Você está na página 1de 150

E & Imperalism

A Critical Reading of Michael HardL and Antonio Negri


AnUO A BO
'THIS MOST IHtNHAN1 N D[VASTATING CRITIQUE 0 Hardr 0 Ne@fl s
mlstaien Cnd conl(JsecnOllons 0 BdcterrtlOlilt/ and 0uCcI1J0t00 Emptfc
cones from one of tie P0M Cf0BIv0 an cOJllllted S0iallst ,!tL'lIectual" In
lD0 CoDll ult DB! has 0U !D0 most flfstnano expel1ence of the dtual
worklflgs 0l Amcllan ImDnaiism IO0l 0nIy contront! Hard! 0NefI
ab5\rCtlon5 wl! 'thl prosaic L.tHl Ancan eonlQnJprar) 0lIly hul
sulels lD6II work to BDotounr theorcilcit o00cmpilitil El@lallon Wlllttn
wIlD N.ccplloncl 0tP B olten bltmg Pu ouI. lDI5 I5 D JDBl cser\es
lO 0 ",lcCI) |0&.
LEU P4NH CoL0tlcr. b0lBII5l Reister D,slllgUishe 0mCD
Professor of POhllcal S.(nce. Yor U0tvtlSI!. Canai
THE bll 1HIb LU! N HLlL DISSECTION CI wIUm |\0I0 D$
dDu! !lIe emerging \ortcJ 0t0tt 1E5 0l DVUB |iI|tien!ta|stud thar
|S Its |m0t0mH turge!. Boron SIIlPS I |Bt ll0i la)er of 1l15Ulder
!!irdlng conefOlOg Dl0 Impralism' 80 I!S ClI(! \arlant He HmS
U PrSISlence of tie dll\e to C0!rol n"luril H50UfC05 lP rchanc! Dl
transni!.onil fIlm! 00 p\\el ful hOile slate the dangers of aolrlIg
political 0Conmy, ana muel 0I$E 1Rt$ wIIudUIu slld UI\{lops
Ifllprtanl O!tvC 0 DI050D! |0Bll0S M0 \'1Il must D 000 l0 CO\
|0|wBt0 OiSI (II(Vt.lllenIS on ll tlplllon from InJustice. oPP'CSSII dlU
degraatIon
NUMCHUMKY
'BEYOND HlS RFNCHANT LNL\LmtN1 \1111 lm argument! of HBt0! cilIa
Negr , Boron 0l!0IS nls o n 1SIghifui ami eloquent HB|y5I5 of loa\ S
'glollo,ed worfd ;,n( Ih pSSllll"!'!S 0! tI> trallsformatlon The frUitful
COlllJrrilOn 0! Ireorelicai flgur 0 Cli"". (mplral 0Bv|5 8n0 plitical
passIon 'S Just H Mt0U 0I thmg wE Dmd 0|1 lD0 |EI!
EN MISKIJ WD Authol 0l LmitP 0! L80lldI
IN 1 J1
V

1Il

lll
l
I
Jl
IJI1
Abculfhtk
Har Mholar Michael Hardt aDd Italian 1ling intelJtuaJ Toi
Nel's mjorbok Emplr, quickly beame 0 huge bestseller whn
it pubmed m the United Wc9.It wdely lauded by or
gns, sch a' tmNwr6rtJM88,no usually W0 for their think
ing in ter of empi ad Imprlim. ut many intellectuals in
other par of the wrd - among tem Atilo Bron dWplg'
distur b mbok, reling tat It macl misoncei
underiM pUlai ristnce to imperalis, ad igomlhe
concme exprence and inte0Wumalyi of the Third Word.
Aliio Bron are that Hat and N's concept ofimpral
ism wthut an adds', ho wll intentone teir commit
ment to buman emciptin and a Muer wrd, Igor te
fundamentl pramer of moern imprm. Pfs r Born
unpick thrir armel5 and cnfnt tm WUUcsci, a
nomic and politicl aides of intWsied cpim 0xloitation in
to's world. Among Ihe trenchant prnts he makes:
The nation Illte, rar tom ingweakned, N&Ba crucial
agnt of mcapltalll core, deploying a la anenal of eo
nomic weaponr to protect and extend its position, and actively
promoting gobalization in hs Ointerests. It is only the state
in the perpher thaI has 0 drlrlcally wuk'ned in fla
lion both l0 trnsnational corortions and to tMWtatCs and
supranalional enlitie5like te U5and te tU.
Hardt and Negi are also wrng, he arues. in picturng prouc
lion under globaliztion % disregring nalionl fntier, This
dos nOI apply to labur. nor to cuttinged thnolog.
And their substltulion or a nebulous 'mullitude' for identifable
social fores lnd antagnisic soial groups merely confss
plitical rality, as dos thelr curous depktion or Ihe supr
rxploiled Tird World mignt worer postmoem hem who
H changing Ihe wrd.
Born conclud that Empir is liberran pimistpruct
of tht defeat of th socialist lef in the tyand 19
.
luauthof
hav abldoned soial theo@In favur of 8pot abcon
which rer up te realit of a @o0ition press whos more
cynical QI@stsdo nOI heBltale in pWnlng ma proJton of
American poer,
CnmolprfUfrtu bk
Q is9M prl plemic, in the MW of wr, ap
a tun fhionble b k.Bt R8als mon tan mtBnd
hl5lnhant eQ@ent with mann1 of HMNe,
Bn of. In aceibe prll, m0instfl ad elquent
Ina of toy" "gaed" wrld and pibilites of m
tsratn. le fitfl rbinadn of trt d@rand
clrt, empira alyis and plldcl don ujmMnd M
thingW ne on the lel' EU.n /eiit K,allho,ofEmp
orCaplw
'Allo Brn Ua ,but ne, crd of the
pslllol pt forar b Ha and N, wo A. hav aed
mcmmmmfhe anemp b Intellt rcingl to WU
iu the ptental for ppula m mon EpnolOWM
5uppor of a dfrt I 0goi.' 0MfAmin
''e ICOp ofli lucid m carfl disSton of wdel held bliefs
about the emerng wrld order exends wll bnd ltinfuentil
smdymtis Ita immediate tr.Born sps aw lyr afer lr
of mlrndentding concerng "old impemi&m wdhscumnt
WOD. He nwthe pnlstence of the dre to conll natl
runs, the rliance of trnstional fs 08prl home
smte,the dangr of a\iding plitic onomy,and much else. He
brlnp out clear tbe need for "a adete sial cnophyof
tmfeld" wer an -emnClptor bame" must wg If It uto
mwmhop of sucess. In a crtique of common illusion abut
contempr aiet. Brn Idetifes and sts te sigfcanc
of soial ronl mtmweme and ar enp 0 te cls|c
Itges tat ronstantly tke ne mmt,but fect much the sme
dur institonal fors and cnOicling ImeMTbvluable
sd delops an Impnnl ppetiWon prsent raites and on
what must b done to foDd .. t achmenU In emancipa
tion fm Inust, opprsion, and dedatin: NMMC"O
'It irhigl appDpMte tt the fmnchnt and dsating
critique oC Hat and Neg's mlsn dmnoons of a
detertrlid and deenacrd Empir sbould haWcme fm
one of t mot crea ad cmmit sli. intdcs in m
content that hl had the mo 8nt-hnd exrnce of mc
wrkinl of AmImpralam.Wrtn lnthrtditon o-and
in the prca din much to Ltin Awdeates
ondepndenc, neoolonlalis impeOalmoImc1y/,
0no only cnfrnt Hart and Nqi's abarLions mm'
prc Lin Ammcntemprr m, bt ajt mel
work to a prfDnd thrcal and empidm rftation. Wrttn
\ith ocpdon WWand ofen bitin hUmu, mba btat
espeil mto mrd b Wto acv m,a. Brn
aptly note in the preface Uts BEnglish rdition,mben
Infuen b Hat and Ne's 'M mlaka of doss and
interrtton, mmil8ccepte b mgup. orlztion
that to tglo defet imprm, cod bme the WW
ofmand longluting dfelts.' LPitch. CEitr, SiUs
Resler; Carda Rth Chair mComrU HItlreIOh0m
cndDiniJ.h Re.eath Pr/lor o Pltrcl5rm,I0fUmr
s/g,Ccncdc
AbIlhrduMor
All A. Brn U Ecutw 5qof te DAmercan Council
of5Sienc (ClC) and Pfesr of Plitca Teor me
Unlfnl 0Buen . He WrmIn .ntna and Chile,
bfoding his dmd m Hmd in the Unitd bW
He ha. tagt at sme 0te 0M imprt academ IRh
tionsin mnti my Il,ChIle,Mei and Peno Rico. In te
Unhed States he mbn a wsdgprfeB at the unirities of
Columbi, Mr, Nore Dme and UCL, and in Britin hu lerd
4lWuck ad Brdfrd uities He is te autor or editor m
nint tok. (In a numlr of Ingaps), lneflng Stal, CapttUm
0B0DmmQmLdaAmerca |1yy).MMpaintra i te
rlationship IltH. maret ad d dun, dr
prOof neli rctung. B Mhe ws arde l
Cay de las Amca. Pe for 'qln'am!qnel/rm.
A111L A. ULHL1
Empire and imperialism
A critical rcading DILDa8 Hardt
and Antonio Negi
tr.tnslutcd by|csstuCusin
/cd Boks
mm WemmqqmW m
4m`mWgl W qw,;qb
MU M NtjP,M M&Wt/WAwz,Nw
WmM tmtmW
mw
coM AMW
WO]C
TQMAlllMAWMWMmmMMb
moqmWamMmWo
oMzg.
OACw
WMmemWWqWM$Um
MMWMloMqoMM
MtmMmqngW WBM
M8lM 'fM& t@WbmMWM ZWZ
AwMWmWW
H *
WOmWw WMMmmH.
Mgm
M T j@4
WMMt@qWg
Cnt
Aknoledgments I W
PcC I 1
Prloe to te Engli-langage edition I 6
On mcdws,mclimit ofw8blIqaadblInd8p I 3
2 Tbe constitton oftbe empir I 0
3 Markets. tsnatona corportons and national
ecnomie I q1
4 Altete vsions oBhe empir I 58
8 Te nation-state ad the Issue of sOlereigt I 73
0 11( unsolvd myter olthe multtude I 87
7 NDcSfor a soiolog of rvolutiona" tinkig in umm
oldefeat I g
11e pristence of impralism I t t
Epllo@c 1111
Bibliophy I tzg
lndwof prp names I 130
Geneml index 1136
Acknowledgements
A number of people have read all or pan of the m8nu
scnpt,making possible dccompletion of this bok.
Speial thanks are due to Ivana Brighenti, Florencia
Fnghel, Jorge Frga, Sabrina Gonzln, Bellina In,
Migud Rossi, Jose Soane, Emilio Taddei and Adrea
V|ahuscfor their encouragement, commlnl5 and
criticism. jrssICasiro did a superb job of trnslating
the Ilher baroue orgnal Spanish into 8U austere but
Mill lively Engish. Of cou Dg none oflhem should be
blamed for lhcerors and short<'mings of lH0 book,
caused entirely b the stubbrness of its author.
Prce
Firt, a little bit or hisol. (n september ZO1 one of the edtor
cfNmLf Rwtm invted me to contrbute a chapter to a col
Iccton olesa to be publishe b Ver in Ldon. The bok
was to contain a seres or crtc commeDes about Emp;n b
Michael Hardt and Atonio Neg (200); their pon wud
bcadded laler. Given that conmbutlOn rched Inordinate
pmpmons, t W clear mat |t could not b included in that
bok. Fr from being disourd, l ralize that the work I had
zlnadydone. considerng te impornc of the theme, desred
a frsh str, so, arrbrdening some analys, enlarng on a
fe commenl, adding ne data and ne rfections, the result
wal thl bk
What i rlate i te prio pargph i the fsuh of his
toqand cirumtnces. 'ere r alo mor import O
Ihat inspir me to wte mbok. n t w the ned to
consdrrvel serousl the work mWscholr of the intellecal
calibr olMichael Hardt and Atonio Nei. Teir InlIecual and
politil'1 trajctores, Mbrad and prlifC,csdally in the case
ofdclatter, make them desering of resp and for that rason
tlmined vel crflly the assenions the made trughout
fmpn,0 plemic that had such a strng public ipact. second,
Ihe subject materofthis bok solgat imprnce: te empir,
or, to use a defition that sems to me mor apprprate, the
|mpmlist Qm i it crnt phase.
Th difcultes in undCrking sch a m8m. lsha the
authors' critical vie or capitalism and neoliMrl globaliztion,
t Mbmka,Mmcmmblcey,n MwUmtmc0na|
cbapterMat6tdmg.&8akO8banM])
" and applaud thir courg in eMining such a crcial topic.
W

In Cr D mt ho deeply I disagee with Hart ad Ne'.

inter1tions, I must admit that their nsion and upte


te subject were nWr bot becuse the defciencies of cn
ventional anlyses of the lef wth rd to the tnsforations
cxencd b bi m or the la nrf ye had
bWme impD8iblc to igo and nee lI t u, ad
bOue the sorcoming of te 'p uniue on s 0NI
sprd ur0E or; b the lF, the Word Bank and the ide
locl agnCies of te imperaJ stem 0wic mneolibr
theor of globliztion g 0pNonq ar C gar. For
those like t.he wter of this bok, to whom te fndmental
mJIsion of both philosqhy and plitcal ther is to chag the
word aDd not just to interrt it Iwdte the wU-ko c8N
onFuerbach' b Mar), a cr therconstltute an inluable
tol wit which te ppular moments that resist nelibrl
globaliztion C8D ngte, with a rasMble amount of 8CCWQ,
trug the lrubled wten of contmprr eapibJism. One ol
mmain factor inspirng this bok Is my stng bUef th.t Hart
and Nei's rean to this chaUenge l8 bgly unstisctor,
and that it could lead to ne politil def.
It i mdent tha a pmomenon such 8 tos imprm
its strctue, its logc of fuctionng, its conuences ad
it conuadlcton canot be adequtely undertoo from a
close r&ding of classic text b Hlfering, Lnin, Buarn and
Ra Lxmbur. Ti is not bww the wr mg, a. the
rgt lO to claim, but bW capitalm is a Wgng and
dyamic Jstem tt, a Mr and EnpJswroe in the Comuit
MQnist, 'constntly rrolutonls itstlr. Terfo, we W ot
underd ear nnrHrl-ntur imprim b mcng only
to author, but nclth can w unelld It wiout tem.
The gal Is to mO for in a reforulation tt, dep8MiDg
frm te Coperican rlution produced b m5wrk. which
prdes us with an interrtatif due tt i essnti for exlin
ing capitlist siet, wil mnltrret waudt ad cratt
the cluic: hert of stdie on impris in te Upt M
thc Uforton of te prnL To's lmpmlM u not
the same as the one tht eisted thir @;it has chngd,
and In soe m te chan has bn fr ipnnl, but it
has not Cmngd ln iu oppsite, as neollber mysfction
sugstg ging d 10 a 'gobal' eonomy in which W q
interependent'.lt ll mo,and it opprss poples and
natons and cates pain. deston ad deth. In spite Mte
changs, ltstiD ke ps it identit and stctur, and it still ply
the sme hisorcal role In the logc of m global accumuJton
olcapitl. It mutdons. it vlatile and dagrus combindon
of gsenCe ad innoaton, rqui the constrction of a ne
frer tt wil alo us to captu Iu present natuN.
Ths |s Dot te place W eamine different theories about
Imper Let us sy. tosum up, that the fndamental fatur
oIimperalism, pointed out by the cluicalluthon at te time
ol the Fint Word Wa, remain uncm@d |n their esscntW
gven tht imprm Itno an ancillar ftr of contemprr
capitlim or a plic implemented b some It'tes, but a ne
ttagc in te deelopmet of tis moe of prduction who
fundamentl tmlt have pristed to the psent da. Ti ne
s@ s charcterizd. no en more than In the pst, b the
concentrtion of capital, the orhelmlng prdominance or
monoplies, the incmsingi import rle pd b fncal
capitg the exp" of capital and m divsion of the wrld ln
diferent 'sphers of InOuence', The accelertion of globaliztion
lhattook plac inte tnal quarer of the Itcentur, inlad of
Wakening or disslvng the iprst strcurs of the wd
ecqomy, mapifed the ItnCur asmetre tat defne the
insenon of the diferent countres in it. While a handful of del
opd capitlist n.tiom inCd their capacit to contrl. at lea
panially, te pructve at a global lel, the fnancial
iUlion mmintertional economy ad the grng cirulation
J

4
0
M

" of goods and serces. the gat mjort of countres wtnessd


M
i
the gh of their exteral dependenc and the wdening of
0
the gp that separated tem from the centre. Globaliztion, in
shon, cnslidated the imperialist domi nation and depned the
submission of perpherl cpitalism" which bcame more and
more incapble of controlling their domestic economic pm5S
even minimaly. The contnuit of the fndamentl parameter
of imperalism, nOl so much of its phenomenolog, i igord
thrughout Hardt and N's wrk, and this negation uwhat te
have called 'empire'. What I kto demonstrate here is tat. in
the sme wy that the walls of Jericho did not collpse because
of the sound of Johua and the priests' trumpet, the rait of
empire dos not fade awy wh0n confronted b the mnOsies of
philosophers.
The fact that Hardt and Negi's work appeared at a time when
the peripher's depend0nand the impr0li8t dominaton have
gron to leels previously unknown in histor is nolo minor
detail. This is why the need to h8 a renovted theoretcal tolbox
with whieh to understand imperialism and fght against it is more
urnt than ever. It will be ver m to wn thi battle without
a clear understanding of the natur of the phenomenon. It I5
precisely because of this n0ed to ko that Empnhas had 5lh
an extrordinar impact on the lare masses of yung and not
so yungq people who from Seattle on have mobilized throughout
the world to put an end to the sstematic genocide that imperal
ism is committin@in the counties of the capitaist prpher, to
sial regression, and to the disenfmnchuement that is taking
place to a similar extent in both the most advanced and the most
backard socirties, to the crminal destruction of the environ
ment, to the degdation of demOratic regmes rtrined by the
tanny of markets and the militrsm tat, following the attacks
on the World Trde Center and the ntagn, has pereated
the White Hous and other prild places in which deisions
afecting the lives of million of pople a mde. Uspite the
4
nobll intentions nnd intllIectual and political honesry of our
author, about which I mw no doubt, their book - regrded by
man}' as the 'Twenty-frst Centur's Communist Manifesto' or
5 reived 'Lttle Red Bok' for (he slalled 'globalphobics'
' contains Slrous mistakes In ters of diagosis and interr
tation which, if accepted by goups and organizations uying to
deIcat imperalism, could become the intellectual cau of ne
and long-lasting de frats, and not only in the theoretical arena.
This is why I have attempted to put forrd my critiques and to
3c the costs and risks entailed in criticizing a book which, for
several reasons, has become an imporant theoreticl reference
for the moements critical of neoliberl globali7.tion. I beliee
that 8 sincere debate about the mcscs developed in Fmn can
bc a powerful antidote to such worring pMsibilities.
ttrrsAint,m0DhZ02
Ploue W te English-laguge
eio
Thii bok srks to debte, blh from a theretcal 5ndpint
and in the ligt of the lessonS provded by historical and co
temprr exprencey the thess that Michael Hart and Antonio
N dmelop in EqN2ol.While in prious editions I have
chosen not to exmine some eents that WM both momentous
and SpctClar such the atroious 9/11 attck in Ne York
and Wahingon - although mQ sedously challengd the cor
of Hart and Neg'S tertcal ament at present such an
altitude is not only iDpossiblc but also undesirable. [ndtd,
the Iraq war has had te same efect on the analysis proposed
In mplras the collapse of te Tin Tower had on American
self-onfdence.
Much wter has Howd under the bridge and much blo has
been shed as a conseuence of the peristence of imperialist
policies since the original pUblication of EmprrrQI.d lmpnchtm
in bganuh |n ZDZ. It Snecessar. therefore, fOrendWan account
of these ne realities, Il, In writing itg my orgnaI idea had been
to cMale a 'livng text', to employ Antonio GnmI's lcIlctout
mprssiong the bo k Couldhardly rmain imperious to the vicis
situcs of. pro lke our. cmrt0med b Innile horr and
teror dealt aginst defenceless ppulatiDns - an infnite war
or, Gore Vidal sustedg 8 prual wr wged allegdly in
pursuit of petual pace - and b)' the unrestrined Sion
aginst humn sOiet and natur peqetWted in the name of
corprte profts and stock (xchan prices. These vllainies arr
caIIcd, wm unparllelcd cklsm, 'humanitaran wars' fougt
[0 buld a more secu, pacerul and just wrd by character m
noorous 8the Bushes, Anar, Blair and Berlu5conis who toay
cmmand tM height of the cor cpltall . sttes. Trugh m
macar mnglatiDof wr and the sematc misinfona
tion inW ntly rprouced b the mass media, almost all of
which ls under the se cnt of capital, their tehnolocaUy
ultrsphidcated terrsm appar 86rttble but unavid
able 'collaterl damap' their wr of pillal and conquet
become nobIe tmin flUr of fedom and demrac
The objecl or this Ploe, therfore, u to present some
mcn rrding the charcertion of te curnt phase of
impralism in the ligt of the lessns aring flm te ne epoh
inaugrted b the ent of 911 and, In paric:ar, by the Irq
wr. Such a rsion is esential not only to foil te prpagnda
orcheslted by Washingon and prjected wrldwde In rlation
to the Lb mq0ccupadon of that cnt, but mauSe@ a w
shaU se in te foUowng page, en wtin the rnk of the lef
an unforunate cnfusion prs wth rpr Uimpralis and
the fors in which it curently mnire itselt A confUtion that
S made WD by the maligant trend aong a sable majort
oC progessiv intellectal. U b 'pUtUy Orect DF, a the
Spanish playght Afonso Snr said, to be 11 thinking', tht
s, to ab6Win frm challengng the dominant sUent prmilts of
our ag whIch@ as Mar md Enpls diacored in their erly text.
M none other than te Ide of the dominant class.
Gien that wtout an accurte analysis of rulit ther cannot
bcacomt politiCal line Cor combating te MoU@s or imperal
Ism, clearng up tis matter turs into m issue of the geatest
imprnce. This Ploe sek to add its humble cntribution
tothat underng.
T0r:honhmullolt'oftt worin lmg
Lt us begn b parphrsing an exprssion emploed b
Norbeno Bobbio, 'te harh rebutal of hisor'. to rfe U te
refutaton, accring to his anlys, of the Mars ther of the
stte ong to the chges elprenced b democrtic cpital

0 isms durng the tntieth centur. The militr ocupation of

r
Irq. delard b Washingon with the suppn of its main client
l
gmment. the Uniled Kingom. and of its luckil shorli
Spanish lacke, Jose M . .nar, has in due cour generated an
extremely harh refutation of the ambitious theorizations of
Michael Hat and Antonio Negi thai are the objet of this bok.
The nu that unfolded in te internatonal arena after the
publication of EmtrrnZD have incontroribly refted, wth
te fotefulnes of historical fact, the rsh theores the prpos
in their bok. The latter not only provd itself incable of ad
equately interpMtng the histor of imperalism ad its curent
strcture, but also of accounting for the defning fetures of the
ne phas bn afer the collapse of the Sovet Union and the
end of the pst-r world order.
A extion of some of the main 'theoretical vicdms' of
rcent epoch-making eents wold include the follong Items.
I Hardt ndNe's concetion ofth rle ofth UnlrdNations
and interational law. pinted out in txtelo in this bok,
the authOR of Empir grssly eagerte the Imporce of the
United Nations and Interational law. Lcking the theoretical
insruments neessar to allow them to perceiv all the nuances
and complexities of the structure of the impralit sstem
since such instrments are not to b found in the 'tolbox' of
Frnch postem philosophy, Italian plitics and US economic
scienl' t. mauthors' thre acknoleged &urces of inspiration
- the naivl take for gnted the 'democrtic' apparance of
multilaterallsm and of the Unitcd Natjor sstem. The conse
quently confuse the empt formalities of the empire with its con
stitutive matter. thus mistaking fon for substnce. The contrst
beteen lhislma and aity is edent en to begnneR in the
study of intertional lation6. Blinded by te inadequacies of
teir fault teortica frmerk, once again trnsfored into
a vertble pron for thought, Hart and Neg m unable to
se what W edent to ey else: the invion unilaterly
8
decreCd b Psident eo@ W. Bush caused t contdiction
0CWD teir thorzon and ralit to com 8 glaring 8 it
wasunsuinabl. Violating t allrged ordr mbdied in the
United Nations and intemational law, the United States decicd
- as ofcial policy rther than as a pition papr cirulating
surreptitiously in Washingon, witten by some parnoid hawk
lD the Pntgon to ignor any resolution to the contar that
the Securit Council Dight adoptg not to mention the Generl
A&Mmbly nnd invade Ira.q. Faithful to Lat atitde, d White
House did not hestate to move to the defence or its 6upp0ey
threatened national securt. igorng bth the need to build
labrious plitical agreement as required b the United Nations
Chaner and the need to submit to mz dctatw OlntematIonal
legslaton that it had alwys consider U be a meO trbute
to demag and thai neded to be obyd only in M rar 8 It
did not affct Washingon inlerest. Thi pOition ws adopted
n despite it high politiC0l Ct, sch as the rptun or the
North Atlanlic conRnsus, the crsis in NAT and the sErio0
altrrcaton with Frnce and Grmany, te ater-fets or which
will M vsible for a long lime. Aler te aguion apin . t Irq
had ben cared ot. te Sct Cuncil uDnimously adopted 8
resolution nOtobr ZO calliDg for the demoratc and shard
reonstrction of that count, but this wu merly a gtt MI
lum legtiDibon of imperalist aIon tht had destrd
the totering remnant of the pst-wr order. Pt Adern
poignty obMWd, tis unanimoU vte m which the Securit
Coun"U soLemnly wlcomed the puppt germent Htblished
by te White Hous in Iraq as the incaraton of Imqi soverigt,
whr Clling on the patrotic rsistnce movements aginS the
invasion to ceas their actItrs, stoed the ofcl blessing
4
of thc united Nator' highesl auLorit on the Ammcm mkr
or of Iraq (Andern zO 51-Z). This rsoluton, h0r, W
wongy interpreted by Antonio Ne in rcent intere 85
ptmf olU5capitulation Uthe Unite Nations, when it ws exctly
9
J
te oppsite: the imptent rsigation of the U n te rce of
the brtl outg mmilcd 0ywashingon (Czmo103)
Yet, the absurdit of this interrtation - admit, alwys
difcult - of te curnt situation i 1150 repeted througout
Empir in its interrtton of the put. This dangrou tendenc
tD conse rhetoric and rit led the author, for exmple, U
cm the "gr or Prsident Woodr Wilson tn accordance
with the most convntonal ideologcl element of mcr|c8's
ewblishmentOrtt prsent him as an 'idealit', an amialble
ad treless builder of peace and a man inspir b the noblet
Ktn ide oC uner communit. Mteir o wm,Wion
'adopted an interationalit ideolog of pace a an expnsion
of the con5tutoDal conction of neork pr' (p. t]q).T
vision ignorsg among other thing, the acid rmark made b
John Maynard Kenes abut the duplicit and by that
Wilsn exibited at the Wn8 Pe Confernce afer the Firt
World War, which led mcEnglish ecnomist to conclude that the
Aerican president ws te pale frud on ear (Pn itch and
GLndin 2O 1) Or to disrgrd the fct, in no w trval, tat
it w durng Wilsn's prudenc that mOtpied the NW*
ican pr oCVercr and imded Nicrga and the Dminican
Republic, surl to help the lmslsgain a Ruer underding of
KtShretual Pace.
Z Th connption of the supdly t'lutorJ li and de
centr d character of impralim. other of the vHm of the
Iraq wr ha ben the propsiton that dd the obsolrscnc
oC tertoral - and to a pat 0Xt0Dt materal - issues in favour
of te vral, smbolic and immaterl. This volatliztion of the
territorial elements of imperalism (and mcapitlis) akgdly
rsult In srl inetable consequencs: ft, the ireer5iblr
displacement of acient soeigtlesg based on ahaic ter
rtrl naton-sttt, b a 'smoth', suppsedl suprnatonl
space, a place wher a ne imria somgt wuld be id
of any vss of link with ntional stale and. terfor, of
M
any tertorial or geogphical rdern. Second, the gadul
disappernce of. tertorally located centre lhat 'ornizes'
the international srcture of domination. Givn the forer,
the clasic distinction bte n centt and pripher, Nor and
Suth, vnishe into thin air. Instead ofthis, what wuld aJledl
chactr te empir would b the prmac of a global logc
ofdomination orcoming tdition national intersts whose
bllicos rafratin causd innumerble 'impriaist' wr in
the LTank G, this perod is no ovtrl
If one thing wa demoRted b the agssion unleashed
against In, and befor tht in Agh4nisr, it ws te merely
illusr charcter of these conceptions so dear to the authors of
mpin, which Bush rfuted with the rd manners of a Te
cobo. One of the Orst radings that W caD make of the ent
in Irq is that (rrHardt and Neg) the United States m fl1y
assumed it condition as te imperalist superower, and not
only dos not attempt t0 hide that condition, as happened in the
pst, but en bost of it. It interened militly m Irq. as it
will surly do elseher, sering the grost and ptties defence
of the interts ofthe conglomerte of ggntic oligpolies that
for the dominnt cls In the US iDtert which, thanks to the
alchemy of bureois hmony, have ben mirculousl tmas
Fored into the national Intert of the Untted Sttet. It wold
bc psible no to parphr the old motto of Gener Motor
bysng that, In te current imprialist phase, 'Wat Is good for
the US corrton is goto for the Unit Sttes'. The oilmen
who toay fe1 at home in mOl Ofce pounded, with absurd
pretexts, a countr to take po.'esion of the enorous aJth it
harbour in its subsoil. Plainly put, the militar occupation of
Iraqis esentially a lrtoral conque5t for plunder cared out b
te main actor mthe imperalist scture of our tme under the
ntrxt of prnting the deploment of yet unfound wapon of
mals destrction and of ngng the en les Hkrly collabr
|onof the Saddam regme with thcforer US merenar Oama
12
W Bin Lden. "0 conclude: there is nothing 'dtrrrtorialized' or

f
immateril there, ll1 the old prctice of conquHt and plunder
1
repeatrd for the umpteenth time b t.he same old actor warng
ne costumes and shong some technical innotions. Essen
tiall, it is the samr timhonoured imperialist 6tOI.
Noting, therefore, can be mor inaccurte than the imag
evoked by Hadt and Nrln teir book in which Washingon
becomes militarly Im'lved all or the world in response to 8
univeral clamour for the impsition of intertional justice and
leglit. A plethora oHar-rigt publicists - espcialy Rober K@
and Chares Kruthammer - ha eme into public vie to
juslif this rafration of an imprialist unilaterlim which
cares lttle or nothing for Interational justice and 1lit, join
ing forces with other authors such as Samuel P. Huntington and
Zbigiew Bnezinsk. who sme ars ag had alredy outlined tM
strtegc imperties olthe 'lonely superpower and the urent
need to take up the challenges posed by it rle as D focal point
oI a vst tertorl empire. One of those challengs, certinly
not the only one, is the rght - actuall the duly. by vinue of the
'manifest destiny' that turs the United States Into the alldly
uniral carrier of the fredom Dnd happiness of peoples - to
go to wr as often as necess to preent the frgile and higly
unstable 'Ne World Order' prolaimed b GfOl Bush Sr at te
end of the frst Gulf War frm collapsing like a house of cards.
And none of this can b done without considerably reinforcing
the state-based national soereignty of the USA and its c0Or
orgs orintematonal operations, mainly its ared f0ns.This
is why the United Sttes' milit expenditue has gto almost
half the planet's entire milital outlay_ Morr. it should b
brne in mind that. as Noam Chomsky has rightfully ortd,
the new American strategc doctrne announced by the Bush ad
ministration in Septembr ZDZ entails a plan to rle the world
by force U R nol btn heard since Adolf Hitler made similar
announcements in the mid-19
.
10s. cerinly nol a minor detail
11
(Chomsk 1003a). In this wy, the idyllic idea pRd by Hardt and
Neri - the United StIn giving up the defence mits national
intersL' and the exerise of imperialist por, ad tecng
its sorigt to a chimericl empire, for the sake of which the
White House maganimousl respnds to interatona rquest
for gobl justic and law w bured under an avnche of
'5man bombs' unleashed on Iraqi tertor.
_ healty imperialist det bd. Another of the lessons of
the Irq W mbn the upating of some of the fealures that
charcterzed the 'old imperiaism'. In the author' verion, te
emphasis plcd on virual element establised 8 unbrch
able frontier between the 'old imperialism' and the suppsed
ne empir, te former bing understod a that system of iter
nalional reltion which fue, approximately, within the canons
established in Lnin's analysis and which to a @at etent ws
shared by sme clsical authon on the subjet sch as Buarn
or Ro Luembur. One sch feature W8, precisely, m terri
toral occupation and the pillaging of the natural DSDW%$ of
te countes colonized or subjected to impert a5jon.
From a reading of Empir there emers a thertical conception
indifferent to the iuue of access to slItegic resources for tm
world of producton and the sustainabUit of capitlit civili
tion itslf, eplaned by the strong emphasis the author place
on the (noaday undoubtedly impornt) immaterial tsof
the process of creation of vue and the trnsforations of the
modem capitalist corortion. Yet, the Iraq war, staring wth
it trgcomical groundwork, demonstrted ho inaccurte
this conception was. We have only to rcall President Geo W.
Bush, whh his quirk pathetic smile barly disged, eorng
Irqi, not to destro their oil wells and to refrin from Kting
them on fre, to understad the crcial imporance of access
to, and control of, strte naturl hsources in the allegdly
curent world imperalist strctur. Oil constitutes, at thstime,
the centrl nerus stem of interalion capitalism. an its
Ig
M
a
0
W
d
0
!
i mporance is even greater than that of the world of fnance.
S
The latter cannot functi on without t he former: the enti re edi fce
!
of what Susan Strange has corectly label led 'casi no capi tal i sm'
&
woul d coll apse wi thi n mi nutes i f oi l disappeared. And the l atter,
we know, wi l l be exhausted in no more than two or three genera
t ions. It would consti tute unforgivable naivery to suppose that
French di ssidence in the face of US outrages in Iraq is founded
on the democrati c and anti-coloni al i st convictions of Jacques
Chi rac or on t he unquenchable desi re of the French right to
ensure for the I raqi people the full enjoyment of the del ights of
a democratic order. What prompted French i nt ransigence was.
on the contrary, somet hi ng far more prosaic: t he permanence
of that countr' s oi l compani es in a territor that contai ns the
world' s second-largest oil reseres. Agai nst what Hardt and Negri
i nduce us to believe in thei r subl i mated - and hence complacent
- view of the empi re, one of the possi ble futre scenarios of the
i nterational systcm is that of a heightened i nter- i mperial rval r
i n which the sacking of st rategc resources, such as oi l and water,
and the stmggle for a new care-up of the world could wel l lead
to an outburst of new wars of pillaging, analogous in their logc
al though di fferent in thei r appearances to those which we have
known over the course of the tentieth centur, in the days when
i mperial i sm enjoyed enviable health and was not dead, as they
want us to bel i eve is the case today.
4 Another victim: the view developed in Empi re oj the en-one
ously labelled t.ansnational corporations. I ndeed, Hardt and Negri
endorse - unconsciously, I assume - the vi sion of the capi tl i st
world assiduously cul t ivated by the mai n US and European busi
ness and management schools and the theorists of neoli beral
'global i zati on' . As is wel l known, in the thi nking of the right the
i rresisti ble rise of globalization is natural phenomenon as un
control l abl e as the movement of the stars, and one that gves rise
to a new world of i nterdependent economies, Economic agents
therefore operate on a level fel d free of the obstacles previously
1
4
set up by powerful nat ion-states. In this space, free competition
reigs, and the old asymmetres, with their hateful di stnctions
beteen metropolis and colonies, are a thing of the past. evoked
only by left i sts nostlgic for a world that no longer exists.
According to this i nterpretati on, not only has there been a
decl i ne in the ' national ' economi es, devoured by the farrago of
globalzation, but l are cororati ons have enti rely sloughed off
the l ast vestiges of t hei r national ascrpt ion. Now they are al l
t ransnational and global , and what they requi re to operate effi
ciently is a worldwide spacc freed from the old ' nati onal ' hurdles
and restrictions that might hi nder their movements. Withi n a
supposedly anti-capi talist readi ng t hi s space would be the em
pi re, precisely as i t is characterized i n the work of Hardt and
Negri. As I shall demonstrate i n the followng pages, the real i ty is
l ight-years away from thi s vision. There is an elementar di sti nc
tion (completely igored i n the work under review) beteen the
t heatre of operati ons of the companies and tJle territori al space
in which thei r ownershi p and cont rol material ize. Even in the
case of modem corporate Levathans - a smal l proporion of the
totl number of companies existing i n the world - whose scale
of operations is clearly planetar, ownerhi p and cont rol always
have a nati onal base: companies are legal enti ties i ncorporated
in a specifc countr and not merely regi stered at the Uni ted
Nations in New York. They have headquarers i n a given ci ty,
obey a specifc national l egal framework that protects them from
potential expropriations, pay taxes on their i ncome and profts i n
[he count r where thei r headquarters are l ocated, and so on.
The Ncw York 7/mcs's conserative col umni st Thomas Fried
man scorned the Sil icon val ley execut ives who l i ke to say:
We are nOt an American company . . . We arc I BM Canada, I BM
Australia, I BM China . . . Then, the next lime I BM China gets in
trouble i n China, cal l Jiang Zemi n for help. And the next t i me
Congess closes another m| | i taqbase in Asia, cal l Microsof
1
W
a
I
C

