In the world financial crisis
many people remember Karl Marx. Capital is in Germany a well-sold book.
In Ljubljana, the publisher Sanje decided to issue a new edition
of the Communist Manifesto. About why is the text again interesting,
about the crisis of the Left and about the critical review of the
communist idea, we talked in the former Marx Park,
today’s Miklosic Park, opposite to the Court, with Slavoj Žižek, a Slovene philosopher. In times of recession, when more and more
people are in social distress, the ideal of abundant and dignified life
is getting stronger. With the collapse of communism,
it didn’t die. It’s not a question whether it will
again break out, the question is when and in what form.
That is why people read the Manifesto. It’s topical because it reminds us
of a topical idea. It reminds us of a dimension which has gotten lost
in the euphoria of freedom, democracy, and capitalism. It reminds us that the problem
which bothered Marx remains. At the same time, if you read
the Manifesto, it is clear that the solution which Marx saw
doesn’t work today. Žižek, who declares himself a Leninist,
thinks we are not enough critical of communism. I am always surprised, when I read
the history of Stalin-ism, of the Gulag, not that the authors are too critical,
but that they are not critical enough. The real tragedy is not in the sense
that an evil man did evil things. The real tragedy is in that from a “noble idea”
sprung a horror, sometimes worse than the Nazi one. Here is the importance of the reprint.
Not, “Let us go back to it.” We must ask all the harsh questions.
Not only, is this still topical, but to what extent was
Marx’s vision of the future complicit,
how did it help to make way, for the catastrophe of the
20th century. Stalin-ism, Gulags, and so on … We must ask all these questions. He is critical of saloon leftist intellectuals
who are loosing touch with reality and taking no interest in real problems. Evidently, the Right doesn’t know
how to solve the communist trauma. It is obsessed with it,
as if it needs it as a sparing partner. The job of the new Left will be
to finally clear up the phenomenon, not only of Stalin-ism, but of the
whole project of the Left in the 20th century. Marx’s recipe is not the solution.
Neither is liberal capitalism. But ideas are opening space
for thought. We must start from the beginning.
We must rethink everything. What should we do?
We start from scratch.