RE: [ox-en] word social forum/stallman/patents
- From: "Kermit Snelson" <ksnelson subjectivity.com>
- Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 17:59:04 -0800
Eh, it may be my bad english, but: What the hell ist "natural law" and
"legal positivism". You seems to think, everybody knows this. Maybe
you can explain this in short words? Thankyou.
"Legal positivism" and "natural law" are basic terms in the science of
jurisprudence [Rechtswissenschaft]. Trying to explain them in short words
could only mislead, but fortunately there's a lot on the Internet about
them. The German equivalents are "Rechtspositivismus" and "Naturrecht", so
I don't assume that everybody knows legal terminology, but I'm certainly not
assuming any more than Negri does. It's absolutely impossible to understand
_Empire_ without knowing the basics of jurisprudence, because that's
primarily what the book is about. He cites Kelsen. He cites (with more
approval) Kelsen's main Weimar rival, Carl Schmitt. A keystone of the book
is US constitutional theory. He carries on long, technical discussions
concerning the theory of post-national sovereignty. He throws around,
completely without explanation, professional legal terms like "res gestae"
and "posse comitatus." There's even an old German legal term, "Vogelfrei",
which he uses but completely misinterprets (perhaps intentionally.)
_Empire_, in other words, is about law. And it's about reviving ancient
Roman imperial legal theory in particular. That's why there's all that
stuff about Machiavelli and Virgil and Polybius and early Christianity.
Negri is arguing for the overthrow of current models of sovereignty and
their replacement by a global, "deterritorialized" version of US
constitutional federalism. And so is President Bush, although it obviously
took some "persuading" first.
What is good on nations? Nobody needs this phantasmas.
Without strong, democratic nation-states, there is absolutely no way to keep
countries, even rich ones, from being looted by private corporations.
That's exactly what globalization is: a very well-organized effort by
global corporations to rewrite the world's law to make it possible to move
goods, capital and technology around the world without the interference of
nation-states. And as Barnet and Müller wrote in their 1974 book _Global
Reach_, "such a crusade calls for the public relations campaign of the
The net result of this campaign is that 28 years after _Global Reach_
appeared, much of the Left has been duped into fighting for precisely the
same goal as that of the major corporations. This aspect of the campaign
has been accomplished primarily through the world's universities, and I
consider it a shameful corruption of the educational system that many of the
world's most educated and influential activists have dedicated their lives
to advancing Negri's ideas without the slightest background knowledge
necessary to understand even what _Empire_'s words mean, much less its