potere operaio: the last firebrands

In August we staged a series of forums on what we can learn from past communist organisations. Martine Bourne reports on the discussion about Italian group Potere Operaio.

Potere Operaio (Workers Power) were the focus of the second meeting of the series organised by the London group on communist organisation and class struggle. Potere Operaio emerged in 1967 as a grouping operating independently of the trade union movement. They stood as a faction within the Communist Party-led CGIL trade union during internal elections at the Petrolchimico company based in the industrial zone of Venice, Porto Marghera. From here they built themselves into a national organisation which at their high point had 10,000 activists, but by 1973 had split. Continue reading “potere operaio: the last firebrands”


potere operaio: london commune forum 16th august

The next of our series of London meetings on communist organisation and class struggle will see discussion of the 1960s-70s Italian group Potere Operaio. From 7pm on Monday 16th August at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street: all welcome.

The beginnings of Potere Operaio (Workers’ Power) are situated in the independent workers’ publications and workplace-groups in the late 1960s, mainly in the chemical industrial zone of Porto Marghera. Continue reading “potere operaio: london commune forum 16th august”

resistance to racism in italy

by Marina Falbo

Rosarno is a sleepy town situated in the the southern Italian region of Calabria. But on 7th January it was catapulted to the centre of a media frenzy when hundreds of African migrant workers rampaged through the town, setting fire to rubbish bins and conducting a street battle with the police. The riot was sparked after a gratuitous attack against the 26 year old Ayiva Saibou. When the local police told the immigrants they could not help the injured man, within hours as many as 2,000 immigrants marched on Rosarno’s town hall before being driven back by police.

The day after, protests continued. The protestors carried placards saying “We are not animals”, calling attention to their desperate situation. They marched to the town hall where they demanded to see a government representative. The riots provoked an unseen backlash against the immigrants in a mix of xenophobia, mafia and economic hardship. Local residents set up a barricade near a meeting place for the immigrants. Continue reading “resistance to racism in italy”

free cesare battisti!

On 18th November the Brazilian Supreme Court announced its intention to extradite the Italian leftist militant Cesare Battisti, a former member of Armed Proletarians for Communism. Below we publish an open letter he wrote to Brazil’s President Lula, translated by Carlos Ferrão.

“Thirty years can change a lot of things in somebody’s life, and sometimes those years can be the whole life itself”.
(The Rebel – Albert Camus) Continue reading “free cesare battisti!”

cesare battisti, ‘goodbye mr. socialism’ and ‘new thing’

Cesare Battisti is a militant of the 1970s Italian extra-parliamentary left, having been a member of Armed Proletarians for Communism. Along with many other activists of the period he fled Italy to avoid the wave of repression which closed the decade, and now has a precarious political refugee status in Brazil, as the Italian state continues to seek his extradition.

The two books reviewed below – Goodbye Mr. Socialism, by Antonio Negri, and New Thing by Wu Ming 1, are linked to Cesare Battisti’s record as a militant and the wider movement in Italy to which he belonged. By Leo Vinicius.


1. On the hunt for dissidence: from Negri to Battisti, two examples representing many

In the class struggle victory is never final, no matter for which side. The struggle is ongoing. It is continuous and does not respect national borders, and the case of Cesare Battisti [1] shows us this once more. The defeat of the social movements and extra-parliamentary left in Italy would not have been decisive – and it happened for this very reason – until Cesare Battisti fell victim to the Italian State’s and bourgeoisie’s desire to incarcerate him. Continue reading “cesare battisti, ‘goodbye mr. socialism’ and ‘new thing’”