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Slavoj Žižek: A Case Study in Opportunism

I don’t pretend to understand Dr. Žižek’s “Lacanian” “post-Maoist” philosophy or critiques of popular culture or whatever it is that he does. All I know is that he pretends he’s some kind of adherent to some form of Marxism Leninism and “Maoism” and people seem to have an impression of him as a genuinely progressive academic. When it counted, however, Žižek was an unabashed leader of counterrevolution in his homeland of Slovenia. Žižek in fact fought to destroy the system he claims he now supports, or at the very least that people he now admires (Lenin, Mao) fought so hard to build. Žižek during the era of socialism was one of the prominent members of the “dissident” circles advocating for its destruction. In the late 1980s he joined the secessionist anti-socialist movement developing in Slovenia, and become an active member of the Liberal Democratic Party (who came to power once Slovenia seceded from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). He was not just a passive participant in this movement, since he was the candidate for the position of President of Slovenia for the LDP in 1990.

People like to taunt socialists about the supposed “misnomers” characterizing a lot of the formal names of the regimes of socialist countries (for instance, there is always a chortle about the name ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’). However, the name “Liberal Democratic Party” of Slovenia is a joke. For one, these cold blooded killers murdered members of the multi-ethnic JNA (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija – Yugoslav National Army) in cold blood, simply for being stationed in their own country. There is video footage of Slovenian nationalists gunning down JNA soldiers waving white flags. The “liberal democrats” then proceded to steal the bank accounts of non-Slovenes who had bank deposits in the banks of Ljubljana. Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia), was the banking center of Yugoslavia. The Ljubljana banks avoided paying back money to their non-Slovene depositers by simply changing the name of the bank, and saying the new bank should not be held responsible for the previous accounts. The LDP quickly went to work dismantling the socially owned economy in their new ‘republic’, undoing what had been built for generations. This included workers’ self-management, directing authority back into the hands of the capitalists.

This is the movement with which Dr. Žižek became an integral part, and even led. Of course, Žižek had also been a member of the Communist Party of Slovenia at times. He seems to have done whatever it took to ensure that he himself would be of influence and power. He claims he left the Party because of the trial of four people by the JNA in the late 1980s. The Slovene Communists had nothing to do with that trial and in fact implemented the “punishment” in the mildest manner possible. The fact is Žižek was writing anti-Communist diatribes for decades.

Since socialism has been dismantled in many parts of the world, parroting the line of his new masters is no longer new or novel. He must do something different in order to get attention. So he tries to meld his Lacanian gibberish with some kind of revolutionary politics. The question is: where was Slavoj Žižek when it counted? He was on the side of counterrevolution. An old wine in a new bottle is a still an old wine.

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6 Responses

  1. Where are you getting your info?

  2. Let me guess… you think Milosevic is a “real” socialist, right?

    An alternate theory, which Zizek has discussed, is that people have politics which change – including his own.

  3. Aha, another “post-Maoist” to the rescue of Zizek. Yes, politics can change. But the problem for your pal Zizek is, they haven’t really changed. He hasn’t ceased consulting with the heinous anti-communist Slovene government. Zizek rotates from being an anti-communist dissident, to full fledged Communist Party member, to leaving the party in “protest”, to leading the anti-communist opposition, to becoming some kind of hero to people who want to turn Marx, Lenin and Mao into liberals. It’s one thing to say your politics change out of principle and new experience, it’s quite another to lead the damn anti-communist movement in your country then leave and pretend you’re some kind of Leninist. Would Havel or Gorbachov be taken seriously if they all of a sudden declared themselves to be “Maoists”? No, they’d be laughed at (because they are both jokes, like Zizek).

    As for your babbling about Miloshevich, I don’t know what it has to do with anything. Maybe like others of your ilk, you’re reciting your enthusiastic support for Fascist KLA independence and the barbaric NATO bombardment of the only remaining multi-ethnic and tolerant society in the Western Balkans. I don’t know. I don’t think Miloshevich considered himself, at least in the 1990s, a “real socialist” in the Marxist-Leninist sense. In his own words anyway he said very plainly that his government was implementing a transition to a market economy. However, he was progressive enough to largely keep the economy socially owned. Unemployment and homelessness were quite low. Why the fawning supporters of Lacan-quoting pop culture obsessed scribblers have problems with him is beyond me.

  4. In response to Red Flags–Milosevic was clearly anti-imperialist and against national chauvinism. Milosevic died fighting imperialism. He is a hero.

    Questions I have:

    How is it that the multi-ethnic socialist system in Yugoslavia outlasted Soviet socialism?

    Yugoslavia’s economy appeared to be the most “capitalist” of all the East European socialist countries. What was the balance of state owned, public owned, state/private, collective, cooperative, private, foreign owned? What percentage of people farmed versus worked in industry? (Bonus question: How come the Yugo just ceased production at the end of 2008?)

    How did Yugoslav socialism outlast Albanian socialism? The Albanian Party of Labor promoted an anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist ideology. How did Rightists (social-democratics) within the Party so quickly overthrow socialism in Albania?

    Socialism in the Soviet Union collapsed due to internal contradictions, but it took the military intervention of German imperialism and then U.S. imperialism to rip Yugoslavia apart. How is it that the dictatorship of the proletariat was stronger in Yugoslavia even though the economy was more “capitalist”?

    Homework assignment: Read the speeches of Milosevic.

    Warning: Snarky comments without explanation will receive an F.

  5. This is very good.

  6. […] said, I’d like to share an article here on Žižek, from the blog Never Forget Class Struggle for […]

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