On the notion of the political in postmarxist theory.

Seminars

04.12.2014
Speculative materialism in queer-feminist perspective
Emerging life and syntheses of matter and time

14.06.2013
Aesthetic existence and the ontologisation of poverty
Whatever life

20.04.2013
The practise of doing nothing 

Unemployed positivity

04.11.2012
Miguel Abensour as reader of Spinoza
Spinoza, Marx, Moses Hess

05.10.2012
Agamben and Nancy as readers of Spinoza
Leaving Immanence?

06.06.2012
Feminist readings of Spinoza
Becoming woman?

03.05.2012
Deleuze on Spinoza's theory of affects 

From the ontological to the affective

04.04.2012
Spinoza with Deleuze
The underground current of the philosophy of immanence

07.03.2012
Macherey's Spinoza
Ontology of multiplicity or materialist dialectic?

08.02.2012
Althusser's concept of immanent causality 
- Seminar
Marx with Spinoza

08.12.2011
Exhausting politics 

Being out of class (Deleuze)

01.11.2011
What is an inoperativity that consists in contemplating one's own potentiality to act?
The messianic class

29.06.2011
Sharing the inappropriable
The retreating class

26.05.2011
The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class II

07.04.2011
The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class

03.03.2011
Disrupting the logic of division
The supplementary class

04.02.2011
The antinomies of proletarian politics
The paradoxical class

02.12.2010
Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe on political difference
Retreating the political

08.11.2010
Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin
What Is to be Done? and Bolshevism

03.10.2010
The concept of capitalism in "Anti-Oedipus"
Capitalism deterritorialized

30.06.2010
Deleuze, Guattari, Lacan
An impossible encounter I

28.05.2010
An impossible encounter: Deleuze, Guattari and Lacan
Preparatory Meeting

27.05.2010
Micropolitics in "A thousand plateaus"
Molecular Politics I

07.04.2010
On affectivity and potentiality
Spinoza with Deleuze

04.03.2010
Nietzsche with Deleuze
The negative in the positive

04.02.2010
The notion of becoming in Deleuze and Guattari
Becoming

04.11.2009
On Esposito's concept of bio/politics
Biopotentiality

08.10.2009
Reading Althusser

07.10.2009
Rancière's farewell to Althusserian Marxism
La leçon d'Althusser

06.10.2009
Debating Althusser's philosophy of the encounter
What is aleatory materialism?

03.09.2009
Negri on materialism
Kairos, Alma Venus, Multitudo

02.09.2009
Tronti and Cacciari's concept of the political
The autonomy of the political

17.06.2009
"From Capital-Labor to Capital-Life" by M. Lazzarato
Invention

20.05.2009
Reading Simondon
Individuation

09.04.2009
Nancy on the singularity of death
Excess

11.03.2009
Agamben and Deleuze on pure immanence
Immanence

11.03.2009
Encountering Althusser
Preparatory meeting

11.03.2009
Workshop: becoming-major, becoming-minor
Preparatory meeting

07.02.2009
Foucault with Deleuze
The force of the outside II

06.02.2009
Superimposing diagrams: discipline and governmentality
The force of the outside

06.02.2009
Encountering Althusser
Preparatory Meeting

05.12.2008
Reading Jacques Rancière's "Dis-agreement"
Marx's Metapolitics

04.11.2008
Reading Balibar's "The Vacillation of Ideology in Marxism"
The non-totalizable complexity of the historical process

05.10.2008
Reading Jacques Derrida's "Specters of Marx"
Deconstructing Value Theory

11.09.2008
Reading Moishe Postone's "Time, Labor and Social Domination"
Value and Capitalist Capacities

01.07.2008
Debating "The mirror of production" by Jean Baudrillard
Marx with Bataille

06.06.2008
The coming communities of commons

05.06.2008
Feminist comments on the relation between politics and labor
The arcane of reproduction

09.05.2008
Rancière on the inactuality of communism and the intelligence of the unqualified

07.05.2008
Virno on Marx's "Fragments on machines"
Notes on the general intellect

04.04.2008
Virno on the concept of bio-politics in Postoperaism
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy? II

