This is great! From September 17th, 2009.
Smith has some good comments on revolution, and definitely disagrees on some of the arguments made in Multitude and Commonwealth. Super interestingly though, Smith discusses the resolution of Foucault and Marx, claiming (as a I agree) they should not be pitted towards one another as has often been done. The discussions of revolution are important in both, and surely Foucault critiques Marxist thought, but he points to the necessity of “lots of work” to initiate substantive changes. That is, the politics of the common, will not be developed spontaneously (especially if built on ethics/politics as individual decisions, ethics/politics must be collective), revolution will not come easily and surely not spontaneously! Political action is willed action, with thought. Alternative institutions and organization are necessary. Hardt discusses that they are not “for spontaneity”, but that organizational efforts begin in revolt or in the struggles of the oppressed. I do agree that organization requires this sort of spark or motivation, but is this different than the drive for action from a self-class-consciousness?
Nice side story (Smith beats up Richard Florida!): Neil Smith was on Richard Florida’s dissertation committee and as they evaluated his work they discussed: “We decided we should shoot him or pass him, and we made the wrong choice.”