Toni Negri: an intellectual among the workers

The author recounts his experience of autonomous proletarian organisation in the period of intense working-class struggle that gripped Italy in the 60s.

Toni Negri: an intellectual among the workers


I deliver here an account of my lived experience of Marghera, roughly between 1960 and 1969. Is this the story of a Bildung [education]? This notion is perhaps too charged with cultural resonances; it would be better to use the English training, which allies practical education with intellectual discipline. In reality, I do not know the appropriate manner by which to name this extraordinary apprenticeship – a decade long – in class struggle. An apprenticeship both individual and collective, of a group and a generation, in a period of profound transformations.

First of all, why did we decide on Porto Marghera? This was not a well thought-out, clinical decision. Nor was it a political choice, as we later attempted to make it seem (“we had looked for the highest point of development and struggles”). It was a life choice, an ethical decision: a “return to principles” as Machiavelli intended it. That is to say an arrival at the heart of working-class struggle, in order to reconstruct it from the ground up. A life choice and not simply a theoretical choice: of the working-class. We could not have known anything before what we learned by living with them. Before all else came a refusal, and then the will to struggle. In opposition to those comrades who identified the emergence of the cycle of workers’ struggles of the sixties in the Milanese electricians strikes of 1958, I supported, and still support the thesis according to which the struggles of the 1960s originated in a political event: that of July 1960 in Genoa (and I am in good company, with Alquati, Faina and Greppi).[1] At the base of the new cycle of struggles is not to be found the “middle-European” renewal of class consciousness demonstrated by the Milanese struggles; rather the fierce plebeian revolt of the Genoese ganci [hooks].[2]

Especially since, for us, in Venetia, there did not exist a working-class in the sense in which it was understood in the north-west; there wasn’t any socialist tradition; there weren’t even significant concentrations of urban workers; the unions, even the whites [the slang for Christian unions], were nowhere to be seen. There were certainly important Industrial Zones (Valdagno and Schio for textiles, Cogneliano and Pordenone for light industry, etc.), and then Marghera. But what was Marghera at the start of 1960? On one side, a long-established industrial centre, and on the other the stacks of the petrochemical companies slowly erecting themselves. A working-class (that of the First Industrial Zone) already on the defensive, in the middle of a new influx of living labour – both technically and politically new – in full ascendency. This is what C.O./P.O. (Classe operaia/Potere Operaio) had to say during the strike against the compulsory liquidation of SIRMA in March 1965:

Comrades of the Edison, why hasn’t the struggle in defence of SIRMA been generalised? Because the struggle is held up and suppressed within the framework of marginal demands? […] While we limit ourselves to fighting within the framework of our current contracts, the boss has already put everything in place to attack our jobs as such; his cunning consists in carefully adjusting his attack, under various guises. Comrades, by participating in the general strike we demonstrate that we have understood his strategy, we demonstrate that in decisive moments, the workers of the Edison know to become this young, strong horse that will lead all the other workers into dispute.

As Cesco Chinello comments: “it is evident that this tract was not written by a ‘group of workers’, but it is clear that P.O. succeeded in understanding in advance that the workers of the Edison, in a few years, would come to realise their role as ‘this young, strong horse’ that leads all the others.”

Returning to myself: training. In the evening, in Padua or Venice, we would read Marx and the socialist and communist literature on factories; the following day we would throw ourselves into Marghero to make contact with the groups of workers that we knew. In Padua, we educated comrades from the Morandi tendency in the PSI, and at Venice unionists from the PCI who were close to Ingrao: the majority of the PSI and the PCI considered us as a sort of “anarchic appendix” of the workers’ movement. In effect, besides knowledge of the technical and political composition of the working-class, these factions of the major parties communicated to us their frustration for a betrayed Resistance and an interrupted revolution. In substance this was an anti-Togliattist fever.[3]

And us: what were we? If one wished to define today what distinguished us (despite the time that has passed since those days), it would be necessary to combine the restlessness of a provincial adolescence with a sentiment, still intact, of the injustice of the society which surrounded us, and a clearly defined cultural perception of the backwardness of Venetian civil society, of the conservative violence of the dominant political forces, and of the incompetence of the managerial elites – including those of the left. Add to that a need to act which undoubtedly came directly from our fathers’ experience of antifascism and resistance. Finally, a certain hardened Christianity, Venetian and alpine, provided us with plenty of examples of moral intransigence.


