Earlier this month Alan Johnson (of the Euston Manifesto and liberal interventionist journal Democratiya) made a blog post on the website of Dissent. In it Johnson opposes the democratic proceduralist approach of Norberto Bobbio to Slavoj Zizek’s ‘authoritarian leftism.’ Making a point of Zizek’s democratically irresponsible revolutionary messianism, Johnson quotes the following: “Revolutionary politics is not a matter of opinions but of the truth on behalf of which one often is compelled to disregard the ‘opinion of the majority’ and to impose the revolutionary will against it.”
Unfortunately Johnson draws a straw-man picture of Zizek’s political arguments as laid out in his many works (including the more recent First as Tragedy, Then as Farce), and one has to wonder something else. Isn’t there a double standard in play when Zizek’s rhetorical flourishes about anti-democratic revolutionary terror are condemned, all the while many of the writers for Democratiya supported a unilateral push for regime change in Iraq that certainly disregarded the majority opinion of the world? As many have pointed out over the years, the neoconservative fascination with regime change in the Middle East certainly had a Trotskyite character of its own. By his own reasoning, does this make Johnson more of a Zizekian than he is aware of?