red-blooded blue-balled white-men as a form of cultural oppression. Having to refer to “women” rather than “bitches” lays a violent buzzkill on the bar-room banter of men preoccupied with beating on their chests and off other body parts.

    and Zizz;

    1. When they say “lie lie lie”, I tried to do something, not to protect or justify them, but I tried to do something which one always has to do, I tried to imagine to put myself into the skin of those local people there. Were they anti-immigrants, yes, but, here comes the but, which is not from the right wing media, but I was lucky that the baby sitter whom I hire to take care of my small monster son and with whom I have good relations much more than just paying her, she also worked a long time as a social worker precisely with those gypsies, Roma. Incidentally they themselves slightly prefer to be called Gypsies so fuck you when you tell me this use the term is wrong – it’s the same as you know ‘African-Americans’ no? But – at least some of them. But what they she told me of course don’t idealize them.

    2. I hate the term “African-Americans.” I prefer black, and they do too. I think African-American as a term is the worst example of apparent political correctness. My best example of this was in Minneapolis, one of the capitals of political correctness [chuckles]. On TV, I saw a debate involving Native Americans, and they referred to themselves as “Indians,” and this white, PC liberal said, “No, no, no, don’t use that colonialist term. You are Native Americans.” And at the end, one of the poor Indians exploded. He said, “Sorry, I hate that term! Please, give me at least the right to call myself what I want. `Native American’ means that you’re making me a part of nature! You are reducing me! What’s the opposite of nature? It’s culture! You Europeans are culture, then you have horses and us, `Native Americans,’ here, with foxes or whatever.” So whenever I meet blacks in this kind of situation, I immediately try to break these racist barriers. And what’s my measure that we truly broke the barrier? Ok, at one level it’s political correctness, but it’s absolutely clear that if you play this game, only politically correct terms and ooooh, this fake interest, “ooooh, how interesting, your culture, what a wealth,” and blah, blah, blah, it will backfire. Blacks confess to me that they secretly despise this kind of white liberalism. What’s the trick? Humor. It’s a kind of dialectical double reversal. And this is when they really admit you. That somehow you can return to the worst starting point, racist jokes and so on, but they function no longer as racist, but as a kind of obscene solidarity. To give you an extremely vulgar example, I met a big, black guy, and when we became friends, I went into it like, [assuming a naïve, awe-filled whisper] “Is it true that you have, you know [makes gesture signifying a gigantic penis]?” and (this is a racist myth I heard in Europe) “Is it true that you blacks can control your muscles so that when you walk with a half erection and there is a fly here you can BAM! [slaps thigh] snap it with your penis?” We became terribly close friends!

    BUT

    3. Reverse racism plays a crucial role in the success of Emir Kusturica’s films in the West.
    Because the Balkans are part of Europe, they can be spoken of in racist clichés which nobody would dare to apply to Africa or Asia. Political struggles in the Balkans are compared to ridiculous operetta plots; Ceausescu was presented as a contemporary reincarnation of Count Dracula. Slovenia is most exposed to this displaced racism, since it is closest to Western Europe: when Kusturica, talking about his film Underground, dismissed the Slovenes as a nation of Austrian grooms, nobody reacted: an ‘authentic’ artist from the less developed part of former Yugoslavia was attacking the most developed part of it.

    (This liberatingly honest “exchange of racist insults” which creates the “obscene solidarity” is really, it turns out, only an exortation to white people to batter poc verbally. The racist abuse must always go down the white supremacist hierarchy. If there’s even mild joshing going up, from the dark Balkan slav to the etruscan aryan Slovene, it’s “reverse racism” and despicable.)

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 23, 2011 @ 1:47 am

  58. “So you’re now arguing that Zizek is some kind of crypto-racist?”

    No he is an overt racist. He claims that there exists a white race, a Jewish race, a black race. He refers to these in the manner of 19th century biological racists, suggesting for example that the US president whose mother was white and father black looks “sterile” due to having “diluted black skin” and that Nietzsche’s idea to breed a ruling race out of a fusion of the Jewish race and the German race was “a wonderful idea”. He is a white supremacist openly. He claims that the white race is superior and has produced a culture all it’s own, which he calls “white culture”, or “European civilisation” or “Western civilisation”, which he credits with everything from Christianity to “the egalitarian emancipatory tradition”.

    Simone de Beauvoir noted: “many racists, ignoring the rigors of science, insist on declaring that even if the psychological [sic] reasons haven’t been established, the fact is that blacks are inferior. You have only to travel through America to be convinced of it.”

