The Subject of Politics: The Non-Identificational Aspects of Occupy Wall Street

  • Abstract:

    It has been year and a half since the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement that presented itself as the representatives of the „99%“, that is, the generic people over whom governments and corporations practiced their power. They made no explicit demands but instead presented themselves and their actions as demands. Having refused the connection between the hegemonic language and themselves, they assumed a non-identitarian position within the political field. From the side of those in power came extensive attempts to label the rapidly spreading movement as “anarchistic”, “criminal”, “terroristic”, etc. This kind labeling enables the governments to include the protesters within the hegemonic language by way of exclusion. In the paper I will examine how and if the protesters have managed to hold on to their non-identitarian, generic and evental positions. I will use the theories of Alain Badiou (especially the concept of ‘event’) and Giorgio Agamben (the biopolitical structure of inclusive exclusion). As an almost perfect example of emancipatory political movement, Occupy Wall Street could enable us to evaluate Badiou’s and Agamben’s concepts when put in an empirical context.