The master theorist of the resurgent global left may have been outsmarted by the current economic meltdown. But his all-too-perfect system may never have to acknowledge such real-world inconsistencies.
Reflections on Empire
by Antonio Negri
Ten years ago, as the antiglobalization movement began imposing itself on both the windowpanes of Starbucks and the narcotic slumbers of the mass media, there emerged in the United States a certain fable about what was (at the time) the newest New Left. It verged on a belief in the Immaculate Conception.
The fable went, roughly, like this: Protesters in the streets of Seattle and elsewhere were challenging the effects of the worldwide expansion of the free market, and some even identified themselves as anticapitalist; yet the movement itself was for the most part uninfluenced by any doctrine handed down from earlier generations. The age was not just postcommunist but postideological. And so was its radicalism, however contradictory that might seem. The movement was opposed to a system it was not especially interested
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