Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

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Life is warfare.
Seneca
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Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri are the co-authors of Empire and Multitude.

Empire

Page numbers refer to the first Harvard University Press paperback edition, 2001, ISBN 0-674-00671-2.

  • Empire is emerging today as the center that supports the globalization of productive networks and casts its widely inclusive net to try to envelop all power relations within its world order—and yet at the same time it deploys a powerful police function against the new barbarians and the rebellious slaves who threaten its order. (20)
  • We are by no means opposed to the globalization of relationships as such—in fact, as we said, the strongest forces of Leftist internationalism have effectively led this process. The enemy, rather, is a specific regime of global relations that we call Empire. (45–46)
  • The legacy of modernity is a legacy of fratricidal wars, devastating "development," cruel "civilization," and previously unimagined violence. Erich Auerbach once wrote that tragedy is the only genre that can properly claim realism in Western literature, and perhaps this is true precisely because of the tragedy Western modernity has imposed on the world. (46)
  • Philosophy is not the owl of Minerva that takes flight after history has been realized in order to celebrate its happy ending; rather, philosophy is subjective proposition, desire, and praxis that are applied to the event. (49)
  • [The] fact of being within capital and sustaining capital is what defines the proletariat as a class. (53)
  • The multitude is the real productive force of our social world, whereas Empire is a mere apparatus of capture that lives only off the vitality of the multitude—as Marx would say, a vampire regime of accumulated dead labor that survives only by sucking off the blood of the living. (62)
  • Reality and history, however, are not dialectical, and no idealist rhetorical gymnastics can make them conform to the dialect. (131)
  • It is a commonplace of the classical literature on Empire, from Polybius to Montesquieu and Gibbon, that Empire is from its inception decadent and corrupt. (201)
  • [No] effective blueprint [of a political alternative to Empire] will ever arise from a theoretical articulation such as ours. (206)
  • Disobedience to authority is one of the most natural and healthy acts. (210)
  • A specter haunts the world and it is the specter of migration. (213)

About Empire

  • Empire is a very stimulating account of globalisation, but it is hopelessly wrong on two central issues. The state has not withered away. Strong states still exist—USA, China, Germany, etc—but the difference with the past is that there is now only one Empire and this is not the nebulous entity imagined by Cultural Studies, but a real, living organism and it has a name; the United States of America.

Multitude

Page numbers refer to the first British edition, Hamish Hamilton, 2005, ISBN 0-241-14240-7.

  • The possibility of democracy on a global scale is emerging today for the very first time. (xi)
  • When the general population no longer constitutes the armed forces, when the army is no longer the people in arms, then empires fall. Today all armies are again tending to become mercenary armies. (49)
  • All wars today tend to be netwars. (55)
  • The political program of nation building in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq is one central example of the productive project of biopower and war. Nothing could be more postmodernist and antiessentialist than this notion of nation building.
  • It is not easy for any of us to stop measuring the world against the standard of Europe, but the concept of the multitude requires it of us. It is a challenge. Embrace it.
  • Perhaps some day soon we will have arrived at the point when we can look back with irony at the barbaric old times when in order to be free we had to keep our own brothers and sisters slaves or to be equal we were constrained to inhuman sacrifices of freedom.
  • The so-called communism of capital, that is, its drive toward an ever more extensive socialization of labor, points ambiguously toward the communism of the multitude.