№ 4, 2020
The concept “multitude”, popular in political philosophy, largely owes its entrance into the modern political vocabulary to the efforts of Antonio Negri, the Italian philosopher. His research from the 1980s and 1990s gave rise to a synthetic philosophical theory that views multitude as a key element in the political struggle of the left, thereby giving a theoretical impetus to a rebirth of the seemingly forgotten concepts of political philosophy. The article attempts to analyze the formation of the political logic of multitude and demonstrates how this phenomenon became part of the Marxist criticism of modern society. The first part of the article traces how the idea of multitude as a positive element of politics grows out of the materialist interpretation of Baruch Spinoza. According to the author, Negri by interpreting Spinoza as a “savage anomaly” laid a theoretical foundation for the entire modern discourse of multitude. The conceptualization of the differences between the notions of potentia and potestas made it possible to distinguish between multitude and the people. The people can be seen as an element of potestas — political power that mediates relations between people by introducing the principle of transcendence in the form of representation and the figure of a sovereign. In contrast to the people, multitude with its collective power-potentia embodies a collective plan of immanence that resists representation i.e., a subject of constituent power that does not need representation. The second part of the article is devoted to the analysis of the class approach to multitude, which appears in the works of Negri co-authored with Michael Hardt, where the ontology of multitude is transformed into a political project based on the understanding of class as a political subject that opposes the global capitalist world order.
Tretyak A. R.
Main Page ~ Authors ~ Tretyak A. R.