    …Beauvoir’s claim about the factual inferiority of blacks aims at something more than the simple social fact that in the American South of (not only) that time, blacks were treated as inferior by the white majority and, in a way, they effectively were inferior….This softening distinction misses the truly trenchant dimension of racism; the “being” of blacks…is a socio-symbolic being. When they are treated by whites as inferior, this does indeed make them inferior….[T]he white racist ideology exerts a performative efficiency. It is not merely an interpretation of what blacks are, but an interpretation that determines the very being…of the interpreted subjects.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 23, 2011 @ 2:03 am

  59. I’ve learned a great deal from bloggers in this forum and am grateful because I am eager to learn and grow in my marxist life.

    There are some here who express very far right views that bare not even a slight resemblance to true marxism and its core beliefs.

    Those marxist pretenders as I call them, then throw insults and jabs toward the true marxists in the forum.

    To be far right and a marxist is like being the President of the Stop Smoking Campaign, and smoking five packs a day.

    It’s hypocrisy.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 23, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  60. […] essay on the London riots has made a bit of a splash on the left, and it drew an unusually cranky reply from Marxmail’s Louis Proyect. Now those who are familiar with Proyect’s […]

    Pingback by It says nothing to me about my life « To Repeat — August 23, 2011 @ 4:24 am

  61. Deborah and W. Kasper: The same person or two of the most daft people participating in a conversation on marxism, on the entire internet? You decide.

    FFS.

    Comment by Alon — August 23, 2011 @ 6:43 am

  62. chabert wrote:

    “The black men in my family would not care to be assaulted with these penis jokes”

    You and the black men in your family don’t speak for every black person any more than Aunt Jemima does, so who are you to decide what this or that black man will accept?

    Estes wrote:

    “Of course, the notion that the rioters were engaged in a ‘blind acting out’ is absurd”

    So rioting = revolution for you?

    “Strictly speaking, Zizek is correct, the rioters aren’t a ‘revolutionary subject’, but then, who said that they were? And what was his purpose by saying otherwise?”

    Don’t know, but I imagine it would be the same kinds of leftists who cheered and pumped their fists when the WTC was taken out. As for what might have been Zizek’s purpose, that’s been gone over before; you can read about it above.

    “My guess is that Zizek is frightened by the extent to which young people, as in Greece, North Africa and the Middle East, are bent upon shattering the taboos of social control that have existed since the end of World War II.”

    And yet, relatively speaking, he praised the Greek protesters over the those in England and the Spanish Indignados.

    “Overcoming the internalization of the values of the oppressor is not a justification for dismissal, but one of the stages of radicalization that can, in appropriate circumstances, lead towards a revolutionary sensibility.”

    A good point.

    How well do you think that turned out wrt the Watts Riots and the King Riots in the US?

    “Whether it can happen in this instance remains to be seen, but that’s what the left should engage, instead of describing them as contemporary, boorish lumpen proletarians.”

    The left shouldn’t also simply hug them to its collective bosom and proclaim, “_Whatever_ you do is OK by me, Darling!”

    Comment by Todd — August 23, 2011 @ 10:53 am

  63. You and the black men in your family don’t speak for every black person any more than Aunt Jemima does, so who are you to decide what this or that black man will accept?

    Aunt Jemima. Hm. I’m white actually, so the sting is only for others. So you have almost grasped what’s wrong with your contention that “when blacks say you can call me a n—r it means they really accept you.” And “I hate the term African Americans. I prefer black. And they do too.”

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 23, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  64. Really Alon? The entire internet. You mean all the right wing blowhards & teabagger imbeciles who go on and on with scribe & screed about what a “Marxist” Obama is and how this Black antichrist is supposedly ushering in “socialism” aren’t “the most daft people participating in a conversation on marxism, on the entire internet?”

    It’s clear to me that ultimately Zizek is a deeply conservative social Darwinist who loathes the masses. A conservative is defined as somebody whose nostalgic for a way of life that’s impossible to return to. He’s for a cultural revolution alright, but not the kind like in Mao’s China that gave peasant women priority in the Universities.

    He’s annoyed with his loss of the freedom to call Asians “chinks” or women “broads.” He despises the notion of affirmative action in universities or workplaces. It’s reverse discrimination, it’s PC, it’s a pollution of the genepool.

    Deep down he’s a fascist who uses Marxist concepts the same way Hitler incorporated the word “socialist” into his ideology and the communit color red into Nazi flag.

    He berates the failures of the so-called “welfare state” without the materialist conception of history that proves such states only arose historically not because of the benevolence of liberalism but on the contrary, to thwart communism. Welfare means only one thing to the bourgeoisie – RIOT INSURANCE.

