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AUTONOMIA

P 0 S T

POLITICAL

P O L I T I CS
In the Shadow of
the Red Brigades

Sylvere Lotringer

In the summer of 1979, Sylvere Lotringer traveled to Italy to meet with members of
Autonomia (etym. "self-ruled"}, a cultural, post-Marxist left-wing political movement
that had come to involve tens of thousands people. Aptly described by their merciless
prosecutor as "a veritable mosaic made of different fragments, a gallery of overlapping
images, of circles and collectives without any social organization," Autonomia was
comprised almost equally of intellectuals and young workers and unemployed youth.
Opposed to work ethics and hierarchy as much as exclusive ideological rigidity, they
invented their own forms of social "war-fair"-pranks, squats, collective reappropriations
(pilfering), self-reductions (rent, electricity, etc.), pirate radios, sign tinkerinxtending
the spirit of May '68 over a broad social landscape. In the summer of 1977, the
assassination of a young autonomist by a neo-fascist in Rome triggered massive
autonomist demonstrations throughout Italy, and it seemed for a while that the
Movement would take over the entire country. ("I didn't know what we would have
done with it," subsequently quipped Franco Piperno, one of their leaders. Autonomists
were not interested in seizing power.)

They were not the only ones to plan actions. In March 1978, the hard-line communist
terrorist organization, "Brigate Rosse" (Red Brigades) kidnapped Aldo Moro, prominent
Italian politician and president of the Christian Democrats (CD), as he was about to
ratify the "Historic Compromise" with the Italian Communist Party (PCI) he had been
advocating, and that the Red Brigades (RB) bitterly opposed. The government of Giulio
Andreotti, Moro's nemesis, refused to release the brigadists' imprisoned leaders in
exchange for Moro's life and two months later the premier's body was found in a car
in Rome, riddled with bullets. In the aftermath, the coalition of PCI and CD (conservatives)
installed a highly repressive regime of state terror, resurrecting laws from the fascist
era allowing the "preventive" incarceration of potential offenders. On April 7, 1979,
barely three months before Lotringer arrived in Italy, most of the intellectual leaders
of Autonomia had been issued with warrants. Hundreds fled into exile; twelve
thousand were jailed for up to twenty years, untried, under laws of exception.
The accusation specifically targeted philosopher and old-time activist Antonio Negri
for having "masterminded" the Red Brigades.

The accusations were unfounded, but hard to dispel. Until 1974, both terrorists and
future autonomists coexisted in a single organization called "Potere Operaio" (Worker's
Power) made of blue collar workers and neo-Marxist intellectuals. Workerists advocated
self-organisation of the working class, broadly defined to include the unwaged
(homemakers, students, unemployed, etc.). They also extended the concept of labor,
both social and "immaterial," to the entire "social factory," emphasizing the need to
force changes on the capitalist system independent of trade-union bureaucracy. In
1969, the young workers' massive resistance to the assembly lines was swiftly met
by the "Strategy of Tension," a series of provocations (bombings in Rome and Milan)
staged by the Italian secret services and the CD. In response, Potere Operaio split
into two distinct groups: one, clandestine, made of "communist combatants" issued
from the Fiat factories, became the Red Brigades; the other, with Negri, Franco Piperno,
Oreste Scalzone, went on in 1975 to create the extra-parliamentary autonomist
movement. Denying the authenticity of this historic split, the governing coalition of
PCI and CD held Autonomia's leaders responsible for the acts of terror, which they,
in reality, condemned.

Sylvere Lotringer spent the summer trying to clarify the confused Italian situation.
In Autonomia he saw a new form of political behavior, experimental and imaginative,
ideologically open, rhizomatic in organization, non-representational and non-dialectical
in action, with a healthy sense of humor and zest for life. It was the kind of movement
May '68 could have triggered, and that Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze had anticipated
in theory. If politics had a future, Lotringer thought, it was in a fluid, non-ideological
movement like this. Unfortunately, both the conventional left and the right joined to
crush the autonomia movement-the last politically "revolutionary" and popular
movement in the West, the only one, it seemed, capable of "re-inventing politics"
after the collapse of ideologies.

Autonomia was defeated as a political movement, but prison and exile didn't extinguish
their ideas. Twenty-five years later, it is re-emerging as an exciting intellectual venture
with a new name: postfordism, to signal that they too have jumped eras. (Fordism
was synonymous with the assembly-line and the enslavement of workers.) In a much
changed, and even ominous, global configuration, Italian postfordists appear to be
the only political philosophers capable of re-inventing politics affirmatively, "post
politically." Unlike classical Marxists, they bring fresh intuitions gleaned from
multiple sources. Faithful to their "workerist" origins (paradoxically, workerists were
against work), they are rethinking labor in light of "general intelligence" resulting from
the free-flow of information in technological societies and the possible re-use of social
knowledge for a re-invention of a more communal life.

The Italian Autonomia Issue concluded a first cycle of struggles. It is now expanding
into a second cycle, even more promising intellectually. The 21st century may just be
ready to start.

Here are some notes from Lotringer's Italian journal in the summer of 1979.

JULY 16, 1979 The sun streams down on the high, ochre walls. My first stroll through Rome. Near
ROME Piazza del Quirinale I notice a circle of motorcycle cops in heavy boots and helmets,
their legs spread defiantly. Dispatch cars of the "vigilanza" (the police) are positioned
everywhere. Two rows of soldiers, guns in hand, hold the crowd back. The gate is
draped in black. "It's for Colonel Varisco," a young carabiniere explains. "Three days
ago he was assassinated by the Red Brigades."

Semioticians like to think that communication occurs in a neutral space, but in reality
violence always lurks in the background. After all, communications theory was a
by-product of WWII. But words could also spare lives. If the Red Brigades (RB)
had been smart enough to claim responsibility for all the burglaries, railway accidents,
aerial catastrophes and earthquakes that plague Italy, the system would already be
on its knees. But, of course, they prefer knee capping their targets to make their
point. When the leaders of the Christian Democrats refused to negotiate with them
for the release of President Aldo Moro, the RB left his dead body in a car trunk half
way between the headquarters of the CD and the PCI. Basically the terrorists and
the State adhere to the same symbolic code; both communicate through murder.
L'Unita, the Communist daily paper, bluntly recognized it the other day: "One corpse
is just as good as any other. What counts is the message." Beware of messages.

The paradoxical alliance between the Italian Communist Party and the Christian
Democrats has frozen all political life in Italy. One has to keep that in mind in order
to understand the emergence of new political forms on the fringe of parliamentary

vi
activity. From the start Italian "autonomists" refused any delegation of power, any
political representation; they criticized the bureaucratization of the PCI and its lack
of revolutionary perspective. Its strategy of social collaboration with the bourgeoisie
came as a striking confirmation to their analyses. The attitude of the PCI has hardened
after Moro's ruthless assassination. The recent crackdown on Autonomia-lumping
them together with the terrorists-is a way of criminalizing any political opposition
to the compromise inaugurated in 1976. Since both terrorists and autonomists
originally come from "Potere Operaio" (Workers' Power), an organization dissolved in
1974, it was easy to amalgamate the two.

In Italy events no longer bear any resemblance to an objective reality, since reality is
both produced and authenticated by the media. There is a lesson to be learned from
this situation. Every attempt to forge a new society with formulae from another time
is bound to produce reversible effects. The Italian State had no difficulty turning
terrorist violence against those who, on the side, are exploring alternatives that are
much more in keeping with the actual dissemination of power in today's post-industrial
societies. Whatever their original intentions, the RB have hardened into an elite
corps of professional soldiers. Their activities attest to a high degree of technical
sophistication. But what can one expect of revolutionaries who have lost the initiative
in the battle of social imagination?

The crowd stirs. Dignitaries line up before the black curtain: Pertini, President of
the Italian Republic; Jotti, President of the Chamber; Fanfani, President of the
Senate; Andreotti, Prime Minister; as well as deputies, senators, party delegates
among them comrade Ugo Pecchioli and Luciano Lama, the communist trade
union leader who was unceremoniously expelled from Rome University in 1977
after he tried to teach autonomous students "a good lesson." I forgot to mention
the General Commander of the Army, chiefs of staff, magistrates-among them
was Achille Gallucci, general prosecutor of the imprisoned autonomists. Then a
swarm of priests flushed and stiff with their purple belts tight on rotond stomachs.

A most unlikely assembly. The RB at least has managed to produce that: this
uncanny unanimity. Three rows of carabinieri carry the coffin. On all the surrounding
roofs soldiers stand guard, their rifles scanning the horizon. The crowd bursts into
applause. For the victim or the assassin? Weird reaction anyway. But already the
voices are raising hysterically: "Assassins! Assassins!" They're shouting at the RB?
No, at the dignitaries. "Buffoons! For shame!" The crowd hammers out "VA-RIS-CO!
VA-RIS-CO!" pushing the carabinieri back. A circle of officers carry Pertini to his car.
"Death to the communists!" people scream on all sides, actually jostling the coffin.
A distinguished old man shakes his cane like a club. If right-wingers no longer
show any respect for the uniform, what else can we rely on?

I remember the little Sicilian worker last night in the train, flushed with anger, his
T-shirt soaked with sweat. For twenty one years he's had the foreman on his back.
Behind the theater, the factory; the terrorism of labor which leaves its marks on the
body. The "impossible class," Nietzsche wrote, used up "like the gears of a machine,
and in a sense like stop-gaps of human inventiveness." Let's not forget that. Unlike
the Red Army Fraction in Germany, mostly comprised of intellectuals, the first
brigadists were recruited in the Fiat factory. And they can still count, if not on popular
support, at least on the tacit complicity of many in the workers' movement. They
use it too, often ruthlessly, twisting people's hands.

Piazza Navona. A handwritten poster warns the communists in the neighborhood.


Last night a young Somali was burned alive. No special reason to implicate the RB
in such a barbarous act. There's a big meeting tonight to denounce "the climate
of violence caused by those who practice and advocate terrorism." The PCI really
wastes no opportunity to confuse the issue, playing down the fact that, between 1969
and 197 4, a wave of fascist crimes encouraged by the secret service-it was
blamed on the anarchists-was used to regain the ground lost in 1968. They called
it, euphemistically: "The Strategy of Tension." It is at that point that a fraction of the
revolutionary Left went underground and that the RB (and a few other terrorist groups
like Prima Linea) began their slow ascension into the sky of urban guerilla warfare.

vii
Already a war of posters is exploiting the execution of the Colonel. Just about every
where the PCI extends its condolences to the Arma dei Carabinieri and demands
that the criminals, brigadists and fascists alike, be chastised in an exemplary
fashion. As for the fascists of the Movimento Sociale Italiano, they have covered
the downtown walls with posters mourning the outrage of the "communist terrorists."
The Communists were quick to disavow any connection with the over-zealous
defenders of a Marxism-Leninism, which they'd rather see embalmed and put away,
like Lenin himself. The Socialists, led by Bettino Craxi, Prime Minister elect, don't
care that much; they have given up on Marxism a long time ago. Still the CD
reproaches Craxi for still entertaining "class fantasies"; and the PCI accuses him of
taking an ambiguous stance toward "the subversive killers."

JULY 17, 1979 Headlines announce the arrest of four trade-union leaders from Bologna, two of
ROME them are women. They tried to blow up a hotel in Padua last night. All are regular
members of the PSI (the Socialist Party); they were immediately suspended pending
investigation. Today the apartments of twenty professors from the University of
Cosenza have been searched. The police talk about vague documents providing
"useful evidence" on the whereabouts of Aldo Moro and on the "international
ramifications" of autonomist leaders, detained or on the run. Franco Piperno, Professor
of Physics, wanted by the police since April 7, 1979, is the direct target of these
searches. He is accused of being the Chief of the RB.

I decide to pay a visit to Radio Onda Rossa [Radio Red Waves], the station of the
Volsci, the hard, organized part of Autonomia Operaia. It is situated in the popular
quarter of San Lorenzo between the City University and Stazione Termini (the central
rail station in Rome). The people of San Lorenzo, bastion of the Roman Left, liberated
themselves from the fascist regime guns in hand, and the tradition hasn't been lost.
Police cars don't linger much in the area.

A compagno leads me through a heavily reinforced door to a studio. It is minimally


equipped with two turntables and a small tape recorder hooked up to the telephone.
Paolo, the DJ, selects the cuts-Talking Heads, Patti Smith, Lou Reed. On the wall,
a photo shows a group of militants from the back, fists closed and three fingers
extended in the famous P.38 sign. Are you armed? I ask Paolo. "No, but we have to
defend ourselves, so we don't want to exclude a priori the use of arms. But there
are other weapons. The Molotov cocktail is a weapon of the people."

He now plays Lou Reed's "Heroin." Fortunately, he says with a smile, most
comrades don't understand English. Those over thirty-five are against soft drugs.
As for cocaine, it's for the bourgeoisie. Now heroin is causing a lot of damage.
We're against it.

A telegram arrives and is broadcast right way: "Compagne and compagni, we


all have a feeling that it is not the fruit of desperation, but a sweet love reborn
every morning with the desire to struggle for Communism." It's signed by Nanni,
Seba, Mozzico and Andreino. The Talking Heads and the sweet love of Communism,
cocaine and Molotov cocktails. An older comrade comes in and quickly replaces
these products of "imperialist decadence" with songs of revolutionary struggle and
some classical music.

The weekly meeting at the station is about to begin. Down below in the street young
militants are assembling in little groups under facades riddled by the American bombs
of 1943, between the laundry hanging outside the windows and TV antennas. The
radio specializes in counter-information, providing daily critical reviews of L'Unita and
of the bourgeois press. But the strength of a free radio lies elsewhere, instantly
relaying occupation of buildings, spontaneous strikes, and repressive incidents,
immediately calling for popular demonstrations.

Although the Volsci-their name comes from the via Volsci, the street they occupy
are not organized along party lines, they intend to strike back in an organized way.
But many among them are "dogs without collars," as they're called here. As for a
precise definition of Autonomia Operaia, to which they belong, it's a veritable Italian

viii
puzzle. All one can say is that it's a rather ancient organization whose members
identify in one way or another with the autonomist project. Employees at the
Polyclinic Hospital nearby belong to the traditional unions fiercely opposed by the
Volsci, yet they work closely with Autonomia Operaia inside the hospital in order to
wage a series of struggles that have found many echoes in the population at large.
How could anyone outside Italy understand the fluidity of the political situation here?

Throughout Italy in fact, even in the villages, there are many who see themselves as
autonomous even when they lack any theoretical knowledge of the autonomist
position. Autonomia, of which the Volsci are only a small part, relies on the addition
of singularities at the base. No pressure is exerted on compagni to accept a prede
termined program. What draws together the scattered elements of Autonomia is the
refusal of any centralizing organization, or any abstract representation of its diversity.
Although ideological disagreements exist within the movement, especially in these
times of crisis, the contradictions are never pushed to the breaking point or tran
scended through a declarative synthesis. This is the most innovative feature of the
extra-parliamentary Left in Italy. So even an "extremist" branch of the Movement like
Autonomia Operaia cannot possibly endorse in a simple fashion the clandestine
activity of the RB, whose "vertical" organizational model and military style makes it
difficult to avoid ossification and bureaucratic isolation.

My contact takes me to the "palace" the Volsci offered to put me up in, a spacious
building abandoned by its owner after he pocketed large sums from City Hall. Nearly
two years ago a dozen homeless families were installed here with the help of militants.
They fixed it up and negotiated with the CD municipality to get the water supply
reconnected. Half the occupants belong to Autonomia Operaia, which gives them a
solid base among the surrounding lumpenproletariat. My hosts, Vicenzo and Carla,
are old-timers of the Volsci. Carla works off the books in a lab. This has practically
become an institution in Italy and even the unions have to tolerate it since so many
people are involved. Carla is registered at City Hall, like most of the unemployed,
but obviously she has no job security. Vicenzo works for the Electric Company
and participated in the successful movement of consumer self-reduction of bills.

Night falls. A little black station wagon is parked a few steps away from the Stazione
Termini. I catch a glimpse of the carabinieri inside, armed to the teeth. There is tension
in the air. This morning the radio received a message from the RB, and the law
requires it to be immediately delivered to the authorities.This evening the police are
nosing around under the pretext of examining the original note. They're hoping to make
some arrests. Reading the message over the Red Waves would be a provocation.
Only the bourgeois press is allowed to do that. The Volsci already have been
searched several times for the same reason. Last time they hid a microphone near
the entrance and broadcast the cops' curses live as they were trying to break in.

I ask Vicenzo about the sickly-sweet telegram that was read this morning. It was
coming from jail. Seven months ago the Roman fascists stepped up their action
against the Movement. Radio Citta Futura (Future City), a rival station nearby, has
a regular morning broadcast made by women and addressed to housewives. A
group of fascists swept in, set fire to the station and kneecapped all the women.
Needless to say, the climate of the district was near boiling point. Four young
compagni decided to retaliate on their own-and were intercepted by the police. They
had two pistols and some TNT in their car. Yesterday they were sentenced to four and
a half years in prison.

JULY 18, 1979 The statement of the RB is published in all the morning papers. It's about Colonel
ROME Varisco, Chief of Personel in the Counter-Revolutionary Division, "an expert in his
lurid profession." The "bloody murderers" who belong to this division are kindly
invited to change jobs, otherwise they will be "hunted down like rabbits." The
statement concludes: "Guns speak louder than words." I see it on the table,
stamped with a five-branched star inscribed in a circle, the RB signature.

The Volsci keep their distance from the actions of the RB, but they consider sabo
tage on the job by workers revolutionary behavior. They maintains that violence is

ix
necessary if the system is to be toppled. "Don't you know," Vicenzo asks, "that
the Autonomia Operaia motto is 'Armed Struggle for the Revolution?"' The violence
they advocate, though, has nothing to do with the terrorists. They favor collective
actions. People have to understand their necessity and purpose, otherwise it
becomes like a football game.

Prima Linea (Front Line) uses more subtle strategies: blowing up computers
recording rent payments, blocking subways at rush hours, bringing sympathy for
the cause. In the early days the RB were reluctant to carry out assassinations. They
would set fire to Fiat or Sit-Siemens bosses' cars. It's only with the Strategy of
Tension that they began the series of kidnappings that eventually culminated with
the Moro execution. The Volsci don't think that the RB offer a model for the working
class can to identify with any more, but they don't condemn them either. They
consider them comrades who have gone too far. "Let's face it," Vincenzo finally
remarks, "who would know about the revolutionary movement in Italy if the RB
didn't exist?" Yes, I reply, but what's going to be left of you if they keep raising
the level of repression even higher?

JULY 19, 1979 On the other side of the city the journalists of II Male (Bad) an up and coming Roman
ROME satiric weekly, speak a language so different that I can hardly believe they still
belong to the same political family. II Male is also a product of the "cultural revolution"
of 1977, which saw the politization of a mass of over-educated and under-employed
youth open to every possible innovation. A fruitful conjunction occurred between
the older worker formations from Potere Operaio, target of the present government
repression, and the activities of what are now called here the "new social subjects."
The desire to develop a position that would cut across traditional political oppositions
was born within the newspaper Lotta Continua ( Permanent Struggle). II Male
opposes the system with humor and irreverence, and its audience grew well
beyond the initial framework of the movement.

In large part the success of II Male resulted from the intelligent reappropriation of
theories of simulation developed by the creative wing of Autonomia after 1977,
and was obviously inspired by Jean Baudrillard. But what is simulation for the
Italians? It means reproducing something in such a way that all the knowledge,
influence or power contained in the original is deflated or drained away. When the
Italian national team lost the football championship against Holland in Argentina,
the whole country went into mourning. The next day II Male falsified the front page
of the Corriere de/lo Sport and ran the following headlines: " Dutch Team On
Drugs. Finals Cancelled. Replay Match Scheduled for Wembley."

Obviously one doesn't "simulate" anything, or simulate in just any manner. The
shot must be perfectly aimed. One consequence of today's hyperreality is that false
events can have "real" effects, virtually unpredictable among those who generate
them. II Male announced the arrest of Ugo Tognazzi, the well-known Italian actor,
as head of the RB, with photographs to boot. In one week II Male rose to 4th
place in Italian weeklies. No one in the staff imagined that so many people would
actually buy the story. It became more than a journalistic coup. Unwittingly they
had touched the nerve of the situation; they had demonstrated that within public
opinion ABSOLUTELY ANYONE COULD BE A TERRO RIST.

JULY 20, 1979 Today's news. From his cell, Toni Negri accuses the police of having confiscated the
ROME notes he made for his defense. Oreste Scalzone protests the journalists' insinuations
that he made threats against Varisco. Two carabinieri have been acquitted for the
murder of a student. A call from a "communist combat group" vows revenge.

In via Volsci several compagni show up with armfuls of pickaxe handles and rocks.
What's happening? Everyone is joking and kidding around. Every club is personalized;
the short ones are called "Trotskys" and the long ones "Stalins." They must be meant
for the PCI guerillas. "For the Fascists, we use stronger stuff," a Volsci tells me with a
laugh. I am not yet used to what seems obvious for them: there's such a thing as
"Stalino-fascism."

x
Night. Bodies lie everywhere throughout the apartment, fully dressed, clubs at
hand. Unpaid mercenaries of the social revolution? A young couple sleeps on the
floor, in each other's arms. They're all pretty young. Everyone expects a police
raid in the morning.

JULY 21, 1979 Nothing happened.


ROME
Abrupt change of scene. I find myself in a white sports car packed with beautiful
people from Cinecitta, the Roman Hollywood. We're in a country retreat owned by
a retired stockbroker, now in a wheelchair. Domestics buzz around the pool. Our
host's son owns a construction company. Also present are a successful business
lawyer and the socialist metallurgists' trade union secretary, Enzo Sera, a cunning
and jovial character, by far the most colorful in the group. Enzo Sera is the symbiosis
of the successful worker and the white-collar bourgeoisie. We're far from our "palace"
in via dei Volsci.

I nettle the lawyer about the Italian press. He admits that it's probably the worst in
Europe: journalists comment upon each other's writings, no one takes the trouble of
checking the information. Then I nettle Enzo Sera about unemployment, but he denies
that trade unions have any responsibilities toward the "disoccupati" (unemployed).
The economy, he explains, is in terrible shape-actually the growth rate of Italy is one
of the highest in Europe, a lot of it due to the "underground economy"-and subsidiz
ing the unemployed would preclude any progress. "Anyway," he concludes, "we are
a corporation; we defend the interests of the workers, not of those who don't work.
The youth wants a social response at once, and not in ten years. Our own generation
thought in terms of the future. Do you think I became a trade unionist out of idealism?
No way. My own interest first. It was just the fastest way to affluence." At its most
recent meeting, the Central Committee declared that the PCI could hardly be called
communist anymore. "We are a popular, national party, democratic and reformist."
Berlinguer understood this perfectly. The "Historic Compromise" acknowledged a
fait accompli.

At the recent trial of one of the Movement's theorists, the prosecutor described
Autonomia, rather accurately, as "a veritable mosaic made of different fragments, a
gallery of overlapping images, of circles and collectives, without any central organi
zation." It's tempting to patch together the irreducible fragments of the autonomous
puzzle with peremptory declarations in such a way that, from circle to circle, and
image to image, the outline emerges-trembling, disturbing, formidable-of a
shadow central organization which uncannily resembles that of the RB.

JULY 23, 1979 Through the grapevine I heard that a number of imprisoned brigadists have sent
ROME Lotta Continua a long statement that for the first time publicly attacks the Strategic
Direction of the RB. I decide to pay a visit to the only autonomist daily paper, which
the Volsci situate way to the right of the movement (but anything for them would be
to the right).

Initially Lotta Continua was a mass organization very active in the workers' milieu.
After the 1976 elections, entire sections of the working class entered the circles of
power with the PCI, and Lotta Continua became an independent information source
inside the Movement. Its present, "more liberal" outlook evolved mostly after 1977.

To reach the offices of Lotta Continua one just follows the Aurelian wall all the way
up to the Pyramid. The via dei Magazzini Generali, dotted with warehouses, is
deserted. But inside the newspaper's editorial office, turmoil reigns. The text of the
dissenting brigadists is to be published in two days. Enrico Deaglio, editor-in-chief,
a man of forty with a grave and dreamy air about him-he knows he's been marked
by the RB-circulates among the compagni, all regularly paid journalists, who are
grouped here and there, text in hand, exchanging comments in low voices.

The document is attributed to Valerio Marucci, who has apparently been "dropped"
by the Strategic Direction of the RB. He now publicly denounces the RB's isolation,
its Stalinist rigidity. The publication takes on a particular importance because it is

xi
part of the extra-parliamentary movement's overall strategy to eliminate the terrorist
violence that provoked its own persecution.

Between Autonomia and the State, it seems, a confrontation is being played out
whose issue is still uncertain. Publicly, it turns around the role played by Potere
Operaio, formed in 1970 for the purpose of coordinating on the national level the
diverse autonomous organizations. The controversy within Potere Operaio about the
increasing militarization of the struggle eventually led, in 1974, to its self-dissolution
-which the State now refuses to recognize. Instead it accuses Potere Operaio of
having set up at that time a secret committee which provides leadership and support
for Communist Combatants. The historical leaders of Potere Operaio-Toni Negri,
Oreste Scalzone and Franco Piperno-then could be held directly responsible for
the abduction of Aldo Moro.

The publication of the dissenting brigadists' statement, secretly encouraged by


proponents of the Movement (the document adopts some of their ideas, such as
the end of workers' centrality) constitutes the first attempt to break open the
monolithic block presented so far by the terrorist organization. By appealing to the
whole network of communist fighters, pressure is put on the RB to abandon the
"adventuristic" course they have adopted.

The RB is segmented into areas tightly isolated from one another. At the top, the
Strategic Direction-anonymous, unreachable, all-powerful-emits strict orders that
brigadists must obey unquestioningly. Some combatants have apparently begun to
doubt not only the "quality" of the RB's actions, but even the nature of the Strategic
Direction. Some say that agents have infiltrated it. In any case, the present direction
of the RB, headed by the mysterious-even mythical-Moretti, has nothing to do with
the generation of "historic" leaders formed in the big factories of the North, now
imprisoned in Asinara, Sardinia with Renato Curcio. That Marucci himself, in a letter
accompanying the document left outside the office of Lotta Continua, feels obliged
to refute the charges of gangsterism and Mafia associations launched against the
Strategic Direction, fuels speculation. That he did it at all seems highly suspicious.

Obviously the RB is experiencing the fate of every clandestine organization-the


German Red Army Fraction is another example. With air-tight compartmentalization,
it developed independently of the initial goal, which was to constitute the armed
avant-garde of the working class. The structure got the better of ideology, or rather
ideology came to serve as a perfect cover for a terrorist perfectionism-which the
document coins "strategic deformation."

Other attempts have been made to undo the straightjacket stifling Autonomia. For
the most part they come from those who, at the time of the Moro affair, were in
favor of negotiations. Foremost among them was the small Socialist Party duly
excluded from power by the historic alliance of the PCI and CD. Contacts with the
RB were allegedly made through Franco Piperno during Moro's sequestration, but
nothing came of it. In a letter published in June by Lotta Continua, Piperno sought
to break the deadlock by launching the provocative idea of an amnesty for all
Communist Combatants. The core of his proposition was that the State and the
parliamentary parties bear a responsibility for the production of terrorism, since the
RB was born during the period in which the State, the secret service, and the army
were openly preparing the grounds for a coup d'etat. The widespread nature of
spontaneous terrorist activity proves that it was a reaction on the part of an entire
social sector, and not just of organized segments.

I object to Deaglio that it is highly unlikely that the government, which refused to
negotiate with the RB for one man (Aldo Moro) would be ready to release hundreds
of Communist Fighters without serious guarantees. He agrees: ''The proposal of
amnesty is obviously an attempt to regain the initiative. A situation has to be
created now, in which terrorists realize that their action can only lead to an impasse.
We've been accused of having adopted a moralistic and non-violent position, but
actually the terrorist project doesn't appeal to us on any grounds. It seems to be
neither workable nor desirable."

xii
JULY 25, 1979 The morning is the best part of the day in via dei Volsci. The sunlight filters through
ROME the trees of the garden adjoining the cafe. Across the street, on the second floor,
through the shutter of the radio station, the starred face of Che Guevara passes by.

Paolo, the rock DJ, has spent the whole night at the tape deck; he looks pretty
wasted. He holds the morning edition of Lotta Continua. He immediately interprets
it in a traditional Marxist fashion-by the reactions it has aroused in the bourgeois
press: that the RB are war lords, etc. "Well," he said, "they're not. They're still
the avant-garde of the worker's movement." The document shouldn't have been
published. It can only weaken the cause. "Besides," he says, "nothing proves that
the Strategic Direction didn't actually want this document published. They may be
expecting something from it that we haven't thought of." How do you respond to
this kind of reasoning?

Night. I'm leaving Rome tomorrow. My host, Vicenzo, pays me a last visit. He is the
one who works for the electric company. I ask him about the pickaxes night. It's a
complicated story, he says, involving Angelo, an older gay compagno. Angelo has
picked up two thugs at the Stazione Termini. The thugs moved in with their two
girlfriends, whom they kept beating up. One of them, 16, is pregnant. The feminists of
the group quickly kicked out the brutes who swore to come back in strength with
some toughs from the "mala" (the underworld) and tear the place down. The
mala, fortunately, never showed up.

Loud meeting of the Occupation Committee. Angelo, in tears, apologizes for


exposing the occupation to danger. Danger, I ask? Yes, real danger. The San
Lorenzo quarter includes pockets of lumpens closely linked with the mob. The
Volsci have been careful to avoid the contamination by prostitution, drug pushing
and theft. Angelo upset the equilibrium by bringing home elements of the mala,
whom the police protect in exchange for information. Introducing a minor into the
"palace" could become a pretext for the police to storm the place and close down
the occupied buildings.

The overall situation is alarming. In the present climate of repression, no open,


collective action is possible. The carabinieri don't hesitate to shoot at the crowd.
Some frustrated comrades, Vicenzo says, might be tempted to blow up the head
offices of the Fascists at night, even gun down a few. But this is probably what the
government has in mind. If the autonomists could be tipped into the camp of armed
subversion, the options would become clear and reassuring. "When a compagno
chooses terrorist action," Vicenzo says, "he must abandon a certain form of
collective life, the meeting places, the discussions in the street. But often there's
no discontinuity really between the two forms of existence. Wherever you are in
Italy, it's not hard to find the terrorist connection."

JULY 26, 1979 I left Rome at dawn to meet with "Bifo," a leader of the Bolognese movement, a
BOLOGNA young, nervous, slightly built intellectual with a black moustache and a glint of black
humor in his eyes. We walk past the Criminal Courts on our way to the 17th century
house, originally a convent, in which he has been living with a bunch of compagni
for the past seven years.

The Bolognese are known throughout Italy for their "creative intelligence." It means
that they use technical inventiveness to go beyond strictly political strategies, which,
they feel, can only breed more violence. For these pragmatic intellectuals, the problem
is no longer to provide the Movement with fall back positions, but to devise means
of directly tapping into the abstract machines and sign-systems that shape
contemporary societies. My stay with the Volsci was a return to the "primal scene"
of Autonomia, the protected hothouse of workerist origins. Bologna manifests an
entirely different facet of the Movement.

Bifo's household is a live museum of the Movement's history. They belonged to


Potere Operaio from day one, but created out of it the "spontaneist" line of the
Bolognese and Milanese autonomists. The staff of Radio Alice, the dada-spontex
free station, used to meet in the living room. A lot happened here. After the peak of

xiii
1977 everything started falling apart. Bifo's wife left; another compagno departed
for India, leaving behind the green, blue and purple fresco of a mosque on the wall.
Lisa, Alice's mother-the radio took on her name-was hospitalized for a while and
now lives under crushing delusions of police terror and secret control. The recent
history of raids and arrests did its best to turn them into reality.

