Review: Empire and Revolution

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, 'Empire' (Cambridge MA and London: Harvard
University Press, 2000), pb.

Charlie Post

(Charlie Post teaches sociology in New York City, is active in rank and
file organizing in the American Federation of Teachers and is a member of
Solidarity, a US socialist organization. The author thanks Vivek Chibber
and Kim Moody for comments on an earlier draft of this essay.)

'Empire' is a paradox. An overly long (478 pages with notes and index),
often abstruse intellectual exercise, 'Empire' would appear to be a work
destined to obscurity-to be read, at best, by small groups of left-wing
intellectuals ensconced in academia. However, the books has attracted
enormous attention, not only in the academy, but also in the mainstream
press and among anti-capitalist and global justice activists in both the US
and Europe. *1


CELEBRATE  MOE!  A  Tribute  to  Moe  Foner

Apr  24, 2002

Town  Hall, NYC

Wednesday  April  24th  was  one  night  in  which  NYC's  Labor-Left  came  together  and  offered  no  sign  of  splits  or  tiring.  It  was  a  night  for  affirmation  and  honor  of  our  heritage  and  future...all  in  honor  of  Moe  Foner.

Danny Yee writes

Free as in Freedom

Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software

Sam Williams

O'Reilly & Associates 2002, 225 pages, index

A book review by Danny Yee

Free as in Freedom is a generally sympathetic but far from hagiographic biography of Richard Stallman, inspiration of the free software movement. While much of the material in it will be familiar to anyone actively involved with free software, there are, as Williams claims, "facts and quotes in here that one won't find in any Slashdot story or Google search". It is also an entertaining and accessible study, which I finished within a day of my review copy arriving.

"Let's Talk Class Again"

Thomas Frank

London Review of Books, 21 March 2002

Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes how the Media Distort the
by Bernard Goldberg. | Regnery, 234pp., US $27.95,
11 December 2001

You will probably be surprised to learn of the massive
and virtually unchecked power that the Left holds in
the United States. After all, you'll say, aren't the
key American institutions -- the Presidency, the
Congress, the Supreme Court, the military, the
corporations -- run by determined right-wingers or weak-
kneed centrists? And didn't American thinkers recently
proclaim the dawn of a capitalist millennium, a 'New
Economy' in which privatisation, deregulation and lower
taxes were taken to be their own justification, while
American CEOs mounted the heights of Davos and
instructed the world in the timeless principles of the
free market, as handed down by Milton Friedman, Ronald
Reagan and the prophets of Silicon Valley?

Below, we reprint the review of Empire mentioned earlier on our site at

Andrew Flood, "Is the Emperor Wearing Clothes?"

An anarchist review of Negri and Hardt's Empire

Empire review

The publication of Empire in 2000 created an intense level of discussion
in left academic circles that even spilled over at times into the liberal
press. This should please the authors, Antonio Negri, one of the main
theoreticians of Italian 'autonomous Marxism,' and a previously obscure
literature professor, Michael Hardt. It is clear that they see Empire as
the start of a project comparable to Karl's Marx's Das Kapital. The
Marxist Slavoj Zizek has called Empire "The Communist Manifesto for our

Whether or not you think Empire will be as useful as Capital, it has
certainly made an impact. The web is full of reviews of Empire from all
angles of the political spectrum. Orthodox Marxists gnash their teeth at
it, while right wing conspiracy theorists around Lyndon la Rouche see it
as confirmation [1] of the existence of a plan for globalisation that
unites the 'left and right'. After S11 numerous US liberal and
conservative reviews [2] made a big deal out of Negri's 'terrorist past'
(he is under house arrest in Italy for being an ideological influence on
the Red Brigades). They eagerly seize on Negri and Hardt's description of
Islamic Fundamentalism as post- rather then pre-modern, and their claim that
it is a form of resistance to Empire as if this description was intended
as a justification for the attack.

Bureau of Public Secrets Website Posts New Kenneth Rexroth Essays

"There is a lot of bullshit in Lawrence, Miller, or Patchen --
but their enemies are my enemies." (Kenneth Rexroth) Three new Rexroth essays are now online at the BPS website --


Mark Twain

"It was the official culture which was schizophrenic, not Mark Twain. The whole meaning of Mark Twain is that he 'saw life steadily and saw it whole'... If Baudelaire was the greatest poet of the capitalist epoch... Mark Twain wrote its saga, its prose Iliad and Odyssey."



"Lawrence did not try to mislead himself with false promises, imaginary guarantees... Communion and oblivion, sex and death, the mystery can be revealed -- but it can be revealed only as totally inexplicable. Lawrence never succumbed to the temptation to try to do more. He succeeded in what he
did do."


Kenneth Patchen

"Patchen has gone back to the world of Edward Lear and interpreted it in terms of the modern sensibility of the disengaged, the modern comic horrors of le monde concentrationnaire. It is as if, not a slick New Yorker
correspondent, but the Owl and the Pussycat were writing up Hiroshima."

