chat about NEGRI

rc-am rcollins at
Thu Apr 27 23:10:02 PDT 2000

Chris wrote:

> I've tried reading Negri but always give up after about 12 pages. Am I the
only one?

Probably not. Negri, like anyone, is difficult to understand without some familiarity with prior work, debates within which those works were written or, at the very least, a process whereby concepts and terms have become so entrenched or universalised as to no longer prompt a question as to their meaning.

Maybe you could be more specific about a passage, concepts, statement that doesn't make sense for you?

> Where does he stand these days (politically, not physically)?

Stand? On what question in particular?

Anyway, here's the publishers' spiel (below) for the latest from Negri and Hardt, and like all publishers' spiels, it should not be regarded as a substitute for the book itself -- which I have yet to read, so I reserve comment until I do. But I expect interesting and important things to think on.

Angela _________


"Imperialism as we knew it may be no more, but Empire is alive and well. It is, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri demonstrate in this bold work, the new political order of globalization. Their book shows how this emerging Empire is fundamentally different from the imperialism of European dominance and capitalist expansion in previous eras. Rather, today's Empire draws on elements of U.S. constitutionalism, with its tradition of hybrid identities and expanding frontiers.

Empire identifies a radical shift in concepts that form the philosophical basis of modern politics, concepts such as sovereignty, nation, and people. Hardt and Negri link this philosophical transformation to cultural and economic changes in postmodern society--to new forms of racism, new conceptions of identity and difference, new networks of communication and control, and new paths of migration. They also show how the power of transnational corporations and the increasing predominance of postindustrial forms of labor and production help to define the new imperial global order.

More than analysis, Empire is also an unabashedly utopian work of political philosophy, a new Communist Manifesto. Looking beyond the regimes of exploitation and control that characterize today's world order, it seeks an alternative political paradigm--the basis for a truly democratic global society."

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