Notes for Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri Empire

Key concepts: affective labor, antihumanism, being-against, bellum justum, biopolitical production, biopower, commons, concrete universal, corruption, cyborg, disciplinarity, empire, factory-society, general intellect, hegemony, hybrid, imperialism, informatization, machinic exodus, miscegenation, modernity, multitude, naked life, nation, network, nomadism, non-place of power, ontological vacuum, positive barbarism, posthumanism, postmodernity, postmodernization, real subsumption, scapes, simultaneity, social state, sovereignty, subjectivity, subsumption, Toyotism.

Related theorists: Giorgio Agamben, Yuko Aoyama, Arjun Appadurai, Giovanni Arrighi, Etienne Balibar, Walter Benjamin, Homi Bhabha, Jean Bodin, Manuel Castells, Guy Debord, Gilles Deleuze, Rene Descartes, Michel Foucault, Gramsci, Felix Guattari, Donna Haraway, Hegel, Rudolf Hilferding, Thomas Hobbes, Fredric Jameson, Thomas Jefferson, Immanuel Kant, Karl Kautsky, Hans Kelsen, Jaron Lanier, Bartolome de Las Casas, Lenin, Pierre Levy, Niklas Luhmann, Rosa Luxemburg, Machiavelli, Karl Marx, Polybius, John Rawls, Robert Reich, Adam Smith, Spinoza, Giambattista Vico, Max Weber.


Empire is the new form of political subject and sovereignty.

(xi) Along with the global market and global circuits of production has emerged a global order, a new logic and structure of rule—in short, a new form of sovereignty. Empire is the political subject that effectively regulates these global exchanges, the sovereign power that governs the world.

Sovereignty has not declined with nation-states; empire is new form of national and supranational organisms.

(xi-xii) The decline in sovereignty of nation-states, however, does not mean that sovereignty as such has declined. Throughout the contemporary transformations, political controls, state functions, and regulatory mechanisms have continued to rule the realm of economic and social production and exchange. Our basic hypothesis is that sovereignty has taken a new form, composed of a series of national and supranational organisms united under a single logic of rule. This new global form of sovereignty is what we call Empire.

Nation-states and imperialism structured by territorial boundaries; empire is decentered and deterritorializing.

(xii) the territorial boundaries of the nation delimited the center of power from which rule was exerted over external foreign territories through a system of channels and barriers that alternately facilitated and obstructed the flows of production and circulation. Imperialism was really an extension of the sovereignty of the European nation-states beyond their own boundaries.
(xii) In contrast to imperialism, Empire establishes no territorial center of power and does not rely on fixed boundaries or barriers. It is a
decentered and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers. Empire manages hybrid identities, flexible hierarchies, and plural exchanges through modulating networks of command.

Capital faced with smooth world defined by biopolitical production.

(xiii) Capital seems to be faced with a smooth world—or really, a world defined by new and complex regimes of differentiation and homogenization, deterritorialization and reterritorialization. . . . In the postmodernization of the global economy, the creation of wealth tends ever more toward what we will call biopolitical production, the production of social life itself, in which the economic, the political, and the cultural increasingly overlap and invest one another.

Modernity European, postmodernity American; US position is privileged but will not form center of an imperialist project.

(xiii-xiv) If the nineteenth century was a British century, then the twentieth century has been an American century; or really, if modernity was European, then postmodernity is American. The most damning charge critics can level, then, is that the United States is repeating the practices of old European imperialists, while proponents celebrate the United States as a more efficient and more benevolent world leader, getting right what the Europeans got wrong. Our basic hypothesis, however, that a new imperial form of sovereignty has emerged, contradicts both these views. The United States does not, and indeed no nation-state can today, form the center of an imperialist project. Imperialism is over. No nation will be world leader in the way modern European nations were.

Ancient imperial model inspired founders of United States to imagine open, expanding empire distributed power in networks.

(xiv) Thomas Jefferson, the authors of the Federalist, and the other ideological founders of the United States were all inspired by the ancient imperial model; they believed they were creating on the other side of the Atlantic a new Empire with open, expanding frontiers, where power would be effectively distributed in networks. This imperial idea has survived and matured throughout the history of the United States constitution and has emerged now on a global scale in its fully realized form.

Empire conceptualized as limitless rule of spatial totality, suspending history and fixing existing state for eternity, operating on all social registers to regulate human nature as well as actions, dedicated to perpetual peace outside of history although continually waging war.

Empire presents paradigmatic form of biopower.

(xiv-xv) The concept of Empire is characterized fundamentally by a lack of boundaries. Empire's rule has no limits. First and foremost, then, the concept of Empire posits a regime that effectively encompasses the spatial totality, or really that rules over the entire “civilized” world. No territorial boundaries limit its reign. Second, the concept of Empire presents itself not as a historical regime originating in conquest, but rather as an order that effectively suspends history and thereby fixes the existing state of affairs for eternity. . . . Third, the rule of Empire operates on all registers of the social order extending down to the depths of the social world. Empire not only manages a territory and a population but also creates the very world it inhabits. It not only regulates human interactions but also seeks directly to rule over human nature. The object of its rule is social life in its entirety, and thus Empire presents the paradigmatic form of biopower. Finally, although the practice of Empire is continually bathed in blood, the concept of Empire is always dedicated to peace—a perpetual and universal peace outside of history.

The multitude struggles against Empire; hope for new democratic forms of power.

(xv) The creative forces of the multitude that sustain Empire are also capable of autonomously constructing a counter-Empire, an alternative political organization of global flows and exchanges. The struggles to contest and subvert Empire, as well as those to construct a real alternative, will thus take place on the imperial terrain itself—indeed, such new struggles have already begun to emerge. Through these struggles and many more like them, the multitude will have to invent new democratic forms and a new constituent power that will one day take us through and beyond Empire.

Empire tracking progress of capital in European and US logics, but has global scope.

(xv-xvi) The genealogy we follow in our analysis of the passage from imperialism to Empire will be first European and then Euro-American . . . with the development of the capitalist mode of production. Whereas the genealogy of Empire is in this sense Eurocentric, however, its present powers are not limited to any region. Logics of rule that in some sense originated in Europe and the United States now invest practices of domination throughout the globe.

Interdisciplinary framework and toolbox modeled on Marx and Deleuze and Guattari for theorizing, acting in and against Empire.

(xvi) In writing this book we have tried to the best of our abilities to employ a broadly interdisciplinary approach. . . . What we hope to have contributed in this book is a general theoretical framework and toolbox of concepts for theorizing and acting in and against Empire.

Realm of production reveals social inequalities and provides most effective resistances and alternatives to Empire.

(xvii) The realm of production is where social inequalities are clearly revealed and, moreover, where the most effective resistances and alternatives to thw power of Empire arise.



Reject conceptions that order arose spontaneously or by dictated by transcendent power.

(3) We should rule out from the outset, however, two common conceptions of this order that reside on opposing limits of the spectrum: first, the notion that the present order somehow rises up spontaneously out of the interactions of radically heterogeneous global forces, as if this order were a harmonious concert orchestrated by the natural and neutral hidden hand of the world market; and second, the idea that order is dictated by a single power and a single center of rationality transcendent to global forces, guiding the various phases of historical development according to its conscious and all-seeing plan, something like a conspiracy theory of globalization.

United Nations

International order sustaining European modernity is in crisis; United Nations transfers sovereign right to supranational center of nascent global order.

(4-5) It is widely recognized that the notion of international order that European modernity continually proposed and reproposed, at least since the Peace of Westphalia, is now in crisis. . . . The birth of the United Nations at the end of the Second World War merely reinitiated, consolidated, and extended this developing international juridical order that was first European but progressively became completely global. The United Nations, in effect, can be regarded as the culmination of this entire constitutive process, a culmination that both reveals the limitations of the notion of international order and points beyond it toward a new notion of global order. . . . On the one hand, the entire U.N. conceptual structure is predicated on the recognition and legitimation of the sovereignty of individual states, and it is thus planted squarely within the old framework of international right defined by pacts and treaties. On the other hand, however, this process of legitimation is effective only insofar as it transfers sovereign right to a real supranational center.

Kelsen sought rational idea of Enlightenment modernization in United Nations.

(5) As early as the 1910s and 1920s, [Hans] Kelsen proposed that the international juridical system be conceived as the supreme source of every national juridical formation and constitution. . . . Behind the formal sequence that Kelsen described, then, there was a real and substantial drive of Enlightenment modernization.
(6) For him the United Nations organized a rational idea.

Need material realization of Kelsen utopia.

(6) How can the system actually be constructed? This is the point at which Kelsen's thought ceases to be of any use to us: it remains merely a fantastic utopia. The transition we wish to study consists precisely in this gap between the formal conception that grounds the validity of the juridical process in a supranational source and the material realization of this conception.

Many theorists resurrect old models based on domestic analogy featuring Hobbesian monarchism and Lockean liberalism.

(6-7) Instead of recognizing what was really new about these supranational processes, the vast majority of juridical theorists merely tried to resurrect anachronistic models to apply to the new problems. . . . The “domestic analogy” thus became the fundamental methodological tool in the analysis of international and supranational forms of order.
(7-8) The Hobbesian variant focuses primarily on the transfer of the title of sovereignty and conceives the constitution of the supranational sovereign entity as a contractual agreement grounded on the convergence of preexisting state subjects. . . . By contrast, according to the Lockean variant, the same process is projected in more decentralized, pluralistic terms. . . . Rather than global security, then, what is proposed here is a global constitutionalism, or really this amounts to a project of overcoming state imperatives by constituting a
global civil society. . . . Rather than recognizing the new nature of imperial power, the two hypotheses simply insist on the old inherited forms of state constitution: a monarchic form in the Hobbesian case, a liberal form in the Lockean.

Imperial sovereignty makes paradigm shift that only Kelsen correctly theorizes.

(8) What they do not understand is that imperial sovereignty marks a paradigm shift. Paradoxically (but it is really not that paradoxical), only Kelsen's conception poses the real problem, even if his conception is limited to a strictly formalist point of view.

The Constitution of Empire

Empire is a new notion of right adequate to globalization of capitalist production, also a symptom of changed biopolitical constitution of societies.

(8) Many contemporary theorists are reluctant to recognize the globalization of capitalist production and its world market as a fundamentally new situation and a significant historical shift.
(9) This is really the point of departure for our study of Empire: a new notion of right, or rather, a new inscription of authority and a new design of the production of norms and legal instruments of coercion that guarantee contracts and resolve conflicts.
(10) In effect, the juridical transformation functions as a symptom of the modifications of the material biopolitical constitution of our societies.

Historical concept of empire as global concert under single conductor exhausting historical time in its ethical order.

(10) The concept of Empire is presented as a global concert under the direction of a single conductor, a unitary power that maintains the social peace and produces its ethical truths.
(11) Empire exhausts historical time, suspends history, and summons the past and future within its own ethical order. In other words, Empire presents its order as permanent, eternal, and necessary.
(11) The fundamental alternative between these two notions ran throughout all of European modernity, including the two great ideologies that defined its mature phase: the liberal ideology that rests on the peaceful concert of juridical forces and its supersession in the market; and the socialist ideology that focuses on international unity through the organization of struggles and the supersession of right.

Observable symptoms include bellum justum of Gulf War as sacralized police action.

(12) We can already recognize, however, some important symptoms of the rebirth of the concept of Empire—symptoms that function like logical provocations arising on the terrain of history that theory cannot ignore.
(12) One symptom, for example, is the renewed interest in an effectiveness of the concept of bellum justum, or “just war.” . . . These two traditional characteristics have reappeared in our postmodern world: on the one hand, war is reduced to the status of police action, and on the other, the new power that can legitimately exercise ethical functions through war is sacralized.
(13) Two distinct elements are combined in this concept of just war: first the legitimacy of the military apparatus insofar as it is ethically grounded, and second, the effectiveness of military action to achieve the desired order and peace. The synthesis of these two elements may indeed be a key factor determining the foundation and the new tradition of Empire. . . . The Gulf War gave us perhaps the first fully articulated example of this new epistemology of the concept.

The Model of Imperial Authority

New paradigm hybrid of Luhman systems theory and Rawls theory of justice.

(13-14) The new paradigm is both system and hierarchy, centralized construction of norms and far-reaching production of legitimacy, spread out over world space. It is configured ab initio as a dynamic and flexible systemic structure that is articulated horizontally. We conceive the structure in a kind of intellectual shorthand as a hybrid of Niklas Luhmann's systems theory and John Rawls's theory of justice. . . . Ever movement is fixed and can seek its own designated place only within the system itself, in the hierarchical relationship accorded to it. This preconstituted movement defines the reality of the process of the imperial constitutionalization of world order—the new paradigm.
(15) It follows that, as Kelsen wanted, but only as a paradoxical effect of his utopia, a sort of juridical positivism also dominates the formation of the new juridical ordering.

Empire called into being to resolve conflicts.

(15) Empire is not born of its own will but rather it is called into being and constituted on the basis of its capacity to resolve conflicts. Empire is formed and its intervention becomes juridically legitimate only when it is already inserted into the chain of international consensuses aimed at resolving existing conflicts.
(16) In first attempting a definition, we would do well to recognize that the dynamics and articulations of the new supranational juridical order correspond to the new characteristics that have come to define internal orderings in the passage from modernity to postmodernity.
(17) The formation a a new right is inscribed in the deployment of prevention, repression, and rhetorical force aimed at the reconstruction of social equilibrium: all this is proper to the activity of the police.

Universal Values

Supranational law overdetermines domestic law.

(17) Through its contemporary transformation of supranational law, the imperial process of constitution tends either directly or indirectly to penetrate and reconfigure the domestic law of the nation-states, and thus supranational law powerfully overdetermines domestic law.

Right of police legitimated by universal values.

(18) The right of intervention figured prominently among the panoply of instruments accorded the United Nations by its Charter for maintaining international order, but the contemporary reconfiguration of this right represents a qualitative leap. . . . What stands behind this intervention is not just a permanent state of emergency and exception, but a permanent state of emergency and exception justified by the appeal to essential values of justice. In other words, the right of the police is legitimated by universal values.

Concrete universal.

(19) We could say, in Kantian fashion, that our internal moral disposition, when it is confronted with and tested in the social order, tends to be determined by the ethical, political, and juridical categories of Empire. Or we could say that the external morality of every human being and citizen is by now commensurable only in the framework of Empire. . . . The means of the private and individual apprehension of values are dissolved: with the appearance of Empire, we are confronted no longer with the local mediations of the universal but with a concrete universal itself.

Corruption in moral and metaphysical terms.

(20-21) Here we should understand corruption first of all not only in moral terms but also in juridical and political terms, because according to Montesquieu and Gibbon, when the different forms of government are not firmly established in the republic, the cycle of corruption is ineluctably set in motion and the community is torn apart. Second, we should understand corruption also in metaphysical terms: where the entity and essence, effectiveness and value, do not find common satisfaction, there develops not generation but corruption.


Biopower in the Society of Control

Foucault traces passage from disciplinary society to society of control.

(22-23) First of all, Foucault's work allows us to recognize a historical, epochal passage in social forms from disciplinary society to the society of control. . . . Disciplinary power rules in effect by structuring the parameters and limits of thoughts and practice, sanctioning and prescribing normal and/or deviant behaviors. . . . We should understand the society of control, in contrast, as that society (which develops at the far edge of modernity and opens toward the postmodern) in which mechanisms of command become ever more “democratic,” ever more immanent of the social field, distributed throughout the brains and bodies of the citizens. The behaviors of social integration and exclusion proper to rule are thus increasingly interiorized within the subjects themselves. Power is now exercised through machines that directly organize the brains (in communication systems, information networks, etc.) and bodies (in welfare systems, monitored activities, etc.) toward a state of autonomous alienation from the sense of life and the desire for creativity.

New paradigm of power is biopolitical, integral to social life.

(23-24) Second, Foucault's work allows us to recognize the biopolitical nature of the new paradigm of power. Biopower is a form of power that regulates social life from its interior, following it, interpreting it, absorbing it, and rearticulating it. Power can achieve an effective command over the entire life of the population only when it becomes an integral, vital function that every individual embraces and reactivates of his or her own accord.
(24) Power is thus expressed as a control that extends throughout the depths of the consciousnesses and bodies of the population—and at the same time across the entirety of social relations.

Real subsumption reveals paradox of power, milieu of event, right becomes procedure; analysis must focus on productive dimension of biopower.

(25) The analysis of the real subsumption, when this is understood as investing not only the economic or only the cultural dimensions of society but rather the social bios itself, and when it is attentive to the modalities of disciplinarity and/or control, disrupts the linear and totalitarian figure of capitalist development. . . . What Foucault constructed implicitly (and Deleuze and Guattari made explicit) is therefore the paradox of power that, while it unifies and envelops within itself every element of social life (thus losing its capacity effectively to mediate different social forces), at that very moment reveals a new context, a new milieu of maximum plurality and uncontainable singularization—a milieu of the event.
(26) On the contrary, the rule of law continues to play a central role in the context of the contemporary passage: right remains effective and (precisely by means of the state of exception and police techniques) becomes procedure. . . . Throughout the unbounded global spaces, to the depths of the biopolitical world, and confronting an unforeseeable temporality—these are the determinations on which the new supranational right must be defined.
(26-27) From this point of view, the biopolitical context of the new paradigm is completely central to our analysis. . . . Our analysis must focus its attention rather on the
productive dimension of biopower.

