Special Section: Eurocrisis, Neoliberalism and the Common

On the Constitution and
Financial Capital

Theory, Culture & Society
2015, Vol. 32(7–8) 25–38
! The Author(s) 2015
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DOI: 10.1177/0263276415597977

Toni Negri
European Graduate School

Antonio Negri’s article explores the relationship between the juridical categories of
‘public’ and ‘private’ and the political concept of the common through the theme of
the ‘material constitution’ defining actual relations of power which defy the crystallization of ‘formal constitutions’. The financial convention shaping the material constitution of contemporary capitalism refers to the rise of what Foucault called
biopower, where value is no longer the expression of a mere quantity of commodities
but of a set of activities and services, which are immediately cooperative. In this
context, any form of measure cannot but be political and hence it must be established through new forms of economic governance. The social relation of capital
becomes immediately political once money displaces labour as rule, norm and measure of value. As a result, processes of political subjectivation within the Eurocrisis
combine de-stituent and con-stituent movements: requests for insolvencies, social
occupations, commoning and mutualization are the means through which social
struggles formulate the multitudes’ demands for ‘equality as a condition of freedom’.
capitalism, commonfare, Euro, financial crisis, Marxism, money, neoliberalism,

I will organize my intervention around three basic points. First of all,
I will try to define the financial convention that dominates today and the
way it has modified the relation between the public and the private.
Second, I will try to analyse the way in which the private and the
public are inscribed in the 1948 [Italian] constitution and, more importantly, how they figure in the construction of the European constitution.
Finally, I will try to understand how the constitutional convention that
binds us could be undone in the name of the common, by opposing
antagonistic dispositifs to the exercise of financial power and by devising
a ‘currency of the common’. In short, what does it mean to advance

Corresponding author: Toni Negri.
Extra material: http://theoryculturesociety.org/
Downloaded from tcs.sagepub.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1, 2016

eccedente]. The financial convention therefore presents itself.sagepub.1 The collective convention that dominates the contemporary constitutional relation is a financial convention. rather than of crisis. it is more appropriate to talk of different phases of the business cycle. but which. The financial rule can become hegemonic because. and it is progressively colonizing every social space as a norm of valorization. now that standard has been replaced by a financial metric.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. and depended directly on the relation of forces between classes (this was the situation of any constitutional arrangement during the ‘short century’). as the substance of relations of production. Let us then analyse the relationship between financial capital and material constitution. there still is a material basis to the law of value. in the new mode of production. has been replaced today by the financial rule. It does so not only in relation to old and static determinations of labour-value but. when it takes up a constitutional form. . but immediately social and communal labour that is directly exploited by capital. If. in this new configuration of constitutional rule. and this was the organizational structure of industrial society. from the point of view of value. Today. consolidates and fixes a ‘proprietor-sign’ [segno proprietario] (in terms of ‘private property’ see especially Leo Specht). in relation to the continuous work of ‘anticipation’ and ‘increment’ that characterize the financial capture of socially produced value and the extension of such operations on a global scale. when it comes to constitute capitalist political relations hegemonically. also and above all.26 Theory. Whereas the labourmeasure. We are dealing with an independence which. the constitution took labour-value as its metric [tallone-misura] in the organization of society. in the Fordist constitution. . Under these conditions. A number of consequences follow from this. because. the common has emerged as an eminent power [potenza]. at the same time. in the Fordist era. institutionally. was hard and relatively stable. Let us be clear that. which was once posited as a regulative norm and a measure of social and productive activities. also appears as ‘crisis’ and ‘surplus’ [eccedenza]. but it is no longer individual labour that becomes abstract. Labour-value. Culture & Society 32(7–8) towards the construction of the common within and against the current European financial convention? 1. Financial capital hunts this extending Downloaded from tcs. in so far as it is organic to the regime of financial capital. the financial convention. the crisis is permanent. that is. presents itself as an independent and supervenient power [Potenza . as global governance. The works of Andre´ Orle´an and Christian Marazzi have correctly stressed this institutional circumstance. financial capital is the effective authority legitimating the constitution of post-industrial societies. 2016 .