    But right wing conservatives are such stupid ahistorical a-holes today that they’ve forgotten that fact, and now when they think they can just ram through austerity measures without consequences they’ll begin to remember that without riot insurance you will get riots.

    Revolutionary Marxists don’t simply dismiss riots as mindless acts of mob violence. On the contrary, they are rebellions. That’s not to confuse them with revolutionary situations, not by a long shot, but a real revolution does require the participation of those same masses in those same streets from the bottom up plus a loathing of official authority with it’s bullshit laws and hypocrtical morals.

    I for one am glad to see a generation of youth rising up angry and I fully expect the rotten tooth of capitalism to start generating some pain so intolerable that it will have to be excised with some filthy pliers.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 23, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

  65. Todd said: “I imagine it would be the same kinds of leftists who cheered and pumped their fists when the WTC was taken out.”

    LOL!

    Like Unicorns, those must be the same kind of mythological leftists who spit on Vietnam veterans!

    As a sociology grad student who specialized in the study of Urban Riots in America I discovered that there is something deeply reactionary in the politics of those who proclaim over & over lines like: “So rioting = revolution for you?” — particularly since nobody ever actually makes that equation.

    It’s the same reactionary sensibility that allows one to talk seriously about leftists cheering on 9-11 with the same veracity as Vietnam vets getting spit on (never happened even once).

    It’s the same reactionary sensibility that imagines that socialists want to take rioters and “hug them to its collective bosom and proclaim, _Whatever_ you do is OK by me, Darling!”

    It’s the same reactionary political instincts that dismiss, ignore or gloss over the overt racism of fascistic ass clowns like Zizek.

    It’s typical of the politics of white men deeply rooted in the University milieu.

    Being does after all determine consciousness and you Todd, have all the class instincts of a non-unionized white male state college English associate professor bitter about the impossibility of ever attaining tenure while brown women in potentially redundant ethnic studies departments who learned English as adults did manage to get tenure. Since your’re still to the left of Glenn Beck & probably even voted for Obama — a figure like Zizek truly speaks to your heart.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 23, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  66. it was those israeli ‘art students’ who pumped their fists on 9/11 – one ‘conspiracy theory’ based on facts, just the facts, worth exploring: http://www.counterpunch.org/ketcham03072007.html

    and no, this is not the mossad-was-responsible-jews-were-warned-to-escape-twin-towers stuff.

    Comment by jp — August 23, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  67. Well said comrade Karl!

    Alon now probably figures that me, you and Kasper are the same person now too.

    You’ve taught me a great deal and I respect you greatly.

    My bets are on Alon and Todd are the same person because the right winged rhetoric is eerily similar.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 23, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  68. chabert wrote:

    “So you have almost grasped what’s wrong with your contention that ‘when blacks say you can call me a n—r it means they really accept you.’ And ‘I hate the term African Americans. I prefer black. And they do too.'”

    Do tell; you’re the one who has a problem with ambiguity.

    “It’s clear to me that ultimately Zizek is a deeply conservative social Darwinist who loathes the masses.”

    Proof? (And I don’t mean secret messages that only you have brought to light with your decoder ring.)

    “Like Unicorns, those must be the same kind of mythological leftists who spit on Vietnam veterans!”

    Ward Churchill:

    “As for those in the World Trade Center… Well, really, let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire – the ‘mighty engine of profit’ to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to ‘ignorance’ – a derivative, after all, of the word ‘ignore’ – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Justice_of_Roosting_Chickens

    “I discovered that there is something deeply reactionary in the politics of those who proclaim over & over lines like: ‘So rioting = revolution for you?’ — particularly since nobody ever actually makes that equation.”

    How about answering the question, then?

    I’ve discovered that there’s a strong current of anti-intellectual, workerist ideology in the left of North America when supposed Marxists think rioting is the same as revolution then get all coy and pissy when someone calls them on it.

    “the overt racism of fascistic ass clowns”

    You don’t even know what fascism means, dickhead, so quit waving it around as if you do.

    “Being does after all determine consciousness”

    Then the North American left is fucked because it has ignorant little pricks who mouth revolutionary phrases like you and clueless sheep like Deborah that make up its main-stream.

    I thought it was embarrassing to be associated with Stalin, but you and Deborah make me even more ashamed.

