(Johnson 2011) The power of nonsense: Slavoj Zizek’s left-fascist farce

Johnson, Alan. The power of nonsense: Slavoj Žižek’s left-fascist farce. Jacobin. 2011 Summer; 3–4:18–21. Available from: http://jacobinmag.com/summer-2011/the-power-of-nonsense/.

Johnson defends the vital role of liberal democratic institutions in radical politics against Žižek’s “The Jacobin spirit”. He characterizes Žižek’s position as “left fascism”, and maintains that Žižek has misconstrued the legacy not only of Marx, who held that:

the working class can come to power only under the form of the democratic republic. This is even the specific form for the dictatorship of the proletariat.

but even of Lenin, who argued in “Left-wing communism: an infantile disorder” that Marxists in Western bourgeois democracies must be prepared to work within bourgeois parliamentary institutions. Both Marx and Lenin believed that revolution must be a process of self-emancipation of the proletariat, which comprises the vast majority of the people, and cannot be imposed on the unenlightened masses as an “educational dictatorship” by the violent acts of a determined revolutionary elite.


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