For quite a while now I have been very much against critique as a privileged mode of politics. This stems from my Badiousian influence (and perhaps my innate ‘aristocratic sensibility’ as my brother Gene would call it): the emphasis on construction in the real as opposed to the endless work of critique. What this has lead to in my politics is a dismissal of reading news that isn’t left-wing biased, watching Hollywood cinema or TV and ultimately not trying to understand the logic that is (more or less) subjectively experienced by individuals who uphold an ideological position that I don’t agree with.
This is changing, as I realise the importance of the slow work of ideology critique yet again. I suppose one realises that simply campaigning around issues is no more or less ineffective as more abstract ideology critique at this point and that the two must go hand in hand. As my friend Dom has said “Activism is the opiate of the socialists.”
Nobody has a pure, tabula rasa response to, say, calls for refugee rights. What Zizek in particular does so well is get inside the subjective logic of the system and then bring it down from within. (Sometimes I wish he’d just have a bit more clarity (and emphasis) on the economics…). We need to get inside opposing arguments, really understand them, only to a) tease out the fundamental inconsistencies and b) to begin creating links between what is known by, and makes sense for, the subject in question, and the different (say Marxist) analysis. It is not – yet – a matter of sheer denunciation. Of course, I’m not saying to be so kind to hard-core right-wingers or Capos or such…
So, bring on the critique! Let’s just keep an eye on the economy and a foot on the street too!