    Comment by Todd — August 23, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  69. So Todd, you’ve just admitted you have nothing to do with the Left, neither in action or thought? That you’re actually the kind of patriotic liberal still in much more of a tizz about 9-11 and that “anti-American” Ward Churchill than you are with ten years of worldwide anti-Muslim atrocity? The kind of ‘colour blind’ dude who conjures up “Aunt Jemima” for his example of an Afro-American? Or uses Perrin’s little Larry David sketch as a sociological example of US race relations? Or thinks “Stalin” when he hears the word “socialism”? Quick to dismiss us as “pricks and sheep” while nodding along with Zizek’s crap about – well, everything?

    Congratulations – you’re a Zizek fan! 30 – 40 years ago, do you know there was one of you born every minute? Here’s to your piercing iconoclasm! Or rather, your blinkered, narcissistic consumerism.

    Now go treat yourself to a new skateboard. But remember now: They’re for your feet – not your head.

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 23, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  70. Have you had enough of the brain deads, Todd? Btw, fuck you KasFuck! Don’t bother to respond asshole, this is my last post on this site.

    Comment by Mazdak — August 23, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  71. I don’t know Kaspar, Deborah, I think we were all pretty polite to these people; their reactions seem excessive and if either were actually interested in psychoanalysis, they’d have to see the telltale signs of repression.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — August 23, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  72. Nazdak in meltdown again!

    A lot of libidinal frustration steaming out of their righteous, angry fandom, methinks. Tell us, Todd and Nazdak: Were your fathers big men?

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 23, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  73. Nazdak in meltdown again!

    A lot of libidinal frustration steaming out of their righteous, angry fandom, methinks.

    Tell us, Todd and Nazdak: Were your fathers big men?

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 23, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

  74. I guess my synopsis of Todd has hit a nerve: the frustrated non-tenure tracked associate professor of English immersed in the North Eastern white male academic milieu angered by the little bits of affirmative action he’s seen and annoyed by campus identity politics & feminists that destroy his beloved English language with words like “herstory” rather than “history”.

    Todd really believes the urban legends that vets were spat upon in the 60’s for to equate Ward Churchill’s little article with leftist fist pumping over 911 is about as stupid as arguing that Malcolm X was pumping his fists over the Kennedy assassination when he made the “chickens coming home to roost” comment.

    Todd’s whole demeanor, his derision of the anti-Zizek left, his getting all bunched up over Churchill comments, particularly when about 99% of them are true (and the idea that exposing imperialist blowback is equivalent to fist pumping) demonstrates that Todd is a reactionary Patriot that doesn’t know a union from and onion nor the working class from a horse’s ass, and although he’s technically a proletarian, he’s a self-hating one.

    As far as rioters being equated by leftists to revolutionaries, it’s not a question worth answering, since such leftist equaters are so rare as to be akin to those mythological unicorns.

    As far as me allegedly not knowing what fascism is, that’s quite amusing since I’d studied the history of every fascist movement in the 20th century before your father met your mother and half the fathers of my grade school chums were Lincoln Brigade veterans of the Spanish Civil War, some of who had lost limbs from the fascists swords & bullets.

    Say Nasdaq. You really ought to seek treatment for that Turret’s Syndrome.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 23, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

  75. Kasper wrote:

    “So Todd, you’ve just admitted you have nothing to do with the Left, neither in action or thought?”

    Wow. Just wow.

    I maintain you’re an ignoramus (with some justification), but you just get off and assume that I’m anti-Muslim, pro-American, and liberal colour-blind?

    Quit reading into your own asshole.

    Friedrich bleated:

    “the frustrated non-tenure tracked associate professor of English immersed in the North Eastern white male academic milieu angered by the little bits of affirmative action he’s seen”

    Ironic, coming from a supposed grad student . . . .

    Sonny, you don’t know me, or what you’re talking about. You’re a fucking embarrassment.

    “As far as rioters being equated by leftists to revolutionaries, it’s not a question worth answering,”

    Of course . . . .

    “As far as me allegedly not knowing what fascism is that’s quite amusing since I’d studied the history of every fascist movement in the 20th century”

    Evidently you were too busy screaming the word out the window at all and sundry for you to pay better attention.

    (I’m getting an inkling of what made Marx comment on how he wasn’t a Marxist:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1890/letters/90_08_05.htm

    Comment by Todd — August 23, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  76. Yeah, yeah Marx wasn’t a Marxist – and “Hitler vashent violent enoff!” according to your pseud-rad hero. I’m sure his black dick jokes helped ease your anxieties too.

    I should add that my asshole is infinitely more enlightening than the petty ressentiment you’ve been inundating us with in this comments box. So go kiss it – you might learn something for a change.

