FW: Zizek help

Guerino Calemine gjcalemine at hotmail.com
Sun May 6 08:29:35 PDT 2001

For what it's worth (if I'm understanding your question), Zizek pretty consistently refers to himself as a Marxist, and I've understood Zizek as believing that Marxism remains THE project. He enhances materialism by explaining the libidinal urges behind social relations. Zizek is to fetishism what Heidegger was to "being." In the end, Zizek does materialism and Marxism a great service. I haven't read everything Zizek has written, but I simply can't imagine Zizek, who certainly critiques materialism, considering himself antimaterialist. I think calling Zizek a post-Marxist would be akin to calling Rorty a post-democrat. "Post-anything" seems to connote an abandonment of the fundamental project of that "anything." And that is simply not the case with Zizek and Marxism (including strictly materialist Marxism). I'm certainly open to better-read people's views on this matter, though. This is just my initial reaction to the question.

Jody Calemine

P.S. Somewhat relevant passage from Zizek's latest book, The Fragile Absolute, which I highly recommend:

"So, when a critical Marxist encounters a bourgeois subject immersed in commodity fetishism, the Marxist's reproach to him is not 'A commodity may seem to you a magical object endowed with special powers, but really it is just a reified expression of relations between people'; the Marxist's actual reproach is, rather, 'You may think that the commodity appears to you as a simple embodiment of social relations (that, for example, money is just a kind of voucher entitling you to a part of the social product), but THIS IS NOT HOW THINGS REALLY SEEM TO YOU -- in your social reality, by means of your participation in social exchange, you bear witness to the uncanny fact that a commodity really appears to you as a magical object endowed with special powers' . . . "

I see what Zizek is doing here, using Lacan to describe what Marxists (including himself, heh) are doing, to be USEFUL/HELPFUL!

>From: Gary Ashwill <gna at duke.edu>
>Reply-To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
>To: <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com>
>Subject: FW: Zizek help
>Date: Fri, 04 May 2001 20:24:57 -0400
>A friend asked me to forward the following query to this list to see if
>anyone had thoughts about Zizek as "post-marxist."
> Can anyone help me with a Zizek problem for something I'm putting
> I've been working with some critical texts in eighteenth century studies
>that take a decidely post-Marxist view of the development of public credit
>basically state capitalism.
>I'm trying to link that work with some observations from Zizek's _Sublime
>Object_, which also seem post-Marxist in that he is anti-materialist,
>in ideology not "false consciousness" that conceals a more "real" material
>relation, but rather the only form in which social relations, being, and
>subjectivity can be known - basically a formalist statement.
>What I would like to know, is it fair to characterize Zizek as
>He seems to be synthesizing Marx and Freud when he discusses fetishism.

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