never

There is no hegemony and never has been. We live in cynical, posthegemonic times: nobody is very much persuaded by ideologies that once seemed fundamental to securing social order. Everybody knows, for instance, that work is exploitation or that politics is deceit. But we have always lived in posthegemonic times: social order was never in fact secured through ideology. No amount of belief in the dignity of labor or the selflessness of elected representatives could ever be enough. The fact that people no longer give up their consent in the ways in which they may once have done, and yet everything carries on much the same, only shows that consent was never really at issue. Social order is secured through habit and affect: through turning the constituent power of the multitude back on itself. It follows also that social change is never achieved through any putative counter-hegemony. No amount of adherence to a revolutionary creed or a party line can ever be enough. The fact that people no longer believe in radical change in the ways in which they may once have done does not mean that everything will carry on much the same. Social change, too, is achieved through habit and affect: through affirming the constituent power of the multitude. But change is not a matter of substituting one program for another. The multitude betrays the best-laid plans.

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