Occupy Dame Street as slow-motion general strike? Justifying optimism in the wake of Ireland’s failed multitudinal moment
This article is an attempt to use the example of the Irish ‘Occupy Dame Street’ (ODS) movement’s encounter with the basic question of its own strategic orientation toward the concept of the event to think through some of the issues arising in Hardt and Negri’s recent works, Multitude (2005) and Declaration (2012). The basic point put forward is that while Hardt and Negri’s account of the nature of hegemony in Late-Capitalist globalization may constitute a useful aid for contemporary horizontalist social movements seeking to defend the common from further assault, it adopts nevertheless an overly idealistic appraisal of the potential of the multitude to spontaneously self-actualize as a
counterforce to that power. Hardt and Negri believe, rightly, that an authentic politics of the multitude is necessarily a non-teleological one. However, they mistakenly conclude that this position must commit them to a noninterventionist philosophy of addressing the subject of the multitude, ironically thereby further deferring the event of the multitude’s self-realization. This is a serious problem because, as the example of ODS will attest, emerging articulations within the horizon of the multitude constantly run the risk of embracing an ‘eventist’ political orientation while perhaps missing the ‘lesson’ that their encounter with the common is supposed to teach them. As such, given that several of the multitude’s ‘real world’ objectives do have only limited windows for their possible achievement, we may find ourselves struck by a sense both of the stakes of multitude’s delayed development, and the urgent need for realistic suggestions in catalyzing its emergence.