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This chapter outlines and origins and stakes of the current debates surrounding autonomous thought and practices. It also provides an overview of the book’s structure and contents. The editors argue that in autonomous movements around the world, whether in the European traditions of operaismo and post-operaismo, or in the Latin American movements for local or indigenous autonomy, new paradigms are challenging earlier critiques of political economy that have universalized the political subject of the proletariat, the overarching Leninist-Marxist emphasis on the state apparatus, and the liberal emphasis on individual freedom and rights.

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