These early philosophical writings underpinned the Chinese revolutions and their clarion calls to insurrection remain some of the most stirring of all time. Drawing on a dizzying array of references from contemporary culture and politics, Zizek's firecracker commentary reaches unsettling conclusions about the place of Mao's thought in the revolutionary canon.
©2007 Verso (editorial matter), Slavoj Zizek (P)2011 Audible Ltd
My five stars are for the editors, not Mao. The Revolutions Series is one of the best things Audible has offered. No matter what your political perspective, it is both pathetic and dangerous that Americans know so little about Marxist theory and practice. Or worse, think they know what they don???t. Marxism was one of the most influential lines of thought throughout the 20th century. It shaped the politics of half the globe, and continues to be a viable critique of the modern world. (After the trillion-dollar smash-and-grab job of 2008, isn???t it at least fair to say that the jury is still out on the Triumph of Capitalism?) If you want the Mao that charmed colleges students in the 70s, skip to the last chapters for poetically digressive essays on everything from dialectics, Chinese philosophy, and the errors of Stalin to the likelihood of horses evolving hands. If you prefer to despise the Mao of the great famines and the cultural revolution, you???ll find plenty of ominously vainglorious twaddle. It is so revealing now to listen to the elevated air of scientific certainty that once pervaded communist ideology. And to recall the violent political conflicts that gave monstrous birth to nominally Marxist governments. (The Trotsky book in the series is even more brutally revealing.) Even as many of these erudite works were being written, preventable famines raged and millions were being swallowed by history. As always, Zizek is amusing and provocative. His introductory essay characterizes Mao as Marxism???s ???Lord of Misrule,??? who betrays Marxism by his failure to grasp Hegel???s and Engel???s ???negation of the negation,??? which presumably leaves him mired in plain old negation. Or not. As Heidegger used to say, ???the nothing nothings.??? And so didn???t Mao, asserts Zizek. Even if you are not an avid dialectician, you may find this a fascinating document from the mists of the 20th century.
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