Zizek in Manhattan: An intellectual charlatan masquerading as “left” World Socialist Web Site - Bill Van Auken, Adam Haig - Nov 11, 2010
Zizek is an outgrowth of a reactionary anti-Marxist and anti-materialist tradition that descends from the irrationalism of Schelling, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger. He eclectically draws on the neo-Nietzschean and neo-Heideggerian thought of 1960s French post-structuralism, having adopted the ideas of its leading intellectuals—especially the post-Heideggerian psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan—when he was a graduate student…
Besides irrationalism, post-structuralism and psychoanalysis, a more recent influence on Zizek has been the septuagenarian French philosopher Alain Badiou, an admirer of Mao, who advocates the petty-bourgeois concept of “politics without party” and maintains the voluntarist notion that “we must go from politics to economy and never from economy to politics.”
Zizek has expressed similar-sounding ideas and also adopts Badiou’s mystical concept of the Event—a self-relating and self-inclusive phenomenon that appears to those who see themselves in its call, as it is characterized in Zizek’s The Parallax View (2009). …
That a charlatan and anti-Marxist like Zizek is promoted as an important philosopher by a whole range of ex-radicals is a troubling symptom of the deep intellectual and political disorientation of this social milieu.
The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution, and the ... The Guardian - Richard Wolin - Nov 12, 2010
Curiously the Maoists had missed out on 1968 itself. Blinded by dogmatism, they assumed that an event led by students could not be serious…
There are no Maoists left now except for the unrepentant – but now bizarrely fashionable – philosopher Alain Badiou, who is still willing to defend the Khmer Rouge with Mao's chilling comment "the revolution is not a dinner party". But Wolin's book is not just about a strange few years of political folly. He argues that by a process of unintended consequences Maoism allowed a generation of French political activists to rediscover the language of human rights. This is not a totally original argument, but Wolin expounds it effectively. The Maoists might live with "
in our heads", as the saying went, but their political activism also caused them to explore what French society was really like. China
Following Mao's dictum that "one must get down from the horse in order to pluck the flower", many idealistic young Maoist radicals went to work in factories. In the same spirit Foucault helped to found the Prison Information Group (GIP) to investigate and denounce the conditions in French prisons. This experience led him to substitute Sartre's idea of the all-knowing "universal" intellectual with that of the "specific" intellectual who comments only on concrete cases that he knows about. In another curious twist of history, it was through a Maoist-influenced group called Vive la Révolution that homosexual liberation first entered French radical politics in 1971.
For Wolin, then, if France is today less authoritarian than it once was, with a more active associative life where many people are engaged in causes such as the defence of sans-papiers – illegal immigrants – that is one of the legacies of the strange Maoist moment. If that's true, no wonder Sarkozy dislikes May '68 so much. Julian Jackson's books include France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944(
It has been three decades since the secularization thesis predicted religion's role would decline in human sociopolitical life.