In the shift from theoretical consciousness to the practice of agitation and militancy, we began a long engagement with the parties and the unions. When we look at the Paduan group centred around the publication Progresso Veneto (1959-1963), we see that their first attempts at intervention were directed towards the shoemakers of the Brenta and the Venetian dockers. We also made sustained inroads in Trieste and Monfalcone among the metalworkers at Italsider.

How did we approach the problems and the militants in the factories? By way of workers’ enquiry. With this theme and these methods the influence of the comrades of Quaderni Rossi became more and more significant. Panzieri had come to Padua and Venice, even before the start of the 60s, in order to present Mondo Operaio’s theses on ‘worker’s control.’ In Venice he was hosted by Cencio Brunello and Giorgio Zecchi. In Padua by Domenico Ceravolo, and by the Antonio-Labriola circle, which I directed. Working on the first edition of Quaderni Rossi meant we had to work in collaboration. That was why the workers’ enquiry was defined by the term co-research [conricerca]: it signified research into the organisation of work, inside the factory, with the workers. Indeed by the workers themselves. The political function of analysis and direction exercised by external militants began to decrease. New figures began to emerge: not prominent trade unionists, not substitutionalist intellectuals, and not from a political avant-garde, but militant and political workers, coming from within the class (just like the old socialist movement we’d all heard about). It was a real ‘return to first principles.’

Our first substantial experiences of this kind took place in the Port of Venice. Tomassi, Zanchi and Finco emerged as leading workers. We found ourselves immediately immersed in the question of the composition of the class. This was firstly encountered in our experience of Vetrocoke, where Pistolato and Gallenda found themselves. It is possible that, without these men, the autonomous movement in Porto Marghera would have never even started; and without the events between 1962-1963 at Vetrocoke, it would have probably never established itself.

Vetrocoke was a coke factory that produced the finest crystal-glass in Europe. The artisans who worked there prided themselves on having been trained in the Murano glassworks. We witnessed its transformation from a factory staffed by professionals to one of mass-workers: even better, it was a reform being enacted by the bosses (FIAT). An attempt that collapsed in the face of workers’ resistance. Pistolato and his comrades did not want to be “alienated” – as they called it – deprived of their profession, their knowledge expropriated. We often asked them if they weren’t a little reactionary: how would this finish? Destroy the factory and blow up the ovens, to ensure that their craft did not disappear. It is in this context that you should read the dialect conversations between Bepi and Gigi in Progresso Veneto between 1962-1963! According to the boss of FIAT, it put an end to his project of dissolving the glassworks and combining the coke factory with Montecatini. In 1964 Pistolato was expelled from the union (Filcea) and the PCI.

The discussions at the port of Venice – which, from the start, included Classe Operaia, just like those of the Genoa dockers – returned to the same theme: the attempt by the bosses to dismantle an old company, in order to replace it with a new organisation of labour and new technologies of loading/unloading. The workers did not belong to this old company, working as they did with new technologies. For the workers, then, it was about taking control of the process of technological transformation and making it work for them. This happened through agreement between the two types of worker, a redefinition of the distribution of strength in the new organisation of labour, and – above all – succeeding in all of this without a drop in either wages or power.  This was a difficult undertaking, more successful in Genoa than Venice, demanding a long timeframe (and this is not the place to talk about that). What we are interested in here are the forms of intervention elaborated collectively by the intellectuals and workers in relation to the most pertinent topics of discussion. To begin by clearly reflecting on the uses made by capitalism of machines is a basic first step, but it requires another, greater, step to achieve a communist consciousness: the radical critique of the mechanistic and productivist theory espoused by the socialist unions.

During this period, other contacts were made at SIRMA (but Calzavara controlled the situation there in a manner as terrible as the GPU), at Breda (where we collaborated with one worker, nicknamed ‘the Bolshevik’, who kept, scattered and hidden, the blueprints for the armoured vehicles used by the Carabinieri), at SAVA (where Renesto developed an impressive practice of enquiry and agitation), and then at San Marco (though we couldn’t get past the emotion caused by the appalling working conditions that reigned there – worse even than in the sulphur mines down south).[4]


The qualitative leap happened with the start of our intervention in the petrochemical industry, at SICE and Châtillon, after the first mass petrochemical strike in 1963 against a reduction in holidays. In the morning, the workers stayed outside “spontaneously”, more than five thousand of them ignoring the factory siren. When the gas leaving the stacks accumulated because of the interruption in work, a flame surged from them and illuminated the dawn over Marghera in a way we’ve never seen before or since. Workers autonomy began. At first, it was Italo Sbrogiò and Alfredo Baldan who opened the way to an analysis of the production cycle. Barina, Penzo and many others joined them, then came Bruno Massa and Augusto Finzi - absolutely decisive in the research and the direction of struggle along with Sbrogiò. At Châtillon, other cadres appeared among which were Brugnaro and Manotti. The Workers’ Committee was founded. And at the same time, we managed to win a majority in the works council at SICE.

