Multitude and Metropolis

Antonio Negri

A seminar at Uninomade, 2006. Transcribed and Translated from audiofiles by Arianna Bove

I’ll be brief because I see tiredness in the air and feel mine as a listener. This article on the multitude: the multitude is to the metropolis as the working class is to the factory was censored, by thioughtful and intelligent friends, who must have thought let’s wait and see first. In any case in this article disappeared from the website of Multitude, the journal we make in France, there probably was a good intuition but it applies to the modification of such and so many parameters of localisation, and definitions of the concept, that in the end I think it is exaggerated to introduce an ideal excitement of this kind. I must say that in all our discussion today, that was extremely positive, some elements were missing that could be added now, but just as a catalogue of problems we need to face whilst moving on. These are conclusions and anticipations of our Paris seminars on this issue of the metropolis: one of the first statements that seemed to have been proven in the Paris discussion is the end of the holy trinity of rendita, profit, salary. The rendita is the urban one, the useful investment in the territory that in the general economic thematic is distinct from profit, which is linked to industrial profit, and also obviously from salary, in so far as the latter is the generalised form of labour reproduction. The end of this holy trinity, that had regulated the capitalist relation of production and so also the metropolitan and urban relations, is absolutely central. When action is instantiated on the territory, it touches on the great generalised dimensions of production. rendita is no longer an external element that qualifies classes of different populations, but it touches directly the element of profit, it has been completely subsumed within the capitalist dimension as a whole. This is a fundamental element that connects evidently the question of the metropolis, not to say to the factory, surely to the metropolitan factory. This ensemble of pruductive and unproductive elements that make up the metropolis. Metropolis, to use a distinction I like a lot, going from Sassen to Davis in various shapes, is the opposition between global cities and metropolitan fabrics. These are definitions that always provide openings ouvertures on phenomena in the course of unfolding and are never definite and determinate conceptions. From this viewpoint, another important element on the economic front is the other one, what we have characterised in our Parisina discussions as the end of external economies. This is important, and it will return in next week's discussions on Veneto as metropolis, it is something that we anticipated in the struggles of the North East, at the end of the factory regime in the 1970s, when large part of our autonomous activity anticipated this kind of new articulation of territorial realms and fabrics. This determined that the recomposition of the productive fabric in the metropolitan territory was based on external economies: output, internal delocalisation, oursourcing etc. This series of phenomena are today increasingly integrated and make a system. External economies are no longer valued on the basis of what are relative revenues, they are simply nets where more than parasitical or parallel revenues correspond to a recomposition of reddito. On the other hand, there is the definition of things that were discussed here, well: both concerning classical definitions of the city and the banlieu and the redistribution of hierarchical more or less functional to power and control, discipline, this nice combination of peste and leprosy, that effectively represents the biopolitical logic of control. On the other hand, when we discuss these series of phenomena that become larger, positing an accent on the multitude, and in these terms of watch word, the terms metropolis multitude fall apart because when we touch on the multitude we touch on a plurality of fabrics and movements that is difficult to reconnect politically. The terrain is a wide on today of the struggle contained in the becoming multitude, to play with words, it is all a reasoning done on the political dimensions of biopower and on the common dimension or the construction of the common but especially on the recognition of the onotoofc

to be edited and continued ...

Audiofiles of the original in Italian are available on Global Project, in collaboration with Uninomade, Italy, November 2006

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