03.04.2008
Jason Read on abstract and living labor
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy?

07.03.2008
Reading Negri's "Twenty Theses on Marx"
The autonomy of living labor

08.02.2008
Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker II

07.02.2008
Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker

07.12.2007
On Badiou's concept of truth procedure
Assigning a measure to the excessive power of the state

09.11.2007
Reading Jacques Ranciere's "Ten theses on politics"
The supplementary part that disconnects the people from itself

04.10.2007
Deleuze and Guattari on the concept of minoritarian struggle
Micropolitics

07.09.2007
On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class II

06.09.2007
On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class

02.07.2007
From class to minority
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism III

01.07.2007
On the concept of the concrete universal
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism II

30.06.2007
On Marx and Foucault
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism

30.05.2007
Dictatorship of the proletariat and council movement
The Soviet experience II

29.05.2007
Rosa Luxemburg on the Russian Revolution
The Soviet experience

06.04.2007
Negri on Lenin
Democracy beyond law II

05.04.2007
Lenin's concept of the dictatorship of protetariat
Democracy beyond law

09.03.2007
Benjamin's concept of mysthic and divine violence
To bring about the real state of exception II

08.03.2007
Agamben's reading of Benjamin
To bring about the real state of exception

09.02.2007
Agamben's sovereign theoretical turn in thinking potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality II

08.02.2007
Agamben's theory of autonomous potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality

Reading Negri's "Twenty Theses on Marx"
The autonomy of living labor

In the forthcoming seminar meeting we will discuss Toni Negri's text "Twenty theses on Marx" in which Negri introduces to the transformations of Marxist theory that are operative in his discourse.

On an analytical level, I propose to discuss the following theses

(1) the transformation of the law of value to a political theory of control over the immeasurable time of social cooperation;
(2) the real subumption of society within capital, i.e., the laboring processes extend equally as far as the social extends;
(3) the hegemony of intellectual and scientific productive forces in these laboring processes;
(4) the mass autonomy of the social workers who have incorporated the production means and become independent from the capitalist organisation of labor;
(5) the inversion of abstract labor to its subversive potential, that is living labor that produces antagonistic subjectivity;
(6) the analogy between an analysis of labor and an analysis of politics, from which one controversy with other postmarxist considerations about the status of the political starts, that reject an economical or ontological foundation of politics; see, for example, the conversation between Eric Alliez and Jacques Rancière "Peuple ou multitude?" http://multitudes.samizdat.net/spip.php?article39.

On a methodological level, I would like to discuss

(1) the passage from dialectical to ontological categories;
(2) the definition of antagonism as opposition between social cooperation and capitalist command;
(3) the development from a (post)structural analysis of a fabric of contradictory relations which are economically overdetermined (Althusser), or displaced through their effects (Regulation theory, Foucault) to a theory of constituent power and transformative subjectivity;
(4) the related identification of a complex set of processes with the fulfilment of an ontological determination, involved in the history of being itself;
(5) the immanentist construction of this constituent power as both disruptive and creative content of the capitalist form of production.

In his "20 Theses on Marx", Negri summarises his heretic, subjective and ontological reading of Marx. Tomorrow morning we will attempt to do a symptomatical reading of this post-operaist version of Marxism that is centered around the idea of a political autonomy of human labor power which for the first time in history – that is Negri's diagnosis – becomes independent of capital. Since the minoritarian struggles of 1968 the human collective capacity of engendering the world begins to organise itself. Thereby the possibility of a non-recuperable rupture in the restructuration of capitalism emerges.

In the "20 Theses" Negri gives a dense insight in, how he has developed his concepts, how he uses them, how he has revised a series of Marxist notions, and which Marxist currents of thinking have influenced his thinking.

He outlines four theoretical inputs that have marked his discourse

Firstly, the consideration of the relation between workers' struggle and capitalist modernisation in classical Italian Operaism. Key are two elements:

a) Tronti's inversion of the relationship between labor and capital, elaborated in his article series that has been published in 1966 as "Workers and capital", especially the thesis that labor is the precondition of capital and therewith capitalism depends of a force that has the potentiality to exceed it. Here we have a cernel of the operaist conceptualisation of the political – the excessivity of labor power which is ontologically given and will historically unfold in the course of the socialisation of production

b) the other key element of Italian operaism, Negri refers to
is the examination of class composition in a technical and political perspective
instead of oscillating between an objective analysis of advancing econcomic contradictions on one side and a subjective analysis of a class which will turn these contradictions to struggle and victory, on the other side. Operaist theoreticians examined the contradictory relations within the class, showing how the class is able to articulate historically specific versions of workers' subjectivity that forces capitalism to transform its accumulation regime.

the technical class composition describes how capital organises, separates and controls the positions and movements of labor power in production, the mechanisms how labor power is put together with the production means

the political class composition shows the social fractions, figurations and inner relations of labor power and the ways how they autonomously organise themselve against the limits and constraints of capitalist production.