The Workers’ Committee in Marghera therefore united representatives from all these factories. Many among them were part of other union organisations. Some were also members of socialist and communist parties. The Committee met at least once a week as an assembly, but more or less every day comrades from the factories and students that had come from Padua or Venice saw each other. We’re talking above all about the period between 1962-1967 during which worker’s autonomy began to develop its own theory. This was a theory systematically verified through internal discussions in workshops, in confrontations with union organisations in the factory and also, whenever possible, with the diverse levels within the provincial structures of the Communist and Socialist parties. It’s unnecessary to emphasise it, but in the early years of the Workers’ Committee, above all, confrontations with the unions and political organisations of the First Industrial Zone were very fierce. In the Second Zone confrontations were less severe, however they were still significantly difficult. Occasionally we took ourselves to the factory gates to argue; much less often, alas, did we manage to establish an open and productive discussion, because the union and party bureaucracies very quickly conveyed a negative opinion about the forces of autonomy. The terms of their argument were Stalinist: in their words we were “provocateurs and fascists”! It was only when the Committee began to directly co-ordinate the struggle - then to exclude the authority of the political parties and unions from the struggle - and only then, that the bureaucrats began to look for contact and discussion with us: but by then we’d reached the threshold of 1968.

What were the themes we discussed? Before anything else, wages, always the dominant, omnipresent subject: the wage was immediately considered by the workers as a terrain of power. We produce the wealth, we want a part of the wealth that we produce; this part called the wage, as opposed to the part that went to the bosses, called profit. The struggle for the wage didn’t only concern the part of the revenue that we succeeded in wresting from the boss to cut into his wealth and to reduce our poverty. It was tied to a revolutionary contestation of Capital’s programme in toto; a programme which looked to construct a hierarchical society inside the factories and across the country, in discriminating between northerners and southerners through different salaries, in separating technicians from workers, in dividing between men and women, etc. If this law that determines the wage, the law of division, is managed in a planned fashion by Capital for its own development, and if the power of the unions is included in this programme in order to implicate it in the process of exploitation, our struggle must develop in a unifying fashion: uniting workers and technicians, northerners and southerners, etc. And it must free itself from the control of the parties and the unions. It is this theory, at once difficult and simple, which formulated itself in this period. While more and more determined and incisive disputes began to be initiated inside the factories, they were accompanied at the heart of the workshops by a project for unification that was increasingly stubborn and effective. When we see, at a meeting, the workers above all beginning to talk about the most recent problems in their everyday life, or about confrontations with managers or the managerial structure, and then prepare to launch a conflict - as and when it is possible, in one place or another - then begin to discuss how to link up particular disputes with collective struggles: we know that there is power in unity. This isn’t the kind of unity shown by the organisation of the union: the proposals by the union must always be read in a critical fashion. They are evaluated outside of any duty of obedience and/or acceptance of discipline: we make our choices according to pragmatic criteria, an evaluation of the importance of the dispute in relation to the capacity of the Committee to grow and organise itself. It is important to insist on the attachment of the Committee to such pragmatism, against the occasional sectarianism, and even fanaticism, of the traditional organisations of the workers’ movement.

Gradually however, the differences between the lines of organisation and struggle of the Committee and those of the union became clearer, then they deepened in antagonistic terms. We’re not only talking about tactical choices. On our side, we began besides to continually demand what the exercising of power in the factory could mean, and if the idea of workers’ power was comparable with that of the boss - as the “productivist” unions and parties fundamentally insisted. The organisation of the “working day” began to come into debate; was it just that workers were required to work every day in order to live? And then the denunciation of the “regime of death”, to understand the the ridiculous level of noxiousness that reigned in the factories. How many times in the local had we seen someone bring back in their bag a mole or a canary intoxicated and killed by the gases emitted in the factories? This led to an alternative solution to the strategy of the union - a strategy that promised nothing but accelerated development - was developed more and more; the theory of the “refusal of work” began to circulate as an instrument of effective organisation. It’s evident that the Committee introduced to the struggle a behavioural choice that went significantly beyond the trade-unionist or socialist concept of development; and as for the exercising of power in relation to development, it also went much further than either the PCI hierarchy or the union bureaucracy, who didn’t envisage much more than simply substituting themselves for the bosses. “Actually existing socialism”, not only in its soviet but above all in its Togliattist version, was therefore threatened. The consequences of this choice would later be amply demonstrated in the course of the 1970s.