The Production of Life

Foucault failed to escape structuralist epistemology to grasp real dynamics of biopolitical production.

(27-28) Foucault thus attempted to bring the problem of social reproduction and all the elements of the so-called superstructure back to within the material, fundamental structure and define this terrain not only in economic terms but also in cultural, corporeal, and subjective ones. . . . It does not seem, however, that Foucault—even when he powerfully grasped the biopolitical horizon of society and defined it as a field of immanence—ever succeeded in pulling his thought away from that structuralist epistemology that guided his research from the beginning. . . . What Foucault fails to grasp finally are the real dynamics of production in biopolitical society.

Deleuze and Guattari poststructuralist biopower conception in social machines, but superficially articulated by ungraspable event.

(28) By contrast, Deleuze and Guattari present us with a properly poststructuralist understanding of biopower that renews materialist thought and ground itself solidly in the question of the production of social beings. . . . The constant functioning of social machines in their various apparatuses and assemblages produces the world along with the subjects and objects that constitute it. . . . Deleuze and Guattari discover the productivity of social reproduction (creative production, production of values, social relations, affects, becomings), but manage to articulate it only superficially and ephemerally, as a chaotic, indeterminate horizon marked by the ungraspable event.

Marxian general intellect subject of Italian research focusing on transformation of productive labor and subjectivity toward knowledge, communication, language; note primacy of language like Hayles discursive subject.

(28-29) We can better grasp the relationship between social production and biopower in the work of a group of contemporary Italian Marxist authors who recognize the biopolitical dimension in terms of the new nature of productive labor and in its living development in society, using terms such as “mass intellectuality,” “immaterial labor,” and the Marxian concept of “general intellect.” These analyses set off from two coordinated research projects. The first consists in the analysis of the recent transformation of productive labor and its tendency to become increasingly immaterial. . . . The second, and consequent, research project developed by this school consists in the analysis of the immediately social and communicative dimension of living labor in contemporary capitalist society, and thus poses insistently the problem of the new figures of subjectivity, in both their exploitation and their revolutionary potential. . . . After a new theory of value, then, a new theory of subjectivity must be formulated that operates primarily through knowledge, communication, and language.
(29) When they reinsert production into the biopolitical context, they present it almost exclusively on the horizon of language and communication.

Go farther by foregrounding the dividual body in bioproduction.

(30) Our task, then, is to build on these partially successful attempts to recognize the potential of biopolitical production. . . . This body becomes structure not be negating the originary productive forces that animates it but by recognizing it; it becomes language (both scientific language and social language) because it is a multitude of singular and determinate bodies that seek relation. It is thus both production and reproduction, structure and superstructure, because it is life in the fullest sense and politics in the proper sense.

Corporations and Communication

Transnational corporations key constituent of biopolitical world, especially from monetary perspective.

(31-32) The huge transnational corporations construct the fundamental connective fabric of the biopolitical world in certain important respects. . . . The activities of corporations are no longer defined by the imposition of abstract command and the organization of simple theft and unequal exchange. Rather, they directly structure and articulate territories and populations. . . . The transnational corporations directly distribute labor power over various markets, functionally allocate resources, and organize hierarchically the various sectors of world production.
(32) The most complete figure of this world is presented from the monetary perspective. . . . Production and reproduction are dressed in monetary clothing.

Transnational corporate powers produce agential subjectivities, producers.

(32) The great industrial and financial powers thus produce not only commodities but also subjectivities. They produce agentic subjectivities within the biopolitical context: they produce needs, social relations, bodies, and minds—which is to say, they produce producers.

Immanent power channels the imaginary within the communicative machine; mediation absorbed as integral functioning of control society.

(32-33) The development of communications networks has an organic relationship to the emergence of the new world order—it is, in other words, effect and cause, product and producer. Communication not only expresses but also organizes the movement of globalization. . . . In other words, the imaginary is guided and channeled within the communicative machine. What the theories of power of modernity were forced to consider transcendent, that is, external to productive and social relations, is here formed inside, immanent to the productive and social relations. Mediation is absorbed within the productive machine. The political synthesis of social space is fixed in the space of communication. . . . The communications industries integrate the imaginary and the symbolic within the biopolitical fabric, not merely putting them at the service of power but actually integrating them into its very functioning.

Communications industries legitimate the imperial machine by producing its own image of authority; with autopoietic machine, master narratives not eliminated but produced to validate its own power.

(33) The legitimation of the imperial machine is born at least in part of the communications industries, that is, of the transformation of the new mode of production into a machine. It is a subject that produces its own image of authority.
(33-34) If communication is one of the hegemonic sectors of production and acts over the entire biopolitical field, then we must consider communication and the biopolitical context coexistent. This takes us well beyond the old terrain as Jurgen Habermas described it, for example. . . . The machine is self-validating, autopoietic—that is, systemic. . . . Contrary to the way many postmodernist accounts would have it, however, the imperial machine, far from eliminating master narratives, actually produces and reproduces them (ideological master narratives in particular) in order to validate and celebrate its own power. In this coincidence of production through language, the linguistic production of reality, and the language of self-validation resides a fundamental key to understanding the effectiveness, validity, and legitimation of imperial right.


Intervention internalized and universalized as exercise of legitimate force.

(34) This new framework of legitimacy includes new forms and new articulations of the exercise of legitimate force.
(35) In effect, intervention has been internalized and universalized. . . . The enemies that Empire opposes today may present more of an ideological threat than a military challenge, but nonetheless the power of Empire exercised through force and all the deployments that guarantee its effectiveness are already very advanced technologically and solidly consolidated politically.

Moral as well as military intervention by news media, religious organizations, and especially NGOs; continual intervention reflects normative operation of Empire as permanent exception and police action.

(35-36) What we are calling moral intervention is practiced today by a variety of bodies, including the news media and religious organizations, but the most important may be some of the so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which, precisely because they are not run directly by governments, are assumed to act on the basis of ethical or moral imperatives. . . . These NGOs conduct “just wars” without arms, without violence, without borders. Like the Dominicans in the late medieval period and the Jesuits at the dawn of modernity, these groups strive to identify universal needs and defend human rights. Through their language and their action they first define the enemy as privation (in the hope of preventing serious damage) and then recognize the enemy as sin.
(38) This kind of continual intervention, then, which is both moral and military, is really the logical form of the exercise of force that follows from a paradigm of legitimation based on a state of permanent exception and police action. Interventions are always exceptional even though they arise continually; they take the form of police actions because they are aimed at maintaining an internal order. In this way intervention is an effective mechanism that through police deployments contributes directly to the construction of the moral, normative, and institutional order of Empire.

Royal Prerogatives

Virtual sovereignty machine built to control the marginal events.

(39) Other royal prerogatives such as carrying out justice and imposing taxes also have the same kind of liminal existence. . . . It would be difficult to say which is more important to Empire, the center or the margins. . . . We could even say that the process itself is virtual and that its power resides in the power of the virtual.
(39) Our claim, rather, is that we are dealing here with a special kind of sovereignty—a discontinuous form of sovereignty that should be considered liminal or marginal insofar as it acts “in the final instance,” a sovereignty that locates its only point of reference in the definitive absoluteness of the power that it can exercise. Empire thus appears in the form of a very high tech machine: it is virtual, built to control the marginal event, and organized to dominate and when necessary intervene in the breakdowns of the system (in line with the most advanced technologies of robotic production).

Empire is being built by globalized biopolical machine; functional, industrial management rationality.

(40) The constitution of Empire is being formed neither on the basis of any contractual or treaty-based mechanism nor through any federative source. The source of imperial normativity is born of a new machine, a new economic-industrial-communicative machine—in short, a globalized biopolitical machine. . . . In the genesis of Empire there is indeed a rationality at work that can be recognized not so much in terms of the juridical tradition but more clearly in the often hidden history of industrial management and the political uses of technology.
(41) The logic that characterizes this neo-Weberian perspective would be functional rather than mathematical, and rhizomatic and undulatory rather than inductive or deductive.

Rhizomatic, protocol established in depths of social production rather than juridical order; economic production and political constitution coincide.
(41) Perhaps, finally, this cannot be represented by a juridical order, but it nonetheless is an order, an order defined by its virtuality, its dynamism, and its functional inconclusiveness. The fundamental norm of legitimation will thus be established in the depths of the machine, at the heart of social production. . . . In Empire and its regime of biopower, economic production and political constitution tend increasingly to coincide.


Construction of Empire good in itself but not for itself.

(42) Flirting with Hegel, one could say that the construction of Empire is good in itself but not for itself.
(43) Although Empire may have played a role in putting an end to colonialism and imperialism, it nonetheless constructs its own relationships of power based on exploitation that are in many respects more brutal than those it destroyed. The end of the dialectic of modernity has not resulted in the end of the dialectic of exploitation. Today nearly all of humanity is to some degree absorbed within or subordinated to the networks of capitalist exploitation. We see now an ever more extreme separation of a small minority that controls enormous wealth from multitudes that live in poverty at the limit of powerlessness.
(43) We claim that Empire is better in the same way that Marx insists that capitalism is better than the forms of society and modes of production that came before it.

Leftist strategy based on locality flawed; must focus on specific regime of global relations and potentials for liberation within it.

(45-46) This Leftist strategy of resistance to globalization and defense of locality is also damaging because in many cases what appear as local identities are not autonomous or self-determining but actually feed into and support the development of the capitalist imperial machine. . . . The enemy, rather, is a specific regime of global relations that we call Empire. More important, this strategy of defending the local is damaging because it obscures and even negates the real alternatives and potentials for liberation that exist within Empire.

The Ontological Drama of the Res Gestae

Critical and ethico-political methodologies meant to be immanent and nondialectical.

Focus on creative practices of multitude over dialectical plateaus.

(47) This is when the ontological drama begins, when the curtain goes up on a scene in which the development of Empire becomes its own critique and its process of construction becomes the process of its overturning. . . . We are not proposing the umpteenth version of the inevitable passage through purgatory (here in the guise of the new imperial machine) in order to offer a glimmer of hope for radiant futures. We are not repeating the schema of an ideal teleology that justifies any passage in the name of a promised end. On the contrary, our reasoning here is based on two methodological approaches that are intended to be nondialectical and absolutely immanent: the first is critical and deconstructive, aiming to subvert the hegemonic languages and social structures and thereby reveal an alternative ontological basis that resides in the creative and productive practices of the multitude; and second is constructive and ethico-political, seeking to lead the processes of the production of subjectivity toward the constitution of an effective social, political alternative, a new constituent power.
(48) Our deconstruction of this spectacle cannot be textual alone, but must seek continually to focus its powers on the nature of events and the real determinations of the imperial processes in motion today. . . . In other words, the deconstruction of the
historia rerum gestarum, of the spectral reign of globalized capitalism, reveals the possibility of alternative social organizations.

Real ontological referent of philosophy is participatory, not retrospectively celebrating what it automatically brought about; could interpret as transcendence of literary subjectivity.

(48-49) What appears here is not a new rationality but a new scenario of different rational acts—a horizon of activities, resistances, wills, and desires that refuse the hegemonic order, propose lines of flight, and forge alternative constitutive itineraries. This real substance, open to critique, revised by the ethico-political approach, represents the real ontological referent of philosophy, or really the field proper to a philosophy of liberation. . . . Philosophy is not the owl of Minerva that takes flight after history has been realized in order to celebrate its happy ending; rather, philosophy is subjective proposition, desire, and praxis that are applied to the event.

Refrains of the “Internationale”
(49) International solidarity was really a project for the destruction of the nation-state and the construction of a new global community.
(52) In what sense can we say that the ontological rooting of a new multitude has come to be a positive or alternative actor in the articulation of globalization?

The Mole and the Snake

Change in composition of proletariat from industrial working class male factory worker.

(52-53) We need to recognize that the very subject of labor and revolt has changed profoundly. The composition of the proletariat has transformed and thus our understanding of it must too. . . . In a previous era the category of the proletariat centered on and was at time effectively subsumed under the industrial working class, whose paradigmatic figure was the male mass factory worker. . . . Today that working class has all but disappeared from view. It has not ceased to exist, but it has been displaced from its privileged position in the capitalist economy and its hegemonic position in the class composition of the proletariat.

Paradox of incommunicability of struggles over the form of life; not any more with social media, perhaps.

(54) Consider the most radical and powerful struggles of the final years of the twentieth century. . . . None of these events inspired a cycle of struggles, because the desires and needs they expressed could not be translated into different contexts. . . . This is certainly one of the central and most urgent political paradoxes of our time: in our much celebrated age of communication, struggles have become all but incommunicable.
(56) The struggles are at once economic, political, and cultural—and hence they are biopolitical struggles, struggles over the form of life. They are constituent struggles, creating new public spaces and new forms of community.

Marx mole has died with depths of modernity, replaced by postmodern undulations of the snake.

(57-58) Marx tried to understand the continuity of the cycle of proletarian struggles that were emerging in nineteenth-century Europe in terms of a mole and its subterranean tunnels. . . . Well, we suspect that Marx's old mole has finally died. It seems to us, in fact, that in the contemporary passage to Empire, the structured tunnels of the mole have been replaced by the infinite undulations of the snake. The depths of the modern world and its subterranean passageways have in postmodernity all become superficial. . . . Simply by focusing their own powers, concentrating their energies in a tense and compact coil, these serpentine struggles strike directly at the highest articulations of imperial order. . . . In short, this new phase is defined by the fact that these struggles do not link horizontally, but each one leaps vertically, directly to the virtual center of Empire.

Two-Headed Eagle


Contrast Machiavellian utopian project to Marx Engels linear causality, the former better suited to interpreting postmodern power.

(64) In other words, whereas the Marx-Engels manifesto traces a linear and necessary causality, the Machiavellian text poses rather a project and a utopia.
The postmodern situation is eminently paradoxical when it is considered from the biopolitical point of view—understood, that is, as an uninterrupted circuit of life, production, and politics, globally dominated by the capitalist mode of production. . . . Through its institutional processes of normalization, power hides rather than reveals and interprets the relationships that characterize its control over society and life.

Need Spinoza prophetic desire; compare potential of multitude to destroy parasitical order of postmodern command to Lanier plan for little people to extract micropayments from siren servers.

(65-66) Perhaps we need to reinvent the notion of the materialist teleology that Spinoza proclaimed at the dawn of modernity when he claimed that the prophet produces its own people. Perhaps along with Spinoza we should recognize prophetic desire as irresistible, and all the more powerful the more it becomes identified with the multitude. . . . The kind of money that Machiavelli insists is necessary may in fact reside in the productivity of the multitude, the immediate actor of biopolitical production and reproduction. The kind of arms in question may be contained in the potential of the multitude to sabotage and destroy with its own productive force the parasitical order of postmodern command.


Three moments of modernity: discovery of plane of immanence, crisis of authority, formation of modern state.

(69-70) Tracing the emerging figure of the concept of sovereignty through various developments in modern European philosophy should allow us to recognize that Europe and modernity are neither unitary nor pacific constructions, but rather from the beginning were characterized by struggle, conflict, and crisis. We identify three moments in the constitution of European modernity that articulate the initial figure of the modern concept of sovereignty: first, the revolutionary discovery of the plane of immanence; second, the reaction against these immanent forces and the crisis in the form of authority; and third, the partial and temporary resolution of this crisis in the formation of the modern state as a locus of sovereignty that transcends and mediates the plane of immanent forces.

The Revolutionary Plane of Immanence

Knowledge shift from transcendent to plane of immanence.

(72-73) In those origins of modernity, then, knowledge shifted from the transcendent plane to the immanent, and consequently, that human knowledge became a doing, a practice of transforming nature. . . . What is revolutionary in this whole series of philosophical developments stretching from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries is that the powers of creation that had previously been consigned exclusively to the heavens are now brought down to earth. This is the discovery of the fullness of the plane of immanence.
(73) By the time we arrive at Spinoza, in fact, the horizon of immanence and the horizon of the democratic political order coincide completely.

Mutations of practice and reality constituting transition to modernity exemplify synaptogenesis.

(74) The constitution of modernity was not about theory in isolation but about theoretical acts indissolubly tied to mutations of practice and reality. Bodies and brains were fundamentally transformed. This historical process of subjectivization was revolutionary in the sense that it determined a paradigmatic and irreversible change in the mode of life of the multitude.

Modernity as Crisis

Modernity defined by crisis between immanence and transcendence; Eurocentrism a symptom.

(76) Modernity itself is defined by crisis, a crisis that is born of the uninterrupted conflict between the immanent, constructive forces and the transcendent power aimed at restoring order.
(77) Eurocentrism was born as a reaction to the potentiality of a newfound human equality; it was the counterrevolution on a global scale.

The Transcendental Apparatus

Triad of mediations of phenomenal filter, intellectual reflection and schematism of reason counter humanist strength, desire, and love.

(78) It was paramount to avoid the multitude's being understood, a la Spinoza, in a direct, immediate relation with divinity and nature, as the ethical producer of life and the world. On the contrary, in every case mediation had to be imposed on the complexity of human relations. . . . Hence the triad vis-cupiditas-amor (strength-desire-love) which constituted the productive matrix of the revolutionary thought of humanism was opposed by a triad of specific mediations. Nature and experience are unrecognizable except through the filter of phenomena; human knowledge cannot be achieved except through the reflection of the intellect; and the ethical world is incommunicable except through the schematism of reason.

Descartes inaugurates bourgeois ideology, Kant at the center, Hegel the transcendent power of the state.

