”Maurizio Lazzarato’s book Les révolutions du capitalisme (Paris: Les empêcheurs de penser en ronde, 2004) [The Revolutions of Capitalism]… Lazzarato analyzes the transition from Fordist “disciplinary” to post-Fordist “control” societies, and from the struggles of the traditional labor movement to those of the contemporary social movements, by invoking a number of concepts from French post-structuralism. Lazzarato’s analysis also builds on the work of French sociologist Gabriel Tarde, and in particular on Tarde’s interpretation of Leibniz. The philosophical theories of Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin provide another important reference point.
Opening with reflections on a slogan associated with the protests against the 1999 WTO summit in Seattle—”Another World is Possible”—The Revolutions of Capitalism explores the concepts of the possible and the virtual in order to formulate a critique not just of contemporary capitalism’s regime of exploitation, but also of traditional strategies of resistance. Capitalism’s most recent transformations—and in particular its direct exploitation of intellectual and affective interaction, made possible by the new technologies associated with immaterial labor—require new theories of the event, of subjectivity, and of the ways in which subjectivity is produced—theories that go beyond socialism’s dialectic of the individual and the collective. The traditional Marxist concepts of class, labor, and exploitation need to be re-examined in light of the new configurations of power and resistance characteristic of contemporary capitalism.
… Lazzarato proposes an expansion of the Marxist concept of exploitation and a reconsideration of traditional notions of power, discovering concepts adequate to the reality of contemporary capitalism in the work of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Michel Foucault.”