"More Work! Less Pay!": Rebellion and Repression in Italy, 1972-77

"More Work! Less Pay!": Rebellion and Repression in Italy, 1972-77

Phil Edwards

Language: English

Pages: 249


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Publish Year note: First published in 2009

In the mid-1970s, a wave of contentious radicalism swept through Italy. Groups and movements such as "Proletarian youth," "metropolitan Indian" and "the area of Autonomy" practiced new forms of activism, confrontational and often violent. Creative and brutal, intransigent and playful, the movements flourished briefly before being suppressed through heavy policing and political exclusion.

This is the first full-length study in English of these movements. Building on Sidney Tarrow’s "cycle of contention" model and drawing on a wide range of Italian materials, Phil Edwards tells the story of a unique and fascinating group of political movements, and of their disastrous engagement with the mainstream Left. As well as shedding light on a neglected period of twentieth century history, this book offers lessons for understanding today’s contentious movements ("No Global," "Black Bloc") and today’s "armed struggle" groups.

This book will be of great interest to scholars in the fields of Italian politics and society; the sociology of social movements; and terrorism and political violence.

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March 1944 Togliatti returned to Italy, landing at Salerno; the continuing transformation of party policy became known as the svolta di Salerno (‘Salerno turn’). The svolta had two immediate implications. Firstly, Togliatti’s emphasis on continuing popular mobilisation and diffuse anti-fascism required the PCI to establish a deep-rooted presence within Italian society. The resulting partito nuovo (‘new party’) has been described as ‘a blend of elements taken from the Bolshevik Party and the

know it (Balestrini 1989: 73)11 c04.indd 64 6/23/2009 2:42:43 PM From Feltrinelli to Moro 65 The point is clarified by ‘the bookseller’, a character Balestrini based on the bookshop proprietor and movement historian Primo Moroni (personal communication): this is where the transition takes place from a form of resistance against counterrevolution against a coup d’état a form which is no longer enough for the young people for the movement we pass to the desire to transform society radically

associated with ‘the 11’ withdrew and regrouped in another part of the university. There they agreed to join the FLM march, together with supporters of Lotta Continua, the MLS, the PdUP and other far-left groups (Monicelli 1978: 186−7; Del Bello 1997: 356). The result was ruinous: the police surrounded Rome University and prevented the autonomist majority from leaving, while the FLM’s servizio d’ordine barred the minority from the rally (Miliucci 1997: 13). The movement was now irremediably

and can’t know – is whether the second event was in any way related to the first. That said, we can identify what appear to be a series of trends in this period, which roughly fit the revised model of the cycle of contention developed earlier. Innovation The new tactics, ideologies and organisational forms which characterised the cycle can be traced back to the 1972−3 period. 1972 saw the first national conference of autonomists, as well as the formation of what would be two of the key regional

achieved that military settling of scores on which it had been betting all along . . . the clash was resolved by the leader of the autono- c05.indd 142 6/23/2009 2:43:17 PM ‘Repudiate all forms of intolerance’ 143 mists with the suggestive quip, ‘Get lost, we can sort out these problems another time’. Then the speaker who had the platform resumed his speech, while once again paper aeroplanes flew quietly through the smoky atmosphere of the Palasport. . . . Of the 2000 shops in and around

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