"ISMS" and "ATIONS" (WAS: Re: Forwarded from Jurriaan)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jun 3 12:37:48 MDT 2001

>I'll have to reread it. Lots of books are awful, but that doesn't make
>them worth even mentioning, let alone launching tirades against. The
>question is does the Negri/Hardt effort represent a serious challenge to
>marxism among radical intellectuals and potential movement cadre. If it
>does, then it needs to be read carefully and responded to in a serious
>fashion without mere name-calling. If it doesn't, why bother with it at

I've got it sitting on my desk right here. Here are two reasons why it is
particularly awful. It uses Marx's 1853 Tribune articles as an ideological
prop for their defense of the "utopian potential of the ever-increasing
potential of the ever-increasing processes of global interaction and
communication," which is a fancy term for MacDonalds restaurants and CNN.
They also regard national liberation is a "poisoned gift." Although their
analysis is couched in obscure postcolonialist syntax, the basic message is
that in the face of "global capitalist hierarchy," genuine liberation is
impossible. They write that "while...nationalism seeks to liberate the
multitude from foreign domination, it erects domestic structures of
domination that are just as severe." Thus, once stripped of its
self-conscious ironies, "Empire" concludes with the message heard in other
quarters that There Is No Alternative.

This book is an utter atrocity. I plan to write up an extensive review the
first chance I get. Bottom line, it is Eduard Bernstein gussied up in
self-conscious academic jargon.

Louis Proyect
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