(79) Although Descartes pretended to pursue a new humanistic project of knowledge, he really reestablished transcendent order.
(80) With Descartes we are at the beginning of the history of the Enlightenment, or rather bourgeois ideology. The transcendental apparatus he proposes is the distinctive trademark of European Enlightenment thought.
(80-81) Kant manages to pose the subject at the center of the metaphysical horizon but at the same time control it by means of the three operations we cited earlier.
(81) Romanticism was never expressed so strongly as it is in Kant.
(82) Hegel revealed what was implicit from the beginning of the counterrevolutionary development: that the liberation of modern humanity could only be a function of its domination, that the immanent goal of the multitude is transformed into the necessary and transcendent power of the state.

Modern Sovereignty

Hobbes social contract defines sovereignty by transcendence and representation.

(83-84) Thomas Hobbes's proposition of an ultimate and absolute sovereign ruler, a “God on earth,” plays a foundational role in the modern construction of a transcendent political apparatus. . . . The fundamental passage is accomplished by a contract—a completely implicit contract, prior to all social action or choice—that transfers every autonomous power of the multitude to a sovereign power that stands above and rules it.
(84) Sovereignty is thus defined both by
transcendence and by representation, two concepts that the humanist tradition has posed as contradictory. . . . The contract of association is intrinsic to and inseparable from the contract of subjugation. This theory of sovereignty presents the first political solution to the crisis of modernity.

Rousseau republican absolute equivalent to Hobbes God on earth, pointing to capitalist market as foundation of values.

(85) As a model of sovereignty, Rousseau's “republican absolute” is really no different from Hobbes's “God on earth,” the monarchic absolute. . . . Democratic, plural, or popular political forms might be declared, but modern sovereignty really has only one political figure: a single transcendent power.

Sovereign authority sustained by capitalist market as articulated by Adam Smith theory of value.

(85-86) This content is represented by capitalist development and the affirmation of the market as the foundation of the values of social reproduction. . . . As Arif Dirlik as noted, Eurocentrism distinguished itself from other ethnocentrisms (such as Sinocentrism) and rose to global prominence principally because it was supported by the power of capital.
(86) European modernity is inseparable from capitalism. This central relationship between the form and the content of modern sovereignty is fully articulated in the work of Adam Smith. . . . It must be understand the “invisible hand” of the market as a product of political economy itself, which is thus directed toward constructing the conditions of the autonomy of the market. . . . What is needed is for the state, which is minimal but effective, to make the well-being of private individuals coincide with the public interest, reducing all social functions and laboring activities to one measure of value. . . . The political transcendental of the modern state is defined as an economic transcendental. Smith's theory of value was the soul and substance of the concept of the modern sovereign state.

Hegelian particular universal relation connected to development of capital.

(87) The Hegelian relationship between particular and universal brings together in adequate and functional terms the Hobbes-Rousseau theory of sovereignty and Smith's theory of value. Modern European sovereignty is capitalist sovereignty, a form of command that overdetermines the relationship between individuality and universality as a function of the development of capital.

The Sovereignty Machine

Multitude transformed into orderly totality by administrative bureaucracy machine; state produces society through biopower.

(87-88) Through the workings of the sovereignty machine the multitude is in every moment transformed into an ordered totality. . . . Bureaucracy operates the apparatus that combines legality and organizational efficiency, title and the exercise of power, politics and police. . . . Little by little, as the administration develops, the relationship between society and power, between the multitude and the sovereign state, is inverted so that now power and the state produce society.
(88-89) Modernity replaced the traditional transcendence of command with the transcendence of the ordering function. . . . The realization of modern sovereignty is the birth of biopower.

Weber analysis has synchronic depth where Foucault diachronic, scission, dualism, procedural, paradoxical, influencing critique of modernity.

(89-90) Whereas Foucault's analysis is vast in its diachronic breadth, Weber's is powerful in its synchronic depth. . . . The form of the process of closure is as critical and conflictual as the genesis of modernity. In this respect, Weber's work has the great merit to have completely destroyed the self-satisfied and triumphant conception of the sovereign of the modern state that Hegel had produced.
(90) Weber's analysis was quickly taken up the the writers engaged in the critique of modernity, from Heidegger and Lukacs to Horkheimer and Adorno. They all recognized that Weber had revealed the illusion of modernity, the illusion that the antagonistic dualism that resides at the base of modernity could be subsumed in a unitary synthesis investing all of society and politics, including the productive forces and the relations of production.
(90) The experience of the revolution will be reborn after modernity, but within the new conditions that modernity constructed in such a contradictory way. Machiavelli's return to origins seems to be combined with Nietzsche's heroic eternal return.


Antihumanism or posthumanism project linking Spinoza, Foucault, Althusser, Haraway: death of Man is recognition it does not exist apart from nature, animals, machines.

(91) Foucault asks in his final work a paradoxical and urgent question: What is humanism after the death of Man? Or rather, what is an antihumanist (or posthuman) humanism?
The antihumanism that was such an important project for Foucault and Althusser in the 1960s can be linked effectively to a battle that Spinoza fought three hundred years earlier. Spinoza denounced any understanding of humanity as an imperium in imperio. In other words, he refused to accord any laws to human nature that were different from the lawas of nature as a whole. Donna Haraway carries on Spinoza's project in our day as she insists on breaking down the barriers we pose among the human, the animal, and the machine. If we are to conceive Man as separate from nature, then Man does not exist. This recognition is precisely the death of Man.

Humanism after death of Man calls on exploration of immanent creative powers.
Once we recognize our posthuman bodies and minds, once we see ourselves for the simians and cyborgs we are, we then need to explore the vis viva, the creative powers that animate us as they do all of nature and actualize our potentialities. This is humanism after the death of Man: what Foucault calls “le travail de soi sur soi,” the continuous constituent project to create and re-created ourselves and our world.


Birth of the Nation

Patrimonial monarchy unopposed basis of peace and social life until bourgeois revolutions.

(94) In the sixteenth century, in the midst of the Reformation and that violent battle among the forces of modernity, the patrimonial monarchy was still presented as the guarantee of peace and social life. . . . Even religion was the sovereign's property. In the seventeenth century, the absolutist reaction to the revolutionary forces of modernity celebrated the patrimonial monarchic state and wielded it as a weapon for its own purposes. . . . Until the era of the three great bourgeois revolutions (the English, the American, and the French), there was no political alternative that could successfully oppose this model.

Transfer to spiritual identity of nation, subjects to citizens.

(95) The spiritual identity of the nation rather than the divine body of the king now posed the territory and population as an ideal abstraction. Or rather, the physical territory and population were conceived as the extension of the transcendent essence of the nation.
(95) The shift of the population from subjects to citizens was an index of the shift from a passive to an active role. . . . These concepts reify sovereignty in the most rigid way; they make the relation of sovereignty into a thing (often by naturalizing it) and thus weed out every residue of social antagonism. The nation is a kind of ideological shortcut that attempts to free the concepts of sovereignty and modernity from the antagonism and crisis that define them.

Dominant class figures; per Luxemburg nationalism usurps democratic organization.

(96) Behind the ideal dimension of the concept of nation there were the class figures that already dominated the processes of accumulation.
(97) [Rosa] Luxemburg recognized that national sovereignty and national mythologies effectively usurp the terrain of democratic organization by renewing the powers of territorial sovereignty and modernizing its project through the mobilization of an active community.

The Nation and the Crisis of Modernity

Bodin leading theorist on national sovereignty, anticipating its critique by modernity in natural right and historicist state traditions.

(97) Jean Bodin's work lies at the heart of the road in European thought that leads to the concept of national sovereignty. . . . By adopting a realistic standpoint, he managed to anticipate modernity's own critique of sovereignty.
(98) By taking up Roman law and drawing on its capacities to articulate the sources of right and order the forms of property, Bodin's doctrine became a theory of a unified political body articulated as administration that appeared to surmount the difficulties of the crisis of modernity.
(98-99) After Bodin, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there developed in Europe simultaneously two schools of thought that also accorded the theme of sovereignty a central role and effectively anticipated the concept of national sovereignty: the natural right tradition and the realist (or historicist) tradition of state theory.

Subjectivity of historical process revealed in real forms of administration; nation becomes condition of human action and social life.

(99) An important segment of the natural right school thus developed the idea of distributing and articulating the transcendent sovereignty through the real forms of administration.
(99-100) The synthesis that was implicit in the natural right school, however, became explicit in the context of historicism. . . . Whereas an important segment of the natural right school developed the idea of articulating transcendent sovereignty through the real forms of administration, the historicist thinkers of the Enlightenment attempted to conceive
the subjectivity of the historical process and thereby find an effective ground for the title and exercise of sovereignty. . . . In effect, we can already recognize in [Giambattista] Vico the embryo of Hegel's apologia of “effectiveness,” making the present world arrangement the telos of history.
(100-101) Vico's argument that ideal history is located in the history of all nations became more radical in [J.G.] Herder so that every human perfection is, in a certain respect, national. . . . The nation becomes finally the condition of possibility of all human action and social life itself.

The Nation's People

People versus multitude: people exists within ideological context of nation-state as the multitude prepared for sovereignty.

(101) The nation became explicitly the concept that summarized the bourgeois hegemonic solution to the problem of sovereignty.
(102-103) We, by contrast, must de-naturalize these concepts and ask what is a nation and how is it made, but also, what is a people and how is it made? Although “the people” is posed as the originary basis of the nation,
the modern conception of the people is in fact a product of the nation-state, and survives only within its specific ideological context. . . . We should note that the concept of the people is very different from that of the multitude. . . . Whereas the multitude is an inconclusive constituent relation, the people is a constituted synthesis that is prepared for sovereignty. . . . Every nation must make the multitude into a people.
(103) The concepts of nation, people, and race are never very far apart. The construction of an absolute racial difference is the essential ground for the conception of a homogeneous national identity.
(104) The representative group is the active agent that stands behind the effectiveness of the concept of nation. . . . Never was the concept of nation so reactionary as when it presented itself as revolutionary. Paradoxically, this cannot but be a completed revolution, and end of history.

Spiritual construction of identity well framed by Romantic counterrevolution.

(104-105) National sovereignty and popular sovereignty were thus products of a spiritual construction, that is, a construction of identity. . . . The Romantic counterrevolution was in fact more realistic than the Enlightenment revolution. It framed and fixed what was already accomplished, celebrating it in the eternal light of hegemony. The Third Estate is power; the nation is its totalizing representation; the people is its solid and natural foundation; and national sovereignty is the apex of history. Every historical alternative to bourgeois hegemony had thus been definitively surpassed through the bourgeoisie's own revolutionary history.
(105) National particularity is a potent universality. . . . This is a decisive shift in the concept of sovereignty. Married to the concepts of nation and people, the modern concept of sovereignty shifts its epicenter from the mediation of conflicts and crisis to the unitary experience of a nation-subject and its imagined community.

Subaltern Nationalism

Concept of nation weapon of change for the subordinated representing commonality of potential community, exemplified by black nationalism in US.

(106) Stated most boldly, it appears that whereas the concept of nation promotes stasis and restoration in the hands of the dominant, it is a weapon for change and revolution in the hands of the subordinated.
(106) The right to self-determination of subaltern nations is really a right to secession from the control of dominant powers. . . . the claim to nationhood affirmed the dignity of the people and legitimated the demand for independence and equality. In each of these cases,
the nation is progressive strictly as a fortified line of defense against more powerful external forces. . . . The flip side of the structure that resists foreign powers is itself a dominating power that exerts an equal and opposite internal oppression, repressing internal difference and opposition in the name of national identity, unity, and security.
(106-107) The nation appears progressive in the second place insofar as it poses the commonality of a potential community. . . . Every imagination of a community becomes overcoded as a nation, and hence our conception of community is severely impoverished.
(107) Both of these simultaneously progressive and regressive aspects of subaltern nationalism are present in all their ambiguity in the tradition of black nationalism in the United States.
(108) Despite the range of disparate phenomena called black nationalism, then, we can still recognize in them the two fundamental progressive functions of subaltern nationalism: the defense and the unification of the community.

Progressive functions vanish as nation forms.

(109) As soon as the nation begins to form as a sovereign state, its progressive functions all but vanish. . . . With national “liberation” and the construction of the nation-state, all of the oppressive functions of modern sovereignty inevitably blossom in full force.

Totalitarianism of the Nation-State

Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia exemplars of barbarisms of nation state form.

(110) When we take up again our genealogy of the concept of sovereignty in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe, it is clear that the state-form of modernity first fell into the nation-state form, then the nation-state-form descended into a whole series of barbarisms. . . . If Nazi Germany is the ideal type of the transformation of modern sovereignty into national sovereignty and of its articulation in capitalist form, then Stalinist Russia is the ideal type of the transformation of popular interest and the cruel logics that follow from it into a project of national modernization, mobilizing for its own purposes the productive forces that yearn for liberation from capitalism.

Leave Nazi story for other scholars and focus on conjunction of nationalism and socialism in Europe.

(110) Let us leave this story to other scholars and to the disgrace of history.
(110-111) We are more interested here with the other side of the national question in Europe during this era. In other words, what really happened when nationalism went hand in hand with socialism in Europe?
(112) It is a tragic irony that nationalist socialism in Europe came to resemble national socialism. This is not because “the two extremes meet,” as some liberals would like to think, but because the abstract machine of national sovereignty is at the heart of both.

Totalitarianism in organic foundation and unified source of society and state, homogenizing community in mythical originary notion of the people.

(113) What is totalitarian is the organic foundation and the unified source of society and the state. The community is not a dynamic collective creation but a primordial founding myth. An originary notion of the people poses an identity that homogenizes and purifies the image of the population while blocking the constructive interactions of differences within the multitude.
(113) The concept of nation and the practices of nationalism are from the beginning set down on the road not to the republic but to the “re-total,” the total thing, that is, the totalitarian overcoding of social life.


Intimate relation of crisis of modernity to racial subordination and colonization; nation-state is machine producing Others.

(114) The crisis of modernity has from the beginning had an intimate relation to racial subordination and colonization. Whereas within its domain the nation-state and its attendant ideological structures work tirelessly to create and reproduce the purity of the people, on the outside the nation-state is a machine that produces Others, creates racial differences, and raises boundaries that delimit and support the modern subject of sovereignty.

Humankind Is One and Many

Example of Las Casas Eurocentric view of Americas.

(116) [Bartolome de] Las Casas cannot see beyond the Eurocentric view of the Americas, in which the highest generosity and charity would be bringing the Amerindians under the control and tutelage of the true religion and its culture.

Marx recognized utopian potential of global interaction, but only thought within European historical movements.

(118) In the nineteenth century Karl Marx, like Las Casas and Toussaint L'Ouverture before him, recognized the utopian potential of the ever-increasing processes of global interaction and communication.
(119-120) Capital can, in certain circumstances, be a force of enlightenment. Like Toussaint, then, Marx saw no use in overthrowing foreign domination simply to restore some isolated and traditional form of oppression. The alternative must look forward to a new form of freedom, connected to the expansive networks of global exchange.
(120) The only “alternative” path Marx can imagine, however, is that same path that European society has already traveled. . . . The central issue is that Marx can conceive of history outside of Europe only as moving strictly along the path already traveled by Europe itself. . . . Marx's Eurocentrism is in the end not so different from that of Las Casas.

The Crisis of Colonial Slavery

Colonial slavery key to European commerce and process of capital development.

(121) By the end of the eighteenth century, the products of slave labor in the Americas constituted one third of the value of European commerce. European capitalism stood in a very ambiguous relation to this slave production in the Americas.
(122) There is no contradiction here: slave labor in the colonies made capitalism in Europe possible, and European capital had no interest in giving it up.
(122) Slavery, servitude, and all the other guises of the coercive organization of labor—from coolieism in the Pacific and peonage in Latin America to apartheid in South Africa—are all essential elements internal to the process of capital development.

Counterpower of slaves in revolt also absorbed by capitalist development.

(123) Political unrest did of course undercut the economic profitability of the system, but more important, the slaves in revolt came to constitute a real counterpower.
(123-124) The claim that regimes of slavery and servitude are internal to capitalist production and development points toward the intimate relationship between the laboring subjects' desire to flee the relationship of command and capital's attempts to block the population within fixed territorial boundaries. . . . The deterritorializing desire of the multitude is the motor that drives the entire process of capitalist development, and capital must constantly attempt to contain it.

The Production of Alterity

Alterity as colonical compartmentalization, exclusion in thoughts and values produced, not given.

(124-125) The colonized are excluded from European spaces not only in physical and territorial terms, and not only in terms of rights and privileges, but even in terms of thought and values. . . . Apartheid is simply one form, perhaps the emblematic form, of the compartmentalization of the colonial world.
Alterity is not given but produced. . . . The Orient, then, at least as we know it through Orientalism, is a creation of discourse, made in Europe and exported back to the Orient. The representation is at once a form of creation and a form of exclusion.

Role of anthropology in creating alterity; synchronic presence of diachronic evolutionary stages.

(125-126) Among the academic disciplines involved in this cultural production of alterity, anthropology was perhaps the most important rubric under which the native other was imported to and exported from Europe. . . . The diachronic stages of humanity's evolution toward civilization were thus conceived as present synchronically in the various primitive peoples and cultures spread across the globe.

The Dialectic of Colonialism

Absolute difference of the Other produces European Self in dialectical movement.

