Join us for a talk and book signing with Michael Hardt, author of Assembly, co-written with Antonio Negri.
Drawing on ideas developed through their well-known Empire trilogy, Hardt and Negri have produced, in Assembly, a timely proposal for how current large-scale horizontal movements can develop the capacities for political strategy and decision-making to effect lasting and democratic change.
In recent years "leaderless" social movements have proliferated around the globe, from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe, the Americas, and East Asia. Some of these movements have led to impressive gains: the toppling of authoritarian leaders, the furthering of progressive policy, and checks on repressive state forces. They have also been, at times, disorganized and ineffectual, or suppressed by disoriented and perplexed police forces and governments who fail to effectively engage them. Why have the movements, which address the needs and desires of so many, not been able to achieve lasting change and create a new, more democratic and just society? The authors argue that familiar roles must be reversed: leaders should be responsible for short-term, tactical action, but it is the multitude that must drive strategy; if these new social movements are to achieve meaningful revolution, they must invent effective modes of assembly and decision-making structures that rely on the broadest democratic base. We have not yet seen what is possible when the multitude assembles.
Michael Hardt teaches in the Literature Program at Duke University. He is co-author, with Antonio Negri, of the Empire trilogy: Empire (2000), Multitude (2004), and Commonwealth (2009), as well as Declaration (2012) and Assembly (2017).