Marx & Philosophy: Trilogy of Resistance

By Harrington Weihl
Marx & Philosophy

negri_trilogy coverAntonio Negri's departure into theatre is not as uncharacteristic as it might initially seem. The link has typically been stronger between theory and theatre than between theory and any other literary genre. Jean-Paul Sartre's most well-known and influential literary works are his plays, and Bertolt Brecht approached radical politics through theatre, as he developed an aesthetic philosophy of alienation called 'epic theatre', which was meant to call into question the naturalness of capital. Negri is consciously working in this tradition in Trilogy of Resistance: he states in the Preface that 'Above all I wanted to take up the communist tradition of the epic theater again and try to restore its image for the postmodern era' (3). Superficially, at least, he succeeds in this, as the plays resemble neither the Aristotelian dramas of the classics nor the modernist epics of Brecht. Rather, the plays are unashamedly didactic – as the subtitle indicates – and approach problems of resistance, violence and political commitment through the critical vocabulary that Negri has developed, helping further define and illuminate the concepts of 'swarm', 'multitude', 'common' and 'exodus'.

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