(127-128) Precisely because the difference of the Other is absolute, it can be inverted in a second moment as the foundation of the Self. In other words, the evil, barbarity, and licentiousness of the colonized Other are what make possible the goodness, civility, and propriety of the European Self. . . . The identity of the European Self is produced in this dialectical movement. . . . Only through opposition to the colonized does the metropolitan subject really become itself. . . . Modern European thought and the modern Self are both necessarily bound to what Paul Gilroy calls the “relationship of racial terror and subordination.”

Colonialism imposes binary divisions; colonialism, not reality, is dialectical.

(128) Our argument here, however, is not that reality presents this facile binary structure but that colonialism, as an abstract machine that produces identitites and alterities, imposes binary divisions on the colonial world. . . . Reality is not dialectical, colonialism is.

European Self craves general state of war to maintain itself.

(129) The European Self needs violence and needs to confront its Other to feel and maintain its power, to remake itself continually.

The Boomerang of Alterity

Nondialectical negativity refusing cultural terms.

(130) The negative dialectic has most often been conceived in cultural terms, for example, as the project of negritude—the quest to discover the black essence or unveil the black soul.
(131) The strategy of negativity, however, the moment of the boomerang, appears in an entirely different light when it is cast in a nondialectical form and in political rather than cultural terms. [Franz] Fanon, for example, refuses the cultural politics of negritude with its consciousness of black identity and poses the revolutionary antithesis instead in terms of physical violence.

The Poisoned Gift of National Liberation

Internal domination accompanying national sovereignty; modernization project establishes delegated struggle for postcolonial nation-states like a poisoned gift.

(132-133) The progressive functions of national sovereignty, however, are always accompanied by powerful structures of internal domination. The perils of national liberation are even clearer when viewed externally, in terms of the world economic system in which the “liberated” nation finds itself. . . . In most cases it involves a delegated struggle, in which the modernization project also establishes in power the new ruling group that is charged with carrying it out.
(133-134) The postcolonial nation-state functions as an essential and subordinated element in the global organization of the capitalist market. . . . The entire logical chain of representation might be summarized like this: the people representing the multitude, the nation representing the people, and the state representing the nation. Each link is an attempt to hold in suspension the crisis of modernity. Representation in each case means a further step of abstraction and control. From India to Algeria and Cuba to Vietnam,
the state is the poisoned gift of national liberation.

Not unqualified freedom but glimpse of passage to Empire in end of modern colonialism.

(134) The end of modern colonialism, of course, has not really opened an age of unqualified freedom but rather yielded to new forms of rule that operate on a global scale. Here we have our first real glimpse of the passage to Empire.


Anxiety of contagion is dark side of consciousness of globalization.

(136) The contemporary processes of globalization have torn down many of the boundaries of the colonial world. Along with the common celebration of the unbounded flows in our new global village, one can still sense also an anxiety about increased contact and a certain nostalgia for colonialist hygiene. The dark side of the consciousness of globalization is the fear of contagion. . . . As AIDS has been recognized first as a disease and then as a global pandemic, there have developed maps of its sources and spread that often focus on central Africa and Haiti, in terms reminiscent of the colonialist imaginary: unrestrained sexuality, moral corruption, and lack of hygiene.


Symptoms of passage into post-postmodern; theories as effects pointing toward paradigmatic leap of Empire.

(137) Postmodernists continually return to the lingering influence of the Enlightenment as the source of domination; postcolonialist theories combat the remnants of colonialist thinking.
(138) In short, what if a new paradigm of power, a postmodern sovereignty, has come to replace the modern paradigm and rule through differential hierarchies of the hybrid and fragmentary subjectivities that these theorists celebrate?
(138) There is no need to doubt the democratic, egalitarian, and even at times anticapitalist desires that motivate large segments of these fields of work, but it is important to investigate the utility of these theories in the context of the new paradigm of power.
(138-139) To a certain extent postmodernist and postcolonialist theories are important
effects that reflect or trace the expansion of the world market and the passage of the form of sovereignty. These theories point toward Empire, but in a vague and confused way, with no awareness of the paradigmatic leap that this passage constitutes.

Politics of Difference

Postmodernist thought of Lyotard, Baudrillard, Derrida challenges binary logics of modernity.

(139) Postmodernist thought challenges precisely this binary logic of modernity and in this respect provides important resources for those who are struggling to challenge modern discourses of patriarchy, colonialism, and racism.
(139) It is difficult to generalize about the numerous discourses that go under the banner of postmodernism, but most of them draw at least indirectly on Jean-Francois Lyotard's critique of modernist master narratives, Jean Baudrillard's affirmations of cultural simulacra, or Jacques Derrida's critique of Western metaphysics.

Postmodern challenge dialectic as central logic of modernism, especially international relations.

(140) When postmodernists propose their opposition to modernity and an Enlightenment that exalt the universality of reason only to sustain white male European supremacy, it should be clear that they are really attacking the second tradition of our schema (and unfortunately ignoring or eclipsing the first). . . . these various theoretical contestations are brought together most coherently in a challenge to the dialectic as the central logic of modern domination, exclusion, and command—for both its relegating the multiplicity of difference to binary oppositions and its subsequent subsumption of these differences in a unitary order.
(142) The resulting postmodernist analyses point toward the possibility of a global politics of difference, a politics of deterritorialized flows across a smooth world, free of the rigid striation of state boundaries.

Empire immune to postmodernist politics of difference; postmodernism bypassed politically.

(142) The structures and logics of power in the contemporary world are entirely immune to the “liberatory” weapons of the postmodernist politics of difference. In fact, Empire too is bent on doing away with those modern forms of sovereignty and on setting differences to play across boundaries.

The Liberation of Hybridities, or Beyond Colonial Binaries

Bhabha attack on binary divisions and Hegelian dialectic.

(143-144) Postcolonial studies encompass a wide and varied group of discourses, but we want to focus here on the work of Homi Bhabha because it presents the clearest and best-articulated example of the continuity between postmodernist and postcolonialist discourses. One of the primary and constant objects of Bhabha's attack are binary divisions. . . . Bhabha's refusal to see the world in terms of binary divisions leads him to reject also theories of totality and theories of the identity, homogeneity, and essentialism of social subjects. . . . In short, the specter that haunts Bhabha's analysis and that coherently links together these various opponents is the Hegelian dialectic, that is, the dialetic that subsumes within a coherent totality the essential social identities that face each other in opposition.

Utopia of unhomely nomadism.

(145) The utopia Bhaba points toward after the binary and totalizing structures of power have been fractured and displaced is not an isolated and fragmentary existence but a new form of community, a community of the “unhomely,” a new internationalism, a gathering of people in the diaspora.

Postcolonial perspective does not recognize novelty of new form of rule in Empire; postmodernism not ready to intuit protocol.

(146) The postcolonialist perspective remains primarily concerned with colonial sovereignty. . . . What is missing here is a recognition of the novelty of the structures and logics of power that order the contemporary world. Empire is not a weak echo of modern imperialism but a fundamentally new form of rule.

Fundamentalism and/or Postmodernism

View fundamentalism as opposition to modernity rather than return to premodern world.

(146-147) It is more accurate and more useful, however, to understand the various fundamentalism not as the re-creation of a premodern world, but rather as a powerful refusal of the contemporary historical passage in course.
(147) Islamic fundamentalisms are most coherently united, however, in their being
resolutely opposed to modernity and modernization.
(147) Christian fundamentalisms in the United States also present themselves as movements against social modernization, re-creating what is imagined to be a past social formation based on sacred texts.

Return to tradition a new invention; fundamentalism is a postmodern project.

(148) In fact, fundamentalist visions of a return to the past are generally based on historical illusions. The purity and wholesomeness of the stable, nuclear heterosexual family heralded by Christian fundamentalists, for example, never existed in the United States. . . . It is a fictional image projected on the past, like Main Street USA at Disneyland, constructed retrospectively through the lens of contemporary anxieties and fears.
(148) Similarly, the current forms of Islamic fundamentalism should not be understood as a return to past social forms and values, not even from the perspective of the practitioners.
(149) The anti-modern thrust that defines fundamentalisms might be better understood, then, not as a
premodern but as a postmodern project.

Postmodernist discourses of globalization appeal to winners, fundamentalist rejection of world market appeals to losers.

(149) From this perspective, then, insofar as the Iranian revolution was a powerful rejection of the world market, we might think of it as the first postmodernist revolution.
(150) Simplifying a great deal, one could argue that postmodernist discourses appeal primarily to the winners in the processes of globalization and fundamentalist discourses to the losers. In other words, the current global tendencies toward increased mobility, indeterminacy, and hybridity are experienced by some as a kind of liberation but by others as an exacerbation of their suffering.

The Ideology of the World Market

Ideology of world market tracks postmodernist discourse.

(150) Many of the concepts dear to postmodernists and postcolonialists find a perfect correspondence in the current ideology of corporate capital and the world market. The ideology of the world market has always been the anti-foundational and anti-essentialist discourse par excellence.

Appadurai scapes exemplify regimented but mobile global networks deconstructing national boundaries establishing real politics of difference.

(150-151) As the world market today is realized ever more completely, it tends to deconstruct the boundaries of the nation-state. . . . These differences of course do not play freely across a smooth global space, but rather are regimented in global networks of power consisting of highly differentiated and mobile structures. Arjun Appadurai captures the new quality of these structures with the analogy of landscapes, or better, seascapes: in the contemporary world he sees finanscapes, technoscapes, ethnoscapes, and so forth. The suffix “-scape” allows us on the one hand to point to the fluidity and irregularity of these various fields and on the other to indicate formal commonalities among such diverse domains as finance, culture, commodities, and demography. The world market establishes a real politics of difference.

Marketing and organization management closest to postmodern theories; emphasis on mobility, flexibility, and difference leading toward dividual transformation.

(151) Marketing has perhaps the clearest relation to postmodern theories, and one could even say that the capitalist marketing strategies have long been postmodernist, avant la lettre.
(153) What is essential for postmodern management is that organizations be mobile, flexible, and able to deal with difference. Here postmodernist theories pave the way for the transformation of the internal structures of capitalist organizations.

Diversity management reflects cultural transformation within organizations.

(153) The “culture” within these organizations has also adopted the precepts of postmodernist thinking. . . . The task of the boss, subsequently, is to organize these energies and differences in the interest of profit.

Constant process of hierarchization at heart of global politics of difference signaled by postmodernist theories.

(154) The global politics of difference established by the world market is defined not by free play and equality, but by the imposition of new hierarchies, or really by a constant process of hierarchization. Postmodernist and postcolonialist theories (and fundamentalisms in a very different way) are really sentinels that signal this passage in course, and in this regard are indispensable.

Truth Commissions

Postmodern political discourse limited to US intelligentsia; hybridity and mobility enjoyed by elites but contribute to suffering for the masses.

(154) As a political discourse, postmodernism has a certain currency in Europe, Jana, and Latin America, but its primary site of application is within an elite segment of the U.S. intelligentsia.
(154-155) Certainly from the standpoint of many around the world, hybridity, mobility, and difference do not immediately appear as liberatory in themselves. Huge populations see mobility as an aspect of their suffering because they are displaced at an increasing speed in dire circumstances.

Epistemological challenge to Enlightenment loses liberatory aura when transposed to truth commissions in the rest of the world.

(155) The postmodernist epistemological challenge to “the Enlightenment”—its attack on master narratives and its critique of truth—also loses its liberatory aura when transposed outside the elite intellectual strata of Europe and North America. Consider, for example, the mandate of the Truth Commission formed at the end of the civil war in El Salvador, or the similar institutions that have been established in the post-dictatorial and post-authoritarian regimes of Latin America ans South Africa.

Level of production matters more than truth and purity: compare taking control of production of truth to Rushkoff program or be programmed.

(156) Difference, hybridity, and mobility are not liberatory in themselves, but neither are truth, purity, and stasis. The real revolutionary practice refers to the level of production. Truth will not make us free, but taking control of the production of truth will.


The poor as nonlocalizable common name of pure difference of the living multitude, strangely missed by postmodern authors; hated by Marx for lacking discipline to construct socialism.

(156) The only non-localizable “common name” of pure difference in all eras is that of the poor. The poor is destitute, excluded, repressed, exploited—and yet living! It is the common denominator of life, the foundation of the multitude. It is strange, but also illuminating, that postmodernist authors seldom adopt this figure in their theorizing.
The dominant stream of the Marxist tradition, however, has always hated the poor, precisely for their being “free as birds,” for being immune to the discipline of the factory and the discipline necessary for the construction of socialism.


The American Revolution and the Model of Two Romes

Republic as network; texts of Founding Fathers hint at protocol.

(161-162) Against the tired transcendentalism of modern sovereignty, presented either in Hobbesian or in Rousseauian form, the American constituents thought that only the republic can give order to democracy, or really that the order of the multitude must be born not from a transfer of the title of power and right, but from an arrangement internal to the multitude, from a democratic interaction of powers linked together in networks. . . . What takes shape here [in Federalist citation on “science of politics”] is an extraordinarily secular and immanentist idea, despite the profound religiousness that runs throughout the texts of the Founding Fathers. It is an idea that rediscovers the revolutionary humanism of the Renaissance and perfects it as a political and constitutional science. Power can be constituted by a whole series of powers that regulate themselves and arrange themselves in networks.
(163) The Constitution was designed to resist any cyclical decline into corruption by activating the entire multitude and organizing its consituent capacity in networks of organized counterpowers, in flows of diverse and equalized functions, and in a process of dynamic and expansive self-regulation.

Extensive Empire

Immanence of power in US sovereignty based on productivity, internal limit enacts control but requires unbounded terrain, like ancient Rome.

(164) The first characteristic of the U.S. notion of sovereignty is that it poses an idea of the immanence of power in opposition to the transcendent character of modern European sovereignty. This idea of immanence is based on an idea of productivity.
(165) In the process of the constitution of sovereignty on the plane of immanence, there also arises an experience of finitude that results from the conflictive and plural nature of the multitude itself. The new principle of sovereignty seems to produce its own internal limit. To prevent those obstacles from disrupting order and completely emptying out the project, sovereign power must rely on the exercise of control.
(165) The third characteristic of this notion of sovereignty is its tendency toward an open, expansive project operating on an unbounded terrain.
(166) It is striking how strongly this American experiment resembles the ancient constitutional experience, and specifically the political theory inspired by imperial Rome!

Profoundly reformist; contrast always open space of imperial sovereignty to Edwards closed world.

(166) What opens is the basis of consensus, and thus, through the constitutive network of powers and counterpowers, the entire sovereign body is continually reformed. Precisely because of this expansive tendency, the new concept of sovereignty is profoundly reformist.
(166) The idea of sovereignty as an expansive power in networks is poised on the hinge that links the principle of a democratic republic to the idea of Empire.
(167) Perhaps the fundamental characteristic of imperial sovereignty is that
its space is always open.

Open Frontiers

Four phases of US constitutional history: founding to Civil War, Progressive era, New Deal, post Cold War imperial project.

(168) This material, social constitution has indeed changed radically since the founding of the republic. U.S. constitutional history, in fact, should be divided into four distinct phases or regimes. . . . Each of these phases of U.S. constitutional history marks a step toward the realization of imperial sovereignty.

The Closure of Imperial Space

American Imperialism

Beyond the Cold War

Imperial versus imperialism; extension of internal constitutional processes.

(182) It is imperial because (in contrast to imperialism's project always to spread its power linearly in closed spaces and invade, destroy, and subsume subject countries within its sovereignty) the U.S. constitutional project is constructed on the model of rearticulating an open space and reinventing incessantly diverse and singular relations in networks across an unbounded terrain.
(182) The contemporary idea of Empire is born through the global expansion of the internal U.S. constitutional project. It is in fact through the extension of
internal constitutional processes that we enter into a constituent process of Empire.


Foucault version not much different from modernist mandate of Enlightenment in Kant sapere aude; remains at boundaries.

(183) Kant provides the classic modernist characterization of the mandate of the Enlightenment: Sapere aude (dare to know), emerge from the present state of “immaturity,” and celebrate the public use of reason at the center of the social realm. Foucault's version, when we situate it historically, is not really all that different.
(184) In this ebb and flow between inside and outside, the critique of modernity does not finally go beyond its terms and limits, but rather stands poised on its boundaries.

Hardt and Negri consider Machiavelli, Spinoza and Marx top critiques of modern political theory.

(185) In all these cases the critique of modernity is situated within the historical evolution of the forms of power, an inside that searches for an outside. . . . In Machiavelli's constituent formation of a new republic, Spinoza's democratic liberation of the multitude, and Marx's revolutionary abolition of the state, the inside continues to live in an ambiguous but no less determinate way in the outside that is projected as utopia.

There is No More Outside

Process of modernization internalizes the outside.

(187) The process of modernization, in all these varied contexts, is the internalization of the outside, that is, the civilization of nature.

Postmodern process makes everything artificial; non-place of Debord spectacle ends outside liberal space of politics.

Enter code space to non-place of politics.

(187) In a postmodern world all phenomena and forces are artificial, or, as some might say, part of history.
(188) The public spaces of modern society, which constitute the place of liberal politics, tend to disappear in the postmodern world.
(188-189) In imperial society the spectacle is a virtual place, or more accurately, a non-place of politics. . . . The liberal notion of the public, the place outside where we act in the presence of others, has been both universalized (because we are always now under the gaze of others, monitored by safety cameras) and sublimated or de-actualized in the virtual spaces of the spectacle. The end of the outside is the end of liberal politics.

Omni-crisis of postmodernity.

