Although proceeding from very particular theoretical premises, the Hardt/Negri thesis on the epochal shift from imperialism to the decentred and deterritorialized terrain of ‘empire’ impinges on contemporary debates about globalization. Whether this is conceived as a break with capitalism’s pre-existing forms or an intensification of its inherent contradictions and conflicts will determine the deductions made by theorists about prevailing modes and relations of production, the location and dissemination of power, the actual or potential oppositional energies of classes, and the sites, shapes and goals of revolutionary projects. On these issues the positions of Empire1 reiterate and countermand those advanced by both Marxist and postmodernist theorists, rendering the book’s variable perspectives consistent and discrepant with its declared ambitions as a manifesto of political insurrection.