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Insurgencies

Constituent Power and the Modern State

1999
Author:

Antonio Negri
Translated by Maurizia Boscagli
Foreword by Michael Hardt

Insurgencies

An important work of revolutionary thought—with a new foreword

At a time when political paradigms are collapsing, and the death of Marxism and the Left is proclaimed, Insurgencies offers an intellectually invigorating and historically wide-ranging appraisal of the real legacy and promise of revolutionary thought and practice. Here, celebrated political prisoner Antonio Negri explores the drama of modern revolutions-from Machiavelli’s Florence and Harrington’s England to the American, French, and Russian revolutions-and puts forward a new notion of how power and action must be understood if we are to achieve a radically democratic future.

Can democracy—the power of the people—be realized? Antonio Negri offers a deeply erudite, relentlessly political, and at times poetic meditation on democracy. Insurgencies is elegant, original, provocative, and powerful thinking. This is political theory as it is hardly ever done anymore, political theory that indelibly transforms both its object of study and its reader.

Wendy Brown, University of California, Santa Cruz

At a time when political paradigms are collapsing, and the death of Marxism and the Left is proclaimed, Insurgencies offers an intellectually invigorating and historically wide-ranging appraisal of the real legacy and promise of revolutionary thought and practice.

At the center of this book is the conflict between “constituent power,” the democratic force of revolutionary innovation, and “constituted power,” the fixed power of formal constitutions and central authority. This conflict, Antonio Negri argues, defines the drama of modern rebellions, from Machiavelli’s Florence and Harrington’s England to the American, French, and Russian revolutions. Insurgencies leads to a new notion of how power and action must be understood if we are to achieve a radically democratic future.

Insurgencies

After living in exile in France for nearly fourteen years, Antonio Negri is currently serving a jail sentence in Italy, his home country, for his political activism in the 1970s. His conviction, which was based on the substance of his writings, led Michel Foucault to ask, “Isn’t he in prison simply for being an intellectual?” Negri’s works in English include The Savage Anomaly (1991) and, with Michael Hardt, Labor of Dionysus (1994), both published by Minnesota.

Maurizia Boscagli is associate professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Antonio Negri, who has taught at the University of Padua and the University of Paris, is the author of more than thirty books, including Empire and Multitude, with Michael Hardt; The Savage Anomaly (Minnesota, 2000); and In Praise of the Common, with Cesare Casarino (Minnesota, 2008).

Michael Hardt is professor of literature at Duke University. He is the author of Empire and Multitude, with Antonio Negri, as well as Labor of Dionysus and Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy, both published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Insurgencies

Can democracy—the power of the people—be realized? Antonio Negri offers a deeply erudite, relentlessly political, and at times poetic meditation on democracy. Insurgencies is elegant, original, provocative, and powerful thinking. This is political theory as it is hardly ever done anymore, political theory that indelibly transforms both its object of study and its reader.

Wendy Brown, University of California, Santa Cruz