(189) The binaries that defined modern conflict have become blurred. The Other that might delimit a modern sovereign Self has become fractured and indistinct, and there is no longer an outside that can bound the place of sovereignty. . . . The end of the crisis of modernity has given rise to a proliferation of minor and indefinite crises, or, as we prefer, to an omni-crisis.

World market as diagram of imperial power; no place of power, it is everywhere and nowhere, infused ou-topia.

(190) Perhaps, just as Foucault recognized the panopticon as the diagram of modern power, the world market might serve adequately—even though it is not an architecture but really an anti-architecture—as the diagram of imperial power.
(190) In this smooth space of Empire, there is no
place of power—it is both everywhere and nowhere. Empire is an ou-topia, or really a non-place.

Imperial Racism

Under imperial racism biological differences replaced by social and cultural signifiers; Bailbar differentialist, pluralist racism still essentialist.

(191) With the passage to Empire, however, biological differences have been replaced by sociological and cultural signifiers as the key representation of racial hatred and fear.
(192) We should look more closely, however, at how imperial racist theory operates. Etienne Balibar calls the new racism a differentialist racism, a racism without race, or more precisely, a racism that does not rest on a biological concept of race. Although biology is abandoned as the foundation and support, he says, culture is made to fill the role that biology had played.
(192) This pluralism accepts all the differences of who we are so long as we agree to act on the basis of these differences of identity, so long as we act our race.

Hierarchies still created under differential racism of Empire.

(194) Empire does not think differences in absolute terms; it poses racial differences never as a difference of nature but always as a difference of degree, never as necessary but always as accidental. Subordination is enacted in regimes of everyday practices that are more mobile and flexible but that create racial hierarchies that are nonetheless stable and brutal.

On the Generation and Corruption of Subjectivity

Production of subjectivity affected by progressive lack of distinction between inside and outside: widespread indefiniteness replaces discrete places of production, corrupting subjectivity.

(195-196) First, subjectivity is a constant social process of generation. . . . In a reflexive way, then, through its own actions, the subject is acted on, generated. Second, the institutions provide above all a discrete place (the home, the chapel, the classroom, the shop floor) where the production of subjectivity is enacted. . . . This clearly delimited place of the institutions is reflected in the regular and fixed form of the subjectivities produced.
(196) We might say that postmodernism is what you have when the modern theory of social constructivism is taken to its extreme and all subjectivity is recognized as artificial. . . . The crisis means, in other words, that today the enclosures that used to define the limited space of the institutions have broken down as that the logic that once functioned primarily within the institutionalized walls now spreads across the entire social terrain. Inside and outside are becoming indistinguishable.
(197) The indefiniteness of the
place of the production corresponds to the indeterminacy of the form of the subjectivities produced. The imperial social institutions might be seen, then, in a fluid process of the generation and corruption of subjectivity.

Exporting crisis of institutions and imperial society of control to subordinated countries like a software virus.

(197-198) Whereas in the process of modernization the most powerful countries export institutional forms to the subordinated ones, in the present process of postmodernization, what is exported is the general crisis of the institutions. The Empire's institutional structure is like a software program that carries a virus along with it, so that it is continually modulating and corrupting the institutional forms around it. The imperial society of control is tententially everywhere the order of the day.

The Triple Imperative of Empire

Inclusive, differential and managerial moments in apparatus of imperial command summarize post-postmodern dividual subjectivity.

Deleuze sieve of modulated control.

(198) In this first moment, then, the Empire is a machine for universal integration, an open mouth with infinite appetite, inviting all to come peacefully within its domain.
(199) The second moment of imperial control, its differential moment, involves the affirmation of differences accepted within the imperial realm. . . . They are nonconflictual differences, the kind of differences we might set aside when necessary.
(199) The differential moment of imperial control must be followed by the management and hierarchization of these differences in a general economy of command. Whereas colonial power sought to fix pure, separate identities, Empire thrives on circuits of movement and mixture. The colonial apparatus was a kind of mold that forged fixed, distinct castings, but the imperial society of control functions through modulation, [quoting Deleuze] “like a self-deforming cast that changes continually, from one instant to the next, or like a sieve whose pattern changes from one point to the next.”

Real power of Empire in contingency, mobility, flexibility to recognize, incorporate, differentiate, and manage differences.

(200) Contingency, mobility, and flexibility are Empire's real power. The imperial “solution” will not be to negate or attenuate these differences, but rather to affirm them and arrange them in an effective apparatus of command.
(201) “Divide and conquer” is thus not really the correct formulation of imperial strategy. More often than not, the Empire does not create divisions but rather recognizes existing or potential differences, celebrates them, and manages them within a general economy of command. The triple imperative of Empire is incorporate, differentiate, manage.

From Crisis to Corruption

Corruption as general process of decomposition without moral overtones; imperial rule functions in ontological vacuum by breaking down.

(201) We intend the concept rather to refer to a more general process of decomposition or mutation with none of the moral overtones, drawing on an ancient usage that has been largely lost.
(202) To say that imperial sovereignty is defined by corruption means, on the one hand, that Empire is impure or hybrid and, on the other, that imperial rule functions by breaking down. . . . Imperial power is founded on the rupture of every determinate ontological relationship. Corruption is simply the sign of the absence of any ontology. In the ontological vacuum, corruption becomes necessary, objective.


Examples of politics of refusal of voluntary servitude Melvilles Bartleby and Coetzees Michael K as beginning of liberatory politics against Empire.

(204) These simple mean and their absolute refusals cannot but appeal to our hatred of authority. The refusal of work and authority, or really the refusal of voluntary servitude, is the beginning of liberatory politics.


Liberatory politics will only arise from practice, not mere theoretical articulation.

Consider foss movement as series of experiments advanced through collective practice toward creating a new social body beyond Empire, now coalesced in social media campaigns.

(206) And no such effective blueprint will ever arise from a theoretical articulation such as ours. It will arise only in practice. At a certain point in his thinking Marx needed the Paris Commune in order to make the leap and conceive communism in concrete terms as an effective alternative to capitalist society. Some such experiment or series of experiments advanced through the genius of collective practice will certainly be necessary today to take the next concrete step and create a new social body beyond Empire.

One Big Union!

New tools and foss hopes to accept challenge of accelerated process of capitals globalization.

(206-207) We cannot move back to any previous social form, nor move forward in isolation. Rather, we must push through Empire to come out the other side. Deleuze and Guattari argued that rather than resist capital's globalization, we have to accelerate the process. . . . We have to accept that challenge and learn to think globally and act globally.

No transcendent telos; allusion to divine city reminiscent of Busa antiBabel project and of course Boltanski and Chiapello cities.

(207) The divine city is a universal city of aliens, coming together, cooperating, communicating. Our pilgrimage on earth, however, in contrast to Augustine's, has no transcendent telos beyond: it is and remains absolutely immanent.

IWW as immanent version of Augustinian project; look to non-place to realize postmodern republicanism within Empire.

Foss again fits well as example of immanent realization of divine city like IWW Wobblies for digital immigrant populations.

(207) From this perspective the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is the great Augustinian project of modern times. . . . The Wobblies had extraordinary success among the vast and mobile immigrant populations because they spoke all the languages of that hybrid labor force.
(208) Taking our cue from the IWW, and clearly departing from Augustine in this regard, we would cast our political vision in line with the radical republican tradition of modern democracy. . . . In this passage from modernity to postmodernity, is there still a
place from which we can launch our critique and construct an alternative? Or, if we are consigned to the non-place of Empire, can we construct a powerful non-place and realize it concretely, as the terrain of a postmodern republicanism?

The Non-Place of Exploitation

No determinate place for dialectic of production and domination; universality of human creativity has global embodiment.

(209) The dialectic between productive forces and the system of domination no longer has a determinate place. The very qualities of labor power (difference, measure, and determination) can no longer be grasped, and similarly, exploitation can no longer be localized and quantified.
(210) The universality of human creativity, the synthesis of freedom, desire, and living labor, is what takes place in the non-place of the postmodern relations of production. Empire is the non-place of world production where labor is exploited. By contrast, and with no possible homology with Empire, here we find again the revolutionary formalism of modern republicanism. This is still a formalism because it is without place, but it is a potent formalism now that it is recognized not as abstracted from the individual and collective subjects but as the general power that constitutes their bodies and minds. The non-place has a brain, heart, torso, and limbs, globally.

Being-Against: Nomadism, Desertion, Exodus

Problem for political philosophy is how to determine enemy against which to rebel.

(210-211) The first question of political philosophy today is not if or even why there will be resistance and rebellion, but rather how to determine the enemy against which to rebel. . . . We suffer exploitation, alienation, and command as enemies, but we do not know where to locate the production of oppression.

Being-against in every place, evacuation of the places of power; desertion replaces sabotage.

(211-212) If there is no longer a place that can be recognized as outside, we must be against in every place. This being against becomes the essential key to every active political position in the world, ever desire that is effective—perhaps of democracy itself. The first anti-fascist partisans in Europe, armed deserted confronting their traitorous governments, we aptly called “against-men.” Today the generalized being-against of the multitude must recognize imperial sovereignty as the enemy and discover the adequate means to subvert its power.
(212) Here we see once again the republican principle in the very first instance: desertion, exodus, and nomadism. Whereas in the disciplinary era sabotage was the fundamental notion of resistance, in the era of imperial control it may be desertion. Whereas being-against in modernity often meant a direct and/or dialectical opposition of forces, in postmodernity being-against might well be most effective in an oblique or diagonal stance. Battles against the Empire might be won through subtraction and defection. This desertion does not have a place; it is the evacuation of the places of power.

Specter of migration, desertion powerful form of class struggle but still spontaneous, often resulting in rootless poverty and misery; need new global vision organizing desire as well as destructive capabilities.

(213) A specter haunts the world and it is the specter of migration. . . . Desertion and exodus are a powerful form of class struggle within and against imperial postmodernity. This mobility, however, still constitutes a spontaneous level of struggle, and, as we noted earlier, it most often leads today to a new rootless condition of poverty and misery.
(214) We need a force capable of not only organizing the destructive capacities of the multitude, but also constituting through the desires of the multitude an alternative. The counter-Empire must also be a new global vision, a new way of living in the world.

New Barbarians

Benjamin positive barbarism for constructing new life, exemplified by gender and sexuality mutations anthropological exodus; first new place in the non-place.

(214-215) Those who are against, while escaping from the local and particular constraints of their human condition, must also continually attempt to construct a new body and a new life. This is a necessarily violent, barbaric passage, but as Walter Benjamin says, it is a positive barbarism. . . . The new barbarians destroy with an affirmative violence and trace new paths of life through their own material existence.
(215-216) These barbaric deployments work on human relations in general, but we can recognize them today first and foremost in corporeal relations and configurations of gender and sexuality. . . . Today's corporeal mutations constitute an
anthropological exodus and represent an extraordinarily important, but still quite ambiguous, element of the configuration of republicanism “against” imperial civilization. The anthropological exodus is important primarily because here is where the positive, constructive face of the mutations begins to appear: an ontological mutation in action, the concrete invention of a first new place in the non-place.

Produce artificial becoming homohomo by art and knowledge through immaterial forms of affective and intellectual labor power.

(216) We have to arrive at constituting a coherent political artifice, an artificial becoming in the sense that the humanists spoke of a homohomo produced by art and knowledge, and that Spinoza spoke of a powerful body produced by that highest consciousness that is infused with love. The infinite paths of the barbarians must form a new mode of life.
(217) This task will be accomplished primarily through the new and increasingly immaterial forms of affective and intellectual labor power, in the community that they constitute, in the artificiality that they present as a project.

Passage to deconstructive phase of critical thought by Heidegger, Adorno, Derrida adequate for exiting modernity but cyborg technologies introduced by Haraway offer better place for continuing it.

(217-218) With this passage the deconstructive phase of critical thought, which from Heidegger and Adorno to Derrida provided a powerful instrument for the exit from modernity, has lost its effectiveness. It is now a closed parenthesis and leaves us faced with a new task: constructive, in the non-place, a new place; constructing ontologically new determinations of the human, of living—a powerful artificiality of being. Donna Haraway's cyborg fable, which resides at the ambiguous boundary between human, animal, and machine, introduces us today, much more effectively than deconstruction, to these new terrains of possibility—but we should remember that this is a fable and nothing more. The force that must instead drive forward theoretical practice to actualize these terrains of potential metamorphosis is still (and ever more intensely) the common experience of the new productive practices and the concentration of productive labor on the plastic and fluid terrain of the new communicative, biological, and mechanical technologies.


Marxist tenet that capitalist expansion entails political form of imperialism; crisis is normal condition for capital.

(221-222) One of the central arguments of the tradition of Marxist thinking on imperialism is that there is an intrinsic relation between capitalism and expansion, and that capitalist expansion inevitably takes the political form of imperialism. . . . We do not mean to suggest that this crisis and these barriers will necessarily lead capital to collapse. On the contrary, as it is for modernity as a whole, crisis is for capital a normal condition that indicates not its end but its tendency and mode of operation.

The Need for an Outside

Unequal quantitative relationship between worker as producer and consumer, forcing expansion.

(222) Marx analyzes capital's constant need for expansion first by focusing on the process of realization and thus on the unequal quantitative relationship between the worker as producer and the worker as consumer of commodities.
(224) The only effective solution is for capital to look outside itself and discover noncapitalist markets in which to exchange the commodities and realize their value.

Internalizing the Outside

Process of capitalization demands expansion that can remain outside when acquiring materials.

(225) Capital expands not only to meet the needs of realization and find new markets but also to satisfy the requirements of the subsequent moment in the cycle of accumulation, that is, the process of capitalization.
(225) The search for additional constant capital (in particular, more and newer materials) drives capital toward a kind of imperialism characterized by pillage and theft. . . . In the acquisition of additional means of production, capital does relate to and rely on its noncapitalist environment, but it does not internalize that environment—or rather, it does not necessarily make the environment capitalist. The outside remains outside.

Capitalist imperialism occurs when acquiring additional variable capital and new labor power.

(226) The acquisition of additional variable capital, the engagement of new labor power and creation of proletarians, by contrast, implies a capitalist imperialism. . . . The progressive proletarianization of the noncapitalist environment is the continual reopening of the processes of primitive accumulation—and thus the capitalization of the noncapitalist environment itself. Luxemburg sees this as the real historical novelty of capitalist conquest.

Exporting social form to achieve differential, organic transformation of noncapitalist environment.

(226) What is exported is a relation, a social form that will breed or replicate itself.
(227) Each segment of the noncapitalist environment is transformed
differently, and all are integrated organically into the expanding body of capital.

Contradiction of capitalist expansion; Marxist authorist compelled to denounce imperialism.

(227) At this point we can recognize the fundamental contradiction of capitalist expansion: capital's reliance on its outside, on the noncapitalist environment, which satisfies the need to realize surplus value, conflicts with the internalization of the noncapitalist environment, which satisfies the need to capitalize that realized surplus value. . . . Capital's thirst must be quenched with new blood, and it must continually seek new frontiers.
(228-229) The most important political stake for these authors in the question of economic expansion is to demonstrate the ineluctable relationship between capitalism and imperialism. . . . The evils of imperialism cannot be confronted except by destroying capitalism itself.

Equalization and Subsumption

Lenin denied possibility of subsumption of crisis into peaceful ultra imperialist phase of unified world market suggested by Hilferding and Kautsky; saw possibility of destroying imperialism.

(229-230) In short, Lenin adopted Hilferding's hypothesis that capital had entered a new phase of international development defined by monopoly and that this led to both an increase of contradictions and a crisis of equalization. He did not accept, however, that the utopia of a unified international bank could be taken seriously and that a still capitalist Aufhebung (subsumption) of the crisis could ever come about.
(230) Lenin regarded the position of Kautsky, who also took Hilferding's work as his point of departure, as even more utopian and damaging. Kautsky proposed, in effect, that capitalism could achieve a real political and economic unification of the world market. The violent conflicts of imperialism could be followed by a new peaceful phase of capitalism, an “ultra-imperialist” phase.
(230) Thus, while generally adopting these authors' analytical propositions, Lenin rejected their political positions.
(231) Lenin recognized the untimely element of the definition of imperialism and grasped in the subjective practices of the working class not only the potential obstacles to the linear solution of the crises of capitalist realization (which Luxemburg emphasized too), but also the existing and concrete possibility that these practices—struggles, insurrections, and revolutions—could destroy imperialism itself.

From Imperialism to Empire

Lenin glimpsed beyond modernity; imperialism a structural stage, turning multitude into people via mechanism of Gramsci hegemony.

(231-232) Lenin brought together the problematic of modern sovereignty and that of capitalist development under the lens of one unified critique, and by weaving together the different lines of critique, he was able to glimpse beyond modernity.
(232) The nation-state asks imperialism to resolve or really displace class struggle and its destabilizing effects.
(232-233) Lenin saw imperialism as a structural stage in the evolution of the modern state. He imagined a necessary and linear historical progression from the first forms of the modern European state to the nation-state and then to the imperialist state. At each stage in this development the state had to invent new means of constructing popular consensus, and thus the imperialist state had to find a way to incorporate the multitude and its spontaneous forms of class struggle within its ideological state structures; it had to transform the multitude into a people. This analysis is the initial political articulations of the concept of hegemony that would later become central to Gramsci's thought.

Lenin concluded outcome of either world communist revolution or Empire.