Bologna happens to be a PCI stronghold and a showcase for Eurocommunism. Here


the party is less a workers' organization than a power structure. For the first time
young workers and students saw what "Socialism" looks like: acute unemployment,
living costs higher than anywhere else, and the hypocritical image of a benevolent
PCI. Young emigrant workers arriving from the South soon realize that their slum
lords are card-carrying members. Until the revolt in Bologna and Rome in 1977,
revolutionary organizations kept referring to Socialism and to the revolution, but
then consciousness caught up with action. The youth realized that they couldn't
care less about Socialism, or the future society. They wanted instant change.
During the demonstrations and counter-demonstrations that pitted PCI and CD
together against the Movement, the city split in two camps. Armed PCI gorillas kept
order; the police fired. It was no longer an ideological disagreement, but the failure
of Socialism itself.

For the Bolognese, the problem now is not to choose between more or less
centralized types of organization but to devise forms of intervention that would be
operational in real situations, and yet easy enough to jettison when they begin to
solidify. For a few years the free radio-the dissemination of suppressed information
provided a connecting factor. They now believe that technical-scientific intelligence
can be used to provide the overall perspective. "The problem of power is no
longer a political one," Bifo insists. "We don't need to take over the decision
making process, but to occupy the ground where scientific intelligence intersects
with practical realities. As long as we believe that power is to be taken over before
we define W HAT IT IS FOR, we are bound to beget societies of the present socialist
type, i.e. concentration camps."

The theory doesn't have much of a chance to materialize in the present climate of
repression and "reflusso" {low ebb}. Yet minor, but effective, uses of the theory in
the form of simulation and sabotage has allowed the Bolognese to survive for the
last few years independent of the labor market.

Dusk. The compagni assemble in little groups on the large, column-lined piazza
which lies at the geometrical center of this circular town-the young Bolognese
have taken their political slogan, "The Margins at the Center," literally. After mid
night everybody gathers in the few osterie that are still open, talking and dreaming
about New York. It is there that I first met Massimo Segno, an authority on creative
"sabotage," a dark-skinned intellectual with a sparkling look and the stealthy gait
of a conspirer.

Massimo conspires with signs, a cleaner way of handling politics than with a P.38. In
Bologna, where semiotics is not taken lightly, signs-manipulation of signs-turn out
to be far more powerful. Simulation, as it is practiced here, is a kind of sophisticated
sabotage of communication, a communication worthy of Sophists that evades the
certitudes of ideology or the confines of propriety. "Nowadays," Massimo whispers
in my ear as we ride a bus to his old apartment, which he shares with two other
compagni, "nothing is easier to invent than an electronic key. You can open any lock
in a few seconds. Property is no longer private. You can also make red boxes for
free telephone calls."

These small subversions can be taken much further.

Once, instead of erecting solid barricades to prevent the Prime Minister, Andreotti,
from speaking in Bologna, the autonomists distributed keys to traffic-light control
boxes. In a matter of minutes every single street around the center was blocked.
The confusion was unimaginable. In a world in which power shifts more and more
into software, the falsification of signs and signals can become a legitimate form of

xiv
warfare. A terrorism without terror. A police helicopter flew over the University of
Bologna during the demonstrations and students quickly lined up to form letters
spelling the word: SCEMO! (stupid). The helicopter was laughed out of the air.

These playful forms of "warfair" relegate the widespread terror of the RB to the wax
museum of revolutionary ideology. The authoritarian, paramilitary, secretive organi
zation that the Communist Combatants have adopted enables them to make fast
and effective actions, but the image of the new society their organization projects
does little to stir the imagination. The creative Bolognesi intellectuals, in contrast,
practice forms of illegality which are no less reprehensible than white-collar crime,
but incomparably more generous and promising since they already crystallize more
desirable forms of social life. Theirs are not terrorist crimes committed in the name
of an impoverished collectivity (another autonomist motto is: "We are the front of
luxury," meaning: only free people can invent freer forms of existence); nor are
they corporate crimes, geared to individual profit. "Here we have produced a
context that permits an alternative use of signs," Massimo asserts with a chuckle,
hitting the bulb of a lamp that keeps flickering on and off. The lamp suddenly
blacks out.

Admittedly, it is not only in Bologna that semiotic tinkering is being practiced. Most
of Italy, in fact, thrives on little illegalities: forgery of diplomas and IDs, false train
tickets and money orders, devices dodging utility bills .... For many, "domestic
sabotage" has become the only means of survival. These illegalities are also
practiced in the U.S., but disconnected from any attempt at social transformation.
It is this dimension that gives the Bolognese project its special character.

We are light-years away from the pickaxes of organized Autonomia or the heavy
guns of the RB. A century-old tradition of revolutionary moralism and messianism
has quietly evaporated. "Before the arrests of April 7, 1979," Massimo recognizes,
"we had even rejected the word 'compagni."' Now they've gone back to it,
although they keep dodging the deadly alternatives to which the war machines-the
State and the RB-want to reduce them: social submission or terrorist regression.
The problem faced by the "luxury front" of creative intelligence is not to carry the
confrontation "to the heart of the State" (the RB formula) but to intervene directly at
the heart of the capitalist system. At this point the State is just an obsolescent form
anyway, to which the RB have provided an unexpected boost.

Less obsolescent though both in Italy and Germany which, unlike France, never
quite managed to achieve their unity through a bourgeois revolution. The belated
reinforcement of the Italian State, at a time when multinationals and international
agencies are yielding real power, paradoxically takes on a truly prospective dimen
sion. Behind the rear-guard fights waged against terrorism, old forms of coercion
are being propped up or resurrected in order to ground social control in a renovated,
hyperreal national framework based on "class collaboration." The Historic Compro
mise is, of course, a prime example. In this respect, Italy today is a laboratory for
both post-revolutionary innovation and new forms of democratic fear and restraint
that require the citizen's active participation.

AUGUST 12, 1979 I'm paying a visit to schizo-analyst Felix Guattari. He spends half of the week in a
BLOIS Renaissance castle some 70 miles South of Paris, near the Laborde Clinic. There are
always a lot of people hanging out there. Felix occasionally plays on the piano,
complaining that hash only loosens up the lower part of his body. Then he goes to
his office and writes. Mattresses are lined up everywhere on wooden platforms,
Italian style. Of all the French intellectuals, Felix has been the most involved with
Italy. He has always been involved with groups of some kind of other, magazines,
projects. Felix is not stuffy like most French intellectuals, and he has a mischievous
side which I find particularly endearing.

Today everything is quiet. Felix walks briskly in my direction, a crisp, skimpy silhou
ette in the distance. Although there's just the two of us in the huge gravel courtyard,
he immediately takes me aside. He's obviously excited. "The Head of the Red
Brigades is here," he whispers. "They're looking for him everywhere." And he

xv
checks around. All I see is a phlegmatic cow staring at us in a meadow nearby,
probably rigged with all sorts of sophisticated devices.

Felix wasn't kidding. The Head of the RB is in the living room. He's quietly sipping a
glass of wine-a well-mannered, rather handsome man, with dark shiny hair and a
sensitive face. I don't know what to think. This man doesn't fit the picture I had of a
factory worker-kind of small, with hair and glasses. Maybe he belongs to the sec
ond generation of the RB-is he the famous Moretti? Whoever he is, he seems pret
ty relaxed for someone who's being tracked down by Interpol.

I pour myself a glass of wine. I know that Felix is no more an admirer of the RB than
I am. So what is Franco-that's the terrorist's name- doing here? Well, he seems to
enjoy the situation. I notice his fine sense of humor. He offers to make us a very
special dish for lunch, spaghetti.

We all conspicuously avoid talking about the situation back in Italy. We drink some
more. I have seen the man's face in the papers. Where? In La Repubblica? Suddenly
it dawns on me. He's the man who was wearing a woman's wig and sipping some
wine with the head of II Male. Giving an interview in disguise to show that the
accusations lodged against him-that he is the head of the RB-were just a farce.
He is Franco Piperno, the physicist from Cosenza, one of the three historic leaders
of Potere Operaio. His attempt to mediate between the RB and the State didn't go
anywhere. It is probable that the RB never even considered it seriously. Well, the
State did, and tried to arrest him. He's now "latitante" (on the run).

Piperno finally comes up with the sauce he has apparently spent a long time
cooking up in his head. He seems to be very proud of it. "My best invention," he
says. "It will be worth a fortune back in Italy."

A few days later Piperno was arrested in Paris and extradited as the head of the RB.
In November three leaders of the Volsci were arrested carrying two surface-to-air
missiles in their car. In December a new anti-terrorist legislation was passed
lengthening preventive detention from four to twelve years. "Italy has invented
PREVENTIVE-LIFE," dryly comments L'Espresso. The new anti-terrorist laws that
were put in effect also allowed for reduction of sentences for the "pentiti," the
terrorists who collaborate with the police, a measure which proved devastatingly
effective. In January the Red Waves station was raided by the carabinieri in full
military style, the radio shut down and the leaders arrested with charges of
"subversive association."

Since the beginning of 1 980, the terrorists have executed more than a dozen
people. The last victim, a prominent magistrate, was lecturing at the Law School in
Rome on strategies to combat terrorism. Two men were patiently waiting for him in
the hall. They shot him point blank.

- Translated by John Johnston

xvi
A u T 0 N 0 M A

EDJTORS TRANSLATORS
Sylvere Lotrlnger, Christian Marazzi Betsy Bowman, Vincenzo Buonocore,
Peter Caravetta, Felicia Czln, Richard
ASSOCIATE EDITORS Gardner, Wendy Greenberg, Marie
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G""'n
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Reid, Andrew Rosenbaum, Roaamarla
DESIGN/ ILLUSTRATION
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VISUALS PRODUCTION STAFF


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Ann Adams, Catherine Beaudry,
Joseph Kosuth, Sllvta Federici, Peter
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Philippa Hagen, Lotta Continua, Harold Cheater, Ron Clari!, Fred Dewey,
Sylvere Lotrlnger, The Metropolitan
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Museum of Art, MOMA, Marlon
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TRANSLATION EDITORS dle Russo, Duncan H. Smith, Maurizio
Jared Becker, James Cascalto, John Torealta, Stephen Torton, Steve
Johnston, Wayne Storey Wadyka

Conir photo: Seth Tilet


Back cover: Clsltalla "202" GT, 1946, Museum of Modern Art, New York

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A u T 0 N 0 M A

1
I NT R O D U C T I O N

Sylvere Lot r i n g e r I C h r i s t i a n M arazzi 8


The Return of Politics

2
T H E I M POSS I B L E C LASS

G iampaolo Pansa 24
Flat H as Branded Me

Mario Tro n t i 28
The Strategy o f Refusal

Serg i o B o l o g n a 36
The Tribe of Moles

Ton i N eg r i 62
Domination and Sabotage

Eddy Cherki I M i c h e l W i evi orka 72


Autoreductlon Movements in Turin

O reste Scalzone 80
From Guaranteeism to Armed Politics

Hen r i Weber 84
In the Beginning Was Gramsci

Censor 92
What the Communists Really Are

G u y Debord 96
The State of Spectacle

1 00
Lama Sabachthani?

M a u rizio Torea l t a 1 02
Painted Politics

F e l i x G u attari 1 08
The Proliferation of Margins

Paol o V i rn o 1 12
Dreamers of a Successful Life

E ric A l l iez 1 18
Hegel and the Wobblies

1 20
Let's Do Justice to Our Comrade P.38

J ud i t h M a l i na 1 22
Nonviolence in Bologna

Co l lect ive A I Traverso 1 30


Radio Alice-Free Radio
Lia M a g a l e 1 36
The City in the Female Gender

3
A P R I L 7 A R R ESTS

Bifo 1 48
Anatomy of Autonomy

CARI 1 72
Repression in Italy

Serg i o B o l o g n a 1 78
Workerist Publications and Bios

G i l les Deleuze 1 82
Open Letter to Negrl's Judges

Ferru c i o G a m b i n o I Seth T i l et 1 86
A N SA Story

Ton i N e g r i 1 88
I nterrogatlon

Ton i N e g r i I O reste Sca lzone, et. a l . 1 96


Memorandum from Prison

Franco Pi perno I I I M a l e 202


The Naked Truth About
Moro's Detention

Franco Pi perno / I I M a le 206


Piperno's Counteroffensive

I Volsci 210
Violence of the State

Dario Fo 214
The Sandstorm Method

4
B EYO N D T E R R O R I S M

Franco P i perno 220


From Terrorism to Guerrilla Warfare

Lucio Caste l l a n o 228


Living with Guerrilla Warfare

F e l i x G u attari 234
Why Italy?

Paolo V i rno 238


On Armed Struggle

Laf ran ce Pace I Franco P i perno 240


The Recognition of the Armed Party

M a s s i m o Cacc i a r i 244
Sorry, It's Exactly the Opposite
Leon a rdo Sciascia 246
The Red Harvest

O reste Sca lzone 248


Beyond Terrorism

Ton i N e g r i I E u g e n i o S c a l f a r i 254
I, Toni Negri

Franco Pi perno 262


U npublished Interview

Pau l V i r i l i o 266
Popular Defense and Popular Assault

V al erio M o r u c c i I P i n o N i cot r i 274


A Brigadist Speaks

276
Dissenting Brigadists

Renato Curcio 282


Who Is the Traitor?

To n i N e g r i 292
J'Accuse

5
FIVE

M a d a u d o I M e l v i l le 300
The Aldo Moro Kidnapping

i l/1 G ramsci Lucio Pozzi, 1 977


One day in jai l . Two days In j a i l . Th ree days
in j a i l . Fou r days in j a i l . Christ. Five days in
j a i l . Six days In jai l , seven. Today i s my
eighth day in j a i l . N i ne days In j ai l . Ten days
in j a i l . E l even days in j a i l . Twe lve days In j a i l .
T h e door opens and c l oses, opens and
c l oses. T h i rteen days in j a i l . Fou rteen days i n
j a i l . F i fteen, s i xtee n , seventeen, e ig hteen. A
j a i l is a j a i l is a j a i l is a j a i l , n i neteen days i n
j a i l . Twenty days i n j a i l . Twenty days al ready.
Twenty-one, twenty-two days in jai l . Twenty
t h ree days in j a i l . Twenty-four days in j a i l .
Twenty-five days i n j a i l . Twen ty-six days I n
j a i l . Twenty-seven days i n j a i l . Twenty-e ig ht
d a y s i n j ai l . Twenty- n i n e d a y s i n j a i l . One
month. Another twenty- n i n e months i n j a i l
a n d t h e n I ' l l be free. Thi rty-one days i n j a i l .
Thi rty-two days I n j a i l . Thi rty-three days I n
j a i l . Thi rty-four days i n j a i l . Thi rty-five, s i x ,
seven, e i g h t , n i ne, forty days i n jai l . The
walls of the j a i l . The cel l i ng of the j a i l , the
jail of the jail. Forty-one days in j ai l . Forty
two days in jai l . Forty-three days in j ai l .
Forty-fou r - how w i l l people b e when I get
out? - days In jai l . Forty-five days In j a i l .
Forty-s ix days i n j a i l . Forty-seven days i n j a i l .
Forty-ei g h t days I n j a i l . Forty-nine days i n
j a i l . Oh fuck . . . t h i s e n t i re j a i l . Fi fty days i n
t h i s fuck i n g s h itty j a i l . Fi fty-one days i n j a i l .
Fi fty-two days i n j a i l . F i fty-three, fi fty-fo u r
days i n jai l . F i fty-five d a y s i n ja i l . F i fty-s ix
days i n jai l . F i fty-seven days i n jail. F i fty
e i g h t days in j a i l . F i fty- n i n e days in j a i l . F i fty
n i ne days in j a i l . Today there i s no passage
of time. Si xty days in j ai l . Who knows i f the
others d ream of me as m u c h as I d ream of
them. Sixty-one days in jai l . S ixty-two days i n
j a i l . S i xty-th ree d ays i n j a i l . S i xty-four d ays I n
j a i l . Sixty-five d ays i n jai l . S ixty-s ix days i n
j a i l . Sixty-seven days i n j a i l . Si xty-e ig ht days
in j a i l . S ixty-e i g h t . . . sixty-eight . . . In 1968 .
. . now I ' m real l y out of date . . . ty-n i n e days
in jai l . Seventy days in j a i l . Seventy-one days
in j ai l . Seventy-two days in j a i l . Seventy-th ree
days in jai l . Seventy-fou r days in j a i l .
Seventy-five days i n j a i l . J a i l h a s i t s own
smel l , I ' l l never be able to get i t off me, a l l
the soap and scent of a detergent factory
wouldn't be enough to remove i t , and
everybody' l l know I 've been In j a i l . Seventy
six days in jai l . I cou l d explode at any mo
ment. Seventy- n i ne. E i g hty days in j ai l . In j a i l
you start to reel . E i g h ty-one days i n j a i l . I n
j a i l y o u start to ree l . E i g h ty-two days i n j ai l .
I n j a i l you start t o reel . E i g h ty-three days i n
j a i l . E i g hty-fo u r days i n jai l . E i g hty-fi ve days
in jai l . E i g hty-s i x days in j a i l . E i g hty-seven,
e i ghty-e i g ht, e i g hty-n i n e days i n THI S ETER
NAL J A I L. N i nety days in j a i l . N ow I ' m
busti n g . N i nety-one days i n j a i l . N i nety-two
d ays in j a i l . N i nety-th ree days in j a i l . N i nety
four days in j a i l . N i nety-five days in j a i l . I
have d i arrhea. N i nety-s ix days in j a i l . N i nety
seven days in j a i l . N i nety-e ig ht days in j a i l .
N i nety- n i ne. One hundred days i n j a i l . Hu rray,
let's break out the cham pagne. Very funny.
101 days i n jail. 102 days In jail. 103 days in
jai l . 104 days i n jail. 105 days i n jai l . 106 days
in j a i l . 107 days in j a i l . 108 days in j a i l . 109
1 Introduction
The Ret urn
of Poli t ics

Sylvere Lotringer/
Christ i an Marazzi

THE IMPOSSIBLE The workers i n E u rope should decl are that


CLASS henceforth as a c l ass they are a h u man i m
possi b i l ity, and not only, as is cu stomary, a
harsh and pu rposeless esta b l i shment. They
should introduce an era of vast swarming out
from the European beehive, the like of which
has never been experienced, and with this
act of emigration in the grand manner pro
test against the machine, against capital,
and against the choice with which they are
now threatened, of becoming of necessity
either slaves of the state or slaves of a
revolutionary party. Let Europe relieve itself
of the fourth part of its inhabitants!... What
at home began to degenerate into dangerous
discontent and criminal tendencies will, once
outside, gain a wild and beautiful
naturalness and be called heroism....

N i etzsche, the Dawn [206]

AUTONOMY AT Sylvere Lotringer Autonomy is the body w i t hout org a n s of politics, a n t i -


THE BASE h ierarc h i c , a n t i -d i a lect i c , a n t i - representative. I t i s n o t o n l y a po l i t i c a l p roject, i t i s
a p roj ect for ex istence.

I nd iv i d u a l s a re never autonomous: t hey depend on external recog n i t i o n . The


a u tonomous body i s not exc l u s ive o r i d e n t i f i a b l e . I t i s beyond recog n i t i o n . A body
of workers, i t breaks away f rom labor d is c i p l i ne; a body of m i l itants, i t i g no res
party organ izat i o n ; a body of doctrine, i t refuses ready-made c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s .

A u t o n o m y has n o f r o n t iers. I t i s a w a y of e l u d i n g the i m peratives of p rod uc t i o n ,


the vert i c a l ity of i ns t i t u t i o n s , the t raps of p o l i t ical representat i o n , t h e v i r u s o f
power. I n b i o logy, a n a u t o n o m o u s org a n i s m i s a n element that f u n c t i o n s in
dependently of o ther parts. Po l i t i c a l autonomy is the des i re to a l l ow d i fferences
to deepen at the base w i t h o u t t ry i n g to synthes ize them from above, to s t ress
s i m i la r att i t udes w i t h o u t i m pos i n g a " g e neral l i ne," to a l l ow parts to co-ex ist s ide
by side, i n t h e i r s i n g u l a rity.

The body without organs of autonomy has n o frontiers, but i t does have a h i story,
and t h i s h i story i s I t a l i a n . This h i story i s g iven here without any i n termediaries, i n
t h e l a n g u age of i t s actors. Other experiences a n d other perspect ives a re s i m pl y

8
set s i d e by s i d e . T h ro u g h t h i s I t a l i a n h i story, we can read o u r own h i story, o u r
possible h i story, between t h e l i nes.

H istorica l ly, Autonomy was born i n t h e l a rge factories of Northern Italy i n t h e ear
ly 50' s . "Autonomy at t h e base" was ori g i n a l l y devised by e m i g ra n t workers from
the South i n defiance of t h e u n io n bosses - backed by t h e Com m u n i st Party -
w h o p retended to represent t h e m . Autonomy soon m oved beyond c l a i m s for
h i g he r wages and q u es t i o n ed not o n l y labor relat i o n s h i ps , b u t labor i t s e l f . It
devised orig i na l forms of c o l l ect ive action (autored u c t i o n , sabotage of prod u c t i o n ,
etc.), w h i c h e n ta i l ed n u m e r o u s c o n f rontat i o n s w i t h t h e State. T h i s w h o l e t h e m e
c rysta l l ized i n 1 965 w i t h t h e ref u s a l of w a g e l a b o r w h i c h s t i l l rema i n s d i re c t l y t i ed
to t h e s t r u g g l e s of t h e I t a l i a n Autonomy.

A utonomy i s a way of act i n g c o l l ectively. I t i s made u p of a n u m ber of org a n s a n d


f l u i d organ izat i o n s c h a racterized by t h e ref u s a l to separate eco n o m i c s f r o m
p o l i t ics, and p o l i t i c s from e x i s t e n c e . Autonomy n e v e r u n i f ied.

D i verse organ izat i o n s assem b led at t h e n a t i o n a l leve l . They formed " Potere
O peraio" ( Worker's Po wer), both a g ro u p and a magaz i n e g a t h e r i n g toget h e r a
n u m ber of t h eoret i c i a n s s u c h as M a r i o Tro n t i , Ton i N e g r i , Serg i o B o l o g n a , Franco
P i pern o a n d O reste Scalzone. Their refo r m u l a t i o n of M a rx i s m became sem i na l for
t h e w h o l e of t h e autonomous m ove m e n t . In 1 973 t h e m i l ita rizat i o n of t h e M ove
m e n t raised a deep cont roversy between various c u rrents w i t h i n " Potere O p e ra i o " .
T h e c o n f rontation eve n t u a l l y led to its self-d isso l u t i o n . ( T h e State today refuses
to recog n ize this d i ss o l u t i o n .) Formed i n 1 970, t h e Red Bri gades were a l ready
orga n iz i n g c l a ndest i n e act i o n s i n order to carry t h e c o n f rontat i o n "to t h e heart of
t h e State . " O n e t h e other h a n d , vari o u s f rag m e n t s f r om " Potere Opera i o " extend
ed t h e strugg l e from t h e factory to t h e c i ty (occ u pa t i o n of hou ses, etc.) to g ro u n d
i t to t h e d a i l y l i fe of t h e " s o c i a l ized worker." T h i s majority const i t u tes t h e I t a l i a n
A u tonomy.

T h e c h a s m cont i n u ed to deepen between t h e c l a ndest i n e l i ne of t h e Red


B rigades, e n t re n c h ed i n t h e c lassic worker pos i t i o n , a n d t h e "open" perspect ive s
of Autonomy, e a g e r to acco u n t for t h e p rofo u n d t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s i n t h e " c l a s s
c o m p os i t i o n " of I ta l i a n society t h r o u g h forms of " m a s s " i nterve n t i o n .

O v e r t h e l a s t t w o years, a n d n o t a b l y s i nce t h e A p r i l 7 arrests, t h e I t a l i a n S t a t e h a s


tried to e rase by force t h e d i fference between t h e Red B r i g ades and Autonomy. I t
d e s i g nated " Potere Operaio" as t h e i r c o m m o n sou rce, as t h e i r " p r i m a l s c e n e . "
These m o n s t r u o u s m a t i n g s , these o r i g i n a ry e m b races a re a l ways retroactive fan
tasies, a n d conve n i e n t " reconstruct i o n s " of analysis. They j us t i fy repres s i o n . To
day m o re t h a n 1 ,500 i nt e l lect u a l s and m i l i t a n t s of the c l a s s move m e n t are i n
p r i s o n - i nd ef i n i tel y , i t seems - awa i t i n g t r i a l o n h i g h ly eva s i ve c h a rges. I t a l y i s
t h e o n ly " f ree society" t h a t c a n c l a i m to outdo t h e U S S R i n t h e n u m be r of
p o l i t i c a l p risoners.

T h e State repres s i o n i s dead l y - b u t i t i s not serious. I t i s not se r i ou s bec a u s e i t


m i sses i t s avowed t a r g e t (to e l i m i nate t h e Red Bri gades). I t e l i m i nates i nstead
what i t refu ses to acknowledge: t h e e m e rgence of new forms of c o n f l i c t l i n ked to
a new soc i a l s t rat u m . This s t rat u m i s s u pposed l y " m a rg i n a l , " b u t its a c t u a l i m p o r
tance, in I ta l y as e l sewhere, c a n o n l y g row.

N u merous c o m m ittees aga i n st Repres s i o n in I taly h ave formed in Western


ca pitals. I nternational a p peals h ave come from well-known f i g u res, such as Jean
Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Felix G u attari, G i lles Deleuze. Recen tly, I talia n ar
t i s t s and i ntellect u als close to t h e Italian Com m u n ist Party, whose resp o n s i bility
in t h e rou nd- u p appears overwh elm i n g , h ave started to p u blicly question the
State's p roced u res.

Protests h owever can be m i slead i n g s i nce t hey fall s q u a rely w i t h i n t h e framework


set up by t h e I tali a n State. The State selected its battleg round and carefully
wei g h ed i t s weapons. The State's blitz on Autonomy v iolates Human R i g h t s . I t

9
should be condemned internationally . But this is only part of the story . Its com
plexity, its contradictions, even its ambiguities remain to be told . To simplify the
nature of the Movement, the questions it raises and the danger it now faces
ultimately plays into the hands of power .

The scant information from Italy is partly responsible . It is urgent to close the in
formation gap on Italy - to unfold the overall context of these events . Every
passing day adds to the list. (October 16: Franco Piperno was finally extradited
from France) . Our "intervention" is not an "answer" to repression . Rather it un
covers a political experience which took almost 20 years to accumulate . This is
what the Italian State wants to put behind bars - along with most of the con
tributors to the present issue .

A new "social subject" is emerging, conscious of its own history and potential .
Its existence incorporates the most advanced aspects of our technological
societies . The outcome of the present confrontation is uncertain . Repression has
taken its toll . Indifference shouldn't take over . The actual reasons for which the
Autonomists are imprisoned shouldn't disappear with them, or even with their
eventual (and unlikely) release . We should preserve against the Italian State what
the State so unwillingly contributed to publicize .

Christian Marazzi This issue is purposely problematic, the choice of materials


hardly unified . It is in fact crucial to understand that what is called "autonomous
movement" (movimen to autonomo) is anything but homogeneous . It is comprised
of many different and sometimes opposing experiences . It includes organizational
and theoretical paths which may be traced back to a single "origin" (the so-called
Italian "workerism"), but this doesn't mean that they can be grouped today under
the same definition . Gathered here, then, are political contributions from people
who have had nothing to do with one another for years; who have chosen dif
ferent political outlooks and activities . The Italian State, by herding together
those it has arrested (and those it still wants to arrest) into the same blind alley,
tries to play down the differences and the specific attitudes within the Movement .
There is a reason for this: it is exactly these political differences, the internal
variety of the autonomous movement, that allowed it to grow .

L In 1977 Autonomy was riding the crest of the wave . The growth of a move-
ment however cannot be linear . Moments of explosive richness and inventiveness,
as in Rome and Bologna in 1977, are often followed by dry periods, times of ex
haustion, the ebb and flow: riflusso, as one now says in Italy . The experience ac
cumulated in action, the power extracted by the intellect freed from production is
then recycled at molecular levels . It generates mobility, nomadic work, social
fluidity which in turn prepare the ground for renewed political struggles .

We have witnessed in the US a comparable phenomenon since the end of the


60's: the Radical movement suddenly disappeared . Its impact wasn't lost, but, in
the absence of any political perspective, it rapidly dissipated at all levels of socie
ty . The knowledge derived from experimentations with drugs, with the body, with
communal life, was rechanneled throughout the system . Consumer society
benefited and profited from these "undisciplined" researches that it indirectly
financed . In Italy drugs still serve as a rallying point for the Movement . In the US,
far from encouraging social fluidity, they make the serfdom of labor more
tolerable .

The rapidity and scope of molecular transformations, the American "softness"


evoked by Felix Guattari, goes also hand in hand with the diffusion of infinitely
complex forms of "soft control" throughout society . This virtual reversibility of
signs of subversion is characteristic of "post-political" societies .

M Perhaps it is true that we are living in a "post-political" society, where the


definition of "political" has become a problem in itself . But it is also true that
side by side with the crisis of the political, we have an increased politicization of
people, a different way of "making politics," this is more concrete, specific, and

10
tied to local needs (health, housing, schools, education, etc .) . In Italy, as in the
United States, the party system is obviously in a crisis state, since it does not
succeed in channeling demands from the bottom and in transcending these
specific demands . Yet, alongside this crisis, people have been able to gain power .
The great movements of the 60's are surely far behind us, but so is the hyper
ideology of that period . Today we are nearing molecular forms of power . There is
less spectacularity, less "movement" with respect to the 60's . But good for us!
The electoral absenteeism, for example, which numbers almost 4 million non
voters, constitutes in Italy a true "party", being more a symptom of estrangement
from the great political-institutional deadlines (general and administrative elec
tions, etc.), than a symptom of apathy. This estrangement does not indicate "the
end of politics", but rather the opposite: a new way of making politics that ad
dresses specific and concrete needs without delegation .

It is interesting to note the enormous interest in the United States on the part of
the Italian class movement. This renewed "Americanism" is exploding right at the
time when the Italian movement is going through a growth and/or definition crisis .
Why Is there in Italy an interest in certain aspects of the US which here are con
sidered the very ones that block revolutionary growth? Perhaps because in Italy,
especially in the autonomous movement, there is an interest in everything that
changes, that moves, that explores . And there is no fear in Italy of treading over
old paths that are considered depasse . Thus nothing is buried. The struggle
knows no chronology, it is something circular . Many Italians, asphyxiated by the
ideology of the historical parties, come to the United States in order to study the
history of the American worker's struggle, a history without ideological mediation,
violent and concrete .

L The nature of social confrontations has changed drastically . Politics up to


now was tied to the relationships of production: the conflict between exploiters
and exploited . This conferred on the working class an indisputable centrality . In
post-industrial societies, whether capitalist or socialist, the opposition between
factory and society is slowly disappearing . Factories are no longer the focus for
struggles . Consequently political antagonisms can be redefined as a properly
social, even micro-social, conflict . Class struggle has yielded to more subtle con
frontations . The main objective, I believe, has become the production of subver
sive singularities out of the e quivalences created by the system . By another twist
in French philosophy, Jean Baudrillard now wants us to envisage this abrupt
change as the "end of politics" . To invoke the end of politics from conceptual
heights is one thing . It is quite another to speak of it from the depths of prison .
Unlike the French, the Italians do not have a quasi-religious respect for the pro-
priety of concepts and the systematicity of theory . Autonomists shamelessly bor
row what they can use . It is from this conceptual patchwork that the Movement
derives its theoretical soundness and political efficacy .

