Italy 1960s-70s - reading guide

Italy 1960s-70s - reading guide

Libcom.org's reading guide on the Italian social movements of the 1960s-70s, which saw massive strikes, protests, occupations, directly democratic assemblies and widespread radicalism across society.

Key texts

Key people and groups

  • Lotta Continua - Arguably the most important extra-parliamentary organisation of the 1970s in Italy.
  • Potere Operaio - Autonomist Marxist group basing theory on the everyday life of workers and their refusal of work.
  • Antonio Negri - Autonomist Marxist academic and leader of Potere Operaio, wrongfully imprisoned for alleged involvement in the Brigate Rosse urban guerrilla group.
  • Mario Tronti - Highly influential Marxist philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of autonomist thought.
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa - Marxist feminist famous for arguing that women's unwaged labour is an essential part of capitalist reproduction, rather than merely an oppression imposed on women by men.
  • Silvia Federici - Marxist feminist writer drawing the links between capitalism's need for women's unpaid labour and the subjugation of women under patriarchy.
  • Sergio Bologna - veteran Italian autonomist intellectual and activist.

Workers' struggles

Women's struggles

Community struggles

Other media

  • Hot Autumn photo gallery, Italy 1969 - Photos of strikes, demonstrations, occupations and mass assemblies of workers and students from Italy's 'Hot Autumn' of 1969. Also includes photos from the funeral of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli, who had been murdered by police earlier that year.
  • Antonio Negri: a revolt that never ends - Documentary about the life and ideas of Italian Marxist Antonio Negri. With interesting footage from Italy in the 1960s-70s explains his development from the 'Operaisti' through his trial for supposed involvement in the Red Brigades up to today.
  • Accidental death of an anarchist - Dario Fo - Dario Fo's best known play, based on the events surrounding Giuseppe Pinelli's death after he was arrested on suspicion of planting a bomb in Piazza Fontana, Milan, in 1969.
  • The Unseen - Nanni Balestrini - Novel looking at the Italian Autonomia movement of the 1960s-70s through the eyes of a single working-class protagonist, from high-school rebellion, squatting, setting up a free radio station to arrest and the brutalities of imprisonment.
  • Two Short Stories - Nanni Balestrini - The first story, Let a thousand hands reach out to pick up the gun, is a montage of newspaper reports of the death of Mara Cagol, one of the founders of the Red Brigades. The second, FIAT, is a first-hand account of work (or its refusal) at the infamous FIAT plant in Turin, Italy.
  • 'La classe operaia va in paradiso' (The working class goes to heaven) - Excellent film from 1971 depicting a factory worker's realisation of his condition as a "tool" in the process of production and his struggle against work, alienation and his own trade union.
  • 'Lavorare con lentezza' (Work slowly) - Film by the Wu-Ming Collective against the backdrop of 1970s Bologna, in which two young men become involved in the city's famous radical pirate radio station, Radio Alice.