More on Taking Apart Hardt

Patrick Bond pbond at sn.apc.org
Sun Feb 23 02:32:30 MST 2003


----- Original Message -----
From: "Craig Brozefsky" <craig at red-bean.com>
> I'm inclined to leave Hardt himself out of this, since I take his work
> as an expression of a liberal ideology expanded to a world scale.  His
> washed out academic-radical rhetoric will keep him alienated from most
> of the world, save the educated and philosophically inclined
> petit-bourgeois.

Sure you're right. But in establishing the overall direction for left
intellectual work, you've got to admit that if the book Empire -- however
misguided in so many ways -- has the function of reminding the
pomo/poststructuralist community of the need for political economic
analysis, that's an accomplishment. I don't know about this for sure,
because I work in a university, country and continent where there has been
virtually no penetration of pomo work these past two decades -- but when I
taught at York in Canada a year and a half ago, I got this very distinct
feeling that the merits of Empire were in forcing debates about power and
accumulation back into the academy.

>From the petit-bourgeois intellectual circuits, maybe more useful work will
ultimately emerge because of this return to the material. But maybe I'm
wrong.

...

> The anti-war movement threatens the project of
> institutionalized (press, radio, univerity) liberalism in the
> imperialist nations.

I hope this is true, but what's the evidence?

> As people become more educated on the issues in
> the Middle East and elsewhere they recognize the UN, WTO, and IMF for
> the mechanisms of mediated colonialism they are, and how quickly they
> will be cast away when a gross imbalance in military or economic power
> presents itself. The liberal's dream of their social institutions
> being "globalized" as a mediator of capital isn't selling.

Yeah, this makes sense. I saw some real anxiety around this agenda at both
Jo'burg World Summit on Sustainable Development last year and at Porto
Alegre last month.

> The anti-war movement is the logical result of a transformation in the
> anti-globalization movement when US Imperialism revealed its intention
> to jettison any semblance of mediation thru liberal multi-lateral
> institutions.  It now must recognize that any international foreplay
> in the UN Security Council is a distraction.  The coalition of the
> willing is built thru bribery and blackmail.  I believe a large part
> of the anti-war movement, podium and street, are beginning to
> understand this, if they don't already.

Maybe, or maybe it's just becoming so obvious to liberally minded people
that they have to get out on the streets ... it's all about the way this
movement does -- as you say, link the Middle East to the Washington
Consensus -- in coming months. The G8 in June (?) and Cancun in September
are two sites to watch for these links in the demonstrations, perhaps with
more militancy and disruptive capacity...


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