An original member of the Italian Autonomia group Negri wrote together with many other famous autonomists associated with the "autonomia" movement of Italian workers, students and feminists of the 1960s and 70s, including Raniero Panzieri, Mario Tronti, Sergio Bologna, Romano Alquati, Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Francois Berardi. He later wrote for Futur Antérieur (Future Perfect) with people such as Paul Virno.
Best known as the author, with Michael Hardt, of (English, PDF), the Italian moral and political philosopher Antonio Negri (date tk)is currently serving out a felony conviction, on charges that he and his writings were "moral culpable" in acts of violence stemming from his advocacy or "armed insurrection" against the Italian state during the 1960s and 1970s. Negri returned voluntarily returning from a 14-year exile in France in 1997, after having been elected to the legislature while imprisoned and released on grounds of parliamentary immunity.
The prolific, iconoclastic, cosmopolitan, highly original and often dense and difficult philosophy writings of Negri attempt to come to critical terms with most of the major world intellectual movements of the past half-century, in the service of a new Marxist analysis of capitalism. The controversial thesis of , that the globalization and informatization of world markets since the late 1960s has produced an unprecedented historical development what he calls "the real subsumption of social existence by capital" touches rather directly and forcefully upon a number of issues related to the Information Society, the Network Economy, and globalization, which may account for the relatively high degree of mainstream interest it attracted when it was published in 2000.
Empire has grown in influence since its publication in 2000 and has inspired many projects around the world. Some of these include Noborders, Libre Society, Neuro, D-A-S-H, Kein.org and many others. The sequel to Empire (which was rumoured to be called Multitude) is due to be published in 2004.
The passage toward an informational economy necessarily involves a change in the quality and nature of labour. This is the most immediate sociological and anthropological implication of the passage of economic paradigms. Today information and communication have come to play a foundational role in production processes. [cite]
In fact, Negri's involvement in the early 1950s with the Catholic Worker movement and liberation theology seems to have left a permanent mark upon his thought: His most recent work, Time for Revolution (2003), relies heavily on themes drawn from Augustine of Hippo and Baruch Spinoza, and might rather be described as an attempt to found the City of God without the aid of the "transcendental illusions" and the "theology of Power" that he finds in thinkers as disparate as Martin Heidegger and John Maynard Keynes, extending and attempting to correct the critique of ideology as false consciousness set forth by Karl Marx.
Although he acknowledges the influence of Michel Foucault, David Harvey's The Condition of Post Modernity (1989), Frederic Jameson's Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991) and Deleuze & Guattari;'s , Negri is on the whole extremely dismissive of postmodernism, whose only value, in his estimation, is that it has served as a symptom of the historical transition whose dynamics he and Hardt set out to explain in Empire.
(Points of contact with contemporary non-Marxist thought, esp. on globalization)