So this is my point against accelerationism. That no, it will have to come to this detour — I was shocked by this. I know one interview by Negri, where he says he walks by a company — a fabric factory in Venezia, the industrial part of Venice — where they’re closing down the store and he says: "Look, they’re dead, but they don’t know that they’re dead, all those oppressed workers". No, I think that it’s not as simple as that. I think that if anything, this pseudo-Deleuzian Negri-Hardt model of revolution, multitude, dynamics and so on, its pace, I think that their mode of revolution is past, and they’re aware of it. You know, half a year ago Negri gave an interview where he says that we should stop with this multitudes, with no-power, we have to rehabilitate two things: the idea of taking political power and the idea of not just — Deleuzians like this horizontal connection, no hierarchy, just multitudes connecting — no, Negri now discovered leadership, hierarchical organization — I’m all for that. And so, now people will tell me: "Then are you for Putin?" No, I think that the problem with this anarchic left is that it isn’t that simple: to solve the problems of ecology and so on we need very strong large organizations, the problem is precisely how to do it not in the old totalitarian way.
We have to reinvent power structures. If not, for me the model of "What went wrong?" is Venezuela. Chávez tried to do local democracy, it all worked because there was Chávez, one strong leader. So my irony’s over always those who want more decentralized democracy end up focusing on ultra-strong leader who guarantees this.
Gleb: Since we’re talking about contemporary philosophy, could you name three living philosophers… who are alive, whom we should follow or read?
Žižek: Ah, you know, I would prefer to name three living philosophers who are dead. [Laughs] You know, I don’t think there are any big names at this moment. The last big name was maybe Alain Badiou, but I’m highly critical of him. Although we’re good friends, I simply don’t follow his model. And even in analytic philosophy in United States, even in this more leftist social-democratic tradition — look, Habermas’s outside, he’s the living dead. And that’s why he’s personally very traumatised, he’s simply an old eurocentric Enlightenment guy. It’s not just Habermas, but the whole Frankfurt school, did you notice how they totally avoid the problem of Stalinism? They’re obsessed with fascism. Okay, Herbert Marcuse wrote a book called Soviet Marxism, but it still doesn’t provide an answer.
There is another fashion I’m totally opposed to — the so-called analytic Hegelianism. The big star there is Robert Brendon, the big book is Making It Explicit — basically they read Hegel not as a big metaphysician, but as a theorist who systematized all the rules of our discourse: the rules on how to argue, how to think — they epistemologized Hegel. The other thinker close to this movement is Robert Pippin: I have contacts with him, I like him, but he’s way too liberal for me, and he secretly reduces Hegel to Kant.