Labor of Dionysus

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Sat Sep 2 11:24:41 MDT 1995

Valerie asked me about _Labor of Dionysus_, cowritten by Michael Hardt
and Toni Negri.

Very briefly: I like the book a lot (but of course!), and think it's
currently the best entry into Italian *autonomia* etc.  I know many
people have tried _Marx Beyond Marx_, and some _The Savage Anomaly_, but
I think this is currently definitely the place to begin.

After an introduction that situates (mostly Negri's, but drawing on much
other) autonomist thought for an Anglo-American audience, there are some
old articles by Negri on the State--including the classic one on
Keynes--all of which are well worth reading.

Then there are some readings of Rawls and liberal theory more generally,
as Hardt and Negri attempt to define the role and function of the
postmodern, neoliberal state.  I think this is possibly the best part of
the book.

The next section, searching for current prerequisites of communism, is the
weakest, though I like the general outlines of what they're trying to
do.  I'm just unconvinced by their particular examples and arguments, and
by their unwillingness generally to countenance counter-arguments.

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at

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