In this combative major new work, philosophical sharpshooter Slavoj Zizek looks for the kernel of truth in the totalitarian politics of the past.
Examining Heidegger's seduction by fascism and Foucault's flirtation with the Iranian Revolution, he suggests that these were the 'right steps in the wrong direction.' On the revolutionary terror of Robespierre, Mao and the bolsheviks, Zizek argues that while these struggles ended in historic failure and horror, there was a valuable core of idealism lost beneath the bloodshed.
A redemptive vision has been obscured by the soft, decentralized politics of the liberal-democratic consensus. Faced with the coming ecological crisis, Zizekk argues the case for revolutionary terror and the dictatorship of the proletariat. A return to past ideals is needed despite the risks. In the words of Samuel Beckett: 'Try again. Fail again. Fail better.'
Badiou's apparently "unrepentant" Maoism has been one of the most controversial, if misinterpreted, elements of his thought. In the conversation below, Badiou is pressed on the question by an anonymous Chinese philosopher, and maintains that Mao continues to provide a model for dialectical thought, if not for a historical project. Visit LEAP to read the original piece in full.
A full recording of the performance, held on December 13, 2014, Manny Cantor Center, New York, can now be accessed here.
Stock-up, bulk-out, or fill-in the gaps in your Badiou Bookshelf with 50% off until tomorrow!
ILLUSTRATION / Wang Buke
A Dialogue Between a Chinese Philosopher and a French Philosopher
December 13, 2014, Manny Cantor Center, New York
Some time ago, French philosopher (and venerable Maoist) Alain Badiou traveled to China to speak to a Chinese philosopher. Though his or her name appears to have been lost in the ashes of time, the transcript of this alleged meeting remains, and bears a noted resemblance to a series of conversations Badiou had with Lu Xinghua, a contentious proponent of the theorization of Chinese contemporary art. A restaging of this dialogue this past December in New York, with an actress as the skeptical interlocutor, provided a window into Continental philosophy’s most ardent Orientalist fantasies—and an hour or two of solid dialectical entertainment.
To celebrate the release of The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, we’re giving away a total of 14 Žižek books. You could win this entire Žižek library, including everything from his recent tome on dialectical materialism – Less Than Nothing – to Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lacan: (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock). Look at the books you can win here!
We are also giving away tickets to a screening of The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology for a special screening with a Q&A with the director Sophie Fiennes at the ICA in London on Saturday 5 October, 6pm.
How it works:
There are just five questions, each relating to Žižek’s writings and films. The first person to email with all five correct answers will win the full Žižek backlist plus one pair of tickets to a screening of The Pervert's Guide to Ideology. We will also be offering four runner-up prizes of Žižek’s recently published Less Than Nothing and The Year of Dreaming Dangerously plus one pair of tickets to the screening of The Pervert's Guide to Ideology each.
Slavoj Žižek has been interviewed by Al Jazeera to give his unique perspective on the tumultuous changes happening in the world financial and political systems. In an extensive conversation with Tom Ackerman, Žižek discussed the Arab Spring, London Riots and the Occupy movement, as well as the various financial and political crises across the world from Europe to India. Throughout the discussion, Žižek explored the themes of violence across the political spectrum and his irresistible desire to provoke friends and enemies alike.
Visit Al Jazeera to view the interview in situ.
Žižek also visited St Marks bookshop to discuss his views on the Occupy Wall Street protest.