Immanence, Multitude and Empire

  • Frederick Harry Pitts
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


This chapter surveys the philosophical and theoretical foundations of Antonio Negri’s postoperaist conceptualisation of a crisis in the law of value. Central to this is Negri’s turn from Marx to Spinoza. The chapter begins by outlining the shift from operaismo to postoperaismo in Negri’s work and the wider tradition. It then considers how, in the development of thinking around the social factory and real subsumption comes a shift from the refusal of work to its celebration as an expression of the constituent power of the ‘multitude’. The chapter then assays Negri’s rejection of dialectics, contradiction, abstraction and mediation for the Spinozist immanence of ‘Empire’. This, the chapter suggests, forecloses the capacity to grasp the negativity and antagonism central to the critique of political economy.


  1. Abse, T. 2016. Struggle and Postmodern. Weekly Worker 1106, May 12, p. 11.Google Scholar
  2. Aufheben. 2007. Keep on Smiling: Questions on Immaterial Labour. Aufheben #14: 23–44.Google Scholar
  3. Bellofiore, R. 2009. A Ghost Turning into a Vampire: The Concept of Capital and Living Labour. In Re-reading Marx: New Perspectives After the Critical Edition, ed. R. Bellofiore and R. Fineschi, 178–194. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benjamin, W. 1999. Theses on the Philosophy of History. In Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, ed. H. Arendt, 245–255. London: Pimlico.Google Scholar
  5. Bonefeld, W. 1994. Human Practice and Perversion: Between Autonomy and Structure. Common Sense 15: 43–52.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2014. Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy: On Subversion and Negative Reason. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  7. Cleaver, H. 1992a. The Inversion of Class Perspective in Marxian Theory: From Valorisation to Self-Valorisation. In Open Marxism Vol. II: Theory and Practice, ed. W. Bonefeld, R. Gunn, and K. Psychopedis, 107–144. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 1992b. Translators’ Introductions, Part I. In Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse, ed. A. Negri, xix–xxvii. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 2000. Reading Capital Politically. Edinburgh: AK Press.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2011. Work Refusal and Self-Organisation. In Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies, ed. A. Nelson and F. Timmerman, 47–69. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2014. Genesis of Zerowork #1. Zero Work. Accessed 30 Oct 2016.
  12. Hardt, M., and A. Negri. 2001. Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 2004. Multitude. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2009. Commonwealth. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Holloway, J. 2002. Going in the Wrong Direction; Or, Mephistopheles – Not Saint Francis of Assisi. Historical Materialism 10 (1): 79–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. ———. 2010. Crack Capitalism. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lazzarato, M. 1996. Immaterial Labor. In Radical Thought in Italy, ed. P. Virno and M. Hardt, 133–150. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  18. Marx, K. 1976. Capital. Vol. I. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 1993. Grundrisse. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  20. Mason, P. 2015a. The End of Capitalism Has Begun. The Guardian. July 17. Accessed 29 Oct 2016.
  21. ———. 2015b. Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2016. Corbyn: The Summer of Hierarchical Things. Mosquito Ridge. Accessed 29 Oct 2016.
  23. Negri, A. 1992. Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  24. Negri, A. 2009. The Savage Anomaly: The Power of Spinoza’s Metaphysics and Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2008. Reflections on Empire. Trans. E. Emery. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  26. Noys, B. 2012. The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ryan, M. 1992a. Translators’ Introductions, Part II. In Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse, ed. A. Negri, xxviii–xxvxxx. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 1992b. Epilogue. In Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse, ed. A. Negri, 191–221. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  29. Thoburn, N. 2001. Autonomous Production? On Negri’s ‘New Synthesis’. Theory, Culture and Society 18 (5): 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Turchetto, M. 2003. The Empire Strikes Back: On Hardt and Negri. Historical Materialism 11 (1): 23–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick Harry Pitts
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Economics, Finance and ManagementUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Personalised recommendations