In Italy, contrary to the US, the impact of '68 has proceeded without interruption .
It has even gained momentum so that the "end of politics" today proclaimed by
the "creative" wing of the Movement ( Bologna), is simultaneously the rebirth of
politics . Politics returns, but in the Nietzschean sense: it returns as o ther.

Our decision to step in at once in an explosive, conflict-ridden situation - while


everything connected with Autonomy is threatened from all sides - is equally a
response to preoccupations that are closer to home: in many respects, the reac
tion against the 60's in the course of the "me" decade (there is nothing less
autonomous than an ego) has meant an impatient refusal of politics . This refusal
has gone on long enough . Politics must return.

M But what does "political'', "the end of politics'', etc ., mean? If by political
we mean a social relationship, a struggle, then surely in Italy there has always
been, until now, a formidable continuity of the "political" . If "political" is to mean
the direction of social transforma tion, in which autonomous decisions are made
in order to channel various struggles into a movement capable of de-limiting the
choices of both capital and the institutional system, then we are faced with a
variety of interpretations .

The I C P's choice of moving organically toward the government, or the Red
Brigades' armed choice to strike at the "heart of the State" or the internal debate
of the autonomy seeking to create organizational forms different from both the
party and the "anti-party", all exemplify the complexity of re-defining "political" .

If "the end of politics" means the search for new dimensions of antagonism on
levels other than the one defined by concrete needs (wage struggles, the "attack
on income" as a refusal of poverty, etc.), then within the Italian movement the
"end of politics" has a different meaning, not at all psychologistic, literary or
philosophic . For there the "end of politics" involves a search for new political
areas of struggle, new territories for the massification of the struggle . In Italy, the
French theories, like those of Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, and Baudrillard too, are
immediately translated into the Movement's language, that is, into concrete strug
gle .

What can be considered as the most original theoretical contribution to Italian


workerism originated abroad. For some theoreticians of Working Class and the
Red Notebooks (the first two workerist journals, which appeared at the beginning
of the 60's), the Socialisme ou Barbarie experience of the 50's in France was a
turning point . And, bizarre as it may seem, other important sources of
"workerism" are American: James Boggs' American Revolution, the writings of
Martin Glaberman and of G . P . Rawick, to cite but a few .

In Italy, the American struggles have always been a key point of reference, much
more so than certain aspects of the American New Left, which was too engaged
in criticizing American capitalism from the standpoint of its external, imperialistic
contradictions . Still, in the ?O's, the books of Fox Piven, Richard Cloward
(Regulating the Poor, Poor People's Movement), James O' Connor ( The Fiscal
Crisis of the Sta te), and many others, were being read in Italy . These contribu
tions have been seminal in the political formulation of the struggles within the
Welfare State .

There is nothing " Italian" about the class warfare in Italy; there is nothing
"original" in the Italian theoretical contributions . If any, their specificity resides in
the fact that in Italy these theories have been able to bloom and develop thanks
to the class struggles and their formidable continuity . We must avoid ghettoizing
Italy, thus neutralizing its importance . To understand Italy, one must understand

12
the U n i ted States; o n e m ust red i scover in t h e h istory of America n class warfare
that p o l i t i c a l r i c h ness w h i c h today i s attri buted t o the I t a l i a n " i nt e l lect u a l s ". To
erect a m o n u m e n t to I t a l y is t o p l ay t h e g a m e of t h e I t a l i a n State: to m i s re p resen t
as spec i f i c ( " t h e p rod uct of certai n i ntel lectuals ") w h a t i s i n fact rooted i n t h e
worker's h istory, rooted, above a l l , i n its i nternat i o n a l d i me n s i o n .

T H E R E F USAL O F T h e I C P ' s d e c i s i o n to e n t e r t h e H i storical Com p ro m i se w i t h t h e C h r i s t i a n


WORK Democrats was m o re c o m p l e x t h a n i t now s e e m s . The compro m i s e was s o u g h t
i m m e d i a t e l y a f t e r t h e C h i l e a n c o u p a n d o i l c r i s i s of 1 973, t w o even t s w h i c h forced
the off i c i a l Worker's M oveme n t to seek new pol i t i ca l strateg ies capable of expan
d i n g t h e areas of soc i a l a l l i a n ce . The oil crisis was used by t h e m u l t i na t i o n a l c o r
p o rat i o n s to acce l e rate t h e accu m u l a t i o n of c a p i t a l w i t h labor-sav i n g i nves t m e n t s .
T h u s t h e p o l i t i c a l make- u p of t h e c l ass w h i c h formed a r o u n d t h e mass worker
c o u l d have been destroyed, a n d along with i t t h e poss i b i l ity of genera l iz i n g its
s t r u g g les a n d aims i n t h e eyes of society. In fact, t h e period f o l l o w i n g 1 973
w i t nessed t h e rise of t h e c h e m i c a l and e nergy sectors as the most i m porta n t
(f i na n c i a l l y and i n s t i t u t i o n a l ly) i n t h e s y s t e m of world c a p i ta l i s m , w i t h t h e resu l t
t h at t h e soc i a l izat i o n of t h e mass worker's s t ru g g l e was f u rt h e r b locked.

O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , t h e C h i l e a n experience taught t h a t o l d soc i a l i s t modes of


gove r n m e n t were u n t e n a b l e . They were econo m i c a l l y backward with respect to
t h e i n ternat i o n a l capita l i st i n it iat ive, to which t h e H i storical C o m p ro m i s e was a n
attem pted response. I t i s n o w c o m m o n k n o w l e d g e t h a t t h i s response, o n t h e part
of the I C P, was opport u n i s t i c and, as i t t u rned out , i neffective. N o ne t h e l e s s , some
res ponse in kind to t h e i nternat i o n a l capita l ist i n i t iative was necessary.

W i t h i n t h i s framework we c a n p robe the debate w i t h i n A u t o n o m y . From 1 973 on


ward A u to n o m y has been a bove a l l a search for a n ew l y com posed p o l i t i c a l c lass
c a p a b l e of act i n g outside t h e p a rty syst e m . I f capital attacked t h e worker's strug
gle with mass layoffs, i n f l a t i o n , c h ro n i c u ne m p l oy m e n t , etc., i t was then
necessary to determ i n e a new p o l i t i c a l terra i n w h e re t h e most d i verse soc i a l
s t rata cou l d j o i n t h e i r s t r u g g l e s and recom pose a f r o n t a g a i n s t c a p i t a l . A n d s u re l y
i t was n ' t o n l y a g a i n s t c a p i t a l , b u t a l s o a n d perhaps a bove a l l , a g a i n s t t h e State
a n d i t s p a rty system , s i nce the c a p i ta l i s t i n i t iat ive cou l d only s u cceed with the
c o m p l i c i t y of the part i e s , ICP i n c l ud e d .

L France a c h i eved t e r r i t o r i a l and l i n g u i s t i c u n i ty nearly two c e n t u ries ago. By


c o m p a r i s o n , I t a l y rema i n s a y o u n g cou n t ry. Its p o l i t i c a l u n i f icat i o n i s recent, its
l i n g u i s t i c i n teg rat i o n p reca r i o u s . It i s not s u r p r i s i n g then that d ivers i f i ed
p h e no m e n a ex ist at a l l leve l s .
Italian political parties are not as centralized or integrated as French parties
There exists among the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party a degree
of interpenetration that explains, for the most part, the possibility of an institu
tional agreement . The "historic" strategy of the IC P takes into consideration the
existence in its midst of a considera ble num ber of Christian militants .

One only has to travel through Italy to realize to what extent regional diversity re
mains powerful . There is a social, dialectal, political and economic specificity to
each city and region . The revolutionary movement itself, in its extreme variety,
has o bviously adopted modes of existence and forms of indentification which are
characteristic of Italian society as a whole . The "tribal, communal, pre-capitalist
structures" allegedly threatened by any conflict, are in no way an appendage ex
clusive to the Movement. These structures are found as much in the Worker's
Movement as in the "clientelism" practiced by the DC .

Baudrillard is right to assume that the actual effect of confrontation such as the
one between the Red Brigades and the State is to eradicate any form of "transver
sality ." But Autonomy is too diverse to be lumped together as mere "pre-capitalist
structures." Far from lagging behind, Autonomy has assumed a revolutionary
position at the vanguard of capitalism: "inside and against." It challenges
capitalism on its own ground, "at the heart" of the system, and not simply as a
"marginality" soon to be eradicated . The o bjective collusion between the Red
Brigades and the State, therefore, cannot be taken as a strategy meant to an
nihilate o bsolete structures that fall outside of the reversibility of signs of power
and su bversion . What is most su bversive a bout Autonomy is precisely that it
refutes the inevitability of such a reversion and the ensuing implosion of the
system .

Autonomy ought not to be conceived as completely divorced from and opposed to


the rest of civil society . The fluidity of its organizational schemes corresponds
also to an historical delay in relation to the modes of unification at work in the
rest of Europe . The oppositions between North and South, between the under
development of Sicily and the technological advances in the Milan-Turin region,
the heterogeneity of languages and cultures, all contribute to ground political
diversity (a key-word) in a manner a bsolutely unknown in post-industrial countries.
The persistance of earthly roots and of collective practices in the very heart of an
advanced society have kept alive political options which have largely been "pass
ed over" in more unitary countries .

Autonomy is the only political movement today that simultaneously makes use of
the most a bstract machinery (the technico-scientific intelligence) and of the
masses' most traditional, community ties . Left to themselves, territorial groups
would eventually be eliminated by power as pockets of archaism; left to itself,
abstract labor would conform to the demands of capital . What engenders the
originality and force of Autonomy is that economies which in theory exclude one
another are allowed to exist side by side in a non-conflictual manner . The
"creative" wing of the Movement has nothing to do anymore with the 'historic"
Autonomy, hardened in its ideological bastion, and devoted to both concrete and
symbolic - if not totemic - practices which promote its osmosis with the
masses . At all levels, however, provisional conjunctions are being implemented
which allow a detachment from territory and a territorialization of the intelligence .
More than the spectacular operations of the Red Brigades, this mixture remains
virtually the most explosive . The network of free radios, the most extensive in
Europe, is a perfect example. Radio Onda Rossa, the organ in Rome of the Volsci
(the hard core of organized Autonomy), on the one hand broadcast deterritorializ
ed signals, thus appropriating technico-scientific knowledge, and on the other
establishes roots in the population through a collective self-management of oc
cupied buildings . The political crystallization of this technical intelligence allows
it finally to go beyond the "mad hopes" of an autonomist practice always menac
ed by revolutionary messianism . As a result, Autonomy does not remain content
"waiting for something from outside," but instead tries to live through today's
capitalism in an alternative way by deflecting the latter's advances to the profit of

14
the new social subject . Thus it intends to win against capitalism not by force of
arms, but by quickness of intelligence, by pushing capital to the utmost of its
possibilities . Jn this respect the experience of Italian Autonomy has a capacity for
generalization unknown to the rest of the west .

M The thesis of the "two societies" propounded by a workerist intellectual of


the I C P, Alberto Asor Rosa, is quite dangerous . According to this view the "social
subjects" who emerged politically from the capitalist transformation of the ?O's
- women, unemployed youth, those who work off-the-books, etc . - the so-called
"marginals", are "something else" with respect not only to the official Worker's
Movement and its tradition, but also with respect to society. This thesis implies
that these new social vectors should be considered "unproductive workers", their
social and cultural attitudes subordinant to those of the factory workers, who are
considered the only workers productive of wealth which will subsequently be con
sumed by others . Jn short, the struggles of the new "social subjects" are
epiphenomena, irrational manifestations which must be brought under the guide
of the factory worker . The centrality of the worker means precisely this: the will to
impose a worker's direction to the social transformation brought about by the
capitalist development .

The strategic position of the Red Brigades may also be characterized in a similar
way . Their categorical choice of the factory worker as the decisive political
referent is strictly in line with orthodox Marxist tradition . This definition of "pro
ductive labor", however, derives more from Adam Smith than from Marx . For
Marx, productive labor is the labor which produces surplus value and struggles .
Thus his category is not just economic, but also political . Moreover, it is a fact
that the new social subject produces surplus knowledge, innovation and in
telligence, which capital has a dire need to appropriate .

Asor Rosa's thesis, as the materials included in the present issue repeatedly
demonstrate, is wrong not only on the empirical level (today, in Italy, well over
one-third of an active population of 2 1 million work part-time, off-the-books, etc.),
but also from a political standpoint . What the Bolognesi call "marginality at the
center" is precisely a critique of all attempts to subordinate this invention-force,
that is, the creativity and productivity of the struggle and of the life-styles
developed by the so-called "marginals" . These recently formed "social subjects"
are productive workers in a double sense: they produce wealth and they produce
struggles . Thus they are at the center, or at any rate rightfully belong there.

This brings us back to the central theme of Autonomy: the struggle against work,
the refusal o f work. Ever since its early formulations, which date back to Mario
Tronti's writings of 1964, the Italian revolutionary movement has been moving
toward the refusal of work as a positive productive force of capitalist develop
ment . Refusal of work, demand for more money and less work, struggle against
harmful work (which, after all, characterizes work in all its capita lis t forms), has
always meant forcing capital to develope to the maximum its productive forces .
Only when the worker's labor is reduced to the minimum is it possible to go
beyond, in the literal sense, the capitalist mode of production . Only when "non
worker's labor" becomes a generalized reality and enjoying life a productive fact
in itself, does freedom from exploitation become not only possible but materially
achievable .

The "diffused factory" (what in the US is called the "underground economy"), is


seen by Autonomy not only as super-exploitative but also as a subjective choice
on the part of the young proletarians . The growth of the underground economy is
also a consequence of this refusal of factory discipline, and the will to organize
working time on the basis of free time. It is precisely this struggle against work
that produces the inventiveness and "technical knowledge" typical of the
"marginals" . " Marginality at the center" means, in this sense, the centrality of the
struggle against work, a struggle which goes beyond the factory gates .

The fact still remains that between the new subjects and the factory workers
there is a political distance not yet organized (mediated) by the extra
parliamentary organizations . Though it may seem paradoxical, capital itself is
now closing the gap between the "two societies" by investing high technology in
the decentralized production units, and by employing an unskilled work-force
(especially women) in the large factories . This restructuration is evident at F I AT's
factory in Turin. Yet the recent lay-off of sixty-one F I AT workers, considered
"para-terrorists" by the management, clearly shows how this restructuration also
necessitates repression.

Since restructuration requires a more flexible labor market, certain behavioral dif
ferences among social strata are blurred by capital . In fact, capital cannot act
otherwise . Because "marginal" work has potentially the highest rate of productivi
ty, capital must invest technology in the periphery, rather than in the large fac
tories .

L " Marginality" is a massive phenomenon, a true mutation in the field of pro-


duction, and not a simple malfunction of the system . The absence of a Welfare
State in Italy no doubt contributed to a burgeoning awareness of this centrality .
In the "diffused social factory" of the post-industrial era, marginality has virtually
ceased to be marginal . It has become the very texture of society . At this point the
experience of Autonomy transcends Italian frontiers . The marginalization of work
is not a phenomenon unknown in the US, as you mentioned, but its actualization
through the autonomous movement allow us to rediscover its political dimension .

The events of 1968 fell s quarely within traditional political oppositions . Students
were rebelling against Imperialism, or Authority . The aftermath of May '68,
therefore, was marked by defeat and gloom: the system had prevailed .

The Italian movement avoided, for the most part, these post-May blues. It didn't
experience any of the dramatic liquidations of revolutionary hopes and illusions
that ensued in most western countries . It went on, unperturbed, on its own trajec
tory. How can we account for this fact?

Years before May '68, the "strategy of refusal" had opened an entirely new front:
the front of wage labor. The refusal of factory discipline advocated by the Move
ment was bound to set it from the start against the work ethic of the I C P and its
hegemony in the Worker's Movement . The present strength of the Italian move
ment, its steady reinforcement throughout the 70's stem from the fact that its ma
jor theme largely a n ticipa ted the criticism of bureaucratic socialism, of which the
most recent -and largely belated-symptom in France has been the marketing by

16
the media of the brand New Philosophers .

The position of Tronti, "inside and against" the development of capitalism offered
early on a positive alternative to the opposition of the I C P and the C D whose in
creasing obsolescence eventually led to the Historical Compromise . It will take
the failure of the Common Program in France before the cleavage between the
Right and the Left begins to crumble and political representation starts to im
plode in the general disarray . At this moment the obsessive, seductive and
gloomy theme of the end of politics begins to take credence .

What remains paradoxical, if not mysterious, is why Italy, with its pockets of
under-development and rather tardy "economic miracle," should be among the
first to propose in political terms, through the bias of Autonomy, the invention of
new forms of life relatively or completely detached from the slavery of work .

M It is very doubtful that Italy is still one of Europe's least developed coun-
tries . The existence of its underdeveloped regions has always been a function of
the rapid growth of other areas of the country . Typical in this regard is the North
South relationship, where we find immigrants from the South working on the F IA T
assembly line . Yet the growth o f highly advanced struggles i n a country that has
known periods of economic backwardness remains to be explained .

We must first recall that in the sixties the worker's struggles exploded within an
institutional scheme called "center-left" (centro sinis tra). During the recession in
1964, the Socialist Party joined the Christian Democrats in order to form a govern
ment based on a program of economic development . This coalition attempted to
make the economic system more dynamic by nationalizing certain corporations in
the electrical and chemical sectors, and by improving public services. Even
though only a small part of this economic program was actually carried out, no
doubt it rendered the Communist opposition, already weakened by its decision to
engage only in parliamentary struggle, completely ineffective . In fact, from
Togliatti onward, the I C P had been losing strength as it slowly moved away from
the working class, leaving to the unions the purely economic regulation of wages .
For the Worker's Movement, in short, the center-left meant political weakness .

It was in this context that Quaderni Rossi ( " Red Notebooks") and C/asse Operaia
( "Working Class") were born . Quaderni Rossi tackled the problem of analyzing the
new class composition as it emerged from the most recent capitalist transforma
tions at the beginning of the sixties: the mass-worker, the new means of mass
production which, by reducing the strategic importance of skilled workers,
weakened the unions in which they figured prominently . Class Operaia on the
other hand, attempted to formulate a new political strategy, which Tronti called
"inside and against": to act on the inside of capitalist development, promoting it
through the refusal of work (thus bringing about the introduction of new machines
and new technology), but at the same time to remain against capitalism wan ting
everything from it, all the wealth produced through its reformism .

From their inception, these new political hypotheses aimed at redefining the rela
tionship between workers and organization . Because the I C P had lost its contact
with workers, the situation called for a reformulation of the "party" and
necessitated a scrutiny of the class composition . Both from the standpoint of
capitalist development and from that of the anti-capitalist struggle, a new
strategic role for the mass-worker had emerged . Its struggles now created a new
terrain to the left of the I C P, thus posing in new terms the question of organiza
tion .

A L The American system is like a self-regulating machine, not inhibited by ii


NONARISTOTELIAN legality - indeed capitalist profit feeds on the invention of illegalities not yet
STATE codified as such - but once an illegality is identified (Watergate, Lockheed, etc.),
the system rapidly corrects itself . Italy lacks this self-correcting flexibility . In
order to expunge illegality, the State must itself adopt illegal measures .

The State initiative required more than public consent: a new reality had to be
created to accomodate these institutional illegalities . The co-production with the
media of a new reality went also beyond the scope of a classical "ideological"
manipulation . Any other reality had simply disappeared .

As one of its celebrated falsifications of the Italian press, II Male, a satiric


magazine close to the Movement, reported with photographic evidence the arrest
of the well-known actor Ugo Tognazzi as chief of the Red Brigades . The II Male
staff then experienced the vertiginous "loss of reality" which has come to con
stitute Italian life, when the public took this simulation for the literal truth. It must
have fulfilled the public's secret desire to see, at long last, a "conspiracy" unveil
ed and a Supreme Leader denounced . But the simulation also meant that they
were ready to believe in anything! II Male had incidently put its finger on the
nerve-center of repression . Reality had become weightless, a gigantic simulacrum .

M The fact that the State itself assumes subversive forms to maintain control
over subversive forces is, whether we like it or not, the consequence of an entire
cycle of struggles . Today, the delay on the part of those who want to revolt (a
theoretical rather than a practical-political delay), forces a complete dislocation of
the terrain of social subversion . If it is true, like Bifo claims, that Autonomy has
shown itself to be, at times, of a reversible nature, that is easily inverted by the
State (the military aspect, for example, is exactly what the State has chosen to
fight, with alarmingly positive results), this does not alter the fact that to
dislocate the terrain of the rebellion implies finding new forms of violence . The
violence of the Red Brigades is to be radically criticized not because it is
"violent", but because it isn't violent enough! And It isn't violent enough for the
simple reason that it corresponds to the State's violence . The Red Brigades, in
their actions, produce Sta te-Po wer. But what we want today is libera tion from the
Sta te. It appears that the limitation of the materials here presented (ultimately an
objective limit) concerns precisely this blocking of the search for newer forms of
destruction of all that is State . Perhaps Autonomy ran ahead of itself: it is not by
accident that at the very moment of greatest desire to explore different ways of
social subversion, the State steps in massively .

L The lucidity of the State goes way beyond rationality . The "mutating" posi
tion adopted by the Italian State to face the challenge of the Autonomists is one
of the most astonishing aspects of the current repression . The " Defense
Memorandum" of the prisoners clearly shows how far the "legal procedure" defin
ed by the prosecution has departed from democratic legality . It is impossible to
confront "speculations" presented as specific accusations, if not as proof, if we

18
don't understand the rationale of the highly acrobatic maneuvers by which the
prosecution is building a case against Autonomy . The evasiveness of the initial
accusations, the heterogeneity of materials isolated from their contexts and
subsequently pieced together through osmosis, suggest the imposition of an
unusual logic . Gilles Deleuze defined such logic as a violation of the principle of
identity (A is always A, never B), and of the principle of the excluded middle
(Either A is A or non- A) . In other words, the State has deliberately jumped out of
the magic circle of Aristotelian logic .

Is it not exactly in these terms that A nti-Oedipus defined the positive "syntheses"
of the "schizo" flux - non-contradictory, non-exclusive, unlimited and multifocal?
The logic of the prosecution recognizes identity not on the basis of identical sub
jects, as is usually the case, but on the basis of identical predica tes. The number
of subjects ( Red Brigades, Autonomy) is limited, but the number of predicates
called upon to justify the identity of the two subjects ( Red Brigades = Autonomy)
is unlimited. This hypertrophy of the sense of identity is enough to provoke what
pathologists call an "orgy of identifications ." Has there ever been, in the course
of history, an openly schizophrenic State?

The Italian State has moved onto its adversary's territory; it has simula ted the
fluidity characteristic of Autonomy. A "pilot" decision rendered September 2 1,
1979, in the trial of Luigi Rosati, ex-husband of the Brigadist Adriana Ferranda
and ideologue of A u tonomia Operaia, described Autonomy as "an indefinable mix
ture of groups and varied tendencies, a veritable mosaic made of different
fragments, a gallery of overlapping images, of circles and collectives without any
central organization." This definition echoes in every respect the logic deployed
by the prosecution against Autonomy . . .

That this may be another dizzying example of the reversal of signs and of the im
plosion of power is too hasty a conclusion . To be sure, the Italian State has taken
a leap at the heart of capital's flux - but only in order to master it . Here ceases
the abstract reversibility of signs on which the "end of politics" is founded . The
orgy of the accusation's identifications constitutes only the first phase of a
strategy which has little to do with schizophrenia . It consists of using Aristotelian
thought to support conclusions reached through non- Aristotelian cognitive opera
tions . The identification of "coincidences" established between the Red Brigades
and the Autonomists on the basis of identical predicates ( "any Left revolutionary
literature inevitably has some points of similarity," the Memorandum remarks)
and the boundless number of charges become the ground upon which the pro
secution builds up "paranoid" systems of regularity centered upon a unique point
of interpretation . The simulation of the State thus becomes the hallucination of a
truth which is artificially resuscitated as reality . It suffices that the State
substitute its simulacrum for the autonomous (non-unified) reality of the Move
ment in order to justify its campaign of repression.

The distinction is of some importance . It leads us to supplement the inevitable


short-comings of a defensive position . It must be recognized that the looseness of
Autonomy constitutes a considerable innovation in the history of the revolu
tionary movement . It confers a flexibility heretofore never attained in the struggle
to destabilize power . It is no wonder that the State, confronted with this elusive
network whose fluidity permits a virtually total transfer of responsibility, has also
proved its inventiveness and forged a mode of accusation just as polymorphously
perverse. It is inadmissible, however, that these loose charges were cast in ad
vance from a perspective contradicting absolutely everything Autonomy stands
for . The logical delirium of the State projects the mosaic of Autonomy upon the
rigid screen of the Red Brigades . And so the game goes .

The President of the Court who judged Luigi Rosati went so far as to recognize
what separates the Red Brigades from Autonomy: "The Autonomy groups refute
in principle every rigid, verticalizing, hierarchical structure"; he distinguished the
attack "at the heart of the State" advocated by the Red Brigades from the
"capillary penetration" of Autonomia Organizza ta; he readily admitted that these
micropolitical actions are the fruit "not of a coordination among diverse,
associated organs but of a spontaneity which has very little in common with the
character of professional crimes"; yet he condemned no less severely the intellec
tuals who, like Luigi Rosati, without personally participating in any criminal ac
tivities, "accepted, exalted and advocated them."

The "pilot" sentencing of Rosati to four years' imprisonment confirms the will of
power to integrate the wave of criticisms directed against it without departing in
the least from its accusations . It is now clear to everyone that the prosecution of
Autonomy is a truly political trial less interested in condemning its ideas than in
annihilating "an entire section of the political movement in Italy." ( Memorandum) .
The real danger to the State comes not from the Red Brigades, who speak the
same language and who develop structures which "mirror" and thus reinforce its
own . The profound menace to the State comes from the fact that Autonomy
speaks a language and develops forms of organization and of subjectivity against
which there exists no "classic" response . It is in this innovation - this positivity
- with which the present issue is concerned, and not with the defense, in "reac
tive" or reductive terms, of innocents unjustly accused.

As Franco Piperno here recognizes, the new spontaneity requires the practice of
illegality as a necessary condition for its existence . But then so does the State.
The whole problem is in knowing whether this illegality is active, inventive,
creative of life and values, or, like the somber, embracing couple formed by the
Red Brigades and the State apparatus, a bringer of terror and death.

Transla ted by Peter Cara vetta and John Johnston

i l/1 Icarus E m p i re State B u i l d i ng, N ew York, 1 930


Lew is W. H i ne ( 1 874-1 940) Courtesy: The Brooklyn M u seum
i l/2 NXP1 690 38 SPEAKI N G WITH T H E SQUATTERS SANTIAGO, C H I LE: Preside nt Salvador
Al lende (l eft) speaks to squatters who have u n lawf u l l y taken over a housing estate in a poor
sect ion of Santiago. They are part of a movement w h i c h i s protest i n g the bad h o u s i n g condi
tions by seizi ng other people's homes and ref u s i n g to move. A l l ende i s expected to decree the
esta b l i shment of a National Cou n c i l of Peasants, Dec. 2 1 st. Accord i n g to the Agri c u l t u re
M i n istry, the cou n c i l w i l l s peed the peasant's part i c i pation in the govern ment's land reform
prog ram . (UPI) 1 2/21 /70
i l/3 1 9885 FLI NT, M I C H .---T H E R E'S PRI VACY, TOO, FOR T H E M O R E FASTI D I OU S " S ITTER".
T H ES E HAVE ESTA B LI S H E D I N D I V I DUAL ROO M S IN I N COM PLETED AUTO BODI ES. T H EY
HAVE EV E N I N SC R I B E D T H E I R N A M ES A N D N U M B E RS, A LSO BITS OF H U M O R ON T H E
DOORS O F T H E I R QUARTERS. 2-1 0-37
i l/4 Funeral for the vict i m s of the Everett M assacre, 1 9 1 6. A scene from the American
documentary The Wobblies, d i rected by Stewart B i rd and Deborah S haffer, 1 979.

20
i l/5 DA P0705077/5/74 HOUSTO N ,TEX: A jam of over 30,000 new i m ported automobiles w i t h no
p l ace to go because of a d ec l i ne in fore i g n sales has tu rned the port of Houston I nto an over
crowded parki ng lot.With 1 0,000 more expected t h i s month, i m porters are scram b l i ng to g rab
what l i ttle park i n g acreage t here I s left. (UPI)
i l/6 XP01 27051 /27/75-Fenton, MO.: Chan g i ng of s h i fts of empl oyees as C h rysler Corp. reopen
ed truck and automo b ile assembly l i nes in Fenton 1 127 after a t h ree-week layoff.About 5600
persons on two truc k-asse mbly s h i fts and one auto-assembly shift went back to work.A se
cond auto-assembly shift was not cal led back, leav i n g about 2 1 00 workers laid off. (UPI)
m i l l i o n days In j a i l . 1 1 0 m i l l ion days in j a i l .
M i l l ions a n d t ri l l ions a n d fantast l l l lons o f
days i n dark j a i l s . . . 1 1 1 days i n j ai l , 1 2, 1 3,
1 4, 1 5, 1 6 , 1 7, 1 8, 1 9 days in j a i l . 1 20 days i n
j a i l . F o r a week n o w I 've been jerki ng off
t h ree t i mes a day, I want to see i f I lose my
passion. 1 21 days in j a i l . Uh. 1 22 days in j ai l .
U h . 1 23 days i n , 1 23 days i n . U h . J a i l . 1 24
days, 5. 6 in j a i l days. Oh. Uh. 1 27 days i n
j a i l . 1 28 days i n j a i l . 1 29 days i n j a i l . 1 30 days
in jai l . And 1 30 days less to l i ve. Goddam m i t .
1 3 1 d a y s i n jai l . And a barrel of rum and a
barrel of rum. 1 32 days in j a i l . 1 33 days I n
j a i l . And then, 1 34 days i n j a i l and 1 35 days
in j a i l and my bel ly aches I feel sick as a dog
and it must be this s h i tty water or this lethal
w i ne - the f i l t h y pigs. Uh. 1 36 days In j ai l , 6,
7, 8, 9, 1 40 days i n j a i l . Prison rhymes w i t h
cot i l l i on. Even danc i ng makes me si ck. I
can't t h i nk of anyth i n g that makes me s i cker.
Than danci ng. But let's not talk nonsense.
Jail is worse. Worse . . . U h . 141 days i n j a i l .
1 42 days I n j a i l . 1 43 days i n j a i l . 1 44 days i n
j a i l . 1 45 days i n jai l . 1 46 days i n j a i l . 1 47 days
in j a i l . 1 48 days In j a i l . 1 49 days in j a i l . 1 50
days - if only I cou l d s l eep l ike R i p Van
W i nkle and wake u p beneath a tree i n two
and a half years - 1 50 days i n j a i l , I was
sayi ng. 1 51 , 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6 , 7, days i n jail (th i s
week really flew). 1 58 days i n j a i l . 1 59 days i n
j a i l . 1 60 days f o r d o i n g somet h i n g w rong for
doing somet h i n g wrong i n j a i l . 161 d ays i n
j a i l . 1 62 days i n j a i l . 1 63 days i n j a i l . 1 64 days
In JA/UH/A I L. Ah. 1 65 days in j a i l . 16 . . . 1 . . .
U h . Uh. Uh. 1 60 DAYS I N JA/UH/A I L. 1 6 1
days, 2, 3, 4 i n , days, i n , jai l . T h i s is j a i l , u n
doubtedly. 1 65 d ays i n j ai l . Peop le g e t stabb
ed in j a i l . 1 66 days in j a i l and 167 days In j a i l .
1 68 days i n j a i l . 1 69 days i n j a i l . S o , let's say
that twenty months equal 600 days. 600 days
p l u s 1 20 from four more months equal 720.
Let's round it off to 750, and there it is . . .
750 m i nus the 1 70 days I 've al ready done i n
j a i l equals . . . 580
days sti l l left to do in t h i s fi lthy j a i l . U n l ess
they pardon me for good behavior. Ah. I 've
gotten a hard-on aga i n . Cool out, cock,
there's no point in gett i n g exci ted . . . 1 7 1
days i n j a i l . 1 72 days in j a i l . Wait a m i n ute, I
made a m i stake the other day. Th i rty
months - two and a half years in j a i l . Not
twenty-four months! ! ! . . . T h i rty months;
900 days minus the 1 72 days i n jail I 've
al ready done equal . . . 728 days in j a i l . Uh.
Sti l l to do. 1 73 days i n jail. 1 74 days I n jail.
1 75 days I n j a i l . 1 76 days i n jail. 1 77 days i n
j a i l . 1 78 days I n j a i l . 1 79 days i n j a i l . 1 80 days
In j ai l . 1 8 1 days in j a i l . J a i l p l u s j a i l only
equals jail. 1 82, 3, 4 days i n jail. Yesterday,
today, yesterday, today, yesterday yesterday.
Today. 1 85 days In j a i l . 1 86, 7 days In jai l . We
play soccer in the cou rtyard . I kick the ba l l
a s violently a s I can. A s I f t h e bal l were that
pig, the shitty j udge who gave me two and a
half years, two and a half years of J A I L . 1 88,
9, 90 days in jai l . 1 9 1 days in j a i l . 1 92 days i n
j a i l . 1 93 days i n j ai l . 1 94 days I n j a i l . 1 95 days
in j a i l . I ' m itchy all over. I can't s l eep. My
eyes are red . Even though I don't read.
2 The Im possibl e C l ass
F i a t H as
Branded Me

G i a m p a o l o P a nsa

G i ampaola Pansa, w e l l -known for h i s i nter


vi ews with I t a l i a n workers, talks here to a
Fiat worker from the M i rafiori plant in Tori no
who was among the group of 61 workers
fi red on Tuesday October 9, 1 979. This i n ter
view appeared in La Repubbllca 3 days later.

