If one’s only expectation of the left is liquidation in a Stalinist takeover from mere idealists, why bother? Many have drifted to the right at this point. My idea over at redfortyeight.com was to conceive a ‘whimsical’ idea of ‘ultra far left’, a stance wary of the inevitable ‘dialectical’ implosion of leftist discourse given the context of any sudden or real access to power. Well, maybe… Since both Chomsky and Zizek would probably kill each other off or be liquidated (my personal case being irrelevant, one corpse more or less) I have been forced to redefine liquidation (check the archives via the search box). We have managed to liquidate Hitchens by this definition. No mean feat.
The ultra far left is actually real, and I think Thomas Munzer, 1525, is an exemplar. The ‘ultra far left is nigh’ as the walls begin to shimmer in Munzerian-Zoroastrian endtimes Dayglo.
Anyway,…Chomsky and Zizek warn us we have no coherent left. Chomsky is a good critic, but has proposed no plan of action, and seems too stuck in do-nothing to lead a movement, except the paralyzed OWS. Since I live on foodstamps, and these could disappear at any moment, I have little patience for MIT professors with nice pensions. Is that the problem? or fair? I think a kind of neutral analysis from Chomsky is all we can expect at this point, if he could finally see the 9/11 situation rightly. Perhaps his anarchism is the problem.
But time is running out for a real movement, that should have been functional since the sixties. Now that postmodernism has become passe, a new formulation is needed. Zizek and Chosmky should both try (or for Zizek, try again…). But both are going to soon be has beens if they don’t seize their chance. Zizek needs to try and express his views more carefully, starting over without Lacanian drivel, or postmodern derridean dumbdumb. But postmodernism apart, the ‘dialectic’ is enough to produce confusion. As Chomsky has said.
I have been critical of Zizek and Chomsky both. I think bickering on the left misses the point, although Chomsky is probable more than right on the issue of postmodernism. Zizek’s assault on the Khmer Rouge gaff by Chomsky is not part of my leftist memory, and I can’t quite judge this matter. I had thought it was Zizek who was the Stalinist??? I have critiqued the current left for its failure to see through the 9/11 deception, and this should be a part of any critique of manufacturing consent, to cite Chomsky’s classic by that name.
I fear Chomsky has gotten to Zizek’s jugular vein. The whole postmodern phase of critique was intellectual diarhea, and Zizek’s work shows it: the Hegelian pastich and marx-jargon sludge is a terminal case of hopeless muddle. I am still awaiting the chance that someone will make the real case for the postmodern, but it won’t happen, because the terms are wrong. The postmodern case has been taken up by the religious right and a definite anti-modernism that is reactionary. I tried to clarify the issue in WHEE: is there a postmodern age?: the whole postmodern movement on the left failed to get its basics correct, and handed a gift to the reactionary right, who reject modernity altogether (but not its capitalism!): check out Dembski’s book on Intelligent Design. The postmodern idea and term has thus, not surprising, appeared almost first in a figure like Toynbee who rejects modernity, along with Spengler…
The leftist use of the idea is thus a series of confusions.
I think Zizek should try to rescue something from disaster by abandoning postmodernism, finally.
In any case, we have no left left, and the postmodern trashing of the marxist canon is its burial rite: we should start over.