Home > Books, Economics, Philosophy, Politics > Object a as Inherent Limit to Capitalism: on Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Object a as Inherent Limit to Capitalism: on Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Slavoj Zizek writes in lacan.com:

What makes Empire and Multitude such a refreshing reading (clearly the definitive exercises in Deleuzian politics) is that we are dealing with books which refer to and function as the moment of theoretical reflection of-one is almost tempted to say: are embedded in-an actual global movement of anti-capitalist resistance: one can sense, behind the written lines, the smells and sounds of Seattle, Genoa and Zapatistas. So their theoretical limitation is simultaneously the limitation of the actual movement.

Hardt’s and Negri’s basic move, an act which is by no means ideologically neutral (and, incidentally, which is totally foreign to their philosophical paradigm, Deleuze!), is to identify (to name) “democracy” as the common denominator of all today’s emancipatory movements: “The common currency that runs throughout so many struggles and movements for liberation across the world today – at local, regional, and global levels – is the desire for democracy.” Far from standing for a utopian dream, democracy is “the only answer to the vexing questions of our day, /…/ the only way out of our state of perpetual conflict and war.” Not only is democracy inscribed into the present antagonisms as an immanent telos of their resolution; even more, today, the rise of the multitude in the heart of capitalism “makes democracy possible for the first time” Till now, democracy was constrained by the form of the One, of the sovereign state power; “absolute democracy” (“the rule of everyone by everyone, a democracy without qualifiers, without ifs or buts,” only becomes possible when “the multitude is finally able to rule itself.”

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