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Technologies of Critique$
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Willy Thayer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823286744

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823286744.001.0001

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Benjamin: Pure Strike and Critique

Benjamin: Pure Strike and Critique

Chapter:
34 Benjamin: Pure Strike and Critique
Source:
Technologies of Critique
Author(s):

Willy Thayer

, John Kraniauskas
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823286744.003.0034

This chapter discusses Walter Benjamin's view on why Georges Sorel has the merit of having distinguished between two different kinds of strike: the general political strike and the general proletarian strike. It also examines how Sorel differentiated two kinds of violence: foundational violence and purely destructive violence. The general political strike establishes the law, encourages reform, and feeds the matrix of exception as the rule in which progress as historical norm is lived. In contrast, the proletarian general strike sets itself the sole task of destroying state power. The chapter also covers Benjamin's pure strike or pure violence, which does not privilege or negate temporal vectors, impugn a “now” to affirm an after, nor jump from one homogeneous present to another.

Keywords:   Walter Benjamin, Georges Sorel, general political strike, general proletarian strike, foundational violence, destructive violence

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