Occupy Wall Street’s most important political lesson

We recall what was perhaps the most pervasive and frustrated accusation waged against the Occupy Wall Street movement: that it operated without an articulated political agenda, program, manifesto, and set of specific goals and objectives. But while in certain respects this is inarguable, at the same time OSW represented, or better, demonstrated—in the very form of its particular spatial presentation (occupation)—how it is that “to occupy” can mean to come together and to be occupied with belonging (being-with and -together), in public, amongst other anonymous strangers and passersby, while at the same time “not being preoccupied with ends.” It is the latter phrasing, which I take from Jean-Luc Nancy, that can begin to serve as one definition of the political in its praxis and spacing. It is through this non-destinal and inoperative praxis (when it comes to the imperative for “ends”) that a group is capable of being formed, and in such a way that the group and its formation (assemblage, occupation) together can be defined as political. The contention (which this blog is an attempt to affirm) is that perhaps before we speak of a “coming community” we might need to give ourselves over to the idea of an “unbecoming community.” OSW was one of its more recent manifestations.

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