One thing I've learned this semester is not only how hard it is to study theory, but to "do theory." I find myself getting frustrated with these neo-Marxist thinkers, in part because I'm waiting for one of them to tell me what this communist utopia looks like? (And where is the hot-tub time machine that will take us there?) I mean, are we talking a fun mayhem -- bacchic orgies, drugs, no consequences -- kind of utopia, or will it look like more like one of the classier and more charming Florida retirement community? (I'm not voting for either one.)
I thought Negri was finally going to solve the riddle, yet he also hedges his bets: "No one can tell us, outside of the way we proceed and fight, what the conclusion will be" (168). Still, Negri does some serious thinking about this question, and he does give us some clues. He calls it a "leap beyond a leap" and work that is no longer work, or "non-work," or work that is liberated from work. He calls it an "inversion" of capitalism. (Inversion may be similar, perhaps, to the "threshold" Deleuze referred to.) Negri calls communism the "destruction of capital." At times, he refers to the globalization and de-centralization of capitalism, and how it will absorb or supersede separate nation-states and therefore nullify the importance of culture and history, suggesting that it's a gradual process, and we're still not there yet. At the end of Marx Beyond Marx, by mentioning the "end of the dialectic," he seems to fall in line with other Marxists that emphasize a need for revolutionary change in thought, not just in political or economic systems.
I'm a little curious about this idea of non-work, or the liberation of work. I assume Negri is referring more to "Taco Bell" work than sitting down to read an intellectually challenging novel, which is work and yet is rewarding because it aids in the search for greater meaning. That leads back to what Marx said (somewhere), that the point is to create something durable and meaningful.
In my utopia, of course I hope I'm twice as smart and half as neurotic, and that everything is twice as fun and I work much less hard, but that doesn't mean no work at all. I mean, I'd still like to rake leaves once in a while (I did today), and discuss art and books and films with smart people. I just hope once we do arrive there, we'll be "evolved" enough to finally get it right.
(NB: Since, I spent most of the weekend grading papers, doing taxes, then doing yard work, so I'm feeling rather anti-intellectual tonight. So if this post makes no sense, my apologies.)