Musings on Hardt & Negri’s Empire

Since I have grossly neglected to , I will hear share a few last notes on my reading of Hardt & Negri’s Empire. Citations will have quotation marks accordingly and my own thoughts shall be introduced in asterisks. Enjoy.

– “Sovereignty operates through the striation of the social field (binaries of inside/outside). Capitalism operates on a plane of immanence (network)”. (p.326)

-“The mass refusal of the disciplinary regime of material production was not only a negative expression but a moment of creation, reflecting Nietzsche’s transvaluation of values”. (p.272-274)

-[Resistance needs a body that is incapable of adapting to family life, to factory discipline, to the regulations of a traditional sex life, and so forth. (If you find your body refusing these ‘normal’ modes of life, don’t despair – realize your gift!) – (p.216)

-“Endeavour to be a human soul, above and beneath classification…The refusal of work and authority, or really the refusal of voluntary servitude, is the beginning of liberatory politics”. (p.205)

-“The new democracy had to destroy the trasncendental idea of the nation with all its racial division and create its own people, defined not by old heritages but by a new ethics of the construction and expansion of the community. The new nation could not be the product of the political and cultural management of hybrid identities”. (p.173)
*see Nicholas Rose’s articles “The Death of the Social” for more interesting insights
*Also need to solve the problem that liberal institutions as part of “the social” formulate fixed and regular (everyday) subjectivities that force people to self-regulate their actions (security and aleatory, Agamben’s ban). Institutions as necessary evil or imperative to realizing human development (ex: moral progress).

*Power as potentia for H&N versus Foucault’s productive subjugating power, Machiavelli’s virtu, Tilly’s and Nietzche’s version of violent subjugating power. More closely aligned with Fukuyama’s thymos (desire for recognition) and Mill’s human development/progress.

*War and hostility are perpetuated by the belief in the fixity and unitary nature of identity, rather than by its hybridity.

*Ideas are not meant to be spatialized, but universalized.  Concepts such as freedom are bounded concepts as per Hannah Arendt, as in nationalized under liberal democracies. Ideas should only be applicable to the individual.

*The masses as a social construct. Can one identify the self outside the community? Hardt & Negri make the claim that the “multitude” must make claims for global citizenship. Is there such a thing as uniting under the banner of humanity? Is this possible given the failure of the Rights of Man under the French of Revolution, meant to be universalized but never actuated? Critique: defaces ideological warfare of Soviets and papacy, but still adheres to Useful concept of need for re-appropriation of self-control and self production compared to the overarching bureaucratic, disciplinary, and securitizing management by the state.

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