The second theoretical input is the Althusserian version of structural Marxism, from which Negri borrows the idea that capitalism is a structured system of production - reproduction, a fabric of contradictory relations that reproduces itself by creating a society effect. Saying the system is determined by the economic in the last instance, means that it is structured and partitioned in relative autonomous instances through which the contradictions of economic reproduction have to articulate themselves. State institutions, governmental strategies, ideological productions are not determined by the economic, but displaced by its effects. Negri harshly overwrites this current with a subjective causality by introducing a constituent foundation of the structure, that is: human transformative creativity. While Althusser with his concept of an immanent causality considers a structure that is nothing but a complex of relations and that is only present in its effects, but has no substance and no foundation.

The third influence that is present in Negri's Marxism is regulation theory, especially the concepts of accumulation mode, regulation mode and crisis as they have been developed by Altusser pupils in the 70s who critisised the neglection of crisis in structuralist Marxism. Taking the idea of society as configuration of configurations they emphasized the normality of crisis while depicting non-crisis as anomaly. Accumulation mode is a stable period of economic production and reproduction, regulation comprises the relationship with institutional strategies, governemental management, and the production of a disciplined subjectivity.

The fourth yet latent and at that stage not really articulated influence of Negri's thinking is Deleuze's conceptualisation of desire and Foucault's conceptualisation of discipline and governmentality.

In the "20 Theses" Negri combines two analytical steps:

A historical analysis of the relationship between capitalist restructuration and workers' struggle from the second industrial revolution in the mid of the 19th century to the post-Fordist regulation of today: In this development Negri detects an advancing socialisation of production which implies that tendentially any social activity becomes value-creating whereby the entire society transforms into a productive factory. We will have to consider – though Negri insists on the eventuality and contingency of history – wether he outlines an immanent teleology of an increasing abstraction and integration of labor (see thesis 8) that leads to the emergence of his key figure – the proto-communist subjectivity of living abstract labor.

Within this analysis of a progressing socialisation of labor, Negri constructs a series of equivalencies between the mode of production, the regime of regulation, the form of workers' subjectivity and the model of communism. The construction of this chain of equivalences is founded through the category of excessive labor power. Negri identifies labor as both real and constituent movement of transformative vivid materiality which produces the world by changing it, changing it changes. Thus, living labor is the non-ideological, true, universal and engendering content of communism. At this point Negri comes in major conflict with both structural Marxism and its subsequent post-structuralist or deconstruct conceptualisations and post-structuralism proper.

The second step of Negri's reading of Marx, consists of the examination of this transhistorical element, the creative force of labor that is reaching its maximal unfolding today, building the "fertile terrain of life" as Negri formulates in thesis 13.

In post-Fordism Negri claims, that for the first time, labor is not constituted within capitalist production while at the same time it is fighting against the very conditions and partitions of capitalist production. Instead of this dialectical "within-against" – as resultant of the struggles of 1968 – labor force itself has incorporated the knowledge and the means for productive cooperation.

Therewith a potentiality emerges that has been inscribed in the history of being: "the fundamental human faculty to engender the world actively and to create social life" (Multitude, 146).

That is to say, Negri projects the historical analysis into the transhistorical one, stating that in post-Fordism, capital does not call workers to the factory, directing them to collaborate and communicate in production and giving them the means to do so. In post-Fordism labor power itself produces the means of interaction, communciation, and cooperation for production. In this sense socialised labor power gets independent of capital. Cooperation is not the effect of production organised by capital, cooperation is the precondition labor power autonomously brings into production.

Text:

Antonio Negri: Twenty Theses on Marx. Interpretation of the Class Situation Today, in Marxism beyond Marxism, ed. by Saree Makdisi/ Cesare Casarino/ Rebecca E. Karl, London; New York: Routledge 1996, pp. 149-180

Master copy in the library.