Marx’s ‘Fragment on Machines’, a section of the Grundrisse, is a crucial text for the analysis and definition of the Postfordist mode of production. Written in 1858, in the midst of a breathtaking series of political events, these reflections on the basic trends of capitalist development are not present in any of his other writings and in fact seem alternative to the habitual formula.
There have been two foundational themes in Antonio Negri's work over the years. The first is an abiding faith in the capacities of the working class or the multitude (redefined as "the party of the poor" and therefore, according to Spinoza, the only "true subject of democracy") to use their immanent powers of laboring to construct an alternative to the world given by capital. They can do so, Negri believes, by way of autonomous and nonhierarchically organized self-management. The second theme arises out of a deeply held belief that Spinoza's philosophical works provide a framework of radical thought capable of illuminating not only how the world is but also how it ought to be and can be. Wedding the immanent powers of the multitude with a neo-Spinozan theoretical armature, Negri grounds a theory of revolution and a redefinition of what real communism might be about.
Introduction This is the last of my four scheduled Russell Scholar lectures on the theme ofacademic freedom. I would like to briefly recapitulate for you their trajectory. In my previous lectures I discussed the threats to academic freedom coming fromthe state and market and I began to sketch a theory of academic freedom taking usbeyond our need to defend academic work and institutions from these threats. I arguedthat the notion of a knowledge commons is crucial in defining the positive aspect ofacademic freedom and that the proper expression of academic autonomy in the 21stcentury is the preservation, defense and expansion of the knowledge commons. In this lecture I address the role autonomous universities can play in the practical task of making the knowledge commons. Conclusion: The Threat, an Exodus from the University similar to one between the
Authors Note: This article was written during an intense period of organizational change within The Icarus Project. A large shift is currently taking place in which space is opening up for more voices to guide the project, which involves a lot of stepping back for some folks, stepping up for others, and stepping side to side for just about everyone. Not only are we in a heightened state of change, we’re at such a place in this process that it felt unfair to try to document the day-to-day work of The Icarus Project, or to hold up our everyday functioning as a model. It also felt premature to document the shapes we’re morphing into, ’cause what those are is still being determined, and there are a lot of hands in that clay. So this piece glances at where we’ve been in the last few months and what it is we see the project participating in. As you read it, know that you are witnessing our evolution!
We are trapped in a state of limbo, neither one thing nor the other. For more than two years, the world has been wracked by a series of interrelated crises, and they show no sign of being resolved anytime soon. The unshakable certainties of neoliberalism, which held us fast for so long, have collapsed. Yet we seem unable to move on. Anger and protest have erupted around different aspects of the crises, but no common or consistent reaction has seemed able to cohere. A general sense of frustration marks the attempts to break free from the morass of a failing world.
‘They might have the strength to impose their will, but we will never give them our consent…’ Gustavo Esteva looks back at the Oaxaca uprising of 2006 and explains how the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca posits an alternative solution for governance
From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues. From those who seek hope above all, it tears away every firm ground. Those who claim to have solutions are contradicted almost immediately. Everyone agrees that things can only get worse. “The future has no future” is the wisdom of an age that, for all its appearance of perfect normalcy, has reached the level of consciousness of the first punks.
What are the sources of this networked resistance? And what exactly is being resisted? Is revolution really the only option—as one could read on a banner at the carnival against capital, on June 18, 1999, in the financial center of London? Or do we not become what we resist? Are the “multitudes” the very origin and driving force of capitalist globalization, as some theorists believe?2
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