Comments on a Michael Hardt article in the Guardian

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Feb 21 07:38:19 MST 2003

A trap set for protesters  Michael Hardt
Friday February 21, 2003
The Guardian


HARDT: Corresponding in part to the new US anti-Europeanism, there is 
today in Europe and across the world a growing anti-Americanism. In 
particular, the coordinated protests last weekend against the war were 
animated by various kinds of anti-Americanism - and that is inevitable. 
The US government has left no doubt that it is the author of this war 
and so protest against the war must, inevitably, be also protest against 
the United States.

REPLY: What is the evidence of this anti-Americanism? Carrying around a 
picture of George W. Bush with bloody fangs or something? Indeed, this 
business of "anti-Americanism" is mainly a preoccupation of the 
red-baiting left or the reactionary bourgeois press as exemplified by 
this quote from the Murdoch press last Sunday:

"Some on the old left see the problem. The issue is not Blair or spin, 
it's not even Bush, it's tyranny. Veterans like Arnold Wesker and Salman 
Rushdie and, most trenchantly, Julie Burchill - I'll come back to her - 
are pro-war. The Wesker-Rushdie line is that Saddam's reign has been so 
terrible for the people of Iraq that common humanity alone justifies 
war. Wesker has for a long time advocated the setting up of an 
International Benign Force - an army that would be sent in to sort out 
the bad guys. But, failing that, reflex anti-Americanism - or, indeed, 
anti-Blairism - shouldn't trap anybody into pig-headed pacifism when a 
brief act of belligerence can free the people."

If this is the sort of thing that Hardt is alluding to, he's wasting our 
time per usual.

HARDT: The globalisation protest movements were far superior to the 
anti-war movements in this regard. They not only recognised the complex 
and plural nature of the forces that dominate capitalist globalisation 
today - the dominant nation states, certainly, but also the 
International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, the major 
corporations, and so forth - but they imagined an alternative, 
democratic globalisation consisting of plural exchanges across national 
and regional borders based on equality and freedom.

REPLY: But the one thing they did not recognize was that imperialism was 
the nature of the beast, rather than unregulated capital flows which 
would be restrained by a Tobin Tax or some other such nonsense. What 
irks the good professor is that the Starbucks window-breakers have been 
marginalized in the current phase of the struggle and that 
brontosaurus-Marxists like the WWP, the British SWP et al are taking the 

HARDT: One of the great achievements of the globalisation protest 
movements, in other words, has been to put an end to thinking of 
politics as a contest among nations or blocs of nations. 
Internationalism has been reinvented as a politics of global network 
connections with a global vision of possible futures. In this context, 
anti-Europeanism and anti-Americanism no longer make sense.

REPLY: "…global network connections with a global vision of possible 
futures?" Sounds like a Verizon commercial.

HARDT: It is unfortunate but inevitable that much of the energies that 
had been active in the globalisation protests have now at least 
temporarily been redirected against the war. We need to oppose this war, 
but we must also look beyond it and avoid being drawn into the trap of 
its narrow political logic. While opposing the war we must maintain the 
expansive political vision and open horizons that the globalisation 
movements have achieved. We can leave to Bush, Chirac, Blair, and 
Schröder the tired game of anti-Europeanism and anti-Americanism.

REPLY: It is unfortunate but inevitable that much of the energies that 
had been active in the globalisation protests have now at least 
temporarily been redirected against the war? Get used to it professor, 
we are living in an epoch of wars, civil wars and revolution. Time to 
put the Spinoza back on the shelf and reread Lenin--and for some first 
people, including Hardt based on the evidence, to read him for the first 


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