Subject: Book launch: "Assembly" by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

*Talks by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri *

*Chaired by WIAS Director Christian Fuchs*

*Drinks reception and book signing*

Thursday 12 October 2017
18:00 – 21:00
Fyvie Hall
309 Regent Street
University of Westminster
London W1B 2HW

This event is co-organised with Oxford University Press (OUP) and
launches *Assembly
Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt’s follow-up book to the Empire trilogy
consisting of “Empire” (2000), “Multitude” (2004) and
“Commonwealth” (2009).

In the face of rising right-wing movements and governments throughout the
world, along with the ever-increasing control of finance over social life,
forms of protest and resistance that disrupt the ruling order are
essential. But they are not enough. How can today’s social movements
transform themselves so as to initiate a process of liberation and create
the bases for a lasting social alternative?

Each year a new eruption of “leaderless” social movements — from North
Africa and the Middle East to Europe, the Americas, and East Asia — leaves
journalists, political analysts, police forces, and governments disoriented
and perplexed. Activists too struggle to understand and evaluate the power
and effectiveness of horizontal movements. 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? Some people
assume that if only social movements could find new leaders they would
return to their earlier glory. Where, they ask, are the new Martin Luther
Kings, Rudi Dutschkes, and Stephen Bikos?

Although today’s leaderless and spontaneous political organizations are not
sufficient, a return to traditional, centralized forms of political
leadership is neither desirable nor possible. Necessary, instead, as
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue, is an inversion of the roles of the
multitude and leadership in political organizations. Leaders should be
confined to short-term, tactical action, while the multitude drives
strategy. In other words, the formulation of long-term goals and objectives
must come from the collective, rather than designated figureheads. Drawing
on the 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 collectively the capacities
for political strategy and decision-making to effect lasting and democratic

*Michael Hardt *teaches in the Literature Program at Duke University and is
co-director of the Social Movements Lab. He serves as editor of The South
Atlantic Quarterly.

*Antonio Negri *taught at the University of Padua and the University of
Paris VIII. He has been one of the central figures of Italian autonomist
Marxism. His work is devoted to studies of political philosophy and the
analysis of capitalism and globalization.

*Hardt and Negri* have co-authored the books *Labor of Dionysus* (1994),
*Empire* (2000), *Multitude* (2004), *Commonwealth* (2009),
*Declaration* (2012),
and *Assembly* (2017). Their books are considered to be among the most
influential works in political philosophy today.

*Christian Fuchs *is a Marxist theorist of society and communication. He is
Director of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS) and the
Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) at the University of

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Best wishes,

Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS)
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