A brief follow-up…
Last week we published a little expose of a perhaps little “less-than-rigorous” interview Independent journalist Johann Hari claimed to have conducted with Italian communist Toni Negri. A few days later we received an anonymous tip-off e-mail containing a link to a letter sent to The Independent by academics Matteo Mandarini and Alberto Toscano, which The Independent declined to publish and was subsequently published online. It’s a good rebuttal to the original article, taking the paper to task for presenting “views regarding Negri’s political past that in Italy, today, are only held by the fringes of the right”, claiming that Hari’s “reference to (relatives of) Negri’s ‘victims’ is quite peculiar, as no one to our knowledge has yet come forward to claim that status.” The letter is well worth a read in full.
But it was a footnote appended to the post by Rowan Wilson, the publicist Hari mentions within the interview, that particularly caught our eye-
“I was the so-called ‘publicist’ mentioned in the article(I work for Continuum, the publishers of ‘Time for Revolution’,and was innvolved in organising the ICA event). A few minor, but incorrectly reported, details that I have personal knowledge of (eg,there was no taxi called, I didn’t say the things ascribed to me, Negri wasn’t behaving arrogantly as suggested, there was no angry confontation with ICA staff, etc) casts serious doubt on the veracity of anything that Hari says.”
It seems that even the “vivid picture of Negri as a personally rude and rather objectionable man” was a creative embellishment. Which raises the (perhaps sinister) question- what did Toni and Johann natter about over those multiple glasses of wine?
Truth- a slippery business, comrades!
Originally appeared: June 20, 2011 at Deterritorial Support Group