File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 91

Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 16:01:25 -0100
Subject: Re: Empire and the "Facts"


Thanks, we agree to disagree.  OK.

I envision minds/bodies, 6 billion in nearly 200 countries.  I can't imagine
reading even Das Kapital to understand what happens today, much less the
spate of Postmodern outpourings by some of Lyotard's contemporaries.  I
think L. was a disillusioned Marxist, and although I haven't to read all his
works, he never seemed to desire a resurrection and makeover of Marxist

Your analysis of N&H's use of multitude and subjectivity certainly makes
sense.  But the
multitude of workers today, seems to me, would include yourself and others
on the Lyotard List who have mentioned their experience (similar to my own)
as workers in  large corporations.

Such experience is quite different from that of workers, including children,
who were literally worked to death in factories during Marx's lifetime.
Different than the experience of  children and prisoners, or 25 cents and
hour paid employees who work in third-world factories today.  And different
from the experience or part-time and minimum wage workers who barely survive
today in the U.S., and perhaps counterparts in the U.K.

In any case, my reading of history says revolutions are not made by those
who live in abject poverty, but rather by those who have natural and
educated capacities to organize, communicate, and agitate. Its easy to think
of such agents of change as a "proletarian subject", although by definiton
they are only a tiny  component of the  multitude of all those who work
inside or outside of corporate or national (as China)
oganizations who own the instruments of production.

As for 20th century revolutions, and there are always about 20 to 40 wars
going on,
I wonder how Cuba, North Korea, Viet Nam, China, Iran, Iraq, and numerous
Central and South American and South African revolutions fit into Empire's
(the book) assessment of the political potential of the global multitude.

Also, with the many modern miracles of communication, is there any way we
could cobble up and submit (as a group) a few of our questions to N&H?


> Hugh
> 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
> 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
> resisting. In 4.3 it becomes clear that the 'multitude' is another
reference to
> the 'proletarian subject'.  The multitude becomes the opressed subject
> to as formed in the modern and postmodern eras through.... 'The formation
> 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
> is that the great political struggles of the 20thC - caused the conditions
> 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
> 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
> that will if given the opportunity produce 'autonomously and reproduce the
> entire world of life' - this in itself is reference back towards the
> 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
> 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...
> regards
> sdv


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