File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 32

Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2001 14:49:31 -0100
Subject: Re: What is Empire about?


It's just that we're sometimes cynical about different things.

Do you think campaign contributions improve democracy? or that election of a
President by Supreme Court majority gave us what the Constitution intended?

Would privatization of all U.S. police departments as Police Management
and privatizing Fire Departments as FMO's improve services rendered?.  Would
it help
if $30 million-a-year executive and his administrators, decided how and when
police officers and firemen were allowed to respond to a cry for help?

Such a dismal prospect may be years away, but if you're not cynical about
you may not be cynical about privatization of other services, schools, for

best regards,


> Your intellectual cynicism kills me at times, but you have persistence
> and I admire you for that. Keep hanging in there. The world needs more
> persistent cynics like you! (remember the first cynics were also
> philosophers making their own political statement about the imposed
> hegemony of their times.)
> I need to go through the excerpts you selected and will respond later,
> but let me give my own "in medias res" interpretation of "What is Empire
> about?" (I am only half-way through the Empire.)
> First of all, there is Antonio Negri himself, who is definitely one of
> the most important Marxist intellectuals alive today, even though he is
> of the unconventional kind. An interesting essay (which I like because
> of the way it positions the ethical in ways similar to what I see
> Lyotard doing) also provides a little contextual background for Negri's
> development as a thinker.
> Second, as you mention, Michael Hardt is also interesting as well. As
> Steve pointed out, Michael Hardt wroted a book on Deleuze. It is
> entitled "Gilles Deleuze - An Apprenticeship in Philosophy."  It is a
> discussion of Deleuze's early books on Bergson, Nietzsche and Spinoza.
> When I read this book I liked it very much for its ability to
> contextualize Deleuze in a way that made his later writing more
> accessible.  Hardt was also the translator of Negri's "The Savage
> Anomaly" and collaborated with him on "Labor of Dionysus: A Critique of
> the State-Form" a book which also included some of Negri's earlier
> essays.
> Third, one over-the-top blurb has said that "Empire" gives us the
> Communist Manifesto for the current era. While that seems a little much,
> I do think "Empire" is important because of the way it integrates Marx
> with Deleuze and Foucault in political ways to provide a radical new
> critique. Up until now, the two camps have been opposed to one another
> to a certain extent. Negri and Hardt make the radical suggestion that
> the insights be combined in new ways to see what happens.
> Fourth, it provides a countermodel to the current prevailing one of
> corporate hegemony aided and abetted by the militaristic U.S. regime,
> (with the 'pi in the sky' promise of the missile defense shield allowing
> America to become the world's first truly global gated community).  In
> the context of our time, it gives me hope. It also gives expression to
> my own intuition that right now no one really owns the tiger.


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