(For example. appears neither in substantial terms nor as a simple accounting phantasmagoria. when it appears as command over productive activities through financial means. On the other hand.e. in other words. financial products and banks become means of production. Money. mystified but effective. The monetary convention has been removed from the nation-state and directed towards global standards. we can say that.Negri 27 power. in the processes by which society is subsumed into capital. The first is the consummation of globalization: it is by confronting globalization that the Fordist convention has given up on an element central to its legitimacy and function. in contemporary societies. this subsumption of life embodies a biopower. put the markets and/or finance in contradiction with the productive common. the nation-state as the foundation of sovereignty. use-value and exchange-value are superimposed. Two conditions have allowed its development. i.2 Hence. Harribey is correct when.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. with the demolition of the Bretton-Woods standard – a new global standard has been established in a progressively more orderly way. a standard that has replaced the labourist [lavorista] one. starting from the 1990s – after the long crisis that began in the 1970s. we can draw two consequences. in France. Life is accordingly subsumed by power both in its entirety and in the ensemble of its singular expressions. but as the sign of a productive common.sagepub. both intensively and extensively. the entirety of revenue from income tax is used to service the national debt. here. seeking to draw its profit by anticipating its extension. Public debt has been removed from sovereign regulations (simultaneously by capital and by individual nation-states) and subjected to value mechanisms which are determined Downloaded from tcs. is a purely epistemological difference. the relations of production. The first one is that. he says that value. we sense that abstract labour does not differ from concrete labour only because it represents the abstraction of the concrete form of labour: this. the capacity to exploit and extract surplus-value and to accumulate it on the whole of social life. as it were. which grows ever more. To sum up: on the one hand. 2016 . that is.) The second consequence is that value appears on the market not so much as substance – as mere quantity of goods – but as a combination of activities and services which are increasingly cooperative. in his discussion with Orle´an. today. On the basis of this. not qua productive forces but as instruments for the extortion of surplus-value. 1. in the form of financial revenues. The real and positive difference consists in that all forms of labour are now equalized in abstract labour and this happens in the context of a multilateral and cooperative exchange of singular productive activities.

In search for new conventions. The constitutional dispositif in the mature phase of capitalism subordinates living labour-power. The second condition consists of the fact that. Asian. but to the fact that they have been implemented’. To be more precise: 1. of the enclosure of common lands (goods) and of the proletarization of growing masses of citizens. a good is not desired because it is rare but. turning the crisis into its own way of working. in other words.e.sagepub. after being increasingly emptied out of sovereignty by globalization. ‘markets go mad. etc. Financialization is a process of inclusion of cooperation – of the cognitive and social common – and then of exclusion. What I mean is that the ends of accumulation have yielded to the direct private appropriation of all public goods. new economics. qua cognitive and cooperative society. in fact. Culture & Society 32(7–8) on the global market by financial capitalists. the more it is demanded. It follows that the crisis is not ‘due to the fact that the rules of the financial game have been circumvented. It depends exclusively on the deregulation of capital markets and on the privatization of public goods.) follow one after the other. so to speak. have been deprived of the access to common goods. if not completely done away with (public property has been weakened as much as political representation. The real subsumption of society into capital acts through financialization. i. paradoxically. Here. to the financial abstraction of the process of valorization. the more it is desired. but this is totally coherent with the competition principle applied to finance’. bubbles (e. The competition between these actors always turns into solidarity against the exploited. In this situation. Argentinean. in this process.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. The crisis. As Marazzi and Orle´an note. Downloaded from tcs.g. It is a sort of continuous reenactment of primitive accumulation. is endogenous. the mediation between class interests performed (starting from the 1930s) by public power and public property (and here it would be necessary to define the extent to which democratic political representation could be identified with this mediating function) has been considerably weakened. the public sphere has been substantially capitalized [patrimonializzato] in a privatizing manner. even before this was accomplished juridically. Every use-value is thus transformed into financial goods (bonds) subject to speculation. 2016 . with the crisis of (national) sovereignty. a process of extension of the capitalist mode of production to pre-capitalist markets.28 Theory. In this process. The biopower [biopotenza] of the common is totally subjected to the fetishism of the financial convention. is no longer directed to the government and ownership of the public). financialization has imposed its logic upon the entire world. because the latter. attended by the subsequent expulsion and pauperization of those who.

