Dutch Trot critique of Negri's empire: women absent

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at wolmail.nl
Sat Dec 14 16:12:02 MST 2002

The latest issue of Grenzeloos (no. 69, December 2002), a newspaper of the
Dutch Fourth Internationalists, featured a review of Negri & Hardt's book
"Empire", by Koen Haegens. Just an excerpt:

"But just as a medicine, an overdose of postmodernism can be deadly for
every attempt to understand the world around us and improve it. That happens
for instance when injustice and oppression is dismissed as subjective
experience. Thus, justified postmodernist criticism can lead to total
passivity and therewith a lapse into a tacit legitimation of the prevailing
political relations. Although Hardt and Negri recognise this danger, they
not infrequently go to extremes in their postmodernism. In addition they
seem to have taken over not just a few critical points from postmodernism,
but also the unreadable and bragging discourse. This macho writing style
eventually irritates, just like the fact that women are absent. In the
nearly 500 pages long "manifesto of Marx and Engels in the Internet era" (as
Le Nouvel Observateur called it), they could apparently not find any space
to mention half of the world population. Although they create the appearance
that they have read every book on earth, a hundred years of feminist
theorising seem to have passed these keen intellectuals by. Honesty however
commands us to say that the same applies to almost all (leftwing) critics of
Negri and Hardt up till now".

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