You have heard a foreman from Mirafiori vent himself . Now listen to me . I too
come from Mirafiori and I am among the sixty-one workers fired by Fiat . Until
Tuesday I worked in the painting de partment . I was a general worker at the third
level . According to Fiat, I was also a violent worker, a quasi-terrorist, one who
assists the Red Brigades : this is the mark that Agnelli is trying to brand on my
forehead .

I must start at the beginning so you can understand the situation . I shall be 29 in
November . I am from the province of Catanzaro, from a small village that offers
no o p portunities . We emigrate from there In droves . Before leaving, I attended
secondary school and then took a technical course . But school was not for me . I
subsequently decided to go and look for work in the north, at Turin .

I left my village in January of '69, having just turned 18. I had never been outside
it . Turin frightened me - its huge size, its ugliness, the clouds and the snow. I
asked myself : where have you come? I found a job in a real hole, a small factory,
but I lasted only 10 days there, I couldn't take it much longer . Then I found
another job . Things were going better there, yet I thought only of Fiat . I said to
myself : Fiat is a big com pany, you'll be secure there; if you get into Fiat, you'll
never wind u p out on your ass .

24
I entered Fiat on 28 May 1969 as an apprentice in the painting department . The
apprenticeship was supposed to last 6 months, but it ended much sooner . The
trouble in July of '69 had already erupted; Fiat needed people who could start
working at once, in order to fill the gaps left by those who were on strike or who
sympathized with them . And so I went right on the assembly line immediately
after the vacations .

At the beginning the painting department was horrible . I worked as if in the mid
dle of a cloud, amid strange odors and terrible smells of every kind . It was an in
fernal scenario . Yet after a little while, even with these noxious fumes, I started to
like the job . Painting cars in not a monotonous task . What I was learning could
help later on . And then I always tried to work with my head too: I tried to do my
job well. But also preserve my health . In short, I was rather satisfied .

It was autumn and still hot outside . I didn't pay attention to it . I didn't know
anything about what was hap pening around me and then there was my mother's
advice: think about work and keep to yourself . Only in 1970 did I start to get a lit
tle involved . No, it wasn't political activity at all, and it didn't even have anything
to do with the union . I concerned myself with the problem of the working condi
tions in the painting department . The situation was disastrous and I even felt the
effects of it . I lost eight teeth . And then there was the nausea, the duodenal ulcer,
the impaired hearing .

In a word, I was provoked when I saw that I was paying for my job at Fiat with my
skin . But it was not an individual rebellion, nor was I interested in raising hell for
its own sake . It was a collective rebellion by nearly the entire shop . We asked Fiat
to alter the situation and Fiat answered no .

Anyhow, in that year I joined the union and then I had an important encounter -
with Lotta Continua. I had been fined since I had not completed the assigned
work precisely because of the working conditions . I went out through the gates
and showed these conditions to some of the people who were always there with
newspapers and flyers . They told me: Come with us and we'll talk about it .

Now Lotta Con tinua no longer exists as a group . And I am nostalgic for it, even if
I do not feel that I am a former member . For me it was a great experience,
political and human . I learned about things, I met exceptional people whom I
would have never met otherwise . Lo tta Con tinua had one great merit: it made you
intellectually open to other people, it let them speak, it let them discuss . . .

I am not a popular leader . I'm a quiet man . You know what they call me in the
painting department? "The priest," "the good guy . " But from the first moment of
my involvement with that political group, Fiat must have classified me as "a lo t
tacon tinua " and that was it . In my opinion, they have put me out because of that
label, because of my political activity when the group existed . But this is a
chapter to which we shall return later .

Now I want to say that in those first eight to nine months I was a Fiat worker like
the others, and I was occasionally better than the others . My absences were few .
In short, I have always done my share, as an electrical technician until 1977 and
then in preventive overhaul, where the car is prepared for painting . I considered
myself good on the job and my foremen have always considered me so .

In the meantime, the working conditions had I mproved and my duties became less
oppressive and repetitive . Nonetheless, I had also grown bored . Lotta Con tinua
was no longer there and Turin haunted me . The huge city never pleased me, but
now I was really aching and I wanted to leave it . My dream was to go and work
for Fiat abroad . And for two months they did send me away, to a branch office in
Germany . When I returned, I renewed my request . In fact, I had recently done s o
with Varetto, the manager shot b y the Red Brigades . And when the foreman
brought me to the front office on Tuesday, I believed that they had heard my re
quest . Instead they dealt me the letter of dismissal .

25
That letter brands me as violent . But I deny it! Of course, my strikes for a change
in working conditions made them do it . And I have given some trouble to Fiat, but
so have many others . Between '7 4 and '7 5, I was a union delegate and I did what
was within my power . And even if I am not at all an orator, I have never laid back
when there was some working method to be discussed with the foremen .

Take note of this: I said working method, not work . I do not refuse work . I am a
born worker, and I must work, but not as a slave . And I am also convinced that it
is necessary to work well; if you don't do your job well, you make more work for
the people who come after you on the chain. I have never swerved from this posi
tion with those of my co-workers who act badly . I say: if you do only a little work,
at least do it well . And do a little work so it'll all get done . This is one of the Fiat
workers' slogans .

What does a little work mean? Today we work for seven and a half hours a day .
It's too much . It must be seven hours a day, five days a week, or thirty-five hours.
No more. If the working hours are not changed, the unemployed will stay that
way . I have alway maintained this point of view . I have always tried to put it into
practice . I have even discussed it with my foremen, but without ever being
reprimanded or quarreling or resorting to violence .

Yes, there is much talk about violence against the foremen . I would like for the
newspapers also to speak of the violence of the assembly line, which moves
much too quickly . And isn't it violence when certain foremen put their hands on
the asses of the newly hired boys? Where, at any rate, are these acts of violence
against the foremen? Of course, there have been moments of tension during con
tract negotiations . And many workers see the foreman as their immediate oppo
nent . Sometimes the men are short-tempered: to be in a factory is hard on
everyone .

Still, I have never done any violence . I have always been in the same work group.
My foreman thinks highly of me . He gave me a pen as a gift. He has even invited
me to his home . Do you invite to your home a violent man who threatens you?
Tuesday, he was the first one to be struck with amazement . Ever since Lotta Con
tinua dissolved, I have become completely peaceful . Moreover, someone who tries
to raise hell for its own sake or who acts as the terrorist's assistant doesn't ask
to go abroad: he stays here to threaten and to play the violent man .

Why then have they fired me? This is my answer. Fiat knows everything about its
workers - their lives, deaths, miracles . I am a politicized worker . I have always
tried to involve my co-workers in labor problems, with working conditions and
rhythms . I used to go to contract negotiations, to talk, discuss . In a word, I used
to make trouble . So they've pulled out their old lists: there I was on the list for
Lotta Continua and so they've thrown me out .

I am evidence that Fiat is a terrorist organization . By eliminating people like me,


Fiat wants to eliminate those who can speak on behalf of the others, those who
do not bow their heads . And then there must be a grander design: once the
"ballbreakers" are eliminated, it will be easier to return to the past, to increase
production more and more, to make people understand that only Fiat controls
Mirafiori and that the workers must give up the idea of getting their rights .

But since the bosses at Fiat cannot say this, they make us pass for para
terrorists . It's a lie . I do not agree with the Red Brigades . They are not the kind of
people who can protect our interests . I have never considered delegating my
representation to those who use weapons . And I do not believe that in Italy things
can be changed by shooting people .

Yet I am also convinced that there is much too little discussion of terrorism
among the workers . There is great indifference at Fiat. When they killed
Ghiglieno, there was hardly any reaction in the shops. The other incidents have
been received in the same way . The workers consider them material for the

26
newspapers at this point. On the contrary, it is necessary to discuss and ask
oneself why the Red Brigades shoot certain people and not others .

O f course, the Red Brigades don't shoot only foremen . You remind m e o f Rossa, a
worker like myself. What do I think of him? Well, I don't know . . . What if I
discovered that one of my co-workers was a briga tista ? That's a difficult ques
tion! It's a big problem . No, I wouldn't say anything . I don't want to play spy on
anyone's account . . . . In any case, the Red Brigades are inside Fiat, but I don't
know them and I'm not one of them . . . .

You say that my answers show it's a little hard for me to talk about terrorism . It
will be so, but there's a reason for it . I have always been distrustful . Now that I've
been fired by Fiat, I'm even more so . Your questions about terrorism, about
denunciations, and so forth, seem to me a little provocatory . . . .

However, I'm not the only one who talks about terrorism in this way . It's a thorny
problem, too thorny . Everyone has become distrustful . Take a short walk through
the streets of Turin, ask people the questions you've asked me, and you'll see
whether you get different answers . And then, you see, ever since Lo tta Con tinua
disbanded, I no longer want to take part in anything . I'm only concerned about my
ass . I hoped to go abroad, to decide whether I would marry or not, and instead
this thing happened to me . . . .

I'm disheartened and I feel persecuted . And then there's one last thing I want to
say to you . Just as I am nostalgic for Lotta Continua, so am I nostalgic for Fiat .
I'm an emigrant; Fiat was my home for ten years. It seems unjust to me that they
should chase me from my home . I have only one hope: that the unions, that all
those who call themselves democratic, don't give in .

I don't hope this only to save my job . There is also a political reason for it . If the
unions weaken, the Red Brigades and Front Line (Prima linea) will be able to say:
Do you see? No one protects the working class any more . The only ones left are
we and our guns.

Transla ted by La wrence Venu ti

i 1/1 Photo: Seth Ti let


T h e S t ra tegy
of R e f u s a l

M a ri o T ro n t i

T h i s a r t i c l e , w r i t t e n i n 1 965, i s part of t h e " I n


i t i a l Theses" i n Tron t i ' s Operai e Capitale
("Workers and C a p i t a l "). T ro n t i ' s f i rst con
t r i b u t i o n s were t h e resu l t of a co l l ec t i ve
pol i t i c a l reform u l at i o n of revo l u t i on ary
s t rategy deve loped by Quaderni Rossi and
Classe Operaia , t o g e t h e r w i t h Toni N e g r i ,
S e rg i o B o l o g n a , etc. T ro n t i n e v e r l e f t t h e I C P ,
b u t h i s w o r k i s w i d e l y recog n i zed as sem i na l
to t h e a u t o n o m o u s move m e n t i n I t a l y .

Adam S m i t h says - a n d M a rx comments o n t h e accu racy of his observat i o n -


th at t h e effective deve l o p m e n t of t h e p rod u c t ive power of l a bo u r beg i n s w h e n
l a b o u r i s transformed i nto w a g e l a b o u r, t h at i s , w h e n t h e conditions of l a b o u r
c o n f ro n t i t i n t h e fo rm of c a p i t a l . O n e cou l d g o f u rt h e r a n d say t h a t t h e effective
deve l o p m e n t of the p o l i t i c a l power of l a b o u r rea l ly beg i n s from the moment that
labou rers are t ra n sformed into workers, t h at i s , when t h e whole of the cond i t i o n s
of society c o n f r o n t t h e m as capita l . We can s e e , t h e n , t h a t t h e p o l i t i c a l power of
workers i s i n t i mately con nected to t h e p ro d u c t ive power of wage l a b o u r. This i s in
contrast to t h e power of c a p i t a l , which i s primarily a soc i a l power. T h e power of
workers res ides in t h e i r pot e n t i a l c o m m a n d over p rod u c t i o n , t h a t i s , over a par
t i c u l a r aspect of society. Capita l i st power, o n t h e other h a n d , rests on a rea l
d o m i nat i o n over s o c i ety i n g e n e ra l . B u t t h e n at u re of c a p i t a l i s s u c h t h at i t re
q u i res a society based on production. Conseq u e n t l y p rod u c t i o n , t h i s p a rt i c u l a r
aspect of society, becomes t h e a i m of society i n genera l . Whoever controls a n d
d o m i nates i t c o n t r o l s and d o m i nates everyt h i ng .

Even i f factory a n d soci ety were to become perfectly i nteg rated at t h e eco n o m i c
leve l , t h ey wou l d n evert h e l ess forever cont i n u e to be i n c o n t rad i c t i o n at a p o l i t i c a l
leve l . One of t h e h i g hest and m o s t deve loped p o i n t s of t h e c l as s s t ru g g l e w i l l b e
prec i s e l y t h e f r o n t a l c l a s h between t h e fa ctory, a s working class a n d society, a s
capital. W h en t h e deve l o p m e n t of c a p i t a l's i nt e rests i n t h e factory i s b l ocked,
t h e n t h e f u n c t i o n i n g of society seizes u p : t h e way i s t h e n open for overt h row i n g

28
a n d destroy i n g t h e very bas i s of cap i ta l ' s power. Those, however, w h o have t h e
c o n t ra ry perspective, of tak i n g o v e r t h e ru n n i n g of t h e " g e n e r a l i n terests of socie
t y " , are com m i t t i n g t h e error of red u c i n g t h e factory to capital by means of red uc
i n g t h e work i n g class, th at i s , a part of society, to society as a w h o l e . N ow we
know t h at the p rod u ct i ve power of l a b o u r makes a leap forward when i t i s put to
u s e by t h e i nd ivid u a l capital i s t . By t h e same token, i t m a kes a p o l i t i c a l leap for
ward when i t i s orga n i sed by soc i a l capita l . It i s poss i b l e that t h i s p o l i t i c a l leap
forward does not ex p ress i t s e l f in terms of o rg a n i s a t i o n , whereupon a n o u t s i d e r
may c o n c l u d e that i t has not h a p pened. Y e t i t sti l l ex i s t s as a mate r i a l rea l ity, a n d
t h e f a c t of i t s s pontaneous existence i s s u f f i c i e n t f o r t h e workers to ref use to
fight for o l d idea l s - though i t may not yet be sufficient for t h e m to take u p o n
t h e m s e lves t h e task of i n i t i a t i n g a new p l a n of s t r u g g l e , based o n new objectives.

So, can we say th at we are s t i l l l i v i n g t h ro u g h t h e l o n g h i storical period i n w h i c h


M a rx s a w t h e workers as a " c l ass aga i n st capita l " , b u t not y e t as a " c lass f o r
i t s e l f " ? Or s h o u l d n ' t we perhaps s a y t h e opposi te, even i f it m e a n s confou n d i n g a
b i t t h e terms of H e g e l ' s d ia l ec t i c? N a m e l y , that t h e workers become, from t h e
f i rst, " a c l a s s f o r t h e m s e lves" - t hat i s , f r o m t h e f i rst m o m e n t s of d i rect c o n f ro n
t a t i o n w i t h t h e i n d i v i d u a l e m p l oyer - and that they a re recog n i sed as s u c h by t h e
f i rst c a p i ta l i sts. A n d o n l y afterwards, a f t e r a l o n g , terri b l e , h i storical t rava i l w h i c h
i s , perhaps, n o t yet, c o m p leted, d o t h e workers arrive at t h e p o i n t of b e i n g active
ly, s u bjectively, " a c lass aga i n st capita l " . A prereq u i s i t e of t h i s p rocess of t r a n si
t i o n i s po l itic al o rg a n isat i o n , t h e p a r t y, w i t h i t s d e m a n d for total p ow e r . I n t h e i n
t e rve n i n g period t he re i s t h e refu s a l - co l l ec t i ve, mass, expressed i n passive
forms - of t h e workers to expose t h e m s e l ves as "a c l a s s agai n st c a p i t a l "
w i t h o u t t hat org a n i sa t i o n of t h e i r own, w i t h o u t that total d e m a n d for power. T h e
work i n g class does what i t is . B u t i t i s , at one and t h e sa m e t i me, t h e articula tion
of c a p i t a l , a n d i t s dissolution . C a p i ta l i s t power seeks to use t h e workers' an
tag o n i s t i c w i l l-to-st r u g g l e as a motor of its own deve l o p m e n t . The workers' party
m u s t take t h i s same rea l med i a t i o n by the workers of c a p i t a l ' s i n terests and
o rg a n ise i t in a n antagon i s t i c form, as the tact i c a l terra i n of s t r u g g l e and as a
s t rate g i c pot e n t i a l for destru c t i o n . H e re t h e re is o n l y o n e reference p o i n t - o n l y
o n e orientation - f o r t h e opposed w o r l d v i ews of t h e two c lasses - n a m e l y t h e
c l ass of workers. Wh eth er o n e ' s a i m i s to stab i l ise t h e deve l o p m e n t of t h e system
o r to destroy it forever, i t i s t h e work i n g c l ass that i s d e c i s ive. Thus t h e society of
capital and t h e workers ' party find t h e m s e l ves exist i n g as two opposite forms
with o n e and t h e same c o n t e n t . A n d i n t h e s t r u g g l e for t h a t content, t h e o n e form
exc l udes t h e other. They can only exist together for t h e brief period of t h e revo l u
t i o na ry c r i s i s . The work i n g c l as s c a n n o t constitute i t s e l f as a party w i t h i n
c a p i t a l i s t society w i t h o u t p reve n t i n g capita l i st soci ety f r o m f u n c t i o n i ng. As l o n g
as c a p i t a l i s t society does cont i n u e to f u n c t i o n t h e work i n g c lass party cannot b e
s a i d to exist.

Remem ber: " t h e existence of a c lass of c a p i t a l ists i s based on t h e p rod uct ive
power of l a b o u r " . Prod u c t i ve l a b o u r, then, exists not only i n re l a t i o n to c a p i t a l ,
b u t a l s o i n re l a t i o n to t h e cap i t a l i sts as a c l as s . I t i s i n t h i s latter re l at i o n s h i p t h at
it exists as t h e work i n g c l as s . T h e t ra n s i t i o n is proba b l y a h i storical one: it is p ro
d u ct ive l a bo u r w h i c h prod uces capita l ; i t i s the fact of i n d u st r i a l workers b e i n g
o rg a n i sed i n t o a c lass t h at p rovokes t h e capita l i sts i n g e n e ra l to const i t u te
t h e m se l ves as a c l ass. T h u s we see that - at an average level of d eve l o p m e n t -
workers are a l ready a s o c i a l c lass of p rod ucers: i n d u s t r i a l p rod u c e rs of c a p i t a l . At
t h i s s am e level of deve l o p m e n t t h e capital ists, t h e m s e lves, c o n s t i t u t e a soc i a l
c l a s s not of e n t repreneu rs so m u c h as organisers : t h e o rg a n i sers of workers
t h ro u g h t h e med i u m of i nd u s t ry. A h i s to ry of i nd u s t ry c a n not be conce ived as
a n yt h i n g other t h a n a h i story of t h e capita l i st o rg a n i sa t i o n of prod uct ive labou r,
h e n c e as a work i n g c lass h i s t o ry of c a p i ta l . The " i n d u s t r i a l revo l u t i o n " necessari
l y s p r i n g s to m i n d : this must be t h e start i n g p o i n t of our resea rch i f we a re to
t race t h e deve l o p m e n t of t h e contemporary form of capital's d o m i n a t i o n over
workers, as i t i n c reas i n g l y comes to be exercised t h ro u g h the objective
m e c h a n i s m s of i nd u stry, and also t h e deve l op m e n t of c a p i t a l ' s capacity to p re
vent t hese mechan i s m s b e i n g u sed by workers. T h i s wou l d l ead us to see that t h e
deve l o p m e n t of t h e relat i o n s h i p between l iv i n g l a bo u r a n d t h e constant part of

29
c a p i t a l is not a n e u t ra l process. Rather, it is determ i ned a n d often v i o l e n t l y so, by
the emerg i n g c l a s s re l at i o n s h i p between the co l l ect ive worker and the w h o l e of
c a p i t a l , qua soc i a l re l a t i o n s of prod u c t i o n . We wou l d then see t h a t i t i s the
spec i f i c m o m e n t s of t h e c l ass stru g g l e w h i c h h ave dete r m i ned every
tec h n o l o g i c a l c h a n g e i n t h e mecha n i s m s of i n d u st ry. T h u s we wou l d a c h i eve two
t h i ng s : one, we w o u l d break f ree of t h e apparent n e u t ra l i ty of t h e m a n - m ac h i ne
re l at i o n s h i p ; a n d two, we wou l d locate t h i s re l at i o n s h i p i n t h e i nteract i o n , t h ro u g h
h i story, of work i n g c l ass stru g g l es a n d c a p i t a l i st i n i t i at ive.

It i s wrong to d ef i n e present day society a s " i n d u s t r i a l c i v i l i s at i o n " . The " i n


d u stry" of t h a t d e f i n i t i o n i s , i n f a c t , m e r e l y a m e a n s . The t r u t h of m o d e r n soci ety
i s that i t i s the civilisa tion of labour. F u rt h er m o re, a c a p i t a l i s t soci ety can never
be anyt h i n g but t h i s . And, i n the c o u rse of its h i storical deve l o p m e n t , i t can even
take on the form of "socialism ". So . . . . not industrial society (that is, the society
of capital), b u t the society of indus trial labour, a n d t h u s t h e society of workers'
l abou r. I t i s c a p i t a l i s t soci ety seen from t h i s point of view t h a t we m u st f i nd the
cou rage to f i g h t . What a re workers d o i n g when they s t ru g g l e a g a i n s t t h e i r
e m p l oyers? A r e n ' t t h ey, above a l l e l se, say i n g " N o" to t h e transformation o f
l a b o u r power i n t o l a b o u r? A re t hey n o t , m o re t h a n anyt h i ng , ref u s i n g t o receive
work from t h e c a p i t a l is t?

Cou l d n ' t we say, i n fact, that stop p i n g work does not s i g n i fy a ref u s a l to give
c a p i t a l t h e u s e of o n e ' s labou r power, s i nce it h a s a l ready been g i ven to c a p i t a l
once t h e c o n t ract for t h i s part i c u l a r c o m m o d i t y has b e e n s i g ned. N o r i s i t a
ref u s a l to a l l ow c a p i t a l t h e p rod uct of l a b o u r, s i nce t h i s is l eg a l l y a l ready
c a p i t a l ' s property, and, i n any case, the worker d oes not know w h a t to d o with it.
Rather, stop p i n g work - t h e stri ke, as the c l as s i c form of workers' s t ru g g l e -
i m p l ies a ref u s a l of t h e c o m m a n d of c a p i t a l as t h e o rg a n i ser of prod u c t i o n : it is a
way of say i n g " N o " at a part i c u l a r p o i n t i n t h e p rocess a n d a ref u s a l of t h e con
c rete labou r w h i c h i s b e i n g offered ; i t i s a m omen tary b l ockage of t h e work
p rocess a n d i t a p pears as a rec u r r i n g t h reat which d e rives i t s contents from the
p rocess of va l u e c reat i o n . The a n a rc h o-sy n d i c a l ist "general strike", which was
s u pposed to p rovoke the co l l a pse of c a p i t a l i st soci ety, i s a rom a n t i c n a i vete from
t h e word g o . I t a l ready conta i n s w i t h i n i t a d e m a n d which i t a ppears t o o ppose -
that i s , t h e Lassa l l i a n demand for a " f a i r s h a re of t h e f r u i t s of l a bo u r" - i n other
words, f a i rer " pa rt i c i pa t i o n " i n t h e pro f i t of capital. In fact, t h ese two pers pec
t ives c o m b i n e in t h a t i n correct "correct i o n " w h i c h was i m posed o n M a rx, a n d
w h i c h has s u bseq u e n t l y enj oyed s u c h s u ccess w i t h i n t h e p ract ice of t h e off i c i a l
work i n g c l ass m ovem e n t - t h e i d e a t h a t i t i s "work i n g peo p l e " w h o a re t h e t r u e
" g i ve rs of l a b o u r ' , a n d that i t i s t h e concern of workpeo p l e to d e f e n d t h e d i g n ity
of this t h i n g w h i c h t hey p rov ide, against all those w h o wou l d seek to debase it.
U n true . . . . . The truth of t h e matter i s t h a t t h e person w h o p rovides labour i s the
capita l i st . The worker i s t h e provider of capital. In rea l ity, he i s t h e possessor of
that u n iq u e , part i c u l a r commod i ty w h i c h i s the c o n d i t i o n of a l l t h e other c o n d i
t i o n s of p rod u ct i o n . Because, as we h a v e seen, a l l t hese other con d i t i o n s of pro
d u c t i o n are, f ro m the start, c a p i t a l in t h e m s e lves - a dead c a p i t a l w h i c h , in order
to come to l i fe a n d i n to p l ay i n t h e soc i a l re l a t i o n s of prod u c t i o n , needs to s u b
s u me u nd e r i t s e l f l a b o u r power, as t h e s u bject a n d activity of c a p i t a l . B u t , as we
have also seen, t h i s t ra n s i t i o n i nto soc i a l re l a t i o n s of prod u c t i o n c a n n o t occu r
u n less t h e c l a s s re l a t i o n i s i n t rod u ced i n to i t as i t s content. A n d t h e c l ass rela
t i o n s h i p i s i m posed from t h e very firs t moment and by t h e very fact that t h e pro
letariat i s c o n s t i t u ted as a c l ass in the face of the capita l i st.

T h u s , t h e worker provides capital, not only i nsofar as he s e l l s l a b o u r power, b u t


a l so i n sofar a s h e embodies t h e c l ass re l a t i o n . T h i s , l i ke t h e i n herent s o c i a l
n a t u re of labou r power, i s another of t hose t h i n g s acq u i red by t h e c a p i t a l i s t
without payment, o r rat her, i t i s paid f o r , b u t at t h e c o s t (w h i c h i s n e v e r s u bject to
negot iatio n ) of t h e workers' stru g g l es which period i c a l l y shake t h e p rocess of p ro
d u c t i o n . I t ' s n o a c c i d e n t that t h i s terra i n is t h e terra i n that i s chosen tact i c a l l y by
the workers as t h e g ro u n d o n w h i c h to attack the e m p l oyers, and is t h e refore t h e
terra i n on w h i c h t h e e m p l oyer i s forced to respond w i t h con t i n u a l tec h n o l o g i c a l
" revo l u t i o n s " i n t h e orga n i sation of w o r k . I n t h i s w h o l e process, t h e o n l y t h i n g

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w h i c h does not come from t h e workers i s , prec i s e l y , l a b o u r . From t h e o u tset, t h e
conditions of labour a r e i n t h e h a n d s of t h e capita l i st. And aga i n , f r o m t h e outset,
t h e o n l y thing i n t h e h a n d s of t h e worker i s t h e conditions of capita l. This i s t h e
h i storical paradox w h i c h m a r k s t h e b i r t h of capita l ist society, and t h e abid i n g
c o n d i t i o n w h i c h w i l l a lways be attendant u po n t h e "eternal reb i rt h " of c a p i ta l i st
deve l o p m e n t . The worker c a n n o t be labour other t h a n i n re l a t i o n to t h e c a p i t a l i s t .
T h e c a p i t a l i s t cannot be capital other t h a n i n re l a t i o n to t h e worker. T h e q u e s t i o n
i s often a s k e d : " W h a t i s a soc i a l class?" The answer i s : "There are these t w o
c l asses " . The f a c t th at o n e i s d o m i nant d o e s not i m p l y t h a t t h e other sh ou l d b e
s u bord i n ate. R a t h e r , i t i m p l i e s s t r u g g l e , c o n d u cted o n eq u a l terms, to s m a s h t h a t
d o m i n a t i o n , and to t a k e that d o m i na t i o n and t u r n i t , i n new f o r m s , a g a i n s t t h e
o n e th at has d o m i n ated u p t i l l n o w . As a matter of u rgency we m u s t g e t h o l d o f ,
a n d start c i rcu l at i n g , a photograph of t h e worker-proletariat t h a t s hows h i m as h e
rea l ly i s - " p roud and m e n ac i n g " . I t ' s t i me to s e t i n m o t i o n t h e contestat i o n -
t h e bat t l e , to be f o u g h t o u t i n a new period of h i st ory - d i rect l y between t h e
worki n g c l ass and capita l , t h e c o n f rontat ion between w h a t M a rx referred to i n a n
a n a l ogy as " t h e h u g e c h i l d re n ' s s h oes of t h e proletariat and t h e dwarf i s h s ize o f
t h e worn-out p o l i t i c a l s h oes of t h e bou rgeo i s i e " .

