“In short, the wager of the Western thought is that radical negativity (whose
first and immediate expression is egalitarian terror) is not condemned to remain
a short ecstatic outburst after which things have to return to normal; on the
contrary, radical negativity, this undermining of every traditional hierarchic
order, can articulate itself in a new positive order in which it acquires the
stability of a new form of life.”

“One can view it as a disorderly collection of the uninvolved with little meaning or as a decentralized network of radical opposition to the prevailing hegemony.”

I would like to use this two points as a lead in for a quick point regarding the present protests, after which I do not think “business as usual” will resume.

What we see in #ows movement is the hysteric’s discourse, a rejection of the naive notion that “it is because it is” and a demand for the Master to prove that “it is because…I say so.” In other words, this is an attempt to prod the Master (wasn’t it in an early #ows charter to chant our “one demand” until Obama is forced to recognize it?) until they are forced to prove the authority of their authority.

It is easy to see why this is necessary. For the hysteric, the world lacks substance. For those looking at the news in the 2000’s, the political arena lacks substance. I have heard it described as a complete charade, and speaking personally, politics since the Bush era have appeared to me in the form of a bitter joke. The current mass hysteria is demanding that our leaders actually lead.

However, #ows is not a coherent poltical platform. There is no consensus and anyone claiming to be the leader of these protests or to represent its core values is a fraud. This is precisly the denial of identity that is hysteria, and it is more than ok, it is necessary.

What we reject is monopoly. What we reject is “lowest common denominator” politics. What we reject is conformity, the status quo, and “omnibus truth,” (via Kierkegaard).

Out of this rejection is the voice of a group of people united by difference. We are united by a celebration of difference. I suppose this is the legacy of US counter-culture and sub-cultural breeding, a socio-historical block dedicated to splintering and united in solidarity by that very splintering. I don’t think we should lose sight of the fact that at the center of #ows’s “moral clarity” is its championing of the concrete individual.

The “negativity” of #ows is its lack of a consensus, its lack of a cogent “people’s platform,” but in line with what Zizek and Rob say, it is turning that very lack into a foundation. #ows is strong through its chaotic diversity, not in spite of it.

It is the present gamble that the people are able to become a People precisely through their uncommonality. We recognize the irreconcialable individuals that compose any group.

It is the moment that #ows is co-opted by a narrow purpose or charismatic leadership that we will know it is over, that our revolt has “sold out,” but right now it is just the beginning.

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