W
nav tosccurc thcsea | |ncs |n thc Pac|hc. And thcnext t ime
D
f
Congcswants to close more consulates and embassies, call
e Amazon_com toorder a new passpor. (Fredman, 1y)
0
I n case t hi s arument does not look persuasive enough to di s
pel the myth of the ' transnational ' nature of the modern capi tal i st
enterprise, the conduct of the Whi te House i n Iraq and i ts brutal
i nsi stence, wi t the uncul tured manners of Texas ranchers, that
the benefciaries of the war undertaken in the name of freedom
and democracy (and of t he need to free the world from the threat
of a dangerous monster l i ke Saddam) must be restricted to US
corporations (especially but not only Hal l i buron) demonstrate
the mi stakes made in t he theses developed in Empire. Not only
that. It is no longer si mply an issue of US corporations obtai n
i ng the l ion's share of t he spoils of the I raq operation; the ver
manner in which these privleges were di stributed among com
pani es al l l i nked to the goering US gang rccal ls the methods
employed by te fami l i es of the New York Mafa to divide up
control over busi ness in the ci ty. What relation i s there between
this i mperiali st care- up and t he i dyll i c theorizations found i n
Empire? Absolutely none.
_ Social movements opposed to neoliberal globalization. Lastly,
a few paragraphs are needed to exami ne t he role performed by
those movements opposed to neol i beral globalization that the
capi tl ist press, and t hi s i s no coi ncidence, cal l s ' non-global' or
' anti -global izati on' _ The hardly i nnocent purose of thi s semanti c
choice is more than evident: to t ransform the critics of neoliberal
globalization into antediluvi an monsters who seek to halt t he
march of hi stor and of technological progress. ' Non-global '
activists t hus appear before t he eyes of world publ i c opi ni on
as a mul t i farious set of mel ancholy seekers after Utopia i n a
world that, as Francis Fukuyama and George SOlOS have said.
dances to t he tune of the markets. Thrown together are soeial
i sts, communi sts, anarchists, ecologists, pacifsts, human rights
1 6
mi l i tants, femi ni sts, aborg.nal organizations and al l sor of sects
and tribes, who wilfully ignore the fact that for the frt time in
histor the world has been ' universalized' fol l owi ng an American
pattern, and for that reason the end has been decreed for al l
ki nds of mi l l enari anisms and particularisms. Yel , contrar 10 thi s
biased opi ni on, the movements that resist the markets' tyranny
bel ieve that anot her globalizat i on is possible (and urgently neces
sar), that the current one i s the product of the, unti l recently,
uncontested predomi nance of l arge corporati ons_ Then, there
is nothi ng natural about the current shape of gl obal izat i on; i t
i s the producl of the defeat suffered by popul ar, left-wing and
democratic forces i n the 1970S and 1980s. Hi st or, far from having
ended, is just at its begi nni ng, and the current si tuat i on can and
must be reversed.
The vigorous emergence of such movements contradicts some
central planks i n Hardt and Negri 's book. The ' non-globals' have
eared the huge merit of havi ng l aunched a l arge pacifst move-
ment even before t he begi nni ng of operat i ons in I rq. While,
as Noam Ch omsky recal l s, pacifsm in rel ati on t o the Viet nam
War di d not appear, and then t i mi dly, unt il more t han fve years
after the begi nni ng of the mi l i t ar escal ati on in South Vielnam,
i n the case of lhe recent war on I raq t hi s movement managed
t o ari cul ate massive protests of unprecedented vigou r weeks
before the begi nni ng of hosti l iti es. It is calcul ated that some 15
mi l l i on people demonstrated for peace i n maj or ci ties throughout
the world. I n Bri t ai n and Spai n, countries ruled by goverments
compl i ci t in US i mperial i st aggressi on, st reet demonstrati ons
reached an unprecedented si ze. The governments of Bl ai r and
nar provided an exempl ar lesson on the l i mi tati ons of capi tal i st
dem9cracy by ignori ng, wi th absol ute cicism, what the demos,
the supposed sovereign of an al l egedly democratic pol itical order,
demanded \vith i ts mobi l i zati ons and i ts answers to numerous
a
publ i c opini on sureys. As have argued elsewhere, i n demo-
f
cratic capi tal i sms what matters is the 'capi tal i sm' component i
I)

of the forul a; the ' democrat i c' par is merely an accessor to

8
be respected as long as i t does not affect anythi ng considered
1
fundamental (Boron 2002). This i mperial pi l l aging was decided by
the ' rul i ng junta' that currently governs the Uni ted States. Let us
recal l , with Gore Vidal , t hat Bush i s the frst US president to reach
the Whi te House t hrough an i nsti tuti onal coup peretrated by
t hat countr's Supreme Court - t here was no need to be bothered
by democrati c 'formal i t i es' (Vidal 202: 158-9). The petty despots
did what ( hey wanted and conti nued with the plan drawn up by
Whi te House hawks, despite i ts overhel mi ng repudiati on by
the publ i c. (n Spai n, over 90 per cent of those i nteriewed were
agi nst going to war, despite which the goverment of the Popular
Part cont i nued with i ts pol icy. The terrorst atack of 11 March
2004, and t he shameful l i es of the Aznar goverment, prompted
his resoundi ng electoral defeat. Noam Chomsky i s right when he
obseres that, for Bush, Rumsfeld and their fri ends, 'Old Europe,
the bad Europe, were the countres where the goverments lOok
the same posi tion as the overwhel mi ng majorit of thei r popul a
t i on. New Europe were t he countries where the governments over'
ruled an even l arger propori on of their popul ati on. The criterion
was absol utely expl i cit - you couldn' t say more dramat ically ' )
hate and despise democracy' (Chomsky 2003b: 29).
All the above i s to the poi nt because, in EmQirc, the authors
cel ebrate as the real ' hero' of the struggle agai nst the empi re
the anonymous and uprooted mi grant , who abandons hi s or
her homeland in the Thi rd World to penetrate t he bel ly of the
beast and, from there and along wth others who l i ke hi m or
her constitute the famous ' mul l itude', fght the masters of the
universe. Wit hout di mi nishi ng the i mporcnce whi ch t hese social
actors may have, the t ruth is that what has been seen in recent
years - and especi al ly i n the demonstrations agai nst the war i n
early 2003 - i s the vigour of a social movement t hat has solid
roots i n the soci al struct ures of metropol i tan capi tal i sm and
that attracts numerous supporers, especial ly al though not only
td
among t he young, from l arge social sectors that are suffering an
accelerated process of decay by virtue of neol i beral global ization.
This i s not lO deny t he pari ci pation of groups of i mmigrants i n
such mobi l izations, but the fact i s that the social composition of
these movements sugests that the presence of the latter i s, more
than anything, margi nal . In any case, because of its complexit
and radical nature, i ts orgi nal i nnovation as regards the strategic
organization of col lective subjects, its discursive model s, its style
of action and, lastly, i ts mi l i tant ant i -capital i sm, the ' non-global '
movement represents one of the most serious chal l enges that
the empi re has to face. Thi s l i kewise const i t utes a new aspect
t hat raises serious doubts abOllt the t heses drawn up by Hardt
and Negri regarding the subj ects of social confrontation and t he
uncertai n sociological physiognomy of t.he ' mul t i tude'.
To recapitulate
We are living at a ver special moment in the hi story of i m
perial ism: te transit ion from one phase ( let us cal l i t 'classical')
to anoter whose detai l s are only just begnni ng to be sketched out
but whose general ouuine i s al ready clearly di scernible. Nothing
could be more mistaken than to posit, as Hardt and Negr do
i n their book, the existence of s uch an i mplausi ble enti ty as an
empi re \vithout i mperial i sm - a paralysing pol i tical oxmoron.
Hence the need to argue agai nst thei r t heses, since, given the
cxceptional gravit of the current si tuation - a capitalism i ncreas
ingly reactionar in the social , economic, political and cul tural
spheres, one that cri mi nal izes social protest and mi l i tarizcs i nter
national pol i t ics - only an accurate diagnosis of t he struct ure
and operat ion of the i nternational imperial i st system wil l al low
t hose social movements, pol i ti cal pari es, labour uni ons and

popular organizations of al l types that want to overhrow the cur-


rent si t uati on to face new journeys of strugle with any chance
of success. An accurate diagnosi s is also needed to identif the
empi re' s enemies. To consider, as Negr does, that Lula i n Brazi l
1
a
.
C
0
!
and Ki rchner in Argenti na represent a species of resolute ' empire
f
fghters'; or judging as 'absolutely positive' the frst year and a hat(
1
of Lula'
s government i n Brazi l , t urni ng a deaf ear to the deepeni ng
of the neoliberal course of the economic pol i cy i mplemented si nce
hi s accession to the presidency; or assuring his readers t hat the
Ki rchner government has refused to pay the debt, an astoni shi ng
discover for the Argenti ni ans who ever day read in the press the
i nordi nate amount of dol l ars bei ng punctual ly paid to foreign
credi tors - these are cerai nly not the best ways for i ntellectuals
to help defeat the empi re (Duarte-PIon ZOOq. 1 ).
The i l l usi on that we can underake te st ruggle without a
precise knowledge of the terrai n in which the major ballies of
humani t will be fought can only lead to new and overhel mi ng
defeats. Dear Don Quixote is not a good exampl e to be i mi tated
in pol i tics; confusi ng windmi l l s with powenul knights with l ances
and arour was not the best path towards the real ization of hi s
dreams. Nor wi l l St Franci s of Assi si , another fgure exal ted i n
Hardt and Negri ' s text, sere as model for i nspi ration. I n fact,
no emancipator strggle is possible wi thout an adequate social
carography to describe precisely the t heatre of operati ons, and
the social nature of the enemy and i ts mechani sms of domi nation
and explOi tation.
The distorions that resul t from a mi staken concepti on, such
as i s mai ntai ned by Hardt and Neg, can be astoniShing. I t is
suffci ent here to quote the latter when he sttes, among other
t hings, that ' the war i n I raq was a coup d' etat by the Uni ted States
agai nst the empire' (i bid. ). I woul d l i ke to conclude by quoting
extensively from an i nteriew ganted by Negr to [he Argenti ne
newspaper Clarl'/I dur i ng hi s vi si t to Buenos Aires, whose elo
quence i s unsurpassable. In it Negri avers that the curent United
States occupation of I raq does not const i tute a case of
ccIcn|aIadMi n btralc_ but rather acl assical cascc|na| |cn
building. And therefore i t is a trans|crmat|cn| nthe di rection
zo
of demorac. This is the pretext of the Uni ted States. Ir is a
mi l itar
'
occupation that toppled a regime, but afterards the
problem is nation building, in other words an attempt at a
transi tion, not at coloniztion. I t would be l i ke saying that the
fact of turni ng from dictatorship to democracy in Hungar or
Czechoslovakia is a colonization. There is no attitude of that
tye i n the United States administration. These Americans want
to seem nastier than the are. (Cardoso zO)
It is conveni ent to ask ourselves, in the face of thi s i ncredi bl e
confsi on, i n whi ch a wa of pi l lage and teri tori al occupati on
appears to have been sweetened i nto an al t rui stic operation of
nat ion-bui l di ng and the expon of democracy: wi l l i t be possi ble
to advance i n the concrete st ruggle agi nst the ' real ly existi ng'
i mperi al ism armed with such crude t heoreti cal i nst ruments
as are proposed by these aut hors and t hat lead them to such
nonsensical conclusions? Ul t i mately, t o phi l osophize i s to make
di st i nctions. A phi losophy incapable of di fferenti ati ng beteen
a war of conquest and the process of nation-bui l di ng is a bad
phi l osophy.
To advocate carefully t he feat ures of a new societ wil l be to
l i ttle avail wi thout a real i sti c knowledge of the physiogomy of
the curent soci ety that must be overcome. A post-eapi tal ist and
post-i mperal i st world is possi ble. More t han that: I would say i t i s
essential , because, i f i t conti nues t o operate under the predator
logic of capital i sm, manki nd i s headi ng lOwards sel f-destruct i on.
But before bui l di ng thi s new soci ety - more humane, just, free
and democrati c t han t he preeedi ng one - it wi l l be necessar to
employ all our energies to overcome the one that today oppresses,
exploj t s and dehumanizes us, and that condemns al most half t he
worl d' s popul ation to subsist mi serably on less t han to dollars
a day_ And t hi s t re emanci pator epic has, as one of i t s most
i mponant enabl i ng condi tions, the existenee of a real i sti c and
precise knowledge of the world we seek to transcend_ I f i nstead of
M
a
I
C
0
W thi s we are the prisoners of the i l l usions and mystifcations that
D
f
are so effci ently manufactured and spread by the ideological ap-
1
paratuses of the bourgeoisie, our hopes of bui ldi ng a better world
will i neluetably si nk. This book seeks to be a modest contri but ion
towards avoiding such a sad and cruel outcome.
ucno:A |rc:,ScptcmbcrZ00q
1 On perspectives, the li mits of visibilit
and blind spots
Somethi ng that may surprise the reader of Hardt and Neg is the
seant attention that Emprcpays to the li terature about i mperial
i sm_ In cont rast with Leni n and Rosa Luxemburg, who made a
careful review of the numerous works on the topie, our authors
have opted to ignore a great part of what has been wri tten about
the issue. The l i t erature wi th which they deal is a eombi nation of
North American social science, especially i nternational pol i tical
economy and i nterational relations, mied wi th a strong dose
of French phi l osophy. This theoretical synthesis is packaged in
a clearly post modern style and language, and the fnal product
is a theoretical mi x that, despite the authors' i ntenti ons, i s
unl i kely t o disturb t he sereni ty of t he moneyed lords who year
after year gather in Davos. Due to this, al most al l the ci tati ons
are taken from books or aricles publ ished wi t hi n the l i mi ts of
the French-Amercan academic establ ishment. The considerabl e
l i terature concerning i mperial i sm and the functioning of the
i mperial system produced i n Lat i n America, I ndi a, Afrca and
other pars of the Third World does not even merit a footnote.
Discussions within classical Mari sm - Hi l ferding, Luxemburg,
Leni n, Bukhari n and Kautsk - about the topic are al located a
bri ef chapter, whil e the controversies of the post-war period oe
cupy an een smaller space. Names such as Ernst Mandel, Paul
Baran, Paul Sweezy, Harr Magdoff, James O'Connor, Andrew
Shonfel d, Ignacy Sachs, Paul Matlick, Elmar Altater and Maurce

Dobb are conspicuous absences in a book that pretends to shed


new light on an entirely novel stage of the histor of capital. It
i s not surprisi ng, thus, that this enterprise offers a vision of the
empire viewed from above, from its domi nant s trata. A parti al
W and uni lateral vision, t herefore, unabl e to perceive the total i t of
0
O
the system and to account for its global mani festations beyond
what, presumably, occurs on the North Atlantic shores. Thus, the
resuhi ng vi si on is particularly narrow, and the bl i nd spots are
numerous and i mporant , as I wi l l demonstrate t hroughout the
pages that follow. In short, Empire offers a vision t hat wants to be
a crtical exami nat ion going to the root of t he problem, but given
t he fact that it cannot emancipate i tsel f from the privi leged place
from where it obseres the social scene of its ti me - the opposite
of what occurred with Mar who, from Lndon, knew how to
detach hi msel f from that fate - i t is trapped i n the ideological
nets of the domi nant classes.
How can the negation of the rol played by to crcial i n
st i tut ions that organize, moni tor and superse the day-to-day
operation of the empire - the I nterational Monetar Fund and
the World Bank - barely menti oned i n the almost fve hundred
pages of the book, be understood if not from t he l i mitations of
a Norh Atl anti c perspective? Barely si x pages are resered for
an analysi s of t ransnati onal corporations, strategic players i n
t h world economy, only hal f of the amount devoted to i ssues,
presumably so crci al and urgent , such as the ' non-place of
power' . The eleven pages devoted to Barch Spinoza' s contri bu
t ions to pol i tical phi losophy, or the sixteen dvoted to expl orng
the meandcri ng of Foucaul t' s thought and its relevance to under
standi ng the i mperial order, can hardly be considered sensibl e
for those who see the world not from the i mperal system' s verex
but (rom its base.
For t his and many other reasons, Empire is an i ntrigi ng
bok that combines some i nci sive i l l umi nat ions about ol d and
new probl ems wi th monumental mi stakes of appreci ati on and
i nterpret ati on_ There i s no doubt that the authors are strongly
J Thc Qagc lcIclcnCc$are |akcn from l hcorignal English-language
Cd t|on. FInQtIr(Cambrdge, MA. Harard Universit Prc$$q 2oOi ) .
2
4
com
mi t ted to the constrction of a good societ and, specif
ca
lly, d
communi st societ. This commi tment appears many ti mes
t hroughout the book and deserves enthusi asti c suppor. Sur
pri si ngly, however, the argument of Empire has nothi ng to do
with the great t radition of hi storical materal i sm. The audacit
exhi bited by the authors when, swi mmi ng ag-ai nst the t i de of
establi shed prej udices and the neol i beral commonsense of our
li mes, they declare thei r loyalt to communi st i deal s - ' No, we
are not anarchi sts bur communists' (p. 350); ' the irrepressible
l ight ness and joy of being communi st' (p. 413) col l apses like a
house of cards when they need to explan and analyse the i mperal
order of today.' At that pOi nt, theoretical and pol i tical i ndeci sive
ness take the pl ace of declamator concl usiveness. In thi s sense,
i t i s i mpossi ble to ignore the contrast with other works about the
same topic, such as Sami r Ami n's Accumulation on a World Scale
( 1974), Empire of Chaos ( 1992) and, the most recent, Capitalism
lll the Age of Globalization ( 1997); or Tie Lng Twentieth Centr
by Giovanni Arrighi (1995); or Year O: . The Conquest Continues
( 1 993) and world Orders, Old and Ne (1994) by Noam Chomsk;
or Production, Power, and World Order by Robert Cox ( 1987); and
the works of I mmanuel Wal l erstei n, The Moder world System
( 1 974-88) and Afer Liberalism (1995). And the resul ts of such a
comparison are extremely unfavourabl e for Hardt and Negri .
2 The constitution of the empire
Empire begi ns with a section devoted to 'the pol i tical consti tution
of the present ' , which fol lows a Preface in which the authors
i ntroduce the mai n thesis of the book: an empi re has emerged
and i mperi al i sm has ended ( pp. xi -xi i ). I n the frst part of the
book, the analysis of the world order begns in a surprisingly
foral i stic mode, at least for a Mari st, si nce the consti t ution
of the empire i s laid out in narrowly jurdical ters. Thus, the
world order, far from being conceived as the hierarchical and
asymmetrical organi zati on of states, markets and nations under
the general di recti on of an i nt ernat i onal domi nant bl oc, i s
mi srepresented i n Hardt and Neg' s analysis as a project ion of
the United Nati ons' formal organizat i on. Thi s surprse i s then
i ntensi fed when the i ntrigued reader real izes that the conceptual
i nstrments used by Hardt and Negi to examine the world order
problem are borrowed from such unpromi si ng toolboxes as the
ones used by a group of authors so foreig to hi storical material
ism - and of such l i ttle use for a deep analysis of thi s type of issue
- such as Hans Kel sen, Ni klas Luhmann, John Rawls and Carl
Schmi tt. Supponed by authorities such as these, it comes as no
surprise that the resul ts of this init ial incursion i nto the subject
matter are far from sati sfactor. For exampl e, the Uni ted Nations'
role i n the so-cal led worl d order i s grossly over-esti mated: ' one
should also recognize that the noti on of right defned by the
UN Charter al so poi nts toward a new positive source of j uridical
producti on, effective on a global scale - a new center of normat ive
production that can play a sovereig juridical role' (p. 4).
Hardt and Negri seem to ignore the fact that the United
Nat ions is not what i t appears to be. In fact, because of i ts bureau
cracy and el i ti sm, the UN i s an organizat ion destined to suppor
the i nterests of the great i mperial i st powers, especially te United
States. The effect ive UN 'jurdical production' has l i ttle substance
or i mpact when i t concers matters that contradi ct the i nterests
oI the Uni ted States and i ts al li es. The authors over-esti mate
the ver margi nal role played by the United Nati ons General As
sembly, where the votes of Gabon and Sierra Leone are equal
to tose of the Uni ted States and the Uni ted Ki ngdom_ Most of
the General Assembly's resolutions are reduced to dead letters
unl ess they are actively supponed by the hegemonic power and
i ts panners. The ' humani taran war' i n Kosovo, for exampl e, was
caried out in the name of the Uni ted Nations but completely
byassed the authort of the Securty Counci l and the General
Assembly. Washi ngon decided that a mi l i tar i nterent ion was
necessary and that is what happened. Years later, George W. Bush
Junior i nvaded and devastated I raq without the authorization of
the Security Counci l , not to mention the approval of te General
Assembly. Natural ly, that bears no relationshi p t o the producti on
of a universal law or, as Kelsen trusted, with the emergence of a
' t ranscendental schema of the val i di ty of right situated above the
nationstate' (p. 6). The i mperial i sti c nature of the ' real ly exi sti ng'
Uni ted Nati ons, not the one i magi ned by our authors, i s suffci ent
to prove the weakness of the fol l owing affi rmati on: 'This is real ly
rhe poi nt of depanure for our study of Empi re: a new notion of
right, or rather, a new inscri ption of authority and a new design
of the production of norms and legal i nstrments of coercion
that garantee contracts and resolve conflicts' (p. 9
).
Thi s fantastic and chi l di sh vision of a supposedly post-colonial
and posl -imperal ist interational system reaches its cl ima' when
they conclude that ' All i nterenti ons of the i mperial armies are
solici'd by one or more of t he parties involved in an al ready
exi sti ng conflict' (p. 1 5); or when they hold that the 'frst task of
Empi re, t hen, i s to enlarge the realm of the consensuses that sup
port i ts own power' (p. 15); or when they assure al ready astonished
readers that t he i nterention of t he empi re is ' legi ti mated not by
2)
o

right but by consensus' in order to ' i nterene in the name of any
tpe of emergency and superior ethical pri nciples' such as ' the
appeal to the essential val ues of j ustice' (p. 18). I s i t the ' human
itari an' i nterenti on in the former Yugoslava that our aut hors
have i n mi nd? Indeed, as wi l l soon become clear. This i ncredible
nonsense al l ows them to conclude that, under the empi re, ' the
right of the police is legit imated by universal values' (ibid. ). I t i s
telling that such a radical thesis i s supported by evdence provded
by two bibl iographic references that al l ude to the conventi onal
l i terature of i nternational relati ons and whose right-wing bias is
evident to even the least- i nformed reader. The vol umi nous Lat i n
American bi bl iography about i mperial isti c i nterention produced
by authors such as Pablo Gonzalez Casanova, Agstin Cueva, RUy
Mauro Mari ni , Gregorio Seiser, Gerard-Piere Charles, Eduardo
Gal eano, Theotonio dos Santos, Juan Bosch, Hel i o Jagaribe,
Manuel Mal donado Denis, i s ignored_!
The second chapter of Part 1 is devoted to biopol i tical produc
ti on. It opens with a laudable statement of i ntent: to overcome the
l i mi tations of the j uridical fonaJ i sm wi th whi ch they began t hei r
i ntel lectual course, descendi ng, i n t hei r own words, to the mat
eral conditions that sustai n the legal and i nst i tutional framework
of t he empi re. Thei r obj ect ive is to ' di scover t he means and forces
of the produ( tion of social real i ty along wi th the subjectivities
that ani mate it' (p. 22). Unfortunately, such beauti ful i ntent ions
remain mere declamations, as thc i nvoked materal i sti c condi
t ions ' vani sh into thin air' , to use the wel l-known metaphor by
Mar and Engel s in t he Maniesto, and some venerable i deas
from the soci al sciences are presented as i f they were the latest
I When Ihi5 workW practically fnished, an exccllenl bookbySaxe
FernandlI, Petras, Vcltmcyr and Nuiez \:l givcn Q mc but I was able to
rake only margnal advantage oi l s empircal and t nlcQrc|attvc richness
(5axclcmndczc| al . zot ). In any cale, t he reader 8recommended to
consult t hat (ext in Ordcr expand 8omc o|the analyses unden .. ken in thi s
brok.
2b
' discover' by the Pari sian rve gauche or New York's Greenwich
Vi l lage. Foucaul t' s theorization about te t ransit jon to the sociec
of control, for example, revolves round te supposedly new notion
t hat ' Biopower is a for of power that regulates social l i fe from its
i nterior' , or that ' Li fe has now become [ . . . ] an object of power'
(pp. 23, 24)
It would not take long to fnd i n the extended western political
tradi tion, t hat begins at least in t he ffth centur BC i n Greece,
ideas surprisi ngly si mi l ar to what today, with the fanfare that
supposedly celebrates geat scienti fc accompl i shments, is cal l ed
the ' biopower'. A quick look at the l i terature woul d show dozens
of citations from authors such as Plato, Rousseau, de Tocquevi lle
and Mar, to mention only a few of the most obvous, that refer
precisely to some of t he 'great novelties' produced by the social
sciences at the end of the twentieth centur, Plato's i nsistence
on the psychosoci al aspects - summarized in the phrase ' the
i ndividual' s character' - that reglated the social and pol i t ical l i fe
of the Athenian pol is is wel l known, as is t he young Marx's em
phasis on the subject of the ' spiri tualization of the domination' of
the bourgeoisie by the exploited classes. I t was Rousseau who
stated the i mporance of the process by which the dominated
were i nduced to believe t hat obedience was a moral duc. Thi s
made disobedience and rebel l ion a calise for serious confict
wi thi n i ndividual consciences. In short, for Hardt and Negri,
who are dazzled by Foucaul t' s (an author who deseres our res
pect) t heoretical innovations, it could be highly educational to
read what \as wri tten a centur and a hal f ago, for i nstance, by
Alexis de Tocqueville: 'Formerly cranny used the cl umsy weapons
of chai ns and hangmen; nowadays even despotism, t hough i t
see
"
ed to have nothi ng more to learn, has been perfected by
ci vilization: And de Tocquevi l l e conti nues, saying ancient cran
nies ' to reach the soul , cl umsi ly struck at the body, and the soul ,
escaping from such blows, rose gloriously above i t' . I nstead, mod
ern 'democrati c' tranny ' l eaves t he body alone and goes straight
2
W
0
D
,
B.
0
B
0
W
0
l
for the soul ' (de Toquevi l l e 1969: 255). This step from chai ns and
hangmen to i ndivi dual mani pulation and cont rol of ideolog and
behaviour has been christened by Foucaul t the t ransi t ion from
the disci pl i nar society to the society of control . But, as we know,
to name something is completely di fferent from di scovering i t.
I n thi s case, the creature had al ready been discovered and had a
name. What Foucaul t with hi s renowned abi l i ty did was to give i t
a new, and ver atractive, name, di fferent from the one everbody
knew. Nevertheless, it cannot be said t hat we are i n the presence
of a fundamental theoretical i nnovati on.
The frst par of the book concl udes with a chapter devoted
to alteratives withi n the empi re. I t begi ns with a statement as
perl exing as i t is radi cal : 'The mul ti tude called the Empi re i nto
bei ng' (p. 43). Cont rar to most common i nterretat i ons wi thi n
the left, Hardt and Neg bel i eve t hat the empi re is not the crea
tion of a world capi tal ist coal i tion under the American bourgeois
hegemony but the (defensive?) response of capital to the class
st ruggles agai nst contemporar forms of domi nation and oppres
sion nurured by ' the mul t i tude's desi re for l i beration' (i bi d. ). At
this poi nt, Hardt and Negri enter a terrai n plaged wi t h cont ra
di cti ons. They i nsist that the empi re is good si nce i t represents a
'step forard' in overcoming coloni al i sm and i mperi al i sm. They
i nsist on thi s even after assuring us, wi th the help of Hegel, that
the fact that the empi re ' is good i n i tselr does not mean that i t is
good 'for i tsel r ( p. 42). They continue: 'We cl ai m that Empi re is
better i n the same way that Mar insists that capital i sm is better
than the forms of society and modes of production that came
before it' (p. 43). However. a few l i nes earlier, the authors say that
the empire ' constructs its own relat ionships of power based on
exploi tati on that are i n many respects more brtal than those it
destroyed' ( i bi d. ). Despite thi s, the empire |>' better' because, they
assert, ll enhances the potential for l i beration of the mul ti tude, an
assumption that has not been confrmed by experi ence and that,
i n Hardt and Negri 's case, is surounded by a dense metaphysi cal

O
and, in cerai n ways, religious hal o, as I shal l show in t he fnal
pages of t hi s work. Where that bl i ssful l iberati ng potent i al i s
and how such possi bi l ities coul d be realized i s somet hi ng the
authors expl ai n, i n a si mpl i sti c and unsatisfactor way, i n the
l ast chapter of thei r book.
On the ot her hand, t o say t hat the empi re i s 'better' means
that the real capi tal ist world order - and this i s precisely the
empi re - i s something di fferent from capital i sm. Mar's arg
r nent referred to two di fferent modes of producti on and com
pared t he possi bi l i ti es and perspectives opened by capi tal i sm to
the ones offered by the decay of feudal i sm. Are the authors t rng
to say t hat the empi re means the overcomi ng of capi tal i sm? Is
i t that we have transcended i t wi thout anybody not ici ng such
fabulous hi storical change? Are we now i n a new and better
soci et wi th renewed possi bi l i t ies for l i berat ing and emanci pa
ting practces?
It seems t hat Hardt and Negri have bui l t a straw man, an i r
rational and i mmutbl e leftist who, in the face of the chal l enges
posed by global ization, i nsists on opposing local resistance to
a process that is global by nature. Lcal means, in most cases,
' national ' , but t his distinction i s irrelevant i n thei r analysis. They
say that the strateg of local resistance ' mi si dent i fes and thus
masks the enemy' (p. 45). Si nce Hardt and Negri want to tal k
pol i t ics serously - and wi thout t hi s being a formal concession
to Schmi t t but to Clausewitz, Leni n and Mao - who i s the enemy
then? The answer to this ver concrete question could not be
more di sappoi nting since we are told that ' The enemy i s not a
subj ect but, rather, is a speci fc regime of global rel at ions that
we cal l Empi re' (pp. 45-6) . National strggles conceal t he vi ew of
the r

al mechanisms of empi re, of the exi sti ng al tematives, and


of the l i berating potentials that agitate i n i ts womb. Hence, the
oppressed and exploi ted masses of the world are convened for a
fnal battle agai nst a regime of global relat ions. The beloved Don
Quixote appears once agai n, after several cent uri es, to t i l t at new

0
W
0
0
W
B
m
G
m
o


;
B
0
d
W
.
wndmi l l s whi l e the sordi d mi l l ers, ignoring the mul ti tude' s rage,
conti nue wi th busi ness as usual , rul i ng thei r countries, expl oi ting
the masses and mani pulating the cul ture.
Hardt and Negri view the empi re as the hi storc overcomi ng of
modernity, a period for whi ch they supply a somewhat di storted
vision. Indeed, moderni ty left a l egacy of ' fratricidal wars, devas
tati ng "development, " cruel "ci vl ization," and previously uni m
agined vi olence' ( p. 46). The scenario that moderi ty presents i s
one of t ragedy, sigi fed by the presence of 'Concentration camps,
nuclear weapons, genoci dal wars, slaver, aparthei d' (i bi d. ). And
from moderni ty, Hardt and Negri deduce a straight l i ne that leads
to the nation-state wi thout mediation. The nation-state is nothi ng
but t he ' i nel uctable condi ti on for i mperi al i st domi nati on and
i nnumerabl e wars' . And i f now such an aberation 'is di sappear
ing from t he world scene, then good riddance! ' (i bi d. ).
There are several problems wi t h thi s pecul iar i nterretation of
modernity. I n the frst pl ace, i t i s a mi stake to offer an extremely
uni lateral and biased reading of it. Hardt and Negi are right when
they enumerate some of the horrors produced by moderit (or
perhaps in moderi ty and not necessarly because of it), but whi l e
doing so they forget some other results of moderi ty, such as the
nowering of individual l i beries; the relative equal i t establ ished
i n the economic, pol itical and social terrai ns, at least in the de
veloped capi tal i sms; universal sufrage and mass democracy; te
comi ng of soci alism despite the frustration generated by some of
i ts concrete experiences, such as the Sovi et Union; secul arzation
and the l ay state that emancipated the masses from the tranny of
t radi tion and religon; rational i t and the scienti fc spi rt; popular
education; economi c progess; and many other accomplishments.
These too are part of modernity' s i nheritance, and many of t hese
accompl i shments were achieved thanks to popul ar strugles and
i n strenuous opposi t ion to the bourgeoi si e. Second, do Hardt
and Negri really believe that before modernit none of the social
evi l s and human aberrati ons that plagued the modern world
32
was al ready there? Do they by any chance believe t hat the world
was inhabited by Rousseau's noble savages? Do they not si t uate
t hemselves in the same positon as the cri tics of Niccol i Machi
avel l i who denounced the Florentine teoretician for being the
' i nventor' of political crimes, treason and fraud? Have they not
heard about the Punic or Peloponnesian wars, the destrction of
Carthage, the sack of Rome and, more recenty, the conquest and
occupation of the American continent? Do they bel ieve that before
moderni ty there were no genocides, apartheid or sl aver? As Mar
di d wel l to remind us, we are victims of both the development of
capi tal ism and its lack of development.
Once Hardt and Negri have assered the substantive and
hi storical conti nuity between modernit and t he nation-state,
t hey rsh to reject the anti quated ' proletarian i nternatonalism'
because i t presupposes an acknowledgement of the nation-state
and i ts crucial role as an agent of capital ist exploi tation. Given
the inel uctable decadence of the nation-state's powers and the
global nature of capital i sm, thi s tpe of i nternati onal ism i s both
anachroni sti c and techni cal ly reactionar. But thi s is not a":
toget her with t he 'proletarian i nternationalism', the idea of the
existence of an ' i nterational cycl e of strgles' di sappears. The
new battles, whose paradigmatic examples are the Tiananmen
Square revol t, the Palesti ni an I nti fada, the 1992 race riots i n
Los Ageles and te South Korean strikes of 1996, a.re specifc
and motivated by ' i mmediate regional concerns i n such a way
that they coul d in no respect be l inked together as a global ly
expandi ng chain of revol t. None of these events i nspi red a cycl e
of strggl es, because the desires and needs the expressed coul d
not be transl ated into di fferent contexts' (p. 54).
Fom t his categorical asseri on, for which i t woul d requi re
considerable effor to provide suppori ng eidence, our aut hors
announce a new paradox: ' i n our much celebrated age of com
munication, struggles have become all but incommunicable' (p. 54,
emphasis i n origi nal ). The reasons for this i ncommunicabi l i t
J3
remai n shadow, but we shoul d not lose hopc in the face of the
i mpossi bi l i ty of horizontal communicati on among the rebel s
because, i n real ity, i t is a blessing. Under the logc of the empi re,
Hardt and Negri tell their i mpat i ent readers, the message of these
battles wi l l t ravel verically on a global scal e, auacking the i mperial
consti tution i n its nucleus - or, what they cal l with a meani ngul
slip, j umpi ng verical ly 'to the virual center of Empi re' (p. 58).
Here, new and more formi dabl e problems besiege thei r argu
ment_ In the frst pl ace, those that derive from the very dangerous
confusion beteen axiomatic assumptions and empi rical obser
vations. To say that the popul ar battl es are incommunicable is
an extremely i mporant asser. ion_ Unforunately, Hardt and Negr
do not ofer any evidence to demonstrate whether thi s is mere
supposi ti on or the rcsul t of a historical or empi rical i nvestigation.
Faced with thi s silence, there are abundant reasons for suspecti ng
that thi s problemalique refects the less than healthy i nfuence
of Ni kl as Luhmann and Jtrgen Habermas over Hardt and Negr.
A qui ck exploration of the nebulous concepts put forard by
t hese German scholars i s enough to confrm the scant uti l i ty
that their const ructions have when i t comes to anal)' sing popular
strgles. Thi s, though, does not prevent either of t hem from be
ing extremely popul ar among the ranks of t he di soriented I tal i an
left. In this sense, the Luhmannian theses on social i ncommen
surabi l i ty and Habermas's proposals conceri ng communicative
action seem to have geady i nfuenced Hardt and Negri , at l east
to a geater extent than t hey are wi l l i ng to recognize. But leaving
aside this brief excursus towards the sociolog of knowledge, |the
i ncommunicabil it of the strugles prevents them from i nfl ami ng
t he desires and needs of peopl e from other countres, how can
we explai n the speed with whi ch the erroneously named ' anti
global ization' movement spread al l over the world? 00 Hardt and
Negri really bel ieve that the events i n Chiapas, Paris and Seoul
were t ruly i ncommunicabl e? How can they ignore the fact that
the Zpatistas, and especially sub-commander Marcos, became
34
i nternational icons for the neol i beral globalization critics and for
the anti-capi tal i st battJes i n fve conti nents, i nfl uenci ng i mpor
tant developments i n t hese conficts waged at local and national
levels?
Second, Hardt and Negri mai ntai n that one of the mai n
obstacles preventi ng t he communicabi l i t of the battles i s the
' absence of a recognition of a common enemy agai nst which the
struggles are di rected' (p_ 56). We do not know whether or not
thi s was the case among the French or South Korean stri kers, but
we suspect that they had a clearer idea than our authors regard
ing the i denti ty of thei r antagonists. Concerni ng the Zapat.ists'
experience, Hardt and Negi's t hesis i s compl etely wrong. From
the begnni ng of their battle, the Chiapanecos had no doubts
and knew perfectly wel l who thei r enemi es were. Aware of thi s
real i t, t hey organized an extraordi nar event i n the depths of
the Lacandona j ungle - an i nternatjonal conference agai nst neo
l i beral globalization, attended by hundreds of pani cipants from
around t he world who di scussed some of today's most burning
problems. The abi l it of the Zapatistas to convoke a conference
of this gc refutes, in practice, another of Hardt and Negri's
theses - the one that bemoans the lack of a sui table common
and cosmopol itan l anguage i nto whi ch to t ransl ate the languages
used in diverse nat ional strgles (p. 57). The successive confer
ences that took place in the Lacandona jungle, togerher wit the
demonstrati ons agai nst neoli beral global ization and the world
social forums held i n Porto Al egre, Brazi l , show that, contrar to
what i s sai d in Empire, there is a common l anguage and a com
mon understandi ng among the di fferent social forces fghti ng
the dictatorshi p of capital .
If,the ol d battles are no longer relevant - Mar's ol d mole
has di ed, to be replaced by the ' i nfni te undul ations' of the
modern snake, accordi ng to Hardt and Negi - the strateg of
the anti-capital ist journeys has to change. National conficts are
not communi cated horizontal ly but jump di rectly to the vi rual
J

