Michael Hardt on Afflicted Powers

AFFLICTED POWERS is a venomous and poetic book. Indignation, hatred, spleen, and disgust for the powers that dominate the globe today spill forth from its pages. And yet all this is expressed in a cultured, measured, and often exquisite prose, reminiscent of the great polemicists of the past, from Thomas Paine to Rosa Luxemburg. The depth of this antagonism is intensified by a prevailing sense of defeat that runs through the book—the defeat of the Left generally and, more specifically, the defeat of the multitude that had attempted to contest the ruling powers and their permanent state of war in the enormous demonstrations of February and March 2003. Perhaps, in fact, the beauty of the writing is somehow linked to the rancor and bitterness of the argument. Venom has its own peculiar poetry.

The authors—four members of the Bay Area political collective Retort, Iain Boal, T. J. Clark, Joseph

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