Revolution #260, February 19, 2012
A Challenge from Raymond Lotta to Slavoj Žižek: Let’s Debate the Nature of Imperialism, Prospects for Revolution, and the Meaning of the Communist Project
The uprising in Egypt and the Occupy movements have ushered in a new wave of protest and resistance; they have also opened a vital conversation and debate about the way the world is, and the way it might be different.
In these times, you have put yourself forward as a voice of and force for radical thinking: writing on the summer rebellions in England, speaking to protesters at Zuccotti Park, appearing on the Charlie Rose show. At this very juncture of upsurge and questioning, you have also launched an irresponsible and unprincipled attack (online at platypus1917.org/2011/12/01/) on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism and on the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.
I have written a reply ("Vilifying Communism and Accommodating Imperialism: The Sham and Shame of Slavoj Žižek's 'Honest Pessimism'"). I am now challenging you to a public debate:
- Professor Žižek, you say there is no “theoretical substance” to Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. I say you are willfully blinding yourself to, and consciously seeking to close off exploration of, what is in fact the viable and visionary alternative to the horror and irrationality of capitalism-imperialism.
- You say that “communism failed absolutely” in the 20th century. My response is that the Soviet revolution of 1917-56 and the Chinese revolution of 1949-76 opened a whole new emancipatory chapter in human history—and we can go further and do better in a new stage of communist revolution...precisely on the basis of applying Avakian’s new synthesis.
- You make the claim that the U.S. has been reduced to “a local superpower” and that “there is no longer the [imperialist] metropolis screwing the Third World.” I argue that this is not only false, but an excuse for chauvinist accommodation to Western imperialism.
Professor Žižek, let us argue these points in the public square. I will be happy to hold this debate in New York or in London.
This debate speaks to big questions on people’s minds. It is about intellectual responsibility…human possibility…and the challenges and pathways of creating a world in which human beings can truly flourish.
I urge progressive scholars and professors, students and activists, and all who recognize the importance of these issues: spread this call and let Slavoj Žižek know that this debate needs to happen.
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