Networks of revolution

Bates, D. (2012) Networks of revolution. In: Manchester Workshops in Political Thought (MANCEPT), 5-7 September 2012, Manchester University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper draws critically on the thought of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2000; 2005; 2009) in order to explore the possibilities of a politics of radical engagement in the context of the so called information age. For Hardt and Negri, the advent of what Castells (2000) terms the ‘informational society’ has created the potential for new ‘networks’ of radical political engagement, new modes of ‘horizontal’ communication, and a new form of ‘commons’. This process enables those wishing to resist the ‘biopower’ of ‘Empire’ to organise and create a new politics, a politics of the ‘multitude’ against exploitation. This new politics involves not only resistance and ‘refusal’, but also the prefiguration in the present of an alternative possible future (or futures). Hardt and Negri have applied their conceptual apparatus to recent high profile political struggles. For example, commenting on the ‘Arab Spring’, they write:

'Although these organised network movements refuse central leadership, they must nonetheless consolidate their demands in a new constituent process that links the most active segments of the rebellion to the needs of the population at large. The insurrections of Arab youth are certainly not aimed at a traditional liberal constitution that merely guarantees the division of powers and a regular electoral dynamic, but rather at a form of democracy adequate to the new forms of expression and needs of the multitude.' (Guardian, March 2011)

This paper will subject Hardt and Negri’s position on this and on other struggles, such as Occupy X and the resent anti-austerity protests, to critical analysis. Moreover, the paper will pose a number of wider questions, including: To what extent do these protests challenge more traditional models of ‘organisation’? Is the Marxist left mistaken when, for example, it criticises Occupy X for a lack of ‘strategic’ direction? What spaces of opposition to ‘viral capitalism’ are possible in light of current realities?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Social Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr David Bates
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2012 16:11
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:10
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/10947

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00