Zizek and Kotkin: Some Notes

Now I found this discussion quite fascinating: One) I have never understood Zizek’s defense of the French terror, but his condemnation of Stalinism on the same terms always fascinates me. I have suspected that this is somehow he’s loyalty to Hegel even over Marx. That said, Zizek is right about the Bolshevik’s belief systems. 2) I am fascinated by Kotkin’s defense of social democratic model while seeming to make capitalism the only choice forever, and I think this view that only Bolshevik communism was truly anti-capitalist, leads one to defend capitalism as some kind of natural structure.

That said, Zizek doesn’t always push Kotkin enough, but he does get Kotkin to get into real and substantive history beyond just sort of anti-communist platitudes. I think this is why we need to seriously address the history of the Soviet Union and not make excuses for any of it. This gives too much ground to those who think there was only ever two or four possibilities, and that one simply works while others will lead to tragedy.

I actually agree with Zizek on the sheer arrogance of Trotsky and Kotkin’s realistic portrait of that fact, and the fact that rhetorical and tactical skill was not enough to really run a state or a world-wide revolution.


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