Negri's Savage Anomaly
rdumain at igc.apc.org
Sat Apr 15 12:49:51 MDT 1995
Doug Henwood's post had me in stitches. As for Michael Hardt, I
know you did your best, but your book needs an English
translation. I had high hopes for it, given that the social
significance of Spinoza is very high on my list. Spinoza means a
lot to a great many people who are not part of the cultural elite.
I was in search of a book that would make Spinoza contemporary,
and I was excited to read about this one and I had heard of Negri
(as well as Harry Cleaver). Besides, about a year ago I was
working on a long poem combining the philosophies of Baruch
Spinoza and John Lee Hooker, and I had come to an impasse. I
needed some fresh input to clarify my thinking on the subject and
I was too busy and too lazy to bone up on the original.
Once in a great while I got a hint of a glimmer of what Negri was
saying, but I just couldn't get it out of him. My memory is now
crowded with a year's worth of fresh mind-meat, but, as I recall
from somewhere back in the freezer, Negri argued for Spinoza as
presenting at the dawn of bourgeois society a utopian vision of
the post-capitalist, postdialectical society. I think Negri and
many of his followers hate Hegel and dialectics but I don't know
why. Anyway, Spinoza's metaphysics (not his specific politics
necessarily) was supposed to provide this postdialectical vision.
I am very intrigued by this idea but I don't understand it.
Anyway, a dear friend from the frigid midwest (a Jew in New
Scandinavia, withering in the Bloom of life, oy! -- he couldn't
understand my poem either) started rummaging through his old stuff
and dug out some material on Spinoza -- I remember a chapter from
an introductory philosophy textbook -- that was a masterpiece of
lucidity. When I read it, I thought, now why can't Negri write
like this? Why must I suffer so much for so little? What the
Hegel is going on here?
Let me dedicate this e-pistle to dear Baruch (the blessed one).
Today is the first full day of Passover and Jesus is dead (yay!)
so let me pay homage to the god-intoxicated atheist. Since I
can't be on Broadway today to prostrate myself before Zaybar's or
stand in line forever at H&H Bagels, I raise my male member in
solidarity with my departed comrade Baruch. O Negri why hast thou
Got to leave now to go to my local. Now where did I put my
Spinoza-Hooker poem? Maybe I should try it out on the ladies?
[15 April 1995 -- 2:40 pm]
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