a dispositif of power. 2. a continuous instability and. the breach of the Keynesian-Fordist relation calls for new measureconventions. a ‘constitutional’ reflection must also presuppose the questioning and rethinking of the movement’s language and practices upon which we have hitherto based our reflection. it is rather a ‘political convention’.). in other words. to be more precise. Measure-value? To be sure. suited to the current organization of social labour for the sake of extracting profit or accumulating financial revenues) is all the same a measure. unexpected capture of surplus. To be more precise: even though it is not founded on substantial value. moreover.sagepub. etc. It follows that. etc. It is hardly necessary to recall how Marx always defined value by subordinating it to surplus-value.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. The latter does not act as a ‘power of exception’ [potere di eccezione] but as the government of a ‘continuous emergency’ (it is an exception spread over time which reveals. 3.1 Let us go back to the Italian constitution and to its first article – ‘the Republic is founded on labour’ – which used to torment us (or make us laugh) since we were kids. this measure. determined according to variable circumstances. ruptures and excesses. positively. but only if this social relation will be considered globally. what makes this convention ‘capitalist’ (i. established the Keynesian-Fordist convention as the norm of exploitation of workers and of the political Downloaded from tcs. of this accumulation of Russian dolls. this measure will still be founded on the relation between necessary time and unpaid surplus time – sure. is not something substantial. The permanence of the crisis consists precisely of this: of the tension of this infinite effort. The capitalist constitutional dispositif aims to assign a measure. It is also worth mentioning. Now. As far as movements are concerned. It is a matter of individuating some ‘instruments with which to impose a new relation of forces on financial capital’. the movement of capital as a political threat.) within a fractured temporality and a permanent untimeliness. the right to insolvency is a first step to free the use of money from direct exploitation). a class-bound measure.Negri 29 2. of the tendency to approach an absolute limit. 2016 . In order to fix this political measure. in passing. as we have seen. the constitutive imagination is fraught with destitutive contents (to take just one example.e. today. Let us simply recall that workerism was born from the insight that this formula. that in the current phase the ‘constitutive’ character of the neoliberal action is coupled with powerful ‘destitutive’ strategies (the threat of default. negatively. capitalist constitutional power (and the convention that sustains it) must create a new form of government – of governance. to fix a regulatory standard within those crises that we have mentioned. where. in line with the interventionist Stalinism of the 1930s.

However. at best. as the mediator of the social struggle. it would not have given rise to that world of socialist wonders which we had been promised. Downloaded from tcs. In this context. that is to say. the 1948 constitution was soon ‘conformed’. Giannini – who did not want to confuse the constitution with the spirit of the Resistance and the republican constituent assembly. it is understandable how. we started talking about social labour and the exploitation of the bios to define the new figures of capitalist regulation after the ‘jolt’ of 1968. that is to say. the biopolitical pressure of the social worker and the crisis of the planning state [Stato-piano]: its response was to re-seize political control from the outside and to establish the political hegemony of the monetary sphere over the totality of social production.30 Theory. as the representative of social capital. We were quite simply referring to the fact that. Culture & Society 32(7–8) regulation of a society in which. the lethal effects of the ‘refusal of Fordist work’. within the repeated fiscal crises of public regulation. New York’s fiscal crisis lies at the beginning of this new political cycle and is exemplary.e. to be practised within and against the productivity of the system: this process increases the (direct and indirect) income of the working class and of the working society. in the class struggle. What happened? Capitalism was faced with the transformations induced by the class struggle from within the industrial system. M. capital had started to resort to retirement funds and social insurances to balance the books. But even if it had. And it is not thanks to Foucault that. And with the crisis of the 1970s and the capitalist reforms of the 1980s began that reactionary process of general reorganization of the system in which we still live today. the public was completely subordinated to the enlarged reproduction of capital. adapted to the incremental development of Italian capitalism through the regulatory action of the state. Already in the 1960s. i. What happened? The workers’ struggles at the centre of the empire and the struggles of liberation from colonial powers had undermined the possibility of Fordist regulation. as all too many rhetoricians used to and still do – noticed how claiming that the spirit of the constitution was still alive simply amounted to taunting or cheating the citizens. Under these conditions. The 1948 constitution promotes a capitalist society in reformist terms: the Soviet Union had recently defeated the armies of European fascism and reformism was the only option left to the capitalists. it became possible for the proletarians to exert pressure on the worker’s salary. Capital took up the challenge and promoted biocapitalism in its financial form. As we all know. 2016 . already in the 1960s.S.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1.sagepub. as an instrument (note and beware!) of democratic power. the public was defined as the mediating function of capitalist social relations. of the class struggle – and it is around this function that bourgeois political representation (especially the Italian one) coalesces and takes form. the Italian constitution has never been completely realized.

