Three Theses for Virtual Communism

Toni Negri

l. COMMUNISM AS EQUALITY, that is the material contents of communism, the critique of capitalism (the market of private individuals) and of socialism (the state-run market), the irreducible desire for equality, “social” property and “social” entrepreneurship… Reexamine and comment on the great texts: especially the Paris Commune and sections of the Grundrisse dealing with the “collective subject.” But also Spinoza, the democracy of the “multitude,” Machiavelli on class struggles, Campanella, Thomas More,
James Harrington… Bring the discussion of equality to bear on the reality of the capitalist world and show how capitalism constructs the conditions of equality in terms of the organization of labor and the organization of society, but then denies that equality in the framework of the judicial and political superstructures.

2. COMMUNISM AS TRANSFORMATION. Here as well reexamine the texts — especially the German ones from the l930’s Benjamin’s thesis on the philosophy of history, or certain texts of Bloch…). But the most important thing would be to recognize the need for transformation expressed on contemporary phenomena; in rock music and the visual arts, how music and visual arts seek to construct the “new human being,” to define the “interface” between private and public, between nature and history, between ideas and the material, between male and female… The internalization of the idea of transformation and its diffusion as well, you would have to see that this idea has become a mass desire, especially in the younger generations — and implicit and latent in ideology. Consider Punk, Cyberpunk and analoguous sub-culture.

3. COMMUNISM AS SUBJECTIVITY, that is, communism as the outcome, in the ontological sense, of the postmodern. Work has become non-material, social cooperation has become communication, values are specified through abstract reasoning and the world is a machine producing intellectual signs. All this produces subjectivity — and intellectual subjectivity on the mass level, which can satisfy its desire to participate in production only in terms of communism. Because the production of the world and the production of the self (as subjectivity) are the same thing. And if we want to production of subjectivity to be liberation rather than enslavement, we need communism.


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