0
B
,
#-
0
0
0
W
0

centre of the empire, and the old 'weak l i nks' of the i mperi al i st
chain have disappeared. The ariculations of te global power that
exhi bi ted a pari cul ar vulnerabil ity before the action of i nsurgent
forces no longer exi st . Therefore, 'To achieve si gni fcance, ever
struggle must attack at the heart of the Empire, at i ts strengt h'
( p. 58). Surprisi ngly, after having arged i n t he book's Preface
that the empi re ' i s a decentered and deterritorial izing apparatus
of rle' (p. xi i), the reader stumbles across the novelty that local
and nat ional battles must rise at the cent re of the empi re, though
our authors rush to explai n that they are not referrng to a terri
torial centre but to a (supposedly) virual one. Given t hat the
empire includes all the components of the social orders, even
the deeper ones, and knowing that it has no l i mi ts or front iers,
the notions of ' outside' and ' i nside' have lost thei r meani ng. Now
everythi ng is i nside the empi re, and its nucleus, its hear, can be
attcked from anyhere. If we are to believe Hardt and Negi ,
te Zapat i sta upri si ng in Chiapas, the i nvasion of land by the
Landless Worker' Movement i n Brazil (MST) or te pot bangng
protesters and pickets i n Argenti na are no di fferent from the 1 1
September attcks i n New York and Washingon. I s i t i ndeed l i ke
t hi s? Judgi ng from the di fferent types of reacti ons to all these
events, it would seem that t hi s i s nOl the perception held by those
at the ' Empi re' S heart'. On the other hand, what meani ng should
we assig to t hi s expressi on? Are we talking of the capi tal i st
nucleus, the centre, t he i mperialist coali t ion with i ts wideni ng net
of concentric ci rcles revolving round American capi tali st power,
or what? Who are the concrete subjects at t he ' Empire' s hear'?
Where are t hey? What is thei r art icul ati on with the processes of
production and ci rculati on of the i nternational capi tal i st econ
omy? Which i nsti tutions normatively and ideologi cal ly crstal l i ze
t hei r domi nati on? Who are thei r pol i t i cal representat ives? Or is
it just a set of i mmateral rles and procedures? The book not
only does not ofer any answers to t hese questions, but does not
even formulate t he quest ions.
At thi s stage, Hardt and Negri's theorzation makes i ts way to
a real di saster. By asseri ng that everhi ng is i nsi de the empi re,
thei r theor completely removes from our horizon of vsi bi l i ty
the fact that strctural hierarchies and asymmetries exist pre
cisely there, and that such di fferences do not disappear s i mply
because someone has declared that everthi ng is i nsi de the
empi re and nothi ng is left outsi de. Studies underaken by Lati n
American schol ars and writers over decades do agee, beyond
the di fferences, on the fact that the categores of ' centre' and
' peri pher' enjoy a cerlai n capaci ty, at least at frst , to produce
a more refned porrait of the i nterational system. Everhi ng
seems to i ndicate tat such a di sti nction is more useful than
ever i n the curent circumstances, because, among oter thi ngs,
t he growing economic margi nal ization of the South has sharply
accentuated pre-existi ng asymmetries. In order to confr this
asserion i t is enough to remi nd ourselves of what the Uni ted
Nati ons Development Programme' s (UNDP) annual repors poi nt
out with regard t o human development: i f at t he begi nni ng of the
1960s the rati o beteen the richest 20 per cent and the poorest
20 per cent of t he world popul ati on was 30 to 1, at the end of
t he tentieth cent ur thi s rati o had gown to almost 75 to 1.
I t i s tre that Bangladesh and Hai t i are i nside t he empi re, but
are they because of t his i n a pOSi tion comparable to that of the
Uni ted States, France, Gerany or Japan? Hardt and Neg clai m
t hat even though they arc not i dentical from the production and
ci rculat i on poi nt of view, beteen 'the Uni ted States and Brazil,
Brtai n and I ndia [ | are no di fferences of nature, only di ffer
ences of degee' (p. 335).
This categorical conclusion cancels the last fort years of
debates and research t hat took pl ace not only i n Lat i n America
but also i n the rest of the Thi rd World, and it bri ngs us back to
the American theories in vogue in the 1950S and at the begi n
ni ng of the 1960s, when authors such as Wal ter W. Rostow, Ber
Hosel i tz and many ot hers elaborated thei r ahi storical models

n
0
0
W
D.
c
D.
g
of economi c development_ According to these const ructions,
i n both ni neteenth-century Europe and the Uni ted States and
in te hi storical processes that took pl ace i n the mi ddl e of the
twentieth centur i n Lati n America, Asia and Africa, economic
growth fol lowed a l i near and evol utioni st path, begi nni ng i n
underdevelopment and concluding i n development_ This tpe of
reasoning was based on two false assumptions: frst, that societes
located at either extreme of the conti nuum share the same nature
and that the are essenti al ly the same. Their di fferences, when
existent, were onl y in tens of degree, as Hardt and Negri would
later say, an assenion that was, and sti l l is, compl etely false. The
second assumption: the organization of i nternational markets
has no st ructural asymetries that coul d affect the chances of
development for nati ons in the peri pher. For t hose authors
mentioned above, tens such as ' dependency' or ' i mperi al i sm'
were not useful when descri bi ng the real i ties of the system and
they were more than anyhi ng el se a t ribute to pol i tical - and
hence not sci enti fc - approaches, wi th whi ch an understandi ng
of economic development was sought. The so-called 'obstacles'
for development lacked structural foundations. Instead they were
the product of cl umsy pol i t ical deci sions, unforunate and poorly
informed choices made by the rlers, or easily removable inertial
factors. In Hardt and Negri ' s terms, al l the count res were ' i nsi dc'
the s}'stem.
I n this i magi nar retur to the past, it i s i mponant to remem
ber the fol l owing: at the begi nni ng of the 1970s, the Lat i n Amer
ican debate about dependency, i mperial i sm and neocoloni al i sm
had reached i ts apogee, and | uresonance deafened the Academy
and Amercan political circles. Its impact was of such magni
tudc that Henr Kissinger, then chief of the National Seeurt
Council and on his way to becomi ng Seeretar of State under
Richard Nixon, considered i t necessar to i nterene on more
t han one occasion i n the di scussions and debates caused by
the Latin Amercans. Hardt and Negi ' s thesis about the non-
di fferemi ati on of the nations wt hi n the empi re cal l s to mi nd the
cynical comments made by Ki ssinger about thi s topic. Expressing
his rejection of the idea of Third World economic dependency
and questioni ng the extension and i mportance of the structural
asymmetries i n the world economy, Kissi nger obsered: ' today
we are al l dependent. We live in an i nterdependent worl d. The
Uni ted States depend on the Honduran bananas as much as
Honduras depends on the American computers. ' 2 As can be easi ly
concl uded, some of the statements expressed wth such fnal i t i n
Empire for i nstance, that there are no more di fferences between
the centre and the peripher of the system, that there i s no longer
an ' outside' , that the players merely di ffer i n degee, etc. - are
far from new. These affrmati ons began to ci rculatc through the
words of theoreticians clearly affliated to the right, who opposed
a theor of ' i nterdependence' and i mperal i sm, and who refused
to accept that the i nternational economy was characterized by t he
radical asymmetr that separted the nations in the centre of t he
system from those at the peri pher.
Hardt and Negri conclude thi s secti on of the book by i nt ro
duci ng the two-headed eagle, the embl em of the ol d Austro
Hungaran Empi re, as a conveni ent symbol for the current
empi re. However, i t i s necessar t o i ntroduce a l i ttl e reworking
of this image si nce te to heads woul d have to look i nwards,
as l Ithey were about to attack each other. The frst head of t.he
i mperial eagle represents the juridical strcture - not the eco
nomic foundations - of the empi re. As we have sai d, there i s ver
l ittl e pol it ical economy in t hi s book and the absence of te most
elementar ment ion of the economi c strcture of the empi re i n
what i s outl i ned as its emblematic i mage reveals the strange paths
t hrough which our authors have ventured and on which they have
2.Henr Ki ssi nger is considered by the novelist and playight Gore
Vidal to 0'te most conspicuous cri mi nal orwar lose around the worl d'
(c(, SaxeFemandtl et a| . 2OOi . 2jJ.
^

0
completely lost t hei r way. That is why the eagl e's second head,

starng at the one that represents the empi re' s jurdi cal order,
symbolizes ' the pl ural mul ti tude of productive, creative subjectiv
i ties of global izati on' (p. 6). This multitude is the tre
absol ulely posit ive force that pushes the domi nating per
toward an abstract and empt uni fcati on, to which it appears as
the distinct alternarive. From this perspective, when the const i
tuted power of Empi re appears merely as privation of bei ng and
production, as a si mple abst ract and empt t race of the constitu
ent power of the mul ti tude, then we will be able lOrecogIZe the
real standpoi nt of our analysis. (pp. 62-3)
In shor: those i nterested i n explorng the alternatives to the
empi re wi l l fnd very l i ttle hel p in t his section of the book. What
they will fnd is a death cerifcate for t he archaic ' prol etarian
i nterational ism' (without any mention of the new international
ism that erupted strongly from Seattle);J a petj tion of pri nci ples
in the sense that the popul ar st.ruggles are i ncommunicable and
l aek a eommon language; an embarassing si lence regardi ng the
relati onshi p wi th a concrete enemy whom the omnipotent mul
ti tde faces or, i n the best case, an i mmobi l i zi ng vagueness (' a
regme of global relationshi ps' ); t he disappearance of the 'weaker
l i nks' and the disti nction beteen centre and periphery; and
that the ol d dist i ncti on between strateg and tactics has di sap
peared because now there is only one way of baul ing against the
empi re and it is strategic and tactical at the same ti me. This way
is the ri si ng of a consti tuent counterpower that emerges from
i t s womb, somethi ng hard to understnd in light of Hardt and
Negr' s rejection of dialectics. The only lesson t hat can be learnt is
. For more on t hi s, I sugesl looking at thc compilation prepared by the
Obseratorio Social de I1mrrua L8l t h8of CLCSO in an issue devoted U1r
'new intern:lionalism' with Irxl$by Noam Chomsky. Ana FSlrrLrCra,
Chrstophe Agi lon, Rafael Freire, Walden Br| log |aImrEllay and Francisco
Pneda (OSAL, 6, Januar 202).
that we must trst that the mul titude wi l l fnal ly assume t he tasks
assigned them by Hardt and Negri. How and when t hi s wl l occur
cannot be found i n the book's contents. There is no di scussion
about the ways of fght i ng; the organizational models (assumi ng,
as the aut hors do, that the paries and labour uni ons are i l lustri
ous corpses)j t he mobil ization strategies and the confrontational
tacticsj the a ri cul ation among the economic, pol itcal and ideo-
10gcaJ confl icts and opposi tionsj the long-term objecti ves and
revol uti onar agendaj the pol i tical instrments used to put an
end to the i ni qui ties of global capi tal i sm; i nternational al l i ances;
the mi l itar aspects of subversion promoted by the mul ti tudc;
and many other topics of si mi l ar t ranscendence. Neit her i s there
any attempt to relate the current postmodern discussi on about
the subversive i mpulse of the mul t i tudes to previous debates
about the labour movement and anti-capi tal i st forces in general,
as if the pbase i n which we are now had not emerged from the
unfol di ng of past social strggles but had erpted, i nstead. from
the phi losophers' heads.
What we do fnd i n this part of the book is a vague exhorati on
to trust in the transformational potenti al of the mul ti t ude. who.
!D a mysterious and unpredi ctabl e way, wi l l some day overcome
all resistance and blocks, and subdue its enemies to To do
what? To build what tpe of society? Its i ntellectual mentors sti l l
do not say.
q1
3 Markets, transnational corporations
and national economies
ARccuOculConfsion
Hard and Negri's naive acceptance of a cruci al aspect of world
market ideology clearly i l lustrates the consequences of thei r rad
i cal i ncomprehension of contemporary capi tal i sm_ I nexpl i cably
stubborn in mai ntai ning the not ver innocent my that nation
states are close to disappearing completely, the authors make
thei r own, as if it were a t ruth revealed by a prophet, the opi ni on
of the former US Secretr of Labor, Robert Rei ch, who wrote:
as almost ever fa('tor of production - money, technOlog,
factories, and equipment - moves efforlessly across borders,
the ver idea of a [national) economy is becoming meaningless,
I n the fut ure ' t here wi l l be no O0l0h0products or technologies,
no nat ional cororat ions, no national industres, There wl l
no longer be nat ional economies, 0Ileast as Y have come t o
understand t hat concept. ' (p, ] )
It is hard to bel ieve [hat an i ntel l ectual of Toni Negi ' s cal
i bre, who i n the past has shown a strong i nterest i n the study of
economics, coul d ci te an opini on such as the one above, Fi rst of
al l , Reich shrewdly speaks of ' al most ever factor of producti on' ,
an elegant way of avoi di ng the embarrassing fact that there i s
another cruci al factor of production, te l abour force, whi ch does
not ' move effortessly across borders' This bel i ef i n the free mo
bi l i ty of producti ve factors is to be found at the hean of corporate
American ideOlOg, determi ned as it is to embel l i sh the assumed
virtues of the free market at the same ti me as i t condemns any
type of state i nterent ion that does not favour monopolies or
ol igopol ies or that i nt roduces at least a mi ni mum level of popul ar
or democratic control over economic processes. From thei r strat
ospheric platfon, Hardt and Negr seem to ignore the fact that
Rei ch was the Secretar of Labor in a goverment that presided
over one of the most dramatic periods of weal th and i ncome
concentrati on i n the histor of the Uni ted States, It was a ti me
when waged labour saw some of the most i mporant pieces of
l abour legislation di smantled and when precarous ness reached
unprecedented levels not only i n t he rral districts of Alabama
and Cal i fornia but also i n the Upper West Si de of Manhattan,
where hundreds of elegant stores recrui ted i I I eg-dl i mmigrants
to assist teir cl ient, paying them sal ari es well below the legal
mi ni mum. Perhaps the authors refsed to acknowledge that none
of these workers would have crossed American borders without
considerabl e effort. The history of these migrants i s one of vio
lence and death, pain and misery, suffering and humi l i ation, Ad
i t i s a hi stor in whi ch the crci al player is the nation-stte that
Hardt and Negi describe as ' decl i ning' , Before wrt i ng about
such issues, i t woul d have been appropriate had the authors i nter
viewed an undocumented worker from Mexco, EI Salvador or
Hai ti to ask hi m what the expression ' [a miga' means, a term used
to refer to the United States' i mmigration police, the very menti on
of which terrifes the i mmigants. Or maybe the authors could
have asked how much the worker had to pay to enter the United
States i llegally, how many of hi s friends died i n the attempt and
what the word 'coyote' means on t he Cal i forni an border. Have
they not heard about the unsuccessful migrants who di ed i n the
desert under a baking sun (but comforted by Reic' h' s words)?
Can they ignore the fact that ever year the Mexican-American
frontier takes more human l ives than the i nfamous Berl i n Wal l
throughout i ts enti re exi stence? I t would al so be appropriate to
ask si mi l ar questions of il legal i mmigrants in France and the
rest of Europe. A quick look at UNOP or the I nternational Labor
Organization (ILO) repons would have saved them from maki ng
major mi stakes such as as the one menti oned above.
4J
f
i
&
0
i
B
0
B.
0
D
D
I
0
B
0
d
`
W
It is not thei r only mi stake. Our authors seem to bel ieve that
money, technol og, factories and equipment are also subject
to unl i mi ted mobi l ity. Money is, no doubt , the most mobi l e of
the four, but even so i t i s t i ed to certain restricti ons, al beit not
extremely strict ones. But what about technolog and the rest ?
Do t hey real ly bel ieve that technolog and t he other factors of
producti on ci rculate as freely across borders as Reich procl ai ms?
Which technology anyway? Do they mean last generati on techno
log? This is somethi ng that even a pri mar school chi ld al ready
knows. Obviously, technolog and i t s products circulate, but the
ones thaI move more freely are surely not the latest or the best
Thi rd World countres know that they can have access wthout
problems to obsolete or semi-obsoletc technologies, relics al ready
abandoned by the nations at the forefront of the pl anet' s techno
logical development . I |t he best technologies ci rculate freely as
corporate-speak assures us, why i s i t that we wi tness so many
cases of i ndustri al espi onage in al l the developed countries? How
can we explai n i ndustrial pi racy, i l legal copying and i mitati ons
of al l types of technol ogi<'s and products?
That Hardt and Negri accept some of the cent ral assumpti ons
of the ideologues of gl obal ization i s a matter of extreme concern.
Their belief in the disappearance of nat ional products, companies
and i ndust ri es i s absolutely i ndefensi ble i n the l ight of dai ly evi
dence that shows the vital ity, especially in developed countries, of
customs taes, non-tarff barriers and spccial subsidies through
which governments seek to favour thei r national products, com
panies and economic act ivi ti es. The authors l ive in countries
where protect i oni sm has an extraordi nar strengh and can be
ignored only by those who i nsist on denying i ts existence si mply
because it has no place i n their theor. The American govern
ment protects its i nhabi tants from foreign competi ti on from
Mexican strawberries, Brazi l ian cars, Argenti ne seamless steel
pi pes, Salvadoran texti les, Chi lean grapes and Urguayan meat ,
whi l e on t he other side of the Atl antic, t he European ci tizens are
4

safely prolected by 'Fortress Europe' whi ch, whi l e hypocritical ly


procl ai mi ng the virues of free trade, seal s i ts doors agai nst the
' Ihreal' posed by the vibrant economi es of Africa, Lat i n America
and Asi a.
Regardi ng the declared disappearance of nati onal compani es,
a si mple test woul d be enough to demonstrate t his mi slake. For
exmple, Hardt and Negri should tq to convince a fri endly gov
ernmenl 10 expropriale a local branch of a 'global ' fn (and,
therefore, supposedly unatlached to any national base) such as
Microsoft, McDonal d' s or Ford; or, i f they prefer, I hey could t l
t o do I hi s wi l h Deulsche Bank, Siemens, Shell or Uni lever. Then
we would have only to wai t and see who would step forard to
demand that t he deci sion be revoked. I f the compani es were
t rly gl obal , it would be the job of Kof Annan, or of the general
di rector of the World Tade Organization (WO), to appear i n
front of the goverment i nvolved i n order 10 put pressure on i t
i n the name of global markets and the world economy. However,
it is more l i kely that, i nstead of those characters, an ambassador
from the United States, Germany or the Uni led Kingdom woul d
l um up t o demand, wi l h thei r usual rudeness and i nsolence, the
i mmedi ale reversal of the deci si on under the threal of puni shi ng
the countr wi l h al l types of sanctions and penal ties. If thi s hypo
thetical exampl e seems too compl icated, Hardt and Negi shoul d
ask themselves, for exampl e, who was Ihe Boei ng representative
in t he tough negotiations with European Union offci al s for t he
commerci al competition with Ai rbus. Do they bel i eve t hat the
i nterests of the former were defended by a CEO from Bangladesh
who had received his MBA from the Universi ty of Chicago or
i nstead by top American government offcials wth the hel p of
Iheir a

bassador i n Brussels and aCli ng logelher with the Whi le


House? In I he real worl d, and not i n the nebulous republ i c i m
agined by phi losophers, te l atter is what really occurs. Thi s i s
somethi ng Ihat any student of economi cs lears only two weeks
i nto classes.
4
J

0
W
A
!
0
0
D
0
3,
0
!
I
0
B
0
d
`
W
I
Can Hardt and Neg ignore the fact t hat the 20 mega-corora-
l l ions that prevai l in the world markets register a combi ned total

of sales that is geater than the GNP of al l the countries i n the


world combi ned except for the nine l argest? Thei r total annual
i ncome reaches the $7, 1 00 trl l ion threshold and they are as big
as the combi ned weal th of 80 per cent of the world popul ati on,
whose i ncome barely reaches S3,900 t rl l ion. Despite thi s, these
Levi athans of the worl d economy empl oy less than one-third of
1 per cent of the world popul ati on (Barlow 1 998). The neol i b
eral global ization i deologi sts' rhetoric is not enough to di sguise
the fact that 96 per cent of those 200 global and transnational
companies have their headquarers i n only eight countries, are
l egally registered as i ncorporated companies of eight countries;
and thei r board of di rectors si t i n eight countres of metropol
iran capi tal i sm. Less than 2 per cent of thei r board of di rectors'
members are non-nationals, while more than 85 per cent of al l
thei r technological developments have orignated wit hi n t hei r
' nat ional fronti ers' . Their reach i s gl obal , but their property and
thei r owners have a clear national base_ Thei r earni ngs now from
al l over the world to thei r headquarers and the loans necessar
to fnance thei r operati ons are conveni ently obtained by their
headquarers i n the national banks at i nterest rates i mpossi bl e
to fnd in peripheral capi tal i sms, thanks to whi ch they can easily
di splace t hei r competi tors (Boron et al 1 999: 233; Boron 20ob:
1 1 7-23).
Noam Chomsky, for i nstance, ci tes a study by Wi nfried Ruig
rock and Rob Van Tul der on the top 100 corporat ions of the
1993 For| unc l i st accordi ng to which ' vi rtual ly al l of the world' s
l argest corporations have experenced a deci sive support from
government policies and trade barriers to make t hem vi abl e. '
I n addi ti on, these authors also noted that at l east 20 compani es
would not have surived by themsel ves have t hei r governments
not ' i nterened by ei ther social i si ng losses or by si mple takeovers
when the companies were in t roubl e' (Chomsky 1998, Kapstein
1991/92, Ruigock and Van Tulder 1995). I n short, despi te what
the authors of Empire assert, nation-sttes still are crcial pl ayers
in the world economy, and nati onal economi es sti l l exist.
Thcpostmodern logic of global capital
In l i ne wi th t he argument developed in the previous section,
Hardt and Negri state that a profound change i n the logic with
which global capital operates has taken place with the consti tu
ti on of the empi re. The predomi nant l ogc these days is that of
post moderni sm, wi th its emphasis on exl t i ng the i nstntaneous,
the always changing profles of desires, the cult of i ndi vi dual
election, the ' peretual shopping and t he consumption of com
modi ties and commodi fed i mages e e _ ] di fference and mul ti pl i c
i ty [ ] fet i shi sm and si mulacra, i ts contjnued fascinat ion wi th
t he new and with fashi on' (p. 1 52). Al l t hese lead our aut hors to
concl ude that market i ng strategies fol l ow a postmodem logc,
si nce marketi ng is a corporate practice i ntended to maxi mi ze
sales from the commercial recogni tion and exploitation of di ffer
ences. As popul ations become i ncreasi ngly hybrid, the possi bil i ty
for creating new ' target markets' is enhanced. The consequence
is that marketing unfolds an endless aray of commerci al strat
egies: ' one for gay Ltino mal es beteen the ages of eighteen and
t wenty-to, another for Chi nese-American teenage girls, and so
forh' (po 152).
Aware that, by pretending to i nfer the global l ogc of capital
from marketing strateges, they are on a sl ipper slope, Hardt and
Negri take a step forards to assure us that the same post modern
logic also prevai l s at the heart of t he capital i st economy: t he
sphere of production. For thi s, they recal l some recent develop
ments in the management fel d, where i t is stated t hat corpora-
d
tions must be ' mobile, fexible, and abl e to deal wit h di fference'
(p. 1 53). As coul d have been foreseen, the naive acceptance of
these assumed advances of ' management science' - i n trut h,
strateges to strenghen the extraction of surpl us val ue - led Hardt
4
7
and Negi to a completely ideal ized vision of contemporar global
corporations. These appear as ' much more diverse and fui d cui '
t ural ly than the parochi al modern corporat ions of previous years' .
A consequence of this geater diversi ty and fui di ty is evident in
the fact that, according to the authors, ' the old modernist forml
of racist and sexist theor are the expl icit enemies of thi s new
corporate cul ture' (p. 1 53). Because of thi s, global compani es are
anxious to incl ude:
di fference wi thi n their realm and !hus aim to maimize crea
ti vi [ free play, and diversity in the cororate workpl ace. People
of all di fferent races, sexes, and bLual orientat ions should
potent ially be incl uded in the corporat ion; the daiIy rutine of
the workplace should be rejuvLn| cd with uncxpe(ed changes
and an IMosphere of fun. Break down the old boundaries and
l et one hundred fowers bloom! (p. 1 53)
Afer rcadi ng these l i nes, we cannot avoid asking to what extent
corporati ons are home 10 the rel at ionships of producti on; are the
salaried exploited or, i n contrast, are they real earthly paradi ses?
I t does not seem to requi re a management expen to conclude that
the rosy descri pti on gven by the aut hors bears l i tl e relationship
to real i ty, si nce sexi sm, racism and homophobia are practices that
still enjoy enviable health in the postmodern global cororati on.
Maybe thi s i mproved corporate atmosphere has somethi ng to do
with the fact that, as repored i n the M8England}oumal ofMedi
cine, duri ng the apogee of Amercan prosperity, 'AfrcanAmerican
men in Harlem had less probabi l i ties of reaching t he age of 65
than men i n Bangl adesh' (Chomsk 1 993: 278). Hardt and Negr
constantly fal l agai nst the subtle ropes of corporate l iterat ure and
the free market ideologists. I f we were to accept thei r poi nts of
view - actually the points of view of the busi ness school gurus
- the whole debate around the despotism of capi tal within the cor
poration loses its meani ng, as it does ever time more demands
i n favour of the democratization of frms are made by theoreti
cians of Rober A. Dahl 's stature ( Dahl 1995: 134-5). Apparently,
t he strctural tyranny of capital vani shes when wage-labourers
go to work not to earn a li vi ng but to enteri n themselves in
an agreeable cl i mate t hat al lows them to express thei r desi res
wi thout restricti on. Thi s portrai t hardly squares wi t h the stories
reponed even by the most capi tal-i nvolved sectors of t he press
about the extensi on of the work day in the global corporati on, the
devasttng i mpact of l abour fexi bi l ity, the degradation of work
and of thc workplace, the gowing frequency with which people
are laid off, the precariousness of employmem, the trend towards
an aggressive concemration of salaries wthi n the company, not
t o mention horror stores such as the exploi tation of chi l dren by
many global corporations.
It seems unnecessar to insist, before t hese two authors who
idemif themselves as communists and scholars of Mar, on the
fact that the logic of capital , be it global or national , has l i ttl e
to do wi th the i mage projectcd by busi ness school t heoret i ci ans
or eclectic postmodern phi losophers. Capital moves t hrough
an i ncxorabl e logic of proft-generation, whatcver the social or
environmental costs may be. I n order to maxi mize profts and
i ncrease securit i n the long ten, capital travels al l ovcr the world
and is capable of establ i shi ng i tsel f anyhere. The pOlitical condi
t ions are a matter of maj or i mportance, especially i f tere i s a
need to mai ntai n an obedient and wel l-behaved labour force. Cor
porate blackmai l is al so et remely relevant, given that the global
frms, with ' thei r' government' s suppor, seek to gain benefts
from the ext raordi nar concessions made by the hungr states
of the i mpoverished perpher. These concessions range from
generous ta exemptions of al l kinds to the i mpl ementation of
labou legslati on comrar to workers' imerests, or of the te that
discourages or weakens the activism of labour unions capable of
di sturbi ng the nomlal atmosphere of business. I n the developed
world, i nstead, i t is more di fcul t to dismantle workers' advances
and achievements, and the pro-labour legSlation sanctioned i n
4V
the gol den period of the Keynesi an stlte, but thi s is compensated
for by the greater size of the markets in societies where soci al
progess has created a patter of mass consumption not usual ly
avai l abl e i n the peripheral count ries.
Transnational corporations and the nation-stale
Chapter ]. jof Hardt and Negri's book is devoted to the mixed
consti tution of the empi re. It opens, however, with surprising
epigaph that demonstrates the unusual penetration of bourgeois
prejudi ces even i nto the minds of to i ntel lectuals as l ucid and
cul t ured as Hardt and Negri. The epigraph is a sttement made
not by great phi losopher or a di sti ngi shed economi st, nor by
a renowned statesman or a popular leader. I t is, i nstead, a few
words pronounced by Bi l l Gates: 'One of te wonderful thi ngs
about the i nformation highway is that virtual equi t is far easier
to achieve than real-world equit We are all created equal in
the vi rual world' lp. 304).
Two brief comments. Fi rst, i t is hard to understand t he reason
why a chapter devoted to exami ni ng the problems of the mixed
consti tuti on of the empi re begi ns wi th a banal quote from Bi l l
Gates about the supposed equi ty of the i nformation highway.
Maybe it is because quoti ng Gates has become fashionable among
some European and American progessive i ntel l ectual s. The
reader, even one who is well disposed, cannot but feel i rri tation
before thi s t ri bute paid to the richest man i n the worl d, someone
who i s the most genui ne personi fcation of a world order that,
supposedly, Hardt and Negri fen'ent ly desi re to change.
Second, and even more i mponant, Gates is wrong, deeply
wrong. Not al l of us have been created equal in the i nformation
world and the fantasti c virual universe. Surely, Gates has never
been i n contact with even one of the three bill ion people in the
world who have never made or received a phone cal l . Gates and
Hardt and Negri should remember that i n ver poor countres,
such as Afghanistan for i nstance, only fve out of a thousand
50
people have access to a tel ephone. Thi s horrifing fgre is far
from bei ng exclusive to Afghani stan. I n many areas i n southern
Asia, in sub-Saharan Africa, and i n some underdeveloped coun
t ries i n Lati n America and the Caribbean, the fgres are not
much better (Wresch 1996). For most of the worl d's popul ati on,
Gates's comments are a j oke, i f not n i nsul t to rhei r mi serable
and i nhumane l ivi ng conditions.
Leaving aside thi s unfortunate begi nni ng, the chapter i ntro
duces a division of capi tal i st development i nto t hree stages. The
frst extends troughout the eighteenth and ni neteenth cent uries.
It is a period of competitive capi tal ism, characterized accordi ng
to Hardt and Negr by ' relatively l i t tl e need of state i nterenti on
at home and abroad' (p. 305). for the authors, the protection
ist pol i cies of the UK, the USA, France, Belgum, Hol l and and
Germany, and t he pol icies of colonial expansi on promoted and
i mplemented by the respective nati onal governments, do not
qual i f as ' state i nterention' . I n the same manner, the legsla
tion passed, with di fferent degees of t horoughness i n al l these
countries over a l ong perod and desti ned to repress the workers,
woul d also nOt qual i f as examples of state i nterenti on in eco
nomic and social l i fe. It shoul d be taen i nto consideration that
such legisl ation incl udes the Anti-Combination Acts of England,
the L Chappellier l aw i n France, the anti social ist legslation of
Chancel l or Bismarck i n Germany, who condemned t housands
of workers to exil e, and the legal nors that made possi bl e the
brutal repression of workers i n t he Uni ted States, symbolized
by the massacre of Haymarket Square, Chicago, on 1 May 1886.
Gramsci formul ated some ver precise obserati ons about the
'Southern Questi on' i n whi ch he demonstrated that the complex
system of al l iances that made I tal i an uni fcatjon possible overlay

a set of sophisticated economic pol icies that in fact suppored


the domi nant coal i ti on. It was Gramsci who poi nted out the
'theoretical mi stake' of the l i beral doctrnes that celebrated the
supposed Iy hands-ff an itude, the passivit of te stte i n relation

0
%
R
!
0
D
D
D
0
.
0
D

I
0
D
0
d
`
W
to the capitalist accumulation process. I n hi s Quader;, Gramsci
wrote: 'The iaisse'jaire is al so a mode of state regulati on, i nt ro
duced and mai ntai ned by legi sl ative and constrai ni ng means. I t
is a del i berate pol icy, aware of i ts own obj ect ives, and not t he
spontaneous and automatic expression of the economic events.
Consequently, the laissezjaire l i beral i sm i s a pol i ti cal progam'
(Gramsci 1971: 160).
The reason for t his goss error must be found i n the i nabi l i t
of l i beral writers to recognize the fact that the di sti nction between
the pol i tical society and the civil society, beteen economics and
pOli tics, ' i s made and presented as i f i t were an organic di st i nc
tion, when it is merely a methodological di sti nct ion' (ibid. ). The
' passivity' of the state when the fox enters the henhouse cannot
be conceived as the inaction proper to a neutral player. This be
haviour i s cal l ed compl ici t or, in some cases, conspi racy. These
brief examples are enough to prove that conventional knowledge
is not capable of provi di ng adequate guidelines to expl ai n some
of the central features of t he frst period identi fed by Hardt and
Negr. Certainly, t he passivit of the state was not one of t hem.
I t i s t rue hat , i n comparison wi t h what happened i n t he period
fol l owing the great depression, the levels of stte i nterention
were lower. But this dos not mean that there was no i nterenti on,
or that the need
for t was weaker. On the contrar, there was
a geat need for state i ntervention and the di fferent bourgeois
goverments responded adequately to t hi s need. Naturally, after
the Fi rst World War and the 1929 crisis, t hese needs increased
to an extraordi nar degree, but t hat should not lead us to bel i eve
that before these dates the state di d not play a primar role i n
the process of capi tal i st accumulat ion.
The most serious problem wit Hardt and Negri's i nterpreta
tion emerges when they get to the ' t hi rd stage' i n the histor of
the marriage berween t he state and capital. In thei r own words:
'Today a t hi rd phase of thi s relationshi p has ful ly matured, i n
which l arge transnati onal corporations have effectively surpassed
2
the j urisdiction and authority of nation-states. It woul d seem,
then, that thi s centuries-long di alectic has come to an end: the
stte has been defeated and corporations now mI c thc ea
rh! '
( p. 306, emphasis i n orignal ) .
Thi s statement i s not only wrong but al so exposes t he authors
to new rebuffs. Worried about having gone too far wi th thei r
anti -state enthusi asm, they warn us that i t i s necessar ' to take
a much more nuanced look at how the rel at i onshi p beteen
state and capi tl has changed' (p. 307). It i s at the ver least
perplexing that, after having wri tten thi s sentence, the aut hors
di d not proceed with the same convicti on to erase the previous
sentence. Thi s confns the suspicion that the frst one represents
adequately enough what they thi nk about the subject. For them,
one of the cruci al features of the current period i s the di splace
ment of state functions and pol i tical tasks i nto other soci al l i fe
levels and domains. Reversing t he hi storical process by which the
nat ion-state 'exproprated' the pol i t ical and admi ni st rative func
tions retai ned unti l then by the aristocracy and local magnates,
such tasks and functions have been re-appropriated by somebody
else in thi s third stage in te hi stor of capi tal . But by whom'? We
do not know, because i n Hardt and Neg's argument there i s a
meani ngul si l ence at t hi s poi nt. Hardt and Negi begn assuring
us i n an a'i omati c way that the concept of nati onal sovereignty is
losing i ts effectiveness, without bothering to provide some tpe
of empi ri cal reference to suppor thi s thesis. The same happens
with the famous thesis about 'the autonomy of the pol i t i cal ' . If
evidence for the frst thesis i s compl etely absent, all that can be
said i s that i t i s a commonplace of contemporar bourgeois ideol
og; conceri ng the second thesis, Hardt and Negri are completely
wron. To suppor thei r i nterpretation, t hey mai ntai n: 'Today a
notion of pol i t ics as an i ndependent sphere of the deteni na
ti on of consensus and a sphere of mediation among conficti ng
social forces has vcr l i ttl e room to exi st' (p. 307). Question: when
and where was pol i t ics r hal ' i ndependent sphere' or that si mpl e
b
J