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 23, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  77. Toad notes with some mysterious satisfaction that I as a grad student (back in 1990) must somehow be betraying my class by heaping such scorn on the academic milieu in which Toad resides (the “little Eichman class”) claiming: “Sonny, you don’t know me, or what you’re talking about.”

    On the contrary. Precisely because for 10 long years I shit out guys like you in the chunks of my stools during my academic stint that I know little pricks like you better than you know yourselves — that is, you’re a classic self-hating wage slave frustrated that America has let under-educated brown people, boisterous self-righteous women, and unruly queers qualify for your English classes. It makes a mess of your “lesson plans” doesn’t it?

    “As far as rioters being equated by leftists to revolutionaries, it’s not a question worth answering,”
    You say “Of course . . . .” because you’re a smug little insecure white prick whose never been “profiled” or stopped arbitrarily by murderous fascist pigs that just graduated from the academy learning that the citizenry is therafter to be referred to as either “shitheads” (NYPD) or “Turds” (Dallas PD) or “Assholes” (LAPD) and who as rookies get stuck on the shittiest bowery beats with heartfulls of hate after 3 tours kicking in doors in Iraq, never considering for a moment the sociological implications of the fact that the those who volunteer to join police forces at home comprise the same sadistic schmucks that volunteer to join the police forces abroad — that is to say, you ARE a little Eichmann and that’s why you’re so offended by Churchill’s words a decade after the fact.

    You shirked your responsibilty long ago as a ladder climbing academic to consider even the simplest of class & materialist sociological explanations for why people riot or why millions won’t vote in a society that amasses 80% of the wealth in the hands of 4% of the population since ultimately you are a social Darwinian like Zizek who believes such an iniquitous social arrangement is a natural product of survival of the fittest.

    You sir are the real embarassment of your generation because you’re ultimately a conservative fucktard who longs to go back to the days when the universities weren’t utterly beholden to the Pentagon and little weasels could actually get a tenured job for teaching English, but no more, because the university system purposely starves every department that cannot directly benefit Langley, Virginia’s perpetual war machine.

    Too bad you weren’t teaching Arabic instead of English as surely then you’d be able to find a real home as a “Little Eichman.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 24, 2011 @ 1:30 am

  78. Have you guys met, then?

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 24, 2011 @ 2:43 am

  79. I think Karl Friedfish and Kasper Shithead are fuck buddies. They seem to wank off each other.

    Comment by theusualsuspect — August 24, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  80. Kasper, Karl and Chabert I think these clowns are just infiltrators from the conservative fascist movement.

    No real marxist would hold such far right views.

    They’re probably giving Rush Limbaugh a report of our daily activities (ooh quivering).

    Their comments don’t deserve your precious time comrades.

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 24, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  81. Hegel ‘believed that the Prussian state was the culmination of the historical dialectic’?

    Ha, one of the most famous stupid misunderstandings of Hegel!

    Of course, Hegel wasn’t a communist like me, etc., etc.

    But, as any fule kno, he wanted liberal reform to the contemporary Prussian state.

    You clearly don’t know the first thing about Hegel.

    Unrepentant certainly. But Marxist?

    Comment by Optimismsaturation — August 25, 2011 @ 10:05 am

  82. n ‎/// http://action.compassonline.org.uk/page/s/public-interest ////

    Comment by charles — August 25, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  83. What is it with these foaming-at-the-mouth Zizek fans and their phallocentric sexual phantasies? They’re always at it. Any opposition and they quick to blame it on some sexual conspiracy. Dread to think what they’re hiding on their hard drives.

    A bit “shy in the shower” perhaps? Can we help with some Lacanian therapy?

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 25, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  84. You can bend over, motherfucker, that is after you’re done sucking off your fuckbuddy.

    Comment by yourworstnightmare — August 25, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

  85. I rest my case.

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 25, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  86. Kasper, I really don’t get why these people bother calling themselves marxist who love to irritate us so much.

    Obviously their posts prove they’re radical right, so my guess is they come to this forum to try to get us to change our views and join them.

    People like me, you, Karl and Chabert and others aren’t imitators and for the other clowns to think we can’t figure out they’re fakers is insulting to our intelligence.

    Now if you will excuse me my comrade, I’m preparing for Hurricane Irene’s direct hit to my city and wish me luck that I make it through because this storm is supposed to clobber us!

    Comment by Deborah Jeffries — August 26, 2011 @ 1:06 am

  87. Hey Nazdak, you putz –

    Is this you?

    http://www.google.com/reader/item/tag:google.com,2005:reader/item/20317e627a176a96

    Comment by W.Kasper — August 26, 2011 @ 2:28 pm


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