Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Addressing The Empire

.:Addressing The Empire:.

Malcolm Bull had choice words for the assumptions made by Hardt And Negri in “Empire” regarding migration, and he has a valid point. The assumption (p.224) that there is a “zero sum” relationship between distinct groups is ridiculous because “migration is not a zero-sum matter unless there is a mechanical solidarity” (p.224) At this point, we clearly realize that migration from country to country is not necessarily as revolutionary as Hardt and Negri would point out.

While migration from country to country is indeed commonplace, what about migration within the same country, i.e. from city to city? The ramifications of this effect, mainly the fact that it is not a revolutionary motion in terms of an “uprising” of sorts against a status quo, but rather a means of fulfilling a particular desire would mean that it is rather ignorant for anyone to just assume that migration is a revolutionary reaction rather than merely an economic or pragmatic concern. In Hardt and Negri's haste to peg anything and everything as signs of the revolution (p.225), they gleefully overlook the fact that migration doesn't work that way at all.

Similarly, Jodi Dean was less than impressed by Hardt and Negri's assertions regarding the ways the multitude would communicate through the network. It was asserted that the multitude would use the network as a weapon against Empire, but as Jodi Dean was quick to point out, the persistent prevalence of politics instead of its decentralization was more than enough proof that Empire is far from being displaced (p.279) through the network of communications. That being said, Dean's doubts are rather clear-cut, albeit simplistic.

Hardt and Negri's stand on the multitude's ability to use these networks in order to combat Empire is not as unfeasible as Dean would paint it, although it's not as simple as Hardt and Negri would have us believe. The truth is, the network is there not exclusively for the prevalence of the Multitude, but for a mutually assured conflict between Multitude and Empire, one that is clearly highlighted by the usage of the network by both “factions”, as it were.

To ignore this is to ignore the fact that the Empire has put the network in place unwittingly long before the Multitude was even aware of itself.

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