0
;

w
0

0
0
B.
0

E

0
&
d
`
W
e
'sphere of mediation' ? To thi s i t coul d be answered that what is i n
crsi s is not so much politics - which might well be in crisi s, bUI
P
for oter reasons - but a Schmi tti an conception of pol itics, which
progressive European and Ameri can i ntel lectuals cul tivated wi th
an obsessive passion for many years. As a resul t of that addi cti on,
the confusing doctri nal constructions of Nazi theore tician Carl
Schmi tt - not only an academi c bUI al so a leadi ng judge in the
Thi rd Reich - were i nterpreted as a great cont ri buti on to pol i ti cal
t heor capable of prOvidi ng an escape route for the of-proclai med
' crisis of Marxi sm' . But , conUar to Schmi tt' s teachings, pol i tics i n
capi taJ ist societies was never an autonomous sphere. Thi s discus
sion is so wel l known, generat i ng rivers of i nk in the 1960s and
1980s, t hat there i s no need to summarize i t now. For the purose
of this book, a brief reference to a couple of works that approach
thi s problem i n a di rect manner (Meiski ns Wood 1 995: 19-48;
Boron 1997: 95-137) wll suffce. I n any case, our authors are
closer to the trth when they wrte, a few lines later: 'Pol i tics does
not di sappear; what disappears i s any notion of the autonomy of
the pol it ical ' (p. 307). Once agai n, t he problem here i s less wit h
politics - whi ch has undoubtedly changed - t han with the absurd
notion of the autonomy of pol i tics and of the pol i tical, nurured
for decades by ang ant i -Marist academics and i ntel lectual s,
who desi re to mai ntai n, agai nst al l t he evidence, a fragentar
vision of t he soci al , typical of what Gyorg Lukacs characterized
as bourgeois thought (Lukacs 1971).
In Hardt and Negri ' s i nterprett ion, t he decl i ne experenced
by the autonomy of pol itics gave place to an ul t ra-economi ci st
conception of the consensus, 'determi ned more signi fcant ly by
economic factors, such as the equi l i bria of t hc t rade balances and
speculation on the value of currencies' (p. :07). I n thi s way, the
Gramscian theorization t hat saw t he consensus as the capacity
of the domi nant al l iance to guarantce an intel lectual and moral
di reetion that woul d establ ish it as the avant-garde of the devel
opment of nat ional energies, is enti rely left out of the aut hors'
b
analysis of the state i n i ts current stage. I nstead, the consensus
appears as the mechanieal refecti on of the economic news,
a set of mercantile calculation with no room left for political
mediations lost i n the darkness of t i me. Its reductioni sm and
economicism completely distor the com plexity of the consensus
constructi on process i n contemporar capitalism, and, i n addi
t i on, they do not fai l t o pass t he test that demonstrates how on
i nnumerabl e occasions signi fcant pol itical turbulence occurred
at moments i n which the economi c variables were moving i n
the ' right di recti on' , as European and Aerican hi stor of the
1 960s demonstrates. Besides, tmes of deep economic crsis di d
not necessarily t ranslate i nto t he swift collapse of pre-exi st i ng
pol i tical consensuses. Popul ar passivity and acqui escence were
noti ceabl e, for example, in the omi nous decade of t he 1930S
in France and Brtai n, somethi ng ver di fferent from what was
oecurri ng i n neighbourng Gerany. In consequence, it is u n
deniable that, given that politics is not a sphere autonomous from
soci al l i fe, therc is an i nt.i mate connection berween economi c
factors and political, soci al , cul tural and i nterational factors
that, at a cerai n moment , crstall izes in the constructi on of a
long-l asti ng pol i tical consensus. That is why any reducti oni st
conceptual scheme, either economicist or politicist, is i ncapabl e
of expl ai ni ng real i ty.
The conclusion of te authors' analysis is extraordi narly im
port ant and can be summarzed in thi s way: the decl i ne of t he
political as an autonomous sphere ' signals t he decl i ne, too, of any
i ndependent space where revolution could emerge in t he national
pOl i t ical regime, or where social space coul d be t ransformed
using the i nstruments of the state' (pp. 307-8). The tradi tional
ideas of bui l di ng a counter-power or of opposing a national resist-
I
ance against the state have been losing more and more relevance
i n the current ci rcumstances. The main fnctions of the state
have migrated to other spheres and domai ns of the social l i fe,
especi al ly towards the ' mechanisms of command on the global
JJ
level of the transnati onal corporati ons' (p. 308). The resul t of
thi s process was somet hi ng l i ke the destruction or sui ci de of
the national democratic capitaJi st state, whose sovereignty frag
mented and di spersed among a vast collection of new agencies,
groups and organizations such as 'banks, i nterational orgni sms
of pl anni ng, and so forth ] whi ch al l i ncreasi ngly refer for
l egti macy to the transnational l evel of power' (p. 308). [n relation
to the possi bi l i ti es opened before thi s nansformati on, t he verdict
of our aut hors is radical and unappeal i ng: 'the decl i ne of the
nat ion-state is not si mply the resul t of an i deologcal posi t ion
that might be reversed by an act of polit ical wil l : i t is a structural
and i rreversi bl e process' (p. 336). The di spersed fragments of
the state's ol d sovereigt and its i nherent capacity lO i nspi re
obedience to i ts mandates, have been recovered and reconverted
' by a whole series of global juri dico-economic bodies, such as
GAT, the World Trade Orgnization, the World Bank, and thc
I MF' (i bi d.). Given that the global ization of the production and
ci rcul ation of goods caused a progressive loss of effcacy and
effectiveness i n national pol i tical and juri dical structures which
were powerless to cont rol players, processes and mechani sms
that geatly exceeded thei r possi bi l i ties and that displ ayed their
games on a foreign board, there i s no sense in t ring to resurrect
rhe dead nation-state. Aijaz Ahmad ( 2004: 51 ) provided a ti mely
remi nder that it was none other than Madel ei ne Al bright who, as
Secretar of Stte during the Cl i nton admi ni stration, expounded
si mi l ar theses by sayi ng that both ' nat i onal ity' and 'sovereignty'
belonged to an 'out dated repenoire of polit ical theor' unable
to account for the ' new structures of global ization and i mpera
tives of " humani tari an i nterenti on . . . The authors assure us
that not hi ng coul d be more negative for future emanci palOT'
strugles than to fal l vi cti m to nostalga for an ol d golden era.
Sti l l , i f i t were possi bl e to resurrect the nati on-state, there i s
an even more i mportant reason t o give up thi s enterprise: thi s
i nsti tution 'cares wi t h i t a whole series of repressive structures
and ideologies [ ] and any strateg that relies on it should be
rejected on t hat basi s' (p. ]. Let us suppose for a moment t hat
we consider thi s argumenl val i d. In that case we shoul d resign
ourselves to contemplat i ng not only the i nel uctable decadence
of the nation-stale but al so the fal l of the democrat ic order, a
resul t of centuri es of popul ar struggles t hat inevitably rest on
the state st ructure. Hard t and Neg do not delve ver deeply i nto
thi s subject of vital imporance. Maybe they do not do so because
t hey assume, mi stakenly, that i t i s possible to ' democratize' t he
markets or a ci vi l society structural ly divided i nto classes. This
i s not possible, as I have expl ai ned careful ly elsewhere (Boron
20ob:
/
1]z).Therefore, which is the way Out?

/
4 Alternative visions o the empire
The ethical empire. or the postmodem mystication of the
'really existing' empire
At this stge of their journey, Hardt and Negri have cl early
gone beyond (he point of no ret ur, and their analysis of (he
' real ly ex.isti ng' empi re has gven place to 8 poetic and meta
physical construction that, on the one hand, mai ntains a distant
si mi l ari ty to real i ty, and, on the other hand, given precisely those
characteristics, offers scant hel p to t he soci al forces i nterested in
transformi ng t he national and i nternational structures of world
capital ism. As Charles Ti l ly (2003: 26) put i t rather bl untly, t he
authors 'orbit so far from the concrete real i ties of contemporar
change t hat thei r readers see l i ttle but clouds. hazy seas and
nothi ngness beyond' . The general diagnosis i s wrong due to
fatal probl ems of analysis and i ntcrpretation that plague their
t heoretical scheme. To this I coul d add a series of extremel
y
unfonunate obserations and comment ares that a patient reader
could fnd wi thout great effor. But if t he reader were to refute
them, he would be obl iged to wite a work of extraordi nar mag
ni tude. Si nce t hat is not my i ntention, I wi ll cont i nue with my
anaysis cent red on the weaknesses of the general interpretative
t heoretical scheme.
To begi n, al low me to reaffrm a ver elementar but extremely
i mporant poi nt of deparure: it is i mpossible to do good pol i ti cal
and social philosophy without a sol id economic analysis. As I have
shown el sewhere, that was exactly the path chosen by the young
Mar as a pol i tical phi losopher, once he precociously understood
the l i mit s of a soci al and pOlitical re(Jection that was not frmly
anchored in a rigorous knowledge of civil society (Boron 2000a).
The science thal unveiled the anatomy of civil society and the
most i nt i mate secrets of te new economic organization created
by capitalism was politica economy. This was te reason why
the founder of hi storical material i sm devoted hi s energes to te
new discipline, not to go from one to t he other but to anchor
hi s reOections on cri ti ques of the existng social order and his
ant icipation of a future society i n the bedrock of a deep economic
analysi s. Tbis anchorage in a good politcal economy, a 'regal way'
to reach a t horough kowledge of capit alist society, is precisely
what is missi ng in Emprc. [n fact, the book has ver l i ttle of
economics, and what i t has is, in most cases, the convenlional
version of the economic analysis tught in American or European
busi ness schools or the one boosted by the publicists of neo
l i beral globalization, combined with some isolated fragments
of Mari st pol i tical economy. In shon: bad economics i s used
to analyse a topiC such as the i mperiaist system that requires a
rigorous t reatment of the mater appeal i ng to the best of what
pol i tical economy could offer. As Mi chael Rustin persuasively
arges, Hardt and Negri' S 'descri ption of the major t rends of de
velopment of both the capi tal ist economy, and of its major fonns
of governance, is plainly in accord with much current anaysis of
glablizaton' (Rust i n 2O]. 8).
Consequent ly, readers will fnd themselves with a book that at
tempts to analyse te i nterational order, supposedly an empi re,
and i n which only a couple of ti mes will they stumble across
i nstitutions such as te IMF, the World Bank, the WO and other
agencies of the current world order, call i t empi re or i mperal i sm.
For exmpl e, the word ' neoliberalism', which refers precisely to
[he ideolog and the economic-pol i tical forul a prevai l i ng dur
i ng the last quarer of the tenti eth centur when the current
econo
P
ic order was rebuilt from head t o we, merely appears
throughout the book, i n the same way as the Mul ti lateral Agree
ment on I nvestments (MI)and the Washi ngton Consensus. The
i mpression that the reader gets as he cont i nues to read the book
is of fndi ng hi mself before to academi cs who are ver well


i ntentioned but who are completely removed from the mud and
: bl ood t hat consti tute the dai ly l i fe or capital i st societies, especi
al ly i n the periphery, and who have l aunched themselves to sai l
across the oceans of the empi re anned with defective maps and
i nferor i nstruments of navigation_ Thus, bewildered as Quixote,
they take appearances as real i t ies. Therefore, when t hey descri be
the pyrami d or t he empire's global const i tuti on, Hardt and Negr
assure us that: 'At the narow pi nnacle of the pyrami d there is
one superpower, the United States, that hol ds hegemony over the
global use of force - a superpower that can act alone but prefers
to act in col laborat ion with others under the umbrel l a or the
Uni ted Nations' (p. 309).
It is ver hard to understand such a naive comment, in which
the sophistication expected or scientifc analysis is completely
lacking. To begin wth, the reduction of the concept of hegemony
to the use or rorce is i nadmi ssi bl e. Hegemony is much more
than that. Regardi ng the themes of empi re and i mperi al i sm,
Rober Cox once wrote t hat hegemony coul d be represented as
' an adjustment among the material power, the ideolog and the
i nstitutions' (Cox 1 986: 225). To reduce the i ssue of hegemony
to its mi l i tar aspects only, whose i mporance goes beyond al l
doubt, i s a major mistake. American hegemony is much more
complex than that. On the other hand, we are told that t he Uni ted
States ' prerers' - surely because of its good will, i ts acknowl edged
generosity on i nterational matters and its st rict adherence to te
principles of the J udeO-Chri sti an tradi ti on - to act in collabora
ti on wi th others. One cannot hel p but wonder i r the tenty-some
t hing pages that Empire devotes to a refection upon Machiavel l i ' s
t houghts were wri tten by the same authors that then present
an i nterprettion of the Uni ted States' i nterational behaviour
so anti thetical t o the teachi ngs of the Florent i ne theorist as t he
one have quoted. The ' prererence' of the United States - of
course I am talking ofthe Amercan goverment and its domi nant
classes, and not about the nation or the people or that countr
m
- for collaborative action is merely a mask behi nd which the
i mperialist policies are adequately di sgised so that they can be
sold to i nnocent spi rits. Through t hi s operation, whose efcacy is
demonstrated once agai n i n their book, te policies of i mperial
expansion and domi nation appear as i f they were real sacrifces
in the name of humanity's common good. It is reasonable to
suppose tat the Amercan goverment' s top offcials and their
numerous ideologsts and publicists coul d say something li ke
this, somethi ng that nol even t he most submissive and serle
allies of Washi ngton woul d take seriously. It is enti rely unrea
sonabl e for to radical critics of the system to believe these
deceits.
Thi s i s not the frst time that such a serous mi stake appears
in the book. Al ready in Chapter 2. 5 t hey had wi tten:
I n the wani ng years and wake of the cold war, the responsibi l i t
of eercisi ng an i nterational police pOer ' fel l ' squarely on
t he shoulders of the Uni ted Sttes. The Gul f War was t he frst
t i me the United States could eXercise this power in its full form.
Really, the war was an operation of repression ohery l iule
i nterest from the point of view of the objectives, the regional in
teresls, and the political ideologes involved. We have seen many
such wars conducted dI reLtly by t hc Un|tcd5tatcsand i t s allies.
I raq was accused of havng broken i nterational law, and it thus
had to be judged and puni shed. The i mporance of the Gulf War
derves rather from the fact that i t presented the United States
as t he only power able to manage interational justice, not as
a function of its own national motives but lI lhe /lame of global
right. (p. t 8o,emphasis i n original)
In concl usion, and cont rar to what the ancest ra.1 prej udices
nurured by the i ncessant anti-American preachi ng of the left
i ndicate, what we l ear after reading Empire is that poor Uncl e
Sam had to assume, despite hi s reluctance and agai nst his wil l ,
t he responsibi l ity of exercising t he role of world policeman after
61
.
decades of unfrit ful negoti ations tring to be exempted from

. such a distressing obl igation. Therefore, the power ' fel l i nto' his
hands whi le all the dipl omacy of the State Depanment was busy in
the reconstruction, on genuine democrati c grounds, of the United
Nations system. Meanwhi l e, top waShi ngton offci al s travel l ed
around the world tring to l aunch another round of Norh-South
negoti ati ons focused on reducing t he irri tati ng i nequal i ti es of
the i nternati onal distri buti on of weal t h and t o strengthen the
l angi shing goverments of t he peripher by teaching t hem how
to resist the exactions by which t hey are subdued by the giganti c
transnati onal corporat ions. Those two radical scholars, l ost i n the
darkess of theoretical confusi on, fnd someone to give [hem a
hand who, in the light of t he day, t hey discover is Thomas Fried
man, the ver conserat ive edi tori al writer of the New York Times
and spokesman for the opinions of the Amercan establ i shment.
According to Friedman, the i nterenti on of the Uni ted States
in Kosovo was legiti mate (as was the one in the Gul f for other
reasons) because i t put an end to the ethni c cl eansi ng practised
in that region and, therefore, it was ' made in the name of gl obal
rights' , to ue an expression dear to Hardt and Negri . The tut i s
that, as Noam Chomsk has demonstrated, t he ethnic cleansing
of the si nister regi me of Mi losevic was not the cause but the
consequence of the American bombi ngs (Cbomsky :001: 81).
Let us retur to the Gulf War, deplorably characterized by t he
authors as a 'repressive operati on of scarce i nterest' and l i ttle
i mporance. fi rst of al l , i t i s conveni ent to remember that t hi s
operati on was not precisely a war but, as Chomsky i nforms us,
a sl aughter: ' the ter "war" hardly appl ies to a confrontation
i n whi ch one part massacres the other from an unreachabl e
distance, whi l e the ci vi l societ i s destroyed' (Chomsky 1994: 8).
The authors are not worried about this tye of disquiSition. Tbeir
vision of the coming of the empire with its plethora of l i berat i ng
and emanci pating possi bi l i ties makes thei r eyes look up so, for
that reason, t hey are unaware of the horors and miseries that cur-
62
rent i mperalist pol i cics produce in hi stor's mud. If the Christ ian
theologians of the Middle Ages had their eyes completely t urned
to the contemplation of God and for that reason did not real ize
that hel l was surrounding t hem, the authors are so dazzled by the
l umi nous perspectives t hat open wi th the comi ng of the empire
that the butcher i naugurated by thi s new hi storical era does
not move them to write a single l i ne of lamentation or compas
sion. Masters of the ar of ' deconstrct ion' , they are shown to be
completely i ncapablc of applying t hi s resource to the analysis of a
war that was i n real i ty a massacre. They also fai l to recognize, let
us not say denounce, the enormous number of civi l i an vctims of
the bombi ng, the ' col l ateral damage' and the cri mi nal embargo
that followed the war. Only count i ng the chi l dren, the number
surpasses 1 50,000 victi ms. They also remai n silent about t he fact
thaI, despite hi s defeat, Saddam remained i n power, but with the
consent of the world's boss to repress at will the popular upri si ngs
of the Kurds and the Shia mi nority (ibid.).
Final ly, how realistic can an analysis be t hat considers the Gul f
War, located i n a zone contai ni ng the world's most i mporant oi l
reseres, a matter of margnal i mporance for the Uni ted States?
Should we t hi nk then that washi ngton l aunched i ts mi l i t ar
operations moved by the i mperious necessi t t o ensure the pre
dominance of 'global rights' and not with the goal of reaffrmi ng
its i ndi sputable primacy in st rategic region of the globe? Was
Presi dent Bush' s decision to raze Afghanistan while tring in vain
to discover the whereabouts of one of its old parners, Osama Hi n
Laden, motivated by the need to make possi ble thi s demand for
universal justice? How to describe such foolishness?
This vision of the empire's concrete functioning, and of some
unpl e"sant events such as the Gulf War, i s i n l i ne wit other
extremely polemi c defni t ions made by the authors. For example,
that ' the world police forces of the United States act not wi th an
i m
perialistic but an i mperal i nterest' . The groundi ng for this
affration is pretty si mple and refers to other passages of the

book: given that i mperial ism has di sappeared, swallowed by the
: commotion that dest royed the old nation-states, an i nterent ion
by t he ' hegemon' makes sense only as a contrbution to the stbil
ity of the empire. The pil lage characteristic of the imperialistic era
has been replaced by global rights and i nternational justice.
Another issue outl i ned by Hardt and Negi renects wi th geater
clari t the serious problems that affect their vision of the really
existing i nternational system which before thei r eyes becomes
a tye of ethical empi re. Thus, referring to the ascendancy that
t he United States achi eved i n the post-war world, the authors
mai nti n that:
With the end of the cold war, the United States was called to
sere t he role of guaranteeing and adding juridical effcacy to
this eomplex process of the formation of a new supranational
rght. Just as i n the frst centur of the Christian era the Roman
senators asked Augustus to assume i mperal powers of the ad
mi nistration for the public good, so too today the i nternational
monetar organi zations ( the Uni ted Nations, the i nternational
oranizations, and even the humani taran organizations) ask the
Uni ted States to assume the central role H a new wrl d order.
(p. t 8 )
The equivocal contents of this passage of Hardt and Negri's
work are vel serous. First, they consider analogous to situa
tions that are compl etely di ffernt: the one of the Roman Empi re
in t he frst centul and t he current one, when the world has
changed a l i ttle if not as much as we woul d l i ke. And the old
order that prevailed around the Mediterranean basin based on
sl aveI does not seem to have many affnities wth the current
i mperal ist system that today covers the enti re planet and which
incl udes formal ly free populations. Second, however, i s the fact
that Roman senators demandi ng that Augstus assume i mperial
powers is one thing and the people subdued by t he Roman yoke
asking lor this i s another, ver di ferent, thi ng. Cenai nly, there
is a consi derable majorit of American senators who repeatedly
lobby the Whi te House on the need for acting as an artculating
and ornizing axs for the beneft of the companies and national
i nterests of the United States, as we will see in the fol l owing
chapters. Another, ver di fferent thi ng is that people, nations and
states subjected to US imperial ism would demand such a thi ng.
At this poi nt, Hardt and Negri 's analysis becomes muddled with
Amercan establishment thought because it refers to questions
supposedly asked of Washingon by the United Nations. When
di d the General Asembly request such a thi ng?, because this is
not a matter that can be solved by an organ as litle representa
tive and anti-democratic as the Securt Counci l ; and even less
by the ' i nternational monetar org- aniUtions'. In this case, are
they referring to the I MF, the World Bank, the WO or the IDB
as 'representatives' of te people's rghts? What are they talking
about? In any case, and een when they had reclaimed it, we know
ver well that such i nsti tutions are, in fact, ' i nformal depanments'
of the American government and completely lack any universal
legi timacy to take up an i ni tiative such as the one mentioned. And
what can be said about the humani tarian organizations? As far as
I know, neither Amnest or the Red Cross, neither Greenpeace or
the Serice of Peace and Justice, or indeed any other known organ
ization has ever formulated the petition stted i n te book.
Maybe Hardt and Negri are thi nki ng about the main role ta ken
by the Uni ted States i n the promotjon of a new supranational
juridical framework, which, for reasons that will soon be under
stod, has been conducted in secrec by the goverments i nvolved
in this enterprise. Indeed, for many years, Washi ngon has been
systematically working on the establ ishment of the Mul ti lateral
Agrerment on Investments ( MAl) and has tas 8 prority on its
political agenda. To move forards wth this proposal , the White
House counts on the always unconditional collaboration of i ts
favourte cl i ent-state, te Uni ted Ki ngdom, and that of the over
whel mi ng majorit of the governments in the OECD. Among
5
the rles that the USA has been t ring to i mpose to consol i date
. universal justice and rights - surely i nspi red by the same l i ter
ature as the authors - are two epochmaking contri buti ons to
legal science. The frst i s a doctri nari an i nnovation, thanks to
which for the frst time in hi stor companies and states become
j uridical ' persons' enjo}ing exactly the same legal status. States
are no l onger representatives of the popular sovereigty and the
nation and have become si mple economic agents without any
type of prerogative in the cours. It is not necessar to be a geat
legal scholar to be able to qual i f thi s 'j uri dical advancement',
zealously sought by Washingon, as a phenomenal retrogression
that neglects the progress made by modern law over the last t hree
hundred years.
The second contribution: having taken i nto account the
extraordi nar concer of the Amercan goverment for universal
law, t he MAl proposes the abol i ti on of the reciprocity prnciple
beteen the to parti es signi ng a contract. If the MAl were
approved, something that so far has not been possi bl e thanks
to tenacious opposition from humani tarian organizations and
diverse soci al movements, one of the pari es to t he cont ract
woul d have rights and the other one only obl igations. Given t he
characteristics of the ' really exi sting' empire, it is not hard to
fnd out who would have what: companies would have the right
to take states to th e cours of j ustice, but the states woul d be
debared from doing so with investors that did not comply with
their obl igat ions. Of course, given the wellknown concern of
the American goverment to garantee universal democracy, it
i s permi tted for a state to fl e a law suit agai nst another state,
wth which thi ngs become more even. Thus, i f the goverments
of Guatemala or Ecuador had a problem wth United Fruit or
Chi quita Banana, they woul d not be able to fl e a sui t agai nst
those compani es, but they would be free and would have all the
garantees in the world to do i t agai nst the government of the
United States, given that, despi te what Hardt and Negri thi nk,
66
those companies are American and are regi stered in that countr.
Now we can understand the reasons why t he negoti ati ons tat
ended i n a draft MAl were conducted i n absol ute secrec and
beyond any rpe of democrati c and popul ar control (Boron 2O1a:
3 1 -62j Chomsk 2ooa: 259-60; Lnder 1 998).
Given such a huge distortion of the empi re' s real i ties, i t i s not
surpri si ng that the authors conclude:
In all the regional conficts of the late twent ieth centur, from
Hai ti to t he Persian Gul f and Somalia to Bosnia, the Uni ted
States is called to i nterene mi l i tarily - and these calls are real
and substantial, not merely publicit stunts to quell U.S. public
dissent. Even if i t were reluctant, the U.S. mi l i tar would have to
answer the call in the name of peace and order. (p. 1 81 )
No comment.
The empire as it is, portrayed by its organic intellectuals
Hence, it seems to be suffci ently proved that Hardt and Negri' s
analysi s of the contemporar world order i s wrong. based on a
seriously di stored readi ng of the curent transforations that
are taking place in state formati ons and i n the world markets of
contemporar capital i sm. This i s not to deny that, occaSionally,
here and there, the reader can fnd a few shar refections and
obserations related to some tmely issues, but t he general picture
that fows from thei r a nalysis is t heoretcally wrong and politically
selfdefeati ng.
A good exercise that could hel p Hardt and Negri to descend
from te structural i st nebul a in which they seem to have sus
pended their reasoning - 'a new global for of sovereignty' (p. xii),
'a spcifc regi me of global relat ions' (pp. 45-6) - would be to read
the work of some of the mai n organi c i ntellectuals of the empi re.
Leo Pani tch has cal led attention to a meani ngful paradox: whi le
the term ' i mperial i sm' has fal l en i nto disuse, the realities of i m
perial i sm are more vivid and i mpressive t han ever. Thi s paradox is

i
d
D
.

4
v
i'
W
l
f
O
d
W
.
.
much more accule in Lat i n America, where not only the ter,
D
. ' i mperial i sm' but also the word 'dependency' have been el-elled
from academic l anguage and publ i c di scourse, precisely at a time
when the subjection of Lati n Amercan countries to transnational
economic forces has reached unprcedented levels. The reasons
for this are many: among them the ideological and political defeat
of the left and its consequences stand out . The adoption of t he
langage of the victors and the i nabi l i t to resist their bl ackmail,
especi al ly among those obsessed wi th preserng thei r careers
and gai ni ng ' publ i c acknowledgement' , rei nforces tis subjec
tion. This phenomenon can be verifed not only in L-ati n Amerca
but also in Europe and the Uni ted States. I n Europe, it is mai nly
evdent in those countries i n which communi st paries were ver
strong and the presence of the pol i tical l eft vigorous, such as i n
Italy, France and Spai n. This is why Pani tch suggests that i f t he lef
wants to face real ity, maybe 'it should look to the right to obtin
a clear vision of the direction i n which it should march' ( Panitch
2OO: 18-zO). Why? Because whil e many on t he l ef are i ncl i ned
to forget the existence of class strgles and i mperal i sm (fearful
of being denounced by the prevail ing neol i beral and post modern
consensus as self i ndulgent and absurd di nosaurs escaped from
the Jurassic Park of socialism), the mandari ns of the empi re, busy
as they are giving advice to te dominant cl asses who are faced
dai ly by class antagonists ad emanci pator strggles, have no
time to waste on fantasies or poetr. The pract.ical necessities of
i mperial admi nistration do not al low t hem to become di stracted
by metaphysical l ueubrations. Thi s is one of the reasons why
Zbigniew Brzezi nski is so clear i n hi s diagnosis, and i nstead of
tal ki ng about a phantasmagorie empi re, such as the one depicted
by Hardt and Negi, he goes di rectJy to the poi nt and celehrates
withom shame the i resist i ble ascension, i n his own j udgement,
of the United States to the condi tion of ' only global superpower'.
Focused on assuring t he l ongter stabil i ty of the i mperial ist
phase opened after the fal l of the Soviet Uni on, Bnezi nski i denti-
68
fes three mai n gi di ng pri nci pl es of the Amercan geopol itical
strteg: frst, to i mpede the collusion among, and to presere the
dependence of, te most powerful vassals on issues of securt
(Wester Europ and Japan); second, to maintain the submission
and obedience of the tbutar nations, such as Latin America and
t he Third World i n general ; and third, to prevent te uni fcation,
the overow and eventual attck of the ' barbarians' , a denomina
tion that embraces countres from China to Russia, i ncl udi ng the
Islamic nations of Central Asia and the Mi ddle East (Brezinski
1998: 40). Crstl clear.
The former US National Security Council chai rman s obsera
tions offer a clear vision without beating about the bush, di stant
from the vage rhetorc employed by Hardt and Negi and, pre
ci sely because of ti s, extremely i nstrctive of what these authors
call empi re and Panitch cal l s ' new i mperal i sm' . In 1989, long
before Brezinski expressed these ideas, Susan Strange, not ex
actly a Mari st schol ar, wote an ari cle. Had it been read by our
authors, it woul d have saved them time and prevented them from
making extremely serous mi stakes. Strange sai d:
What is emering is, therefore, 8 non-territorial empi re wth its
i mperial capital i n Washi ngton U. I f the i mperial capitals used
to anract couresanS of foreign provinces, Washi ngton instead
attracts 'lobbies' and agents of the i nterational companies,
representat ives of minort groups dispersed throughout the
empi re and pressure groups organized at a global scale. [ ... ]
As in Rome, citizenshi p is not l i mi ted to 0 superor ra,e and
the empire contains a mi of citizens with the same legal and
pol i tical rights, semicitzens and non-i tizens, such as the slave
population i n Rome. - - . The semi-citizens of the empire are

many and they are spread out. [ . . . ]They include many people
employed by big transnational fns that operate i n the trans
national stmcture of production that assists, as they all well
kow, the global market. This incl udes the people employed
b

B
D
i'
O
4
m

`
B
W
0
W

0
&
d
W
:
.
in transnational banking and, ver often, the members of the
D
. 'national' ared forces, especial ly those tat are trained, armed
by, and dependent on te Uni ted Sttes armed forces. It also in
cludes many scholars i n medicine, the natural sciences and the
social sciences, as in business management and economy, who
view the American professional associations and universities as
t hose peers before whose eyes they want to shine and excel . It
also incl udes t he people i n the press and the mass media, for
whom the American technolog and the examples offered by
the United States have shown te way, changing the established
inst i ttions and organizations. (Strage 1989: 167)
I t i s unquestionabl e t hat , despite her rejection of Marx
ism, Strange's diagosis of the i nrernational st.rcture and the
organization of the empi re has more i n common wi th historical
materialism than the One that arses from Hardt and Neg' s work.
This is not the frst li me that a rigorous and objective li beral,
thanks to the real i sm that informs her analysis, provides a vision
that i s closer to Marst analysis t han that provided by aut hors
taci tly or outspokenly i dentifed with that theoretical tradi ti on.
I n addi tion to t he vbrant perspective that Brezi nsk and Strange
have offered us, we have a crde diagosis made by one of t he
most di sti ngished t heoreticians of American neo-conserati sm,
Samuel P. Huntingt on; he also has no doubts about the i mperia
ist character of the current world order. Hunti ngon'S concern i s
wi t h the weakness and vl nerabi l i t of the USA and its condition
as the ' lonely sheri f. This condition has obliged Washi ngon
to exen a vcious i nternational power, one of the consequences
of which could be the formation of a ver broad anti-Amercan
coal i tion i ncl udi ng not only Russia and Chi na but also, though
in di ffering degrees, the European states, whi ch coul d put the
curent world order i n cri sis. To refute the scepticS and refresh
the memor of those who have forgotten what te i mperal ist
relati onshi ps are, i t is convenient to reproduce n cxlcnsothe long
)o
stri ng of i nitiatves that, according |OHunti ngton, were driven by
Washingon in recent years:
To press other countries to adopt American values and practices
on issues such as human right s and democracy; to prevent
that t hi rd countries acqui re mil i tr capacities susceptible of
i nterering wth the American mi l i tr superiorit; to have the
American legislation applied i n other societies; to qualif t hi rd
countres with regards to thei r adhesion to American standards
on human rights, drgs, terrorism, nuclear and missile prol i fera
tion and, now, religious freedom; to apply sancti ons agai nst
the countries that do not confor to the Aerican standards
on these issues; to promote the cororate American i nterests
under the slogans of free t rade and open markets and to shape
the pol itics of the I MF and the World Bank to sere those same
i nterests; j . to force other countres to adopt social and
economic policies that beneft the American economic interests,
to promote the sale of Amercan weapons and prevent t hat other
countres do the same j . to categorize cerin countries as
'parah states' or cri mi nal Slates and exclude them from the
global instituti ons because they refuse to prostrate themselves
before the American wishes. (Hunti ngon I : 48)
Lt us be clear, t hi s is not i ncendi ar criti ci sm by an enemy
of American i mperial i sm, rather it is sober account wrtten by
one of its most l uci d organi c i nt el lectuals, concerned about the
self-destructive trends that have a risen from Amerca' s exerci se
of i ts hegemony i n a uni polar worl d. Given the images t hat arise
from the work of the t hree authors whose i deas we have pres
ented, t he someti mes poetic and at other times metaphysical dis
coure of Hardt and Negri vani shes because of i ts own l ightness
and its radi cal di sconnecti on with what Hunti ngton appropriately
cal l s the responsi bi l i l.ies of the ' lonely superpower', What emerges
from Hardt and Negri's analysis is that the assumed ' new form of
global sovereignt' exercised by the world ' Empire', which woul d
)1
!
i mpose a new global logc of domination, is not a world empire
. but 'American logic of domi nation'. There is no doubt that there
are supranat ional and transnational organizations, just as there is
no doubt t hat behi nd them lies the American national i nterest.
It is obvious that the American national i nterest does not exist in
the abstract, nor is it i n the i nterests of the Amercan people or the
nation. It is in t he i nterests of the big corporate conglomerates
which control as they please the government of the United States,
Congress, t he judicial powers, the mass media, the major univer
sities and centres of study and t he framework that al lows them to
retai n a formidable hegemony over civil society. Inst i tutions t hat
are supposedly ' i ntergovermental ' or i nterational, such as the
I MF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, are at
t he serce of corporate American i nterests. The i nterent ions of
t he USA i n other regions of the world have di fferent motivations,
but di d t hey take place. as Hardt and Negri claim. to establ ish
i nterational law? I n thi s sense, Brezinski could not have been
more categorcal when he said t. hat the so-alled supranat ional
i nsti tut ions are, i n fact, part of the i mperal system, somethi ng
that is paricularly t re in the case of the i nterational fnancial
i nsti t ut ions ( Brzezi nski 1998: 28-9).
5 The naton-stat and the i ssue of
sovereignt
As we have seen i n previous chapters, according to Hardt and
Negr, the const itution of the empire overlays the decadence and
fnal , supposedly inexorable, collapse of the nation-state_ Accord
i ng to our authors, the sovereignty t hat nation-sttes retained in
the past has been transfered to a new global st rct ure of domi
nation i n which decadent state formations play an i ncreasingly
margnal role. There are, we are assured, no i mperal i st players
or a terrtoral centre of powerj nor do there exist establ i shed
barrier or l i mi ts or fxed identities or crstl l ized herarchies.
The transition from the age of i mperalism, based on a collect ion
of bell icose sttes i n permanent conflict among t hemselves, to
the age of the empi re, is sigal l ed by the irreversible decl ine
of the institutional and legal foundations of the old order, the
nation-state. It is because of this t hat Hardt and Negri plainly
reject the idea that the United States is 'the ul ti mate authori ty
that rules over the processes of global ization and the new world
order' (p_ xiii). Both t hose who see the United State9 as a lonely
and omnipotent superpower, a ferent defender of freedom, and
those who denounce that countr as an imperalist opprssor, are
wrong, Hardt and Neg say, because both paries assume that te
old nation-state' s sovereigty is still i n force and do not reali:e
that i t is a rel ic of the past. Unaware of t his mutation they al so
fail to understnd that i mperialism is over (ibid.)_
LFt us exami ne some of the problems that this interpretat ion
poses_ In the frst place, let us say that to assume that t here can
exi st something l i ke an authori ty able to govern ' al l the processes
of globalization and the new world order' is not an i nnocent mis
take. Why? Because given such a requirement the only sensible
. answer is to deny the existence of such an authorit. To say that
.
..
a certai n structure of power can control al l thc processes that
occur i n its jurisdiction i s absurd. Not even the most el ementar
forms of organization of social power, such as the ones reported
by antropologists studying ' pri mi t ive hordes' , were capable of
ful fl l i ng such a requi rement . Fortunately, the omni potence of
t he powerful does not exist. There are always loophol es and,
i nvariably, there wi l l be thi ngs that the power cannot control .
Even i n the most extreme cases of despotic concentrations of
power - Nazi Germany or some of the most oppressive and feroci
ous Lti n Amercan dictatorships such as Videla' s in Argenti na,
Pinochet's i n Chi l e, Truji l l o' s i n the Domi nican Republ ic and
Somoza's in Nicaraga - the authori ties at the time demonstrated
an i ncapaci ty to control ' al l the processes' unfol di ng i n thei r
countres. To say that there l5 no i mperial ism because t here is
no one who can take cont rol at a worl d l evel a worl d whose
complexity transcends the l i mi ts of our imagnation - constitutes
a di smissive statement. It is a question of fndi ng out i fi n the new
world order, so celebrated by George Bush Senior after the Gul f
War, there are some players who hol d an extraordinari ly el evated
share of power and whose i nterests prevai l sstematical ly. It is
a question of exami ni ng whether the design of this new world
refects, somehow, the asymmetric di st ri bution of power that
existed i n the old world, and how i t works. Of course, to talk about
an ' extraordi narily elevated' share of power is to admit that there
are others who have some power, and i f we speak of systematiC
predomi nance i t is al so accepted that there may DC some devia
t ions t hat, from time to ti me, wil l produce unexpected resul ts.
This being sai d, let us conti nue with a second probl em. Hardt
and Negi'S analysis ofthe issue of sovereignty is wrong. as is thei r
i nterpretation of t he changes experenced by soci al strctures i n
recent tjmes. Regardi ng the issue of sovereignty, they seem not to
have noticed that in the imperial i st strct ure there is a yardstick
of eval uation, or, as Jeane Ki rkpatrick, the US Ambassador to the
9
Uni ted Nat ions during Ronal d Reagan's frst term, sai d, there is
a double standard with which Washi ngton judges foreign govern
ments and thei r actions. One standard is used to eval uate the
sovereignt of the friends and al l ies of the United States; another,
ver di fferent, i s used to judge the sovereignty of neutral countries
and its enemies. The national sovereigty of the former must be
presered and strengened, the laner's should be weakened and
violated wi thout scruples or false regets. Prisoners of their own
specul ations, Hardt and Negri cannot perceive this disturbing
dual i ty, bel ieving thus that there is a 'global logic' beyond and
above the national i nterest of t he superpower and undeni able
'cente' of the empi re, the Uni ted States. For authors so i nterested
in consti tuti onal and j uri dical matters, as is the case of Hardt
and Negi, the deplorble perorance of Washi ngton regarding
the acknowledgement of i nternational treates and ageements
provdes a timely douche of sobriety. A is well kown, the Uni ted
States has repudiated any i nternational juridical i nstrment that
i mpl ies even a mi ni mal reduction of i ts sovereignty. Recently,
Washingon has del iberately delayed ageei ng to the consti tuti on
of an I nternational Cri mi nal Cour si ted i n Rome - wth special
competence to judge war crimes, cri mes agai nst humani t and
genocide - because thi s woul d mean a t ransference of sovereignty
to an i nterational orn whose control coul d escape from their
hands. The United States actively panicipated i n al l the previous
del iberations about setti ng up the court, i t di scussed criteria, i t
vetoed norms and co-authored varous drafs of t he const i t ution.
But when the ti me came to approve the consti tution of the coun
i n Rome, it decided to wal k away.
This should come as no surrise to students of i mperal i sm,
thou
g
h i t seems to have confused te authors of Empire. Appar
ently, they have ignored the fact that the Uni ted States has one of
the worst world records regardi ng the rat ifcati on of i nternational
convent ions and agreements, precisely because WaShingon con
si ders that these woul d be det ri mental to American nati onal
7
5