The Workers’ Committee in the 1960s therefore constituted a paradox. Because, on one hand, it was about constructing - or at the very least facilitating - the general conditions for the establishment, the development and the extension of the union movement - above all, in a region like that of the Veneto, where the backwardness of the workers’ movement was enormous. And on the other hand, it was about construction the conditions of a political rupture with and within the official workers’ movement. conditions which would have a decisive impact even on the destiny of the movement itself in subsequent years. This rupture revealed itself before all else on the terrain of the organisation of disputes: we looked for incisive disputes which “hurt” the boss, which had a direct impact on the economy of the business and of the nation. We defined an original schema for our objectives in dispute: up for discussion were not only the quantitative rises in pay, but also the criteria by which its increase would be fixed. We always wanted to get closer to establishing equal pay rises (the notorious demand of 5000 lire for everyone), rises more and more tied to a reduction in the working day (the notorious establishment of a fifth team who introduced 37 hours of work for team-workers - not far off the 36 hour week). The struggle was also more and more articulated in terms of the collective recomposition of sectors and grades within the class (for example, the struggle for the integration, within the workforce, of subcontracted and temporary workers).

Still on the terrain of material objectives, the other essential point that emerged was the question of “noxiousness”, as we called it. Today, after the Supreme Court itself was forced to condemn - with a delay betraying their complete contempt - the countless murders committed by the petrochemical industry over the course of the previous 30 years, today we can underline perhaps just how criminal the choice of payment (“monetisation”) in return for “noxiousness” was. The Workers’ Committee well understood this at the time; a mannequin, wearing a gas mask and strung up on a cross outside the main gates of the factory, was an horrific demonstration of this (and with a consciousness of struggle that never again reached those heights).


The Workers’ Committee was a true workers’ institution. Its history perhaps read like the birth of a new institution of power. Leaving to one side the first phase, between 1958 and 1963, that of the Progresso Veneto period. This was a period of discovery on the part of elements - students and new agitators - exterior to Porto Marghera, and a period of attempts towards autonomy in the exercising of resistance and the construction of a counter-power on the part of certain avant-gardes insides the factories of Porto Marghera (above all in the First Zone), but also in Venice (the port, Junghans, etc.), Padua (SAIMP, Rizzato, etc.), Trieste-Monfalcone (Italsider), Conegliano (Rex, Zoppas) and Pordenone (Zanussi).

It was in 1963 that the Workers’ Committee, born during the disputes at SICE and ACSA-Châtillon, started to develop its own institutional existence, that is to say a commonplace for the production of norms by workers, for the direction of actions and the organisation of disputes. Independently. Between 1963 and 1965, during the dispute for the collective agreement of 1964 - characterised by a very solid mobilisation by workers, the first great confrontation between the union and workers over forms of struggle, and finally the customary betrayal of the workers by the union with the signing of the agreement with management - it was at this time that the idea took shape of the self-management of the workers’ struggle from the chemical plants in Marghera. At this time there were between fifteen and twenty thousand workers in this sector. Their influence - diffuse - was nevertheless still characterised by a sort of informality. Their effectiveness was subterranean.

By 1965, with reflection on the intensification of capitalist development (in Marghera and in general) and the realisation that the union and the other organisations in the workers’ movement had turned definitively towards reformism, this new workers’ institution took a second step: the direct and visible establishment of an autonomous control over the direction of struggles. This institution concretised its capacity to establish rules, and unite - through its legitimacy - programme and power. This phase took place between 1965 and 1967, between the failure of the PCI workers’ Conference at Genoa and the end of the domination of the official workers’ movement, which heralded the events of 1968. In Marghera all of this gathered pace, with the Workers’ Committee at its heart, between the period of reflection that followed the defeat at SIRMA and the preparation for 1967. It then finished in the explosion in August of that year when, after the umpteenth betrayal by the union, during the dispute with petrochemical workers at San Marco, the workers, completely autonomously, instituted a general strike on the 25th of August. The independent power of the new workers’ institution was formally proclaimed on the 23rd and the 24th of September 1967, during an expanded meeting of the Workers’ Committee in a restaurant in Bissuola: how we revived the dispute! The Committee was in charge. Added to the power recovered by the workers at the factory was an increased sense of community with other workers. During the years of the new workers’ institution in Marghera, we had made a particular use of those other workers to increase our legitimacy and develop our revolutionary practice: for example the student groups that were growing more and more numerous (the group at IUAV in Venice above all else), and Venetian intellectuals. At Bissuola, they were all present.