(233) Lenin recognized finally that, although imperialism and the monopoly phase were indeed expressions of the global expansion of capital, the imperialist practices and the colonial administrations through which they were often pursued had come to be obstacles to the further development of capital.
(234) Lenin's analysis of the crisis of imperialism had the same power and necessity as had Machiavelli's analysis of the crisis of the medieval order: the reaction had to be revolutionary. This is the alternative implicit in Lenin's work:
either world communist revolution or Empire, and there is a profound analogy between these two choices.

The Missing Volumes of Capital

Need theoretical schema for transition from imperialism to Empire as if Marx had finished Capital with missing volumes on wage, state, world market; needed world market to emerge before nation-state could be theorized.

Consider analogy between need for realization of world market before nation-state could be theorized, and emergence of Internet before post-postmodern subjectivity and thus a philosophy of computing.

(235) We thus arrive at the delicate passage through which the subjectivity of class struggle transforms imperialism into Empire. In this third part of our book we will trace the genealogy of the economic order of Empire so as to reveal the global nature of proletarian class struggle and its ability to anticipate and prefigure the developments of capital toward the realization of the world market. We still need to identify, however, a theoretical schema that can sustain us in this inquiry. The old analyses of imperialism will not be sufficient here because in the end they stop at the threshold of the analysis of subjectivity and concentrate rather on the contradictions of capital's own development. We need to identify a theoretical schema that puts the subjectivity of the social movements of the proletariat at center stage in the process of globalization and the constitution of global order.
(235-236) In his outlines for the drafting of
Capital, Marx planned three volumes that were never written: one on the wage, a second on the state, and a third on the world market. . . . The nation-state was a singular organization of the limit. In these conditions a general theory of the state could not but be aleatory and conceived only in the most abstract terms. Marx's difficulties in writing the volumes of Capital on the state and the world market were thus fundamentally linked: the volume on the state could not be written until the world market had been realized.

Dialectic evaporates at global level because there is no mediation between capital and labor performed by nation-state; Empire posed as site of analysis and conflict.

(236-237) The analyses of the state and the world market also become possible in Empire for another reason, because at this point in development class struggle acts without limit on the organization of power. Having achieved the global level, capitalist development is faced directly with the multitude, without mediation. Hence the dialectic, or really the science of the limit and its organization, evaporates. Class struggle, pushing the nation-state toward its abolition and thus going beyond the barriers posed by it, proposes the constitution of Empire as the site of analysis and conflict. Without that barrier, then, the situation of struggle is completely open. Capital and labor are opposed in a directly antagonistic form. This is the fundamental condition of every political theory of communism.


Entry into postmodernity poor description of passage from imperialism to Empire.

(237) From imperialism to Empire and from the nation-state to the political regulation of the global market: what we are witnessing, considered from the point of view of historical materialism, is a qualitative passage in modern history. When we are incapable of expressing adequately the enormous importance of this passage, we sometimes quite poorly define what is happening as the entry into postmodernity.

Arrighi theory that capitalism always returns in cycles of phases of material to financial expansion; masks motors of crisis and restructuring that could surpass Empire.

(238) This historical perspective leads Arrighi to demonstrate how everything returns, or specifically how capitalism always returns. The crisis of the 1970s, then, is really nothing new. What is happening to the capitalist system led by the United States today happened tot he British one hundred years ago, to the Dutch before them, and earlier to the Genoese. The crisis indicated a passage, which is the turning point in every systemic cycle of accumulation, from a first phase of material expansion (investment in production) to a second phase of financial expansion (including speculation).
What concerns us more is that in the context of Arrighi's cyclical argument it is impossible to recognize a rupture of the system, a paradigm shift, an event. Instead, everything must always return, and the history of capitalism thus becomes the eternal return of the same. In the end, such a cyclical analysis masks the motor of the process of crisis and restructuring. . . . More important than any historical debate about the crisis of the 1970s, however, are the possibilities of rupture today. We have to recognize where in the transnational networks of production, the circuits of the world market, and the global structures of capitalist rule there is the potential for rupture and the motor for a future that is no simply doomed to repeat the past cycles of capitalism.


Rational organization of labor in 1920s did not lead to organized markets; only with New Deal did surpassing of imperialism commence.

(240) This rational organization of labor, however, did not lead to the rational organization of markets, but instead only increased their anarchy.
(241) This set of factors underlay the great economic crisis of 1929—a crisis of both capitalist overinvestment and proletarian underconsumption in the dominant capitalist countries. . . . Only in the United States was capitalist reform put into effect and proposed as a democratic New Deal. . . . With the New Deal the real process of surpassing imperialism began to take root.

A New Deal for the World

Example of transformation of subjectivity by FDR synthesizing imperialism and reformism into modern welfare state.

(242) One could rightly say that FDR resolved the contradictions of American progressivism by forging a synthesis of the American imperialist vocation and reformist capitalism, represented by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. This subjectivity was the driving force that transformed U.S. capitalism and renewed U.S. society in the process. The state was celebrated not only as mediator of conflicts but also as motor of social movement. . . . Out of this development came the trinity that would constitute the modern welfare state: a synthesis of Taylorism in the organization of labor, Fordism in the wage regime, and Keynesianism in the macroeconomic regulation of society.

New Deal produced highest form of disciplinary government, factory-society.

(242-243) The New Deal produced the highest form of disciplinary government. . . . We are referring primarily to the fact that in a disciplinary society, the entire society, with all its productive and reproductive articulations, is subsumed under the command of capital and the state, and that the society tends, gradually but with unstoppable continuity, to be ruled solely by criteria of capitalist production. A disciplinary society is thus a factory-society. Disciplinarity is at once a form of production and a form of government such that disciplinary production and disciplinary society tend to coincide completely. In this new factory-society, productive subjectivities are forged as one-dimensional functions of economic development.

New Deal model projected onto rest of world, giving birth to social state.

(243) The New Deal model, then, was first of all a development proper to U.S. politics, a response to the domestic economic crisis, but it also became a flag that the U.S. Army raised throughout the course of the Second World War.
(244) In the aftermath of the war, many viewed the New Deal model as the only path to global recovery (under the pacific power of U.S. hegemony). . . . The “social state” was born, or really the global disciplinary state, which took into account more widely and deeply the life cycles of populations, ordering their production and reproduction within a scheme of collective bargaining fixed by a stable monetary regime.

Decolonization, Decentering, and Discipline

Postwar global scene organized around decolonization, decentralization of production, framework of international relations.

(244-245) The new global scene was defined and organized primarily around three mechanisms or apparatuses: (1) the process of decolonization that gradually recomposed the world market along hierarchical lines branching out from the United States; (2) the gradual decentralization of production; and (3) the construction of a framework of international relations that spread across the globe the disciplinary productive regime and disciplinary society in its successive evolutions.

Decolonization interrupted by Cold War alignments; economic command by transnationals then supplanted military hardware.

(245-246) The linear trajectory of decolonization was thus interrupted by the necessity of selecting a global adversary and lining up behind one of the two models of international order. . . . The bitter and ferocious history of the first period of decolonization opened onto a second phase in which the army of command wielded its power less through military hardware and more through the dollar. This was an enormous step toward the construction of Empire.
(246-247) The transnationals became the fundamental motor of the economic and political transformation of postcolonial countries and subordinated regions. . . . These multiple flows began to converge essentially toward the United States, which guaranteed and coordinated, when it did not directly command, the movement and operation of the transnationals. This was a decisive constituent phase of Empire.

Objective of global factory-society through infusion of disciplinary modernized the rest of the world, which even leaders of socialist states endorsed; remember Marxism hated the poor.

(247-248) From the standpoint of capital, the dream of this model was that eventually every worker in the world, sufficiently disciplined, would be interchangeable in the global productive process—a global factory-society and a global Fordism. . . . The real substance of the effort, the real take-off toward modernity, which was in fact achieved, was the spread of the disciplinary regime throughout the social spheres of production and reproduction.
(248) The leaders of the socialist states agreed in substance on this disciplinary project.

Into and Out of Modernity

Processes of liberation resulted in new production of subjectivity beyond modernization in the multitude; primary tasks is getting out of modernity.

(249) The revolutionary processes of liberation determined by the multitude actually pushed beyond the ideology of modernization, and in the process revealed an enormous new production of subjectivity.
(250) The struggle of subaltern populations for their liberation remained an explosive and uncontainable mixture.
(251) The struggles for liberation, in the very moment when they were situated and subordinated in the world market, recognized insufficient and tragic keystone of modern sovereignty. Exploitation and domination could no longer be imposed in their modern forms. As these enormous new subjective forces emerged from colonialization and reached modernity, they recognized that
the primary task is not getting into but getting out of modernity.

Toward a New Global Paradigm

New disciplinary regime constructs desire by workers for escape from its grip; emergence of transversal mobility, rhizomatic lines of flight among disciplined labor power.

(253) When the new disciplinary regime constructs the tendency toward a global market of labor power, it constructs also the possibility of its antithesis. It constructs the desire to escape the disciplinary regime and tendentially an undisciplined multitude of workers who want to be free.
(253) The constitution of a global market organized along a disciplinary model is traversed by tensions that open mobility in every direction; it is a transversal mobility that is rhizomatic rather than arborescent. Our interest here is not only in giving a phenomenological description of the existing situation, but also in recognizing the possibilities inherent in that situation. The new transversal mobility of disciplined labor power is significant because it indicates a real and powerful search for freedom and the formation of new, nomadic desires that cannot be contained and controlled within the disciplinary regime.

Capitalist regimes must reform and restructure to organize entire world market, having destabilized economic and political geographies.

(254) Economic geography and political geography both are destabilized in such a way that the boundaries among the various zones are themselves fluid and mobile. As a result, the entire world market tends to be the only coherent domain for the effective application of capitalist management and command.
(254) At this point the capitalist regimes have to undergo a process of reform and restructuring in order to ensure their capacity to organize the world market.

Real Subsumption and the World Market

Processes of real subsumption depend on transformation of subjectivity through internalized discipline, not just invisible hand, but now uncontrollable.

(255) At a certain point, as capitalist expansion reaches its limit, the processes of formal subsumption can no longer play the central role. The processes of the real subsumption of labor under capital do not rely on the outside and do not involve the same processes of expansion. . . . In other words, the realization of the world market and the general equalization or at least management of rates of profit on a world scale cannot be the result simply of financial or monetary factors but must come about through a transformation of social and productive relations. Discipline is the central mechanism of this transformation. When a new social reality is formed, integrating both the development of capita and the proletarianization of the population into a single process, the political form of command must itself be modified and articulated in a manner and on a scale adequate to this process, a global quasi-state of the disciplinary regime.
(256) The movements of desiring subjectivities forced the development to go forward—and proclaimed that there was no turning back. In response to these movements in both the dominant and the subordinated countries, a new form of control had to be posed in order to establish command over what was no longer controllable in disciplinary terms.


Proletariat the general figure of social labor, though English experience should not be generalized; in postmodernity accumulation of immaterial social wealth alters object of proletarian labor, and social labor produces life itself.

(258) In postmodernity the social wealth accumulated is increasingly immaterial; it involves social relations, communication systems, information, and affective networks. Correspondingly, social labor is increasingly more immaterial; it simultaneously produces and reproduces directly all aspects of social life. As the proletariat is becoming the universal figure of labor, the object of proletarian labor is becoming equally universal. Social labor produces life itself.

Notion of simultaneity of social production contributes to my concept of diachrony in synchrony.

(258-259) Information carries through its networks both the wealth and the command of production, disrupting previous conceptions of inside and outside, but also reducing the temporal progression that had previously defined primitive accumulation. . . . The temporal sequence of development is thus reduced to immediacy as the entire society tends to be integrated in some way in the networks of informational production. Information networks tend toward something like a simultaneity of social production.


Vietnam War epitomized struggle against international disciplinary order.

(260-261) The Vietnam War represents a real turning point in the history of contemporary capitalism insofar as the Vietnamese resistance is conceived as the symbolic center of a whole series of struggles around the world that had up until that point remained separate and distant from one another. . . . The various struggles converged against one common enemy: the international disciplinary order.

Two, Three, Many Vietnams

Capitalist Response to the Crisis

Bretton Woods conference rearranged US monetary hegemony.

(265) Bretton Woods might thus be understood as the monetary and financial face of the hegemony of the New Deal model over the global capitalist economy.
(268) Taylorist and Fordist mechanisms could no longer control the dynamic of productive and social forces. Repression exercised through the old framework of control could perhaps keep a lid on the destructive powers of the crisis and the fury of the worker attack, but it was ultimately also a self-destructive response that would suffocate capitalist production itself.

Reactive technological transformation changing composition of proletariat, ecological struggle over mode of life, toward immaterial labor; relate to development of control society dividual.

(268) At the same time, then, a second path had to come into play, one that would involve a technological transformation aimed no longer only at repression but rather at changing the very composition of the proletariat, and thus integrating, dominating, and profiting from its new practices and forms. . . . The history of capitalist forms is always necessarily a reactive history: left to its own devices capital would never abandon a regime of profit. . . . The proletariat actually invents the social and productive forms that capital will be forced to adopt in the future.
(269) U.S. hegemony was actually sustained by the antagonistic power of the U.S. proletariat.
(269) In other words, capital had to confront and respond to
the new production of subjectivity of the proletariat. This new production of subjectivity reached (beyond the struggle over welfare, which we have already mentioned) what might be called an ecological struggle, a struggle over the mode of life, that was eventually expressed in the developments of immaterial labor.

The Ecology of Capital

Ecological consciousness over struggle over nature as everything outside the capitalist relation; yet capitalist remains healthy.

(270) Everything outside the capitalist relation—be it human, animal, vegetable, or mineral—was seen from the perspective of capital and its expansion as nature. The critique of capitalist imperialism thus expressed an ecological consciousness—ecological precisely insofar as it recognized the real limits of nature and the catastrophic consequences of its destruction.
(270) Well, as we write this book and the twentieth century draws to a close, capitalism is miraculously healthy, its accumulating more robust than ever. . . . There are three ways we might approach this mystery of capital's continuing health.

Machine-made nature and culture the reactive adaption to intensive expansion that keeps capitalism healthy; all of nature subject to capital through real subsumption under postmodern accumulation.

(272) Capital no longer looks outside but rather inside its domain, and its expansion is thus intensive rather than extensive. This passage centers on a qualitative leap in the technological organization of capital. Previous stages of the industrial revolution introduced machine-made consumer goods and then machine-made machines, but now we find ourselves confronted with machine-made raw materials and foodstuffs—in short, machine-made nature and machine-made culture. . . . Through the processes of modern technological transformation, all of nature has become capital, or at least has become subject to capital. Whereas modern accumulation is based on the formal subsumption of the noncapitalist environment, postmodern accumulation relies on the real subsumption of the capitalist terrain itself. . . . In the next section well will confront directly the real processes of postmodernization, or the informatization of production.

Assualt on the Disciplinary Regime

Disciplinary regime no longer contains needs and desires of the young; Nietzschean transvaluation of values toward more flexible dynamic of creativity and immaterial forms of production.

(274) The mass refusal of the disciplinary regime, which took a variety of forms, was not only a negative expression but also a moment of creation, what Nietzsche calls a transvaluation of values.
(274) The movements valued instead a more flexible dynamic of creativity and what might be considered more immaterial forms of production.

Production of new subjectivity through relationship between proletariat and autonomous production; new configurations of capital required to govern immaterial, cooperative, communicative, affective composition of labor power.

(275) A regime of production, and above all a regime of the production of subjectivity, was being destroyed and another invented by the enormous accumulation of struggles.
(276) The restructuring of production, from Fordism to post-Fordism, from modernization to postmodernization, was anticipated by the rise of a new subjectivity. . . . Capital did not need to invent a new paradigm (even if it were capable of doing so) because the truly creative moment had already taken place. Capital's problem was rather to dominate a new composition that had already been produced autonomously and defined within a new relationship to nature and labor, a relationship of autonomous production.
(276) The only configurations of capital able to thrive in the new world will be those that adapt to and govern the new immaterial, cooperative, communicative, and affective composition of labor power.

The Death Throes of Soviet Discipline

Structural incapacity of Soviet system to transcend disciplinary governability; resistance to bureaucratic dictatorship similar to rebellions in capitalist countries.

(276-277) Our thesis, which we share with many scholars of the Soviet world, is that the system went into crisis and fell apart because of its structural incapacity to go beyond the model of disciplinary governability, with respect to both its mode of production, which was Fordist and Taylorist, and its from of political command, which was Keynesian-socialist and thus simply modernizing internally and imperialst externally.
(278) Resistance to the bureaucratic dictatorship is what drove the crisis. The Soviet proletariat's refusal of work was in fact the very same method of struggle that the proletariat in the capitalist countries deployed, forcing their governments into a cycle of crisis, reform, and restructuring.
(279) The Soviet machine turned in on itself and ground to a halt, without the fuel that only new productive subjectivities can produce.


Economic postmodernization or informatization the third paradigm following agriculture and industrialization.

(280) Economic modernization involves the passage from the first paradigm to the second, from the dominance of agriculture to that of industry. Modernization means industrialization. We might call the passage from the second paradigm to the third, from the domination of industry to that of services and information, a process of economic postmodernization, or better, informatization.

Illusions of Development

Developmental view ignores relativity and importance of position within global system; compare to critiques of technological determinism.

(282) This discourse conceives the economic history of all countries as following one single pattern of development, each at different times and according to different speeds. . . . The developmental view fails to recognize, however, that the economies of the so-called developed countries are defined not only by certain quantitative factors or by their internal structures, but also and more important by their dominant position in the global system.
(283) To say that the subordinate economies do not develop does not mean that they do not change or grow; it means, rather, that
they remain subordinate in the global system and thus never achieve the promised form of a dominant, developed country.