I f t h e cond i t i o n s of c a p i t a l a r e i n t h e h a n d s of t h e workers, i f t h e re i s n o active


l i f e i n c a p i t a l w i t h o u t t h e l iv i n g activity of l a b o u r power, if capital is a l ready, at i t s
b i rt h , a con seq uence of prod u c t ive labour, i f t here i s n o c a p i t a l ist s o c i e t y w i t h o u t
t h e workers' a rt i c u l a t i o n , i n o t h e r w o r d s i f t here i s no soc i a l re l at i o n s h i p w i t h o u t a
c l a s s re l at i o n s h i p, and t h ere is no class relat i o ns h i p w i t h o u t t h e work i n g
c lass . . . . t h e n o n e can c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e capita l i st c lass, f r o m its b i rt h , i s i n fact
s u bord i nate to t h e work i n g c l ass. Hence t h e necessity of ex p l o i t a t i o n . Work i n g
c l ass stru g g l es a g a i n s t t h e i ro n l a w s of c a p i t a l ist e x p l o i ta t i o n cannot be red uced
to t h e eternal revo l t of t h e o p p ressed against their o p p ressors. S i m i l a r l y , t h e con
cept of ex p l o itation cannot be red uced to t h e d e s i re of t h e i n d i v i d u a l e m p loyer t o
e n r i c h h i mself b y extract i n g t h e max i m u m poss i b l e a m o u n t of s u r p l u s l abou r f r o m
t h e bod ies of h i s workers. As a lways, t h e econom i s t i c ex p l a nation has no o t h e r
weapon a g a i n s t c a p i ta l i s m t h a n m o r a l c o n d e m n a t i o n of t h e system . B u t we are
not h e re to i nvent some a l tern a t i ve way of see i n g t h i s p r o b l e m . The problem is
a lready the other way rou n d , and has been r i g h t from the start. Ex p l o i t a t i o n is
born, h i storica l ly, from the necessity for c a p i t a l to escape from its de fa cto s u bo r
d i n a t i o n to t h e c l ass or worker-producers. I t is in t h i s very spec i f i c sense t h a t
capita l i s t i c e x p l o i tat i o n , i n t u rn , p rovokes workers' i n s u bo rd i n a t i o n . The i n c reas
ing org a n is atio n of ex p l o i tat i o n , i t s cont i n u a l reorg a n i s a t i o n at the very h i g h est
leve l s of i n d u s t ry and society a re then, agai n , responses by capital to workers'
ref u s a l to s u b m i t to this process. I t i s t h e d i rect l y po l i t i c a l t h ru s t of t h e work i n g
c l ass that necess i tates econo m i c deve l o p m e n t on t h e part of c a p i t a l , w h i c h , star
t i n g from t h e p o i n t of p rod u c t i o n , reaches o u t to t h e w h o l e of s o c i a l re l a t i o n s . B u t
t h i s p o l i t i c a l v i t a l ity o n t h e part of i t s adversary, on t h e one h a n d i n d i s p e n s a b l e t o
c a p i t a l , at t h e s a m e t i m e i s t h e m o s t fearf u l t h reat to c a p i ta l ' s power. We have
a l ready seen the p o l i t i c a l h i story of c a p i t a l as a sequence of attempts by c a p i t a l
to w i t h d raw f ro m t h e c l ass re l at i o n s h i p ; at a h i g her l eve l we can now s e e i t as the
his tory of the successive a ttempts of the capita lis t class to emancipa te itself
from the working class, t h r o u g h the m ed i u m o f the various forms of c a p i t a l ' s
p o l i t i c a l d o m i n a t i o n o v e r t h e work i ng c l as s . T h i s i s the reason why c a p i t a l ist ex
p l o itat i o n , a cont i n u o u s form of the ext ract i o n of s u r p l u s v a l u e w i t h i n the process
of p rod u c t i o n , has been acco m p a n i e d , t h ro u g ho u t the h i story of cap i t a l , by t h e
deve l o p m e n t of eve r m o re orga nic f o r m s of p o l i t i c a l d i ctators h i p at t h e l e v e l o f
t h e State.

In c a p i t a l i s t society the basis of p o l i t i c a l power is, i n t r u t h , eco n o m i c necessity:


t h e neces s i ty of u s i n g force to make t h e work i n g c l ass abandon its proper soc i a l
r o l e as t h e d o m i n a n t c l ass. Looked at f r o m t h i s p o i n t of v i e w , t h e present forms
of eco n o m i c p l a n n i n g a re not h i n g more than a n attempt to i n s t i t u t e this organic
form of p o l i t i c a l d i ctators h i p w i t h i n dem ocra cy as t h e modern p o l i t i c a l form of
c l ass d i ctators h i p . T h e i n t e l l ec t u a l consensus as to t h e f u t u re State-of-we l l-being
- of w h i c h G . M y r d a l speaks - t h a t society which J .S. M i l l , K. M a rx a n d T. J ef
ferson a l i ke wou l d p robably a p p rove, m i g h t even be rea l i s a b l e . We w o u l d f i nd
ou rselves w i t h a s y n t h e s i s of l i bera l i s m , soc i a l i s m a n d democracy. L i b e ra l i s m a n d
democ racy wou l d f i n a l ly be reco n c i led, f i n d i n g a n ideal mediator i n t h e s h a pe of
the soc i a l State - a system c o m m o n l y known as, q uote, "soc i a l i s m " . Yet here
too we wou l d f i nd t h e i nexora b l e necessity of work i n g c l ass m ed i a t i o n , even at
t h e level of p o l i t i c a l t h eo ry. As for t h e workers, they wou l d f i nd i n t h i s "soc i a l i s m "
t h e u l t i mate f o r m o f a u t o m a t i c - i . e . object ive - contro l ; p o l i t i c a l c o n t r o l i n
econo m i c g u i se; c o n t ro l o f t h e i r move m e n t of i n s u bord i n a t i o n . T h e s u rpas s i n g of
State c a p i t a l i s m by a c a p i t a l i s t State i s not som et h i n g that b e l o n g s to the f u t u re:
it has a l ready h a p p e n e d . We n o longer h ave a b o u rgeois State over a c a p i t a l ist
society, b u t , rat her, t h e State of c a p i t a l i s t society.

At what point does t h e p o l i t i c a l State come to m a n a g e at least some part of t h e


eco n o m i c m ec h a n i s m ? When t h i s econo m i c mecha n i s m can beg i n to u s e t h e
p o l i t i c a l State i t s e l f a s a n ins trument of production - t h e state as we h ave come
to u nderstand i t , t h a t i s , as a m o m e n t of t h e political reproduction of t h e work i n g
c l ass. T h e " e n d o f l a i ssez- f a i re" means, f u n d a m e n t a l l y , t h a t work i n g c l ass a r
t i c u l a t i o n of c a p i t a l i st deve l o p m e n t can no l o n g e r f u n c t i o n on t h e basis of spon
taneous objective m e c h a n i s m s : it m u s t be s u bjectively i m posed by p o l i t i c a l i n
i t i a t ives t a k e n b y t h e c a p i t a l ists themse lves, as a class. Leav i n g a s i d e a l l t h e
p o s t - a n d neo-Key n e s i a n i d e o l o g i e s , o n l y Key nes has provided t h e c a p i t a l i s t p o i n t
of v i e w w i t h a f o r m i d a b l e subjective leap forward, p e r h a p s c o m p a r a b l e i n
h i storical i m porta nce w i t h t h e leap w h i c h Len i n m a d e pos s i b l e f ro m t h e work i n g
c l ass p o i n t of v i e w . H owever, t h i s i s not to c o n cede t h a t t h i s w a s a " revo l u t i o n "
i n capita l ' s m o d e o f t h i n k i n g . I f w e l ook c l o s e l y , we c a n s e e t h a t t h i s w a s a l ready
e m bodied in the p reced i n g d eve l o p m e n t . T h e c a p i t a l ists have not yet i nvented -
and in fact w i l l o bv i o u s l y never be a b l e to i nv e n t - a non- i n s t i t u t i o n a l ised
p o l i t i c a l power. T h a t type of p o l i t i c a l power i s s p ec i f i ca l ly work i n g c l ass power.
The d i fference between t h e two c l asses at the level of p o l i t i c a l power i s p re c i se l y
th is . The c a p i ta l ist c l a s s d o es not ex ist i nd e p e n d e n t l y of t h e f o r m a l p o l i t i c a l i n
s t i t u t i o n s , t h ro u g h w h i c h , at d i fferent t i mes b u t i n permanent ways, t hey exerc i s e
their political domination: for this very reason, smashing the bourgeois S ta te does
mean destroy i n g t h e power of t h e capita l i st s , a n d by t h e same toke n , o n e cou l d
o n l y hope to destroy t h a t p o w e r by s m a s h i n g t h e S t a t e m a c h i n e . O n t h e o t h e r
h a n d , q u ite t h e o p p o s i t e i s t r u e of t h e work i n g c l ass: it exists i nd e p e n d e n t l y of
the i n s t i t u t i o n a l i sed l eve l s of i t s o rg a n i s a t i o n . T h i s i s why destroy i n g the workers'
p o l i t i c a l party does not mean - a n d has not meant - d i ssolvi n g , d i s me m beri n g ,
or destroy i n g t h e c l ass o rg a n i s m of t h e workers.

The very poss i b i l ity of workers abo l i s h i n g t h e State i n society i s located w i t h i n


t h e spec i f i c nat u re of t h i s prob l e m . I n order to e x i s t , t h e c l ass of c a p i t a l i s t s need s

32
t h e m e d i a t i o n of a formal po l i t ic a l leve l . Prec i s e l y becau s e c a p i t a l is a soc i a l
power w h i c h , as s u c h , c l a i m s for i t s e l f d o m i n at i o n over everyt h i n g , i t needs to a r
t i c u late t h i s d o m i n a t i o n i n p o l i t i c a l "forms" w h i c h can b r i n g to l i fe its d ead
essence as an objective m ec h a n i s m , and prov i d e it w i t h s u bject ive force. In i m
m e d i a t e t e r m s , t h e nat u re of c a p i t a l i s m e re l y t h a t of a n economic i nt e rest, a n d ,
at t h e beg i n n i ng of its h i story, i t w a s n ot h i n g m o r e t h a t t h e egot i s t i c a l i n te rest of
t h e i n d i v i d u a l capita l i st: i n order to defend i t s e l f f ro m t h e t h reat posed by the
w o rk i n g c l ass, i t i s forced to t u rn i t s e l f i n t o a politica l force, and to s u b s u m e
u n d e r i t s e l f t h e w h o l e of soc i ety. I t becomes t h e c l ass of c a p i ta l i sts, o r - w h i c h
a m o u n t s to t h e s a m e t h i n g - i t t u r n s i t s e l f i n t o a repressive State apparat u s . I f i t
i s t r u e that t h e c o n c e p t of c l ass i s a pol i t i c a l rea l ity, t h e n n o capi t a l i st c l a s s ex
ists w i t h o u t a cap i t a l i s t State. And the so-cal l ed bourgeois " revo l u t i o n " - t h e
c o n q u est of p o l i t i c a l power by t h e " bou rgeo i s i e " - a m o u n t s to not h i n g m o re
t h a n t h e l o n g h i storical t ra n s i t i o n t h ro u g h w h i c h c a p i t a l const i t u tes i t s e l f as a
c l ass of capita l i sts i n re l a t i o n to t h e workers. Once a g a i n , t h e deve l o p m e n t of t h e
worki n g c l a s s d i s p l ays tota l ly t h e opposite feat u res: w h e n t h e work i n g class
beg i n s to exist forma l l y at a n orga n i sed political leve l , i t i n i t i ates t h e revo l u
t i o n ary process d i rectly, and poses n ot h i n g b u t t h e d e m a n d f o r power: but i t has
ex i sted as a class from t h e start, from a l on g time before, and prec i s e l y as s u c h ,
t h reatens bou rgeo i s order. P rec isely because t h e c o l l ec t i ve worker i s t h at total l y
p a rt i c u l ar com mod i ty w h i c h cou n terposes i t s e l f to t h e w h o l e of t h e cond i t i o n s of
society, i nc l u d i n g t h e s o c i a l cond i t i o n s of its labour, so i t m a n i fests, as a l ready
i n c o rporated w i t h i n i t s e l f , that d i rect po l i t i c a l s u bj e c t i v i ty, that part i a l ity w h i c h
c o n s t i t u tes c l a s s antag o n i s m . F r o m t h e very beg i n n i n g t h e proletariat i s not h i n g
m o re t h a n a n i m med iate politica l in terest i n t h e a bo l i t i o n of every aspect of t h e
ex i s t i n g order. A s f a r as i t s i n ternal deve l o p m e n t i s concerned, i t h a s n o need o f
" i n s t i t u t io n s " i n order to b r i n g to l i fe w h a t i t i s , s i nce w h a t i t i s i s n ot h i n g o t h e r
t h a n t h e life-force of th at i m m ed iate destru c t i o n . I t does n ' t n e e d i n s t i t u t i o n s , b u t
i t d o e s need organisa tion. Why? I n o r d e r to r e n d e r t h e po l i t ical i nstance of t h e a n
tag o n i s m objective i n t h e f a c e of capita l ; i n o r d e r to a r t i c u late t h i s i n stance
w i t h i n t h e present rea l ity of t h e c l ass re lat i o n s h i p, at any g iven moment; i n order
to s h a p e i t i nto a r i c h a n d a g g ressive force, i n t h e short term, t h ro u g h t h e weapon
of tactics. This, w h i c h i s necessary for t h e s e i z u re of power, i s also necessary
before t h e need to seize power has a r i s e n . M a rx d i scovered t h e existence of t h e
work i n g c l ass l o n g befo re t h e re w e r e f o r m s to express i t p o l i t ic a l ly: t h u s, for
M a rx, t here i s a class even in the absence of a party. O n t h e other h a n d , the
Le n i n i st party, by v i rt u e of havi n g taken s h a pe, gave t h e rea l i l l u s i o n t h at t h e re
was a l ready u nd e r way a spec i f i c process of work i n g c l ass revo l u t i o n : for Len i n ,
i n fact, when the cla ss cons titutes itself a s a party, i t becomes revolu tion i n ac
tion. H e re, t h e n , are two com p lementary t heses, j u st as t h e f i g u res of M a rx and
Len i n are c o m p l e m e ntary. Bas i c a l ly, what are these two people if not a d m i ra b l e
a n t i c i pa t i o n s of t h e f u t u re of t h e c lass i t s e l f ?

I f we accept th at t h e c l ass i s not i d e n t i c a l w i t h t h e party, n evert h e l ess o n e c a n


o n l y t a l k of c l a s s o n a p o l i t i c a l leve l . W h i l e i t i s t r u e that t h e re i s c l ass s t ru g g l e
even w i t h o u t party, nevert he less we a l s o have to p o i n t o u t t h a t every c l ass strug
gle i s a po l i t i c a l struggle. I f, t h ro u g h t h e party, t h e class p u t s i nto a c t i o n what i t
i s , i f i t d o e s so by d i ss o l v i n g i n practice every t h i n g t h a t i t m u s t dest roy i n theory,
by leaping from s t rategy to tactics, and i f only i n this way does i t seize power
from t h e hands of t h ose who hold i t , and o rg a n i se that power in i t s own hands, i n
new forms . . . . i f a l l t h i s i s true, t h e n o n e m u s t c o n c l u d e that t h e relat i o n s h i p C lass
Pa rty- Revo l u t i o n i s far t i g hter, far m o re deter m i n ate and m u c h more h i st o r i ca l l y
spec i f i c t h a n t h e w a y i t i s c u rre n t l y be i n g presented, even b y M arx i s t s . O n e can
not s p l i t t h e concept of revo l u t i o n from t h e c l ass relat i o n s h i p . B u t a c l ass rela
t i o n s h i p is posed for t h e f i rst t i me by t h e work i n g c lass. T h u s , the concep t of
revolution and the rea lity of the working class are one and the same. J u st as
t here can be n o cla sses before t h e workers beg i n to exist as a c l as s , so t here can
be n o revolution before t h e destruct ive w i l l t h at t h e work i n g c l ass bears w i t h i n
i t s e l f , b y t h e very n a t u re of its ex istence, takes s o l i d f o r m . . . T h e c l a s s i c m o d e l o f
t h e bou rgeo i s " revo l u t i o n " - i nvented b y h istorical materi a l i s m - conceives of a
s u d d e n s eizin g of p o l i t i c a l power o n l y after t h e c o m p l e t i o n of a l o n g , s l ow,
g rad u a l taki ng-over of eco n o m i c power. Thus t h e c l ass, having a l ready d o m i nated
society as a w h o l e , then lays c l a i m to the ru n n i n g of t h e State. Now, i f these i n
fant i l e s c h e m e s had o n l y b e e n u sed to i l l u st rate a h i story b o o k o r t w o , w e l l and
good: after a l l , o n e m i g h t expect that of a " h istory book". B u t i n t h e M a rx i s t
camp, errors of t h eo ry are paid for i n v e r y pract i c a l t e r m s : t h i s i s a law w h o s e
consequences the workers have had t o suffer all too often . When the attempt was
made to a p p l y t h e m o d e l of t h e bou rgeoi s revo l u t i o n to t h e cou rse of work i n g
c lass revo l u t i o n , i t w a s at t h a t p o i n t ( a n d we h ave g o t to u nderstand t h i s), i t was
at t h at point t h at we saw t h e s tra tegic collapse of t h e m ove m e n t . T h e workers
were s u p posed to copy t h i s mode l : they were s u pposed to d e m o n s t rate, in p rac
t i ce, that t hey were capable of m a n ag i n g the economy of the society (far m o re
capab l e , of cou rse, t h a n t h e capita l i sts), and on t h i s bas i s t hey were to d e m a n d
t h e ru n n i ng of t h e S t a t e . Hence, workers' m a n ag e m e n t of c a p i t a l as t h e p r i m e
w a y , t h e " c l a s s i c " road to soc i a l i s m . For h i st o r i c a l materia l i s m , soc i a l d e m o c racy
i s t h eoret ica l l y the most orthodox workers' move m e n t . Bas i ca l l y , a l l the com
m u n ist move m e n t h a s d o n e has been to break and overt u r n , i n som e aspects of
its p ract ice, the social democratic logic of w h at has been i t s own t heory.

A n d yet, at the beg i n n i n g t h e d i v i d i n g l i ne between soc i a l democracy a n d t h e


com m u n ist movem e n t w a s c learly f i xed. And i f a n i nternal h i st o ry of t h e w or k i n g
c l ass i s to be recon s t r u cted - a l on g s i d e t h a t of capital - i t w i l l certa i n ly i nc l u d e
b o t h of t h e s e o rg a n i sa t i o n a l experiences - a l t h o u g h n o t u nd e r t h e s a m e
head i ng , and not w i t h t h e s a m e s i g n i f i c a n c e accorded to eac h . There i s i n f a c t a
d ifference of q u a l ity between d i fferent m o m e n t s of t h e work i n g c l a s s s t r u g g l e
i t s e l f . A u g u s t 9, 1 842, w h e n 1 0,000 workers m a rc h ed o n M a n c h ester, w i t h t h e
C h a r t i s t R i c h a rd P i l l i n g at t h e i r h e a d , to n e g o t i a t e w i t h t h e m a n u fact u re rs at t h e
M a n c hester Exch a n g e , and a l s o to s e e how t h e m a rket was g o i n g , i s n o t t h e
s a m e as S u nday M a y 2 8 , 1 97 1 i n P a r i s , w h e n G a l l ifet c a l led o u t of t h e r a n k s o f
prisoners t h ose w i t h g rey h a i r and ordered t h e m to be s h o t i m med iately, because
as we l l as being present at M a rc h 1 87 1 , t hey had a l so l ived t h e experience of
J u ne 1 848. A n d we s h o u l d not s u m ma r i s e t h e f i rst case as a n offens ive action by
t h e workers and t h e second as a n act of repre s s i o n by t h e c a p i ta l i st s , becau s e
p e r h a p s i t i s q u i t e t h e opposite.

I t i s t r u e th at here w e see t h e work i n g c l ass a rt i c u l at i o n of c a p i ta l i s t develop


m e n t : at f i rst as a n i n i t iat ive that i s pos i t i ve for t h e f u nct i o n i n g of t h e system, a n
i n i t iat ive th at o n l y needs to be o rg a n i sed v i a i ns t i t u t i o n s ; i n t h e s e c o n d i nstance,
as a " N o " , a ref u s a l to manage t h e m e c h a n i s m of t h e society as i t s t a n d s , merely
to i m p rove i t - a " N o" which i s repressed by p u re violence. This i s t h e d i fference
of content w h i c h c a n ex ist - even w i t h i n o n e a n d t h e same set of w o rk i n g c l ass
d e m a n d s - between trade union demands a n d political refusal.

34
Transla ted by Red N otes

i l/1 CAO 1 700981 ROM E: Farmers w i t h thei r tractors, and p l acard-carry i n g demonstrators
gather at Colosseum here Apri l 7th as they stage demonstrat i o n cal l i ng for better benefits
from the government. Italy held its f i rst general strike of 1 97 1 Apri l 7th i n what tu rned out to
be al most a h o l i day atmosphere. Some 1 1 m i l l ion workers are reported taking part in the
stri ke, protesting al leged i nadeq uacies i n a new hou s i n g b i l l . UPI CABLEP HOTO 4/7/71
i l/2 DUCE I N S P ECTS H I S POLICE R OME, ITALY: Sta n d i n g at attention before th e ir s h i ny
motorcyc les, row u pon row of Rome pol icemen were i n spected by Benito M u ssol i n i Oct. 1 8 as
he rode down the l i nes w i t h hand raised in the Fascist sal u te. I t was the tenth anniversary of
the fou nd i ng of the force. (AP) 1 0/30/35
T h e T r i be o f
M o l es

Se rg i o B o l og n a

T h i s a rt i c l e was w r i t t e n i m med i a t e l y after t h e


e x p l o s i o n of t h e " M ov e m e n t of ' 7 7 " i n R o m e
a n d B o l o g n a . I t i s o n e of t h e m o s t l u c i d a l
t e m p t s to a n a l yze t h e c l as s compos i t i o n of
t h e " n e w soc i a l s u b j e c t . "

S e rg i o B o l o g n a ' s note o n t e r m i n o l ogy: " T h e


categories of c l as s a n a l y s i s used by t h e
soc i o l ogy ( p e t t y bou rgeo i s i e , m i d d l e c l as s ,
l u m pe n - or s u b- p ro l e t a r i a t , l u mpen
bou rgeo i s i e , etc.) are used h e re only in t h e i r
conven tiona l his torical u s a g e . We c o n s i d e r
t h e s c i e n t i fi c va l u e of t h e s e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s
to be d o u b tf u l to say t h e least. The concepts
of capital a n d class composition are far bet
t e r s u i ted to d e f i n e t h e d y n a m i c of c l ass re la
lions today as rela tions o f po wer . . . These
c o n t rad i c t i o n s of l a n g u ag e are a n e x p ress i o n
of t h e c o n t e m porary c r i s i s of t h e trad i t i o n a l
M a rx i s t c o n c e p t u a l a p p a r a t u s . T h e y u n der
l i n e t h e need for a c r e a t i ve a n d pol i t i c a l re
eva l u a t i o n of a n a l y t i c a l categories, a " re
d i scove ry" of M a rx i s m in the l i g h t of t h e con
t e m porary c l a s s s t ru g g l e . "

T h i s art i c l e i s a p rov i s i o n a l attempt to t race t h e i nternal deve l o p m e n t of t h e


a u t o n o m o u s c lass movement i n I ta l y , w h i c h l e d to t h e explos ive c o n f ro n t a t i o n
aro u n d t h e U n ivers ity occ u p a t i o n s i n S p r i n g 19 77. S u c h a n a l y s i s i s o n l y m e a n
i n g f u l i f i t a l lows u s t o u n cover t h e new compos i t i o n of t h e c l ass u nd e r l y i n g these
stru g g l es, a n d to i n d i cate t h e f i rst e l ements of a progra m m e to adva n c e a n d f u r
t h e r genera l ise t h e move m e n t .

H e re we a n a lyse t h e m o v e m e n t primari l y i n i t s rel a t i o n to t h e I t a l i a n p o l i t i c a l


system a n d t h e c h a ng e s i t h a s u ndergone t h ro u g h t h e p e r i o d of c r i s i s s i nce 196 8.
W i t h the H i storic C o m p ro m i se strategy of the I t a l i a n Com m u n i s t Party (PCI) s i nce
19 74, t h e form of t h e State has taken a new l e a p forwards - towards the
org a n i s a t i o n of a " p a rty system" which n o longer a i m s to mediate o r represent
c o n f l icts i n c i v i l society, b u t i s i n c reas i n g l y c o m pact a n d c o u n t e rposed against
movements i n c i v i l society, a n d a g a i n st t h e p o l i t i c a l progra m m e of the new com
posi t i o n of t h e c l ass.

The wart i me a n t i - Fa s c i s t res istance i n Italy laid t h e basis for a form of t h e State
based o n the " p a rty system". The new reg i m e i n herited from Fascism f a i r l y
powerf u l i n s t r u m e n t s for a n i nd epe n d e n t po l i t i c a l " i nt erference" i n t h e p rocess of
reprod u c t i o n of c lasses ( n o rm a l l y left to the d e ve l o p m e n t of prod u c t i ve rel a t i o n s

36
a n d t h e real s u b s u m p t i o n of l a bou r to capital). These i n st r u m e n ts were: c red i t ; the
State-c o n t ro l led i n d u st r i e s ; a n d p u b l i c expe n i t u re.

T h e party system thus came to control t h e basic sectors of t h e economv a n d the


i m portant service sectors. T h rou g h this control, a n d w i t h i n it tnat of t h e C h r i s t i a n
Democrats (the hegem o n i c pa rty from t h e c r i s i s of t h e P a r r i Government i n
N ovember 1 945 to t h e C e n t re-Left coa l i t i on s of t h e ' s i x t i es) it was a b l e t o
negotiate w i t h U S i m pe ri a l i s m and t h e m u l t i n a t i o n a l s , b o t h d o m e s t i c and fore i g n ,
regard i n g the i nternat i o n a l d iv i s i o n of l a b o ur , t h e rate of i n c rease of t h e w o rk i n g
c l ass, t h e type o f work i n g c lass to be p romoted , i n o t h e r words, to org a n i s e t h e
d y n a m i c of c l ass rel a t i o n s i n a w a y t h a t corresponded to t h e p l a n s for pol i t i c a l
stab i l i ty. I n certa i n reg i o n s of t h e n o r t h e r n " i nd u st r i a l t r i a n g l e " t h e reprod u c t i o n
of soc i a l c lasses w a s l eft to t h e c l a s s i c mec h a n i s m s of concentration
mass i f i cation of labou r power in l a rge-sca l e i nd u stry. In this sector it was left to
p rod uct ive capita l , private a n d p u b l i c , to bri n g about that " ra t i o n a l demog ra p h i c
compos i t i o n ' ' , t h e l a c k of w h i c h (for I ta l y , i n c o n t rast to t h e USA) G ramsci had s o
l a m ented i n h i s Prison No tebooks ( s e e A merican ism and Fordism). H e re, i n o t h e r
w o r d s , a s o c i e t y was to be devel oped made u p e n t i re l y of p rod ucers, cons i s t i n g
s o l e l y of w a g e l a b o u r a n d c a p i t a l .

I t s h o u l d b e added th at t h i s mec h a n i s m of advanced c a p i t a l i s t deve l o p m e n t p ro


d u ced not o n l y factory workers, but a l so a l a rge proport i o n of tert i a ry workers, so
that reg i o n s l i ke L i g u r i a , Lombardy or Veneto have a h i g h e r percentage of
e m p l oyees work i n g in tert i a ry act i v i t i es than some reg i o n s in t h e S o u t h . In these
l atter reg i o n s , however, t h e i ntervention of t h e " pa rty system" i n t h e mec h a n i s m
of res h a p i n g and reprod u c i n g t h e c l asses seemed to t a k e p l ace w i t h g reater
a u tonomy from the move m e n t s of capita l .

T H E F O R M OF T H E T h e p o l i t i c a l agree m e n t s esta b l i shed w i t h l a rge-sca l e E u ropean i n d u st ry mean


STAT E - O P E N O R w h i le perm i tted a large n u mb e r of agric u l t u ra l proletarians to be transferred
LATE N T a b road; t h e p rod u c t i o n of a factory work i n g c lass was p i l oted with g reat care, ac
c o rd i n g to t h e p r i n c i p l e that the command of f i xed c a p i t a l s h o u l d a lways be over
powe r i n g . At t h e same t i m e , s u pport was g iven to a l l forms of ag r i c u l t u ra l p rod u c
t i o n t hat m a i n ta i ned i rrat i o n a l d e m o g ra p h i c rel a t i o n s ; t h e re was a f l ow of s u b
s i d i s i n g f i nance a i med to " c o n g ea l " non-prod u c t ive re l a t i o n s and soc i a l st rata,
and a f l ow of reven u e - " mo n ey as money" - acq u i red t h r o u g h e m p l oy m e n t i n
t h e p u b l i c ad m i n i strat i o n . A l l t hese had t h e effect o f reprod u c i n g a d i sp ropor
t i onately l a rg e s m a l l -to-m i d d l e bourgeo i s i e , based on i ncome as reve n u e, w h i c h
represented the soc i a l base necessary for t h e stab i l i ty of t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrat
reg i me.

In t h e l o n g term, t h e effects of this pol i cy f o r t h e re p rod uc t i o n of t h e c l asses


b l u nted t h e revo l u t i o n a ry effects of t h e rea l s u bject i o n of l a bo u r to capital, off
sett i n g t h e g rowt h of t h e w o rk i n g c lass with a d i s p roport io n ate g rowth of a s m a l l
to-m i d d l e bourgeo i s ie, i n recei p t of reve n u e ; n o t host i l e to t h e work i n g c l a s s , b u t
pass ive, not a n t i - U n i o n b u t " a u tonomou s " , not p rod uctive b u t sav i n g , and h e n c e
a l l ow i n g a soc i a l recyc l i n g of t h e i n come received by i t . B u t t h i s c l ass d y n a m i c
was s h attered and t h ro w n off cou rse, f i rst b y t h e work i n g c l ass offens ive at t h e
e n d of t h e 1 960s, and t h e n , a f e w years later, b y t h e v i o l e n t effects of t h e c r i s i s -
w h i c h we s h a l l exa m i n e later.

The form of t h e State u nd e r t h e post-war " pa rty system" is a la ten t form: what
norma l ly a p pears o n t h e s u rface i s a method of med i at i n g and rep res e nt i n g con
f l i cts. O n t h e one s i d e are t h e govern i n g part i es that d o m i nate t h e b u reau c ratic
repressive apparat u s of t h e State, a n d o n t h e ot h e r t h e op pos i t i o n parties , w h i c h
a r e t h e receptacles f o r m ed iat i n g t h e d rives a n d c o n t rad i c t i o n s of c i v i l society.The
form of t h e State comes o u t i nto t h e open i n certa i n h istorical moments, w h e n
t h e c r i s i s of t h e p reced i n g reg i m e a n d t h e deve l o p m e n t of a n e w c l ass composi
tion r i s k esca p i n g from t h e c o n t ro l of t h e d i a lect i c between G ove r n m e n t a n d o p
pos i t i o n . T h i s happened i n 1 945-46, after t h e armed s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t Fasc i s m . The
parties chose to replace their rel a t i o n s w i t h t he c l asses, w i t h t h e masses, by
m u t u a l relations among t h e m s elves; and t h e Com m u n i s t Party chose to p r i o r i t i s e

37
its re l a t i o n s w i t h t h e other parties that backed t h e cons t i t u t i o n of t h e R e p u b l i c ,
rat h e r t h a n i t s re l a t i o n s w i t h t h e c lass a n d t h e armed movement. I n a s i m i la r way,
in t h i s latest period, a n d p l ay i n g on a s i m i l a r "state of emergency" in order to
overcome t h e pres e n t c r i s i s (as with t h e post-War " Reconst ruct i o n "), ever s i nce i t
c h ose t h e p a t h of t h e H istoric Compromise (and more v i g o rou s l y s i nce t h e E l ec
t i o n s of J u n e 1 976), the Com m u n i st Party has privi leged the s t re n g t h e n i n g of i t s
l i nks w i t h t h e o t h e r p a r t i e s - and i n p a rt i c u l a r w i t h t h e C h ri s t i a n Democrats. T h i s
was i n o r d e r to " resolve t h e c r i s i s of t h e State" , to redef i n e t h e " party s y s t e m " i n
t e r m s of concord rat h e r t h a n c o n f l ict. By now, t h e u n ity of t h e p a r t i e s at a
p o l i t i c a l and p rog r a m m a t i c l evel is bei n g c o n c l u d ed l i ke a steel dome e rected over
the needs of the w o rk i n g class. The " pa rty system" no l o n g e r a i m s to represent
confl icts, nor to mediate or org a n i se them: i t d e l egates them to " e c o n o m i c i n
terests" and poses i t s e l f as t h e spec i f i c form of t h e State, separate from a n d
host i l e to move m e n t s i n s o c i e t y . The p o l i t i c a l s y s t e m becomes more r i g i d , more
fronta l ly cou n terposed to c i v i l society. T h e party system n o longer " receives" t h e
t h rusts f r o m t h e b a s e ; i t c o n t r o l s a n d represses t h e m .