“Harmonisation”, productivity bonuses, the renewal of contracts, the constitutional structure of the “republic of work”, which is to say the capitalist command over work - all this is called into question through the disputes that took place in Marghera. From 1967, a new phase in class struggle opens up. We saw how this invention materialised. On the terrain of struggle: the articulation of the factory dispute resembled a generalised “wildcat strike”. On the terrain of objectives: an equal salary for everyone, a generalised reduction in working hours, an offensive against every model of the capitalist “working day”. And then the struggle against noxiousness, against noxiousness in particular but also against “against work” as a noxious activity imposed on life. The perception that a new civilisation might be possible animated these disputes, and the Workers’ Committee was the power that constituted this perception.


For political reasons, the Workers’ Committee it Porto Marghera remained permanently independent. The affiliation to Quaderni Rossi, and then to Classa operaia after 1963, did not constitute in any way nor at any point a direct organisational relationship. Naturally, we distributed the publications of Classa operaia within the Committee, but the relationship remained fluid, the languages were always too distinct, the depth of the intervention in Porto Marghera was in some way excessive in comparison with the analysis and the method of the intellectuals who ran Classa operaia. When these intellectuals went on to decide in favour of “entryism” into the workers movement, the relationship with them was suspended.[5] It’s also important to relate this relatively extreme isolationism to the experience in Porto Marghera. We should therefore obviously also consider other reasons for this isolation: the first and most fundamental reason was the incomprehension of the management of the official workers’ movement in relation to what was happening - not only in Porto Marghera, but in the whole of the Veneto during this phase of peak industrialisation. We may indeed wonder why the Venetian question did not arise for the Italian left. In any case, we can at least underline an element drawn attention to by Chinello: the struggles between 1967 and 1968 - “harmonisation”, noxiousness, etc. - “organised with success by Potere Operaio are not cited in any institutional history of the trade union movement”.

Secondly, the isolationism of the lived experience in Porto Marghera was due to a lack of communication at the national level. The means of information, enquiry and of communication in the Veneto were solidly under the control of the Christian Democrats. I believe that during the whole of this period - except for 1968 and 1969 - the disputes in Marghera were never once reported by Corriere della sera. Certainly it’s not as if the Corriere gave much more attention to the disputes in Turin, but La Stampa however had a national distribution whereas Il Gazzettino had nothing of the sort. It’s only with 1968 and the “hot autumn” in 1969, that information on the disputes in the Veneto and in Porto Marghera spread, at first essentially through the channels of the movement: at a national level La Classe, Lotta Continua and Potere Operaio reported on the disputes in Porto Marghera and their specifics.

The Workers’ Committee in Porto Marghera was in agreement with Potere Operaio. However, it shouldn’t be thought that this agreement implied a close organisation relationship that went beyond information, political discussion and participation in general political initiatives. As for the Political Committee in Porto Marghera, which constituted itself in 1970 through an agreement between the groups from Il Manifesto and Potere Operaio, its lifespan was incredibly brief, and it existed in a context of intervention unchanged by any prior relationship or influence from comrades.


After 1968, the Workers’ Committee in Porto Marghera retained an important function in directing disputes in the industrial zone of Marghera as well as in other Venetian factories, above all at Pordenone. More and more students (from the University of Padua in particular) collaborated with the Workers’ Committee. The break with the workers’ movement deepened further. Relations with the works councils became increasingly tumultuous. The resumption of bureaucratic control over the workers’ assemblies in Porto Marghera was slow in coming compared to other industrial centres. The Workers’ Committee there resisted, in a more solid and effective fashion, against union counter-attacks and campaigns for the normalisation of relations during the first half of the 1970s. Inside the factories, we put an emphasis on the organisation of struggles against noxiousness and the reduction of working hours. Additionally, the demands tended to increasingly embrace, besides the working day, the entire framework of working life: these were “biopolitical” objectives, heralds of a new era in class struggle.

The crisis in the the Committee didn’t occur until 1977, which is to say the  moment when terrorism, as a substitute for struggle, appeared in Porto Marghera, in response to the weakening of autonomous organisations and the strengthening of the union. After 1979, a group of comrades from the Committee were arrested and accused of terrorism, though no evidence was ever produced in court. Despite this they were remanded in preventative detention for between four and five years on average.

