Radical media, politics and culture.


Phuq Hedd writes "There's a really good, detailed review of Hardt & Negri's "Empire" tome by a member of the Workers Solidarity Movement. Central points in the review include:

1. Criticism of Empire's assertion that empire isn't really more of the same old US Imperialism dressed up in fancy new clothes (paras 18-25)

2. Commentary on the use of Foucauldian inspired ideas about "the multitude" as a replacement for Marxist ideas about the proletariat. The impetus to create this new terminology is noted to arise solely out of the problem of Marx's elitist rejection of lumpenproletarians and peasants. (circa para. 35)

3. Criticism (circa para. 38) of Hardt & Negri's denial of something that they take to be anarchist because it is "not materialist"!

4. A call for empirical evidence to prove some of Empire's claims, for example that Capitalism has lost its ability to use Imperialism to harvest 3rd World labor to the detriment of 1st World labor.

Anyway, read the rest of the review for yourselves. It's very clear and attempts to be positive where that is justified.

Phuq Hedd"

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

Sins of the Father

By James Ryerson

A review of Heidegger's Children

Hannah Arendt, Karl Lswith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse

By Richard Wolin

Illustrated. 276 pp. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. $29.95

If recent history is any judge, Princeton University Press is taking a risk
by publishing this book -- a provocative and erudite study of the
affinities between the Nazi sympathizer Martin Heidegger and his Jewish
philosophy students. Ten years ago, after Columbia University Press
published Richard Wolin's last book on Heidegger, the French intellectual
Jacques Derrida denounced it as ''a sneaky war machine'' and had his lawyer
threaten to impound future editions.

Though Wolin's grievance with Derrida is not at issue in ''Heidegger's
Children,'' one can't help feeling that, indirectly, it is being reprised.
The heart of that controversy was Wolin's accusation that Derrida had
tailored his ''far-fetched and illogical'' opinions about Heidegger's
Nazism to dodge an important question:

By embracing the legendary German thinker's philosophy, had Derrida and
other radical postmodern leftists accepted the core of Heidegger's dubious
politics as well?

Deterrence as Bug Spray

A Review of Lab USA, by Kevin Pyle (Autonomedia, 2001)

Eugene Thacker


reposted from the ITWP project website

hosted by James Der Derian at Brown:

Information, Technology, War, & Peace

Paging through the "illuminated documents" of Lab USA, one cannot help but to look at current events in a different, if more sinister, light. Combining the genres of documentary research and the graphic novel/underground comix genre, Lab USA provides us with a hard looks at the genealogy of medical, psychological, and genetic experiment in America.

Exhaustively researched and patiently illustrated, Lab USA juxtaposes the graphic and illustrative dramatization of human guinea pigs with the sterile, harsh presentation of medical reports, patient testimony, legal proceedings, policy amendments, and the writings of the scientists, bureaucrats, and government officials behind the use of human beings in medical experiment. In this, it uses the strategies of the graphic novel and comix to both dramatize and reflect back upon the way that scientific-military knowledge is mediated in the public domain.

Zinn on History

By Howard Zinn

Seven Stories Press, New York, 2001.

You may be familiar with the work of the radical American historian and
activist, Howard Zinn. It includes the witty, humane play Marx in Soho, as
well as his magnificent Peoples Histories, of the United States and the
twentieth century. During the Vietnam War it was Zinn, together with Noam
Chomsky, who helped copy, smuggle out and then edit and publish the
Pentagon Papers, official documents that illustrated the full and savage
involvement of the American ruling class in the appalling invasion and
destruction of South-East Asia.

This current volume is a collection of Zinn's essays that date from the
mid-sixties to last year, and concern themselves with broadly historical
themes÷sketches of individuals, tales of action, meditations on the role
of the academic and history in general, on Marx and "Marxism".

Saint Jacques: Derrida and the Ghost of Marxism

Review of Specters of Marx

David Bedggood


1. For the bourgeoisie, the collapse of "communism" made the world-historic
victory of capitalism seem certain. Yet the contradictions of capitalism
immediately called the new world order into question as globalisation
brought with it what Jacques Derrida calls the "10 plagues". Apologists for
capitalism are now fearful of the return of Marx's ghost. George Soros sees
the ghost in the form of the anarchy of finance capital. Anthony Giddens
sees the ghost in the rise of left or right fundamentalist ideology.
Without realising it, they pose the problem in terms familiar to Marxists:
the contradiction between dead and living labour and the rise of the dead
reclaimed by the living. But is there a way out for capitalism?

Obsolete Communism. The Left-Wing Alternative.

By Daniel & Gabriel Cohn-Bendit.

AK Press, 2001. £12.

Books written by participants in events are always interesting if only
because they are part of the documentary evidence as to what happened. The
book by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who was prominent in the student movement
which led to the "May events" in France in 1968, and his brother Gabriel
(who wrote the theoretical parts) is no exception. Written in 1968 shortly
after the events, and now republished by AK Press, it gives a good insight
into what many of the radicalised students thought.

The Cohn-Bendits called for a revolution without leaders to abolish the
wages system. They were therefore implacably opposed to Leninism and its
concept of a centralised vanguard to lead the working class. A large part
of the book in fact is devoted to exposing, on the one hand, the French
Communist Party (PCF) and its claim to be the sole legitimate
representative of the French working class and, on the other, how the
Bolsheviks, under Lenin and Trotsky, introduced state capitalism into
Russia, with their vanguard as the new managerial ruling class imposing
one-man management in the state-owned factories and bloodily suppressing
working-class resistance in Krondstadt in 1921. In fact the English title
does not convey the full anti-Leninist significance of a literal
translation of the original French title Leftism: Remedy for the Senile
Disorder of Communism
which was an obvious play on the title of Lenin's
1920 pamphlet Leftwing Communism: An Infantile Disorder.

No Logo Reviewed: "It's Not No Logo, It's Capitalism"

No Logo by Naomi Klein

(Flamingo Press, IR


The publication of No Logo was perfectly, if
unintentionally, timed. Just as the N30
demonstrations in Seattle made headlines around
the world, No Logo arrived to explain some of
the reasons for that movement. So although Naomi
Klein has made it clear that she is not an
'official' spokesperson for the movement Ñ that
this movement has no official spokespeople Ñ at
a time when observers (and even some
participants) wondered what was going on, No
provided some answers.


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