File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 90

Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 19:05:27 +0100
Subject: Re: Empire and the "Facts"


I disagree with the question you are pose around what the question of the
"multitude" - it is revealed.

They define the multitude in terms that of how the 'multitude' can become "a
political subject in the context of the 'empire". This is a continuation of the
marxist political subject. For a marxist/leftist the true political subject is
not the ruler or the submissive but those who resist or who can be defined as
resisting. In 4.3 it becomes clear that the 'multitude' is another reference to
the 'proletarian subject'.  The multitude becomes the opressed subject referred
to as formed in the modern and postmodern eras through.... 'The formation of
exploited and subjugated producers can be read more clearly in the hostory of 20
C revolutions...."

In this case 'we' are part of the multitude.

To misquote myself earlier - (snigger friday early evening hubris) "The argument
is that the great political struggles of the 20thC - caused the conditions of
citizinship that created the multitude, enabling it to be born, to spread and be
conditioned. Each political defeat of the 20th C helped enable the construction
of a new poltical subjectivity.  The conception of the multitude should be
reviewed through the theories of the Autonomia movements of the 70s and 80s, for
N&H place the multitude as belonging squarely within a notion of production,
that will if given the opportunity produce 'autonomously and reproduce the
entire world of life' - this in itself is reference back towards the usually
misquoted ideals of Engels and Marx. They go on to suggest that the multitude is
a singularity, formed through production, cast within a reality defined through
cooperation, a linguisitic communityand developed by hybridisation....."

The critical point seems to be that the multitude is a variant of the
traditional marxist political subject.

Related to the question of facts - I'll dig out some references...



hbone wrote:

> All,
> In "Le Differend", Lyotard taught us about the treachery of words, the
> difficulty of justice, the immanence of obligation, the exposure of
> differends, and the need for remedies.
> In  comments on the text of "Empire", and in pursuit of definitions, we have
> increased our understanding of the what the authors had in mind.
> The nature and membership of a global community N&H call "Multitude" is
> not revealed, but I think we all agree that N&H have produced a more
> comprehensive historic-theoretic concept of capital, labor and global
> communications than has appeared in other books.
> Apparently the authors believe that democratic empowerment of the multitude
> could lead to significant remedy of present exploitation, inequalities,
> rights abuse etc.
> In our comments to date, there seems to be agreement that more factual data
> is needed to clarifiy the concepts presented.
> Here are thoughts about some of the facts that are needed:
> 1) Investment - Empire refers to Capital flows - Within each of  G-8
> Nations, How much of its capital is currently owned by the other seven? And,
> conversely, how much capital of the other seven does that Nation own?
> 2) Transnational Corporations - Identification of  G-8 Invesment (above)
> by Transnational Corporation
> 3) International Agencies - Capital flows through World Bank, and other
> public agency international banks.
> - Expenditure of  G-8 citizen's tax dollars by IMF
> - Dollar value of major cases brought before WTO
> 4) Arms, Illegal Drugs and Oil  - Does WTO have any responsibility for
> disputes
> related to these items, or for disputes re: capital flows that maintain
> 100,000
> (guess)  U.S. troops abroad?
> 5) Currency Exchange - Is reform needed?
> 6) Impact on World Peace - What capital flows support current wars?
> 7) International Spies and Secrecy  - Are they necessary?
> 8) Human Rights - Which nations are the worst abusers of human rights?
> Which Transnationals?
> A lot of this information is available on the Internet, some for free, but
> we need professionals, and professional economists, reporters, free lancers
> never seem to conduct research on these matters.
> The best investigative reporting I've seen lately is about Marc Rich, an
> internatonal capitalist operator and exploiter par excellence.  See Maureen
> Orth's article in the June 2001 issue of Vanity Fair.
> regards,
> Hugh


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