Online reading group of Antonio Negri & Hardt's 'Empire'

Dear all,

we are canvassing for participation in an online reading group discussing
the relatively new book by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt: 'Empire'. The
book has already received considerable acclaim and criticism. In all, its
attempt to present a new fangled framework to understand capital and its
effects represents a important contribution to debates that revolve around
these issues. Negri himself has not ceased to generate contention: in the
70's for leadership of 'terrorist' autonomist groups in Italy; more recently
for his postmodernism. Moreover, Negri's concepts are used increasingly in
fringe political movements such as Ya Basta.

Though the book opens from a somewhat daunting IR perspective, it soon
elaborates a unique analysis of globalisation which reflects a qualitative
change in political right, represented by a new juridical order. Interwoven
herein is a profound critique of power that draws upon conventional
political theory (Hobbes, Machiavelli, Spinoza) as well as a radical
interpretation of postmodern/postfordist theories of capital. Unique in the
sense that the multitude in its raw energy of being is seen as the dynamic
and constitutive factor of responsive forms of sovereignty. This retains a
theme of a radical interpretation of subjectivity that dates to Negri's own
reading of Marx's Grundrisse, lectures given at Althusser's behest at the
d'Ulm (published as Marx Beyond Marx).

Whereas we hope all the interesting dimensions of Empire will be
investigated, we should point out that one of the exciting aspects of its
attempted synthesis is the work's interdisciplinarity. For us this presents
an excellent opportunity to bring our different respective knowledges to
bear on a singular corpus. It will no doubt shed light on the efficacy of
the different theoretical marriages Negri and Hardt try to perform on the
raw materials drawn from Marxism, sociology, philosophy, economics,
political science and much more. This is a good opportunity to get our minds
working collectively on issues that require collective solutions. With a
book so political as Empire we will no doubt enhance our experience of the
complexity of this endeavour.

The book is available from Harvard University Press in Hardback. It is
expensive (£24 from Amazon) so maybe we can work out a way to distribute
photocopies or group purchases. It is also available in French (Exils
essais, 150 Ff). It will undoubtedly be available in university libraries.

But please forward this to others you know who might be interested or please
write back for more info.
Please address your responses to;


And we will add you to the list. The structure of the reading group will be
decided collectively.
We look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards,

Arianna Bove and Erik Empson

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