sovereignty and its interests as a superpower. Recently, the USA
u
refused to sign the Kyoto Agreement to presere the environment,
usi ng the argument that i t would han the profts of American
companies. In the case of the Incernational Convention on the
Rights of the Chi l d, only to countres i n the whole world r
fused to sig the protocol : Somal i a and the United States_ But as
poi nted out by Noam Chomsk, actually the Uni ted States ' have
not rati fed a single convention, because even in the ver few
cases i n which they di d so, the American goverment managed to
i ntroduce a resere clause that says the fol lowing: "not appl icable
to te Uni ted Sttes without the consensus of the Uni ted States"'
(Chomsk 2001: 63).
In the neo-conselative zeni th of the 1 960s, the Uni ted Sttes
refused (and in some cases is sti l l refusi ng) to pay i ts fees to
some of the mai n agencies of the United Nations, accusing them
of havng defed American sovereignt. Why pay membershi p
fees to an i nsti tution that Washingon cannot control at wil l ? A
si mi lar attitude is obseled in relation to another US creation,
the L, and its preceding agreement, the GAT. The European
Union aCCll sed the American goverment of damagi ng European
companies because the embargo agai nst Cuba violated the com
merci al rles previollsly agteed. Besides, the European Union
sai d, the embargo was i mmoral , i t had been unani mously con
demned and chi l dren and the elderly were i ts mai n victims_ The
embargo's unfavourable i mpact on heal th and nutrti on policies
as wel l as other si mi l ar considerations were also highl ighted. The
response from Washi ngton was that these were not commerci al
or humanitaran issues but, i nstead, they were matters rel ated
to Amercan nati onal security and, therefore, t hey would not
be t ransferred to any other i nternational agency or i nsti tution
but woul d be excl usively managed by the di fferent branches of
the American government without al l owi ng any, even mi ni mal ,
foreign i melention (ibi d. : 64-6).
A fnal example will be useful to conclude thi s discussion.
76
During the offensive of the Nicaraguan Contras - i l l egal ly armed,
t rained. fnanced and organized by t he Uni ted States - the gover
ment of Managua fled a demand i n 1985 to te I nterational
Cour of J ustice accusing t he American government of war crmes
agai nst the Ni caraguan civil population. The response from Wash
i ngton was to disregard the cour' s jurisdi ction. The process
cont i nued anyay, and the fnal sentence of the cour ordered
Washi ngon to stop i ts mi l i tar operations, reti re the mercenar
forces stationed in Nicaragua and pay substanti al reparations
[0 compensate for the damage i nflicted on the civl society. The
government of the Uni ted States si mply disregarded the sentence,
cont i nued the war, whose resul ts are well known, and not even
when it managed to i nstal a new ' frendly' government i n Nicar
agua did it dare to sit down to tal k about the reparations of war,
let alone payi ng them. The same occurred with Vietam. These
are good exampl es of what Hardt and Negi understand as the
i mperial creati on of 'global rights' and t he empi re of universal
justice (i bi d. : 69-70).
It seems clear t hat the authors have not managed to appreciate
the conti nuous relevance of nati onal sovereignt, t he national
i nterest and national power in al l i ts magi tude, all of which
i ncurably weakens t he central hypothesis of their argment that
i nsists t here i s a global and abstract l ogc that presides over t he
functi oni ng of t he empi re. Regardi ng what occurred with t he
capitalist stte in i ts current phase, i t seems that t he mistakes
cited before become even more serious. First of all, tere is an
i mportant i niti al problem that is not margnal at all, wi th res
pect to the procl ai med fnal and i rreversi bl e decadence of the
state: al l the avai lable quanti tative i nformati on with regard to
publjc expendi t ure and t he size of the state apparatus moves i n
t he opposi te di rection of t he one i magi ned by Hardt and Negi.
If somet hi ng has occurred in metropol i tan capitlisms in the
l ast tenty years, i t has been precisely the noticeable i ncrease
of the sizc of the state, measured as the proporion of publ i c
77
expenditures to GOP. The i nformat ion providcd by al l types of
sources, from national goverments to the Uni ted Nations De
velopment. Programme (UNOP). and from the World Bank to the
I MF and the OECO, speak with a si ngle voice: all the states of the
metropol i tan capital isms were strengthened i n the last twenty
years, despite the fact that many of the goverments in those
states have been veritable champions of the ant i-state rhetoric
t hat was launched with fur at the begi nni ng of the 1980s. What
happened after the crisis of Keynesian capitalism i n the mi ddl e
of the 1970S was a relative decrease i n the growth rate of publ i c
expendi ture. Fi scal budgets cont i nued to grow uni nterruptedly.
al thou
g
h at more modest l evels than before. That is why a special
report on t hi s topic i n the conserative Bri ti sh magazi ne The
Economist ( 1 997) is entitled ' Big Government is Still in Charge'.
The witer of this aricle cannot hi de his di sappointment at t he
slates' tenacious resistance to becomi ng smaHer as mandated
by the neoliberal catechi sm. (Hardt and Negri seem not to have
examined thi s work because t he last section of Chapter 3-6 i n
t heir book i s ent itled ' Big Government i s Over!', a headi ng that
clearly refects the ext ent of their mi sunderstanding of a teme so
crucial to their theoretical argument. ) I n any case, after a careful
analysi s of recent dat a on publ ic expendi ture i n fourteen i ndus
t rialized count ri es of the OECO, The Economist concl udes t hat,
despi te the neoliberal reforms i ni ti ated afer the proclaimed new
goal s of fscal austerity and public expendi ture reduction beteen
1980 and 1 996, publ ic expendi ture i n the selected countries grew
from 43-3 per cent of the GOP to 47. 1 per cent, while in countries
such as Sweden thi s fgure passes the 50 per cent t hreshold:
' in the last for years the growh of publ ic expendi ture i n the
developed economies has been persistent, universal and counter
productive' , and the objective so strongly proclai med of becomi ng
a ' smal l
g
overnment ' apparently has been more a weapon of
electoral rheroric than a tre objective of economic policy. Not
even the strongest defenders of the famous 'state reform' and
the shri nki ng of publ ic expendi ture, such as Ronal d Reagan and
Margaret Thatcher, managed to achieve any si gi fcant progress
in thi s terai n.
Thus, i f thi s strengthening of state organizations is verifed i n
the heart of developed capitalisms, t he histor of the peri pher
is compl etely di fferent . In the i nternational reorganizati on of
the i mperal ist system under the ideological shield of neol i beral
ism, states were radically weakened and the economies of (he
peripher were subdued to become more and more open, and
al most without any state mediation, (0 the i nflux of the great
transnational compaies and to the policies of the developed
countries, mai nly the United States. This process was i n no way
a natural one, but i nstead was the resul t of i ni ti atives adopted at
the cent re of the empi re: the government of the Uni ted States,
i n its role as ruler, accompani ed by i ts loyal guard dogs (the
I MF, the Worl d Bank, the , etc. ) and suppored by the active
compl icity of the count res of the G- 7. This coalition forced ( i n
many cases brutal ly) t he i ndebted countries of t he Third World to
apply the policies known as the 'Washi ngton Consensus' and to
transform t heir economies in accordance with the i nterests of the
domi nant coalition and, especial ly, of the prtmustnlcrpcrcs, the
Uni ted States. These pol icies favoured the practically unl i mited
penetration of American and European corporate i nterests i nto
the domestc markets of the souther nations. For that to take
pl ace, it was necessar to dismante the publ ic sector in those
count ries, produce a real deconstruction of the state and, with
the ai m of generati ng surl us for the payment of these count ries'
foreign debt, to reduce public expendi ture to the mi ni mum, sacri
fcing i n this way vital and i mpossible-to-postpone expendi ture
on h

al th, housing and educat ion. State-wned companies were


frst fnanci al ly drained and then sold at ridiculous prices to the
big cororations of the central count res, thereby creating a space
for the maxi mum exercise of ' prvate i ni ti ative' . (Despi te that, i n
many cases, the buyers were state-owned companies from the
7
9
~
D

0
0
D.
0
0
t
W
d
d
0
D
D
W
0

;
m
D
<

i ndustrial ized countries. ) Another pol i cy i mposed on these coun-

tres was the uni lateral openi ng up of the economy, faci l i tati ng
an i nvasion of i mpored goods produced in other countries whi le
the unempl oyment rates i ncreased exponentially. It is pertinent
to state t hat while the peripher was forced to open up commer
ci al ly, protectioni sm in the Norh became more sophi sticated.
The deregl ation of markets, especially the fnanci al one, was
another of the objectives of the 'capital ist revol ut ion' in t he 1980s.
Al l together, t hese policies had the result of dramatically weaken
i ng te states of te per pher, while fu I fl ling the capitalist dream
of having markets operating witout state regul ation, as a resul t
of whi ch the st rongest corporate conglomerates actual ly took
charge of ' regul ati ng' the market, obviously i n thei r own i nterests.
As I said before, these policies were not fortuitous or acci dental ,
given that the dismantl i ng of t.he states increased sigi fcantly
the abi l i ty of i mperal i sm and foreign companies and nations
to control not only the economi c l i fe but also t he pol i t ical l i fe
of the count ries of the peripher. Of course, we fnd nothi ng of
thi s in Empire. What we do fnd, i nstead, are reiterative passages
clai mi ng that i mperal i st relat.ionships have ended, despite the
fact that the visi bi l i ty they have acqui red in recent decades i s so
st ri ki ng that even the least radical sectors of our societies have
no troubl e in recognizing them.
A concrete exampl e of te consequences of thi s acute weaken
i ng of the state in the capi tal i sms of the peripher has been
st ressed by Honduran hi stori an Rmon Oqueli. Referring t o hi s
countr i n the mi d-1 980s, wit.h i ts well-establ i shed democrat ic
regme, OqueJ i obsered:
The i mporance of the president ial elections, wth or without
fraud, is relative. The decisions that affect Honduras are frst
made in Washingon; then in te American mil itar com-
mand in Panama ( the Sout hern Command); afterards in the
American base command of Palmerola, Honduras; immediately
80
after in the American Embassy in Teguciglpa; in te ffth place
comes the commander-i n-chief of the Honduran armed forces;
and the president of the Republic only appears in sixt place.
We vote, then, for a Sixth-categor offcial in tens of decision
capacity. The president's functions are limited to managng
miser and obtai ni ng American loans_ (Cuea 1 986:
5
0)
Replace Honduras with almost any other Lati n Amercan coun
| Q'and a simi l ar pi cture wi l l emerge. Obviously, t he predomi nant
mi l i tar si tuati on i n t hose years assigned the armed forces a ver
special role_ For the countries t hat do not face a serious mi l i tar
cri si s, that central rol e today fal l s i nto the hands of the Treasur
and the I MF, and the presi dent can, i n such a case, move up
the decision l adder to the thi rd or fourt h rung, but no further
than that. Regarding t he presi dent' s main functions - managng
mi ser and obtai ni ng Aercan loans - ti ngs have not changed.
The Argenti ne case is a shi ni ng exampl e of al l t hi s.
Conti nui ng with t he probJemalique of the state, our authors
do not seem able to disti ngui sh beteen state forms and func
tions and the tasks of states. There i s no doubt that the form
of t he capi tal ist state has changed in the last quarer of a cen
t ur. Si nce the state i s not a metaphysical enti ty but a historical
creature, conti nual ly formed and reformed by class strggl es,
i ts forms can hardly be i nterpreted as i mmanent essences foat
ing above the historical process. Consequently, the forms of
t he democrati c state i n the developed capi tal ist countries have
changed. How? There has been real democrati c degenerati on:
a progressive l oss of power formerly i n the hands of congresses
and parl iaments; the growing unaccountabil ity of goverments,
whicl goes hand-i n-hand wth the i ncreasing concent ra ti on of
power i n t he hands of executives; the prol i feration of secret areas
of decision-making (see, for exampl e, the aborted negoti ations
of the M, the accelerated approval of the NAIA, the curent
negotiations behi nd cl osed doors to create the Free Trade Area of
8 t

the Americas); decl i ning level s of governmental response to rhe

cl ai ms and demands of civil societ; a drastic reduction of com


petit ion among pOl i t ical paries because of i ncreasing si mi l arities
beteen the majori[ pol it ical paries, fol lowing the bi parisan
American model; the tyranny of the markets - i n fact, of the
ol igopol ies that control them - that vote every day and capture the
permanent arention of the goverments whi l e the publ i c votes
ever two or t hree years; rel ated to the aforemcntioned, l ogical
t rends towards pOl i t ical apathy and indivi dual ist ret racti on; the
growi ng predomi nance of the big oligopol ies in the mass media
and the cul tural industr; and, l astly, an i ncreasing t ransference
of the right to make decisions from popular sovereig[ to the
admi nistrative and political agencies of the empire, a process that
exists both in the empire's 'exterior provi nces' and i n its centre.
In the Lat i n American case this means that popul ar sovereign[
has been deprived of al most al l i ts attributes, and that no strt
egc decision on economic or social mat ters is adopted in t hese
countries without previous consul tation wi th, and the approval of,
the relevant agenc in Washingon. As we can sec, a si t uation l i ke
thi s cannot but contradict the essence of the democratic order,
and popul ar sovereign[ is reduced to a mere dead let ter.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos has exami ned the changes experi
enced by states under neoliberal global i zation and his analysis
confrs that ' there is by no means an overal l crisis of the state,
l et alone a termi nal crsis of the state, such as suggested by the
mOSI extreme theses of globalizatjon scholars' (de Sousa Santos
:yyy:64). The Hobbesian repressive fnctions of the slate enjoy
thei r vgour both in t he peripher and i n the cent re of the sysrem.
I n t he forer, because t he i mpl ementation of strongly repressive
pol icies has become necessar to prop up an i ncreaSi ngly unjust
and unequal capitali st organization, where the numbers of the
exploited and the excluded i ncrease i ncessantly. In the centre,
on the other hand, because this occurs especially i n the United
States, a Sigifcant proporion of t hei r soci al problems | s deal t
82
with by channel l i ng people towards te prison system, tough
this situaton also occurs, but less acutely, in other countres. I t
is estimated t hat today the total number of pri soners i n America
amounts to a fgure only surpassed by the populations of the
three major ci ties of that countr, New York, Chicago and Los
Angeles, and that the overhel mi ng majority of the convicts
are black or Lati no_ As de Sousa Santos corectly notes, i n the
social aparhei d of contemporar capital ism t he state conti nues
to perform a crucial role: i t is the Hobbesian Leviathan i n the
gheuos and the margi nal neighbourhoods while i t guarantees
t he benefts of the soial Lockean contract for those who inhabit
the opulent suburbs. Consequently, this state supposedly on the
way to becomi ng extinct, according to the obfuscated vsion of
Hardt and Negri, continues on its way as a divided state, al most
schizophrenic: for the poor and the excluded, a fascist state; for
the rich, a democratic state. But the vtal it of the nation-state is
not measured only in t hese temls; it can also be proved by the role
it plays i n several other fel ds, such as supranational unifcation,
the l iberal ization of t he economy, the commercial opening up,
the dereglation of the fnancial system and the elaboration of
an i nstitutional-juridical framework adequate for the protection
of private companies and the new economic model inspired by
the 'Washi ngon Consensus' . ' What is i n crsis i s the function of
promoti ng non-mercantile exchanges among ci ti zens, ' concludes
de Susa Santos (ibid_: ).
As Ellen Meiskns Wood ( 2000: 1 1 6) demonstrates, the nation
state cont i nues to be the main agent of globalization. I n the
global markets, the need that capital has for the state is even
more pronounced than before. A recent analysis shows that i n
t he processes of economic restructuri ng, the national states of
metropOl i tan capitalisms, far from being the 'victi ms' of global
ization, were its mai n promoters. The i nternational expansion
of the fnancial, i ndustrial and commercial capital of the Uni ted
States, the European countries, Japan, South Korea, Si ngapore

and Taiwan 'was not a macroeconomic phenomenon born insi de

the companies' but, instead, was the product of a political strateg


di rected at i mprovi ng the relative position of those count ries
i n the changing i nterational economic scene. In this strateg,
actors such as the US Treasur, the MITI of Japan, t he European
Commission and a group of national state agencies pl ayed a
central role (Weiss 1997: 23). This is why Peter Drcker, one of
the most prestigous US gurus, cal l s our attention to the amaz
i ng persistence of states despite the great changes t hat occurred
i n the world economy and he concludes that they wi l l , for sure,
surive the globalizati on of the economy and the i nformation
technolog revol ution ( Drcker 1997: 1 6).
It seems apprpriate to quote what one of the major advocates
of US i mperial i sm has wri tten on these issues, ratifing the key
role pl ayed by te capitlist states, and ver especially the Amer
can stte, in globaization. 'As the countr that benefts most from
global economic i ntegrtion, we have the responsi bilit of makng
sure that thi s new system i s sustai nable e e ] Sustaining globaliza
t ion i s our overarchi ng national i nterest,' says Thomas Friedman.
And the i mpl ications of the fact that 'global izationisUS' the Nr
York Times col umni st does not fail to noti ce that 'because we
are the biggest benefciaries and drivers of global ization, we are
unwitti ngly putti ng enormous pressure on the rest of the world'
( Friedman 1 999).
To sum up: the global markets strengthen competi tion be
teen the gant cororations that dominate the global economy.
Si nce these companies are transnational i n t hei r reach and the
range of thei r operations while still possessing a national base,
in order to succeed i n this relentless battl e they requi re the sup
por of ' thei r governments' to keep thei r commerci al rivals i n
l i ne. Aware of t hi s, the national states offer ' thei r compani es' a
menu of alteratives which i ncl ude the fol lowing: the concession
of di rect subsidies for national companies; the ggantic rescue
operat i ons of banks and companies, paid i n many cases through
taxes appl ied to workers and consumers; the i mposi ti on of fscal
austert policies and stcturl adjustment programmes di rected
towards guaranteei ng geater proft rates for the companies; t he
devaluation or appreci ati on of t he local curency, in order to
favour some fractions of capital whi le placing the burden of the
crisis on other sectors and soci al groups; the deregl ation of
markets; the i mpl ementation of ' l abour reforms' i ntended to
accentuate the submission of workers, weakeni ng both their
capacity to negot iate their wages and thei r labour unions; the
enforcement of the i nterational i mmobi l i t of workers while
faci l i tati ng the i nternational mobi l ity of capi tal ; the guarantee
of ' l aw and order' in societies that experience regressive social
processes of weal th and i ncome re-concentrati on and massive
processes of pauperization; t he creat ion ofa legal framework cap
able of ratifing favourable ters and opporuni ties that compa
nies have enjoyed in the curent phase; and the establi shment of
a legislation that ' l egalizes', in the countres of the perpher, the
i mperialist suction of surplus-val ue and that al lows for the great
profts of the t ransnati onal companies to be freely remitted to
thei r headquarers. These are some of the tasks that the national
states perform and that the 'global logic of the Empi re' , so exalted
in Hardt and Negri'S analysis, can garantee only t hrough the
sti l l i ndispensable mediation of the nation-state (Mei skins Wood
zOOO. 116-17). That the most promi nent and i nfl uential members
of the capitaJi st class are actively working to destroy such a useful
and formidable i nstrument as the nati on-state can be understood
only by assumi ng that the capi talist class i s made up of idiots
(I must state right away, to clear up possible doubts, that the
capi tl i st state is not only an i nstrment of the bourgeoisie but
also m

ny other thing, which do not prevent i t from al so being


an i ndispensable i nstrument in the process of capital accumula
tion). In l ight of this, Ellen Mei ski ns Wood concludes:
t I havccxamIncd | htst$$uc t DdctaI t nBtOn[ )gg).
d
b

Of course, it is pssible for te state to chan


g
e its form, and
.

for the traditional nation-state to


g
ive room, on the one hand,
to most strictly local states and, on the other hand, to wider
re
g
ional political authorties. But re
g
ardless of its shape, the
state will still be crcial, and i t is likely that for a lon
g
time even
the ol d nation-state will continue to play it dominant role.
( Meiski ns wood z0. : t
7
)
6 The unsolve mystery of the
multitde
Obsessive denial of the real i ti es of the nati on-stte leads Hardt
and Negi to a political dead-end. Let uS review, therefore, a pas
sage from Empire that ' analysed from another perspective in
Chapter 5. In t hat chapter I said that, together wi th the termi nal
cri si s of te stte, Hardt and Negri also obsered ' the decl i ne
] of any i ndependent space where revolut ion coul d emerge
i n the nati onal pol i tical regme, or where soci al space coul d be
t ransformed usi ng the i nst ruments of t he state' (pp. 307-8).
Consequently, wi thout the oxgen provded by that space, t he
name of revol uti on i s extingui shed. I f this is t re, how can one
break t he i ron cage of the empire? The anser offered by the
authors i s si lence. The word ' revol uti on' i s mentioned only fve
or six t i mes in the thi ck vol ume u nder analysi s, and te subject
occupies a lot less space than the ten pages assiged to the study
of population mobil ity or t he eleven pages devoted to a di scussion
of republ icani sm. How can such noi sy si l ence be understood?
The vague references to ' the mult i t ude' in t he fnal chapter
of Empire do not offer any cl ues as to how t his oppressive world
order - much more oppressive than the precedi ng one, it shoul d
be remembered - may some day be transcended. The probl em i s
not only that t he references to t he mul t i tude are vague. Michael
Hardt acknowledged in a recent i nterview t hat, ' i n our book the
concept of mul t i tude works as a poeti c concept rather than as a
factual one' (Cangi 2002: 3). Hardt is rght about that , because

such a notion i s, soci ologi cally speaki ng, empty, t hough it i s


necessar to recogize that i t has a consi derable poeti c force
whi ch makes it extremely attractive. We are told t hat t he mult i
tude i s t he total i t of the creative and productive subject ivities
that 'express, noursh, and develop posi tively t hei r own consti tu
ent projects' and that they 'work toward the l iberation of l iving
labor, creating constel lati ons of powerful si ngul ari ties' (p. 61).
Thus, with a stroke of the pen, social classes di sappear from
the scene and the disti nction beteen expl oiters and exploi ted
and between the weak and the powerul evaporates. What is l eft
afer thi s shadowy operation is an amorphous mass of highly
creative si ngl ari ti es t hat , i f existent, would put t he t hesis of
the al ienat i ng character of l abour and dai ly l i fe i n capi tal ist
societies i n serious t roubl e. If we appl ied Hardt and Negr's
work to the prosaic realit of contemporar Lat i n Amerca, we
should ask ourselves if the para mi l i tres and death squads that
razed Chiapas and a good part of Central America, sowing ter
ror and death, are i ncl uded in the mul ti tude; or the landowers
who organize and fnance a great part of the private repreSSion
exened in those countries agai nst peasants and aborigi nal com
muni ties; or the fnanci al specul ators and t he bourgeoisie who
supponed mi l itar regmes i n the past and who today undermine
the l angui shi ng democracies. Does t his category i ncl ude those
who, i n the name of capital, control the cul tural industr of Lati n
America at thei r pleasure? Do humi l iated and exploited peasants,
blacks, I ndians, chol os and mestizos form pan of the mul t itude
too? And what about the urban ' prol etariat ' sunk i n excl usion
and miser, the workers and the unemployed, the single mothers
and overexploi ted women, the sexual mi norities, the chi l dren
of the streets, the pauperized elderly, public empl oyees and the
i mpoverished middle cl asses? If t hey are not i n t his categor,
where can thi s vast conglomerate be placed soci al ly? And if they
i ndeed share thei r place in the mul t i tude with the soci al agent
of expl oitation and repression, what sense is there in usi ng such
a categor? What is i t t hat i t descrbes, to say noting of what
i t could expl ai n? Empire does not offer any such explanations.
I t is, as Hardt said i n the i nterew mentioned above, a poetic
concept. But poetr is not always useful for expl ai ni ng real i ty, or
88
for changing i t . Somet i mes, good poetr makes bad sociolog,
and thi s seems to be the case here.
Leaving aside these disagreeable obserations, the programme
proposed for the mul ti tude is explai ned in the fnal chapter of t he
book. The combi nation of the basic precepts of the neoliberal
theor of global i zation and a sociologically amorhous concept
such as that of the 'muhi tude' results in a cautiously reform
ist pol i tical programme and, to make thi ngs worse, not a ver
real i sti c one. A 'abst ract i nternational i sm' permeates it and t hi s
resul ts i n what t he authors cal l t hc ' frst element of a pol i tical
program for the global mul t i t ude, a frst political demand: global
citizenshi
p
' (p. 400, emphasis in orginal). I cannot disagree wi th
t hi s cl ai m, an ol d aspi rat i on al ready proposed by Kant and that
Marx and Engels recovered and redefned wi thi n the framework
of the i nternationalism proclaimed with so much vgour in the
Maniesto. But Ci t izenshi p has always i nvolved a set of rights and
prerogatives as well as requirng the creation of adequate chan
nels of pol i ti cal pari ci pation that, to be effect ive and not i l l usor,
must be realized wi t hi n a legal and i nsti tutional framework such
as, in recent histor, was provided by the nationstate. Whoever
speaks of ci tizenshi p, speaks of power, relationshi ps of force, and
the state as the basic framework withi n which a j uri dical order i s
elaborated and supponed. Si nce, accordi ng to Hardt and Ncg,
t he stte faces an i rreversi bl e decl ine, withi n what framework is
the emancipati ng and pani ci pat ive potential of te ci tizenshi p to
be realzed? 'Abstract i nternational i sm' believes that the solution
for most of our problems l ies i n the empowerment of civil society
and the construction of a global and cosmopol itan ci tizenshi p.
The problem i s t hat , i n its arrogant abst racti on, t hi s i ntera
tionalism rel ies on ' an abstract and l i ttl e real istic notion of an

i nternational civil soiet or global ci tizenship' and on the i l l usi on
that the world can be changed if t he representati on of the l eft and
the popular movements - let us say for a moment, the mul t i t ude
- are st rengthened wit hi n the large transnational organizati ons
89
such as the I MF (Mei ski ns wood zooo. :8J. Though the argu
ment developed in Empire is not ver clear about thi s, it seems,
however, to be in l i ne with a cerain te of reasoning that i n
recent years has aequi red great popul arity thanks to the efforts of
a wide range of i ntel l ectual s and experts' connected to the World
Bank and other i nternational fnanci al i nsti lutions. The proposal s
out l i ne, especi al ly i n the framework of national societies, t he
begi nni ng of a process of 'devol uti on' to ci vi l soeiety functi ons
that had been i mproperly appropriated by the state. Obviously.
these pol icies are the other side of the coi n' of the privatizations
and the di smantl i ng of the public sector that the i nterational
fi nanci al i nstitut ions have promoted over the l ast tent years.
Such changes seek to provide a solution to the crisis triggered
by the state' s desertion of its responsi bi l i ties i n the provision of
public welfare - provi di ng social assistance, education, heal thcare
and so on - transferring to ci vi l societ the task of deal i ng with
these issues whiJe i ncidental ly presering a balanced fscal budget
and, eventual ly, guaranteeing the existence of a surplus in the
fscal aceounts i n order to fund the foreign debt. I f this pol icy of
empowerment of civil soci ety is unreal istic at the national level ,
i ts transference to the i nternational level deepens the cracks ap
parent i n its own foundations. The so-cal led global ci vil society,
far from bei ng l i berated from cl ass l i mi tations that make i mpos
si ble the ful l expansion of ci tizens' rights in national soci et ies,
suffers from these same l i mi ttions even more acutely, ri ddl ed
as it is by abysmal economic and soci al i nequal i ti es and by the
oppressivc features inscri bed in its strctures, norms and rules of
operation. If democracy and ci ti zenshi p have proved to be such
el usive and praetical ly ungaspabl e objectives in the capi tal i sms
of the peripher, why should we expect them to be obtai nabl e i n
the even l ess unfavourable terrai n of the i nternat ional system?
The price that Hardt and Negri pay for ignoring this i s the
extreme naivet of their proposal , cl oser to a religious exhor
tati on than to a real istc social -democrati c demand. According
o
[0 i t , capi talists should acknowledge that capital is created by
rhe worker and, therefore, accept ' i n postmoderni ty [ ] the
fundamental modem const i t utional principle that links right and
labor, and thus rewards with ci ti zenshi p the worker who creates
capi tal ' (p. 400). The mult i tude's emanei parion, consequently,
seems to run along t he following course: ' If i n a frst moment
the mul t itude demands t haI each state recognize jurdieal ly the
migrations that are necessar to capital , in a second moment i t
must demand control over the movements themselves' ( p. 400).
Consequently, our authors concl ude: ' The general right to control
its own movement is tile multitude's ultimate demand for global
citizenship' (p. 400, emphasi s in origi nal). It is of no use to search
the book for a di scussion of the reasons why l arge numbers of our
people have to emigrate, desperately seeking to be exploited i n the
metropolitan capitalisms, si nce the dest ructi on - sometimes the
silent genocide - practised i n the peripher and the deterioration
of ever form of civil ized l i fe under the rise of neoliberalism are
compl etely absent from the pages of Empire. Si milarly useless
would be the search for a serious discussion about the reach and
l i mi tations t hat migntion and a nomadi c way of l i fe woul d have
in a (revol ut ionar?) project t hat would al low the mul t i tudes to
take control of t hei r lives; putting an end to the sl avery of waged
labour and of nomi mal ly 'free' subjects throughout the world.
Because of t his, the equation between migrat ion/nomadi sm and
li berat ion/revol ution acqui res i l l usor characteri sti cs.
The second component of the supposedly emanci pat i ng pro
gamme of the mul titude in its effon to defeat the empi re i s t he
right to a social wage and a garanteed mi ni mum i ncome for
everbody. Thi s demand goes one step beyond t he fami ly wage,
putti pg an end to the unpai d labour of workers' wives and fami ly
members. The di stinct ion betecn productive and reproductive
labour fades in t he biopol i t ical context of the empire, si nce it is
the mul titude i n i t s total i r that produces and reproduces the
social l i fe. Thus, 'The demand for a social wage extends to the
V
1
enti re population the demand that al l activity necessar for the
production of capi tal be recognized wi th an equal compensation
such that a soci al wage i s real ly a guaranteed income' (p. 403).
Once agai n, fne i ntenti ons with which everbody can agree. But i t
i s peri nent to formulate some questions: frst, i s not t his second
component of the emanCi pati ng progamme extremely si mi l ar
to the ' citizens' wage' that, with some restrictions i t is true, has
been conceded i n some of the most advanced i ndustri al ized
democracies of the North? I s i t so di fferent from the moderate
soci al-democrat reformism in place i n some of the Scandi navian
count res, especi al ly Sweden? It does not seem so. I nstead, i t
appears t hat thi s woul d be the deepening of a trend going back
al most half a centur wi thout, at least as seen fTom here, having
checkmated the capitalists or neutral ized the exploi tative charac
ter of the bourgeois rel ationShi ps of production. Authors such as
Samuel Bowles and Herber Gi nti s, for exampl e, thoroughly ex
amined different i ntemational experiences wi th what they cal l ed
' the ci tizens' wage' wi thout being able to i nfer from thei r analysis
a concl usion that al lows us to suppor the thesi s that in states i n
which such a wage has been establ i shed - wit h greater or lesser
radi cal i sm - the mul ti tude has been emancipated ( Bowles and
Gi nti s 1982, 1986). Second: how would the capi tl i st class respond
to the i mplementat ion of a measure sllch as the aforementioned,
which, despi te i ts l i mi tat i ons, has an enormous distributive cost?
Would they accept it without ferocious resistance? This leads,
obvously, to a di scussion that postmodern thi nkers abhor but
which i mposes itself with the same unavoi dable power as the
universal law ofgavty. We are tl ki ng, with Machiavel l i , about the
problematic of power and how i t i s obtained, exerted and lost.
The thi rd politi cal demand of the mul ti tude i s the right to
reappropriati on. I t i s a right that contai ns diverse di mensions,
from l anguage, communi cati on and knowl edge to machi nes,
and from biopolitics to the conscience. This last component is
partieularly problematic because i t 'deals di rectly wi th the con-
92
sti tuent power of the mul ti tude - or really with the product of
the creative i magination of the multitude that confgres i ts own
consti tution' (p. 406). On thi s poi nt, which covers as we know a
crucial topic i n Negri ' s t hought, such as the constituent power,
the authors i ncessantly t ravel between t he constitution of (he
mul t i tude as a social actor - and here a wide space opens i n which
to di scuss to what extent thi s process can be i nterpreted as the
only resul t of its 'creative i maginati on' - and the consti tution of
the United States as it appears, in a particularly ideal ized fash
i on and, for a moment, naively i nterpreted, by the authors. This
becomes evi dent when, for exampl e, the say: ' the postmodern
mul titude takes away from the US Constitution what al l owed it
to become, above and agai nst al l other constitutions, an i mperial
const i tution: its notion of a boundless frontier of freedom and
its defni tion of an open spatiality and temporal i ty celebrated i n
a const i tuent power' (p. 406).
There are a few l i ttle probl ems with this i nterpretation. Fi rst,
the belief that the so-called postmodern mul ti tude knows the
American constitution or somethi ng l i ke it, its debates and i ts
lessons; i n the best of al l possi ble worlds this i s sti l l a remote pos
si bi l i t. If under the l abel of ' mul ti tude' Hardt and Negr i nclude
the more than to bi l l i on people who barely surive on one or
to dol l ars a day and without access to potable water, sewerage
systems, el ectricity and telephones, without food or housi ng, i t
i s somewhat hard to understand how they manage to i mbibe the
marel lous emancipati ng teachi ngs of the US consti tution. If, on
the cont rar, t he authors are refering to the graduate students
of Duke or Pars, then the chances iprove, though not geatly.
But these are minor deti ls. The serious issue is thei r ideal ization
of the American const i tution. Noam Chomsky has argued repeat

