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Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empireby Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
Synopses & Reviews
With Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri established themselves as visionary theoreticians of the new global order. They presented a profound new vision of a world in which the old system of nation-states has surrendered much of its hegemony to a supranational, multidimensional network of power they call empire. Empire penetrates into more aspects of life over more of the world than any traditional empire before it, and it cannot be beheaded for it is multinoded. The network is the empire and the empire is the network.
Now, in Multitude, Hardt and Negri offer up an inspiring vision of how the people of the world can use the structures of empire against empire itself. With the enormous intellectual depth, historical perspective, and positive, enabling spirit that are the authors' hallmark, Multitude lays down in three parts a powerful case for hope. Part I, "War," examines the darkest aspects of empire. We are at a crisis point in human affairs, when the new circuits of power have grown beyond the ability of existing circuits of political sovereignty and social justice to contain them.
A mind-set of perpetual war predominates in which all wars are police actions and all police actions are wars — counterinsurgencies against the enemies of empire. In Part II, the book's central section, "Multitude," they explain how empire, by colonizing and interconnecting more areas of human life ever more deeply, has actually created the possibility for democracy of a sort never before seen. Brought together in a multinoded commons of resistance, different groups combine and recombine in fluid new matrices of resistance. No longer the silent, oppressed "masses," they form a multitude.
Hardt and Negri argue that the accelerating integration of economic, social, political, and cultural forces into a complex network they call the biopolitical is actually the most radical step in the liberation of humankind since the Industrial Revolution broke up the old feudal order. Finally, in "Democracy," the authors put forward their agenda for how the global multitude can form a robust biopolitical commons in which democracy can truly thrive on a global scale.
Exhilarating in its ambition, range, and depth of interpretive insight, Multitude consolidates Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's stature as the most exciting and important political philosophers at work in the world today.
"Empire (2000) — the surprise hit that made its term for U.S global hegemony stick and presciently set the agenda for post — 9/11 political theory on the left — was written by this same somewhat unlikely duo: Hardt, an American political scientist at Duke University, and Negri, a former Italian parliament member and political exile, trained political scientist and sometime inmate of Rome's Rebibbia prison. This book follows up on Empire's promise of imagining a full-blown global democracy. Though the authors admit that they can't provide the final means for bringing that entity about (or the forms for maintaining it), the book is rich in ideas and agitational ends. The 'multitude' is Hardt and Negri's term for the earth's six billion increasingly networked citizens, an enormous potential force for 'the destruction of sovereignty in favor of democracy.' The middle section on the nature of that multitude is bookended by two others. The first describes the situation in which the multitude finds itself: 'permanent war.' The last grounds demands for and historical precursors of global democracy. Written for activists to provide a solid goal (with digressions into history and theory) toward which protest actions might move, this timely book brings together myriad loose strands of far left thinking with clarity, measured reasoning and humor, major accomplishments in and of themselves. (On sale Aug. 9)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Just the thing for those who want their earthly salvation served up by postmodern social scientists." Kirkus Reviews
"This book — which lurches from analyses of intellectual property rules for genetically engineered animals to discourses on Dostoyevsky and the myth of the golem — deals with an imaginary problem and a real problem. Unfortunately, it provides us with an imaginary solution to the real problem." Francis Fukayama, The New York Times Book Review
"A rare and exciting work of synthesis, this selection nicely blends some of the most cutting-edge scholarly work on globalization into a relatively accessible package." Booklist
"Hardt and Negri are an extraordinarily rare breed: political theorists who actually believe in people, and their power and wisdom to govern themselves. The result is an inspiring marriage of realism and idealism." Naomi Klein, author of No Logo
In their international bestseller Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri presented a grand unified vision of a world in which the old forms of imperialism are no longer effective. But what of Empire in an age of “American empire”? Has fear become our permanent condition and democracy an impossible dream? Such pessimism is profoundly mistaken, the authors argue. Empire, by interconnecting more areas of life, is actually creating the possibility for a new kind of democracy, allowing different groups to form a multitude, with the power to forge a democratic alternative to the present world order.Exhilarating in its optimism and depth of insight, Multitude consolidates Hardt and Negri’s stature as two of the most important political philosophers at work in the world today.
About the Author
Michael Hardt is a professor in the literature program at Duke University.
Antonio Negri is an independent researcher and writer and a political prisoner recently released from house arrest in Rome, Italy. He has been a lecturer in political science at the University of Paris and professor of political science at the University of Padua.
Table of Contents
Preface: Life in Common
The GLobla State of War
Biopower and Security
Samuel Huntington, Geheimrat
Birth of the New War
Revolution in Military Affairs
The Mercenary and the Patriot
Asymmetry and Full-Spectrum Dominance
The Primacy of Resistance
From the People's Army to Guerrilla Warfare
Inventing Network Struggles
From Biopower to Biopolitical Production
2.1 Dangerous Classes
The Becoming Common of Labor
The Twilight of the Peasant World
Two Italians in India
The Wealth of the Poor (or, We Are the Poors!)
Demonic Multitudes: Dostoyevsky Reads the Bible
Excursus 1: Method: In Marx's Footsteps
Death of the Dismal Science?
2.2 De Corpore
A Trip to Davos
Big Government Is Back
Life on the Market
2.3 Traces of the Multitude
The Monstrosity of the Flesh
Invasion of the Monsters
Production of the Common
Beyond Private and Public
Carnival and Movement
Mobilization of the Common
Excursus 2: Organization: Multitude on the Left
3.1 The Long March of Democracy
Crisis of Democracy in the Era of Armed Globalization
The Unfinished Democratic Project of Modernity
The Unrealized Democracy of Socialism
From Democratic Representation to GLobal Public Demands
3.2 Global Demands for Democracy
Caheirs de doléances
Convergence in Seattle
Experiments in Global Reform
Back to the Eighteenth Century!
Excursus 3: Strategy: Geopolitics and New Alliances
3.3 Democracy of the Multitude
Sovereignty and Democracy
May the Force Be with You
The New Science of Democracy: Madison and Lenin
What Our Readers Are Saying
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