Revolution in the Event: The Problem of Kairós
This article undertakes a dual task. The first is to argue that the various positions of major Marxist thinkers on revolution may be gathered under the common framework of kairós, understood as a resolutely temporal term relating to the critical time, the opportune moment that appears unexpectedly and must be seized. The second task is to question the nature of kairós in terms of its biblical, class and economic residues. An investigation of the use of the term in classical Greece reveals that it refers to both time and place, designating primarily what is in the right time and correct place. Given the class identifications of the Greek writers who deal with kairós and their subtle defences of their propertied, ruling class status, the term becomes problematic in light of these associations that trail behind it. In response, I seek to develop the political implications of the true opposite of kairós, namely ákairos, what is ill-timed and in the wrong place.