· Made his international reputation as a commentator on Marx and Marxism – specifically on what he calls the “disfiguration of Marxism operated by Marxists.”
· His critique of Marxism is twofold:
globalization, trans-national corporations, imperialism, the role of the
· as an irresistible and irreversible economic and cultural force
· has produced a new global order and a new form of sovereignty
· this system of global exchange is effectively regulated by Empire, which is becoming the new sovereign power that governs the world
· “economic relations have become more autonomous from political controls, and consequently, that [form of] political sovereignty has declined.”
· Is globalization good or bad for society?
o Is this new era of globalization a time of liberation in which the capitalist economy is freed from the restrictions and distortions that political forces have imposed on it?
o Is it the closing of the institutional channels through which workers and citizens can influence and protect themselves from the cold logic of capitalism?
o Hardt/Negri: Neither. It is what it is
Globalization and the new form of Sovereignty
· What is the present situation?
o The sovereignty of the nation-state has progressively declined
o The nation-state has less power to regulate the economy and impose its authority over the economy
o However, that does not mean that sovereignty as such has declined: “Our basic hypothesis is that sovereignty has taken a new form, composed of a series of national and supranational organisms united under a single logic of rule. This new global form of sovereignty is what we call Empire.”
Empire is not Imperialism
· Imperialism is tied to the old model of political sovereignty in which imperialism was an extension of the nation-state beyond its boundaries.
· In contrast to imperialism, Empire has no territorial center of power, does not rely on fixed boundaries. “It is a decentered and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers.”
What is the
Proponents see the
Detractors see the
Hardt/Negri: Both of these views are based on an outdated
model of political sovereignty: “The
That being said, the
The Supersession of Empire
· “The passage to Empire and its processes of globalization offer new possibilities to the forces of liberation.”
· “Our political task . . . is not simply to resist these processes [of globalization] but to reorganize them and redirect them towards new ends.”
· The Multitude has potential as a radically democratic counter-Empire to struggle and contest the dominant Empire.
· The Multitude represent new democratic forms that “will one day take us through and beyond Empire (similar to Marx’s notion of the autodeconstruction of capitalism, the idea that capitalism plants the seeds of its own destruction, the political strategy of turning capitalism against itself. Or from Kee: Marxism is not the simple rejection of capitalism, but its supersesssion.)
The Imminent Crisis of Empire
· “the becoming of Empire is actually realized on the basis . . . of its decadence and decline.”
· “Empire is born and shows itself as crisis.”