Michael Hardt on the Potential of Autonomia


Nice Job!

I just re-read Michael Hardt’s introduction to the book Radical Thought in Italy.  Both the piece and the book are fantastic and recommended.  But what struck me this time was the beautiful job Hardt does of articulating the how the Italians tend toward a radical politics that focuses its attention not on the powers that be (what they often call constituted power), but rather on our own power (constituent power).  In autonomism this took the form, for example, of Tronti’s point that if all value is produced by labor (this is Marx), then the proletariat must be the leading class in society, the class whose activity shapes society.  The bourgeoisie, it follows, is thus continuously reacting to and trying to catch up to the action of the workers.  For the Italians, “the tasks of political theory,” while they do “involve the analyses of the forms of domination and exploitation that plague us,” nevertheless insist that “the first and primary tasks are to identify, affirm, and further the existing instances of social power [which already exist among people themselves] that allude to a new alternative society, a coming community” (7).  The point is therefore not to confront capital-and-the-state in order to seize their power.  Since we are the source of all power, we must instead withdraw our power–the power we already have–from the capital-and-state relation.  An exodus (Virno); a line of flight (D&G).

This line of thinking underscores the importance of Nietzsche’s critique of ressentiment.  If we spend all our time obsessing about the intricacies of how constituted power dominates us, and resent the power it holds over us, we are not being attentive to our own (constituent) power.  We are missing the point, we are ignoring the way out, we are blind to “the entire creative potential of our own practical capacities” (6).  In this power lies the seeds of a communist and/or democratic society, and so ressentiment’s obsessive critique does nothing so much as occlude the path to the possible.


New Issue of ACME on Anarchism

This is a long time in coming, but it is a collection out of a great session at the Las Vegas AAG a few years back.  My piece feels a bit old to me, but I think my debate with Richard Day is worth a read.  It got a bit heated, but maybe, hopefully, in a productive way.  He is an valuable voice in anarchist thought and practice.  See the details below.


The latest issue of ACME is now online and available free.

ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies
Volume 11, issue 3, 2012
Table of Contents

Special Theme Issue
Anarchist and Autonomous Marxist Geographies
Guest edited by Nathan Clough and Renata Blumberg

Toward Anarchist and Autonomist Marxist Geographies
Nathan Clough and Renata Blumberg, pp 335-351

Are “Other Spaces” Necessary? Associative Power at the Dumpster
Nicholas Jon Crane, pp 352-372

Anarchism, Geography, and Queer Space-making: Building Bridges Over Chasms We Create
Farhang Rouhani, pp 373-392

Organizing for Survival: From the Civil Rights Movement to   Black Anarchism through the Life of Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin
Nik Heynan and Jason Rhodes, pp 393-412

At the Intersection of Anarchists and Autonomists: Autogestioni and Centri Sociali
Pierpaolo Mudu, pp 413-438

Counter (Mapping) Actions: Mapping as Militant Research
Counter Cartographies Collective, Craig Dalton, and Liz Mason-Deese, pp 439-466

Autonomist Marxist Theory and Practice in the Current Crisis
Brian Marks, pp 467-491

Bridging Common Grounds: Metaphor, Multitude, and Chicana Third Space Feminism
Cathryn Jesefina Merla-Watson, pp 492-511

Gramsci Is Not Dead: For a ‘Both/And’ Approach to Radical Geography
Mark Purcell, pp. 512-524

Re-inscribing the Hegemony of Hegemony: A Response to Mark Purcell
Richard JF Day, pp 525-529

Frankenstein is Dead
Mark Purcell, pp. 530-532

*     *     *

Rose Street and Revolution: A Tribute to Neil Smith (1954-2012)
Tom Slater, pp 533-546