edly that thi s document, so admi red by the aut hors of Fmptrc,
was conceived ' to keep the rabble in l i ne' and to prevent them
from, even by acci dent or by mi stake, having the idea (let alone
the practical possi bi l i t) that they might want to rle the desti ny
9J
of the Uni ted States or even govern themselves. The American
const i tuti on is decisively and consciously ant idemocratic and
anti -popul ar, in accordance with what i ts most i mporant original
archi tects repeatedly declared. For James Madi son, the mai n task
of the consti tuti on was that of ' assuri ng the supremacy of the
permanent i nterests of the count r, that are no others than the
propery rights' . This opi ni on from one of its wri ters probably
went unnoticed by Hardt and Negri, but i ts force obl iges us ser
ously to redefne the role that they assign to the US consti tu
ti on, especi al ly when we consi der t hat Madi son' s words were
pronounced in a count r that at the time had a great par of its
territor organized as a slave economy, and that the i dea of the
inci pi ent constitution becomi ng a beacon for the emanci pati on of
the multitude of the day, mai nly slaves, apparent ly did not enter
his thoughts_ Moreover, to avoid attacks on the rights of propert,
Madison shrewdly designed 8 pol i t ical system that discouraged
popul ar pari ci pation (somethi ng that persists today, wi th a ver
low t um-out for elections whi ch, on top of evelhi ng else, are
held on worki ng days), and fragmented the process of decision
maki ng, whi l e he reaffrmed the i nstitutional balances that woul d
garantee that power woul d remai n frmly i n t he hands of those
who controlled the weal th of the countr. As Chomsk obscles,
these opi ni ons of Madison in t he consti tut ional debate of Phi l a
del phi a are l ess wel l known than those expressed i n the famous
Federalist Papers, but they may be more reveal i ng of the t re
spi ri t of the constituti on than the formal declarat ions voiced to
the general publ i c. It is no coi nci dence that, as the bri l l i ant MIT
l i ngui st remarks, i n a count r where the publ i shi ng i ndustr i s
so dynami c, t he most recent edi tion of those debates dates from
1 838. The American people was not supposed to know about
the ideas t hese gentl emen di scussed i n the conventi on ( Boron
20ob: 228). In shor, the consti tution of the Uni ted States could
hardly be an i nvi tation 10 travel through ' t he i nfni te front iers
of freedom', as the authors nai \'eiy procl ai m, since sti l l today,

and despi te successive reforms (one of which prohi bi ted the con
sumption of alcohol i c beverages), it prevents t.he American mul ti
tude from di rectly el ecti ng thei r presi dent. Thanks to the norms
and procedures establ ished in t hi s much-admi red consti tut i on,
duri ng t he last presi denti al elect ion t he candidate who came sec
ond in terms of the number of votes cast by the ci ti zenshi p coul d
legal ly become president. Apparently, the authors had not noticed
the dangers l urking withi n the consti tutional text . Malcolm Bul l
( 203: 85) is surely right when he assens t hat : 'Although hai led by
Slavoj Zizck as "the Communi st Mani festo for our t i me", Empire
is more Jeffersonian than MaIi st. ' I would add that the book i s
much more Jeffersonian than Marxist.
Another serious problem emerging from the i ssue of the rights
of appropriat ion is the fol lowing: Hardt and Negri stand on solid
ground when they write: 'The right to reappropriation i s frst of
al l the rght to the reappropriati on of the means of production'
(p. 406). The old social ists and communi sts, they say, demanded
that the proletariat should have free access to the machines and
materals needed in the production process. But si nce one of
the di st i nctive signs of post moderni ty i s the comi ng of what
Hardt and Negi cal l ' the i mmaterial and biopol i tical produc
ti on' , the concrete contents of the old left and the labour uni ons'
demands have been transformed. Now the mul ti t ude not only
uses machines for production but, accordi ng to the authors, i t
' al so becomes i ncreasingly machi nic i tsel f, as the means of pro
duction are increasi ngly i nregrated i nto the mi nds and bodi es of
the mul ti tude' (p. 406). The consequence of t hi s mutat i on is that
a genui ne reappropri ation requi res free access and control over
not only machi nes and equi pment but al so over ' knowledge, i n
forration, communications, and affects - because these are some
of the pri mar means of biopol i t ical product ion' (p- qO)J. Now,
let us analyse two not ver t rivial inconvenienci es that emerge
from the precedi ng argument. Fi rst, how do the knowl edge, the
i nformati on, the communi cati on and the affects rel ate to the
b
.0
M
'classic' material means of product ion and the materials that are
stil requi red to produce most of the goods necessar to sustai n
l i fe on t hi s pl anet? Or are we i n the presence of autonomized
segments of the postmodem biopol itical production? Are those
segments or i nstruments avai lable for anyone? Are the know
l edge, the i nformation and the communication capable of ci rcu
l ati ng freely through all classes, social strata and groups of the
empire'? How can the growing monopolistic features acqui red by
the i nformat ion and mass communication i ndust ries al l over t he
world be expl ained? And regardi ng knowledge, what can be said
about patents and the crucial i ssue of i ntel l ectual proper rights,
a new method of pi l l age i n the hands of the main transnational
compani es of the i ndustri al ized countries that are looti ng enti re
conti nents wi th the active support of thei r governments?
Second, do we have to assume that the owners and/or those
who control these new and ver complex and expensive means
of production will peaceful ly and gently yield their proper and
i ts control , t hrowing overboard the basi s of thei r weal th and
pol i tical domi nation itsel f? Why woul d they act i n such a way,
unprecedented in the mi l lenar hi stor of cl ass struggl es? Would
they be led to do this because thei r hears woul d become ten
der before the shi ni ng vision of the self-constituted mul ti tude
marchi ng jubi l antly towards i ts l i berati on? I f this is not the case,
which recommendation woul d our authors make regarding the
unavoi dable i ntensifcat ion of class st ruggles and the pol i t ical
repression that would surely fol low as a response to the emanci
pati ng i ni ti atives of the mul ti tude?
The fourth di mension of the pol i tical programme of the mul ti
tude is the organi zation of the mul ti tude as a pol i tical subject, as
0$$6. The authors i ntroduce here the Lati n word 0SS8 to refer to
power as a verb, an activi t. Thus, 0$$6 'is what a body and what
a mi nd can do' (p. 408). In the postmodern society, the constitu
ent power of labour can be expressed as the egal i taran right of
ci tizenship i n the world or as the right to communicate, construct
96
languages and control the communication netorks; and also as a
political power, whi ch is to say, 'as te consti tution of a society i n
whi ch the basis of power i s defned by the expression of the needs
of al l ' (p. 410). Due to the l atter, Hardt and Negi concl ude wi t h
a surprisi ngly tri umphant tone, 'The capacity to construct places,
temporalit ies, migrations, and new bodies al ready affrms its
hegemony t hrough the actions of the multitude agai nst Empire'
(
p
. 41 1). They war, though, that a smal l di ffculty still persists:
'The only event that we are sti l l awaiting is the construction, or
rather te i nsurgence, of a powerfl organization' (p. 41 1). Sens
i bly t hey recognize that t hey have no model to ofer regardi ng this
organization, but they are confdent that ' the mul ti tude through
i ts practical expermentation wi l l offer the models and determi ne
when and how the possi ble becomes real ' (p. 4
11) . Some clues,
however, were provided in an earlier chapter where we read that
' The real heroes of the l i beration of the Third world today may
really have been the emigrants and the fows of population that
have dest royed old and new boundaries. Indeed, the postcol oni al
hero is the one who conti nual ly t ransgresses territorial and racial
boundari es, who destroys part icul ari sms and points toward a
common civi l ization' (pp. ]6z~]). This is an enigmatic statement
because i t obl i quely i nduces us to t hi nk, frst, that t he Third
World has al ready achieved its l iberation; second, that the mul
titudes of the Third world have also succeeded i n t hei r attempt
to l iberate themselves (an amazing revelati on for four- ffhs of
the world population); third, that the hero of such a great deed
is the migant who abandons hi s native l and to enter Europe or
the Uni ted States, in most cases i l l egally, in search of a better l i fe.
The alchemy of theor has convered emigat ion t o revol ution.
9
7
7 Notes for a soiology of revolutionary
thinking i n times of defeat
Empire concludes with a pol i ti cal programme for the multi tude,
whose most i mporant features have been outlined i n the previ
ous chapter. Once agai n, the fragi l i t of the analysis manages to
debunk both t hei r ver good i ntentions and their nobl e goal s. The
appendi x at the end of the last chapter is extraordi narly eloquent,
since it discusses the i ssue of pol i ti cal act.ivism and fnishes wit h
a hal l uci nat ory reference to St Franci s.
This brief eXClirsus begi ns very ni cely, wi t h the asseri on that
today's pol itical act ivist i s i n no way si mi l ar to the 'sad, asceti c
agcnt of the Third I nternational whose soul was deeply peneated
by Soviet state reason' (p. 4 1 1 ). On the contrar, today's activi st is
i nspi red by the i magc of the 'communi st and l i beratory combat
ants of the twenti eth-centur revol uti ons' (p. 41 2), among whom
we must i ncl ude those i nteUectuals who were persecuted and
exiled duri ng t he fascist era, the republ i cans of the Spani sh civil
war, the members of the anti - fascist resistance, and those who
fought for freedom i n the ant i-colonial i st and ant i- i mperial i st
wars. The mi ssion of the pol i tical activst has always been, and
today more t han ever, to organize and act, and not to represent . I t
is precisely t hei r consti tutive act ivity and not t hei r representat ive
act ivity t hat characterizes t hem. ' Mi l i tancy today is a posi tive,
constmctive, and i nnovative a(l ivi' [ ]Mi l i tants resi st i mperial
command in a creative way' (p. 41 3). The cul mi nati on of tht
l i ne of reasoni ng, neverheless, does not lead the reader to Che
Guevara or Fi del Cast ro, nor to Nelson Mandela. Ho Chi Mi nh,
Mao Zedong or Den Bel l a, but t o S[ Franci s of Assisi . Accordi ng
to Hardt and Negri , St Francis denounced the povery that was
stri ki ng the multi tude of his ti mc, and he adopted it as one of the
rles of the beggi ng order thai he would later found, di scovering
in povert
t he ontologcal power of a ntw soci ety. The communist mi l i tant
does the same, ident ifying in the common condition of the
mui ti l llde i ts enormous wealth. Francis in opposition to nascent
capitalism refused evet}
'
type of i nstrmental di scipline. and i n
opposi t i on t o the mortifcation of t he fesh ( i n pover and i n the
constituted order) he posed a joyous l i fe, includi ng al l of being
and nature, the ani mal s. sister moon, brother sun, the bi rds of
the feld, the poor and exploited humans. together aginst the
will of power and corption. (p.
4
: 3)
I n t he post modern world. Hardt and Negri conti nue. 'we fnd
ourselves i n Francis' s si t uat i on, posi ng agai nst t he mi ser of
power t he joy of bei ng' (i bi d. ). The outcome of t hi s misplaced,
and dangerous, analog can only be a ver pecul i ar understanding
of t he meani ng of revol uti on i n our ti me, 'a revol uti on t hat no
power wl l conrrol - because biopower and communi sm, coopera
tion and revol uti on remai n together, i n love, si mpl i city, and also
i nnocence. Thi s i s the i rrepressi bl e l ightness and joy of being
communist' (i bi d. ) .
So what i s i t that Hardt and Negri sugest? That the mul ti tude
wi thi n the empi re, i nspi red by the exampl e set by 5t Francis,
should play gentl e melodies on thei r viol i ns to pacif the Levia
t hans of neol i beral globalizati on, just as St francis di d wi t h the
wi l d ani mal s i n t he woods? Or t hat the i nnocent songs to l i fe
sung by the product ive mul t i tude will convi nce the masters of
t he world of their unwort hi ness and gil t, and henee they wi l l
give up thei r prerogat ives, weal t h and privilege? For the sake of
humni ty, we can only hope that these new postmodern com
muni st activists wi l l be somewhat more successful i n defeati ng
capi tal ism than the franciscan order, and that t he outcome of
thei r activism wi l l be more productive both in terms of the eradi
cati on of poverty and of the emancipati on of mankind than that
VV
C
obtai ned long ago by the prayers and sacrfces of 5t Francis.
j
A careful reading of LmQtrr allows us to conclude that the
authors' goal of displayng a sophi st i cated analysi s of the world
order ends in fai l ure. How can we expl ai n the bl i ndness of
these [o communi st academi cs to the i nherently i mperi al i st
nature of the i ntemationaJ system? Throughout this book, I have
mentioned some factors that I feel need to be taken i nto account
i n order to explain the authors' fail ure to achieve t hei r goal : the
extremely formalist and legalistic poi nt of deparure; the weak
ness of the i nstrments used to analyse pol i t ical economy; t he
lack of ver basic economi c data; t he naive acceptance of several
neoliberal and postmodern axi oms; the confusing heritage of
struct ural i sm and i ts visceral rejection of the subject; and, last
but not least, the unset tl i ng effects of a radically mi staken theor
of the state.
Given the formi dabl e i ntellectual cal i bre of Hardt and Negri,
especi al ly in the case of the Ital i an academic wi th his strong
experience i n the felds of Mari st soci al and political phi losophy,
how can we expl ai n such disappointing results? In an outstandi ng
piece of work, Terr Eagleton provides some hints that might
help us solve the puzzle. In order to faci l i tate comprehension of
his argument. Eagleton invites us to i magine the i mpact that an
overhelming defeat woul d have on a radical dissident move'
ment. assumi ng that t hi s defeat seems to erase from the publ ic
agenda the topics and proposals of the movement not only for
the l i feti me of i ts members but probably for ever. As ti me goes
by, the movement' s central theses become more characterized
by their i rrelevance than by their falseness. The movement's op'
ponents no longer bother to debate or refute them, but i nstead
they contemplate these t heses wi th a strange combi nati on of
i ndi fferent curiosity, ' of the same tye that one can have towards
t he cosmolog of Ptolemy or the scholastics of Thomas Aqui nas'
(Eagleton 1997: 17)
What are the pract i cal al ternatives that these antagoni sts face,
100
given t he aforementi oned pol i tical and ideologcal catastrophe,
i n which a world of seemi ngly u nmoving and obj ective cerai n
ti es, of deteri nant structures, of 'laws of motion' and effcient
causes, has suddenly vanished l i ke morni ng fog, givng place to
a colourul galax of social fragments, hazardous conti ngencies
and brief ci rcumstances whose endless combi nati ons have led
to t he bankuptc not only of Marism but al so of the whole
theoretical heritage of the Enl ightenment? Eagleton asserts t hat,
for a 'post modern sensi bi l ity', the central Marxist i deas are more
often ignored than fought agai nst: it is no longer about their
wrongess, but i nstead, i t i s about t hei r i rrelevance. The Berl i n
Wall has already fal l en; the Sovet Union has suffered a giganti c
i mplosion, and for many today i t i s a blurred memor; capital i sm,
markets and l i beral democracy seem to wn everhere, accordi ng
to Francis Fukuyamaj the old worki ng class has been atomized by
post-fordism; t he nation-states seem to be undergoing a messy
withdrawal , kneel i ng l i ke serfs i n front of the strength of global
markets; the Warsaw Pct has been dissolved in embarssmentj
social democrcies shamelessly embrace neoliberal i sm; Chi na
opns up to foreig capital and becomes part of the YL, and
the former 'social i st camp' disappears from the i nternational
arena. What should we do?
Eagleton proposes some i nterest i ng al ternatives that i l l umi
nate not only the routes probably walked by the authors, but
also the i t i neraries covered by many of those who, i n the Lati n
American context of the 1960s and 1970s, extolled the i mmi nence
of the revol uti on and awaited wi th t hei r arms ready the arrival
of t he ' decisive day'. We can fnd, on the one hand, t hose who
ei ther cynical ly or si ncerely moved to the right. On the other
hand there are those who stayed on t he left, but who di d so wi th
resignati on and nostalgi a, given the i nexorable di ssol uti on of
thei r i denti t. There are sti l l others who have closed thei r eyes
i n delusional tri umphal i sm, recognizing in te weakest traces
of a street demonstration or a strike clear signs of the i mmi nent
101
M
w
D
M
`
{
0

.
D
0
D

`
A

W
C outbreak of revol uti on. Fi nal ly, there are those who keep thei r
j
radical i mpulse al ive, but who have had to redi rect it to regons
other than the pol i ti cal arena ( i bi d. ).
Hardt and Negri lnd themselves, we coul d argue, wit hi n the
complex fel d that defnes t hi s fourth al ternative. They have not
moved to the right, as Regis Debray or ( i n Lati n America) Maro
Vargas L10sa have done. Nor have they remai ned i n the deep and
pai nfl perception of the defeat of a set of ideas in which they
st i l l bel ieve, nor have they bl i ndfol ded t hemselves by pretendi ng
that nothing has occurred and search the planet for signs that
forecast t he retur of the revol uti on. Thei r atti tude has been
heal thi er: openi ng, searchi ng, reconst rction. Needless to say, a
process of t his type carries wi th it the i nevi table ri sk of invol untar
i1y accepti ng a premi se t hat , i n the long run, can frstrate the
renovati ng project: the idea 'that the system is, at least for the ti me
being, unbeatable' (ibid.). From here, a series of theoretical and
practical consequenccs emerge that, as wl l explai n below, are
neatly refected in t he postmodem agenda. On the one hand, an
al most obsessive i nrerest i n the exami nation of the social forms
that gow in the margns or in the i nterst ices of the system; on
the other hand, the search for those social forces that at least for
now could commi t some sort of t ransgression against the system,
or coul d promote some tpe of l i mited and ephemeral subversion
agai nst it. The celebration of the marnal and the ephemeral , the
prejudice that ' mi nori ty' i s a synonym for l i beration (bl urring the
role pl ayed by a vel' special mi norit, namely the bourgeoi sie),
whi le the massive and cent ral , the non-margnal , i s demonized,
has become par of t his new pol i t ical and cul tural et hos. I f the
system appears to be not only i nexpugni ble but also oppressive,
the abandonment of ' modern' t heorization such as the Marist
one leaves no escape other than its purely i maginar neg-ati on.
I n thi s way ' the other' , the di fferent, arses as the supposed an
tagoni st of the exi sti ng order, Ad i t i s precisely its ' otherness'
t hat guarantees the radical ism of i ts antagoni sm, when it lurn
102
it i nto somethi ng i mpossi bl e to assi milate and therefore i nto t.he
only (i l l usor) aternative to the system.
The outcome of a product ion that i s consistent with its poi nt
of deparure, the i nvi nci bi l ity of the system, is what Eagleton
calls ' l i berari an pessi mi sm' ( i bi d. : 19). Pessi mism, because the
system presents itself as omnipotent and overbeari ng; l i bertaran,
because i t al lows uS to dream about mul t i pl e subversions and the
overcomi ng of the system, without i mplying the ident i fcation
of flesh and blood agents capable of turni ng those dreams i nto
real i t. The system is eerhere and it cancels the di sti nction
beteen ' inside' and outsi de' : whatever is i nsi de is part of i ts
machi ner and is therefore an accompl ice; whatever i s outsi de
is unable to defeat i t. Thi s is the mai n source of the radical
pessi mi sm that permeates thi s line of thought, regardless of i ts
procl ai med revol utionar i ntentjons.
Eagleton' s work is extraordi narly suggestive and - wri tten at
the same ti me that Hardt and Negi were working on the wri ti ng
of Empire i t ant ici pates wth outstandi ng sharpness some of the
general feat ures presen t i n that theorization. Like t he system, the
empire is omni present, and al though te authors by no means as
ser that the empi re is i nvi nci bl e, the tonc used i n thei r argument
cul mi nates with a pessi mistic remark that st.rongly resembles
capi t ulat ion. Throughout the book, t.he conserative forces of
order are i nfnitely more powerful and effective than t hose al
legedly cal l ed upon to destroy the empire. Agai nst the powers
of the bomb, t he money, l anguage and i mages, there arises a
Third World ' hero' who i nstead of embraci ng rcvol ution selects
emigrat ion. Moreover, l he empi re recognizes no ' outside' and
' i nside' ; we are al l ' i nside' and, even though t his is not expl i ci tly
menSi oned, we are al l subjected to its arbi trar modes and its
oppression. The one thi ng that can break i t down i s the unforesee
able act jon of the ideal ized ' other' , the mul t i tude, marked as it
i s by an i nfni te combi nation of i nexhausti ble si ngul ari ties. The
cl asses and the people, categories of i nclusion at a ti me when
1 0_
C
there were sti l l ' national' capitl ism and nation-states, become
j
vol ati le in the work of Hardt and Negr and they leave space for te
hopeful negativity of the mul ti tude. And some features that the
authors i denti f as cari ng a radi cal answer to the system - ' di f
ference' , ' hybri dati on' , heterogenei ty and i nexhausti ble mobi l i ty
- are, as speci fed once agai n by Eagleton, ' native to the capi talist
mode of producti on and therefore t hey are i n no way i nherently
radical phenomena' (i bi d. : 21).
In any case, t hi s syndrome is far from bei ng uni que i n the
hi stor of Marism and revol uti onaty thought. Perr Anderson
detected t hi s with his habitual shrewdness in a relevant piece
of scholarshi p publ i shed at a ver speci al poi nt i n t i me, 1976,
when Keynesian capi tal i sm and the social-democrati c strateg
(fol lowed by both soci al i st and communist parties, especial ly
in Italy, France and Spai n) were decl i ni ng and when the frst
signs of the neolibera.l counter-revolution were stari ng to show.
I am referrng, of course, to Considerations on Wester Marism, a
book that was conceived to exami ne a di fferent historical process,
that of the 1920S and early 1930s, a period that was al so deeply
characterzed by defeat. However, it is not my purose here to
try to reconstrct an i maginar di alogne beteen Eagleton and
Anderson, though l bel i eve i t woul d be ver enl ighteni ng. given
the chal lenge t hat understandi ng the theoretical mess presemed
in Empire entai ls.
Defeat duri ng t he 1920S, defeat once again during the 1980s;
a l i ne of thought characteristi c of that whi ch Hannah Arendt
woul d portray with extraordi nary subtlety i n her revsion of the
hard ti mes undergone by the bright men and women who l ived
duri ng the t i mes that Berol t Brecht cal l ed t he 'dark ages'. A
look at the l ives of Rosa Luxemburg, Walter Benjami n or Beroli
Brecht hi mself, just to menti on some of t hose who dedicated
their l ives to soci al i st ideals, reveals some extremely i nteresting
teachi ngs_ For example, the fact that unt i l the moment at which
the catastrophe took pl ace, the trth was hi dden behi nd a thick
104
fog of discourses, doubl e discourses and various mechani sms
tat effectively concealed the ugly facts and dissipated the most
reasonable doubts. Such conceal ment was possi bl e t hanks to
the work of both public serants and good heared i ntellectuals.
Then, all of a sudden, tragedy emerged (Arendt 1968: viiil. I sn' t
it possible, t hen, that Hardt and Negri have become vi ctims of
[ he way i n whi ch i ntellectual product ion i s underaken by those
who live duri ng dark ages? There is no way for us to know. [n any
event , Eagleton has pro\'ided us with some clues that wi l l hel p us
understand t he di ffcul ties faced by leftwing i ntel l ectual s t ri ng
to expl ai n the most abomi nable aspects of our ti me. Anderson
adds some other cl ues that mesh ver smoothly with those sug
gested by Eagleton. Thi s Mari sm of defeat ' has paradoxically
reversed the trajector of Mar' s ow i ntellectual development'
(Anderson 1 976: 52). If the founder of hi storical materi al i sm
tured from phi losophy to pol i ti cs and from pol i t ics to pol i tical
economy, the 'Western Mari st' t radition reversed this path and
qui ckly searched for a place to hide - both from revol uti onar
defeat at the hands of fascism and from the frustration ari Si ng
from i ts ' tri umph' and consol i dation i n the USSR - i n the most
abstruse areas of phi losophy. The path of the young Mar from
phi l osophy to pol i t ics was based on the conviction t hat ' the
radical character of soci al cri ti ci sm requires for us to go to a
deeper level of analysis than t hat of the abstract man, and that
i n order to understnd the man i n context we need to del ve i nto
the anatomy of the civil societ' (Boron 2ooa: 302). In wal ki ng
backwards in Mar' s steps i nstead of goi ng forwards, phi losophi'
cal and epi stemological thought have once agai n been put at the
centre of the scene, overshadowing the pol i tical, economic and
hi storical worries of the founder. Thi s reorientation towards the
0
phi losophical and the metaphysi cal , cl early reflected i n Empire,
goes handi n hand wl h a second feature recogized by Anderson
as one of the disti nctive marks of West em Marism in the period
beteen the to world wars (Anderson 1976: 5). As he explains,
1 05
C thi s brand of Mari sm was character2ed by i ts esoteric l anguage

J
and i ts i naccessi bi l i ty to anyone not already i mmersed i n the
fel d: 'The excess above and beyond the necessar verbal com
pl exity was a sign of i ts divorce from any popular pract ice: This
conceptual prol i ferat ion becomes mani fest i n some symptoms
that are al so apparent i n Hardt and Negri 's work: the language
is unnecessarily diffcul t; t he syntax is, at times, i mpenetrable,
and there i s a needless lise of neologisms that only contributes
t o a more hermetic work. Fi nal ly, t here is one last element t.hat
chara(teri2es this t heoreti cal regession: ' Due to the lack of mag
neti sm that the existence of a class-based social movement can
provide, t he Marist tradi ti on has leaned more and more towards
the contemporar bourgeois culture: And, Anderson sugests,
'the original rel at ionship berween Mari st t heor and proletari an
practice was swiftly but frmly substi t uted by a new relati onshi p
beteen Marxi st theor and bourgeois t heor' (i bi d_ : 55). The
t rut hfulness of thi s asseri on can be confrmed rat her easi ly, j ust
by tki ng a look at t he l i st of aut hors di scussed by Hardt and
Negri. ver few of whom have had any sort of paricipat ion i n
any of t he bi g fghts l ed by the classes and t he popular sectors
of society in t he last tenty years.
In an i nterew that took place recently, Michael Hardt offered
some i nteresting clues regarding the reasons for the astoni shi ng
t heoretieal i nvol uti on that beeomes apparent t hroughout mptrc.
During the i nterew, he obsered that, i n Marx' s t i me, revol uti on
ar t hought recognized three mai n sources of i nspiration: Ger
man phi losophy, Bri ti sh pol i ti cal economy and French pol i ti cs:
' Nowadays [ . . . ) the ori entations have changed and revol utionar
t hought i s gui ded by French phi losophy, Norh Ameriean eco
nomic science, and I tal i an polities' (Hardt 2001)_ Hardt is right,
as long as he is refering to the orientati on that guided his own
work and not to the sources that inspi re revol ut ionar t hought.
I n fact. both French philosophy and the economie theories that
are t aught i n most busi ness schools t.hroughout the United States
106
play a predomi nant role i n Empire. Of course, not hi ng al lows us
to assume that these new theoretical avenues wil l either represent
a step forards in ters of i mproving and developing a theor of
capi tal i sm's i mperi al i st stage, or, even less, that the wi l l cont ri
bute to the el aboration of a ' gui de for action' that wi l l i l l umi nate
for us the path that the soci al forces of transformation and change
should fol low. ConlT to Hegel i an di al ecti cs, wi th its empha
si s on the hi storic and transi tory character of al l i nsti tuti ons
and social practices, and t he contradictor character of social
existence, contemporar protest seeks to update i ts theoretical
arsenal i n such unrel i abl e sources as strctural i sm and post
st ructural i sm, semiolog. lacani an psychoanalysis, and a whole
series of phi l osophical currents charcterized by their adherence
to post modernism. On the other hand, it is i mpossi ble to view
the crowdi ngout of pol i tical economy and i ts replacement by
North Am
e
rican economic science - whose narrowness, pseudo
mathemati c formal i sm and superfcial i t are today universally
recognized - as a step forards towards a better understandi ng of
the economi c real i t i es of our ti me. To suggest that the displace
ment of fgures of the stature of Adam Smith or David Ricardo
by pygmies such as Mi lton Friedman or Rudiger Dornbusch can
be an encouraging si g i n the consrruetion of a leftist l i ne of
thought i s, to say the l east, a monumental mistake. Lastly, to say
that the I tal i an pol iti cal system, onee home to t he l argest com
munist par in the western hemi sphere and nowadays governed
by a repul sive creature, Silvio Berl usconi , is a renewed source of
i nspi ration that can be compared to ni neteenth-centur France,
"ith its great popul ar uprisi ngs and the wonderul experience of
the Paris Commune, the frst government of the working class i n
world hi stor, demonstrates dearly the extent of t his mistake, that
coul d have disast rous consequences for both praetieal pol i tics as
well as i n the domai n of t heor.
Sti l l taking i nto account the aforement i oned considerat ions,
cannot refrain from aski ng how i t was possi bl e for Antonio
O)
Negri , who has wi tten some of the most i mponant books and
ankles wt hi n the Mari st tradi t ion over t he l ast quarer of a
centur, to wi te a book i n whi ch it appears as if he has forgotten
everhi ng that he had previously thought. There is no doubt that
Negri has been one of the most i mporant Marist theori sts. Born
in Padua, ltaly, in 1933, he graduated in Phi losophy from his natal
ci ty's university, and i n the 1 960s was appoi nted Professor of
Theor of the State in the Pol it ical Science department in Padua.
At the same ti me, hi s practical i nvolvement i n I tal ian pol i tical l ife
turned hi m i nto one of the leaders of the Potere Opcrai o and one
of the most outstandi ng fgures of the Italian left, ver crtical of
the pol i tical and theoretical line fostered by t he I tal i an Commu
ni st Party, PCI. In 1979 Negr was arrested and sent to prison after
a faul ty legal process. MC was accused of bei ng t he i ntel l ectual
mentor of te terorst anions of the Red Brigades, i ncluding
the assassination of Ital i an Prme Mi nister Aldo Moro. I n 1 983
the I tal i an Radical Pary, a moderate combi nati on of l i beral i sm
and soci al democracy, sponsored his candi dacy to parl i ament, i n
order t o pressure the I tal i an government i nto revi Sing t he legal
sentence. Afer being elected member of parl i ament by popular
vote, parl i amentar i mmunity al lowed him to get out of prison.
Shorly after, the ml i ng pany wi t h a maority in parliament - with
the i nfamous compli ci ty of PCI MPs, i n a scandalous pol i t ical
act - revoked his i mmuni ty, and, as many other anti -fascists
had done before, Negri depared for exi le i n France. The al ready
enti rely corupt I tal i an judici al system decl ared Negri a rebel and
he was condemned to t hi ry years i n prison, accused of 'armed
i nsurection agai nst the state' with an addi tional sentence of four
and a hal f years because of hi s ' moral responsi bi l ity' for violent
confrontati ons beteen the police, students and workers that
took place i n Mi l an beteen 1973 and 1 977.
I A 5ubll e analysis or Negis i ntel leclual and political l rajeelOl is to bc
ruund in Callinicos (ZO)).
108
I mpri sonment di d not prevent Negr from wrti ng; among texts
written in prson, La Anomalia Sa/vaje, publ ished i n 1 981, i s worh
mentioni ng. By thi s time he had al ready publ i shed some of hi s
mai n contributions t o Mari st t heor: Opera; e Stato. Fra Rivolu
zione d'ollobre e New Deal ( 1 972), Crisi dello stato'piallo (1974),
Proletari e Stato ( 1976), LaForma Stato. Perla CriticadeU'Economia
Politica della Constituzione ( 1977), Mar oltre Mar ( 1 979), and a
semi nal article about capitalist restructuring after the great de
pression, ' Kenes and t he Capital i st t heor of the State', orig nally
publ ished in Italy and l ater transl ated i nto several l anguages and
reprinted mLabor ofDionysus, a book that Negri wrote years later
wi th Michael Hardt. Negi remained i n France for fourteen years,
between 1983 and 1 997. Franois Mi t terrand' s government' s
protection was deci sive i n terms of di ssuading the I tal i an secret
serce from its orgi nal i ntenti on of kidnapping Negr. Durng
hi s years in France, Negri taught at the famous
E
cole Normale
Superieure and at the University of Pars VI I and, together wi th
other di sti nguished 1'Tench colleagues, he founded a new theoret
ical magazine: FI/Cur Anterieur. It is obvious t hat during his stay
in France Negi shelved hi s i nterest in German phi l osophy and
acqui red a geat fami l i arity with French phi losophical debates
marked by the presence of i ntel lectuals such as Loui s Al thusser,
Al ai n Badiou,
E
t ienne Bal ibar, jean laudri llard, Gi l les Deleuze,
jacques Derida, Michel Foucault, Felix Guauari , jacques Lacan,
jean'Frnoise Lyotard, jacques Ranciere and many others. Hi s
stay i n France was a period of i ntense t heoret ical production and
profound i ntel lect ual , and to some extent pol it ical , reorientati on.
Among rhe most imponant books publ i shed during t hat perod
i t is wonh menti oni ng Les nouveaux espaces de liberlf, in col
l abo

ation with Fel i x Guattari ( 1<8s); Fabbriche del sogetto ( 1 987);


1'he Politics ofSubversion ( 1 989); IIpotere constituente ( 1 992); and
Labor ofDionysus: A Critique ofthe Statclon, coauthored wth
Michael Hardt ( 1994). In 1997, after t he scandalous collapse of
the Ital ian slate i nsti tutions and the crises of Chrsti an Democrac
: Og
C
and the I tal i an Soci al ist Part, Negri returned to I taly where hi s


previous sentence had been revoked. He spent a shor period i n
the Rebi bbi a prison and. afterards, was peri tted to sere a new,
shorer and more beni g sentence that entai l s living at home in
Trastevere duri ng the day and spendi ng the nights in prison. I t
is i n t hi s context t hat Negri co-authored mptrr, wi t h Michael
Hardt
8 The prsistence of i mperialism
'The United States seem I 006destined by Providence to plague
the AcOC85 with misery i n !Rc name of freedom' M0hb0ll0I
The radi cal goal repeatedly deelared throughout mptrr- to con
t ri bute to the creation of a 'general theoretical struct ure and for
that structure to consti tute a set of conceptual tools al lowing us
to theorize and act i n the Empi re and agai nst i t' - fall s t o eart h as
a resul t of the i ncurabl e weakness of the analysis. Unfortunately,
the tool box i s l acki ng some of the most basic i nstruments for
t heorizi ng about the empire and, more seriously, for fght i ng
agai nst i t . Thi s fnal cri ti que coul d be summarized by saying
that t he book's most crci al faul t is its serious diagnostic mis
takes. There i s no connection beteen a t heoretical background
that is unarguably conserative i n nat ure or whose nature i s at
best confusi ng - and which derives mai nly from eonventi onal
neol i beral knowledge that extols gl obali zation and ' natural izes'
capi tal i sm on one hand, and the bl urr vision of a new society
and a new i nternational order to be bui l t over radical ly di fferent
premisses on the other. I f t he diagnosis is i naccurate, t he new
social and political constrction is domed to failure. The fragl i ty
of the analysis i s apparent as early as the Preface of the book. The
aut horit ci ted in order to defne the fundamental concept that
gves the book its name is not Leni n or Bukharn or Luxemburg
or, more recently, Sami r Ai n, Andre Gunder Frank, I mmanuel
Wal l erstei n, Eric Hobsbawm, Samuel Ei senst adt, Pabl o Gonzal ez
Casanova, Agust i n Cueva, Alonso Agui l ar, Hel i o Jagaribe, John
Saxe-Fernandez, James Petras or any of the many other scholars
who have contri buted to our understandi ng of the topic. No.
I nstead, the authors menti on Maurce Duverger, a French pol i-

t ical scient ist comforably install ed in the most convent ional


W
w
currents within the di scipline and an academi c who has never
been associated with any of the crtical schools of thought. These
l i mi tati ons are even more conspicuous when it becomes clear
how easi ly the authors present as thei r own the conventional
defni tions used hy busi ness school professors who conceive
globalization as an ' i rresi sti bl e and i rreversi ble' process before
which the democrati c states shoul d kneel. We can recognize i n
thi s formul ation t he old trap of t he bourgeOis ideologists for
whom capi tal ism is not hi ng but the ' natural ' mani festation of
our human acquisi t ive and egoi sti c i mpulses, and ever system
other t han capital ism is viewed as ' ari fci al ' or as the i mprdent
product of pol i ti cal w. Hardt and Negi appear to have paid no
attent ion to the sensible comments made by a genui ne American
li beral not too long ago: John K. Gal brai t h, who sharly argued
that 'global ization is not a serous concept. Us, Americans, have
i nvented it i n order to hide our pol ici es of economic penetration
in the rest of t.he worl d' (Gal brai t h 1997: 2). This argument comes
ver close to admi tt i ng that capital ism' s i rresisti bi l i ty and i rrevers'
i bi l ity leave no al ternative options, an argument deeply engrai ned
in the hear of neoliberal thought . El l en Mei ski ns Wood (2003:
63) is right when she obseres that if ' t here is no material poi nt
at which t he power of capi tal can be chall enged, and wi th al l
forms of pol i tical action effectively di sabled, t he rule of capital
is complete and eteral ' .
The cl amorous i nconsistency between t he aut hors' analysis
and thei r pol i t i cal goals i s al so revealed when the reader asks
to what extent the sstem' s 'global logic' is overlaid by contra'
di cti ons that coul d eventual ly l ead t o i ts col lapse and t o the
preparation of the material and cul tural bases needed to bui l d
an al ternative system. Thi s is partinl l arly serious when we realize
t hat the aut hors seem not to be aware of the fundamental con
ti nui ty t hat exi sts between the supposedly ' new' empi re' s global
logic, its fundamental actors, its i nsti tutions, norms, rules and
1 1 Z
procedures, and the logic that existed i n thc al legedly dead phase
of i mperal i sm. Hardt and Negri seem not to have realized that the
st rategc actors are the same, the large transnational companies
but with a national base, on one hand, and the governments of
i ndustral ized countries, on the other hand; that the decisive i nsti
tutions are still those that charactered the i mperalist phase they
clai m is now fni shed, such as the I MF, the World Bank, the ,
and other si mi lar organizations; and t hat t he rles of the game of
the i nternat ional system are still the ones di ctated mai nly by the
Uni ted States and global neol i beralism, and that were imposed
by force duri ng the cl i max of the neol i beral counter-revol ution
through the 1980s and the begi nning of the 1990S. Given their de
sign, purose and functions, these rules do nothi ng hut conti nuo
ously reproduce and perpetuate the ol d i mperial ist structure i n a
new guise. We would be much closer to the truth if, paraphrasing
Lenin, we say that the empi re is the ' superor stage' of i mperial
ism and nothi ng else. Its functioning logic is the same, and so
are the ideolog that justifes its existence, the actors that make
its dynamics, and the unfai r resul ts that reveal the persistence of
relations of oppressi on and exploitation. I n Mar' s analyses, the
cont radi cti ons in the devel opment of bourgeois soci ety would
lead it to its own destrction. The logc of social devel opment was
presided over by class struggles and contradict i ons beteen the
forces of production and the social relations of production, The
problem wth Hardt and Neg's analyses i s that the new global
logic of rul e that al legedly prevai l s i n te empi re as i magned by
the aut hors lacks any struct ural or i nherent cont radictions. '
The only cont radiction that is present is that of the potenti al
t hreat posed by t he mul ti tude i f i t ever abandoned t he l etharg
I For & penetrating analysis of the shoncomi ngs of the '('(assie thcoftc8
of i mperial i :m' and the new challenges posed by toay's new facets of
i mperal ism, see Panitch and Gi ndi n |2oq) and, i n general , the ;nic1es
i ncluded i n 5oct0IslRcg:trr2OO((Panitch and Lcs 2ooq). See also John
Bellamy Foster [2o2J.
I

0

B
M
W
j.
B
n
G
!
"
1
.

