Slavoj Žižek on Stalinism and Fascism

Slavoj Žižek on Stalinism and Fascism


SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: More seriously I liked very
much what you said about comparing Stalinism and fascism. And I say this again as a radical leftist. It always when people just throw them together
into the same category of totalitarianism, I agree there are good reasons for it, but
the whole functioning of the system was different. Let’s take the most extreme example of Stalinism,
the purges. Why this compulsion to have people, victims
accused, publicly admit, confess, you know, Bukharin and so on, confess their sins? You cannot imagine the same thing in Nazi
Germany. It would have been meaningless within the
Nazi universe to organize a big trial against the Jews where the Jewish leader would confess
to their plot against Germany, it’s not a part of their universe. STEPHEN KOTKIN: What would be the comparison
would be Himmler and Heydrich and Goering confessing to being Soviet spies in public
and then being executed for that. That would be the equivalent of what happened
in Stalin’s— SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: But again as you said, that
doesn’t happen there. STEPHEN KOTKIN: It’s unimaginable. SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: Another thing. I read in Anne Applebaum’s gulag book, even
in the darkest terror period up to early fifties when Stalin was still alive, she writes about
this, I hope it’s true, I don’t have any other means to check it up, once a year on
Stalin’s birthday all the prisoners were collected and had to sign collectively a telegram—gulag
prisoners to Stalin, wishing him. You cannot imagine Nazi collecting all the
Jews in Auschwitz to send a telegram to Hitler. STEPHEN KOTKIN: I’ll give you that. You’ve got something there. SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: Now, my explanation is a very
sad one. That’s the perverted remainder of enlightenment. In Stalinism you can be the lowest trash,
vermin, shit, but at the same time part of you participates in universal reason, and
of course it’s all staged, I know that, but you know the universe of Stalinism is
still a crazy universe of again universal enlightenment where even the lowest roadside
trash can be forced to participate in this universal true freedom. Nazism is a different universe, but now the
last question and then maybe we should admit the fact which I will never admit within myself
is that we not alone, that there are other people here.

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