20
Aug
08

Virno’s A Grammar of the Multitude

Paolo Virno
A Grammar of the Multitude
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
From the text

7: “Virno’s essay examines the increased mobility and versatility of the new labor force whose work-time now virtually extends to their entire life.”
7: “Operaismo (workerism) has a paradoxical relation to traditional Marxism and to the official labor movement because it refuses to consider work as the defining factor of human life.  Marxist analysis assumes that what makes work alienating is capitalist exploitation, but oepraists realized that it is rather the reduction of life to work.  Paradoxically, ‘workerists’ are against work, against the socialist ethics that used to exalt its dignity.  They don’t want to re-appropriate work, but reduce it.”
8: knowledge→machines=dead labor
11: Workers are a class for themselves before being a class against capital.  Actually, it is always capital that ‘seeks to use the worker’s antagonistic will-to-struggle as a motor for its own development.’  Empire develops the same argument: capitalism can only be reactive since the proletariat that ‘actually invents the social and productive forms that capital will be forced to adopt in the future.’”
12: The multitude is a force defined less by what it actually produces than by its virtuality, its potential to produce and produce itself.
16: “Empire involves an original kind of class struggle: a struggle looking for a class.  For Virno it would be just the reverse: a class looking for a struggle.”
23: “The multitude, according to Hobbes, shuns political unity, resists authority, does not enter into lasting agreements, never attains the status of juridical person because it never transfers its own natural rights to the sovereign. […]  If there are people, there is no multitude; if there is a multitude, there are no people.”
24: “private signifies, above all, deprived of: deprived of a voice, deprived of a public presence.”
32: Two forms of dread: fear and anguish: “fear situates itself inside the community, inside its forms of life and communication.  Anguish, on tehother hand, makes its appearance when it distances itself from the community to which it belongs, from its shared habits, from its well-known ‘linguistic games,’ and then penetrates into the vast world.”
37: “The life of the mind’ is the One which lies beneath the mode of being of the multitude.”
40: Public sphere/general intellect

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