6'
d

in whi ch it 5 kept by the mass medi a and the bourgeoi s cul tural
O
w
i ndustr. Even if t hi s happened, t hough, there is nothi ng in the
book to convince the reader of the existence of struct ural - and
hence i mpossi bl e to overcome - contradi ct ions between the
empi re and the mul t i tude. On the contra r, it would be possi ble
to extend the authors' argument (0 say t hat i f the rulers behave
wi sely, they are in a ver good posi t ion to absorb the demands
of the multi tde by means of relaxing mi grator norms or pro
gressively establ i shi ng a guarantced mi ni mum i ncome. Episodcs
dur i ng which the domi nant cl asses have been forced to adopt
progressive policies so as to hold back popul ar ti des or i n order
to co-opt potenti al adversaries have not been i nfrequent in the
pol i ti cal hi stor of the tenti eth cent ur, and the two measures
mentioned above are i n no way i ncompati bl e with the surival of
the capi tal i st rel ati ons of production nor are thcy i ncompati ble
\\ith the conti nuity of i mperi al i sm.
During t he 1980s, neol i beral i sm won a st rategic bat t l e for
the meani ngs of words used in everday speech, panic' ul arly i n
t he publ i c sphere, Throughout the globe t he word 'reform' was
successful ly used to refer to events that a somewhat rigorous
analysis would have undoubtedly classifed as ' counterreform' ,
The aforementi oned ' reforms' were material ized i n not too reo
formist policies such as the di smant l i ng of soci al securi ty, the
reducti on of soci al provi si ons, the cuts in publ i c spendi ng
on educati on, health and housi ng, and the legl izati on of the
ol igopol i sti c control of t he economy. The word 'deregl at ion'
was actively promoted by the neol iberal and managcri al ideo
logsts ci ted throughout Lmprc to refer to a process through
whi ch governmental i ntervent i on |n economi c mat ters was
suppressed i n order to restore the ' natural sel f-regul ati on' of
e('onomic processes. In fact, what ' deregul ati on' means i s that
the prevous regul ations establ i shed by democrat ic governments
- and whi ch l ed, i n some way, to a certai n degree of popular
sovereignty - were bani shed, and after DI 5happened the capacity
t I q
to reglate the functi oni ng of markets was lef in the hands of
the most powerful actors, the ol igopol ies. Governmental capaci ty
to regulate was privatized and transferred to l arge companies. As
Sami r Ami n wrote, ' al l the markets are reglated, and they only
functi on under that condition. The essenti al t hi ng is to know
who regul ates them and how' (Ami n ZOOI z6). To conclude: the
commonsense of the l ast two decades of t he previous centur has
been saturated by the contents of neoliberal ideolog. Furter
proof of this fact is the ready acceptance of the dogma cl ai mi ng
that state-owned compani es were by defni ti on i neffcient and
produced low-qual i t goods and serces; that the state was a
bad admi ni strator: that private companies sat isf the demands
and requi rements of consumerSj t hat ol igopolies promote soci al
progess t hrough unrestricted market freedomj and, fnal ly, that,
as argued i n t he ' t rickle-down' t heor, i f the rich get rcher, the
weal th concentrated at the top of t he social pyrami d soons spi l l s
over to reach the l east advantaged sectors of the populati on.
Nowadays, al l those stories face a termi nal cri si s of credi bi l i ty.
For a long time, the hegemony of neoli beralism was nOI only
economi c and ideologieal but also pol i ti cal . I n that feld too we
obsere a backwards movement . Economies do not respond as
predicted and, after more than twenty years of pai nful experi
ments, the resul t s are di re. Argenti na i sjust the most recent case,
but in no way the only one, that demonstrates once more the fnal
resul t of t he policies promoted by the Washi ngton Consensus.
The pol i ti cal formul as of a successful neoliberal ism, whose arche
types are sti l l the si ni ster fgures of Carlos S. Menem i n Argenti na,
Carlos Salinas de Gorar i n Mexico and Al berto Fuji mor i n Peru,
have demonstrated their i nabi l i ty to remai n i n power and t heir
i nabi l i ty to establish a new structure of domi nation i n accordance

with the needs of t he empire's domi nant classes. The ideolog-


cal hegemony of neoli beral i smj its capacity to ascribe new and
contradictor meani ngs to ol d words, i s bei ng rapi dly eroded.
mprc coul d perectly be t hought of as a l ate chapter of that
t I _
^

0
1
W
W

0
W
3'
1
2.

`
d

hi stor. The book was published in zoo and i ts real function


-
I concede this was not the i ntention of the authors - seems
to have been t o make a l i t tle bi t more pal atable t he i ncreas
i ngly at rocious and despicable feat ures of the i mperial ism of
the end of the century. Probably nothi ng coul d haye been more
convenient for the i mperialist powers, guided not without fri ction
and contradicti ons by the Uni ted States, than this representati on
of the i mperialist order metamorphosed i nto a phantasmagoric
system, wit hout i denti fable domi nators and benefciaries, and,
above al l , i nspi red by the most el evated legal not ions of Kantian
l i neage that only t he enemies of freedom and justice woul d dare
to criticize. Whi l e the authors were givi ng the last touch to thei r
metaphysical empire, t he i mperal ists were eager to l aunch the
Colombia Plan wi th i ts declared goal of stabi l i zi ng the pol i t ical
and mi l i tar si tuati on i n that count r and of control l i ng drg
t raffc in the area, whose funds are careful ly laundered in fscal
havens throughout t he region that surive thanks to Washington's
i ndulgence. Another of the aforementioned project' s objectives is
the estbl ishment of a strategic base in the heart of Sout h America
as a means to moni tor the advances of the popular movement i n
Brazil, a countr which, by chance, i s t he home of to of the most
i mportnt popular organizations of the western world, t he and
t he MST. Another i mport ant i mperi al ist i ni t iat ive is the Pueblal
Panama Plan i ntended to 'solve the (apparenty iccommunicable,
according to Hardt and Negri) confi ct i n Chi apas and, i n addi
tion, to set up an estblishment in the l argest Mexican reseroir of
fresh water in order to provide Southern Cal i fornia wi th that vi tal
l i quid. Moreover, it was i mperial i sm that launched a ' humani tr
ian i nterenti on' in te former Yugoslavia; it constantly sabotages
the construction of Mercosur so as to faci l itate the rapid formal
' i ntegrati on' of t he Lat i n American economies into American
hegemony t hrough the Free Trade Area of the Americas [FA)
and i t works without ceasi ng to ensure the collaborati on of some
regonal governments, such as those of Argenti na, Costa Rca
1 1 6
and Urugay, in i mposing sancti ons on Cuba for al leged human
rights volations and to make i t pay an exorbitant prce for its lack
of doci l i ty towards Amercan i mperal i sm. I n other l atitudes, its
activsm leads i t to support i ts al l ies i n Turkey when they commi t
genocide agai nst the Kurdi sh mi nori ty wi thout fear, and to sup
por si mi lar actions by I ndonesia agai nst East Timor, and by the
fascist Israeli government of Arel Sharon agai nst the Pestinians.
A few years earlier, the empi re, al l egedly i n the name of universal
law, i nvaded Panama, ki l l i ng t housands of i nnocent civi l i ans with
the goal of capturing President Noriega, a former collaborator of
the CIA and the DEA, and put in power by Washi ngon; i t caused
more than jO,OOdeaths in i ts offensive agai nst the Sandi ni sta
government i n Nicaragua; and it stared the Gul f War. In the
economic terrai n, imperi al ism was agai n active, promoting the
approval of thc Mul ti l ateral Agreement on I nvestments, i n order
to legal i ze the tyranny of markets, especial ly i n the Third World,
and it made strong efforts to ensure that the I MF and the World
Bank woul d not lend a nickel to those countries that di d not ac
cept the 'condi ti onal ities' i mposed by the market's international
fnancial i nsti tuti ons. In this way, a recent loan to Ecuador i n
cl uded around a hundred and forty requi rements of thi s tye
- among them, massive di smi ssals of publ i c serants, cuts i n
publ i c soci al spendi ng, an end to subsidies - and more t han
two hundred ' condi ti onal i ties' were reported i n several loans t o
sub-Saharan Afrca, al l of which were oriented to consol idate t he
presence of ' market forces' i n the economy. On t he other hand,
i mperial i sm has been constantly i mposing economi c pol i ci es
that severely u ndermi ne the economi c sovereignty of countres
i n the peripher and di mi nish their l i kel i hood of bei ng abl e to
devel9P t hei r economies, consol i date thei r democracies, and
respnd posit ively to t hei r populations' expectations of material
and spiritual progess (Stigl itz zOO]. Leo Pani tch clai ms, wi t h
regard t o t hi s issue, t hat a report by the World Bank demonstrates
that on the same year i n which the MlA was abored ' there were
1

at least as many as 1 51 changes in the regulations that govern


:
direct foreign i nvestments in 76 count ries, and 89% of them
were favorable to foreig capi t al ' ( Pni tch 2000: 1 6)_ Meanwhile,
Pablo Gonzalez Casanova has developed a methodolog for the
study of the surpl us l Tansferences from the Third World towards
metropoli tan capi tal i sm. In the twenty-three years from 1972 to
: yyj, the vol ume of those transfers hoovered up by the empi re' s
domi nant cl asses reached the astonishi ng amount of$4. 5 tri l l ion;
the calculations made usi ng t hi s same methodology excl usiYely
for Lati n America by Saxe-Fernandez and Nunes show that the
fgre ' surpasses te 2 t ri l l ion dol lar threshold paid i n to dec
ades of global i zi ng neo-I iberal i sm, a magni tude that is equal to
thccombined GDPs of all the countries in Lati n America and the
Caribbean i n 1997' (Gonzalez Casanova 1998; Saxe Fernandez et
al . 2001: 105, 1 1 1).
I n a word, i mperialist oppression conti nues to exist while a lost
patrol of radical scholars proclai m that the age of i mperialism
hzsconcluded and exalts the fgure ofSt Francis as the paradigm
of the renovated mi l i tancy agai nst the spectre of an empi re that
is i mpossi bl e to seize, defne or fnd, and hence i mpossible to
beat . That which is openly recognized by scholars of imperial
ism such as nrlezinski and Huntingon, magically disappears
from the ' radi cal critical ' vision of rhe empire. Meanwhile, ap
proximately 10,00 people di e each day in the perpher due
to hunger, mal nutri tion and curabl e diseases, because of the
uni nterrupted conti nui t of the exacti ons of this ' smooth space
across which subject ivi ties gl i de' , which the authors call empi re,
z non-i mperi al i st regi me that day after day produces a si lent
bloodbath that the bourgeois medi a take pains to concea\. These
people die without receiving the most elementar medi cal care.
Each year a countr of the size of Spai n, Argentina or Col ombia
is wi ped off the face of the earth i n the name of the despicable
'new i nternational economic order', an order that, i f we are to
believe in Hardt and Neg, has ceased to be i mperial i st.
1 1 8
Hardt and Negri 's stubbornness in defendi ng their mistaken
concept i ons has become st ronger since the frst publ i cati on of
t hei r book, In an i nterew wth L M0nJc DtQ/0m0ttquc, Negri
i nsisted on hi s view that the empi re lacks any nati onal base and
that i t i s the expression of the i nternati onal order created by
' col lective capi tal ' once | |emerged victorious from the long civil
war waged agai nst the workers throughout the tenti eth centul,
' Contrar to what the last supporters of national ism sustai n, the
empire is not NortJ, American; i n addition, throughout the histol
of the United States they have been much less i mperial ist than
the Bri ti sh, the French, the Russians, or t he Dutch' (Negr 2001:
13) , According t o Negr, t he empi re' s benefciares are cenai nly
American capitalists, but al so thei r European counterpans, those
magnates who bui l t their fonunes withi n the Russian Mafa and
al l the wealthy in the Arab worl d, Asia, Africa or Ltin America,
who send their chi l dren t o Harvard and t hei r money t o Wal l
St reet. Clearly, i n this pseudo-totl i ty of t he empi re and i n i t s
unbearable empti ness, not only i s there no theoret ical space i n
which t o di sti nguish between expl oi ters and expl Oi ted but also
there i s no room to conceive the domi nant coal i t ion as anyt hi ng
di fferent from an undi fferentiated gang of capi tal i sts, I n t hi s
way, and departi ng from t hi s anal}lical steri l it, ' col l ect ive cap
i tal
'
produces the mi racle of control l i ng the world economy (the
reader should be reminded that only 200 t ransnati onal mega
corporati ons, 96 per cent of which have thei r headquaners i n
j ust eight count ries, have a combi ned vol ume of sales that i s
higher than t he GDP of al l t he countries i n t he globe except the
ni ne l argest ones) without st ructures, organizati ons, i nsti t utions,
hi erarchies, agents, rul es or norms, l I n addi ti on, if any conniet

2 We add: the annual i ncome of Exon l$aI mo$tequal to Australia'S


GOP; thaI of Ford l8si mi l :r to Denmark's GOP; that oftne Briti sh' Dutch oil
company Shell is almos! double thcGOP of one of the largest oi l proucers in
the world. Venezuela. General MOlors has an annual i ncome thai cxcceds thc
combi ned GOP olIreland, NmvZealand and Hungr (Res!ivo 2-5).

lOok place withi n i t, such a confict would be merely accidental


-
or ci rcumstanti al , and i t woul d be easily solved by appeal i ng to
the good-will of the parties concered. Al of a sudden the world
order created by North American hegemony durng the post-war
era di sappears in front of our eyes, and the magnates of t he
Russi an Mafa seem to have the same weight and relevance as
t hei r Norh American counterarts. The mai n i nsti tutions whi ch
model the i nternational i mperi al i st order - the I Mf, t he World
Bank, the WO, NATO, the OECD and ot her si mi l ar i nsti tut ions
- seem to bear no more rel ati on to Washi ngton than they do to
Osama Bin Lden' s fami ly or to any other Arab magate, al though
the organi c i ntellectuals of the empi re i nsist on characterizi ng
t hem as an i nformal part of the Nort h American government . I n
this phantasmagoric view of the empi re, the ' condi ti onal i t ies' of
the i nternational fnanci al i nstituti ons woul d be di ctated by an
Arab mi l l ionaire, a Portuguese banker, a Japanese whaler, a Lati n
American oligarch and, of course, an American busi nessman. I n
t he same way, t he errat ic movements of the Uni ted Nations are
the resul t of a fght beteen t he aforementioned subjeets. It is not
necessar to be an i nternational rel ati ons exper to demonstrate
t he fal sehood of thi s argument. Recent events in Venezuela (the
fai led coup d'etat agai nst Hugo Chavez in April 202) di ssipate
any doubt regardi ng the persistent oppressive presence of i m
periali sm. A coup t hat the CI A had been preparing for more tan a
year, and whi ch was blessed, in a sig of arrogance close to sheer
stupi di t, hours after i ts occurrence by thE presi denti al spokes
man at the Whi te House (vi ol ati ng thc Organizat ion of American
Sttes' resol ut ions that Washi ngon had promoted when it had
been conveni ent for i t to do so), and which i mmedi ately had the
' di si nterested' col l aborati on of the I MF that, surpri si ngly and
wi thout anybody having to ask for i t , offered i ts hel p to the new
government at a ti me when it had been recogized only by the
Uni ted States and its European footman, Jose M. A2nar, the situ
ati on sti ll not having been resolvEd. This behaviour by the IMF
12O
proves once agin that thi s 'multlateml organization' is, in reality,
a mi nor deparment i nsi de the Whi te House.
This record completely i nval i dates Negri ' s statement made
duri ng a recent i nterview i n which he expanded on the issues
developed in Emptrr. ' We think t hat there is no central ization
place wthin the empi re. and that i t is necessar to speak of a
non-place. We are nOI clai mi ng that Washi ngton is nol impor
tant: Washington has the bomb. New York has the dollar. Los
Angeles has the l angage and the means of communi cation'
(A1biac 2OO2.2).
No furher comment.
1 21
~
D
0
1

.
W

0
M

4
'
1
.

'

Epi loue
Fame and celebrit have rarely gone hand-in-hand with crtical
thinking. The hi stor of politi cal philosophy teaches us that
adversarial spirits have usually been persecuted and silenced by
the dominant classes. In most cases, thi s has been achieved by
means of more or l ess brutal coercion. Antonio Negri has been,
for almost thirty years, a victim ofthis methodolog: his militancy
in Italian social struggles, as well as his sigi fcant contri butions
to both political theor and political phi losophy - two felds also
marked by the ups and downs of class struggles - brought down
on him the fur of the Italian boureoisie and its political rep
resentatives, and it also brought persecution, i ncarceration and
exile. On other, less fequent, occasions, those who contest the
existing social order are faced only with the i ndifference of the
powerful . This occurs when the dominant groups fnd themselves
i n such a safe position and are so confdent of the stabil ity of
their ow supremacy that they allow themselves the luxur of
practising the an of tolerance. Needless to say, this exercise is
practised only on condition that the di ssident voices can be heard
only by a small circle of harmless followers who lack any oranic
l i nk with civil socier, and who, for that reason, are incapabl e of
becoming a serious threat to the dominant classes. Given thi s,
how can we explai n the ' unl i mited praise' that, according 10
John Bel lamy Foster, was heaped on two leftist scholars - namely
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negr - i n some of te most select
i ntellectual bastions of the bourgeoisie, such as the Ne York
Tmes, Time magazine and the Obserer or London, to which I
could add a newspaper l i nked to the most reactionar fattions of
Argenti ne capitalism, La Nacion (Bellamy Foster 2001).
I n concluding this examination the anser seems to be clear:
the favourable reception gven by the establishment's mandarins
to Empire shows that they read the book carefully, that they cor
rectly understood its most profound message, and that they ac
curately concluded that tere was nothing within the book tat
could be considered i ncompatible with the dominant ideolog or
with the self-image that the powerful l ike to exi bit. Although the
metaphysical radicalism of its narative and its abstrse allusions
to the contradictions of capitalism did not cease to i rtate te
most intolerant and narrow-minded intellectuaJs of the empire,
the main argument shows a surprising and welcome si mi larty to
the main thesis tat the ideologists of 'global ization' have been
promoting around te world since the 1980s, namely: that te
nation-state is practically dead, that a global logic rules the world,
and that defi ng thi s abominable structure, whose concrete
benefciaries as well as its victims and oppressed are lost i n the
shadows, there is a ne and amorphous entity, the ' multitude',
no longer the people, let alone the workers or the proletarat. Re
gardless of the repeated invocations to communism and the good
societ tat make the i mperal energumens shiver, Empire leaves
the reader without ansers as to why te men and women of the
empire should rebel , agai nst whom, and how to create a new tye
of society. Although Empire forally criticizes capital ism as an
inhuman, oppressive, exploitative and unfair mode of production,
it vanishes in the tanslucent air of postmodernity. It becomes, in
a manner of speaki ng, invisible, just l i ke American i mperialism,
and i n this way both are ' naturalized' . Hunger, poveny, death,
wars, diseases and the whole cataloge of human miseries that
were obsered throughout the twentieth centur are rhetorically
transformed in dul l and al most i mpenetrabl e phraseolOg that,
i n spite of the manifest i ntentions of its creators, hides the most
B
despicable features of neol i beral globalization and or contem-
porar capitali sm.
For the reasons displayed throughout my book, I fnd it highly
unl ikely that the anti-imperalist fghters of the world will fnd
2
W
.
I
!
in Empire any realistic and persuasive arment to il l uminate
D
J
thei r path or to help them understnd what is happening in te
1
world. More l i kely, a 'counsel of surender would be the message
of a manifesto on behalf of global capital. Jt is also, l i ke it or
not, the message of Michael Hardt and Antonio Neg's Empire'
(Meiskins Wood 203: 63). Given its mistkes and confusions,
it is easy to understnd why the book was acclamed as a tre
revelaton by some of the world's most i mponant mass media
tightly associated with the i mperialist strcture that overhelms
us. In any case, it is god to know that, as Hannah Arendt re
minded us, 'even in the darkest night we still have te rght to
wait for some illumination' , and that this will probably come not
from a colourful conceptual and teoretical apparatus but from
te smaJl lights tat will emanate from the i nitiatives that men
and women adopt in order to put an end U, in Mar's words,
this pai nful and barbarian ' pre-histor' of humanit fnally to
enter a superior stge of civlization (Arendt 1968: o). I want to
believe, going back to Hardt and Negri's work, that (he mistakes
that we have identifed i n Empire will be rectifed i n a new study
undenken by these authors. I n Neg' s case I am incli ned to
think that the mistakes detected in this bok could be due to
distorions produced by a long exi le, even i f i t is i n Pars; to the
lack of abili ty to travel around the world and to confrm, with his
own eyes, the sinister realities of imperalism; and fnally, to the
rarefed intellectal Parsian atmosphere, whose provincialism
and splendid self-reference were repeatedly underlined by notable
French i ntellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sarre, or others residing
i n Frnce l i ke Nicos Poulantas. Negr's contrbutions to the de
velopment of social and political Marist theor do not desere
such a disappointing ending. I hope with all my hear to have,
i n te shor term, the satisfaction of commenting, i n completely
di fferent ters, on a new book in which Negi's extraordinar
talent meets again with his ow hi stor.
1
4
Bibliography
Ahmad, A. (204l ' I mprialism of Our Time', in L. Panitch and C. Lys
(eds), Socialist Register 20q (London: Merlin Press).
Abiac, G. | zoz)'EI comunismo al dla', in Radar, supplement,
Pagnal12 ( Buenos Ai res) 30, March.
Amin, S. ( 1 974) Accumulation on a World Scale (New York: Monthly
Ree Press).
- ( 1992) Empire o/Chaos (New York: Monlhly Revie Press).
- ( 1997) Capitalism in the Age o/Globaliztion (London and New
Jersey: Zd Bok).
- (201) EI heemonismo de los Estados Unidos y el Desvnecimiemo del
Proyecto Europeo (Madrd: EI Viejo Topo).
Anderson, P. ( 1976) Consierations on Wester Marism (London: New
LR Boks).
- (204) 'The Role of Ideas in the Constrctlon of Ateratlves', in
A. A. Boron (ed.), Ne worldwide Hegemony. Altemathes/orChange
and Sodal Movements (Buenos Ares: CLCSO).
Arendt, H. (1968) Men in Dark Times (San Diego, CA: HarcouM Brce).
Arighi, G. ( 1 995) The Long Tentieth Centllr (London: Verso).
Balakshnan, G. (ed.) ( z03) Debating Empire (Lndon: Verso).
Barlow, M. (1998) 'Creeping Corprativism. Eer Cultral I nstitution is
in Jeopardy', The Bulletin (Toronto), 51 ( O).
Bellamy Foster, J. zo: )' I mperalism and " Empire"', Monthly Reie,
53 (7), December.
- (202 ) 'The Rediscover of Imperiaism', Monthl Revie, 54 (6),
November.
Boron, A. A. ( 1995) State, Capitalism and Democracy in Lotin Amerca
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner).
- ( 1997) ESlado. Capitalismo y Democracia en Amerca Ltina (Buenos
Aires: EUDEBACBC).
- (200a) (ed.) Filoso/ia Politica Modema (Buenos Ai res: CLACSO).
- ( 200b) Tras el Buho de Minera. Mercado contra democracia en
rcapitalismo defn de siglo (Buenos Ai res: Fondo de Cultura
Economical.
- ( 2018) 'E1 nuevo orden imperal y c6mo desmontarlo', in J. Seoane
and E. Tddei (eds), Resistencias Mundiales. De Seattle a Porto Alege
( Buenos Ares: CLACSO).