because it has not only deprived the public of its function as the mediator of exploitation (in favour of the so-called ‘markets’). to empty the welfare state of its emancipatory potential and to feed directly on the productive common. . Offe. 2016 . after facing the impossibility to unblock the downward rigidity of wages and to outdo. oil and agro-business sectors. this is what the public has become: in the name of capital it has started to plunder pension funds. by the way oil pollutes and blackens seacoasts: in this case too. The world of labour has been exploited as bios: not only as ‘labour-force’ but as ‘living force’. which. whose relation to the land has been interrupted and whose lives have thus been reduced to the most appalling misery. the public sphere is totally subjected to. – that is. The world of health-production. the use of welfare as a basis of financial valorization. What is taking place is a new original accumulation. All this has happened thanks to the new monetary regimes that have been imposed on the European subjects. but also because it has brought about a new figure of exploitation: the exploitation of the bios. in Africa and Latin America. have begun to invade further territories. . And the same goes with the multinational corporations. to be more precise. especially in the mining. Downloaded from tcs. and harassed by. of the insurance of youth and old age. the private sector and its values.Negri 31 It is necessary to pay the closest attention to this passage (but already at that time. the more it attacks and upsets the earth. One is not only moved by the way the countryside has been destroyed and invaded by soybean cultivation on an unlimited scale. the world of the ‘production of man by man’ – has become the raw material or. etc. With regard to the European currency. the relative advantages of the working society . the blood that circulates in the arterial system of global financial capital.sagepub. Marazzi. After having embodied the mediation of capitalist power in its struggle against the working class and social producers. by the way mountains have been hollowed out for the extraction of rare and precious minerals. The more neoliberalism attacks the welfare state and sucks the blood of the living labour-force in developed countries. O’Connor. through inflation. of instruction and education. This is what the public has become as a consequence of the forms of exploitation and the practices of valorization that the new European constitution contains and which it imposes through the so-called ‘technical governments’. the most important form of exploitation concerns the indigenous populations.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. Aglietta and others laid stress on its social character). as it destroys not only territories and forests but also the ways of living of populations which had hitherto entertained a relation of sustenance and invention with the earth. which affects the cognitive as much as the natural world. not only as a productive machine but as the communal body of the labouring society.

in fact. repressive regulation of unjustified budget deficit and a monetary union detached from the political union. and from a democratic deficit to democratic default. finally. 2016 . under the pressure of the markets. and dominates today’s European constituent process. while.32 Theory. The principles to follow – even if their consequences contribute to the dissolution of any (formal) democratic rule – are price stability. and when we speak of economic governance. The control and bureaucratic supervision of budgets lacks in fact any democratic legitimation (of both national and communitarian institutions). it also produces – to use again Jo¨rges’ words – a sort of ‘big bang’ which paradoxically reveals what was meant to remain hidden. The fact that the European constituent process is guided by a monetary power which is democratically unaccountable. that this translation is also used in official documents). in substantial terms. the separation between the economic organization of power and the social structure of the working classes – where the former is entrenched in the European constitution. Now. the German concept of Ordo-liberalismus (we have been told. European policies of social. This order is the product of a school of thought that. we are translating.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. that an unbearable social austerity appears as the only criterion for the construction of a regulatory mechanism – all Downloaded from tcs. has lost all social and reformist character and has glorified instead its authoritarian and ordering dimensions. starting from the 1920s and up until the present. Whether we do or do not consider it as a class. will we be enchanted by it and fall prey to its gorgon-like grin? Certainly not. regulative interventions are repeatedly individualized outside of any general norm (communitarian action has been emptied out of any form of justice). now that we have stared at the dreadful face of the new constitution of the public. Culture & Society 32(7–8) 2. we have to examine the sphere of the material constitution of the European multitude. To use Jo¨rges’ words. But. distributive and compensatory regulation have effectively dissolved. the crisis has made Europe shift from a jurisdictional construction to an authoritarian constitution.sagepub. we basically speak of economic governance. has appeared under different and often disquieting political guises. even in a cursory manner. This amounts to an authoritarian ‘market social economy’. the way the public has been codified juridically by the emerging European constitution. while the latter are left to the individual member states – reveals not only a profound democratic crisis. When we speak of the European constitution today. that there is a technically independent biopower which exceeds economically the social misery which it creates. one which. we obviously find that it is a sort of codification of what we have defined above as the new order of capitalist biopower.2 As soon as we consider.

