Assignment: Declaration, ch.1

Hi all,

For Wednesday, please read chapter 1 of Declaration. If you did not read the “opening,” please do so.

Today, we discussed the “Opening” of Hardt and Negri’s Declaration. There were four broad themes covered:

1. “Declaration,” not manifesto.

For H&N, recent social movements do not need prophets — the people themselves are expressing what kind of world they want through their revolt and rebellion. The aim of intellectuals like H&N, therefore, is not to describe what the new world must be like, but to interpret the actions of the social movements that are creating a new world.

2. The movements of 2011

2011 saw a global wave of revolt, from Tunisia to Egypt to Spain to Greece to Wisconsin to Occupy Wall Street. Each of these moments was different — there were different local concerns. But, for H&N, there are deep similarities as well. Further, many of these movements were in communication, playing off one another, “passing the baton.”

3. the “forms of subjectivity” of neoliberalism — and the possibility of inverting them through revolt and rebellion.

“Forms of Subjectivity” here means “ways of being a self.” For H&N, who we are is deeply affected by the relations of power in society. They will discuss for forms of subjectivity appropriate to neoliberalism: the Indebted, the Mediatized, the Securitized, and the Represented. For example, to be in debt is to be in the world in a different way from those who aren’t — our perception, our worries, our thoughts are different from how they would otherwise be.

The book will also talk about how in the process of participation in social movements, these subjectivities change and even “invert.”

4. principles of a new constituent power.

The book will propose a set of principles that the authors find in contemporary movements which could serve as the guiding framework for a different society, one with a different conception of what our “inalienable rights” are.

If you didn’t make it today, I think its safe to say you missed a bunch. But we’ll spend some time going through this book.

Nick

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