This academic article is concerned with precariousness and cultural work. It aim is to bring into dialogue three bodies of ideas – the work of the autonomous Marxist ‘Italian laboratory’; activist writings about precariousness and precarity; and the emerging empirical scholarship concerned with the distinctive features of cultural work, at a moment when artists, designers and (new) media workers have taken centre stage as a supposed ‘creative class’ of model entrepreneurs
In this 2006 lecture, Miguel Amorós depicts the previous twenty years as a period of radical changes for the emancipatory project, beginning with “the disappearance of the workers milieu” in the 1980s and the simultaneous rise of a new youth movement which, because it “started from zero” as a result of its lack of historical memory, was in part drawn to violence (“immediate confrontation”), and in part to the practice of “neo-contestatory”, “festive” forms of simulated struggle (“In the society of the spectacle protest is a form of leisure”), only to be “absorbed by the dynamic of survival in a hostile environment” as “the fifth wheel of the electoral bandwagon of social democracy”.
In this article Paul Bowman draws a line between revolutionary class analysis and universalist utopianism and goes on to explore the history of different ideas of class and the elusive revolutionary subject. After exploring the intersecting lines of class and identity, he poses the challenge that we as libertarian communists face as we strive to create “cultural and organisational forms of class power [that] do not unconsciously recreate the... hierarchies of identity and exclusion” that are the hallmark of the present society.
A harrowing intellectual biography and review essay devoted to the life and works of Giorgio Cesarano, interwoven with an account of the Italian “radical current” of 1968-1978, when revolutionary expectations ran high but, for the few consistent revolutionaries caught between the terrorism of the state and the armed groups, the hostility of the Stalinist and crypto-Stalinist political formations, and a ruthless and sweeping repression, the results were often madness, prison, suicide and a wave of disillusionment that devastated the revolutionary milieu.
Fire and Flames is no detached academic study, but a passionate, hands-on, and engaging account of the beginnings of one of Europe's most intriguing protest movements of the last thirty years. An introduction by George Katsiaficas, author of The Subversion of Politics and an afterword by Gabriel Kuhn, a long-time autonomous activist and author, add historical context and an update on the current state of the Autonomen.
Nanni Balestrini was born in Milan in 1935. Known both as an experimental writer of prose and verse and as a cultural and political activist, he played a leading role in avant-garde writing and publishing in the sixties. His involvement with the extra-parliamentary left in the seventies resulted in terrorism charges (of which he was subsequently acquitted) and a long period of self-imposed exile from Italy.