Antonio Negri: No to Socialism, Yes to Cities

Two things so far from Negri’s Goodbye Mr. Socialism (2008[2006]), which is a conversation with Raf Scelsi.  One, he lays down the law with this zinger:

Socialism isn’t anything other than the statist transformation of capitalism (p. 43).

I am becoming increasingly convinced that the sooner we can accept this point the better, so we can move on to more fruitful concepts like communism, democracy, and anarchism.

Two, he has a whole riff in Chapter 2 about the importance of the city and the urban, almost as though he has discovered Lefebvre 35 years after the fact.  “Today,” he remarks, wide-eyed,

the city is itself a source of production: the organized, inhabited, and traversed territory has become a productive element just as worked land once was.  Increasingly, the inhabitant of a metropolis is the true center of the world… (p. 35).

“Where there is mass, there is energy,” he says, and “this is a fundamental principle of the common” (p. 36).  Because cities are machines for concentrating masses in space, they have great potential to intensify the energy of the common.  In this light, he is very enthusiastic about the strikes in Paris in late 1995, which he says, “directly involved, in a participatory way with displays of solidarity, the entire metropolitan population of Paris” (p. 33).

To see a great metropolis like Paris act this way…to see it withstand (relying on itself) almost three months without public transportation–well, it’s like being confronted, really, by a small commune (p. 39).

“Long live the metropolis and its multitude!” (p. 36).  It seems he has gotten religion.  Amen.


2 thoughts on “Antonio Negri: No to Socialism, Yes to Cities

  1. Pingback: Reconsidering Agamben | Path to the Possible

  2. Pingback: Eugene Holland: Nomad Citizenship | Path to the Possible

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