But after 1969 my testimony about Porto Marghera is no longer first hand. I went elsewhere to sow discord.[6] However, it would be worthwhile to study to what degree the experience of the Workers’ Committee in Porto Marghera represented - and continues to represent - a paradigm of workers’ autonomy. When, in the autumn of 1968, we distributed at Pirelli and FIAT leaflets on the summer’s disputes in Marghera, a real conviction was already widespread. And there was the insurrection of workers on the Corso Triano between Mirafiori and Nichelino, then the same thing happened in Porto Marghera in the summer of 1970, around the dispute over subcontracted businesses.[7] This confrontation was amongst the most violent in Italy at the time, and remained in the class memory in Marghera for a long time afterwards. Even L’Unità, and even the Communist Federation of Venice, were forced to accept this mass struggle as the culminating moment of the entire period. A mass struggle with, not only a general strike, and not only the population of Marghera at the barricades, but also, at the same time, social struggles taking place at Chioggia, at San Donà and at Noale. From that moment on, the working-class in Marghera, in their autonomy, brought their particular venetian struggles to a european maturity, through a brief insurrectional experience.

Why were these years from 1960-1970 put in parentheses, indeed expelled from the historiography? What blocked the production of historical account, the formation or expression of a collective memory in Porto Marghera?

You might say it’s a matter of “time”. At first glance, this might be a reasonable answer. Fundamentally, we tell ourselves, in France (for example) it took thirty years for the elaboration of a political historiography of the great national tragedies like the Vichy government or the war in Algeria. But in Porto Marghera we’re not talking about the same kind of tragedy, and forty years have already passed by. There has been nothing more than a few scattered contributions, nor is there any more any possibility of drawing up a cartography and/or establishing guidelines for the formation of archives. We’re starting to therefore get the impression that there is a powerful political censure against which it is necessary to demand political accounts of the period, and to exercise critical thought in order that the events in Porto Marghera between 1960-1970 are returned to their rightful place in the history of working-class struggle.

That being said, it seems evident to me that we can also entertain another point of view. As I have explained, there was during these years of struggle in Porto Marghera, an excessiveness, a dissymmetry, a novelty - compared to other episodes in the history of the working-class - which we must accept. This novelty in a certain fashion frightened historians, because it seemed at times to subvert, though always scrappily, any traditional historical categories. In fact, there’s no way that the history of the period between 1960-1970 in Marghera could be subjected to any historical account that relied upon the old conceptual framework: party, union, spontaneity, organisation, reform, revolution, etc. We are inside a history that must turn to new instruments of knowledge, if it is to be capable of conceptualising the apparatuses that appeared in the course of these events, and that came in an autonomous fashion to construct new workers institutions and inaugurate unpredictable schemes according to new objectives and forms of struggle. New human determinations and new biopolitical dimensions of class struggle appeared. We therefore also require a critical effort to familiarise ourselves with this genuine epistemological crisis produced in this period. We have in our armoury a “militant historiography”: very well, but today we have perhaps more need of a constituent history. This is what’s required for the reconstruction of the “suspended years” of Porto Marghera.

1. Romano Alquati (1935-2010), university researcher; Gianfranco Faina (1935-1981), high school teacher; Claudio Greppi (1939-), university professor in geography. All were militants in Quaderni Rossi and then Classe Operaia.

2. The dockers in Genoa, who followed either the PCI or Lotta Communista, were renowned for their habit of carrying, on their protests, the hooks that they employed in their daily work.

3. Palmiro Togliatti (1893-1964), one of the founders of the PCI, of which he was the general secretary from 1927 until his death (excepting 1934 to 1938 when he served in Spain under the name of d’Ercoli). He put all his weight, from 1944, behind an attempt to bring to heel the militants and former partisans who wanted to fight capitalism. This behaviour helped contribute to the myth of the “resistance betrayed”

4. The GPU the secret police in the USSR. Rodolfo Calzavara (1928-2010) was the head of the PCI in the factory.

5. This specifically refers to entryism into the PCI.

6. After 1969 Negri began to agitate in Milan and stopped his involvement in Padua.

7. Around midday on the 3rd of July 1969, during a day of strikes over pensions that had been called by the unions, the members of the student-worker Assembly at FIAT Mirafiori decided to leave the protest and head for the factory gates. The march was immediately attacked by the police and the protest transformed into a workers’ riot over a number of hours, notably in the street that ran perpendicular to the factory: Corso Triano.


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