* * *

The Bureau of Public Secrets website features "The Joy of Revolution" and other writings by Ken Knabb (recently collected in the book Public Secrets); Knabb's translations from the Situationist International (the notorious avant-garde group that helped trigger the May 1968 revolt in France); and the Rexroth Archive (texts by and about the great writer and social critic Kenneth Rexroth).


P.O. Box 1044, Berkeley CA 94701

Bureau of Public Secrets

Technology and the Commodification of Higher Education

By David F. Noble, Monthly Review, March 2002

The following article is adapted from David Noble's new book, Digital
Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education,
just published by
Monthly Review Press. Noble, a professor at York University, should
need no introduction to MR readers. For the past three decades he has
established himself as one of the great scholars and historians of
technology, demystifying the subject and placing technology in the
necessary social and political economic context. His publications
include America by Design: Science, Technology, and The Rise of
Corporate Capitalism
(1977), Forces of Production: A Social History
of Industrial Automation
(1984), and The Religion of Technology: The
Divinity of Man and The Spirit of Invention
(1997, all published by
Alfred A. Knopf).

For nearly all of that time, Noble has been a critic of the
"business-model" of higher education in the United States, an effort
to subject learning to marketing practices, bottom-line return on
investment, and capital accumulation, without regard to the demands
of learning and scholarship. As Noble points out, the use of these
techniques are all too widespread in this country's universities.
These days they feature prominently in the push for "distance
education," Noble's critique of which is central to this article and
to the argument in his book.

On the basis of his scholarly accomplishments, a search committee
selected Noble in 2001 to be appointed to the endowed Woodsworth
Professorship in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. In
violation of every academic norm, the administration is blocking the
appointment, presumably on political grounds. Noble's criticism of
online education and the corporatization of academia in Digital
Diploma Mills brings together and crystallizes his pacesetting work
in this area.

-The Monthly Review Editors


I am not sure what to make of this post, the site it points to seems a bit loony. sort of a religious loony with a bone to pick with the religious right.
--Uncle Fluffy

Anonymous Comrade writes: A great book has just been published called Real Prophecy Unveiled: Why the Christ Will Not Come Again, And Why the Religious Right is Wrong. It clearly and thoroughly points out the error and hypocrisy of the Religious Right, exposes the spiritual ignorance of the proud and militant, and tells how the humble and the meek shall indeed inherit the earth. In fact, it tells how we shall at long last do away with divisive partisan politics, get rid of the pretender to the throne, create government of, for, and by the people, and finally share the throne as the equal joint heirs that we are according to real prophecy. This is the long-awaited message that will actually give the power to the people! Check out


hydrarchist writes: "Book Review: Defining Global Justice and the ILO

Defining Global Justice: The History of U.S. International Labor
Standards Policy.
By Edward C. Lorenz. (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2001. Pp.
X, 318. Index.)

Edward C. Lorenz's Defining Global Justice gives us the first attempt at
a broad overview of the history of the role of the United States in the
International Labor Organization. Based on an impressive command of a
wide variety of sources, this well organized and clearly written account
explains how the social gospel movement, progressive era reformers,
academics and attorneys, feminists and consumers, and labor unions
attempted to shape an international organization that could establish
standards to protect workers around the world.

hydrarchist writes: "The following review appeared in the first issue of The New Formulation: An Anti-Authoritarian Review of Books (Vol. 1, # 1, November 2001). The complete text of this issue is available at:

Another piece titled "Theory of the Anti-Globalization Movement"
by Chuck Morse is available at the infoshop

The Police/Prison Edifice

Review by Lex Bhagat

Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
by Christian Parenti
Verso, 1999

The Perpetual Prisoner Machine: How America Profits from Crime
by Joel Dyer
Westview Press, 2000

We Were Waiting for Books Like These

In 1994, Bill Clinton's election-promised “anti-crime bill” was passed. Young people in urban America could feel its effects almost immediately, as our cities were seized by a new occupying army of soldiers in blue. A new phase of revolutionary struggle was begun in earnest: continued revolution from the Right. If the election of Nixon in 1972 amounted to a sort of Bourbon Restoration of 1814, then Democrat Clinton was Napoleon III, ready to create a new landscape.

The appearance in the coming months of so many police was like the appearance of a scaffolding—a scaffold pinned securely to the ground on either coast by California’s Three Strikes Law, and in New York by the ascension of Giuliani. As the edifice then emerged within, none of it came as a surprise: checkpoints, curfews, rampant street frisking, “Truth in Sentencing,” “Contract on America,” etc.

But, as that edifice grew, and as friends and loved ones disappeared from the streets, a generation was galvanized into political struggle against police and prisons. For many years, it was an intuitive movement—motivated by rage, and informed by first-hand experience, by Public Enemy and KRS-1, or in some cases by letters to loved ones or mentor-comrades inside. We read what we could—Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Sykes's Society of Captives, Soledad Brothers, Assata, Marighella's Minimanual for the Urban Guerilla—and tried to apply what we learned to the current situation. Foucault's Discipline and Punish was precious water, and well-worn copies passed through many hands and opened many minds. Yet, it held a stark gray area that pointed to the originality of the current crisis, since the evidence in our guts told us that the root of our American situation was not Panopticon but the slave ship.