. if by ‘variable capital’ we indicate the set of values transferred to the workers for their reproduction. to be more precise. first of all. Now. etc. paradoxically. has come to appropriate – or. and as also were those other figures of the ruling class that emerged and/or disappeared in the course of the class struggle.e.Negri 33 this only proves that the ‘new’ public power embodied by the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) and by the TSCG (Treaty on Stability. 3 How is it possible to break the (constitutional) financial convention that now dominates us. this process of subjugation is new and singular. . better said. i. some of the presuppositions informing our analysis.) of ‘fixed capital’. forcefully accentuates – the new consistency of the multitude. If. the labour force – as cooperative and cognitive labour-force – has in fact reappropriated parts (fragments. Financial capital is capital tout court and therefore it is not a parasitic entity or a mere set of accounting tools. in the same sense as industrial capital was and is. it is nonetheless also true that. the application of the golden rule casts light on – or. It is a social relation – but a social relation between whom? In order to fully understand this point. between capitalist control and the labour force – and to detail the ways in which the former subjugates the latter in the present. modalities. total. effectively resistant and virtually antagonist . it might be worth recalling a few definitions and. at the expense of the communal fabric of social cooperation and the substratum of productive activities that the working class struggles and social upheavals had hitherto secured. and if by ‘fixed capital’ we indicate the machinery and the structures used in the productive process – we must then recognize that (in the phase under analysis) the labour-force.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. If by ‘constant capital’ we indicate the set of productive conditions in the hands of capital. In the phase under analysis. it is first necessary to define as precisely as possible the relation between ‘constant capital’ and ‘variable capital’ – i. attributes.sagepub. from the point of view of the workers and with the force of the common? In order to advance along this path. 2016 . even though it is ‘real’. on the one hand. Coordination and Governance) represents a dreadful machine for original accumulation by the private sector. far from functioning solely as variable capital. which is to be governed! But it will not be easy to govern this proletariat who can organize its common autonomy in cooperation and production. in the current process of unification. It is rather a figure of capital in the fullest sense of the term. to incorporate – parts of Downloaded from tcs. this process destroys any possibility of a more or less democratic national politics (but we have seen to what extent the ‘less’ already prevailed) and does not help to determine new communitarian powers [potenze].e.

functionality. as seen. that is to say. can only exercise its control in relation to the field of production ‘vertically’. capital demands variable capital to be fully internalized within the process of valorization (see below). then. and therefore the processes of exploitation of living labour. for example. in turn. Financial capital thus appears to turn the social relation. may exhibit a new and positive critical threshold. when considering that. through social cooperation. into financial capital. Now the convention is instead singularized. and the capitalist synthesis is called to control this composition (i. capital. there are also episodes in which ‘circulating capital’ is being reappropriated (in the figure of. If the technical composition of the labour-force has become overly rigid (having absorbed parts of fixed and circulating capital). 2016 . it is called to fragment and crush it). i. into a primarily political relation.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. yet potentially) extraneous to capitalist control. etc. in an individualistic. It is in this modified condition that the subsumption of living labour into constant capital – i. In the ‘political relation’. into the key figure in which capitalist control appears today – is realized.e. by emphasizing.and wage-based way). is becoming more and more internal to those bodies which are the direct expression of the productive functions and which. The monetary convention takes the place of the labour-value convention (i. play a role in the organization of production. Downloaded from tcs. Now.e. Contrary to what used to be the case in Keynesianism. a migrant labour-force). which defines the concept of capital [concetto di capitale]. Culture & Society 32(7–8) fixed capital. this abstract figure of capitalist control is subjected to great strain – and. in the convention of financial capital. Financial capital is endowed with these characteristics and carries out this task. But this also implies a fundamental contradiction: on the one hand. it is called to render this rigidity flexible or.e.34 Theory. the convention of value is monetary. This. by externalizing (as it were) and. it represents a new figure overcoming the ‘law of value’. the situation. as interpreted during the phase of the industrial exploitation of labour. to commodification). that is to say. money takes the place of labour-value. to contradiction – by the fact that today the process of valorization. which constitutes financial capital. amounts to the global investment of life on the part of capital: capital becomes biopolitical. factory. arguably. in addition to the working multitude’s subtraction and incorporation of parts of fixed capital. Moreover.sagepub. to the capitalist synthesis. there is a powerful. social and debt-based.e. if total. on the other hand. better said. it defines the wage part as the residue of the monetary unities that are the equivalent of abstract labour. Now. the ‘political’ dimension of control over and above any other element (such as ideologies. in any case. The labour-force thus becomes virtually (relatively. abstraction of constant capital (in its financial form) from variable capital (as social living labour and cognitive labour which are irreducible. partially at least.). then.

