from Empire ~ to Rebel

Hardt & Negri

To us it seems completely obvious that those who are exploited will resist and—given the necessary conditions—rebel. Today, however, this may not be so obvious. A long tradition of political scientists has said the problem is not why people rebel but why they do not. Or rather, as Deleuze and Guattari say, ‘‘the fundamental problem of political philosophy is still precisely the one that Spinoza saw so clearly (and that Wilhelm Reich rediscovered): ‘Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation?’

’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. Indeed, often the inability to identify the enemy is what leads the will to resistance around in such paradoxical circles. The identification of the enemy, however, is no small task given that exploitation tends no longer to have a specific place and that we are immersed in a system of power so deep and complex that we can no longer determine specific difference or measure. We suffer exploitation, alienation, and command as enemies, but we do not know where to locate the production of oppression. And yet we still resist and struggle.



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