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9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pompous counterfeit Marxism, 26 Jun 2012
This review is from: Empire (Paperback)
Hardt and Negri assert that the new Empire of globalisation is essentially a process of emancipation. But it is superficial to see globalisation as basically a political process. It is also a ridiculous prettification of the political processes actually occurring in the world. Is the partition of Iraq part of a process of emancipation? The coups in Honduras and Paraguay? The destruction of Yugoslavia? The `ever closer union' of the EU?

According to Mark Thwaite's review, Negri and Hardt's new Empire "is the result of the transformation of modern capitalism into a set of power relationships we endlessly replicate that transcend the nation state (so anti-imperialism is out as a progressive politics)." Thwaite claims this book is `a key post-Marxist text'. All it shows is that post-Marxism is really just anti-Marxism.

So anti-imperialism is `out' - very comforting for the empire's owners. This is to fetishise empire and to make it impossible to transcend. Hardt and Negri's ultra-leftism comes full circle. Full of revolutionary rhetoric, they end up worshipping the empire they claim to oppose.

Hardt and Negri use the work of French post-structuralist theorists such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Jacques Derrida. A reviewer from France wrote, "There is no 'inside' of metropolitan Capital and an 'outside' of its expansion. It has become territorially unhooked, supervenient, engulfing global social life in its entirety. The gut feeling - "the telos we can feel pulsing" - is that the modulation of imperialism into 'empire' is however just the condition of its vulnerability." This proves all too well the uselessness of the French post-structuralist theorists.

In reality, globalisation is just the liberals' word for imperialism. Countries are right to assert their sovereignty against imperialism.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Dec 2013 23:42:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jan 2014 15:47:09 GMT
K. Cunztadt says:
I'm not sure I get the tone of your comment though I recently graduated with a Bsc in Sociology. If it was intended to discourage readers, I have to say it fails me. If anything it had just the opposite effect for me [that is assuming the comment actually reflects the book]!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2013 09:59:28 GMT
Congratulations on your graduation! Ah well, see what you think when you read it - good luck.

Posted on 9 Apr 2014 15:42:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Apr 2014 15:45:57 BDT
I think you may have misunderstood Hardt and Negri's argument. They argue that, despite this new Empire of globalisation, we can still create forms of political organisation that will lead to emancipation. Furthermore, it is important to recognise that this book is the first installment of a trilogy. Hardt and Negri's theories on emancipation are expanded and clarified in the later two books, Multitude and Commonwealth.

I understand how you can interpret their abandonment of anti-imperialism as an expression of support for imperial politics. However, they argue that this new Empire has developed more sophisticated methods of oppression and control, making it seem as though their dominance in a globalised society isn't a consequence of imperialist policies. Technically, Empire can't be analysed or criticised as an imperialist power, according to traditional anti-imperialist critique. Hardt and Negri oppose Empire but acknowledge the inadequacies of traditional anti-imperialism to this new Empire. There is nothing anti-Marxist about it. As capitalist evolves, so does Marxist critique.

You make the incorrect assertion that they "fetishise Empire and...make it impossible to transcend". Although they describe Empire as a formidable power, they neither admire nor support it. In the final section of the book, and the following two installments, they provide solutions and ask questions for how Empire might be transcended.

You seem to assess the utility of post-structural theory by a couple of sentences from a random French reviewer instead of using a quote from the book or from one of the theorists that you listed.

I'm glad that you believe that countries are right to resist Empire. You share that belief with Hardt and Negri.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2014 16:48:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Apr 2014 16:48:59 BDT
Thank you for your intelligent comments. I think it is not a question of 'transcending' empire, but of defeating specific empires. The key empire for us in Britain to defeat is the EU, from which we need to exit. I don't think Hardt and Negri's writings assist us in this.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2014 17:50:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Apr 2014 17:50:34 BDT
But these "specific empires" are composite parts of Empire. The whole purpose of the counter-Empire movement is to confront and overcome these "specific empires" collectively. Furthermore, this book is primarily an analysis and examination of Empire. Hardt and Negri's ideas about resisting Empire are discussed properly in Multitude and Commonwealth.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Apr 2014 10:30:15 BDT
The British working class has a direct interest in exiting from the EU as soon as possible. I believe that Hardt and Negri's approach is too academic to be of much use to us.
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