Year

2010

Degree Name

Doctorate of Philosophy

Department

University of Wollongong. School of History and Politics and Sociology Program

Abstract

This thesis explores and analyses the strengths, limitations and relevance to contemporary political practice of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri‘s strategic vision, their theory of revolutionary self-liberation, as outlined in their collaborative books Empire, Multitude and Commonwealth. These books have achieved critical acclaim and have become international bestsellers. Their ideas are a major influence on academic and social movement thinking about contemporary class composition and struggle and are important for the future of anti-capitalist theory and practice. While some like Alex Callinicos (2001) argue that Hardt and Negri have nostrategic vision, I will show that it is more accurate to see Hardt and Negri‘s strategic vision as open-ended and dependent on the praxes of the multitude. The struggles of the multitude are at the centre of their communist vision, and they advocate a common strategy of collective action to develop democracy, peace and love. Although there is a significant and growing body of literature on Empire and Multitude and on Hardt and Negri, some aspects of their work have not been investigated, analysed and discussed. There has been no comprehensive study of Hardt and Negri‘s strategic vision in relation to democracy, peace and love and this thesis will fill that gap.

Specifically this work investigates how Hardt and Negri‘s strategies for democracy, peace and love can assist the multitude to refuse, confront and challenge capitalism and to create communism. In it I analyse theory and practice to better understand the relationship between Hardt and Negri‘s strategic vision and the praxes of the multitude. To grasp the political processes and projects of the multitude as 'a new proletariat‘, the thesis explores how the class‘s struggles have demonstrated, created and developed common praxes that exist as democratic, peaceful and loving alternatives to Empire. I argue that Hardt and Negri‘s work can assist the praxes and understanding of contemporary struggles between the proletariat and capital and that the multitude‘s development of democracy, peace and love are crucial to any serious challenge to the power of capital and to the advancement of post-capitalist society.

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