THE T h i s race a m o n g t h e p a r t i e s (above a l l t h e P C I ) to arrive at ever-t i g hter l i n ks, t h i s


CONCRETISATION n e w e d i t i o n of t h e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l pact s i g ned d u ri n g t h e Resi stance a n d t h e n
OF THE NEW FORM v i o l ated b y t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrats, i s h a p pe n i n g today u nder t h e b a n n e r of t h e
O F THE STATE ideology of t h e crisis a n d t h e imposition of austerity. T h e con nective c h a i n w h i c h
s i m u ltaneo u s l y b i n d s t h e part i es w i t h i n t h e new const i t u t i o n a l p a c t , a n d cou nter
poses them as a m a c h i n e hos t i l e to c i v i l society, to t h e society w h i c h e xp resses
new needs, to t h e com po s i t i o n of t h e c lass, is represented by the ideology of the
crisis. The form of the State i s now becom i n g open a n d ex p l i c i t through the con
s o l idation of t h e pact w i t h i n t h e " pa rty system " . I t does not, i n other words, de
pend o n the s t re n g t h e n i n g of the m i l it a ry-re p re s sive apparatu s : the l atter i s s u bor
d i n ate to the l evel of homogeneity of the " p a rty syste m " .

T h i s p rocess i s a c o m p l ex one, and has met w i t h a t h o u s a n d obstac l e s: b u t by


now it is c learly t h e o n l y way if the present power eq u i l i b r i a are to be m a i n t a i ned.
S i nce t h e s t u d e n t u pr i s i n g s i n 1 977, t h e move m e n t towards an a l l-party coa l i t i o n
to confront t h e c r i s i s has acce l e rated.

B u t i f t h e form of the State, w h i c h i s becom i n g ex p l i c i t , cannot be red u ced s i m p l y


to t h e s t re n g t h e n i n g of t h e rep res s i ve a p p a rat u s , h o w t h e n i s it c o n c retised? S o
f a r , at l east, i t has b e e n concreti sed t h ro u g h a system of va l ues, of p o l i t i c a l
norms, unwritten rules governing all parties i n the democratic arena, which d e fac
to decide w hat is l e g i t i mate, what is l e g a l or i l l e g a l , what is prod uctive or u n
p rod uct ive, e t c . S i n c e t h e f ramework for t h i s c o n s e n s u s i s p rov i d ed by a p recise
ideology of crisis, a certa i n type of i n t e l l e c t u a l has assu med major s oc i a l i m por
tance as propagator o r exponent of the " co l l ect ive consc i o u sness" in t h i s period.

TREASON OF T H E The front- l i n e res po n s i b i l ity for prov i d i n g t h e b a s i c a rg u ments beh i n d the ideology
INTELLECTUALS, of crisis c l ea r l y l i es with t h e p rofess i o n of economis ts. This a p p l ies not only to
LI BERALISATION O F the h i g h p r i ests of the reg ime. I t i n c l udes you ng econom i s t s who have taken
ACCESS TO u p university posts, backed b y Cambridge o r Harvard promotion, and very often
E D U CATION, AN D open to l i nks w i t h t h e t rade u n io n s . Faced w i t h t h e alternat ives of w o rk i n g c lass
THE WORLD O F commitment o r bou rgeoi s-acad e m i c econo m i c science, t hey have i nvariably, m o re
REVENUE or less ex p l i c i t l y , opted for t h e latter. I n c e rta i n cases, p rec i s e l y t h ro u g h a d i ff e r
i n g i nterpretat i o n of t h e d o m i n a n t ideology of t h e c r i s i s , t h ey have c o n t r i b u ted to
i t , a n d have h e l ped to " c l ose t h e c i rc l e " . S u c h c a n be said, to g i ve just o n e exam
p le, of t h e " N ew Left" economists of t h e Modena fac u lty: t h i s cou l d have become
a centre for r i g o ro u s a n d w e l l-doc u me n ted c o u nter-information to d i sm a n t l e t h e
f a l s e a rg u ments beh i n d t h e ideology of t h e c r i s i s . I nstead t h ey p referred to keep
q u iet, or provided more l essons to the work i n g c l ass o n prudence . . . how to be
reas o n abl e . . . how to s u rrender. This i s o n l y o n e exa m p l e of t h e more general
"t reason of t h e i nt e l l ec t u a l s " of t h e 1 968 g e n e ra t i o n , which has been o n e of t h e
m a i n factors a l l ow i n g t h e task of Restorat i o n to t a k e p lace i n t h e U n ivers i t ies i n
recent years, a n d h a s c o n t r i b u ted to c reat i n g t h e rad i c a l c u l tu ra l g a p between t h e
movement of ' 6 8 a n d th at of '77.
If t h e I t a l i a n p o l i t i c a l system has been a b le to i n te rfere autonomou s l y in t h e p ro-

38
cess of reproduction of classes via various sorts of State provision, one of the
most important of these has clearly been the liberalisation of access to Univer
sities since 1969. Some interpret this move as a means of eroding the working
class hegemony that matured in the wave of struggles in the late 'sixties,
isolating it by promoting upward social mobility. If a project of this sort was ever
formulated explicitly, we are not aware of it. Let us examine the meohanism. The
liberalisation of access to Universities, at least on paper, favours social promo
tion. A working class youth can escape the path of the previous generation, can
avoid the necessity of factory or manual work. This operation is financed by
distribution in the form of presalari (grants) - the University of Padua alone ac
counts for over $2,000,000 a year: and by an increase of teaching staff and sup
plementary part-time staff.

At this point the high priests of our economy begin to complain that the criteria
for financing this social mobility determine in advance the class that will emerge
from the liberalised university system: a lower-middle bourgeoisie which is sub
sidised and "living off welfare" rather than productive or disposed to work. They
complain, in other words, that the prospect of jobs that differ from factory work is
not a sufficient incentive to productive labour, but rather acts as a signpost
towards receipt of income in the sphere of circulation, towards the world of
revenue (money as money, removed from the circuit of productive capital). At this
point the whole "party system" joins in the great debate on the reproduction of
classes in Italy, its distortions, imbalances etc., the general conclusion being that
it is not sufficient to reproduce a lower-to-middle bourgeoisie in an anti-working
class role, if this then becomes an unproductive class in receipt of revenue!

And so the scapegoat mythology of "Hunt the Parasite" - the lynchpin of the
crisis ideology - comes to the fore. Backed by the "scientific" revelations of
Sylos Labini, Gorreri, etc, this game now starts in earnest. A sort of vague
egalitarianism emerges, which scrutinises the income of the clerical worker, the
student and the tertiary worker, and says nothing, for example, about the transfor
mation of capital-which-is-productive to capital-which-is-productive-of-interest: in
its most shameful form, this egalitarianism assumes tones of workerist
chauvinism. It appears that it is no longer capital that exploits the worker, but the
postman, the milkman and the student. These are the first shots in that "class
analysis" which will become the official ideology and the preferred argument of
the super-paid editorial-writers of the Regime's press. It is a crude and effective
ideology. The liberalisation of University access is made to coincide with the
crisis, with youth unemployment, with the reduction of the productive base, with
the enlargement of the area of State subsidy. But most of all, to it is traced the
radical new phase of the political behaviour of the masses. The circle closes:

-
what was prev i o u s l y d ef i n ed as a l ower-to- m i d d l e bou rgeo i s i e in recei p t of
reve n u e ( i e a privi l eged c l ass), is now stam ped as a f r u s t rated " l u m p e n
bou rgeo i s i e " , as " y o u t h des perat i o n " , as " m a rg i na l ity" - i n other w o r d s , as a
perverse effect, created by t h e c r i s i s , of a mechan i s m w h i c h had been orig i n a l ly
c reated and c o n c eived as a means of stabi l i s i n g t h e system a n d act i n g ( t h ou g h
t h i s i s n o w q u i e t l y forgotten) i n an ant i-worker f u n c t i o n !

B LOCKING I t is not easy to u nt a n g l e t h e mass of l i es a n d h a l f-t r u t h s w h i c h are c o n t a i n ed i n


W O R K ING CLASS t h i s d i s torted vers i o n o f t h e c l ass d y n a m i c . T h e best answer i s to ret u rn t o t h e
A UTONOMY, roots of w h ere i t a l l beg a n - t h e cyc l e of w o rk i n g c lass s t r u g g l e s of 1 968-69. The
OCCU PYING T H E problem for t h e " p a rty systerr." at that stage was not o n l y that of b l oc k i n g and
P O L I TICA L SPACES. m a rg i n a l i s i n g a w o rk i n g c l ass soc i a l hegemony which had shown i t s e l f i n Italy for
t h e f i rst time s i nce t h e Second World War. I t was t h e p ro b l e m , rat h e r, of
u p root i n g the po l i t i c a l forms in w h i c h t h i s hegemony had m a n ifested i t s e l f - the
political form of a u tonomy.

O n e a n swer lay i n t h e t ec h no l o g i ca l-type prov i s i o n s t h a t were i n t rod u ced i n order


to b reak u p t h e central n u c l e u s of t h e c lass ( t h e change i n o rga n i c c o m p os i t i o n ,
etc). B u t l e s s obv i o u s w a s t h e p rocess by w h i c h t h e " pa rty sys t e m " b e g a n t h e
conq u est of t h e terra i n of work i n g c l ass a u t o nomy, p rese n t i n g i t s e l f for t h e f i rst
t i m e i n t h e form of ex p l i c i t State power.

This occu red in the fa ctory itself, with the g ra d u a l remova l of effec t i ve power
from the d e l egates (shop stewards) in the factory Cou n c i l s , and above a l l with t h e
m a n i p u l a t i o n of t h e Workers' Asse m b l ies, t h e i r g rad u a l destruction as o r g a n s o f
i ndependent work i n g c lass i n i t iative and c h o i ce. The factories, w h i c h had been
f ree from trad i t i o n a l party p o l i t i c s for more than a decade, and in w h i c h t h e
o rg a n i sa t i o n of c la s s a u tonomy form " p o l i t i c s " i n t h e esta b l i s h ed s e n s e w a s w o n
i n t h e cyc l e of m a s s s t r u g g l es f ro m t h e l a t e ' s i x t i es , n ow o n c e agai n becam e a
p o l i t i c a l terra i n of m a n i p u l a t i o n by t h e " p a rty syste m " . A l l t h e forms a n d i n
stances of c lass a u tonomy, t h ro u g h w h i c h a rea l s pace for independen t class
politics had been c o n q u e red, (even those related to t rade u n ion m ed i at i o n , s u c h
as s h o p steward o r g a n i s a t i on), were t a k e n o v e r a n d a l l owed to a t r o p h y - a n d
meanwh i l e rest r u ct u ra t i o n rooted o u t a n d scattered t h e most homogeneous and
m i l i ta n t g ro u p s i n t h e p l ants. The " party system " took contro l of t h e orga n i sa
t io n a l forms that rem a i ned, s u c h as the Works Cou n c i l s , t u r n i n g t h e m i n t o
parl i a me n t a ry t a l k i ng-shops.

At t h e same time, the extra-parl iamentary g ro u p s began their s u i c i d a l retreat from


t h e factory, a n d i n g e n e r a l ceased to g ive much atte n t i o n to p ro b l e m s of t h e com
pos i t i o n of t h e c l ass. This has led to a s i t u a t i o n w h e re, today, t h e factory a n d the
work i n g class are a l most u n known e n t i t i e s.

The larger t h e p o l i t i c a l s pace conq u e red by t h e extra- i n s t i t u t i o n a l move m e n t s ,


and t h e w i d e r t h e c u l t u ra l terri tory a n d t h e system of va l ues and behav i o u r t h a t
t hese i m pose on d e c i s ive sect i o n s of t h e c lass, t h e more t h e form of t h e State a s
" pa rty syst e m " become i nc reas i n g l y open a n d a g g ressive.

B u t t h e form of t h e State cannot l ive o n ly as a power that i s host i l e t o ext ra


i n s t i t u t i o n a l move m e n t s : i t needs a bas i c l e g i t i m a t i o n - n a m e l y the l e g i t i m a t i o n
of its c o i n c i d e n c e w i t h t h e l aws of c a p i t a l i st acc u m u l a t i o n . By m a k i n g i t s e l f t h e
i n terpreter of t h e i d e o l og y of t h e c r i s i s , by org a n i s i n g t h e new constra i nt-to-work
and the pol icy of a u sterity and sac r i f i ce, the State-form of the " p a rty syst e m " a r
rives at t h e h i g hest p o i n t of i nteg rat i o n w i t h i n t h e system of c a p i t a l , by a p rocess
of g ra d u a l aba n d o n m e n t of i t s autonomy. But w hat then a re we to make of t h e
c l a i m b y cert a i n h e i rs of Tog l i atti that t here e x i s t s a n "autonomy of t h e
po l i t ic a l " ? W h e re i s t h i s a u tonomy? Even w h e re t h i s autonomy had t h e g reatest
s u bstance - in the process of rep rod u c t i o n of c l asses - the v i o l e n c e of t h e
c r i s i s has broug h t every t h i n g u nder t h e i ro n r u l e of t h e l a w s of c a p i ta l .

Despite a l l t h e t a l k a b o u t t h e effects of p u b l i c i nt e rve n t i o n v i a t h e g rowth o f


p u b l i c expend i t u re , a l l t h e most recent s u rveys (for exam p le, t h e B a n k of I ta l y ' s

40
Bulletin for Oct-Dec 1 976) s h ow that i n I t a l y t he re h a s b e e n no c h a n g e i n t h e
d i s t r i b u t i o n of i n come, nor a n y s u bs t a n t i a l a l terat ion i n i t s compos i t i o n .

LEVE LS A N D Leve l s of i ncome h ave not d i m i n i s h e d , d e s p i t e t h e c r i s i s . Even t h e level of con


DISTRIB UTI O N O F s u me r d u rables has not f a l l e n (in fact HP forms of payment have f a l l en). To
I N CO M E A N D d i scover how t h e proletariat, and i n part i c u l a r t h e work i n g c l ass, have n o t a llowed
C LASS themselves to be pushed to the brink of poverty by the crisis but have succeeded
C O M POSITI O N . in increasing their needs and the means of sa tisfying them, wou l d a l ready t e l l u s
a g reat d e a l about t h e n e w c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e class.

I f cons u m pt i o n has not f a l l e n , n e i t h e r has t h e level of sav i n g s : and this p o i n t i s


s i g n i f i cant for a n a l y s i s of t h e " petty bou rgeo i s ie" a n d (as we a r e led to b e l i eve)
t h e hypertrophy of t h e "tert i a ry sector". I t a l i a n fam i l ies h ave one of t h e h i g hest
rates of sav i n g s i n t h e world: this wou l d seem to confirm t h e hypot h e s i s that the
propensity to savi ng i n t h e form of ba n k i n g l i q u id i ty i s a symptom of the
" t e rt i a ry" d i s p roportion of I t a l i a n society and i t s i ns u f f i c i e n t prod u c t i ve base.

A n d yet not o n l y does t h e B u l l et i n s how t h a t sav i n g s of lower to m i d d l e i n come


groups h ave i n c reased ( 1 973 - ie i n a period of savage i n f l a t i o n a n d deva l u at i o n s
of t h e l i ra) i n t h e f o r m of b a n k deposits, c u rre n t acco u n t s and p o s t o f f i c e sav i n g s ;
b u t a l so t h a t t h i s i s a factor of equilibrium, recyc l i n g i ncome t h ro u g h c red i t i n
s t i t u t i o n s , i nvested i n t h e form of money c a p i t a l i n e n t e r p r i ses, p u b l i c and p rivate,
and i n Treas u ry Bonds f i n a n c i n g p u b l i c expend i t u re , services, etc. T h e myth of t h e
h y pertrophy o f t h e t e rt i a ry sector - t h e common t h e m e of t h e ideology of t h e
c r i s i s , f r o m t h e R i g h t to t h e " N ew" Left - h a s no f o u n d a t i o n . T h e O E C D f i g u res
s h ow t h at e m p l oy m e n t i n t h e tert i a ry sector i n I ta l y i s among t h e l owest among
advanced i n d u s t r i a l cou n t r i e s : Italy 45 % ; USA 64 % ; Canada 62 % ; UK 54 % - o n l y
Federal Germany has a l o w e r percentage. M o reover, t h e I STAT stat i s t i cs s h o w t e r
t i a ry e m p loyment to be c o n c e n t rated m a i n l y i n t h e i n d u st r i a l N o rt h .

Accord i ng to t h e s c h e m a p resented b y t h e p reva l e n t p ropaganda of t h e c r i s i s , w e


w o u l d expect a f l ow o f c red i t to promote a n u n p rod u c t ive, reve n u e-based layer o f
society - t h e lower-to- m i d d l e bou rgeo i s i e , as t h e p r o p of p o l i t i c a l stab i l ity - a n d
a d i s p roportionate f l ow of resou rces to t h e tert i a ry sector. N o t s o ! The spec i a l
cred i t i ns t i t u t i o n s ( p ro moted by t h e State), accord i n g to t h e Bulletin, d i rect more
f i n a n c i n g towards i nd u st ry (a t h ree t i mes h i g her proportion), or to t ra n s port and
com m u n i ca t i o n s (one and a half t i mes h i g h e r) t h a n to c o m merce, services a n d
p u b l i c ad m i n istat i o n . H o u s i n g a l o n e - a remarka b l e f a c t - t a k e s u p d o u b l e t h e
i nvest ment of t h e w h o l e tert i a ry sector p u t tog e t h e r !
T H E MONETA RY There is a spec i f i c re l a t i o n between t h e property ma rket a n d t h e monetary c r i s i s .
CRISIS, T H E Property i s t h e f i rst ref u g e for t h e sec u rity of t h e sav i n g s of t h e " petty
P R O P E RTY MAR K ET, bourgeo i s i e " - but also for t h e i nvest m e n t of pet ro-d o l l a rs, t h e basis of t h e em
AND ITS E F F ECT p i re of rea l-estate i nvest ment t rusts, i n s u ra n c e compan ies, pension f u n d s , etc., i n
ON CLASS c l u d i n g t h e most adve n t u ro u s k i n d s of spec u l a t ive activity. Accord i n g to t h e U S
STRATI FICATIONS Federal Reserve, at t h e end of 1 975, about a q u arter of t h e c red its of U S b a n k s
w e r e i n hou s i n g . W h i le between 1 97 1 -74 " l a n d a n d l a n d deve l o p m e n t l o a n s "
(above a l l for s u b u rban deve l o p ment) t r i p led, c o m m e r c i a l bank c red its to rea l
estate t rusts a n d m o rtgage compan ies m o re t hat d o u b l ed 1 .

I n t h i s way t h e prices of s u b u rban a reas h ave i nc reased, m a k i n g i t more p rod u c


t i ve for c a p i t a l to deve l o p s u b u rban h ou s i n g , a n d d ista n c i n g soc i a l s t rata w i t h
h i g her i ncomes away f r o m c it y centres, w h i l e at t h e s a m e t i m e deprivi n g t hose c i
ty centres of rates, t a x e s , etc. ; and sett i n g i n m o t i o n t h e mecha n i s m of " f iscal
c r i s i s" of p u b l i c s p e nd i n g , which i s now a w e l l - n oted fact. H owever, we are only
at the start of this p rocess, because t h e acq u i s i t i o n of s u b u rban a reas has not
been f o l l owed by a n eq u a l l y large movement o f construct i o n ; w h i l e t h e race was
on to capt u re l a n d , the actu a l constru c t i o n of h o u s i n g saw a d ra m a t i c d ec l i ne: if
we add s i n g le-fam i l y and m u l ti-fam i ly h o u s i n g , we see a big i n c rease in the period
1 97 1 -72, and then a s u d d e n d ro p i n J a n u a ry 1 973 to December 1 974. When con
struction began to l ift off agai n , i t was in t h e s i n g l e-fa m i l y sector, and was very
weak i n d eed i n t h e m u l t i-fam i l y sector2.

Hence vast tracts of s u b u rban l andscape are w a i t i n g to be b u i l t on, in order to


make p rod u c t ive the c a p i t a l that has been " f ixed " t h e re. In the metropol i tan cen
t res, w h i c h have become the privi leged zones for the pet r i f ication of c a p i t a l , t h e
mec h a n i s m d iffers: i n order to get t h i s c a p i t a l m ov i n g , to g ive it once a g a i n t h e
f o r m of commod ity a n d exc h a n g e va l u e , a spec i f i c f i n a n c i a l stru c t u re h a s been
c reated - a series of s p ec i a l specu lative i n s t i t u t io n s , i nvented t h ro u g h the c r i s i s ,
w h i c h h a v e i n c reased t h e rhyt h m of transfers o f p roperty d e e d s a n d h a v e g iven a
considerable i m p u l s e to t h e ve l o c i ty of c i rc u l a t i o n of money, w i t h o u t it pass i n g
t h rou g h a p rocess of p rod u c t i o n . I n t h e U n ited States t o o - a n d probably m o re
so t h a n i n I ta l y - t h e "construction i nterest" has used t h e c r i s i s i n order to s u b
t ract resou rces f r o m p roduct ive c a p i t a l . T h u s , t here has not been a " s hortage of
capita l " as some people have m a i n t a i ned; c o m pa n i es ' risk capital has been f u r
n i s hed i n large meas u re by pr i vate p e n s i o n f u n d s , w h i c h , accord i n g to Peter
Drucker, today hold one t h i rd of a l l s h a re c a p i t a l in the U SA3. Thus it wou l d ap
pear that p rod u c t ive c a p i t a l has been f i n anced by t h e con t r i b u t i o n s of workers,
w h i l e t h e i n s t i t u t i o n a l i nvestors - and part i c u l a r l y t h e banks w h i c h control t h e m
- h a v e p referred to t a k e t h e path of specu l a t i o n i n p roperty or i n exc h a n g e rates.

The huge d r a i n of f i n a n c i a l reso u rces on the p a rt of rea l estate and property


c a p i t a l b r i n g s u s back to the q u estion of the " party syste m " . The powers confer
red- on local ad m i n i st r a t i o n s a re as yet u ncerta i n , but t h e re i s no d o u bt that i n
I t a l y t h e " party syste m " rep resents t h e most i m portant cond i t i o n i n g factor i n t h e
property market. L a r g e c o n t ro l le rs of territory ( t h e DC and t h e PCI) c a n , t h ro u g h
p l a n n i n g contro l s , force a barga i n i ng p rocess o n t o t h e "construction i nterest " ,
can force it to make payoffs (wh i c h , h owever, a re i ns i g n i f i ca n t c o m p a red w i t h t h e
powers that t h e " c o n s t r u c t i o n i n terest" c o n f e r s onto t h e " p a rty syst e m " , a s
regards t h e d i rect i n g a n d control of class d y n a m i cs). As s o m e m o re i n t e l l i g e n t
a n a l yses h a v e s h o w n , t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n cycle i n I t a l y has f u ncti oned as a p u m p to
d ra i n away i n co m e from workers and red i s t r i b u te i t to t h e m i d d l e c l ass o n t h e one
hand, and to t h e "construction i n terest" o n the other4.

The attack o n i n comes via the cost of h o u s i n g has a d i rect effect o n c l ass
strat i f i cations, a n d i s a factor of v i o l e n t p r o l et a r i a n i sa t i o n ; t h e e nforced s h i f t
towards bad l y served p e r i p h e ra l u rban areas i s a powerf u l factor of m a rg i na l i sa
t i o n . The c lasses, red rawn t h ro u g h t h i s process, take on t h e t y p i c a l m i xed
c h a racteristics of a period of c r i s i s . The waged worker who, t h r o u g h t h e
g u a ra n tees of t ra d e u n io n i s m , m a n ages to m a i n t a i n h i s i n come level , b u t who, for
reason s of h o u s i n g problems, l ives in a m a rg i na l i sed area, p rod u ces eco n o m i c ,
soc i a l a n d p o l i t i c a l patterns of behaviou r t h a t s t a n d h a l fway between t h e

42
" g u a ra n teed " worki n g c l ass a n d t h e s u b-proletariat even if the a c t u a l status of
h i s job m i g h t otherwise p l ace h i m in the l ower-to- m i d d l e bou rgeo i s i e .

A c o n s i d e r a b l e p a rt of t h e p o l i t i c a l behaviou r of t h e you n g proletariat d u r i n g t h e


rece nt strugg les s h o u l d be u n de rstood start i n g f r o m c i ty p l a n n i n g as a s p a c e o f
i n terve n t i o n i n c l ass d y n a m i c s . The myt h i c a l " reco n q uest of t h e city centres" i s a
reac t i o n to t h e marg i na l i s i n g t h ru s t w h i c h t h e u n ho l y a l l i a n ce of t h e "construc
tion lobby" a n d t h e " party syste m " is b r i n g i n g about. W i t h i n this " reco n q u est of
the c i ty centres" th e re i s t h e d es i re to c o u n t as a p o l i t i c a l s u bject, to break the i n
s t i t u t i o n a l b a l a nces, to i nterfere once a g a i n in t h e i n t e r n a l rel a t i o n s of t h e " p a rty
syste m " , a refu s a l to be c l ass i f ied as a n " a rea of c u l t u re " a n d that's a l l .

THE TOTAL T o c o n c l u de: i n f l a t i o n a n d t h e mechan i s m s o f t h e c r i s i s h ave considerably eroded


S U BOR DINATION OF the power of t h e " pa rty syste m " to i n te rvene a u t o n o m o u s l y in the p rocess of
THE PARTY SYST E M reprod u c t i o n of c lasses in I t a l y . T h e relat ive autonomy of the p o l i t i c a l d is t r i b u t i o n
T O TH E PO LITICS of i ncome has b e e n g reat l y n arrowed . The poss i b i l i t y of c reat i n g s t a t u s d i f
OF THE CRISIS ferences via i ncome d i ffere n t i a l s , d i spens i n g cash t h ro u g h t ra n sfers of i n come,
s u p p l e m e nt i n g i ncomes i n t h e p u b l i c services, etc., has been d i m i n i s hed. The
q u est i o n of " ratio n al d e m o g ra p h i c compos i t i o n " to w h i c h G ra m s c i referred i n t h e
t h i rt i es) i s now com i n g to depend p r i m a r i l y on capita l ist devel o p m e n t alone, o n
t h e orga n i c compos i t i o n of a g g regate c a p i t a l . Even t h e p rocess of tert i a ry g rowth
o r c reat i o n of u n p rod u ct i ve sectors now depends more o n t h e deve l o p m e n t of fix
ed capital t h a n on any autonomous i nterve n t i o n on the part of t h e political e l i tes.

N obody wou l d deny that the " party system" had t h e power in past years to i n
t e rfere w i t h some i ndependence i n t h i s p rocess - v i a econ o m i c c o n t ro l s over
c red i t and d is t r i b u t i o n of cash as reve n u e, o r t h ro u g h export of the proletariat.
B u t at t h e same t i me, t h e " d i stort i n g effect" of these c h o i ces is d e l i berately exag
g e rated by t h e PCI a n d t h e off i c i a l labou r movement. Their res u l t overa l l d oes not
seem espec i a l l y d i fferent (for exa m p l e in t h e case of the g rowth of tert i a ry activi
ty) from t h e deve l opments i n o t h e r i nd u s t r i a l cou ntries. Nor have t hey resu l ted, at
least u n t i l rece n t l y , i n any s i g n i f i cant c h a n g e i n t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of i n come.

If anyt h i ng , t hey have c reated a s o c i a l a n d i n d u st r i a l stru c t u re acutely sensit ive to


t h e problem of sav i n g s - pe rm i t t i n g a centra l i sa t i o n of u n p ro d u c t ive i ncomes
a n d t h e i r recyc l i n g i n t h e form of money capital a n d p u b l i c expend i t u re. The
powers that t h e " p a rty system " does st i l l d e p l oy , n o longer over t h e reprod u c t i o n
of c l asses, b u t over t h e new cla ss aggrega tion t h a t has b e e n f o r m e d t h ro u g h t h e
c r i s i s , a re l ocated at a d i ffere n t leve l , ( i e i n externa l i sed f o r m s of c o n t r o l at t h e
socia l-te rritorial leve l to disaggrega te and disin tegra te t h e unity o f t h e class, a n d
in perverse re l a t i o n s w i t h spec i f i c sectors of s pecu l at i ve c a p i t a l s u c h as t h e p ro
perty ma rket.)

I t i s from w i t h i n these n a rrow l i m its that the new form of t h e State i s d e rived . T h i s
is n o t to be s e e n as t h e conc l u d i n g p h a s e of t h e m u cn-vau n ted " a u t o n o m y of t h e
p o l i t i c a l " vis-a-vis " e c o n o m i c " deve l o p m e n t , b u t rat her as a n e n t i re l y opposite
p rocess: that of t h e tota l s u bo rd i nation of t h e " p a rty system " to t h e politics of
the crisis.

The rep rod u c t i o n of c l asses has b e c o m e a p r o b l e m of p o l i t i c a l l eg i t i m a t i o n rat h e r


t h a n materi a l i nt e rve n t i o n : a q u es t i o n of soc i a l a n d c u l t u ra l identity, of accep
tance or refu s a l to accept t h e norms of soc i a l behavi o u r req u i red a n d laid down
by t h e form of the State. C l asses h ave tended to lose t h e i r "objective"
c h a racteristics a n d become d e f i ned i n terms o f p o l i t i c a l s u bject i v i ty. But i n t h i s
process t h e m a j o r force of redef i n i t i o n h a s c o m e f r o m below: i n t h e c o n t i n u o u s
rep rod u c t i o n a n d i nv e n t i o n of system s of cou n ter-c u l t u re a n d stru g g l e i n t h e
sphere o f everyday l iv ing, wh ich has become ever more " illegal" . The l iberation of
th is area of autonomy outside and against off ic ial social institut ions, is stronger
than the system of values the "party system" seeks to impose .

Hence the new form of t h e State, or rat h e r i t s u n m a s k i n g , a l ready f i n d s i t s e l f i n a


c r i t i ca l l y weak con d i t i o n . To t u rn to t h e b u re a u c ra t i c-repress ive a p p a rat u s , to a
" power-State" p u re a n d s i m p le, wou l d m e a n t h e end of t h e " pa rty syst e m " i t s e l f ,
as estab l i shed for m o re t h a n t h i rty years.

What we have w i t nessed in t h e c r i s i s i s t h e s u bj e c t i o n of t h e po l i t i c a l system on


t h e part of capita l , the dest r u c t i o n of i t s " a u to n o m y " . Th i s cannot be properly
u nderstood u n less we see it i n rel a t i o n to t h e cen tra lisa tion of capita lis t com
mand w h i c h d e f i n es the po l i t i cs of the c r i s i s for a ll parties (ie the a rea of
" p o l i t ics" i t s e l f). This c e n t ra l isation i s forma l ly represented i n monetary i n s t i t u
t i o n s , from central b a n k s to t h e I M F.

For t h e past t h ree years, we in Primo Maggio have been po i n t i n g o u t a fact w h i c h


i s n o w genera l l y accepted: eco n o m i c p o l i c y c h o i ces - and h e n c e a l s o t h e criteria
u pon which c l ass rel a t i o n s i n nation states are bei n g cond i t ioned - are no longer
t h e res u l t of negot i a t i o n or barga i n i n g between parties, u n io n s a n d so o n , (in
other words med i ated re l a t i o n s of force between c l asses a n d i nterests), b u t are
l a i d down by extern a l constra i n t s determ i ned by ( i n t h e last i n stance) t h e I nterna
t i o n a l M onetary F u n d .

