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New Left Review 35, September-October 2005

What, if any, agencies of political change exist today—and how should they be conceived? Tracing the long tradition of contrasts between a ‘people’ and a ‘multitude’, Malcolm Bull argues that the differing resolutions of them by Hobbes and Spinoza have descended to the twenty-first century, issuing into a contemporary stand-off between market globalization and populist reactions to it.



How can a blind multitude, which often does not know what it wants . . . undertake so vast and difficult an enterprise as a system of legislation?
Rousseau, The Social Contract

The worst of all the multitude
Did something for the common good
Mandeville, The Grumbling Hive

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Malcolm Bull, ‘The Limits of Multitude’, NLR 35: £3

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