What were Slavoj Zizek's great insights?

For a return of the communist idea

"It takes a belief in hopeless cases that inevitably appear insane within the limits of skeptical wisdom. This book speaks from within this leap of faith - why? Because in a time of crises and ruptures the problem is that those on the Horizons of the prevailing common sense limited skeptical empirical wisdom cannot even provide the answer - one must therefore risk a leap in faith. "(P. 26/7).

The Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek has written a pamphlet in his new book "Lost Post" against everyone who thinks that the new global order is the best of all worlds. Zizek railed against the postmodern, which defused the explosive power of Marxism, since for them all ideas are equal. But he has found his favorite sparring partner in the advocates of market fundamentalism. In the neoliberals, who already see the utopia realized in the more poorly than properly functioning market laws. Zizek interprets this attitude with unmistakable derision as "embodied anti-utopia". Because the liberals, who derive their values ​​solely from the free play of market forces, have left every utopian project behind. Market fundamentalists only believe - as Zizek writes - in the unconditional productivity spiral. They believe in the selfish nature of man and in a politics that is freed from superfluous moral ideals. Purified from what the writer Arthur Miller describes as "an encouraging form of human solidarity". Miller observed this solidarity among Cubans who - as Zizek extensively quoted - "were all more or less equally poor and lived with the same sense of all-encompassing futility" (p. 86). Zizek would like to defend this value, even though several augurs have already declared the end of history and ideologies. Against them, the Slovenian philosopher emphatically proclaims the return of communism:

"Is the idea of ​​communism still valid today? Can it still be used for analysis and political practice? One should ask the question differently: How can the categories be judged on the basis of the communist idea? These are the categories Dialectic of old and new. Those who invent new terms for the changed reality almost every week - risk society or information society, postmodern or postindustrial society - miss the really new. The only way to grasp the new is to grasp the eternal in the old If communism is an eternal idea, then it is a concrete universality. It is eternal because it has the potential to be reinvented at any time. To keep this universal idea alive, communism must be constantly reinvented. "

Slavoj Zizek is convinced of Kierkegaard's dictum credo quia absurdum, which he also believes to recognize in Anne Frank. Hold on to the absurdity of belief even when reality scorns that belief! Kierkegaard wrote about Abraham: "He believed by virtue of the absurd; for there could be no question of human calculation" (Fear and Trembling, p. 31). Slavoj Zizek also withdrew from this point of view. In a lucid section of his book, he notes that for religious fundamentalists, theological statements are empirical statements of immediate knowledge. However, in making this equation, they betray the "real faith" that Zizek and Kierkegaard hold. Of course, Zizek believes in communism is absurd. But without this absurdity, communism obviously cannot be had. Just as little - as it is said at the end of "Lost Post" - a revolutionary and egalitarian justice. In a lecture recently given by the Slovenian philosopher in London, he tried to convince the surprised audience that the objective prerequisites for a revolution are indeed given:

"When it comes to changing Marxism, I don't want to make any compromises. I want to take the term proletarianization more clearly, up to an apocalyptic level. the total digital control of our lives. Based on the analysis of this empirical data, the question of communism arises for me: It is important to localize the growing proletarianization.

We have to get out of this apocalypse. Ecological reasons force us to do so. It cannot go on like this. The alternative is not: functioning capitalism or functioning communism. If everything goes on like this, we will wake up in a terrible society, even in a catastrophe. "

Slavoj Zizek does not want to get involved in any social democratic positions or capitalism with a human face. Reform is not the business of the Slovene maverick, who in his book repeatedly brings together the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan and the philosophical idealism of Hegel. In his erratic arguments he now and then comes to surprising, seemingly paradoxical insights. This media philosopher, who violates all habitual rules, is banned from the innovative power of capitalism, from a revolution that is constantly pushing its own boundaries. At the same time, Zizek is fascinated by Georges Sorel's dream of a "passage à l'acte" and a "violent outbreak" (p. 89). Without any ifs or buts, he wants to overcome capitalism, the driving forces of which he admires so much. Zizek sometimes runs the risk of abandoning his precise analyzes and suddenly abandoning the terrain to anarchist activism.

And what does the philosopher mean by his reinvention of communism? He believes that he has identified the subjects of the revolution. Of course, these are not the globalization winners who - according to Zizek - have an Indian passport, a castle in Scotland, a second home in New York and a private island in the Caribbean. No, it is the slum dwellers, the members of society who are excluded from the benefits of citizenship, the uprooted and dispossessed who have nothing to lose but their chains (pp. 256-9). Zizek calls these people the true proletarians of our globalized world order. One remembers Jacques Derrida's proclamation of the new International. Even the French philosopher did not think of a specific social class, but of the people affected by violence, discrimination, inequality and hunger, of the global army of those without rights, of the opponents of globalization.

"It is not enough to cling to the communist idea. We have to show antagonisms that cannot be resolved within capitalism. The historical situation forces us to cling to the concept of the proletariat, even this concept to an existential level Think of the subject emptied of all substance. The ecological crisis is nothing more than another form of proletarianization that robs us of the natural substance of our existence. And the struggle for intellectual property is about us To deprive symbolic substance of life. Finally, the biogenetic manipulations: Don't we want to take possession of our genetic make-up?

The traditional Marxist term "dictatorship of the proletariat" appears again and again in the book. Slavoj Zizek understands this as a "democratic explosion" (p. 246) and a "new emancipatory policy" (p. 273). The Slovenian philosopher is trying to give the old term a new, unfamiliar meaning. So you should always be prepared for surprises in the book. This includes brilliant insights, but also trivial, rationally difficult to understand arguments. But that is just part of Zizek's less academic, unsystematic and erratic style.

Slavoj Zizek: "At a loss". Translated from the English by Frank Born. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2009, 325 pp., 14 euros.