Michael Hardt on the Networked Leadership of the New Social Movements

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From an interview of co-author Michael Hardt conducted by Allen White for the Great Transition Initiative:

" * You argue for developing movements that invert the traditional structure of leaders-as-strategists and followers-as-local-tacticians. How would this reversal work?

First of all, we do not propose the elimination of leaders. Rather, we reframe leadership as dynamic and temporary, deployed and dismissed by the multitude as conditions evolve. Leaders can serve as tacticians, guiding in a limited context, particularly when special expertise is required or when expediency is essential.

The other side of this framework is more complex and more challenging. How can the multitude develop strategic capabilities to make collective long-term decisions regarding the most critical social issues? This is very close to a longstanding question of political theory: How can people become capable of democracy, a veritable democracy in which all participate equally in collective self-rule? That is one element required, in fact, for the multitude to be capable of strategy.

One way to explore these questions is to investigate contemporary political experiments that tend in this direction. How much can one recognize an inversion of the traditional roles of strategy and tactics in the Podemos party in Spain or, more significantly, in the municipal government of Barcelona? Does it make sense to think of aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement as experimenting with such an inversion? Toni and I do engage such practical examples, but our investigations are primarily theoretical, in particular exploring aspects of social cooperation in contemporary economic relations that can serve as the basis for constructing new forms of political organization. That’s a complicated matter that involves the core sections of Assembly." (http://greattransition.org/publication/empire-and-multitude)