Multitude : War and Democracy in the Age of Empire

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By colonizing and interconnecting more areas of life ever more deeply, empire has actually created the possibility for a revolutionary kind of democracy. Now the previously silent, oppressed masses' can form a multitude capable of bringing about radical steps in the liberation of humankind. Exhilarating in its ambition, range and depth of insight, Multitude consolidates the stature of its authors as two of the world's most exciting and important political more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 30mm | 299.38g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0141014873
  • 9780141014876
  • 918,952

Author information

With their international bestseller, Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri established themselves as visionary theoreticians of the new global order. Michael Hardt is a professor at Duke University. Antonio Negri is an independent researcher and writer. He lives in Rome, where for two years he was under house arrest for his political more

Review Text

Blend warmed-over Chomsky with dashes of Althusser and a pinch of Marx. Stir in some half-cooked network theory. Serve over a slab of post-Fordism. Voila: you've got a lovely critique of imperialism, perfect for serving at a faculty lunch. Hardt (Duke Univ.) and Negri (Univ. of Padua) follow up their Empire (not reviewed) with a presupposition that global politics is dominated not by a mere one or two powers (though, of course, the US is prominent) but by a network of advanced nation-states and their clients: the Empire, with a capital E. "Empire spreads globally its network of hierarchies and divisions that maintain order through new mechanisms of control and constant conflict," they write. "Globalization, however, is also the creation of new circuits of cooperation and collaboration that stretch across nations and continents and allow an unlimited number of encounters." These other circuits, they suggest, are the voice of the Multitude, an alternate network that holds the last best hope for democracy. "The conditions are emerging today," Hardt and Negri hold, "that give the multitude the capacity of democratic decision-making and that thus make sovereignty unnecessary." You may not want to hold your breath waiting for the state to wither away as the world's masses get hip to the Internet. There are thickets of prose here to give you pause nonetheless: "What we really need are weapons that make no pretense to symmetry with the ruling military power but also break the tragic asymmetry of the many forms of contemporary violence that do not threaten the current order but merely replicate a strange new symmetry." "Feminist struggles, antiracist struggles, and struggles of indigenous populations too are biopolitical in the sense that they immediately involve legal, cultural, political, and economic issues, indeed all facets of life." "Numerous contemporary wars neither contribute to nor detract from the ruling global hierarchy, and thus Empire is indifferent to them." And so on. Just the thing for those who want their earthly salvation served up by postmodern social scientists. For the rest of us, thank the heavens, we've got Gore Vidal. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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674 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 28% (191)
4 37% (248)
3 24% (159)
2 8% (57)
1 3% (19)
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