I t is t h i s n e w i ns t i t u t i o n a l rea l i ty of power on a n i nternat i o n a l s c a l e t h a t provides


t h e bas ic g u i d e l i nes for t h e l o g i c of t h e c u rre n t ideology of t h e crisis a n d scarciti .
and h e n ce a l so t h e p ropaganda for a u sterity meas u res. The Carter Ad m i n istration
has developed this p a rt i c u l a r aspect of m oney a s capita lis t command as t h e
bas i s of U S g lobal p o l i cy. T h i s rel a u n c h i n g of U S h e g e m o n y depends i n a d d i t i o n
on res u lts a lrea dy a cquired, w h i c h a l low t h e USA con trol over scarcity, espec i a l l y
i n t h e key sectors of e nergy a n d food i nternat i o n a l l y . ("The U S have e merged a s
t h e key sou rce of g l ob a l n u t r i t i o n a l stab i l ity" - Secretary B rzez i n s k i , i n Foreign
Policy N o . 23). Every " na t i o n a l " c h o i ce in t h e a rea of bas i c energy a n d food m u st
come u p again s t an i n te r n a t i o n a l d iv i s i o n of l a b o u r that t h e USA i nt e n d s to have
respected. The tec h n o l ogy of food p rocess i n g w i l l be as j e a l o u s l y defended as
petro l e u m or u ra n i u m . Today it i s command over wage commodities above a l l t h a t
reg u l ates t h e re l a t i o n s between t h e USA a n d t h e r e s t of t h e world. S i nce t h e PCI
vi ctory i n t h e 1 976 e l ec t i o n s and its acceptance of I ta l y ' s members h i p of N ATO,
f o l l owed by the rece n t DC e l ectoral reviva l , the Carter Ad m i n i st rat i o n , w h i l e
c a u t i o u s , h a s c o m e rou n d to t h e rea l is t i c recog n i t i o n t h a t t h e o n l y s o l u t i o n for
pol it ic al m a n a g e m e n t of t h e crisis in Italy i s t h e rei n forcement of t h e pact b i n d i n g
toget her t h e " p a rty system " a n d a " g ove r n m e n t of majority part i e s " , i n c l u d i ng t h e
P C I : as t h e s o l e c o n d i t i o n , i n other words, f o r t h e i m p lementation of aus terity b y
consen t.

So far we have c o n c e n t rated on the recompos tion of capita lis t comm a n d in t h e

44
R ECOM POSITION c r i s i s and the u n f o l d i n g of the State form t h ro u g h r i g i d i f ication of the " p a rty
OF T H E WO R KI N G system " . We m u s t now t u r n to the other s i d e - the recomposition of the class.
C LASS I N T H E To take t h e factory or t h e U n ivers i t y as a start i n g p o i n t i s not a prob l e m , i n that
P E RIOD SI N C E both are e n c l aves of res istance a n d recovery of a n a lternat ive c l ass politics -
T H E LATE 'SIXTI ES. e i t h e r start i n g p o i n t wou l d serve u s j u s t as wel l .

I f w e take t h e s u bjective d eve l o p ment o f t h e movement t h ro u g h t h e period s i nce


t h e cyc l e of c l as s offe n s i ve i n t h e late ' s ixties, we can d i s t i n g u i s h two m a i n
p h ases of s t ru g g l e. I n t h e f i rs t , f r o m 1 969 to t h e o i l c r i s i s of 1 973-74, t h e attack o n
t h e c e n t r a l m i l itant core of t h e work i n g c l ass by means of rest r u c t u r a t i o n , p rod uc
t ive reorg a n i sa t i o n , etc., was c o m b i ned with t h e " s t rategy of tension" (terro r i s t i c
u se of sec ret services, c l andest i n e p roto- Fasc ist a c t i v i t y backed by t h e S t a t e , w i t h
c o n s i d e ra b l e u s e of Fasc ist person n e l). The m o s t rece n t g e n e rat i o n of m i l itants
formed a rou n d t h e movement of 1 968-69 was c o n s u med i n t h e res ponse to this at
tack: fol l o w i n g t h e " pa re n t h e s i s " of t h e workers' offens ive, t hey ret u rned to t h e
c l a s s i c schemas of t h e Party - t h e strict re l a t i o n between p rog ra m m e a n d
org a n i s a t i o n , and a perspective on t h e s t r u g g l e for p o w e r a rt i c u l ated accord i n g to
t h e tactics of a m i l itant a n t i - Fa s c i s t movement, com b i ned w i t h t h e conq u est of
the f o r m a l , e l ectoral l eve l of p o l i t i cs. D u r i n g the f i rst phase the " pa rty system "
w a s n o t yet "congealed" i n t o t h e form of t h e State: i t w a s d ivided i n a s h a r p op
p o s i t i o n between an exec u t i v e , w h i c h m o b i l i sed t h e c la ndest i n e leve l s of t h e
S l a t e ( f r o m t h e secret services to t h e mag i s t racy), a n d a n o p p o s i t i o n w h i c h reviv
ed the democrat i c va l u es and t rad i t i o n s of the a n t i - Fascist Resistance. T h i s was,
in other words, a p h ase of partia l re-absorp tion of the preceding forms of cla ss
a u tonomy by the " pa rty syst e m " , a recovery of the i d e o l o g i c a l and org a n isat i o n a l
t rad i t i o n s of t h e off i c i a l work i n g c l ass m ovement: a cert a i n " i nt roject i o n " of t h e
" party syste m " w i t h i n t h e revo l u t i o n a ry movement i t se l f .

As regards t h e re l a t i o n between s u bjectivity a n d m o d e l s of o rg a n i sation o n t h e


revo l u t i on a ry Left, t h i s f i rst p e r i o d , f r o m t h e State-fasc i s t b o m b i n g p rovocat i o n of
P iazza Fontana ( M i l a n , Decem be r 1 969) to t h e eve n t u a l defeat of t h e " s t rategy of
t e n s i o n " (even if its ram i f i c a t i o n s cont i n u ed u p to t h e J u ne 1 976 E lection), was
m arked by a general rej e c tio n of t h e c reative hy potheses of t h e movement of
1 968-69. This was acco m p a n ied by t h e reb i rt h in the move m e n t of u lt ra-Bo l s hevik
models of orga n i sat i o n , o r - i n t h e case of g ro u p s l i ke t h e MLS (Workers '
Soc i a l ist M ovement, based on t h e M i la n s t ud e n t move m e n t), Manifes to, A vanguar
dia Operaia a n d PDUP - of t rad i t i o n a l h i storical Tog l i a t t i a n m o d e l s , e m be l l i s h e d ,
at most, w i t h M a o i s m . Th e re w as , i n other w o r d s , a cert a i n revival of t h e h i storic
orga n i sat i o n a l epoch of t h e I t a l i a n Com m u n i st Party a n d movement, from
G ra m s c i to t h e Resistance.
T h i s revival d rast i c a l l y m a rg i n a l i sed t h e c l a s s i c "worker i st " a rea of autonomy i n
he rited f r o m t h e worker-st u d e n t movem e n t of 1 968-69, as w e l l as t h e a n a rc h i st,
s i t u a t i o n i s t , and m o re i n t ra n s i g e n t M a rx i st-Le n i n i st g rou p s .

The central n u c l e u s of t h e "workers ' s a u t o n o m y " t e n d e n c y , represented by Po tere


Operaio (Workers' Power) and Collettivo Politico Metropolitan o , h a v i n g come u p
a g a i n s t t h e i n s t i t u t i o n a l - po l i t i c a l l i m i t s o f a st rategy based o n t h e p o l i t i c a l poten
tial of factory wage s t r u g g l es, made a d ra m a t i c c h o i ce i n favou r of f i g h t i n g for
t h e militarisa tion of t h e move m e n t . This s i m i l a r l y i nvolved slogans l i ke " overcom
ing the spontaneity of the autonomous mass movement" a nd " b u i l d i n g the armed
party " . I t i nvolved s t a k i n g everyt h i n g on l eve l s of org a n i sed m i l itancy, p rofes
s i o n a l cadres, etc. T h i s was to be a l o s i n g battle. But t h e m a i n prob l e m now i s to
g rasp how and w h y t h e m a rg i n s of t h e M ovement were so d rast ica l ly c u rtai l ed ,
dep rived of po l it i c a l s pace, w h i l e o n l y hy pot h eses of party orga n i s a t i o n s u rvived
in t h i s period.

T H E P O LITICAL In general we can say th at h i storical model s were taken up u n c r i t i ca l l y and


P R O B L E M S OF assu med as a priori normat ive va l i d ity a n d i m portance. F o l l o w i n g t h e wave of new
THE M O V E M ENT, p o l i t i c a l hypot h eses that went we l l beyond t h e com m u n i st h i storical t rad i t i o n , in
AND T H E 1 968-69, we then saw a w h o l e s a l e recovery a n d revival of T h i rd I nternat i o n a l ist
DEVELOPING mod e l s and perspectives. The central prob l e m was State terro r i s m ; t h e prob l e m of
' PARTYIST' power, seen as the s m a s h i n g of t h e State m a c h i ne, f u rt h e r acce n t u ated t h e
CONC EPTIONS. c l a s s i c Len i n i st featu res of org a n i s a t i o n . T h i s i s t r u e espec i a l l y of t h e s t ru g g l e to
overth row t h e R i g ht-w i n g And reott i - M a l a g od i Gove r n m e n t up to 1 972, w h i c h led to
t h e maxi m u m deg ree of convergence betwee n t h e org a n i sa t i o n a l st rategy of the
revo l u t ionary Left g ro u p s and t h e i n s t i t u t i o n a l forces of a n t i-Fasc i s m . T h e g ro u p s
were i n t h e process absorbed i nto t h e " p a rty syst e m " , to t h e e x t e n t of " c ros s i n g
t h e p a r l i a m e n t a ry-electoral t h res h o l d " ; lead i n g to t h e c reat ion of orga n i sa t i o n s
l i ke P D (Proletarian Democra cy), or tact i c s of e l ectoral s u p port for t h e P C I , l i ke
L o tta Continua . B u t t h i s a l ready takes us i nt o the seco n d , post- 1 973 p h ase, w h i c h
we s h a l l be exa m i n i ng later.

A sort of i m perfect Tog l i attian system was i n operation i n t h i s f i rst period: on t h e


one h a n d a strong presence i n t h e s t reets, m i l itant a n t i - Fasc i s m , m a s s c a m p a i g n s
and d e m o n strat i o n s p ro m oted b y t h e g r o u p s ; o n t h e o t h e r , p a r l i a m e n t a ry pres s u re ,
b u t above a l l t h ro u g h i ns t i t u t i o n s and t h e Press, b y t h e PCI and PS I , to overth row
the terrorist b l a c k m a i l of the DC Gove r n m e n t and its a l l ies. Even t h e i n it i at ives of
t h e Red Brigades ( B R) in t h i s period m a i n t a i n a n objective a m b iva l e n ce between
extreme forms of m i l itant a n t i - Fasc i s m (viewed with considerable tolerance by
certa i n sectors of ex-part i s a n s , vetera n s of the armed Resistance of the 1 940's)
and t h e b u i l d i ng of a n armed party, derived f ro m w i t h i n the " post-workerist" and
i n s u rrec t i o n i s t perspect ives of the "workers' autonomy" c u rre n t we have a l ready
referred to.

We can t h e refore d i s t i n g u i s h t h e c h a racter i s t i c s of t h e a verage type of milita n t


f o r m e d i n t h i s p h a s e of t h e strugg l e : a party cad re, w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l e o rg a n i sa
t i o n a l a b i l ity, act i v i s m and presence at a l l necessary l eve l s , who developed cer
t a i n l y from h i s or her own s i t u a t i o n of s t ru g g l e , but who received a n overa l l
p o l i t i c a l framework from t h e " p a rty schoo l " a n d t h e myt h s o f t h e o rg a n i sa t i o n . I t
w o u l d b e u n f a i r to s a y s i m p l y t h a t t h i s i m p l i e s t h e format i o n of a l i en ated
m i l itants, expropri ated of t h e i r own s u bjectivity. The posit ive c h a ract e r i s t i c s of
t h i s period, t h e u nceas i n g rhyt h m of ca m p a i g n s a n d m o b i l i sa t i o n s , s o m e t i m e s
b l i nd , b u t n o less effective i n t h e l o n g r u n ; t h e new, ca l c u l ated, org a n i sed u se of
" d i rect act i o n " in the st reet d e m o n s t rat i o n s a n d confrontat i o n s ; the prompt
response to p rovocat i o n s of t h e Right - all t hese act i v i t i es esta b l i s h ed a n d im
posed a terra i n of m a s s political p ract ice, which became a social s tructure, a
class compositio n , even if i t s s i g n s of frag i l ity became a p parent i n t h e second
period.

T h e tra n s i t i o n to t h i s second period of t h e s t ru g g l e m ust be f i rst u nd e rstood in


terms of t h e c h a n g ed re l a t i o n between t h e revo l u t i o n a ry Left a n d t h e factory. T h i s
w a s n o t o n l y d u e to t h e i n c reased e m p h a s i s o n territoria l-com m u n i ty a c t i v i s m

46
( s e e Take Over t h e City and s i m i l a r s l o g a n s and p rojects of t h i s p hase). I t w a s
rat h e r t h at t h e restoration of T h i rd I n ternat i o na l i st m od e l s m e a n t t h a t t h e scien
t i f i c M a rx i st concepts of t h e factory and t h e work i n g c l ass were lost s i g h t of. The
re l a t i o n between revo l u t i o nary p o l i t i c s and the rea l ity of t h e work i n g c l ass was
med i ated by one over-rid i n g t h e m e - that of res tructura tion. In other words, a
defensive terra i n , w h i c h not o n l y accepted as given t h e fragmentat i o n of the
" m a s s worker" - t h e driving force of t h e c lass i n t h e p revious workers' offens ive
- b u t made t h i s f rag mentat i o n t h e key point of depart u re for org a n i sa t i o n . T h i s
was a confu s i n g period. The Left g ro u p s h a d no factory st rategy; t h e i r m i l itants
were p u rged from t h e p l a nts, e i t h e r sacked (often for absentee i s m), by leav i n g of
t h e i r ow n accord, or tak i n g s h e l ter w i t h i n t h e U n io n s . In some of t h e l a rge work i n g
c l ass concentra t i o n s of t h e N o rt h , o n l y a c l andest i n e fraction w a s l e f t to m a i n t a i n
a s l e nd e r orga n i sat i o n a l network.

Not that the period 1 969-73 was o n e of standst i l l as far as workers' demands were
concerned - far from i t . I t was ma rked by i ntensive col l ective barga i n i n g activity
- proba b l y t h e most i ntense s i nce t h e War. Few were a w a re of t h e reco n q u est by
the " pa rty system " in the factories prec isely becau s e t h i s p rocess was covered
up by the pressu re of U n i on barga i n i n g . In some sectors l a b o u r costs rose by
25 % a year, not to m e n t i o n t h e U n ion pressu re for the inquadramento unico
( u n i f ication of g rad i n g systems for workers and w h i t e c o l l a r staff) and on work i n g
cond i t i o n s and e n v i r o n m e n t . B u t t h i s cont i n u o u s barga i n i ng activity tended t o
h ave a frag m e n t i n g effect p o l i t i c a l ly: it tended to dissolve the politica l iden tity o f
t h e class, reducing it t o its lo wes t common denomina tor as mere labour-po wer. I t
wo u l d b e q u ite wrong t o s a y t h at t h e presence of workers' p o l i t i c a l p ro b l e m s
" d i m i n i s hed" i n t h i s p e r i o d at a l l leve l s . The rea l i ty of t h e s i t u a t i o n was rat h e r
that a l l t h e p ropert ies of t h e c l a s s w h i c h u n i fy and d e f i n e i t as a p o l i t i c a l s u bj ect
w e re now transferred to the org a n i sations. The class rem a i ned as a s u baltern e l e
m e n t , as "ma teria l " for the party, in other words as labour po wer. The spectre of
t h e old separat ion betwee n "ec o n o m i c " and " p o l i t i c a l " s t r u g g l e ret u rned to t h e
s c e n e . T h i s m e a n t a severe setback f o r the autonomy of t h e work i n g c l ass: a
defeat of work i n g c l ass s c i e n c e , of revo l u t ionary theory.

A NEW POLITICAL B u t i f t h e i d e n t i ty of t h e mass worker as political s u bject was now dead - long
CYCLE O F l ive t h e mass worke r ! A p o l i t i c a l cycle of stru gg les as d e e p l y rooted and powerf u l
STR U G GLES: THE as t h a t w h i c h led from t h e mass confrontation o f Piazza Statuto (Tu r i n , 1 96 1 ) to
GENE RALISATION OF the g e n e ra l i sed offens ive of the Hot A u t u m n ( 1 969) - t h ro u g h o u t w h i c h t h e mass
THE POLITICAL worker of l a rg e-sca l e i n d u st ry had acted as t h e central d ri v i n g force - cou l d
BEHAVIO U R OF THE h a rd l y be expected to d i sa p pear w i t h o u t a t race. I t w a s b o u n d to s e t i n m o t i o n a
MASS WO R KE R w h o l e series of secondary effects and i rreversi b l e m ec h a n i s m s , imposing its
specific hegemony on the composition o f the en tire class.
I n fact t here were p lenty of s i g n s of t h i s . Besides t h e network of s m a l l e r factories
w h i c h began to ex p l ode one after another, the rest of t h e labou r force at a l l leve l s
t o o k t h e c u e a n d b e g a n to o rg a n ise and s t ru g g l e a l o n g t h e s a m e l i nes as t h e
workers of t h e b i g factories. A p a rt f r o m t h e a f f i rmation of a s i m i l a r m o d e l of
po l it i ca l-t rade u n i o n activity, we find para l l e l forms of col lective behav i o u r a n d
p ractices of s t ru g g l e. The h e g e m o n y of t h e w orkers o v e r s a la r i ed e m p l oyees c a n
be s e e n i n t h e mass p i c ket i n g by b a n k e m p l oyees, i n c l u d i n g v i o l e n t c o n f ro nta
t i o n s w i t h p o l i c e and scabs (the p o l i c e were by now b e i n g used reg u l ar l y a g a i n s t
p i c kets); or i n t h e " i n te rn al marches" ( c h a racterist i c form of mobi l i sa t i o n at F I AT)
by Govern me n t e m p l oyees at t h e M i n istries. N ot to m e n t i o n cert a i n m o re spec i f i c
effects, s u c h as t h e workers' use of labou r t r i b u n a l s . T h i s began to p rov i d e cer
t a i n leve l s of t h e m a g i s t racy w i t h a p l atform to break away form t h e i m passe of a
p u re l y j u ri d ical-formal battle for respect of l a b o u r codes and g u arantees a g a i n st
t h e i l l e g a l p ract ices of t h e j ud i c i a ry - h e n c e t h e emergence of a new w o rk i n g
c lass p ract i ce i n j u ri s p ru dence.

F u rther, t h e stru g g l e over health a n d safety at work p rovided a p latform f o r doc


tors to b reak away f ro m t h e corporate i n te rests of t h e med i c a l p rofess i o n : hence
t h e beg i n n i ng of mass criticism of m ed i c i n e a nd t h e med i c a l - p h a rm a ce u t i c a l
power b l o c , w h i c h h a s b e e n one of t h e m a j o r c o n q u ests of work i n g c lass
hegemony at t h e i ns t i t u t i o n a l leve l . Class res istance to restru c t u ra t i o n and
tec h n o l o g i c a l i n n ovat i o n i n t h e p l a nts led e n g i n eers a n d tec h n ic i a n s a l s o to a
c r i t i q u e of t h e orga n i sation of m a c h i nery a n d p la n t s from a w o rk i n g c lass v i ew
p o i n t . F i n a l l y , t h e re was the u n i fication of g rad i n g systems for staff and workers
(staff s ta tus) toget h e r with t h e c o n q u est of the " 1 50 H o u rs " (workers ' paid s tudy
lea ve) conceded in t h e e n g i n ee r i n g contract of 1 972 and s u bseq u e n t l y g e n e ra
l i sed . A u t o n o m o u s and d is t i nct from both p rofess i o n a l work-ret ra i n i ng s c h emes
and t rade u n io n t ra i n i n g cou rses, t h i s latter v i ctory re i m posed a work i n g c l ass,
factory p resence in t h e State schools a n d U n i ve rs i t i es.

The arrival of t h e " 1 50 H o u rs" workers o n study-leave i n U n ivers i t i e s meant a


rad i c a l c h an ge . The effects of f ree i n g e n t ry to t h e U n ivers i t ies becam e
macroscopic. T w o new elements t h rew t h e o l d e l ite a n d academ i c forms i n t o
c r i s i s : s t u d e n t s of p roletarian backg rou nd/st u d e n t s w h o had b e e n proletaria
n i sed, and t h e worker-st udents. There was a l s o t h e generat i o n a l factor - t h e
y o u t h e n ro l l i n g i n U n ivers ities h ave beh i n d t h e m a H i g h School move m e n t , b o t h
c o m p a c t a n d t e s t e d i n mass act i v i s m i n t h e s t reets. T h o s e arriv i n g from tec h n i c a l
a n d commerc i a l o r accou ntancy schoo l s come f r o m a backg ro u n d of s t ru g g l es
arou nd t h e re l a t i o n between ed u c a t i o n a n d e m p l oy m e n t . The mass meet i n g
(assemb/ea) rema i n s t h e bas i s of p o l i t i c a l format i o n , b u t t h e p o l i t i c a l s t r u ct u re o f
t h e m i l itants comes f r o m t h e servizio d 'ordine ( t h e org a n i sation of stewards, t h e
' s h oc k t roops' at d e m o n st ra t i o n s), a n d f ro m p o l i t i c a l orga n i s i n g i n t h e com m u n ity.

T H E NEWLY D E F I N E D T h i s new generat i o n of entrants to t h e U n ivers ity fou nd not h i n g new or s u perior i n
ROLE OF THE terms o f c u l t u re a n d means o f pol i t i c a l ex p res s i o n , t h a n what had a l ready been
UNIVERSITY, AN D c o n q u e red in the H i g h Schools, or t h ro u g h activity i n p o l i t i c a l g ro u p s . In com
T H E E M E R G ENCE O F parison, t h e U n iversity a p peared as a l i fe l ess, s q u a l i d , b u reaucrat i c struct u re,
T H E WO M EN'S which offered l i t t l e . The o l d acad e m i c e l i te, d e s p i te t h e student revo l t of 1 968, has
MOV E M ENT s u cceeded i n coopt i n g a new generation of y o u n g opport u n ist teac hers. The p i c
t u resq ue arrogance of t h e o l d e r academ i c s was b e i n g rep l aced by a new genera
tion of merc u r i a l and s p e n t i n d iv i d u a ls. The " N ew Left" i n t e l lectu a l s of the 1 968
v i n tage, and t hose formed in the so-ca l led m i nority g ro u p s of the ' s ixties, if not
openly "sold o u t " , were e i t h e r at the service of the Trade U n ion Left, or p ract i s i n g
a d u a l ro l e of orga n i sa t i o n a l m i l itancy c o m b i ned w i t h " s c i e n t i f i c " acad e m i c i s m .
Any poss i b i l ity of a new c u l t u re, a re-eva l u a t i o n and re l a u n c h i n g of revo l u t i o n a ry
t h eory and c reat i o n of new theoret i c a l weapons that t h e U n ivers ity cou l d offer,
were open l y d i scou raged both by t h e groups and by Left j o u r n a l i s m and
p u b l i s h i n g . H e n ce t h e U n ivers ity was taken f o r what it was: a b u reauc rat i c f i l t e r of
soc i a l mob i l ity a n d n ot h i n g more. The contents of acad e m i c c u l t u re were not
c h a l lenged: i n stead t h e re was a wholesale desert i o n of lectu res a n d s e m i nars.
The stru g g l e against selection of i ntake, as in 1 968, no l o n g e r made sense, s i nce
t h e State itself had i m posed mass i f ication a n d f ree e n t ry. Selection now took

48
place at other levels - at the level of income and needs: no longer by the vote of
academic functionaries, but by the structural inadequacy of services. The impact
of the crisis and the rise in the cost of living played the decisive role here.

This account takes us to the end of 1973, and the Oil Crisis, which we take as the
conventional date for the opening of the second phase. But before we go on, we
must turn to the decisive event which began to transform the conditions of the
movement from 1970-71, still in the earlier phase: the birth of the feminist move
ment. This immediately posed a question of hegemony over the whole social
fabric, hence was analogous in its dimensions and its claims to the hegemony of
the mass worker. The specific, autonomous interests of women, organised by
women, not only directly challenge family relations of productio i; they also, by
taking an autonomous political form as an independent feminist movement, in
volved a radical separation from the mediations of the "party system", and from
Trade Union representation, but also above all from the revolutionary Left groups
themselves. With women's self-rediscovery and claim to control their bodies, their
own needs and desires, their subjectivity, we see the beginnings of a new critique
of alienated militancy - one of the key themes of the movement in the second
phase - but also, and more fundamentally, the starting point for the general
thematic of needs within the movement.

All this remained a latent tendency, however, until the beginning of the acute
phase of the crisis in 1974-75. At the institutional level this coincided with the
defeat of the "strategy of tension". Just at the point when the violence of the
crisis against the composition of the class reached its apex, the Italian Left - in
cluding a large part of the extra-parliamentary groups - were celebrating their
victory at the institutional level, considering their mission practically accomp
lished!

THE ERROR OF Here we see in striking form the precipitation of all the contradictions, above all
MISTAKING THE the gap between "politics" and the reality of the class, which marked the "im
APPEARANCE FOR perfect Togliattian" situation we described above. The attention of the Left was
THE SUBSTANCE focused on the form of the State: but not at the State form as measured or levell
OF STATE POWER. ed against the autonomy of the working class. Rather, the State form was seen in
itself, in its own autonomy, at the formal-political level only. The crisis of the
Right-wing strategy of tension was mistakenly seen by the Left as the crisis of
the State form. The forced abandonment by the DC Government of its underhand
use of Fascist personnel and provocation was mistaken for the crisis of the
regime. The temporary virulence of internal battles within the DC and the
"separate bodies" of the State (secret services, security, etc.) was mistaken for
the crisis of State command. This was to mistake the appearance for the
substance of Sta te po wer. Me a nw h i le, t h e rea l reco n s t r u c t i o n of t h e " p a rty
system " proceeded from belo w: t h e form of the State had a l ready penet rated the
terra i n of t h e factory, and by now only needed the ideology of the c r i s i s to come
out i n t o t h e open, as a mac h i n e d i rectly p o l a r i sed a g a i n st t h e i nterests of the
work i n g c l ass.

Hence t h e re was a t e m porary crisis at gove r n m e n t leve l , b u t com b i n ed w i t h


g rad u a l "sta b i l isat i o n " i n t h e factories. The a p p l ication of toug h measu res i n h i g h
p l aces; revel a t i o n of s c a n d a l s , and i n t i m id a t i n g M a f i a-st y l e behaviou r at t h e
h i g hest l eve l , ex h i b i ted i n p u b l i c ; t h e corru p t i o n of t h e e l ite and b u re a u c racry
crudely exposed f o r t h e f i rst t i m e - b u t a l l i n s u c h a way as to d e m o n s t rate p ro
vocat ively t h e p r i v i l e g e of i m p u n ity of t h e " party syste m " . M i n i sters, attorney
genera l s , bankers, p o l i ce ch iefs, w h ose i l l e g a l a n d u nderhand p ract ices were a m p
ly p roved a n d d i sc u ssed, never s u f fered any p e n a l ty in terms of loss of person a l
f reedom or i ncome. T h u s t h e s c a n d a l s of t h e reg i m e o n l y s e rved i n f a c t as a n e l e
ment of in timida tion a n d hence reinforcemen t of t h e State form based on t h e par
ty system.

Meanw h i l e "tough measu res." were bei n g adopted i n t h e factory ! From 1 974 t h e
t e m p o of factory c l o s u res, sac k i n g s and layoffs g a t h e red pace, eased b y
systematic recou rse to t h e cassa in tegrazione ( t h e State-e m p loyer f u n d to com
pensate for periods laid off from work, i n c r i s i s - h i t i n d ust r i e s and sectors). The
system of l a b o u r-contract l e g a l g u a rantees, estab l i s hed thanks to t h e workers' of
fens ive of 1 969, was not broken and remained i n tact. In other words, i t was a l l ow
ed to s u rvive as a juridical-con tractual framework. But the reality of
" g u arantee i s m ' ' , w h i c h does not depend o n w r i tten statutes or labou r c o n t racts,
b u t on t h e h o m o g e n e i ty and com pactness of c l ass orga n i sa t i o n and t h e p o l i t i c a l
network of c l ass a u tonomy b u i l t i n t h e factories i n t h e p reced i n g years - t h i s
w a s attacked b y a l l m e a n s ava i l ab l e .

As regards t h e s u bj e c t i v i ty of t h e c lass, w h i c h i s o u r m a i n foc u s i n t h i s a r t i c l e , a


period of s i l e n c e now sets i n (apart from t h e w e l l-known worse n i n g of t h e condi
t i o n s of work) - a s i l e n c e i n which we s till find ourselves today. T h i s occu rred , in
t h e absence of a l t e rnat ive political struct u re s , with t h e d ec l i ne of democratic
t rade u n ion i n s t i t u t i o n s . In t h e factory mass meet i n g s , which become m o re and
more i n f req u e n t , t h e workers n o l o n g e r speak. They suffer i n s i lence t h e con
t i n u o u s h a m m e r i n g - h o m e of t h e off i c i a l trade u n ion line ("Th i n g s cou l d get
worse"; "We have t o accept t h e rea l ity of t h e s i t u a t i o n " ; "We must t i g h t e n our
belts, accept certa i n sacrifices" etc.). They close t h e m s e l ves off i n to a n a t t i t u d e
of non-express i o n of t h e i r own n e e d s , a n d s t a n d by w h i l e va n g u a rd m i l i t a n t s a r e
i n t i m idated, p u rged or expel led from t h e factory w i t h t h e open com p l i c i t y - i n
deed act ive c o n n ivance - of u n ion and party off i c i a l s . W h i l e t h e p u rg i n g of
m i l itants had p rev i o u s l y been a cree p i n g , s i l e n t p rocess, the t r a n s i t i o n to the se
cond phase becomes open and d e m o n s t rative: the p o l i t i c a l confrontat i o n with t h e
workers becomes a frontal attack, a determ i ned effort b y t h e " p a rty system " to
norm a l ise t h e behav i o u r of t h e workers a n d t h e i r forms of s t r u g g l e . Seen from t h i s
context, t h e advances m a d e i n t h e s p h e re of " c i v i l r i g h t s " i n t h i s n e w p h ase m u s t
be s e e n as a d ivers i o n - a l t h o u g h we s h o u l d not u nderes t i mate t h e i r effects, i n
l e g i t i m a t i n g t h e w o m e n ' s move m e n t (and h e n c e a l l ow i n g i t to advance on a
broade r pol i t ic al front) a n d i n prec i p itat i n g t h e c r i s i s of t h e m i l i t a ry i n st i t u t io n s.
Des p i t e these pos i t i ve as pec t s, however, t h e re i s no doubt t h a t t h e m a c rosco p i c
e l e m e n t of t h e p e r i o d 1 974-76 rem a i n s t h e inability of t h e workers' s t ru g g l e to
b reak t h e eq u i l i b ri u m of t h e " party system " a n d destab i l ise its i nt e r n a l re l a t i o n s .
I n t h i s tem porary b l u n t i n g of t h e p o l i t i c a l i m pact of work i n g class s t r u g g l e , a c o n
siderable role has been p l ayed by t h e dece n t ra l i sed po l i t ica l-ad m i n i s t rative s t r u c
t u re of reg i o n a l gove r n m ents a n d local a u t h o r i t ies. I nc reas i n g l y t h ey h a v e i n
tervened as m e d i ators a n d a r b i t rators i n factory confrontat ions.

