italy reading group continues: workers’ struggles, 1962 – 1980

Time: 7pm, Monday 13 June
Location: Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street [Map] (near Aldgate East tube)

See below for reading

Class struggle broke out on a massive scale in Italy after more than a decade of migration, speedups and mechanisation. The Italian miracle of the fifties and sixties meant a big increase in the number- and the power- of factory workers, through mass migration to the north.  Theorists talked about a new subject: the “mass worker”, especially the unskilled and semi-skilled young workers. The class struggle waged by these workers is especially interesting not just for its militancy but also for the forms that struggle took and the ways it was organised: hiccup strikes, chequerboard strikes, sabotage, occupations, base committees, mass worker- student assemblies…

We’re going to look at how workers organised themselves, what they fought for and against, at the concepts of workers´ autonomy and the mass worker, and what these struggles mean to us now.  Much has been written about the period, but we’d suggest the following as introductory reading:

The workerists and the unions in Italy’s ‘Hot Autumn’

Organising at Fiat, 1969

1962 – 1973: Worker and student struggles in Italy

The reading is not compulsory, and there will be a short introductory presentation, but the more reading we’ve done, the more participatory the discussion will be.  Other interesting texts include the article 1980: Defeat at Fiat, on the strike which marks the decisive end-point of the period which we are looking at, and Women in the Fiat Factory.  Two books, Steve Wright’s Storming Heaven, and Robert Lumley’s States of Emergency, will be interesting for those who have time: parts of both are online.






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