Assembly

by Michael Hardt,

Series: Heretical Thought

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190677961
  • 9780190677978
  • 9780190677985
In recent years "leaderless" social movements have proliferated around the globe, from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe, the Americas, and East Asia. Some of these movements have led to impressive gains: the toppling of authoritarian leaders, the furthering of progressive policy, and checks on repressive state forces. They have also been, at times, derided by journalists and political analysts as disorganized and ineffectual, or suppressed by disoriented and perplexed police forces and governments who fail to effectively engage them. Activists, too, struggle to harness the potential of these horizontal movements. Why have the movements, which address the needs and desires of so many, not been able to achieve lasting change and create a new, more democratic and just society? Some people assume that if only social movements could find new leaders they would return to their earlier glory. Where, they ask, are the new Martin Luther Kings, Rudi Dutschkes, and Stephen Bikos?With the rise of right-wing political parties in many countries, the question of how to organize democratically and effectively has become increasingly urgent. Although today's leaderless political organizations are not sufficient, a return to traditional, centralized forms of political leadership is neither desirable nor possible. Instead, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue, familiar roles must be reversed: leaders should be responsible for short-term, tactical action, but it is the multitude that must drive strategy. In other words, if these new social movements are to achieve meaningful revolution, they must invent effective modes of assembly and decision-making structures that rely on the broadest democratic base. Drawing on ideas developed through their well-known Empire trilogy, Hardt and Negri have produced, in Assembly, a timely proposal for how current large-scale horizontal movements can develop the capacities for political strategy and decision-making to effect lasting and democratic change. We have not yet seen what is possible when the multitude assembles.
  • Oxford University Press; August 2017
  • ISBN: 9780190677978
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Assembly
  • Series: Heretical Thought
  • Author: Michael Hardt; Antonio Negri
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190677961
  • 9780190677978
  • 9780190677985

In The Press

"This is an important new statement from two of the most creative thinkers on the left." -- Jedediah Purdy, author of After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene
"Are you ready for democracy? Assembly argues: don't be scared to remake it. Disturbing the tendency of resistance struggles to become hamstrung by a poverty of organization, Hardt and Negri throw question after question at left political habits and traditions of thought, imagining a New Prince from the multitude and new tools for self-governance. Some of their many propositions may seem questionable and some viscerally right, but all are thoughtful, potentially revelatory, fuel." -- Lauren Berlant, author of Cruel Optimism
"This is an impressive, full-fledged pars construens, theoretically sophisticated and politically plausible. Assembly is the crown jewel of an immensely influential production that every cosmopolitan critical thinker simply has to confront. One may disagree with Hardt and Negri, but the motivation for disagreement becomes more and more difficult, one masterpiece after the other." -- Ugo Mattei, author of Plunder: When the Rule of Law is Illegal
"A smart and in-depth examination of Marxist politics for a new century... [Assembly] is a fascinating, challenging theoretical journey into a future beyond capitalism."--Publishers Weekly
"A combination of insightful analysis grounded in Marxism and a reasoned look at organizing in the social reality defined by neoliberal capitalism, Assembly is a highly recommended read."--CounterPunch
"The authors do an excellent job of highlighting the internal challenges that a resurgent left will face. Every new left risks degenerating into sectarian conflict, heavy-handed leadership, and complacency about its own righteousness. Hardt and Negri insist on a self-critical and internally democratic left that never ceases to call its own assumptions into question. In order to transform society, the left must first transform itself."--Los Angeles Review of Books

About The Author

Michael Hardt teaches at Duke University, where he is director of the Social Movements Lab.Antonio Negri has taught at the University of Padua and University of Paris VIII.They are best known for the Empire trilogy: Empire (2000), Multitude (2004), and Commonwealth (2009). They are also authors most recently of Declaration (2012).