The discussion over at I cite of Zizek’s essay “Objet a as the Inherent Limit to Capitalism” raises a number of difficult issues:

If the multitude is not simply a function of capitalism, then surely it must also precede capitalism.

Is the relation between multitude and modernity the same as that between multitude and capitalism?

In any case, surely it is not capitalism per se that is at issue, but rather the state. Which certainly precedes both capitalism and modernity.

But what is meant by “preceding” here? Is the relation best cast as one between virtuality and actuality?

What’s at stake is the historicity of the multitude, and of constituent power. But also (as Zizek points out) the possibility of Revolution.

And if we don’t accept the possibility of Revolution, then we can and should reject Negri tout court. A “Negri lite” really is a celebration of the service economy, McJobs, contemporary capitalist globalization, etc. etc.

Anyhow, I’ll have to return to these questions anon.


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