AT: heidegger

Zizek, defense of Lost Causes, 08

p. 174

The problem here is not terror as such — our task today is precisely to reinvent emancipatory terror. The problem lies elsewhere: egalitar­ian political “extremism” or “excessive radicalism” should always be read as a phenomenon of ideologico-polideal displacement: as an index of its opposite, of a limitation, of a refusal effectively to “go to tbe end.” What was the Jacobins’ recourse to radical “terror” if not a kind of hysterical acting-out bearing witness to their inability to disturb the very fundamentals of economic order (private property, etc.)? And does the same not go even for the so-called “excesses” of political correctness? Do they also not display the retreat from disturbing the effective (economic and other) causes of racism and sexism? Perhaps, then, the time has come to render problematic the standard topos, shared by practically all “postmodern” leftists, accord­ing to which political “totalitarianism” somehow results from the predominance of material production and technology over intersub­jective communication and/or symbolic practice, as if the root of political terror resides in the fact that the “principle” of instrumental reason, of the technological exploitation ol nature, is extended also to society, so that people are treated as raw stuff to be transformed into New Men. What if it is the exact opposite which holds? What if political “terror” signals precisely that the sphere of (material) pro­duction is denied its autonomy and subordinated to political logic? Is it not that all political “terror,” from the Jacobins to the Maoist Cultural Revolution, presupposes the foreclosure of production proper, its reduction to the terrain of the political struggle? In other words, what such a postmodern perspective effectively amounts to is nothing less than the abandonment of Marx’s key insight into how the political struggle is a spectacle which, in order to be deciphered, has to be referred to the sphere of the economy (“if Marxism had any analytical value for political theory, was it not in the insistence that the problem of freedom was contained in the social relations implicitly declared ‘unpolitical’ — that is, naturalized—in liberal discourse?”)