Developmental view also inadequate because subordinate countries cannot repeat past conditions; compare to periphery software development practices not repeating Silicon Valley successes.

(284) The tendential realization of the world market should destroy any notion that today a country or region could isolate or delink itself from the global networks of power in order to re-create the conditions of the past and develop as the dominant capitalist countries once did.


Process of modernization has come to an end, indicated by migration to service jobs in dominant capitalist countries that highlight role of knowledge, information, affect, communication.

(285) The processes of becoming human and the nature of the human itself were fundamentally transformed in the passage defined by modernization.
(285) In our times, however,
modernization has come to an end. . . . Whereas the process of modernization was indicated by a migration of labor from agriculture and mining (the primary sector) to industry (the secondary), the process of postmodernization or informatization has been demonstrated through the migration from industry to service jobs (the tertiary), a shift that has taken place in the dominant capitalist countries, and particularly in the United States, since the early 1970s. Services cover a wide range of activities from health care, education, and finance to transportation, entertainment, and advertising. The jobs for the most part are highly mobile and involve flexible skills. More important, they are characterized in general by the central role played by knowledge, information, affect, and communication. In this sense many call the postindustrial economy an informational economy.

Castells and Aoyama informatization paths toward service economy and info-industrial models.

(286) In effect, as industries are transformed, the division between manufacturing and services is becoming blurred.
(286) On the basis of the change of employment statistics in the G-7 countries since 1970, Manuel Castells and Yuko Aoyama have discerned two basic models or paths of informatization. . . . The first path tends toward a
service economy model and is led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. This model involves a rapid decline in industrial jobs and a corresponding rise in service-sector jobs. In particular, the financial services that manage capital come to dominate the other service sectors. In the second model, the info-industrial model, typified by Japan and Germany, industrial employment declines more slowly than it does in the first model, and, more important, the process of informatization is closely integrated into and serves to reinforce the strength of existing industrial production.

Everything dominated by informational economy; no development stages but rather lines of global hierarchy of production.

(287-288) Today all economic activity tends to come under the dominance of the informational economy and to be qualitatively transformed by it. The geographical differences in the global economy are not signs of the co-presence of different stages of development but lines of the new global hierarchy of production.

Notion of hybrid exemplified by Italian economy contributes to my concept of diachrony in synchrony; compare to description of software development in a South American city.

(288-289) The transformations of the Italian economy since the 1950s demonstrate clearly that relatively backward economies do not simply follow the same stages the dominant regions experience, but evolve through alternative and mixed patterns. . . . The economic stages are thus all present at once, merged into a hybrid, composite economy that varies not in kind but in degree across the globe.

Need Levi anthropology of cyberspace for informatization postmodernization mode of human machine existence.

(289) Just as modernization did in a previous era, postmodernization or informatization today marks a new mode of becoming human. Where the production of soul is concerned, as Musil would say, one really ought to replace the traditional techniques of industrial machines with the cybernetic intelligence of information and communication technologies. We must invent what Pierre Levy calls an anthropology of cyberspace.

The Sociology of Immaterial Labor

Toyotist model alters communication between factory and market, inverting muted to rapid feedback loop.

(289-290) A first aspect of this transformation is recognized by many in terms of the change in factory labor—using the auto industry as a central point of reference—from the Fordist model to the Toyotist model. The primary structural change between these models involves the system of communication between the production and the consumption of commodities, that is, the passage of information between the factory and the market. The Fordist model constructed a relatively “mute” relationship between production and consumption.
(290) Toyotism is based on an inversion of the Fordist structure of communication between production and consumption. Ideally, according to this model, production planning will communicate with markets constantly and immediately.

Anthropology of cyberspace is recognition of Toyotist, computer mediated model to human thought and action.

(291) We even learned (with the help of Muybridge's photos, for example) to recognize human activity in general as mechanical. Today we increasingly think like computers, while communication technologies and their model of interaction are becoming more and more central to laboring activities. One novel aspect of the computer is that it can continually modify its own operation through its use. . . . The anthropology of cyberspace is really a recognition of the new human condition.

Reich symbolic-analytical services divides workforce into high and low skill informational activities, from strategic brokering activities to routine symbol manipulation.

(291-292) Robert Reich calls the kind of immaterial labor involved in computer and communication work “symbolic-analytical services”—tasks that involve “problem-solving, problem-identifying, and strategic brokering activities.” This type of labor claims the highest value, and thus Reich identifies it as the key to competition in the new global economy. He recognizes, however, that the growth of these knowledge-based jobs of creative symbolic manipulation implies a corresponding growth of low-value and low-skill jobs of routine symbol manipulation, such as data entry and word processing.

Computer proposed as universal tool, and labor tends toward abstract labor.

(292) The computer proposes itself, in contrast, as the universal tool, or rather as the central tool, through which all activities might pass. Through the computerization of production, then, labor tends toward the position of abstract labor.

Affective labor the other face of immaterial labor, producing social networks, communities, biopower.

(292) The other face of immaterial labor is the affective labor of human contact and interaction.
(293) Affective labor is better understood by beginning from what feminist analyses of “women's work” have called “labor in the bodily mode.” Caring labor is certainly immersed in the corporeal, the somatic, but the affects it produces are nonetheless immaterial. What affective labor produces are social networks, forms of community, biopower.

Cooperation immanent to laboring activity itself, suggesting elementary communism built into immaterial labor.

Hardt and Negri fail to note control regimes are nonetheless imposed into immaterial labor systems and social networks, especially in workplaces that are heavily code spaces.

(294) In other words, the cooperative aspect of immaterial labor is not imposed or organized from the outside, as it was in previous forms of labor, but rather, cooperation is completely immanent to the laboring activity itself. . . . Brains and bodies still need others to produce value, but the others they need are not necessarily provided by capital and its capacities to orchestrate production. Today productivity, wealth, and the creation of social surpluses take the form of cooperative interactivity through linguistic, communicational, and affective networks. In the expression of its own creative energies, immaterial labor thus seems to provide the potential for a kind of spontaneous and elementary communism.

Network Production

Assembly line replaced by network as organizational model.

Network production arrived after postmodern and poststructuralist theorists postulated its schematism.

(295) In the passage to the informational economy, the assembly line has been replaced by the network as the organizational model of production, transforming the forms of cooperation and communication within each productive site and among productive sites. . . . In effect, the network of laboring cooperation requires no territorial or physical center.

Protocol operation hinted but not explicitly articulated by Hardt and Negri in their discussion of abstract cooperation.

(296) The labor of informational production (of both services and durable goods) relies on what we can call abstract cooperation.

Gates Road Ahead plays significant role in Hardt and Negri discourse.

Gates predicts emergence of friction free capitalism through information highway, exemplifying immanent real subsumption through machine made market.

(296) Bill Gates, the co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, takes this tendency to an extreme when he predicts a future in which networks will overcome entirely the barriers to circulation and allow an ideal, “friction-free” capitalism to emerge. . . . If Gate's vision were to be realized, the networks would tend to reduce all distance and make transactions immediate. Sites of production and sites of consumption would then be present to one another, regardless of geographical location.

Network production also weakens bargaining position of labor and rejuvenates old forms suppressed by disciplinary regimes.

(297) Once the bargaining position of labor has been weakened, network production can accommodate various old forms of non-guaranteed labor, such as freelance work, home work, part-time labor, and piecework.

Information Highways

Network is constructed and policed to ensure order and profit: immanent site of production and circulation.

Railroads better analogy than Roman roads because information highway plays central role in imperial production processes.

(298) These global networks must be constructed and policed in such a way as to guarantee order and profits. It should come as no surprise, then, that the U.S. government poses the establishment and regulation of a global information infrastructure as one of its highest priorities, and that communications networks have become the most active terrain of mergers and competition for the most powerful transnational corporations.
(298) Roman roads, however, did not play a central role in the imperial production processes but only facilitated the circulation of goods and technologies. Perhaps a better analogy for the global information infrastructure might be the construction of railways to further the interests of nineteenth- and twentieth-century imperialist economies. . . .
The novelty of the new information infrastructure is the fact that it is embedded within and completely immanent to the new production processes. At the pinnacle of contemporary production, information and communication are the very commodities produced; the network itself is the site of both production and circulation.

Information network infrastructures are both democratic and oligopolistic, combining rhizomatic broadcast models; compare to Galloways much deeper analysis of technical mechanisms of Internet.
(298-299) In political terms, the global information infrastructure might be characterized as the combination of a
democratic mechanisms and an oligopolistic mechanism, which operate along different models of network systems. The democratic network is a completely horizontal and deterritorialized model. . . . This democratic model is what Deleuze and Guattari call a rhizome, a nonhierarchical and noncentered network structure.
(299-300) The oligopolistic network model is characterized by broadcast systems. . . . The broadcast network is defined by its centralized production, mass distribution, and one-way communication. . . . This oligopolistic model is not a rhizome but a tree structure that subordinates all of the branches to the central root.

Information networks allow transnational corporations to consolidate power, intensifying inequalities while extending access and democracy, well developed by Lessig and Lanier.

(300) The networks of the new information infrastructure are a hybrid of these two models. . . . The new communications technologies, which hold out the promise of a new democracy and a new social equality, have in fact created new lines of inequality and exclusion, both within the dominant countries and especially outside them.


Crisis of welfare state due to privatization, immanent relation between public and commons replaced by transcendent power of private property.

(301) The crisis of the welfare state has meant primarily that the structures of public assistance and distribution, which were constructed through public funds, are being privatized and expropriated for private gain. . . . The commons, which once were considered the basis of the concept of the public, are expropriated for private use and no one can lift a finger. The public is thus dissolved, privatized, even as a concept. Or really, the immanent relation between the public and the common is replaced by the transcendent power of private property.

The common today is co-produced services and relationships; concern the regime of private expropriation being applied universally.

(301-302) We want to ask, rather, what is the operative notion of the common today, in the midst of postmodernity, the information revolution, and the consequent transformations of the mode of production. . . . Our economic and social reality is defined less by the material objects that are made and consumed than by co-produced services and relationships. Producing increasingly means constructing cooperation and communicative commonalities.
The conceptual crisis of private property does not become a crisis in practice, and instead the regime of private expropriation has tended to be applied universally.

Commons as the incarnation, production, liberation of multitude entails great importance to disposition global of information networks.

(302-303) Constructing concepts means making exist in reality a project that is a community. . . . The commons is the incarnation, the production, and the liberation of the multitude.


Relationship between capitalists and the state only conflictive individually, working in long term interests of collective subject; happy, virtuous dialectic from perspective of total social capital.

(304) One should understand that, most significantly, despite the constant antagonism between capitalists and the state, the relationship is really conflictive only when capitalists are considered individually.
(304-305) Marx and Engels characterize the state as the executive board that manages the interests of capitalists; . . . it will always be in the long-term interest of the collective capitalist, that is, the collective subject of social capital as a whole. . . . This conflict is really a happy, virtuous dialectic from the perspective of total social capital.

When Giants Rule the Earth

Autonomy of the political disappears in age when control articulated through transnational corporations and international bodies.

(306) The monopoly phase posed a direct threat to the health of capitalism because it eroded the competition among capitalists that is the lifeblood of the system.
(306) Today a third phase of this relationship has fully matured, in which large transnational corporations have effectively surpassed the jurisdiction and authority of nation-states.
(307) Government and politics come to be completely integrated into the system of transnational command. Controls are articulated through a series of international bodies and functions. . . . Politics does not disappear; what disappears is any notion of the autonomy of the political.

Decline of independent spaces for revolution complicates idea of resistance within Empire.

(307-308) The decline of any autonomous political sphere signals the decline, too, of any independent space where revolution could emerge in the national political regime, or where social space could be transformed using the instruments of the state. The traditional idea of counter-power and the idea of resistance against modern sovereignty in general thus becomes less and less possible.

The Pyramid of Global Constitution

Pyramid of first hierarchized US superpower at top, G7 monetary regulators, biopower regulators, second distributed world productive organizations, third popular interests of the global People.

(309) When we analyze the configuration of global power in its various bodies and organizations, we can recognize a pyramidal structure that is composed of three progressively broader tiers, each of which contains several levels.
(309-310) At the narrow pinnacle of the pyramid there is one superpower, the United States, that holds hegemony over the global use of force—a superpower that can act alone but prefers to act in collaboration with others under the umbrella of the United Nations. This singular status was posed definitively with the end of the cold war and first confirmed in the Gulf War. On a second level, still within this first tier, as the pyramid broadens slightly, a group of nation-states control the primary global monetary instruments and thus have the ability to regulate international exchanges. . . . Finally, on a third level of this first tier a heterogeneous set of associations (including more or less the same powers that exercise hegemony on the military and monetary levels) deploy cultural and biopolitical power on a global level.
(310) Below the first and highest tier of unified global command there is a second tier in which command is distributed broadly across the world, emphasizing not so much unification as articulation. . . . These productive organizations that form and supply the markets extend transversally under the umbrella and guarantee of the central power that constitutes the first tier of global power. . . . The world market both homogenizes and differentiates territories, rewriting the geography of the globe.
(311) The third and broadest tier of the pyramid, finally, consists of groups that represent popular interests in the global power arrangement. . . . In many instances nation-states are cast in this role, particularly the collective of subordinated or minor states.

Global civil society; NGOs transform politics into question of generic life on the terrain of biopower.

(311) Also on this third tier of the pyramid, the global People is represented more clearly and directly not by governmental bodies but by a variety of organizations that are at least relatively independent of nation-states and capital. These organizations are often understood as functioning as the structures of a global civil society.
(312) The newest and perhaps most important forces in the global civil society go under the name of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The term NGO has not been given a very rigorous definition, but we would define it as any organization that purports to represent the People and operate in its interest, separate from (and often against) the structures of the state.
(313-314) Their political action rests on a universal moral call—what is at stake is life itself. . . . What they really represent is the vital force that underlies the People, and thus they transform politics into a question of generic life, life in all its generality. . . . Here, at this broadest, most universal level, the activities of these NGOs coincide with the workings of Empire “beyond politics,” on the terrain of biopower, meeting the needs of life itself.

Polybius and Imperial Government

Functional equilibrium of modern Empire comparable to Roman empire theorized by Polybius.

Functional equilibrium evidence of diachrony in synchrony.

(314) In other words, the contemporary empirical situation resembles the theoretical description of imperial power as the supreme form of government that Polybius constructed for Rome and the European tradition handed down to us. . . . The Empire prevented these good forms from descending into the vicious cycle of corruption in which monarchy becomes tyranny, aristocracy becomes oligarchy, and democracy becomes ochlocracy or anarchy.
(314) The Empire we find ourselves faced with today is also—mutatis mutandis—constituted by a functional equilibrium among ehse three forms of power: the monarchic unity of power and its global monopoly of force; aristocratic articulations through transational corporations and nation-states; and democratic-representational comitia, presented again in the form of nation-states along with the various kinds of NGOs, media organizations, and other “popular” organisms.

Analyze as coexistence of bad forms rather than good forms, imperial democracy configured as People versus multitude.

Compare bad forms to Kemeny fear that human computer symbiosis corruptible by bad management.

(315) We can recognize the ways in which we are close to and distant from the Polybian model of imperial power by situating ourselves in the genealogy of interpretations of Polybius in the history of European political thought.
(316) One could even argue that our experience of the constitution (in formation) of Empire is really the development and coexistence of the “bad” forms of government rather than the “good” forms, as the tradition pretends. All the elements of the mixed constitution appear at first sight in fact as through a distorting lens. . . . Both within the individual states and on the international level, this limited sphere of imperial “democracy” is configured as a
People (an organized particularity that defends established privileges and properties) rather than as a multitude (the universality of free and productive practices).

Hybrid Constitution

Mixed to hybrid comparable to weaving and splicing metaphors in Spinuzi.

(317) The framework of juridical formalization, the constitutional mechanism of guarantees, and the schema of equilibrium are all transformed along two primary axes in the passage from the modern to the postmodern terrain.
(317-318) The processes of the real subsumption, of subsuming labor under capital and absorbing global society within Empire, force the figures of power to destroy the spatial measure and distance that had defined their relationships, merging the figures in hybrid forms. . . . On all three levels, what was previously conceived as mixture, which was really the organic interaction of functions that remained separate and distinct, now tends toward a hybridization of the functions themselves. We might thus pose this first axis of transformation as a passage from mixed constitution to hybrid constitution.

Command exercised over temporal dimension, thus over subjectivity; imperial overdetermination of democracy a qualitative leap from disciplinary to control paradigm, into imperial non-place.

(318) A second axis of constitutional transformation, which demonstrates both a displacement of constitutional theory and a new quality of the constitution itself, is revealed by the fact that in the present phase, command must be exercised to an ever greater extent over the temporal dimensions of society and hence over the dimension of subjectivity. . . . We should never forget, however, that we are dealing here with the imperial overdetermination of democracy, in which the multitude is captured in flexible and modulating apparatuses of control. This is precisely where the most important qualitative leap must be recognized: from the disciplinary paradigm to the control paradigm of government.
(319) In this imperial non-place, in the hybrid space that the constitutional process constructs, we still find the continuous and irrepressable presence of subjective movements. Our problematic remains something like that of the mixed constitution, but now it is infused with the full intensity of the displacements, modulations, and hybridizations invovled in the passage to postmodernity.