constant capital).Negri 35 How to proceed at this point? We have repeated (sometimes annoyingly) that the demand for a new constitutionalization of labour represents a completely abstract attempt to resume classical public [pubblicistiche] mediations. a new constitutional formation of labour would be a thoroughly reactionary idea.sagepub. freed from any catastrophic or palingenetic presupposition: what would it mean (starting from the ever-renewing production of subjectivity and from the incorporation of parts of fixed capital) to consider the constituent processes not as definitive. since it has incorporated parts of circulating and fixed capital. We have thus concluded (citing Giso Amendola’s Precariat Constitution [Costituzione precaria]) that today the meaning of a possible constitutive moment consists in untying the very idea of constitution from the public-sovereign mediation. We are rather dealing with the powerful asymmetry of the new cognitive labour-force – its ‘rich poverty’ – which does indeed confront the domination of the master (i. and to understand processes of such constitution as a struggle for the continuous opening of constituent processes. nullifying its traditional claim to autonomy from the other social sciences’.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. No. mere nostalgia for the public-sovereign mediation: but. within governance. thus promoting its progressive decentralization and flexibilization and. it might be said that ‘precarious’ subjectivities have an interest in the ‘precarization’ of the constitution itself. at the same time.e. within which it was given originally. the pluralism of the multitude of labour and society? What would it mean to constitute a common ‘we’ within a social reality in which every Downloaded from tcs. In a (not overly) provocative way. which could strain the constituent process and which would eventually make it explode. again. but which is not induced to rush into a struggle because it is at the same time irreducibly resistant and rigid in its precariousness. The point that needs to be stressed is that the latter ‘does not exclude the law [il diritto]. The new battlefield for the constituent struggle is therefore the terrain of governmentality. we should not expect any Bolshevist exploits because we are not dealing with the symmetrical confrontation between two powers. we are definitely not in an insurrectional situation. it would be possible to institute a sort of ‘dualism of power’. in keeping it open to continual developments and to processes of self-organization. what would it mean to have a constituent process that recognizes fragmentation. but as co-essential to a new constitutional process? To be sure. It is just necessary to dispel the illusion that. We are thus touching on the real problem. but rather traverses it. in opposition to how governance tends to neutralize and channel them within pre-constituted forms of expression. 2016 .

as a singularized and social reality. identificatory and/or localistic moments of struggle. 2016 .2 At this point. A first group of initiatives falls under the label of insolvency. even worse. and alienated from democratic representation by the revulsion that the latter deserves and by the political impotence that it displays – and yet. We have never been luddites vis-a`-vis machinery. localized and wage-based manner) but the multitude. and they are Downloaded from tcs. can only be ‘constituent’? At this point. these struggles are inspired by the old ones about the relative wage. 3. The reality of the multitude: indebted. today. the references to the 1948 constitution or. Similarly. organize and reward. subjected to the alienation of the media.e. capture and subtract the value autonomously and communally produced by the workers. separate and dominate. the extraordinary opportunity offered by the monetary constitutional convention: the latter reveals that anti-capitalist antagonism does not only concern restricted portions of the social labour-force (it does not concern the living labour hired in an individualistic. By fighting against debt and in support of the ‘citizenship income’. it is possible to ask how to study the processes of subjectivation as they appear under these circumstances and what favourable or obstructing conditions could facilitate or block a politics of the common. but which can nonetheless reappropriate wealth through the recognition and construction of the common. permeated by the sad passions of insecurity. we do not smash ATMs.36 Theory. impelled to express a powerful will to struggle. we need to emphasize. to the constitutional reforms that are being proposed at the European level. but rather saboteurs of the exploitation generated by the organization of labour. through money. We most definitely do not want to deny that any moment of struggle is linked to particular interests and/or places. one that is in a relation of dependence (since it is indebted). accordingly. We are rather interested in considering the political actions that might contribute to create an alternative to the crisis and to facilitate processes of subjectivation which would be adequate to new projects of struggle. The Italian movements concerned with ‘common goods’ are also active in the same sphere. But it is now essential to utilize the ‘constituent’ dimension in order to break with all ‘corporative’.sagepub. are without a doubt detrimental. but we sabotage the system of financial domination because we want to constitutionalize – i. once more. As far as the Italian movement is concerned. precisely because of this. we want to appropriate – the banks and the powers which. The ‘indignados’ and ‘occupy’ movements have convincingly initiated these constituent behaviours. Culture & Society 32(7–8) identity has dissolved and every recomposition.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. but the struggle today is either construed against the universal image of financial domination or simply cannot exist.

