"Barbarous" Critique of Hardt & Negri

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jul 5 16:28:36 MDT 2003


 From the conclusion of this 19,445 word article:

It is useless to try to teach one who has no tongue how to speak. It is 
useless to take fright in the face of guttural sounds and thoughtless acts. 
It is useless to propose mediation to one who wants the impossible. It is 
useless to beg for freedom from one who imposes slavery. Let’s leave 
pedagogy to the two emissaries, together with their police and missionary 
spirit. May the barbarians break loose. May they sharpen their swords, may 
they brandish their battleaxes, may they strike their enemies without pity. 
May hatred take the place of tolerance, may fury take the place of 
resignation, may outrage take the place of respect. May the barbarian 
hordes go to the assault, autonomously, in the way that they determine. And 
may no parliament, no credit institution, no supermarket, no barracks, no 
factory ever grow again after their passage. In the face of the concrete 
that rises to strike the sky and the pollution that fouls it, one can well 
say with Dejacque that “It is not the darkness that the Barbarians will 
bring to the world this time, it is the light.”

The destruction of the Empire could hardly assume the customary forms of 
social revolution, as we have come to know them from the history books. 
(the conquest of the Winter Palace, the popular reaction to a blight, the 
general wildcat strike).

There are no longer any noble ideas capable of stirring the great 
proletarian masses, there are no longer sweet Utopias ready to be 
fertilized by their lovers, there are no longer radical theories that only 
wait to be put into practice. All this has been overwhelmed, swept away by 
the imperial slime. There is only the disgust, the desperation, the 
repugnance of dragging our existence through the blood spilled by power and 
the mud flung up by obedience. And yet in the midst of this blood and mud, 
the will –- confused in some and clearer in others -– to put an end to the 
Empire and its deadly order once and for all can be born.


My only problem with this sort of thing is how do you keep track of your 
progress. When I was in the Trotskyist movement, we used to have goals. 
Like recruiting a 100 new members between conventions, or selling 1000 new 
subscriptions to the party newspaper. In the libertarian communist and 
anarchist milieu, one supposes this is as much of an anathema as a Pet Shop 
Boys video at a Focus on the Family convention. So when all the blood and 
mud is being flung about, how do you know you are moving forwards or 
backwards? Why do when I read this sort of thing does the image of a 20 
year old Mark Rudd hover in my mind's eye? I guess I am just not hip.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

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