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Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire
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Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  476 ratings  ·  39 reviews
In their international bestseller Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri presented a grand unified vision of a world in which the old forms of imperialism are no longer effective. But what of Empire in an age of “American empire”? Has fear become our permanent condition and democracy an impossible dream? Such pessimism is profoundly mistaken, the authors argue. Empire, by...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 2004)
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What I took out of this book was Hardt and Negri's proposal that industrialism has passed and in turn, it's antagonistic classes have perished. They argue that the struggle is no longer between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The struggle is one between the multitude and Empire, that is, it's a struggle of all for the survival of the species and for the recovery of the common.
The authors suggest that industrial labor has lost it's societal hegemony and in turn has been replaced with affect...more
A good read in itself, but especially useful for discussions of soverignty in the transatlantic, post-Fordian world. Hardt and Negri suggest that there can be government by all, a democracy of the multitude. I'm especially interested in their revision of representation in this world. Also, I like to think about what immaterial labor looks like, especially affective labor, and what might compensation for it look like.

The main claim of “Democracy of the Multitude” is that, contrary to Hobbes, and,...more
Apr 07, 2007 Benjamin added it
Shelves: the-crowd
In their sequel to Empire, Hardt and Negri trace the lineaments of a beast with multiple backs they call Multitude: different people coming together to oppose Capital/Empire who celebrate/enjoy/accept their differences, and yet still work together towards the creation of "the common". (In the tag to his review of Empire in The New Left Review, Gopal Balakrishnan notes that Empire is "a new Roman order, awaiting its early Christians"; Multitude, then, is those early Christians, awaiting their lio...more
A sequel to Negri & Hardt's "Empire", with a discussion of how "the Multitude"--- diffuse networks of local resistance ---can oppose the Empire of equally diffuse, stateless global capital. Negri & Hardt draw heavily on Foucault's idea of "biopower" as a description of the kind of control their vision of Empire exerts--- not so much political imperium as a kind of all-pervasive economic and cultural system. They look to autonomous local movements (e.g., the Zapatistas) throughout the wor...more
A follow-up to Empire, in this book the authors get less philosophical, more interested in seeing if their ideas can be applied to the real world. Given the stir its predecessor made, the authors also used the criticism of that earlier work to help guide this one.

I find it curious that some critiques of Marxist-influenced works like this choose to attack the Soviet Union (Stalin and all that) as a form of rebuttal. Unless the work contains pro-Stalin era nonsense (workers paradise, etc.) those r...more
Juuuust the sort of well-written, post-Marxist activism this world needs right now. Having adored Hardt & Negri's previous collaboration, Empire, I thought I'd look at their supposedly less academic sequel. While I appreciated the effort, I really preferred the more academic version, in which they trace a lot of contemporary bullshittery back to Hegel, compare Fordist and Taylorist production schemes, and so on. I also have some qualms about their Pollyanna attitude vis-a-vis the multitude o...more
I'm still making my way through this book - it's taking me forever because I'm intent on understanding and absorbing everything I possibly can. This is an extraordinarily important book, one that anyone who wants to see - or rather, effect - change in the world needs to read to understand that democracy, real and colorful and multiplicitous, is the foundation for any such meaningful change.

And one post-script: Don't be afraid of theory!
Rui Coelho
Great book! It hints at the radical democratic project that was explored by social movements like Occupy and M126
I wasn't awarded the opportunity to complete this book (exams) for my own leisure, but I thoroughly enjoyed the pages I read. This is a very timely book that more people should read. I can see how the academic style is off-putting, however. Multitude is not the most accessible book, since it's not intended for the laity but fellow political intellectuals and academes. Good read.
Zöe Yu
comparatively speaking, it's too long.
Peter De Cauwer
There are some really interesting ideas in this book, but in order to get to those nuggets you need to wade up to your neck into a sea of neo-marxist drivel. It all looks like the n-th attempt at saving Marx' ideology to me. I really thought that this kind of book died somewhere in the 70s and that I was about to read something new. What a disappointment!
It's hard, exactly, to describe this book's influence - but perhaps a metaphor.

It's like someone showed me a map and asked me where my house is. So I said "right there" and pointed. They then showed me all the other ways my house was "right there" - longitude and latitude, topographical map, distance from other major cities, etc. Remarkable.
Dec 26, 2009 Victor added it
Bought this to read 3 years ago after reading Empire. I just started to read this and found it an interesting argument for the development of a new political paradigm to address Aristole's warning that we all had to learn to distinguish between unity and uniformity, between heaven and hell.
Would give this 5 stars if there were more concrete indicators that these ideas were Real and not just the best wishes of the authors. Follow-up to Empire, i like the way its written and the ideas and methodologies used, in many ways i am big fan. Combining james madison and lenin >
I can't believe I'm saying this, but it seems these authors are even more idealistic than I am. This book describes recent phenonmena relating to globalization in an interesting way, but the arguments are not well-supported and the solutions read like fairy tales.
A brilliant analysis of how the war on terror in conjunction with neoliberal global economic policies are re-shaping the body, the workforce, the home, the family, and the very ability to survive for much of the globe in the 21st century.
Eric Michael
This book changed my way of thinking about popular movements. I found Empire to be overly complicated after there had already been so much written about globalization. This book was well laid out and fascinating to read.
Feb 03, 2008 Allie added it
To be honest....I need to read the book again. I remember enjoying it, but I read it for a political theory class that had us reading a book a week...I feel like rereading would give me some better insight.
A lot more readable than Empire but lacks the almost poetic beauty in philosophical composition that brought Empire together. Largely seems to want to explain, sometimes almost apologize for the first work.
Much better than Empire, which I did not particularly like. --- The analysis of 20th century guerrilla warfare as a modernizing force in state building was worth the whole book.
I liked this book a lot. It was more accessible than Empire. It also had some great insights into the notions of ownership in the 'new economy.' It is theory heavy so watch out!
New and innovative thinking about society, economics, and politics on a global scale. Hardt and Negri explore many possible solutions and potential obstacles.
Aron Eisenhart
Jul 09, 2007 Aron Eisenhart is currently reading it
I just got this book today, 07.09.07, it is the sequel to the book Empire by the same authors which is really good. I'll let you know how it goes . . .
The second book in the *Empire* trilogy. It expands upon some concepts of the first, but doesn't really advance much of an understanding from it.
Soha Bayoumi
I liked the analysis of Empire more, but I still loved this one with all the revolutionary spirit and zeal it expresses
Matthew Summers
Total crap. I was eager to read this after hearing Hardt lecture, now I'm upset I wasted my time. Neo-Marxist nonsense.
I didn't understand what the heck they were talking about. I must be pretty dumb, though, because this went right over my head.
Unless you are fanatically interested in European political philosophy since the 1970s, read Empire instead.
James Johnson
easier going and more enjoyable 'normal brain'd person' version of empire. check it out.
Better than Empire but I didn't take much away from reading this book.
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Michael Hardt is an American literary theorist and political philosopher perhaps best known for Empire, written with Antonio Negri and published in 2000. It has been praised as the "Communist Manifesto of the 21st Century."
Hardt and his co-author suggest that what they view as forces of contemporary class oppression, globalization and the commodification of services (or production of affects), hav...more
More about Michael Hardt...
The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States Empire Commonwealth Declaration Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy

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