First use of Prezi. Indulge me. No italicsThis talk fits into my work on political struggle that operates or organizesthrough Information and Communication Technologies. Title is inspired by two terms: Hardt and Negri’s ‘multitude of the poor’, and the prince of Machiavelli. The multitude is a term from Spinoza, taken up by Italian Marxists, and refers to the collection of all subjectivities of modern society. Hardt and Negri pose the multitude of the poor as the antagonists for what they term the ‘republic of property’, which is the republic of privatization and possession.Both prince and pauper are particular types of subjects that have a context in political circumstances. The poor are the materially impoverished collective, and, according to H+N are more constituted by the communal systems of species-being and the commons.The ‘manifesto’ needs to be desanctified. They’re not sources of axiomatic political science, they’re methods for achieving political solutions.
A number of translations, this is the one I like most. Has an element of ‘fuck you’ about it. I think there needs to be a move away from new media as potentially finding a form of political idealism, and I think this incredibly prevalent in the works of post autonomism. We can hopefully utilize some of the theories I present in order to approach the contested spaces of the internet in a realist, or perhaps pragmatic manner.
Althusser states that he wishes to “enrol Machiavelli in his own ranks” (M+us, 5). *The apparent text: a guide for the prince in the monarchial rulership of principalities. A toolbox for sovereign powers; a eulogy. Charles Benoist “Three Machiavellis: Machiavellians, anti-Machiavellians, and Machiavelli.”*The text as satire: a depiction of the prince as a savage brute – Diderot, EncyclopedieThe text as revolutionary tactic: a combination of critique of the sovereign, and a guidebook for republican democratic rulership – Gramsci, Althusser
Gramsci: when Machiavelli refers to the people, he’s referring to those who are convinced by his arguments. Also, By the end of the Prince, Machiavelli “has become the people.” For which, the epilogue has become “a kind of ‘political manifesto’”. (ebook, 321)Gr: §4, fourth notebookAlthusser: the manifesto form emerges from the people – it is immanent to the people, not outside or above them.
In many cases, manifestos attempt to make an individual aware of their nature as subject to particular conditions, as this slide shows. I don’t want to be claiming that the conditions are ‘real’ changes in subjectivity, because that requires some sort of element of truth to the process. While certainly there is often a case of a new proposition of subjectivity, it doesn’t need to be there. The change in the constitution of the subject is simply a character of the most widely known manifestos, and not a uniform case for lesser known manifesto works.Manifesto of the Communist Party: asks that the working class acknowledge their oppressed position in the mode of capitalism, and that they begin a revolution.The Conscience of a Hacker: poetic verse that poses the relationship between the hacker subject and technology, education and the capitalist mode of production.Haraway’s manifesto proposes an ‘ironic’ means of defying capitalism through a new
I think it’s necessary to compare petitions and manifestos because of their similar nature. Individuals assign themselves to both,
The form is the same in terms of being sourced within the multitude, and taking an ideological object or mode of production as its target.These act as temporary devices for political organization that excludes the requirement for organization along party or ideological lines, although they may still exist.This allows us to perceive even minor communications transmitted over ICTs in terms of a organizational political component, rather than simply as ‘noise’ in across internet channels.Can act as a staging point for political action to transfer to offline spaces.
Manifestos are not necessarily successful; in fact, most are dismal failures.The political component is, at times, inane; and political achievements are not the central goal for manifestos.Popular websites have approximately 6-8 hours to guarantee popular adoption; IRC-sourced manifestos have a success window of minutes.
This concern that Althusser applies to philosophy mirrors my own concerns with political use of the media
Pauper into prince
Pauper into Prince
Machiavelli, manifestos, and the multitude
“…I hope it will not be considered presumptuous
for a man of very low and humble condition to
dare to discuss princely government, and to lay
down rules about it […] one needs to be a ruler to
understand properly the character of the people and to be a
man of the people to understand properly the character of
-- Machiavelli, The Prince, dedication.
Readings of The Prince
The apparent text.
The text as satire.
The text as revolutionary tactic.
Althusser, Gramsci, and the Prince
The “Communist Manifesto” – Manifesto of the
The “Hacker Manifesto” – The Conscience of a
The “Cyborg Manifesto”.
Similarities across various manifestos
• Emerges from within the political/social
category it seeks to discuss; usually populist.
• Claims to represent a particular subject.
• Proposes a new mode of production or a new
• Generally acts on the basis of problems of
alienation/ideology, which it claims to be able to
Compare with the „petition‟.
• Petitions operate mainly through democratic
• Petitions have no dialogues directly surrounding
• Petitions are produced generally by NGOs,
media outlets, political parties.
• Petitions are similar, but not equivalent to the
manifesto; perhaps better considered as a
• That the manifesto form is a primary means of
political action online.
• Temporary political mechanisms.
• Facilitates discussion of network
• Can motivate offline politics.
Auxiliary aspects of my argument
• No guarantees.
• Problematic politics.
• Highly temporary.
“Philosophy functions by intervening not in
matter, or a living body, or in the class struggle,
but in theory. […] It acts outside of itself through
the result that it produces within itself.”
-- Althusser, Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy
of the Scientists, 106-107.
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