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Refusing to Wait for the Political Moment: An Alternative Judaic Reality

Dr. Anya Topolski Human beings are creatures of the what ifOur distinctive ability to be creative, curious and to imagine when unfettered by fear lead us to wonder, what if things had been otherwise? It is this question that needs to be asked in order to consider what is a political moment? Proof of this claim lies in the assumptions hidden within the title of this conference. Is there is a political moment to be awaited? What if the political were dissociated from the notion of waiting and reinvigorated by the notions of power, participation and plurality? While such passivity is desirable for liberalism, it is certainly not conducive to an understanding of political action. Furthermore, what if we reject the liberal reduction of the political to a particular spatial-temporal moment orchestrated from above? Are not all moments of human relationality which are marked by power potentially political? What if the place of the political was not externalised and exploited by means of economics wouldnt that mean that it could not be emptied out? It is in fact this claim, rooted in a deconstructive chain of what ifs that I intend to explore in this contribution. Notions such as the hollowing out of politics and depoliticisation implicitly accept the liberal paradigm of a depersonalised polis. It is my contention that the marginal Judaic paradigm presents a historically based philosophical alternative to the Christian constructed liberal state. This reflective model creates a space to truly imagine a political what if characterised by an appreciation of alterity; a relationality that grounds an ethic of respond-ability (responsibility rooted in action), and most importantly an ethos of hope. Through an exploration of this Judaic perspective, I consider a historically based alternative reality that does not accept the Liberal-Christian political compromise marked by the turn into the self, fear of difference and patient passivity which has seeped into the norm of waiting for a political moment.