For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The multitude and the machine: Productivism, populism, posthumanism"

by Pitts, Frederick Harry (2020)


Abstract There has been a proliferating literature on postcapitalist and post-work futures in recent years, underpinned by policy proposals like the basic income and a reduction in working hours. It has gained increasing uptake within left electoral politics and policy making. The generational potency of these ideas require that we understand their theoretical roots. This article considers the interplay between the work of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri and the new postcapitalism exemplified by the likes of Paul Mason and Aaron Bastani, as well as its relationship with intellectual currents around Corbynism and the wider contemporary left. Through a discussion of their latest book, Assembly, it will be seen that Hardt and Negri both inform, and are increasingly informed by, the postcapitalist and post-work thinking popular on the left today?in particular at its ?posthumanist? fringes. However, this recent work is characterised by a series of tactical redirections that, rather than indicating renewal, reflect the potential collapse of this utopian framework for the future in the face of a rapidly unravelling global political context. Whilst the determinist understanding of social transformation cannot permit these setbacks, this shines a light on more general shifts in left strategy and analysis.


Postcapitalism, Communism, Negri, Hardt, Machinery, Technology, Automation, Posthumanism


Utopia, Technology, Employment, Automation

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