This essay argues that Caribbean histories of slavery and emancipation have served as a crucial site for the generation of the Marxist antiwork politics popularized by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Recovering a transnational network of radicals that disseminated the work of C. L. R. James's varied coteries throughout Italy, the author argues that James's methodological innovations in the field of slave historiography were central to the formulation of strategies of refusal and flight eventually popularized in Hardt and Negri's Empire. These methodological homologies disclose systemic and material continuities in the constitution of work in postemancipation and post-Fordist societies. Indeed, post-Fordist empire is itself a repetition of structures of rule and refusal characteristic of the postemancipation Caribbean.

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