The Italian philosopher and political scientist Antonio Negri has died in Paris at the age of 90, as reported this Saturday by the Italian press. The activist, also known as “bad professor” due to his political militancy, was accused of being involved in the assassination of the Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, in 1978, at the hands of the Red Brigades, as well as of insurrection. Negri was eventually convicted of participating in two attacks.
The philosopher’s death has been confirmed by his partner, the French philosopher Judith Revel, according to the newspaper ‘La Stampa’. Negri became one of the main theorists of the Italian extra-parliamentary left in the 60s and 70s. The activist took his first steps in politics as part of the Socialist Party in Padua, his hometown, to later found the political group Potere Operaio, at the end of the 60s. In 1973 he founded the organization Autonomia Operaia, which he led until six years later.
“Toni Negri was a bad teacher because, after 1968, the passage of the youth movement to the dark page of the Years of Lead, with terrorism from the right and the left, caused many innocent victims,” declared the Italian Minister of Culture. , Gennaro Sangiuliano, on Italian radio, reports the newspaper La Repubblica. “In legal terms, the expression of ideas is one thing and the material practice of violence is another,” said the minister.
Negri was tried within the process known in Italy as ‘April 7’ against the militants of this organization, who were accused of participating in terrorist acts and carrying out an armed insurrection. Negri was acquitted of these charges but not of complicity in a robbery in 1974, for which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Chosen deputy of the Radical Party in 1983, he managed to get out of prison due to parliamentary immunity and, shortly after, he went into exile in France, where he was able to benefit from the Mitterrand doctrine, by which the French Government refused to extradite members of the Italian extreme left refugees in the country.
There Negri worked at the Sorbonne University and the International College of Philosophy, among other institutions. Negri did not return to his country until the summer of 1997 to serve that sentence. Two years later, he was granted parole. The “bad professor” finished his sentence in 2003.
In the 2000s, now free, he returned to France again and became one of the intellectual leaders of the “alter-globalization” movement and the refoundation of an internationalist left that considered that nation states were outdated because they did not address social needs.
Creator of the concept “crowd”, replacing “worker”, and favorable to basic universal income, Negri’s influence on the progressivism of the Anglo-Saxon countries and Spain was notable. The Italian philosopher revisited, in his extensive work, thinkers of the stature of Spinoza, as in ‘Wild Anomaly’ (1982), Deleuze and Foucault. He was a professor at prestigious establishments such as L’École normale supérieure, L’université Paris 8, and the Collège international de philosophie.