Antonio Gramsci (22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist theorist and politician. He was a founding member of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by the Fascist regime.

Gramsci encouraged the development of factory councils, which undercut the control of trade unions. The councils participated in general strikes during the 'Biennio Rosso', in which Gramsci played a key role.

Toni Negri is one of the main intellectuals of operaismo in the sixisties, one of the leaders of Autonomia operaia and co-author with Michael Hardt of the book Empire.

His version of operaismo theorizes the advent of the social worker and extends the conflict to the sphere of social reproduction. This trend of operaismo breaks with the previous neo-leninist approach and opens to new social subjects such as students, women, the urban proletariat, the marginalized and the precarious workers of the tertiary.

Mario Tronti is one of the founder of the theory of operaismo. One of the founder of the journal "Quaderni Rossi" with Raniero Panzieri, he left with other intellectuals the editorial group in 1963 to found the new journal "classe operaia" ("working class"). The main theorical differences that brought to the breakaway, regarded the interpretation of the working class behaviours. According to Tronti the refusal of work was to be considered as the main expression of the working class autonomy as the political strategy pre-exist in the spontaneous behaviours of the working class. The function of the party was to understand, express and organize it.

Raniero Panzieri (1921 – Turin, 9 October 1964) was an Italian politician, writer and Marxist theorist, considered as the founder of operaismo.

Raniero Panzieri is among the main intellectuals who have animated the Italian workers' movement in the sixties. The new intellectual wave known as operaismo focused upon a peculiar interpretation of marxism that theorized the centrality of the working class. This brought about a profound fracture with the traditional left parties, the Italian Communist Party and the Italian Socialist Party which had chosen instead to make their way within the institutions of the State, gradually taking distance from the workers' movement.

Goldman was born 1869 in Kowno (at the time Russian) and emigrated to the United States in 1885. There she saw the executions of striking workers subsequent to the Haymarket-Affair in Chicago, after this experience she got involved with the anarchist movement.

From 1906 till 1917 Goldman was editor of the anarchist magazine “Mother Earth”. Because of her political engagement she was repeatedly arrested and finally deported from the USA. Once back in Russia, she could directly witness the October Revolution. However she later took a critical position to its outcomes. 

Cornelius Castoriadis was a Greek-French philosopher, social critic, economist and psychoanalyst. He was the author of The Imaginary Institution of Society, and co-founder of the Socialisme ou Barbarie group.

His writings on autonomy and social institutions have been influential in both academic and activist circles.What distinguished Socialisme ou Barbarie from many other revolutionary groups was its idea that socialism meant not rule by a "leading party" versed in Marxist theory but workers' management of production and society.

As two of the founders of the Institute for Workers’ Control (IWC), with Michael Barratt Brown, Ken Coates and Tony Topham were key influences on the development of the labour movement and politics during the period of raised worker militancy in the UK in the 1960s through to its decline in the 1980s.  Part of a generation of socialists who distanced themselves from the Communist Party both were signatories of The May Day Manifesto, a defining document of the ‘new left’ in Britain. Both maintained precarious relations with the Labour Party although Coates was also closely allied to Ernest Mandel and his wing of the Trotskyist movement while Topham was drawn towards Tito’s Yugoslavia with early publication (along with Fred Singleton) on its self-management system.

Karl Korsch archive in Englisch in the Marxists’ Internet Archives

Born on March 5th, 1871, Rosa Luxemburg, a Polish Jew and participant in the Russian Revolution of 1905, was a co-founder of the Social Democratic Party in the joint Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania.

Next to Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg was the most important representative of the left-wing socialist, anti-militarist, and internationalist positions in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany before 1918. She was a passionate and convincing critic of capitalism as well as anti-democratic and dictatorial tendencies within the Bolsheviki. She confronted the compelling logic of economic laws and political strategies with the utopia of a new world. According to Luxemburg, this new world needed to be created in spite of widespread despair, deprivation of rights, cowardliness and the corruption of power.

Ernest Mandel was a revolutionary Marxist theorist. After WWII, he became a leader of the Belgian Trotskyists and the youngest member of the Fourth International secretariat. He gained respect as a prolific journalist with a clear and lively style, as an orthodox Marxist theoretician, and as a talented debater. 

Paul Mattick

Paul Mattick archive in Englisch in the Marxist’s Internet Archives

Otto Rühle

Otto Rühle archive in English in the Marxist’s Internet Archives

Richard Müller was one of the leading figures of the German Revolution 1918. Starting as a local union organizer he began to organize political strikes against WWI in 1916 with a group called "Revolutionary Stewards". This group had started as opposition within the German Metalworkers Union (DMV) and later became very influential for the movement of worker´s councils in 1918/1919.

Richard Müller himself was head of the "Executive Council of Workers´ and Soldiers´ Councils" in 1918, he wrote several influential texts on council socialism and industrial democracy.

Anton Pannekoek

Anton Pannekoek (2 January 1873 – 28 April 1960) was a Dutch astronomer and revolutionary. As a recognized Marxist theorist, Pannekoek was a main figure in the radical left in the Netherlands and Germany. 

Pannekoek was best known for his writing on workers' councils. He regarded these as a new form of organisation capable of overcoming the limitations of the old institutions of the labour movement, the trade unions and social democratic parties. Pannekoek argued that the workers' revolution and the transition from capitalism to communism had to be achieved by the workers themselves, democratically organised in workers' councils.

León Trotsky

Lev Davidovich Bronstein. Leader, with V.I. Lenin, of the Russian Revolution. Architect of the Red Army. Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs 1917-1918 and Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs 1918-1924. In 1929, expelled from the Communist Party by the Stalinist faction of the Party and then deported from the USSR. In 1938 he helped found the Fourth International, the World Party of Socialist Revolution. In 1940, murdered by a Stalinist assassin at his home in exile, in Mexico.