D
!
.1

- (201 b) 'La selva la polis. Inleroganles en torno a la leoria pol itica


del Zpatismo', Chiapas ( Mex.co), 1 2.
- (202) Tras el B'Io de Minefla. Mercado COntra democracia en el
capitalismo de Jn de siglo (Buenos Ai res: CLACSO).
Boron, A. A. , J. Gambi na and N. Mi nsburg (eds) ( 1 999) Tiempos lo
len/os. Neoliberalismo, globalizaciim y desipaldad ell America Latina
(Buenos Ai res: CLCSO/EUDEDA).
Bowles, S. and H. Gi nl is ( 1 982) 'The Crisis of Li beral Democrati c
Capitalism: The Case of Uni ted Stales', Politics and Societ, I I (1),
pp 51-93
- ( 1986) Democracy and Capitalism: Propert, Communit, and the
Contradictions ojModem Social Thought (Ne York: Basic Books).
Brezinski, Z. ( 1 998) EI Gran Tablero Mundial: fa superioridad nort
amercana y los imperativos geoestrategcos ( Buenos Aires: Paidos).
Bull, M. (2003) 'You Can't Build a New Society with a Stnley Kni fe', in
G. Balakrishnan (ed.), Debating Empire (London: Verso), pp. 83-96.
Cal l i nicos, A. ( 2003) 'Toni Neg in Perspective', in G. Blakrshnan
(ed.), Debating Empire (London: Verso), pp. 1 2 1-43.
Cangi, A. (2002) 'Peque"o saltamontes', Radar. supplement, paginalJ 2
(Buenos Aires), 3 1 March.
Cardoso, O. R. (2003) ' LArgenlina no sabe que hacer con su
burges{a', interiew wilh Toni Neg, Zona, supplement to Clari"
newspaper (Buenos Ai res), 26 October.
Chomsky, N. ( 1 993) Year 0t . The Conqllest Continues (Boslon, M.
South End Press).
- ( 1 994) World Orders, Old alld New (Lndon: Pluto Press).
- ( 1 98) Noam Chomsk habla de America Latina (Buenos Ares:
Editoral 21 ).
- ( 200 a) 'Pder en el escenario global', New Lef Revie (Madri d,
Spanish edn), Januar, pp. 232-62.
- ( 2oob) 'Una entrest con Noam Chomsky', in A. A. Boron, Tras el
Bulo de Minera. Mercado contra denrocracia en el capitalismo deJn
de siglo (Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultra Economica).
- (201 ) EI terror como politica exteror de los Estados Vnidos (Buenos
Ares: Libros del Zoral).
- (203a) Hegemony or Surival. America's QuestJor Global Dominance
(New York: Metropolitan Books).
- (20.b) ' Di lemmas of Domi nati on' , i n A. A. Boron (ed. ), New
Worldwide Hegemony. Alteratives Jor Clrange and Social Movement s
(Buenos Ai res: CLCSO).
Cox, R. W. ( 1 986) 'Social Forces, Sttes and World Orders: Beyond
Interational Relations Theor', i n R. O. Keohane, Neorealism and its
Critics (Ne York: Columbi a University Press).
1 26
- ( 1 987) Production, Power, and World Order. Social Forces in (he
Making ofHistor (New York, Columbia Univerity Pes).
Cueva, A. ( 1986) 'L democracia en A6OO Latina: iNovia del scial
ismo 0 concubina del imperal i smo?''', Estdios Latinoamercanos,
Vol. t(t ),July/December (Mexco), CEWFCPS. UNAM, pp. 49-54.
Dahl, R. A. ( 1 995) APreface to Economic Democrac ( Berkele and Los
Angeles: University of California Press).
de Sousa Santos, B. ( 1 999) Reinlentar la Democracia. Reinlentar el
Estado (Madrid: Ediciones Sequitur).
de Tocqueville, A. ( 1 969) Democrac in America (Garden City, NY:
Anchor Books).
Drcker, P. F. ( 1 997) 'The Global Economy and the Nation-State',
Foreign Afairs, 76 (5), September/October, pp. t 59-7 1 .
Duane-Pion, L. (104) 'An I nteriew wUAntonio Neg', LPassant
Ordinaire, 17july.
Eagleton, T. ( 1997) 'Where Do Pstmoderists Come fm?" i n
E. Meiskins Wood and j. Bel lamy Foster (eds), I n Defense ofHitor
(New York: Monthly Revie Press).
Fredman, Thomas L. ( 1999) 'A Mani festo for the Fast Worl d' , Ne York
Times, 18 March.
Galbrai th, |. K. ( 1997) ' Entevista a john K. Galbraith', Folha de Sao
Paulo (Brazil), 1 November, pp. 1-1 3.
Gonzalez Casanova, P. ( 1 998) La explotacion global ( Mexico: CEIICH/
UNAM).
G ramsci, A. ( 1 97 t) Selections from the Prson Notebooks (New York:
Interational Publ i shers).
Hardt , M. (101 ) 'El laboratorio italiano' ( mi meo).
Hardt, M. and A. Negri (100) Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harard Univer
sit Press). Translated i nto Spanish: Impero (Buenos Aires: Pi dos,
1001).
Hunt i ngon, S. P. ( 1999) 'The Lonely Superower', Foreig Afairs, 78 [z).
Kpstein, E. ( 1 991 /91) 'We Are Us: The Myh of the Mul tinati onal ' , The
Nat;onal lnterest (Winter).
Lander, E_ ( 1 998) ' EI Acuerdo Mul t ilateral de Inversiones ( MIA). EI
capital disela una const it ucion universal', Reisla Venezlana de
Economla jCiencias Sociales (Caracas), 2, Aprl/September.
Lukacs, G. ( 1971) Histor and Class Consciousness (Cambrdge, M: MIT
prss).
Meiskins Wood, E. ( 1995) Democrac against Capitalism. ReI/eing
Hi.uorcal Materialism (Cambridge: Cambridge Universit Pss).
(}'Trabajo, c1ase y estado en el capitalismo global', Obsera
toro Social de Amen'ca La/ina ( Buenos Aires: CLACSO), I, june,
pp. 1 1 1 -1 8.
1 17
- (203) 'A Manifesto for Global Capital ' , in G, Dalakrshnan (ed.),
Debating Empire (Lndon: Vero), pp. 61 -82.
Negr, A ( 1991 ) }M. Keyes y l a teo ria capitlist del estdo en el 29,
Cielo por Asalto (Buenos Aires), 1 (2), pp. 97-) 18.
- (201 ) 'The Empir after I mperalism, Le Monde Diplomatiqlle,
Januar.
Panilch, L. ( 200 ) 'The New I mperial Stte', Ne Left Revie, 2, MarchI
Aprl, pp. 5-20.
Panitch, L. and S. Gindin ( 2004) 'Global Capitalism and the Amercan
Empire' , i n L. Panitch and C. Leys (eds), Socialist Regi.5ter 20q
(London: Merlin Press), pp. 1-42.
Panilch, L and L. Leys (eds) (204) Soialist Register 20q (Lndon:
Merlin Press).
Restivo, N. (2002) ' Ente las 10 economias mas gades, 5 1 son mul t
nacionales' , Clarn (Buenos Aires), 1 7 March.
Ruigock, W.and R. Van Tulder ( 1995) The Logic of Interational
Restrcturing (London: Routledge).
Rustin, M. (2003) 'A Postmodern Theor of Revolution' , in
G. Balakshnan (ed.), Debating Empire (London: vero), pp. 1-18.
Sastre, A. (2003) |batalla de los intelectuales. nuel discurso de las
aras y las letras (Euskal Hema: Editoral Hir).
Saxe-Ferrndez, J. , J. Pet.ras, H. Veltmeyer and O. Nunez (20 I)
Globalizacion, Imperalismo y Clae Social (Buenos Aires and Mexco
Cit: Grpo Edi toral Lumen/Humanit3s).
Stiglitz, J. (2?0) 'What I Leared at the World Economic Crsi s' , N0
Republic, 1 7 Aprl.
Strange, S. ( L986) Casino Capitalism (Oxford: Blackell).
- ( 1 989) 'Towards a Theor of Transnational Empire', i n E.-O. Czem
piel and J. Rosenau (eds), Global Changes and Theoretical Challenge.
Approaches u World Politics for the 1'$( Lexington, VA: Lexngon
Boks).
- ( 1998) Mad Money. Wien Markets Outgo Goverments (Ann Abor,
MJ: Universit of MiChigan Press).
Tilly, C, (2003) 'A NebUlous Empire', in G. Balakrshnan (ed.), Debating
Empire (London: Verso), QQ. 268.
United Nations Deelopment Proga m (UNDP) Human Deelopment
Repon, annual publ ication (New York: United Nations).
Vidal, G. (2002) Perpetal War for Peretual Peace (New York: Thunder'S
Mouth Press/Nation Books)
Wallerstein, L ( 1974) The Moder World System, Vol. 1 (New York:
Academic Books).
- ( 1980) The Moder World System, Vol. 2 (New York: Academic Books).
- ( 1 988) The Moder World System, Vol . 3 (New York: Academic Books).
1 28
- ( 1995) After Liberalism (New York: New Pess).
Weiss, L. (1997) 'Globalization and the Myth of the Powerless States' ,
New Lef Reie, 225, Sptember/October.
\Vresch, W. ( 1996) Disconnected. Haves and Have-noes in the Inoration
Age (New Brnswck, NJ: Rutgers Universit Prss).
1 19
I ndex of prpr names
Accumulation on a World Scale; 25
AfghaniSlan; 1 I, So, 51 , 63
Afrea; lJ, J8, 45, 1 19
Afer Liberalism; 15
Aguilar, Alonso; 1 1 1
Ahmad, Aijaz; 56
Alabama; 4J
Albright, Madeleine; 56
Athusser, Luis; 1 0
Altater, Elmar; 2]
Amin, Samir; 15, 1 1 1, 1 1 5
Amnest; 65
Anderson, Pen; 9, 104, 105, 106
Annan, Kof; 45
Aquinas, Thomas; 10
Arendt, Hannah; 104, 1 05, 1 24
Argenlina; 20, J6, 74, l l 5, 1 1 6, I 1 R
Arighi, Giovanni ; 25
Asia; 1 5, 38, 45, 51 , 69,
1
1
9
Austrlia; I S, l l 9
AustrHungaran Empire; J9
Anar,jose Mara; 8, 1 7, 1 8, 1 20
Badiou, Alain; 10
Balibar, Etienne; 109
Bangladesh; 37, 45, 48
Barn, Pul: 2J
Baudrillard, jean; 109
Uclgium; 51
Ien Blla, Ahmed; 98
Benjami n, Waller; 104
nerlin Wall; 4J, 1 01
Berluseoni , Si lvo; 107
' Big Government is St ill i n Charge' ;
78
Bin Lden, Osama; I I ,6J, 1 20
Bismarck. Olto von; 5.1
Bobbio, Norbeno; 7
Boing Cororalion; 45
Ioiivar, Sim6n; t t t
Boron, Atl li o A. ; 1 8, 46. 54. 57, 58. 67,
85, 94, 105
Bosch. juan; 28
Bosnia; 67
Bowles, Samuel; 92
Brazil: 1 9. 20, J5, 36. 37, 1 16
Brechl. Benoll; 104
Brlin: 1 7. J7. 55
Brssels; 45
Bnezi nski , Zbigiew; 1 1. 68, 69. 70,
72. 1 1 8
Bukharn, Nikolai; 2 , 13. 23, 1 1 1
Bull, Malcolm; 95
Bush, George Sr.; 1 1. 74
Bush, George W. ; 9, 1 1 . 1 2, I ], 1 8,
17. 6J
Cali fornia; 43, 1 1 6
Capitalism in the Age of
Globaliwtion; 25
Cardoso, Oscar Raul; 10, 11
Carbbean; 51 . l l 8
Carage; 33
Catro, fidel: 98
Central Intelligence Agnc (C),
1 1 7, 1 10
Charles. GerardPiere; 28
Chavt, Hugo; 1 20
Chiapas; 34, ]6, 8R, 1 16
Chicago; 5 1 , 8J
Chile; ]q
China; 1 5, 69, 70, 1 01
Chiquita Banana; 66
Chirc, jacques; l q
Chomsk, Noam: 1 1, I J , 1 7, 1 8. 25,
40, 46, 49, 62, 67. 76, 93, 94
Chrsti an Democrc Pn (CUP);
10
Clan"n; 20
Clausewtz. Carl von; J I
Climon. Bill; 56
Colombia; 1 18
Colombia Plan; 1 1 6
Common Market or the South
lMERCOSUR)j 1 1 6
Comnlllnisl Maniesto; 2 , 5, 28. 89, 95
Considerations on Wester Marism;
104
Coperican; 2
Costa Rica; 1 16
COl. Roben; 25, 60
Crisi dello slatopinno; 109
Cuba: 76, 1 1 7
Cueva, Agstin; 28, 81 , 1 1 1
Czechoslovka: 2 1
Dahl, Rober A.; 48
Davos; 23
Debray, Regs; 102
DeleuU, Gilles: 10
Denmark; 1 1 9
Derrda. Jaeques: 109
Deutsche Bank; 45
obb, Maurice; 23
Domi ni can Republic; 1 0. 74
Don QULOle: 20. 3 I
Drbush, Rudiger 1 07
Ds Sntos, Theolonio; 28
Drcker. Peter; 84
Drug Enforcement Administration
(OEA); 1 1 7
Duke Univerity; 93
Duverer, Maurce: 1 1 1
Eagleton, Ter; 100, 101, 103. 104,
105
East Timor; 1 1 7
Economist. The: 78
Ecuador; 66. 1 1 7
Eisenstadt, Samuel: I I I
EISaiador; 43
Empire o]Chaos; 25
Empire: 1 . 4, 5, 6. 8, 1 0, 1 1 . 1
3. 14.
16, 1 8. 2J. 24. 25. 26. 35. 39, 47,
59. 6. 61 , 75. 80, 87, 88, 90, 91
93. 95. 98, 10. 103. 1 04, 105.
106. 1 07, 1 10, I L J 1 14, l l5. 121,
1 23, 1 24
Engls, Fredrch: 2. 7. 28, 89
Eurpean Union: 45. 76
Eurp: 18, 38, 43. 45, 68, 69, 97
Elon; 1 19
Fabbrche del sogetto; 109
Federalist papers; 94
Feuerbach, Ludwg 2
First World War: 3, 10, 52
Ford; 45, 1 19
Fortunej 46
Foucault, Michael; 24, 29. 30, 1 09
France
; 9,
37, 43, 5
1
, 55, 68, 104, 1 07
.
108, 109, 1 24
Free Trde Area of the Americas
(FA),81 . 1 1 6
Fredman, Millon; 1 07
Fredman, Thomas: 15, 1 6, 62. 84
Fujimori. Albeno: 1 1 5
Fukuyama. Frcis: 16, 1 01
FulUr Allereur; 10
Gabon: 27
Galbrath.John K. ; 1 1 2
Galeano, Eduardo; 28
Gates, Bill; 50, 51
General Agemem on Tarifs and
Trade (GAT): 56, 76
Generl Motors: 1 1 , 1 1 9
Genan); 9, 37, 45. 5 1, 55
Gi ndi n, Sam: 10, I I 3
Gi ntis. Herber; 92
Gonzle Casanova, Pblo; 28, J J I
1 1 8
Gorar, Carlos Salinas de; 1 1 5
Gramsci, Amonioj 6. 51 , 52
Greece; 29
Greenpeaee; 65
Greenwich Vi llage; 29
Group of Seven (G-7); 79
Guatemala: M
Guatri, Felil: 109
Guevara. Emesto 'Che': 98
Gulf War; 1 2, 61 . 62, 63. 74, 1 1 7
11
Habermas, Jirgen; 34
Haiti; 37, 43, 67
Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negr;
1 , 2, 4, 6, 8, 1 1 , 1 2, 13, 14, 1
5
, 1 7,
19, 20, 23, 2
5,
26, 29, 30, 31 , 32,
3
3, 3
4
, 3
5,
36, 37, 38, 39,
40
,
4
1 ,
42
,
43,
4, 45
,
4
6, 47,
4
8,
50, 5
1
,
5
2
, 5
3,
54
,
5
7,
5
8,
5
9, 6, 62, 6
4
,
6
5
, 66, 67, 68, 6, 70, 71 , 72, 73,
7
4
, 7
5
, 77, 78, 83, 8
5
, 87, 88, 89,
9,
93, 9
4,
9
5
, 97, 98, 99, 1
0
,
101, 103, 104, 1 0
5
, 106, 1 10, I 2
1 13, 1 1 6, 1 18, 1 1 9, 1 22, 124
Hardt, Michael; 87, 88, 106. I p, 1 10
Harlem;
4
8
Hegel. Georg Wilhel m Fredrich; 30
Hi lferding. Rudolf; 2, 23
Ho Chi Minh; 98
Hobbesian; 82, 83
Hobsbaw, Eric; 1 1 1
Hollad;
5
1
Hondurs; 39, b,81
Hoselit, Ber; 37
Hungal; 21 . 1 19
Hunlingon. Samuel P. ; 1 2, 70, 71 ,
1 18
Hussein, Saddam; 1 1 , 16, 63
lptere consliluente; 1p
Indi a; 23, 37
Interational Convention on the
Rghts of the Chi ld; 76
I nteratonal Coun of justce; 77
Interatonal Crminal coun; 7
5
Interational Lbor Organiztion
(JL); 43
Interational MonetI Fund ( J MF);
2, 2
4
,
5
6.
5
9, 6
5, 71 , 72, 78, 79
,
81 ,
g, 1 1 3. 1 17. 1 20
lO6, 7, 8, 9. 10, 1 1 , 13, 14 1 6, 1 7,
20, 17, 61
Italian Communist Pr [Pl),108
Ital ian Rdical PQ, 108
Itlian Socialist Pr; 1 10
Italy; b, 104, 108, 1p, 1 1 0
Jagaribe, Hcl io; 28, t t t
japan
;
37, 69. 8
3
, 84
jercho; 4
Kgan, Rober; 12
Knt. Immanuel; 10, 89
Kapstein, Ethan;
4
6
Kaulsky, Karl; 23
Kelsen, Hans; 26, 27
Kees, john Mayard; 10, 109
Kirkpatrick,jeane; 7
4
Kissinger, Henr 38, 39
Koso; 27, 62
Kruthammer, Charles; 1 2
Kyoto Ageemenl j 76
LAnomalia Sailaje; Ip
La Fora Stalo. Per la Critica
dell 'Economia Polilico della
ConslilUzionej Ip
LNacion; 1 22
Labor of Dionysus. A Critique of Ihe
Slolerm; 10
Lcan,jacques; Ip
Lcandonajungle; 3
5
Lndless Workers' Movement, Brzil
(MST); 36, 1 16
Ltin America; 23.
37, 38,
45
,
5
1 , 68,
69, 88, 102, 1 18, 1 19
Lenin, Vladimir Jl ich; 2, 13, 23, 31 ,
1 1 1, 1 1 3
Les nouleoux espaces de libere; 10
Lokean; 83
Lng Tentiet/l Centur, The; 2
5
Los Ageles; 33, 83, 1 21
Luhmann, Niklas; 26. 3
4
Lukacs, Gyor;
54
Luxemburg, Rosa; 1, 13, 23, 1
04
, 1 1 1
Lyotrd, JeanFran'ise; 109
Machiavelli, Niccolo; 33,
6
, 92
Madison, james; 9
4
Magdof, Han; 23
Maldonado Denis, Manuel; 28
Managua; 77
Mandel, Erst; 23
12
Mandela, Nclson; 98
Mao Zedong; 31 . 98
Marni, Ruy Mauro; 28
Mar olrre Mar; 109
Mar, Krl; 2. 7.
24. 28.
29
.
30
,
3
1
. 33.
35
. 49, 58
, 89. 105. 106. 1 13, 1 24
Marism; 23. 54. 70. 101 . 104 Io_,
106
Masschusett Institute or
Technolo (MI); 94
Matlick, Paul; 23
May 1 , 1886 Hayarket Square.
Chkag; 51
McDonald's; 45
Medheranean; 64
Meiskns Wo. Ellen; 54 83. 85, 86.
9. 1 12. 1 24
Menem. Carlos Saul; 1 1 5
Mexico; 43. 1 1 5
Micrsof; 15. 45
Middle Est;
Milan; 108
Mi nisu of Intcratonal Trde and
IndusU. Japan (Min); 84
Modem World System, The; 25
Monde Diplomat;que, J; 1 19
Moro, Aldo; 108
Multilaterl Ageement on
Investment (M): 59, 65, 66. 67,
81 , 1 1 7
Nationa seurty Council; 38, 69
Negi, Atonio; 9. 19, 20. 42. 93. 108,
t,t lo, 1 1 9. 1 21 , 1 22. 1 24
New Ellgland Journal ofMedicine; 48
NmLfReir; I
New York Tmes; 15. 62. 84. 1 22
Ne York; 6, 1 5. 1 6. 29, 36, 83, 1 21
New Zaland; 1 19
Nicaraga; 10. 74. 77, 1 1 7
Nicaragan Contrs; 77
Nixon, Richard; 38
Norega. Manuel Atonio; 1 1 7
Nonh Amerca; 1 19
Norh American Free Trde
Ageement (NAFA); 81
Nor Atlantic Treat Organi2ton
(NAT); 9. 1 20
Nor Atlantc; 9. 24
Nuft e. Omar; 28
O'Connor, James; 23
Obsener 122
Opera; e Stalo. Fra Riloluone
d'ottbre e Ne Deal; 10
Oqueli. Ron; 80
Organiztion ror Economk Co
operation and Dvelopment
(OECD); 65, 78, 1 20
Orgniztion or American Sttes
(OAS); 120
Palestinian Intifada; 33
Palmerola; 80
Panama; 80. 1 1 7
Panitch. Leo; 10. 67, 68. 69. 1 1 3. 1 1 7.
1 18
Paris Commune; 107
Pris Pace Confence; 10
Paris; 34. 93, 124
Peloponnesian war; 33
Pentagon; 4. 9
Perian Gulf; 67
Per; 1 t g
Ptras.James; 28, 1 1 1
Philadelphia; 94
Pinochet, Augsto; 74
Plato; 29
Polircs ofSublersiOIl. The; 10
Popular Pr, Spain (PP); 1 1 8
Pono Alege; 35
Poulant7as, Nicos; 1 24
Prduction. POUer, and World Order;
25
Proletar; e Scato; tp
Ptolemy; 1
PeblaJPnama Plan; J 16
Pnic war; 33
Quademi del carcere; 52
Ranciere. Jacques; I
1 3
3
Rawls,john; 26
Reagan, Ronald; 75. 79
Red Brigades; l oB
Red Cross; 65
Rei ch. Roben; 42, 43. 4
Restivo, Nestor; 1 1 9
Ricardo, David; 107
Rome; ]3, 69. 75
Rosto\. WalterW.; 37
Rousseau, jeanjacques; 29, 33
Russia; 6<, 70
Sachs, I@1Q,23
Sandi nista; 1 1 7
Sastre, Al fonso; 7
Sae Ferandez, joh n; 2B. 39, 1 1 1 ,
l i B
Schmi n, Carl; 26, 3 1 . 54
Seattlr; 4, 40
Seiser, Gregorio; 2B
Seoul; 34
September 1 1 ; 6, 7, 36
Serice of Peace and justice; 65
Sharon, Ariel; 1 1 7
Shell ; 45, 1 1 9
Shonfe[d, Andre; 2j
Siemens; 45
Sierra Leone; 27
Singapore; 83
Smi th, Adam; 107
50tI0lI$IRegster 200q 1 13
Somalia; 67, 76
Som0a, Anastasio; 74
Soros, George; 1 6
5ou88Samos. Boaventura de; 82. 83
South America; 1 16
South Korea; 33, 35, B3
Soulhern Command; Bo
Soviet Union; B, 32, 68, 101, 105
Spai n; 17, 68. 18, 104, l I B
Spi noz. Baruch; 24
St Francis of Asi si ; 20, 9B. 99, 1 00,
l l8
Stiglit, Joseph; 1 17
Strange, Susan; 14, 69, 70
Sub-commander Marcos; 34
Subsaharan Africa; 51, 1 1 7
Sweden; 78, 92
Sweez, Pul ; 23
Tajwan; 84
Tegcigalpa; 81
Thatcher, Margaret; 79
Third Interational ; 98
Third Reich; 54
Third World; 18, 23, 37, 39, 4, 69,
79. 97, 103, 1 1 7, 1 18
Tinnanmen Square; 33
Tme M0g02|nr, 1 22
Tocqueville, Ale)is de; 29, 30
Trujillo, Rfael Lonidas; 74
Trke; 1 1 7
Ti n Towers; 6
Uililever; 45
United Fruit; 66
United Ki ngdom; 8. 27, 45, 51 , 65
United Nations (UN); 8, 9. 1 5. 26, 27,
6, 62, 64, 65, 75. 76, 1 20
United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP); 37, 43, 78
Uni ted State Teasur; 81 , 84
Un.ited States; 9. 1 1 , 1 2, 1j, 18, 20,
2 1
,
27, 37, 38, 39, 43, 45, 5 1
,
60
,
61 , 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70,
7
1
, 73, 75, 76, 77. 79, 82, 83, 84
,
93, 94, 97, 1 06, 1 1 1. 1 1 3, 1 1 6,
1 19. 1 20
Uniersit of Prs VI I ; 109
Uppr West Side; 43
Urguay; 1 17
Vars Llosa, M8rO 102
Veltmeyer, Henr; 28
Venezuela; 1 19, 1 20
Veracruz; 10
Vida.!, Gorc; 6, I B, 39
Vdt8, ]otgc Rfael ; 74
Vietnam War; 1 7, 77
Wallerstei n, Immanuel; 25, 1 1 1
WarSaw Pact; 101
1 34
Washi ngton Consensus;
5
9, 7
9. 83,
1 1 5
Washingon; 6,
7
, 8, 9.
10, 1 1
.
2
7
.
36. 61 . 62, 6
3, 65, 66, 69, 7
0,
7
1 ,
7
5
, 76
,
77,
80, 82, 1 16, 1 1
7
. 1 20,
t zt
While House; 4. 9, 1 3, 1 6, 18, 45. 65,
1 20. 1 21
Wilson, Wodrow; 10
Worker' Pn, Bra2ll (,1 1 6
World Bank [WJ, 2, 24. 56, 59, 6
5,
7
1, 7
2,
7
8,
79, 9, 1 13. 1 1 7, 120
HorldUrdrr$, UIdundNm, "15
World Trde Center; q
World Trade Orniztion [W]
4
5
,
56
,
59. 65
, 7
2,
76. 79, 1
0
1 ,
1 1 3. 1 10
WreSlh, William;
5
1
Ycur_01.ThcConquc$lLonllnurs,15
Yugoslava; 28. 1 1
6
Zpat islas; 3
4. 35, 36
Zi2lk, Slavoj ; jg

0
General index
aborgnal communities; 88
aborignal organizations; 17
accumulation; 3. 85
actOrS); 1 1. 12. 18, 84, 93. 1 12, 1 1 3,
1 1 5
al l i ancelsl; 41
5 1 . 54
anarchisl(s); 16. 25
ant- socialist; 51
anti-capitalism(s): 19
ami-capitlist(s); 1 5. 35. 4 1
anti-colonialist(s); 14, 98
anti-demoratic; 65. 94
ami-fascist resistance; 9B
ant-globaiztion; 1 6. 34
anti-imperialist; 98. 1 2]
anti-popular; 94
ant i-socialist; 5 1
anti-Slte; 53. 78
apareid; 32, ]3. 83
arstocrc; 53
aned forces; 1 2. 70, 81
aut
o
rt 9. 26,
27, 5
]. 73
,
74. 86, 1 1 1
autonomy; 53. 54
banks; 46, 56, 84
biopolitic; 92
biopolitical; 28
,
91, 95, 96
biopolitics; 92
biopower; 29, yy
black; 8J
boureois (bourgeoisie); 1 1
, 22. 29,
]0, 32. 50, 52. 5]. 54, 85, 88. 92
101. 106, 1 1 1, I I J
.
1 14. 1 1 8. 122
business; 14. 1 6,
]2. 48. 49. 59
,
7
0
.
106. 1 1 2
capill; 3, 7.
13, 30, 35. 47. 48. 49.
52. 53
,
69, 83. 85, 88, 91 .
92, 101.
1 1 2. 1 1 8. 1 19
capillism(s); 1 . 2. 3. 4, 1 0, 1 3
,
14, 1 7
,
18, 19. 2 1 25. ]
0. J l,
J2. 3
3
. 41 ,
42. 46. 51 . 55. 58, 59. 67. 77. 78,
79. 80. 83. 9, 91 , 99. 1 01 . 1 04,
1 07, 1 1 1 . 1 12. 1 1 8, 1 22. 1 2J
capillist accumulaton; 51
capillist class; 85, 92
capitlist e)ploittion; 33
capitalist relatons of production;
1 14
capitalist revolution; 80
capitalist societ (ies); J, 54. 59. 60.
88
capitalist stare(s); 7, 56. 77
.
8 1 . 84. 85
capitalist(s); 3, 4. 7, 1 ]. 1 4. 16. 1 7
.
30,
31, 33. 36. 47, 51 . 52. 54. 56. 59.
60. 8 1, 82. 91 , 92. 104, 109. 1 1 9
casino capitalism; 1 4
centre; 4, 1 1 . 36. 37. J9
,
40, 73, 75.
79. 82, 105
cholos; 88
citizen(s); q,69. 83. 90
dt izens rights; 9
citi:ens wage; 92
citizenship; 69. 89. 90. 91 , 9
5. 96
civil societ; 52. 57. 58, 62, 72, 77. 82,
89, 90 122
civilizlion; 1 3. 29
.
]2. 97
.
1 24
class st rgles; 30, 68, 81 , 96, 1 13.
1 22
class(es); 19. 45. 57. 60
. 68. 9, 96
.
10J. 106
coaJition; 30, 36. 51, 70. 79, 1 19
roerciOOj 27. 122
collect.ive subjects; 19
colonialism; 30
colonies; 15
coloni7-3tlon; 2 1
communication(s); 33, 34, 92, 95. 96,
97. 1 21
communist societ: 25
communiSI(s); 1 6, 15, 49. 68, 95. 98.
99. 1 00. 104. 107
company(ies); 14. 1 5. 16. 4. 45. 46.
48
.
49. 65. 66, 67. 69. 76. 79. 80.
84, 85, 1 13, 1 1 5,
1
1 9
complcxities); 8, 19. 55. 74. 106
concentrton camps; 32
conflict(s); 27. 29. 35.
4
1
, 67. 73. 1 1 6

1 19. 1 20
confrontation; 1 9
.
62
conquest; 7, 1 1 . 1 2. 2 1 . 33
consensuS; 9, 2
8.
53, 54. 55. 68
.
76
consertve; 1 5. 62, 78, 103, 1 1 1
constituent power; 40 93, 96
consumers); 85, 1 1 5
contract(s); 27. 66. 83
cororation(s); 1 1 . 13. 14. t_, 16, 1 7.
24
,
4
'1
, 46. 47. 48, 49
.
50. 51
.
53.
56. 62. 79, 84
counter-powr; 40. 55
counter-revolution; 1 04. 1 1 3
counties colonized; 1 3
coup d'tt; 10. 120
coyote; 43
cuhural; 19. 55. 82. 88. 101, 1 1 2. 1 14
debate(s);
5. 6, 37. 38, 41
.
48.
93. 94,
10, 109
decentred; 1 0
democrac; 7. 1 6. 1 7. 1 8, 21 . 32. 66.
7 1. 88. 9. 92. 1 01 . 1 1 7
democrlic order; 14, 82
democrtic slate; 81 . 83
democrLic;
4. 7. 8. 9. 1 4. 1 7.
18, 2 1 .
80. 8 1
demonSl'ralion(sl; 1 7
.
18, 35, 101
dcpendenC; 4,
3
8. 39, 68
dereglation of market(s); 80. 85
despotism; 29. 48
delerrlorialized; 10
developllcnt; 3, 32, 33, 35. 37, 38.
4
. 46. 47. 5
1
. 54. 59. 1 05, 1
1
3.
1 14
dialectic; 40, 53. 107
dicttorship; 2 1. 35
disciplinar socier; ;o
doclrne(s); 12, 51
dominant class(es); 7. 1 1 . 14. 68.
1 14, 1 1 5, 1 1 8, 1 22
domination; 4, 1 1 , 20. 29. 30, 31, 36.
61 . 72. 73. 9. 1 1 5
drgs); 7 1 . 1 16
ecologists; 1 6
economy(ies);
3. 1 4. 15. 23
.
24.
36.
39. 42. 45.
46
,
47. 59
,
70, 78
.
79.
80, 83
,
84, 94, 1
0, 105. 106, 1 07,
t t q, l i S, 1 16. 1 17, 1 19
education; 32, 79. 90. 1 14
emanCipation; 91 94. 99
emancipator; 20, 2 1 . 56, 68
empire; 1 , 4. 8, 1 1 , 12, 1 3. 15. 16. 18.
1 9. 20, 23. 26.
27, 28. 30. 31
,
31
,
34. 36.
3
7
.
39. 40, 4
7
. 50 .58. 59.
60 .61 . 62. 63, 64. 66 67. 68. 6,
70 . 71 , 73. 75, 77. 79. 8
2
, 87. 91

96. 97, 99. 103. I l l ! 1 1 3. 1 14.
1 1 6, 1 1 7, 1 1 8. 1 1 9, 1 20, 1 2 1. 1 23
empowerment; 89. 90
enem)iies); 19. 20. 3 1 , 3
5
. 40. 4 1 , 48.
7 1 . 75. 1 1 6
equal ity; 32
cstabl ishment; 10, 24. 62, 65. 85. 1 1 6
exploitalion; 20, 30, 47. 49. 88. 1 1 3
exploited; 29. 3 1 , 48. 82. 88. 91 , 99.
1 19
femi ni sts; 1 7
feudalism; 3 1
fnance; 14, 46. 88
fnancial; 3. 72. 80. 8]
,
88. 90, 1 1 7.
1 20
fnancializtion: 3
forces of production; 1 1 3
forces; 1 2. 1 7, 28. 36. 41 , 6]. 68, 77,
103. 107, 1 1 7
rree markets. 42. 48
freedom; 7. 1 2, 16, 71 .
7
3,
93
.
94.
98, 1 1 1
ghettos; 83
global market(s); 45, 69, 83. 84. 101
1 3 7
:
W

global; 3. I I . 1 3. 1 5
.
24. 26. 3
. 3 1 .
1
3
,
34
.
36. 4

. 41 . 45. 46. 47
.
48

49
,
55
,
56
.
60. 61 . 62. 63. 64. 67.
68
,
69, 7 1 . 72. 73. 75. 77. 84. 85.
89. 9. 91 , 1 1 2. 1 13. 1 23. 1 24
global iztion; 1 . 2. 3. 4. 5. 14. 1 5. 16.
1
7. 1 9. 3
1
. 35. 4.
4
. 46. 56
.
59.
73. 82. 83. 84. 89. 99. I I I . 1 12.
1 23
'globaphobics'; 5
goods and serices; 4. 1 1 5
health; 14. 48. 76. 79. 1 14
hegemon;
hegemony; 1 1 . 3
. 60. 7 1 . 7
2. 97
.
1 15
.
1 16. 1 20
historcal materal ism; 25. 26. 59.
70, 105
hisLOr; 1 . 4, 7. 8
. 16. 1 7. 19. 23. 43,
52. 53, 55. 63. 66. 79, 89. 96. 104.
107. 1 14. 1 16. 1 19. 1 22. 1 24
housing; 79. 93. 1 1 4
human rghts; 16. 7 1 , 1 1 7
humanitaran; 6
,
27. 28. 56. 64, 65.
66. 76, 1 1 6
humanity; 20. 75. 99. 1 24
identit 3. 35. 73. 10 I
ideologist(s); 46. 48. 61 . t1 2. t14.
1 23
ideolog; 30. 43. 53. 59. 6. 1 10. 1 1 3,
1 1 5. 123
immigrants; 19. 43
imperalism: 2. 3. 40. 5. 7. 10. 1 3. 14.
19. 21 . 24. 23. 26. 3

. 38. 39. 59.


6.64. 65. 67, 68. 69. 71 . 73. 75.
80. 84. 1 1 2. 1 1 3. 1 14. 1 1 6. 1 1 7.
J J8. 1 20. 1 23. 1 24
impera.list(s); I 3. 4. 6, 8. 9. 1 1 . 1 2.
1 3. 1 6. 17. 1 9. 27. 32. 36. 59
,
61 .
63.
6
4.
6
8. 7

. 73. 74
.
79. 80. 85.
10. 107. 1 13. J l 6. 1 18. 1 19. 1 20.
1 24
i mperialistic; 27. 28. 63. 64
income; 1 5. 43. 46. 85. 91 . 92
.
1 1 4.
1 1 9
Indians; 88
individual consciences; 29
individual l i benies; 32
indivdualist; 82
industralized count ries; 78. 80. 96.
1 1 3
i nformation; 50. 77. 78. 84, 95, 96
insurgence; 97
insurnt forces; 36
i ntellectuals; 7, 20, 50, 54. 67. 7 1 , 9,
98. 105, 1 09, 1 20, 1 23, 1 24
i mer-imperial rivalr; 14
international; 3, 8. 9. 1 1 1 2 13, 14,
1 9. 23, 26. 27, 28. 33. 35. 36. 37.
38. 39. 41 . 55, 56. 58. 59, 60. 61 ,
62, 64. 65, 69. 70, 72, 75, 76. 79.
83, 84. 89, 9. 925. , 101. 1 1 1,
1 1 3, 1 1 7, 1 1 8, : Ij, 1 20
interationalism; 33, 40. 89
i nterationalist ideolog; 10
justice; 1 2, 1 3.
28, 61 , 63. 64, 65
.
66,
77. 1 16
labour fore; 4J. 49
labur legislaton; 43, 49
labour refors; 85
labour unions; 19, 41 . 49. 85, 95
labour; 41 . 49, 88. 91 . 96
laiss-fai re; 52
landowners; 88
latina; 47. 83
legalit; J 2
Lviathans; 15. 46. 83, 99
li berl(s}; 5 1 , 52. 70. 1 01 , 1 1 1
l iberlism; 52, 108
l i benaran pssimism; 103
mafa; 1 6. 1 1 9. 1 20
mandarins; 68, 123
market fredom; 1 1 5
market(s); 1 6, 26. 38. 42. 45
,
46
,
47,
50, 57, 67. 69. 71 . 79. 80, 82. 83.
84, 85. 1 01 . J l 5. J l7
markets' tanny; 4. 1 7, 82. 1 17
Marst trdition; 1 05, 106. 108
138
mass mdia; 7, 70. 72. 82. 1 14. 1 24
material conditions; 28
means of prouction; 95. 96
mest izos; 88
metropolis; 1 5
metropolitan capitalism; 1 8, 46. 77,
78
,
8], 9 1 , 1 1 8
middle classes; 88
migants; 18, 43, 97
mi l itant(s)j 17. 19, 98, 99
militr occupation: 7, 8
,
1 1 , 21
mi litar; 1 2, 1 5. 1 7, 27, 41 ,
6
, 63
,
67,
71 , 77, 80, 81 . 88, 1 16
mobiliztion: 1 7. 19. 41
mode ofproucron: 3
.
1 04. 1 23
moder; 1 3, 15, 16, 29. 32. 35. 48
. 6
6
.
91 102
moderist; 48
modernir; 32. 33
multilatenlism; 8
multtude(s); 1 8, 1 9. 30
.
32. 40
.
4 1
,
87. 88. 89. 9 1 . 92
.
93. 94. 9
5. 96
97
.
98. 99
, 10]. 104, 1 1 3. 1 14, 1 23
nation (s); 3. 26, 38. 39. 4. 6
0. 62,
65. 66, 69, 72, 79. 80
nation building; 20. 2 1
national; 9. 10, I 1 2, 1 3. 1 4, 1 5, 31 ,
35, 36
.
42,
4, 45, 46
.
47, 49
, 5
1 ,
53. 54, 55. 56,
58, 61 , 65, 70. 72
7
5.
76, 77, 78, 83, 84, 87. 90, 104,
1 1 3
, 1 19
natonalism; 1 1 9
natjonaliri 56
nation-slatej 10, 1 5, 27, 32. 33, 42,
43, 47, 5
0. 53. 56, 5
7
.
64
,
73. 8
]
.
84, 85. 86. 87, 89. 1 01, 104, 123
naturl resources: 13
ncocolonial i sm; 38
neoconserative: 76
neo-liberal: 1 . 2, 3.
5. 14. 1 6, 19. 20,
25. 35
,
46, 59, 68. 78
,
82, 89, 99,
10, 104, 1 1 1 , 1 1 2, 1 1 3. 1 14. 1 1 5,
1 18
.
1 23
neo-liberalism: 59. 79, 91 . 101 , 1 1 3,
1 1 4. 1 1
5
, 1 1 8
non-cit izens; 69
non-global(s); 16, 1 7. 19
non-i mperialist; 1 18
non-natonal ; 46
non-place: 24
,
1 2 1
non-terrtorial; 69
nuch:ar weapons; 32
oi l : 13, 14, 63
.
1 19
ol igopolist ic; 1 1 4
ownerhip; 1
5
pacifsm; 1 7
pacifsls; 1 6. 1 7
par militres; 88
peace: 6, 10. 1 7, 65. 67
peasnts; 88
peripher; 4
, 1 1 , 37. 38. 39, 40, 49, 60,
62
,
79, 80
,
82, 85, 9. 91 , 1 1 7
.
1 18
pickets: 36
planet: 64. 9
6, 102
plicies); 3
,
6. 9, 1 8, 20, 46, 5 1
. 5
2,
61 . 63. 71
.
76
.
78, 79
. 8, 82, 85,
90. 1 1 2. 1 1 4
. 1 1 5. 1 1 7
polilical: 1 , 2,
5
.
9. 1 7, 1 9. 23, 24. 25,
26. 29. 32. 33. 36, 38. 39, 41 , 49
,
5
2
, 53. 5
4
. 55, 56
,
5
8
,
59. 61
,
65,
68. 69, 80. 82, 84, 86, 87, 89, 92
94
,
96, 97. 98. 10, 101 , 102, 10
5
.
106, 107, 1 08, 1 1 2. 1 1 4. 1 1
5,
1 1 6.
1 22, 1 24
politics; 8, 19. 20
,
3 1 , 5
2
. 5
3. 54, 55.
7 1 , 1 05. 106, 107
population(s)j 6.
18. 21 , 37. 46. 47.
5
1 , 64. 69, 77, 83, 87
.
92. 97
.
1 1
5
.
1 1 7
post-capitalisl; 21
post-colonial: 27, 97
posl-fordism: 1 01
psl-imperaJisl; 21 , 27
post-modern societ; 96
posl-modernit; 91
.
9
5
, 123
pst-strcturalism: 107
post-war: 23. 64, 89, 1 20
pOI-bangng protesters: 36
pver; 98, 99, 1 23
1
39
power; 13. 24. 27.
19. 30. 33. 36. 40.
56, 60. 61 . 62. 63. 64. 70. 72. 7
3
.
74. 77. 81 . 89
.
92. 93. 94. 96. 97.
99. 103. 1 1 2. 115. 116. 117
prvatc companies; 83. 115
profts; 6. 1 5. 49. 76. 85
proess: 1 6. 32. 50. 66. 79. 1 1 5. 1 1 7
progessive policies; 1 1 4
proletarat; 88. 95. 1 23
propn 46. 94. 96
public agenda; 10
public employees; 88
public expenditure: 77. 78. 79. 1 14.
1 1 7
public opiion: 16. 1 7
public sector 79. 9
public sphere; 1 14
racism: 48
reaclionar; 19. 33. 123
reappropraton; 92. 95
reform(s); 78. 85.
95. 1 14
regme; 4. 1 1 . 21. 31
.
40. 55. 62. 67
.
80. 87. 88. 1 1 8
reglaton(s); 51. 80. 1 1 4. 1 1 8
relatonships of force; 89
repression: 51 . 61 . 88. 96
republicanism: 87
republicans; 98
resistance movemenls; 9
reolution; 1. 55. 80. 84, 87. 91 97.
98. 99. 101. 101. 10]
reolutionar: 41
.
91 . 98. 103. 104.
105. 106
secularzation: 32
semi cilizens: 69
sexsm: 48
sexual mi norties: 88
slaver: 32
.
33. 64, 91
social classes: 88
soial democrac; 90. 1 08
social forces; 35. 53, 58. 102. 1 07
social movement(s): 16, 18. 19. 66.
106
social ordeJs): 36. 59. 1 23
social rlotions of prouction: 1 1 3
social science: 13. 28. 29. 70
social strgles: 41 . 12 2
soial wage: 91 . 91
soialism; 32. 68
soialist(s); 1 6. 95. 1 01 . 104
sier of comrol: 29. 30
soier: 6. 21 . 15. 30. 31. 4 1, 52. 59.
97. 99. 10. 1 1 1 . 1 13. 1 23
sovereigr (sovereigties): 9. 10. 1 2,
13. 53. 56 66. 67. 71
,
73. 74. 75
,
76. 77. 82. 1 1 4, 1 1 7
state: 3. 7, 10. 26, 42, 49.
50, 5 1. 52

53. 55, 56. 5;. 6. 65. 66, 67. 70
7 1 . 73. 77. 78. 79, 80, 81. 82. 83,
84. 85. 86, 87, 89
,
9. 91. 92, 98
.
10. 1 09. 1 1 2 1 1 5. 1 20
stateowned companies: 79. 1 1 5
strke(si: 33. 1 0 I
strcturlism: 10
strcture; 2, 3. 8. 1 1. 13. 16, 19. 39.
56. 57. 58. 69
.
70. 73
,
74. 9. 1 01 .
1 1 1 .
1 1 3. 1 15. 1 19, 1 13. 1 24
subsidies; 4. 84. 1 I 7
subversive: 41
superower: I I 12, 6. 68. 7 1 . 73.
75. 76
suprnational: 10. 64. 65. 72. 83
surlus-value; 47, 85
system(s): 1 , 2. 8. 13. 1 4,
1
9, 23, 24,
27. 37. 38. 39, 59
.
61 . 64, 72, 79.
82. 83. 84. 90. 94. 10. 102. 103.
104, 1 07. 108. 1 12, 113, 116
taxes; 1 5. 4, 85
technolog: 42. 4. 70, 84
terrtoral ocupation: 1 3, 2 1
teritoral; 10, 1 1 , 12, 1 5, 36, 69, 73.
97
terrtor; 14, 94
terrsm; 7. 71
Texas ranchers; 16
theor: 2. 7. 37. 39. 4, 48. 54. 56.
89. 97. 10, 1 06, 107. 109. 1 1 5.
1 22. 1 Z4
trdition: 25. 29. 32, 6. 70
tribes; 1 7
trickle-dow ther; 1 15
unaccountabilil; 81
unemployent; 80
unifcation; 40. 51. 69. 83
uni lateralism; 1 2
universal communit; 10
unsustainable;
9
value; 1 3
. 54
victim(s); 8. 10. 33. 56. 63. 76. 83
.
105. 122. 1 23
waged labour; 43. 91
wlr crimes; 75. 77
wals); 6. 7, 10. I I 1, 1 3
, 14. 16.
17.
1 8. 20. 21, 27. 32. 39. 61 , 62, 6],
64. 98, 1 05, 1 1 9, 1 23
w8tels); 2. 6, 14. 93,
1 16
wealth; 1 1, 43, 46, 62,
85. 94, 96, 99.
1 1 5
women; 88, 104. 123, 1 24
wr
k
els)
; 43. 49, 5 1, 85. 88, 91
, J
08
,
J 1 9, 1 23
working class; 1 01 , 107
world economy; 3, 24
,
39, 45. 46
,
47
,
84, 1 19
world order; 8, 1 2, 26,
31 , So, 59. 64,
67, 70. 73. 74, 87. JO. 1 20
world population; 21 , 37
. 46, 5 1 , 9
7
world records; 75