Strike! Enthusiasm in several political acts
in Political enthusiasm
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This chapter explores how to distinguish enthusiasm in political action. Considering Walter Benjamin’s essay Critique of Violence (1921), this chapter explores acts of enthusiasm, and especially the general strike. Benjamin’s discussion of the general strike draws the political imagination to what he named a “pure” politics, beyond mediation. This chapter reads the strike as a principle of political intrusion – one that is a lurking, though sublimated, enthusiasm. This reading productively problematizes the force of the strike. It extends Benjamin’s thesis, beyond any historical imagination of the general strike as the mere force of labor, instead reading the strike as an act of enthusiasm that extends and complicates Kant’s thinking, and in different ways from the Arendtian inheritance. This chapter also moves to more contemporary examples of enthusiastic acts, considering immolations, hunger strikes, and other “suicides” as similarly “general” politics, rupturing the violence of the state according to its own pathways of power.

Political enthusiasm

Partisan feeling and democracy’s enchantments

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