Struggle over the Constitution

Imperial constitution conceived as universal rhizomatic communication network; primary struggle on production and regulation of subjectivity, for the multitude lives on this network.

(319) The general outlines of today's imperial constitution can be conceived in the form of a rhizomatic and universal communication network in which relations are established to and from all its points or nodes.
(320-321) Is it possible for the system to sustain simultaneously political subjection and the subjectivity of the producer/consumer? . . . Here is where the primary site of struggle seems to emerge, on the terrain of the production and regulation of subjectivity.

Spectacle of the Constitution

Debord spectacle holds together hybrid constitution; political discourse as sales pitch, political participation as consumer selection.

(321) In effect, the glue that holds together the diverse functions and bodies of the hybrid constitution is what Guy Debord called the spectacle, an integrated and diffuse apparatus of images and ideas that produces and regulates public discourse and opinion.
(322) Political discourse is an articulated sales pitch, and political participation is reduced to selecting among consumable images.

Jameson conspiracy theories in film approximates functioning of the totality as if directed by single global power: like New Coke debacle, not that smart and not that dumb.

(323) As Fredric Jameson explains wonderfully in the context of contemporary film, conspiracy theories are a crude but effective mechanism for approximating the functioning of the totality. The spectacle of politics functions as if the media, the military, the government, the transnational corporations, the global financial institutions, and so forth were all consciously and explicitly directed by a single power even though in reality they are not.

Change from spectacle of Hobbes in mechanisms communicating fear.

(323) What has changed are the forms and mechanisms of the superstitions that communicate fear.


Sovereignty operates through striation of social field, coding a transcendent order; capital through immanence, decoding and deterritorialization.

Immanence relates to diachrony in synchrony.

(324) In other words, sovereignty operates through the striation of the social field.
(325) Capital, on the contrary, operates on the plane of
immanence, through relays and networks of relationships of domination, without reliance on a transcendent center of power. It tends historically to destroy traditional social boundaries, expanding across territories and enveloping always new populations within its processes.

Axiomatic replaces coding in social development of capital, overlaying decontextualized valuations.

(326-327) Through the social development of capital, the mechanisms of modern sovereignty—the processes of coding, overcoding, and recoding that imposed a transcendent order over a bounded and segmented social terrain—are progressively replaced by an axiomatic: that is, a set of equations and relationships that determines and combines variables and coefficients immediately and equally across various terrains without reference to prior and fixed definitions or terms.

Breakdown of civil society as mediator between capital and sovereignty; smoothing of modern social space in networks of society of control.

(328-329) In our times, however, civil society no longer serves as the adequate point of mediation between capital and sovereignty. . . . The breakdown of the institutions, the withering of civil society, and the decline of disciplinary society all involve a smoothing of the striation of modern social space. Here arise the networks of the society of control.

Foucault theory of virtual sovereignty through dispositif, diagram, and institutional instantiation so society disciplines itself.

Virtual sovereignty fits protocol model for Internet.

(329-330) Foucault negotiates with enormous subtlety this distance between the transcendent walls of the institutions and the immanent exercise of discipline through his theories of the dispositif and the diagram, which articulates a series of stages of abstraction. In somewhat simplified terms, we can say that the dispositif (which is translated as either mechanism, apparatus, or deployment) is the general strategy that stands behind the immanent and actual exercise of discipline. . . . At a second level of abstraction, the diagram enables the deployments of the disciplinary dispositif. . . . Finally, the institutions themselves instantiate the diagram in particular and concrete social forms as well. The prison (its walls, administrators, guards, laws, and so forth) does not rule its inmates the way a sovereign commands its subjects. It creates a space in which inmates, through the strategies of carceral dispositifs and through actual practices, discipline themselves. . . . Sovereignty has become virtual (but it is for that no less real), and it is actualized always and everywhere through the exercise of discipline.

Immanent production of hybrid subjectivity simultaneously constituted by logics of disciplinary dispositifs.

(330) What has changed is that, along with the collapse of the institutions, the disciplinary dispositifs have become less limited and bounded spatially in the social field.
(331) The immanent production of subjectivity in the society of control corresponds to the axiomatic logic of capital, and their resemblance indicates a new a more complete compatibility between sovereignty and capital.
(331) A hybrid subjectivity produced in the society of control may not carry the identity of a prison inmate or a mental patient or a factory worker, but may still be constituted simultaneously by all of their logics.

A Smooth World

Realization of world market the end of imperialism.

(333) Rosa Luxemburg was essentially right: imperialism would have been the death of capital had it not been overcome. The full realization of the world market is necessarily the end of imperialism.

Potential unity of opposition in the homogenized periphery.

(334) In other words, Third World, South, and periphery all homogenize real differences to highlight the unifying processes of capitalist development, but also and more important, they name the potential unity of an international opposition, the potential confluence of anticapitalist countries and forces.

The New Segmentations

Close proximity of extremely unequal populations, evident architecturally and in especially politics of labor.

(336-337) Empire is characterized by the close proximity of extremely unequal populations, which creates a situation of permanent social danger and requires the powerful apparatuses of the society of control of ensure separation and guarantee the new management of social space.
(337) Architectural analysis, however, can give only a first introduction to the problematic of the new separations and segmentations. The new lines of division are more clearly defined by the politics of labor.

Reproletarianization and overturning of regulation of working day, constant fear of poverty guarantees new segmentations.

(337-338) The imperial politics of labor is designed primarily to lower the price of labor. This is, in effect, something like a process of primitive accumulation, a process of reproletarianization. . . . Empire has work for everyone! The more unregulated the regime of exploitation, the more work there is.
(339) The constant fear of poverty and anxiety over the future are the keys to creating a struggle among the poor for work and maintaining conflict among the imperial proletariat. Fear is the ultimate guarantee of the new segmentations.

Imperial Administration

Imperial administration separates management of political ends from bureaucratic means, differentiates rather than integrates, is fundamentally non-strategic in authorizing its means, yet provides local effectiveness.

(340) A first principle that defines imperial administration is that in it the management of political ends tends to be separate from the management of bureaucratic means.
(340-341) Instead of contributing to social integration,
imperial administration acts rather as a disseminating and differentiating mechanism. . . . In short, the old administrative principle of universality, treating all equally, is replaced by the differentiation and singularization of procedures, treating each differently.
(341) It submits to them, insofar as they animate the great military, monetary, and communicative means that authorize administration itself.
Administrative action has become fundamentally non-strategic, and thus it is legitimated through heterogeneous and indirect means.
(342) The unifying matrix and the most dominant value of imperial administration lies in its
local effectiveness.

Consent formed through local effectiveness; relate to operation of protocols within their application layers.

(343) Consent to the imperial regime is not something that descends from the transcendentals of good administration, which were defined in the modern rights states. Consent, rather, is formed through the local effectiveness of the regime.

Imperial Command

Summary of imperial command: exercised through biopoliical control of multitude, which replace the People, preventing their transformation into autonomous mass of intelligent productivity through bombs, money, ether.

(344) Imperial command is exercised no longer through the disciplinary modalities of the modern state but rather through the modalities of biopolitical control. . . . The concept of the People no longer functions as the organized subject of the system of command, and consequently the identity of the People is replaced by the mobility, flexibility, and perpetual differentiation of the multitude.
(344) The multitude is governed with the instruments of the postmodern capitalist system and within the social relations of the real subsumption. The multitude can only be ruled along internal lines, in production, in exchanges, in culture—in other words, in the biopolitical context of its existence. In its deterritorialized autonomy, however, this biopolitical existence of the multitude has the potential to be transformed into an autonomous mass of intelligent productivity, into an absolute democratic power, as Spinoza would say. If that were to happen, capitalist domination of production, exchange, and communication would be overthrown. Preventing this is the first and primary task of imperial government. . . . Their powers must be controlled but not destroyed.
(345-346) Imperial control operates through three global and absolute means: the bomb, money, and ether. . . . Empire is the ultimate form of biopower insofar as it is the absolute inversion of the power of life.

Sovereignty seems subordinated to, for being articulated through, communications systems; they create another space that is completely deterritorialized.

(346-347) The contemporary systems of communication are not subordinated to sovereignty; on the contrary, sovereignty seems to be subordinated to communication—or actually, sovereignty is articulated through communication systems. . . . Deterritorialization is the primary force and circulation the form through which social communication manifests itself. In this way and in this ether, languages become functional to circulation and dissolve every sovereign relationship. Education and culture too cannot help submitting to the circulating society of the spectacle. Here we reach an extreme limit of the process of the dissolution of the relationship between order and space. At this point we cannot conceive this relationship except in another space, an elsewhere that cannot in principle be contained in the articulation of sovereign acts.

Society completely submitted to global regime of capitalist production embodied in communication systems.

(347) The space of communication is completely deterritorialized. . . . Communication is the form of capitalist production which capital has succeeded in submitting society entirely and globally to its regime, suppressing all alternative paths.

Reference to imperial pyramid of power in means of control.

(347) These three means of control refer us again to the three tiers of the imperial pyramid of power. The bomb is a monarchic power, money aristocratic, and ether democratic.


Big government is inherent in imperial postmodernity, conducting great orchestra of subjectivities reduced to commodities.

(348) When the proponents of the globalization of capital cry out against big government, they are being not only hypocritical but also ungrateful.
In imperial postmodernity big government has become merely the despotic means of domination and the totalitarian production of subjectivity. Big government conducts the great orchestra of subjectivities reduced to commodities.

Hardt and Negri are communists, not anarchists.

(350) No, we are not anarchists but communists who have seen how much repression and destruction of humanity have been wrought by liberal and socialist big governments. We have seen how all this is being re-created in imperial government, just when the circuits of productive cooperation have made labor power as a whole capable of constituting itself in government.


Forced beyond transcendental politics of divine city into ontology because politics and social life merge in the postmodern spectacle.

(353-354) The transcendental fiction of politics can no longer stand up and has no argumentative utility because we all exist entirely within the realm of the social and the political. When we recognize this radical determination of postmodernity, political philosophy forces us to enter the terrain of ontology.

Outside Measure (The Immeasurable)

Beyond Measure (The Virtual)

Construction of value takes place beyond measure in immanent non-place of virtuality.

Hardt and Negri make the conceptual stretches in these sections, developing ontology of the mutltitude in Empire as concrete universal.

(356) In Empire, the construction of value takes place beyond measure.
(357) Beyond measure refers to the
new place in the non-place, the place defined by the productive activity that is autonomous from any external regime of measure. Beyond measure refers to a virtuality that invests the entire biopolitical fabric of imperial globalization.

Virtual is set of powers to act residing in multitude, living labor, general social activity.

(357) By the virtual we understand the set of powers to act (being, loving, transforming, creating) that reside in the multitude. . . . The passage from the virtual through the possible to the real is the fundamental act of creation. Living labor is what constructs the passageway from the virtual to the real; it is the vehicle of possibility. Labor that has broken open the cages of economic, social, and political discipline and surpassed every regulative dimension of modern capitalism along with its state-form now appears as general social activity.

Constituent power of common action by the multitude is power of freedom; ontological terrain of Empire.

(358) Labor appears simply as the power to act, which is at once singular and universal: singular insofar as labor has become the exclusive domain of the brain and body of the multitude; and universal insofar as the desire that the multitude expresses in the movement from the virtual to the possible is constantly constituted as a common thing.
(358) The common actions of labor, intelligence, passion, and affect configure a
constituent power.
(358) This ontological apparatus beyond measure is an
expansive power, a power of freedom, ontological construction, and omnilateral dissemination.
(359) The ontological terrain of Empire, completely plowed and irrigated by a powerful, self-valorizing, and constituent labor, is thus planted with a virtuality that seeks to be real. The keys of possibility, or really the modalities of being that transform the virtual into reality, reside in this realm beyond measure.


Imperial government appears as a parasite; its actions are rebounds of the resistance of the multitude.

(359) With respect to the virtuality of the multitude, however, imperial government appears as an empty shell or a parasite.
(361) Empire itself is not a positive reality. In the very moment it rises up, it falls. Each imperial action is a rebound of the resistance of the multitude that poses a new obstacle for the multitude to overcome.

Nomadism and Miscegenation

Concrete universal is the multitude actions making common through nomadism and miscegenation.

Concrete universal fashioned by the actions of the multitude also evident as development of cyberspace.

(362) The concrete universal is what allows the multitude to pass from place to place and make its place its own. This is the common place of nomadism and miscegenation.
(362) In this context, ontology is not an abstract science. It involves the conceptual recognition of the production and reproduction of being and thus the recognition that political reality is constituted by the movement of desire and the practical realization of labor as value. The spatial dimension of ontology is demonstrated through the multitude's concrete processes of the globalization, or really the making common, of the desire for human community.

Power to circulate as ethical act; again well articulated in cyberspace interior journeys, though focus here is global nomadism and miscegenation of bodies.

(363-364) The power to circulate is a primary determination of the virtuality of the multitude, and circulating is the first ethical act of a counterimperial ontology. . . . Biopolitical circulation focuses on and celebrates the substantial determinations of the activities of production, self-valorization, and freedom. Circulation is a global exodus, or really nomadism; and it is a corporeal exodus, or really miscegenation.

General Intellect and Biopower

General intellect formation predicted by Marx is our era.

(364) General intellect is a collective, social intelligence created by accumulated knowledge, techniques, and know-how. The value of labor is thus realized by a new universal and concrete labor force through the appropriation and free usage of the new productive forces. What Marx saw as the the future is our era.

Must acknowledge corporeal aspects of general intellect, not just plane of thought, as biopower is subsumption of society under capital, globalized productive order.

(364-365) The danger of the discourse of general intellect is that it risks remaining entirely on the plane of thought, as if the new powers of labor were only intellectual and not also corporeal. . . . Biopower is another name for the real subsumption of society under capital, and both are synonymous with the globalized productive order.

Life infuses all production, no separate from the working day.

Production of commodities accomplished through language; Agamben naked life appears as wealth of virtuality.

(365-366) Life is no longer produced in the cycles of reproduction that are subordinated to the working day; on the contrary, life is what infuses and dominates all production. . . . The production of commodities tends to be accomplished entirely through language, where by language we mean machines of intelligence that are continuously renovated by the affects and subjective passions.
(366) It should be clear at this point what constitutes
social cooperation here on the surfaces of imperial society: the synergies of life, or really the productive manifestations of naked life. Giorgio Agamben has used the term “naked life” to refer to the negative limit of humanity and to expose behind the political abysses that modern totalitarianism has constructed the (more or less heroic) conditions of human passivity. . . . In other words, capitalist prehistory comes to an end when social and subjective cooperation is no longer a product but a presupposition, when naked life is raised up to the dignity of productive power, or really when it appears as the wealth of virtuality.

Machinic exodus by the multitude through their collective use of technologies.

(366-367) The field on which productive forces are reappropriated by the multitude is a field of radical metamorphosis—the scene of a demiurgic operation. This consists above all in a complete revision of the production of cooperative subjectivity; it consists in an act, that is, of merging and hybridizing with the machines that the multitude has reappropriated and reinvented, it consists, therefore, in an exodus that is not only spatial but also mechanical in the the sense that the subject is transformed into (and finds the cooperation that constitutes it multiplied in) the machine. This is a new form of exodus, an exodus toward (or with) the machine—a machinic exodus. . . . Now the new virtualities, the naked life of the present, have the capacity to take control of the processes of machinic metamorphosis. . . . This new terrain of production and life opens for labor a future of metamorphoses that subjective cooperation can and must control ethically, politically, and productively.

Res Gestae/Machinae

Recognize capitalist rule was a transitory period; need to enter ontology of the possible and what accumulated virtualites may realize as materialist telos.

Ontology of possible replaces worn out metaphysical traditions; compare to Latour.

(367-368) The virtual powers of the multitude in postmodernity signal the end of that rule and those institutions. That history has ended. Capitalist rule is revealed as a transitory period. And yet, if the transcendent teleology that capitalist modernity constructed is coming to an end, how can the multitude define instead a materialist telos?
(368) The ontology of the possible is in this sense the central terrain of analysis. . . . In fact, every metaphysical tradition is now completely worn out. If there is to be a solution to the problem, it cannot help being material and explosive. Whereas our attention was first drawn to the intensity of the elements of virtuality that constituted the multitude, now it must focus on the hypothesis that those virtualities accumulate and reach a threshold of realization adequate to their power.

Revolutionary machines of irreducible innovation.

(369) Here is where a materialist telos is defined, founded on the action of singularities, a teleology that is a resultant of the res gestae and a figure of the machinic logic of the multitude.
(369) The virtual and the possible are wedded as irreducible innovation and as a revolutionary machine.


Rise and Fall (Machiavelli)

New system of machines; progression of desire in freedom actualized in global human machine network interaction by the multitude.

(405) In the passage from the struggle over the sense of language to the construction of a new system of machines, the telos gains a greater consistency. This second aspect of the telos serves to make what has been constructed in language a lasting, corporeal progression of desire in freedom.

Experience and experimentation of the multitude that replaces dialectical mediation with dynamic constitution afforded by critical programming.

(405) It has to become real as a site of encounter among subjects and a mechanism for the constitution of the multitude. This is the third aspect of the series of passages through which the material teleology of the new proletariat is formed. Here consciousness and will, language and machine are called on to sustain the collective making of history. The demonstration of this becoming cannot consist in anything but the experience and experimentation of the multitude. Therefore the power of the dialectic, which imagines the collective formed through mediation rather than through constitution, has been definitively dissolved. The making of history is in this sense the construction of the life of the multitude.

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. Print.