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When Empire appeared in 2000, it defined the political and economic challenges of the era of globalization and, thrillingly, found in them possibilities for new and more democratic forms of social organization. Now, with Commonwealth, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri conclude the trilogy begun with Empire and continued in Multitude, proposing an ethics of freedom for living in our common world and articulating a possible constitution for our common wealth.
Drawing on scenarios from around the globe and elucidating the themes that unite them, Hardt and Negri focus on the logic of institutions and the models of governance adequate to our understanding of a global commonwealth. They argue for the idea of the “common” to replace the opposition of private and public and the politics predicated on that opposition. Ultimately, they articulate the theoretical bases for what they call “governing the revolution.”
Though this book functions as an extension and a completion of a sustained line of Hardt and Negri’s thought, it also stands alone and is entirely accessible to readers who are not familiar with the previous works. It is certain to appeal to, challenge, and enrich the thinking of anyone interested in questions of politics and globalization.
Commonwealth is a timely contribution to our understanding of contemporary capitalist relations and the potential revolutionary conditions they create...Together Hardt and Negri's work is considered to be responsible for a resurgence of interest in non-orthodox Marxism and its political manifestations. Commonwealth is the final part of a trilogy that began with Empire in 2000, a book that was published during the emergence of the alter-globalization movement. Multitude followed in 2004, developing the ideas that had been introduced in Empire, in particular the concept of the multitude as a new revolutionary subject. Commonwealth is a worthy addition to the trilogy, expamnding and clarifying on the understandings in the previous books, but perhaps more significantly grounding their analysis within an extended discussion of "the common."...Commonwealth is a book that challenges presuppositions about the utility of Marx, and introduces the possibility of combining his insights with the ideas of other significant authors such as Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, who are not traditionally associated with the radical communist project.
— Bertie Russell and Andre Pusey
Posted January 2, 2010
The failure of fundamentalist economics does not require abandoning the less ideological aspects of the discipline. Hardt and Negri provide a clearly written and provocative alternative to the extreme reliance on private property notions that, combined with lax regulation and cultural biases, brought down the neoliberal faith structure. Readers willing
to have their assumptions questioned will profit from this; the more rigid and absolutist temperament should probably not risk emotional upset.
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