in alternative ways. if not provocative. squats. In neoliberalism. to Downloaded from tcs. The first point is to try to destitute the chains of capitalist control. But the most important initiatives in this respect will be those that succeed in mutualizing [mutualizzare]. In this case. precariousness) that has been imposed upon the workers. but the subjugated structures of society.sagepub. squares. From the public to the common: the aim is to affirm the right of ‘access to the common’. A second battlefield consists of the actions against the constitutional structures of capitalist biopower.. the destituent effect is still predominant over the constituent one. etc. not simply the capitalist capacity to subjugate society. if it implicitly presupposes the demonstration that riots and uprisings cannot create new institutions. it is also necessary to formulate a theory and a practice of ‘precariate strikes’: in other words. we have witnessed examples of movements that have devised and imposed their agenda on their governments for long periods of time. but it is nonetheless worth trying. It will not be easy to repeat this experience in Europe. the administration of welfare. also fall within this framework. The question. in order to improve it both from a monetary perspective and in terms of social quality. of education. of housing policies. 2016 . social and juridical chaos is deemed normal. community centres. For the time being they do not – as already said – because the destituent effect is still educating and predominant. In this case too. not simply its control. Why do riots and uprisings not result in new institutions? This question is idle. it is a matter of understanding what struggles might ‘harm’ the bosses. and yet. At this point. the question is to act on the direct wage of the workers. but wealth itself. The struggles aimed at reappropriating places.e. the destituent struggles become crucial to create and impose an alternative constituent dispositif upon the existing chaos (the transformation of juridical systems and the incapacity of capitalism to recompose their effectiveness outside of governance). is the development of the democratic. without deceiving ourselves that these ruptures could turn into stable mechanisms of counter-power. Along the same lines. In Latin America. in this case.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. theatres. The question is to attack wealth. Destitutions This is the second area in which today’s struggles are taking place. it is not useless. To take it up and transform the litigious character of governance into a moment of ‘counter-power’ is the task of any force that opposes neoliberalism. etc. starting from the condition of misery (i. Communalizations Here the constituent initiatives come into the picture.Negri 37 revolutionary in so far as they question the measure of labour. mass constituent power of the multitude [moltitudinario].

that ‘currency of the common’ which will allow the citizens to produce freely.sagepub.0 (2010–13) and EuroNomade (2013–). there is the bio-value captured (i. This article is part of the Theory. Note This article is based on a paper given at a conference held at Universita` Federico II. Adalgiso Amendola and Sandro Mezzadra. on 7 December 2012. Antonio Negri is a Marxist political philosopher and a key figure of the Italian Autonomia Movement.38 Theory. in particular. it means establishing equality as the condition of freedom. From what has been said so far. Futur Ante´rieur (1990–98) and Multitudes (2000–). Beyond co-founding groundbreaking journals such as Quaderni Rossi (1961–8). he is the author of Empire (2000). Multitude (2004) and Commonwealth (2009). Culture & Society special section. he has also participated in the establishment of institutions for autonomous education and research: UniNomade (2004–10). His essays and books have been translated into many languages. Downloaded from tcs. Together with Michael Hardt. while respecting solidarity. Eurocrisis. Acknowledgement The TCS editors would like to acknowledge the help of Paolo Palladino in the general editorial process for the section and improving the translations. Naples. on the other hand. extracted) by capitalism across the whole of society. UniNomade 2.e. edited by Tiziana Terranova.com at UNIV OF LETHBRIDGE on February 1. Neoliberalism and the Common. What does it mean to speak of the ‘currency of the common’ in this respect? It means freeing the power [potenza] of the labour-force from capitalist domination. there is its monetary form and the way it is made functional to the exploitation of the whole of society. His numerous publications and indefatigable intellectual activity have had a fundamental impact in renewing and sharpening the tools of Marxist theory to match the new challenges facing class struggle. 2016 . Culture & Society 32(7–8) realize the desire for the common which is already lodged in the workers’ hearts. Finally. to communalize amounts to building new institutions of the common and. the following alternative appears clearly: on the one hand.