A D EVELOPING The smaller firms and pla n ts have a spec i a l i m portance, for t h e c lass s u bjectivity
CLASS and type of s t ru g g l e th at t hey engender. At this leve l , of p i ecemeal b l ow against
COMPOSITION: cou nterblow, c l o s u res a n d occu pa t i o n s , it is precisely this war of position tha t
THE ROLE O F gives rise to the recompositional processes of the working class. I t is st i l l d i ff i c u l t
THE SMALL to estab l i s h , b u t probably t h e s m a l l factory h as p rovided t h e best terra i n , t h e "en-

50
FACTORY A N D t ry h o l e " t h ro u g h w h i c h t h e m o l e h a s started to d i g once a g a i n . Of c o u rse, s m a l l
T H E DISS EMINATED factories are not homogeneous a m o n g t h e m s e l ves, a n d i n fact ex h i b i t s harp d i f
WORKER ferences a n d c o n t rasts. For exa m p l e : d i f ferences betwee n low tec h no l og i c a l
l eve l s , a n t i q uated leve l s of org a n i sa t i o n , a n d b i g i n n ovat ive t e n d e n c i e s ; between
s i t u at i o n s of total m arket para l y s i s a n d s i t u at i o n s offeri n g poss i b i l i t i es of fresh
m a rket p e n e t rat i o n ; local ly-oriented factories, a n d factories serv i n g o n ly a n i nter
n a t i o n a l m a rket; f i rm s that a re tota l l y dependent on t h e strang le-hold of c red i t
a n d f i rms l i ke t h e cooperatives w h i c h a r e f ree f ro m ban kers' u s u ry ; f ro m u n io n i s
ed f i r m s to others (far g reater i n n u m ber) w i t h no trade u n i o n org a n i sa t i o n ; from
f i rm s with a labou r force w h i c h i s m a rg i na l and u nderpa i d , to t h ose w here it i s
h i g h l y paid a n d s k i l led; and f i n a l ly, vary i n g s ized factories w h e re a l l t hese
e le m e n t s a re c o m b i n ed u nd e r one roof. Prec isely t h i s level of d i s-homogeneity
means t hat t h e s m a l l-to-med i u m factory worker does not e x p ress a major i t a r i a n
soc i a l reference p o i n t for t h e c l ass, w h ose d e m a nd s a n d forms of s t r u g g l e can b e
taken u p at t h e gen eral level of p o l i t i c a l objectives: f u rt h e rm o re, we cannot expect
to see t h e kind of re l at i o n s h i p (as with t h e l a rg e-sca l e factory) of mass va n g u a rd s
c a p a b l e of p u l l i ng be h i nd t h e m t h e w h o l e of t h e move m e n t .

I n o t h e r word s, i n t h i s c a s e t h e re i s a lack of t hose p o l i t i c a l m ec h a n i s m s t h at h a d


m a rked t h e cyc l e of s t r u g g l e s of t h e m a s s worker. B u t t h i s d o e s not mean that a
g e n e r a l p o l i t i c a l pote n t i a l does not e x i s t : h e re we f i n d i n stead a set of recomposi
tional mechanisms tha t s tart, precisely, from a base of dishomogeneity.

Let ' s beg i n w i t h age: prec i s e l y because the s m a l l factory tends to use marg i na l
l a b o u r-power, t h e presence of m i n o rs a n d very y o u n g peop l e , i f n o t t y p i c a l , i s
nevert h e l ess very f req u e n t , a n d i t i s f r o m t h e s m a l l factories t h a t perhaps t h e
m o s t s o l i d w i n g of t h e move m e n t of proletarian y o u t h h a s b e e n recru ited. At t h e
sam e t i me, s i nce t h e s m a l l factories e m p l oy a c o n s i d e ra b l e n u m ber of women
workers, t hey have a l s o provided a recru i t i n g g r o u n d for a s izea b l e w i n g of t h e
wome n ' s move m e n t , w i t h a part i c u l a r awareness of t h e p r o b l e m s of material
needs. In add i t i o n t here i s t h e q u estion of t h e workforce i nvolved i n precarious
work (la voro precario), work in the home, illegal work (la voro nero), etc: the c r i s i s
has s w e p t away t h e d ivid i n g p a rt i t i o n s between t h e va r i o u s " i n d u s t r i a l forma
t i o n s " a n d has created t h e p h e n o m e n o n of t h e "d issem i n ated worker" (w h i c h can
a l s o be fou n d i n o t h e r spec i f i c epochs in t h e h i story of t h e I t a l i a n proletari at). I n
other words, t h e c o n s c i o u s d i s pe r s i o n o f t h e l a b o u r force w i t h i n a territorial
d i me n s i o n , i n a n i n termediate condition betwee n formal a n d rea l s u bj e c t i o n to
c a p i t a l . This i s a p recise p l a n , put i n to operat ion a g a i n s t t h e p o l i t i c a l a g g re g a t i o n
of t h e c l ass. B u t , leav i n g a s i d e these s tructural a s p e c t s , t h e b i g c h a n g es a re to
be seen in t h e subjectivity of the workers in the s m a l l factory, i na s m u c h as i t is
h a rd for them to apply org a n i sa t i o n a l models a n d forms of s t ru g g l e w h i c h rea l ly
o n l y a p p l y in l a rge-sca l e i n d u s t ry. H e re we see a c r i s i s in t he trade u n io n i s t s t y l e
of operat i n g th at c h a racteri sed t h e s t r u g g l e of workers i n t he l a rge f a c t o r i e s . T h e
t ra n s i t i o n w h ereby l a b o u r p o w e r becomes worK i n g class (a p rocess w n i c h i s
g u a ran teed i n t h e l a rge factory b y t h e very f a c t of mass i f ication) is a t ra n s i t i o n
th at t h e s m a l l -factory worker m u s t w i n v i a p o l i t i c a l p rocesses t h a t a re by n o
m e a n s "g iven " . T h e p ractice of v i o l ence m u s t m a ke u p for t h e lack of n u m be rs
and t h e low level of m a s s i f i ca t i o n . I f t h e roots of d i rect act ion armed workers'
groups are to be f o u n d , h i stori c a l l y , i n the old "Sta l i ng rads" of t h e work i n g c lass,
i n po l i t ical terms t h ey are based on t h e s t a n d a rd of t h e small factory.

To sum up: t h e s m a l l factory has p l ayed a c r u c i a l role. It has provided a material


terra i n of reco m p o s i t i o n for proletarian you t h , for t h e women ' s move m e n t , for the
stru g g l e a g a i n s t overt i m e and i l legal l a b o u r - a n d i t has prov i d ed a channel of
mediation between t h e behavi o u r of t h e d i ss e m i nated worker a n d t h e behavi o u r of
t h e workers based in the large i n d u st r i a l c o n c e n t ra t i o n s .

H owever, t hese pos i t i o n s reg a rd i n g t h e s m a l l factory m u s t not be taken i n a n " i n


s t i t u t i o n a l " sense. I n other words, t h e new c l ass compos i t i o n t h a t e m e rges from
t h e second phase h a s n e i t h e r a n i n s t i t u t i o n to s ym bo l ise i t , nor i s i t represented
by a majority soc i a l f i g u re. This becomes all the more evident i f we exa m i n e the
other l a rge sector of rec r u i t m e n t - t h e service indus tries. H ere we see fam i l ia r
patterns repeat i n g t h e m se l ves. I n a l l c a p i t a l is t s o c i e t i e s i n t h e p a s t 30 years,
e m p l oyment has u n i fo r m l y stag nated i n m a n u fact u r i n g and has i n c reased i n the
services. H owever, what i s not u n iform i s the l evel of wages w i t h i n the respective
services sectors, a n d t he huge d i fferences i n l eve l s of org a n isation a n d e f f i c iency.
H e re, however, t h e p rob l e m i s one of a part i c u l a r p o l i t i c a l conj u nc t u re. N am e l y :
t h e u n c lear d e m a rcat i o n between t h e a rea of receive rs of reve n u e a n d t h e a rea of
services; t h e l a u n c h i n g of t h e trade u n i o n s ' reform p rog ram m e after t h e H o t
A u t u m n w i t h t h e i n t e n t i o n of d ivert i n g w o r k e r s ' p ress u re on t h e factory wage o n t o
the indirect wage; the decentralisation o f the functions o f State administration: all
t h ese c o n tribu te to m a k i n g t h e service sector a focal p o i n t for a part i c u l a r set of
p o l i t ic al t e n s i o n s . T h i s becomes ex p l os ive when the i d ea of a right to an income
becomes w i d e s p read, a l o n g s i d e the e m e rg i n g p o l i t i c a l rea l i ty of the " new need s " .

T H E CHAN G I N G The d o m i n a n t f a c t i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s t h e i n c reas i n g p o l i t i c a l pres s u re on t h e ser


POSITION O F vice sector, on t h e f i r m s and agencies w i t h i n t h a t sector, and on t h e p o l i t i c a l and
LOCAL A U T H O R ITY ad m i n i st rat ive i n s t i t u t i o n s . T h i s has bu i l t u p t h ro u g h a w h o l e range of s u bject ive
AND PA RASTATE and struct u ra l pressu res, a l l of w h i c h req u i re a m i c roscop i c a n a l y s i s . The fact of
W O R K E RS. this pressure is the only element of homogeneity in the situation, because when
we look at t h e l ev e l s of orga n i sation, or t h e l eve l s of orga n i c compos i t i o n of
c a p i t a l , we f i n d rad i c a l d i fferences. O n the o n e hand t h ere are the exa m p l es of
f i r m s l i ke S I P and E N E L (petroc h e m i c a l s and e l ec t r i c i ty). H e re we find o u rse l ves i n
a n area o f l a rge-s c a l e tec h no l o g i c a l i n novat i o n , i nv o l v i n g h u g e expend i t u re, back
ed by the banks and f i n a n c e i n s t i t u t i o n s (S I P is far and away the most i nd e bted
of a l l I t a l i a n f i r m s), acco m p a n i ed by p h e n o m e n a of v i o l e n t rest ructu rat i o n . We
a l s o find o u rselves in o n e of t h e heart l a n d s of the work i n g c l ass (Sit-S i e m e n s ,
F a c e Standard, A n s a l d o M e c c a n i c o , Breda, ex-Pe l l izzari), a n d at t h e s a m e t i m e i n
an a r e a w h ere s u b-contract i n g has c reated a l a rg e p o o l of cas u a l labou r (forza
la voro precario) (for exa m p le, S I P's t rave l l i ng work-force). The workers' s t r u g g l e s
and f o r m s of org a n i sa t i o n i n t hese a reas h a v e f o l l owed t h e cyc l e s of t h e w i d e r
c l ass s t r u g g l e , b u t t h e f a c t tha t these f i r m s are at t h e c e n t re of f u n d a m e n t a l d e c i
s i o n s regard i n g t h e so-c a l led " model of deve l o p m e n t " ( e g t h e q u es t i o n of e nergy
p o l i cy) means t h a t t h e workers' demands t e n d to s l i p o u t of t h e trad i t i o n a l c h a n
n e l s of col l ec tive barg a i n i n g a n d i n t o po l i t i c a l d e bate t o u t court.

The s i t uation is s i m i l a r as regards t h e c red i t i n st i t u t i o n s . The fact t h a t we are


d ea l i n g h e re with workers who a re often regarded as a p r i v i l eged sector of the
workforce becau se of t h e i r relatively high wages, has not p reven t ed t h e i r s t r u g g l e
f r o m s p read i n g to t h e p o i n t wh ere i t has f o u n d p recise p o i n t s of contact w i t h t h e
p o l i t i c a l f o r m of t h e a u tonomy of t h e m a s s worker. I n t hese a reas t h e i nterlock
w i t h overa l l c l ass c o m pos i t i o n has a l so been fac i l i t ated by t h e l a rge n u m b e r of
workers from the c red i t i n s t i t u t i o n s and from the service sector in general w h o

52
h ave e n ro l led in t h e U n ivers i t i es . The fact t h a t t hey a re e m p l oyed by i n terest
p rod u c i n g c a p i t a l has a l l owed bank workers to g ra s p the way i n w h i c h c a p i t a l is
m a n a g i n g t h e c r i s i s , a nd the f u n c t i o n of money w i t h i n the c r i s i s . H owever, h e re
we s t i l l f i nd ou rse l ves w i t h i n a framework of trade u n i on c o n t ro l of t h e workforce.

The s i t u a t i o n a l ters rad i c a l l y when we look at h o s p i t a l workers, local a u t hority


workers and soc i a l service workers. H e re contro l of t h e work-force i s exercised
d i rect l y by t h e " party syste m " . H e re t h e " p a rty system" i s not able to d e l egate
t h e bas ica l l y p o l i t i c a l c h o i ces to "econ o m i c i n teres t s " . It has to take i n i t iat ives
d i rect ly at the level of the org a n isation of h ierarc h ies a n d the org a n i sa t i o n of
work, at the level of c u tt i n g jobs and c u t t i n g l a b o u r costs, b u t a bove a l l in deal i n g
w i t h t h e g row i n g demand f o r i n come a n d d e m a n d f o r services - ie dea l i n g w i t h
t h e n e w com pos i t i o n of t h e c l ass and t h e e m e rg i ng system of " need s " . T h i s i s
t h e f i rst test t h a t t h e Com m u n i s t Party h a s h a d to face i n its n e w ro l e as t h e ru l
i n g p a rty w i t h i n local a u t h o r i t i es. Cert a i n i n s t i t u t i o n s - t h e h o s p i t a l s i n part i c u l a r
- a r e e x p l od i n g for t h e f i rst t i me, u ncove r i n g cond i t i o n s of w o r k and wages t h a t
d i sappeared f r o m i n d u st ry years a g o , as w e l l as h i erarc h i c a l struct u res t h a t a re
i nconceivable i n t h i s "age of e g a l itaria n i s m " . For t h e h o s p i t a l workers i n par
ticular C G I L leader Lama has reserved words even harsher than those he used on
t h e s t u d e n t s . The " party syst e m " b rou g h t i n t h e army to b reak t h e i r s t r u g g l e . T h e
l o g i c a l seq uence of c l i e n te l i s m - tert i a ry - s u bvers i o n has b e e n evoked to p ro
v i d e a basis w hereby t h e i n s t i t u t i o n a l bloc can oppose t h e new types of s t r u g g l e s
by t h e workers i n t h e soc i a l services.

T RANSPORTATION T h e s i t u a t i o n i s s i m i l a r i n t h e case of t h e transport workers, t h e t h i rd b i g sector


WO R KE RS. THE feed i n g into t h i s new c l as s com pos i t i o n . Once aga i n the " p a rty system " and t h e
SMA L L FI RM AN D t rade u n i o n s f u nc t i o n as c o m m a n d over t h e l a b o u r force. The s t r u g g l e s of t h e
AS PECTS O F ra i l way workers were t reated i n t h e same h a r s h m a n n e r as t hose of t h e h o s p i t a l
DECENT RA LISA workers, but t h e f a c t th at t h e U n io n i n q u es t i o n has had a l o n g ( a n d some wou l d
TION. say g l o r i o u s) h istorical t rad i t i o n m a d e i t a l l t h e more stri k i n g - t h e w a y t h i s
U n io n w a s rejected w h e n i t t r i e d to take control o f t h e workforce and i m pose t h e
p o l i c i e s of au sterity. W h e t h e r for g ood o r i l l , i n t h e h o s p i t a l s t h e autonomous
s t ru g g l e has a l s o s p arked a p rocess of u n i o n i sa t i o n . O n t h e rai lways, on t h e o t h e r
h a n d , t here has b e e n a mass, c o n s c i o u s reject i o n of CG I L u n i o n m e m bers h i p . B u t
h e re we are d ea l i n g w i t h t h i n g s tha t a r e wel l-known . . . . .

Less w e l l-know n , b u t i n f i n itely more exp l os ive, i s t h e s i t u at i o n i n road transport.


H ere we are faced with a mass of waged workers a n d i ndependent operators
eq u a l to twenty M i ra f i o r i s ro l le d i nto one. The "objective" w e i g h t of t h i s workforce
i s f r i g h te n i n g , and i t i s perhaps the o n l y sect ion of the c lass today w h ose m ove-
ment cou l d paralyse t h e w h o l e c a p i t a l i s t cyc l e . The s t r i ke of t a n ker d rivers in t h e
N orth-West g a v e a t a s t e of t h i s : t h e Com m u n i s t Pa rty, t h ro u g h t h e struct u re o f
t h e cooperat ives, c o n t r o l s a f a i r s l ice of t h i s sector. The t a n ker d rivers' s t r i ke gave
an i n d icat i o n of the pos s i b l e leve l s of v i o l e n c e : 78,000 t i res s l as h e d , accord i n g to
t rade u n i on sou rces, w i t h i n a very few days.

H e re t h e " p a rty syste m " (w h i c h , by t h e way, h u rried to conc l u d e t h e c o n t ract


negot i a t i o n s , d e s p i t e the obv i o u s d e s i re of F I AT and the oil com pan i es to p rovoke
dead l ock) made w i d e s p read use of the s pectre of C h i le, and once a g a i n repeated
t h e i r operat ion of p o l i t i c a l marg i n a l i sa t i o n of the d rivers' d e m a n d s , etc, in t h e
s a m e w a y as t h ey had d o n e for t h e ra i lway workers, t h e h o s p i t a l workers, and t h e
soc i a l service a n d local a u t hority workers.

Our acco u n t so f a r has left out t h e l a rge n u m bers of workers in each of t h e a bove
sectors who are e m p l oyed by contractors and s u b-con t ractors. T h e i r n u m be rs
considerably i n c rease t h e s ize of t h e workforce t h at is commanded, e i t h e r d i rect l y
or i n d i rect l y , by t h e " p a rty system " ( o r , more p recisely, by t h e C h ri s t i a n
Democrats o r t h e C o m m u n i s t Party). T h i s network of cont ract l a bou r b r i n g s u s
r i g h t to t h e heart l a n d s of /a voro nero - i n o t h e r word s , t h a t very w i d e a rea of
waged l a bo u r w here t h e system of t rade u n i o n g u a ra ntees i s either frag i l e or non
existent. B u t i s this network only c h a racterist i c of t h e State, local a u t h o r i t y a n d
service sectors? Far from i t . I t i s t h e s truc ture of t h e firm itself (impresa) tha t is
being dissolved, as a means of prod u c i ng c o m m o d i t ies; t h e f i r m rema i n s merely
as c h i ef cl erk, as m ere ad m i n i st ra t i o n of decen t ra l i sed l a b o u r; in fact, t h e f i rm
d i ssolves i t s e l f as a s u bject or p rotag o n i s t of c o n f l ict, as an i n s t i t u t i o n of t h e
c l a s s s t r u g g l e . The f i rm i s t h e f u l c r u m of t h e p rocesses of tert i a r i s a t i o n . H ow c a n
we s peak of r i g i d i t y of t h e l a b o u r ma rket o u t s i d e of t h i s i ns t i t u t i o n a l b reak-u p?
The c h a i n of i n f i n i t e d ec en tra l i sa t i o n of p rod u c t i o n breaks t h e r i g i d i t ie s of age
a n d sex, of geog ra p h i c a l l ocat i o n , of soc i a l backg rou n d , etc, a n d all this i s a
w e i g h t y factor i n f u s i n g t h e new com pos i t i o n of t h e c lass.

This c h a i n of i n f i n i t e d ec en tra l i sa t i o n i s o n e of t h e more " p rogressive" e l ements


of c a p i ta l i s m today; i t i s a far more powerf u l weapon of m a s s i f i c a t i o n t h a n t h e
assem b l y l i ne. The factory, as a n i n s t i t u t i o n t h a t i s i n c reas i n g l y " g u a ranteed" a n d
" p rotected " , was beco m i n g soc i a l ly and p o l i t i c a l l y i s o l ated. I t d i d not a l low e n t ry
to y o u n g peo p l e , to w o m e n , to s t u d e n t s ; it i m posed its h ierarc h ies a n d i t s com
partmenta l is a t i o n s o n t h e whole of society; i t p l ayed a normat ive role as a com
p l ete, perfect soc i a l form. It has become necessary to e n c i rc l e a n d envelop the
factory, and t h i s c h a i n of i n f i n ite decentra l i sa t i o n has c reated l a rge n u m be rs of
open i n g s into w h i c h the women, the you n g p e o p l e , the students, t h e l a id-off
workers and t h e red u nd a n t workers have i n s e rted t h e m s e lves, t a k i n g o n the
as pect of waged workers. And i n t h e meant i m e t h o u s a n d s of waged workers have
been f low i n g o u t of the factories a n d into the U n ivers i t ies, taking on t h e stat u s of
students. These a re both movements i n t h e a rea of p o l i t i c a l demography, because
t h e stat u s of t h e waged worker a n d t h e s t a t u s of t h e s t u d e n t have a p recise
l e g i t i mation w i t h i n t h e i ns t i t u t i o n a l con f l i ct-system i n o u r c o u n t ry . The whole
mec h a n i s m of t h e rep rod u c t i o n of c l asses had t h e i n s t i t u t i o n of t h e factory as i t s
bed rock (w i t h t h e deve l o p me n t of a s y s t e m of t rade u n i on g u a ra n tees, a "work i n g
c l ass ari stocracy" w a s s u p posed to be rep rod u ced i n t h e factory) a n d t h e U n iver
s i ty as a n i n s t i t u t i o n of soc i a l p romotion ( w h e re a n a n t i -worker m id d l e c l ass was
s u p posed to be c reated) - b u t t h i s mecha n i s m has ex p l oded.

THE DECEN So far we h ave s h o w n t h at t h e system of dece n t ra l isation has a l l owed a " m ixed "
T RALISATION O F l a b o u r force to be absorbed w i t h i n t h e wage rel a t i o n , a n d t h a t t h e p rocesses of
THE SYSTEM O F tert i arisation of t h e f i rm have, i n t u r n , d riven t h o u sa n d s of waged workers to
STR U G GLES. THE become students. H av i n g shown that these d r i ves have conferred a new p o l i t i c a l
POLITICS O F l e g i t i mation on a l l t hose i nvolved , we n e e d not l i s t t h e t h o u sand-and-one p o s i
"PE RSONAL LI FE". t i o n s th at t h e s t u d e n t s h ave t a k e n u p o r can t a ke u p w i t h i n t h e o p p o rt u n ities o f
waged l a bo u r that t h e s y s t e m of dece n t ra l i s a t i o n offers. T h e s e t h o u s a n d s of
s tu d e n t-workers have broug h t a new pol i t i c a l d i m e n s i o n to t h e cond i t i o n of waged
labou r in w h i c h t hey f i n d t h e m se l ves, a n d i t h a s p roved pos s i b l e to c reate a
m u t u a l strengt h e n i n g of isol ated s t r u g g les, even i n s i t u a t i o n s w h e re t rade

54
u n io n i s m is weak and w h e re t h e re a re few t rad i t i o n s of s t r u g g l e . The U n ivers i t y
has been used as a focal p o i n t . E ve n t h i s " s q u a l i d b u re a u c rat i c antec h a m ber"
has p roved capable of becom i n g somet h i n g d ifferent - a meet i n g p o i n t , a n ag
g rega t i o n poi n t for a system of strugg les that i s itself also i n f i n itely decentra l i s
ed. Meanwh i le , after years of w a i t i n g , t h e o l d mole of t h e student stru g g l e has
a lso started d ig g i n g again, on i s s u e s l i ke canteens, h o u s i n g , t ra n s port, a n d f i n a l l y
o n c o u rse contents, exams, a n d vot i n g r i g h t s . T h e p roletarian ( a n d proletari a n i s
ed) s t u d e n t sectors were a b l e to f u se t h emselves w i t h t h e w h o l e arc of stru g g l es
that t h e c r i s i s was sett i n g i n m o t i o n .

B u t o u r a n a l y s i s of t h ese stru ct u ra l factors w i l l be i neffective u n l ess we can com


b i n e it w i t h an a n a l y s i s of t h e h u g e t ra nsformat ion taki n g p l ace i n t h e s p h e re of
" person a l l i fe". This obv i o u s l y starts from t h e b reakdown of sex u a l re lations
b rou g h t on by fem i n i s m . I t t h e n w i d e n s to i nvo l ve all t h e problems of contro l l i n g
one's o w n body a n d t h e structu res of perceptions, emotions a n d d e s i res. T h i s i s
not j u st a problem of " y o u t h c u l t u re". I t h a s work i n g class a ntecedents i n t h e cy
c l e of strugg les of 1 968-69. The defense of one's ow n p h y s i c a l i ntegrity a g a i n st
b e i n g s l a u g h te red by l i ne-s peed s and m ac h i nery, a g a i n s t bei n g poisoned by t h e
e n v i r o n m e n t , etc. , on t h e o n e h a n d i s one w a y of res ist i n g t h e d e p rec iation of t h e
exc h a n g e va l u e of one's labou r-power and t h e deteriorat i o n of its use va l u e , b u t
at t h e s a m e t i m e it is a w a y of re-a p p ropriat i n g o n e ' s own body for t h e f ree enjoy
m e n t of bod i ly needs. H e re too t h e re is a homogeneity, not a separat i o n , between
the behavi ou r of t h e y o u n g peo p l e , t h e women and the workers.

The q u estion of d ru g s now arises. Control of drug usage i s bei n g reap p ro p riated
by t h e i ns t i t u t i o n s of t h e p o l i t i c a l cycle. N o sooner have young peo p l e had a taste
of soft d ru g s , g i v i n g them a f i rst-hand taste of how m u c h this society has robbed
them of t h e i r perceptive pote n t i a l , than the hero i n m u l t i n a t i o n a l s decide to step i n
a n d i m pose h a rd d ru g s . A space o f pol i t i ca l confrontat i o n opens u p , between use
va l u e (se lf-managed, w i t h i n certa i n l i m its) a n d exc h a n g e v a l u e of d rug s , and t h i s
i n vo lves org a n isation a n d i n sta nces of armed self-defence. N o r i s the mec h a n i s m
of t h e p rod u c t i o n of n e w n e e d s t h e exc l u s ive p re rog at ive of t h e " l i berat ion
m ovements" . . . . . . i t has its roots i n t h e "We Want Everyt h i n g " of t h e M i ra f i o r i
workers i n t h e S u m me r of ' 6 9 . The " I ta l i a n Utopia" has a s o l i d work i n g c l ass
stamp, w h i c h no t heorists of a n A m e rica n-sty l e " move m e n t " - g h ettoi sed and
s e l f-s u f f i c i e n t - w i l l be able to erase.

TH E C RISIS O F As we h ave see n , the recon q u est of " perso n a l l i fe" has also dealt a deat h b l ow to
POLITICAL FORMS. t h e organisations of t h e revo l u t i o n a ry Left. B u t t h e roots of their o rg a n i sa t i o n a l
b reakdown d o not l ie o n l y i n q u es t i o n s of sex u a l re l a t i o n s , of a l ienat i n g h i erar
T H E M EA NI N G O F ch ies, t h e d e n i a l of s u bj ectivity, etc.: t h ey l i e in p recise, d o c u m e n t a b l e errors of
T H E AREA O F po l i t ic al choice, m i staken theories of orga n i sa t i o n . For exam p l e , the c u rrent con
AUTO N O M Y cept of po wer, has been based on t h e o l d po l i t i cal cyc l e (stru g g l e/party/t ransi
tion/c i v i l war/State power). I n other words, a p rojection i nto t h e f u t u re, rat h e r t h a n
a l ived e x p e r i e n c e w i t h i n t h e l i berated s p a c e s of t h e p resen t . T h i s e r r o r t u rn s i n t o
parody w h en t h e g ro u p s a l l t roop d o w n i n t o t h e e l ectoral a r e n a . The rotten i n s t i t u
t i o n a l f o r m s of p o l i t ic s , e a t e n away f r o m t h e i ns i d e a n d abandoned by t h e m ore
aware e l e m e n t s , become a form of o p p ress i o n .

H owever, i t wou l d be w r o n g to theorise on t h e one hand a n i rrat i o n a l society


made u p of p u re behaviou rs, op pos i n g , on the other, a society structu red by
logical schemas. What we have are h i dden c i rc u i t s i nvo l v i n g part i c u l a r groups,
which th en evolve into part i c u l a r sets of res u l t s ; t h e re i s i n fact a conscious p rac
tice of the i rrat i o n a l , as a destruction of the b r i d g i ng e l e m e n t s of l a n g u age, com
m u n ication and m e d i a t i o n . In s h o rt, any separat i o n between the " post-po l i t i c a l "
( t h e a rea of i n s t i n c t, of t h e i rrat i o n a l , t h e personal and t h e private) and t h e
po l i t ic al cyc l e i s u n acceptable. I t i s n o t poss i b l e to con f i ne t h e new s u bjectivity
w i t h i n t h e terms of y o u t h cou ntercu l t u re, or to c o n s i d e r i t a n exc l u s ive p rerogative
of t h e women . C u rrent attempts to create a n o p p o s i t i o n between t h e l i be rat ion
movement and t h e p o l i t ic al cyc l e a re false - as false as t h e t h eory t h a t defi nes
t h e new c l ass c o m p os i t i o n as being made up of t h e unemployed a n d t h e
margina lised sectors. The rea l i ty i s t h a t po l i t i c s as a f o r m has u ndergone a c r i t i
q u e , on t h e basis of a batt l e between politica l lines, and t h i s i n t u r n has a l l owed
the em ergence of new o rg a n i sa t i o n s , w h i c h have been p o l i t i c a l l y leg i t i mated by
t h e i r presence w i t h i n t h ose c l ass n u c l e i o u t l i ned above.

The ex p l o s i o n of 1 977, w i t h the occ u pation of U n ivers ity fac u l t ies, was a v i o l e n t
confrontat ion between t h e State-form and t h e new p o l i t i c a l compos i t i o n of t h e
c l ass. For a wh i l e t h i s new c l ass compos i t i o n met and based i t s e l f i n t h e U n iversi
ty, taking i t as a material base w h e re d i fferent needs, d i fferent c l ass seg ments,
soc i a l g rou ps, po l i t i c a l g ro u p s and d i ss e m i nated g ro u p s cou l d come together. The
U n ivers ity as a n i n s t i t u t i o n beca me a s t ru g g l e-base, capable of rep resent i n g a l l
t h e various part i a l programmes o f t h e n e w c l a s s compos i t i o n .

The n e w emergence of t h e w o m e n ' s move m e n t a n d t h e you t h movement deepens


t h e split w i t h t h e orga n i sat io ns m a k i n g u p Democrazia Proletaria (Proletarian
Democracy), b u t t h e rea l ori g i n s of this s p l i t are to be f o u n d i n t h e po l i t i c a l
d i sagreements voiced by t h e emerg i n g forces of t h e orga n i sed a rea of Autonomy
( l ' A u t o n o m i a Organ izzata), i n part i c u l ar t h e g ro u p s represe n t i n g Rome, t h e Po
Va l l ey and t h e M i l a n-Sesto-Bergamo ax i s . N ow , i f anyt h i n g l e g i t i mated t h e m as a
" lead i n g m i nority" i n t h e f i rst phase of t h e occu pation of t h e fac u l t i e s , it was
t h e i r re lat ions h i p w i t h the new class compos i t i o n , with t h e service-sector p ro
letariat in a big tert i a ry c i ty l i ke Rome, w i t h the network of factory va n g u a rd s i n
t h e i nd u s t r i a l zone between M i la n a n d Berg a m o , a n d w i t h t h e needs o f proletarian
students and geograp h i ca l l y d is s e m i nated workers i n t h e Po V a l l ey. The fact that
t h ey u nd e rstood a n d had s u bjectively a n t i c i pated mass behaviou rs t h a t were not
locat a b l e i n t h e s c h e m a s of t h e wave of contestat ion i n 1 968, n o r i n t h ose of t h e
Hot Autumn - that fact allowed the people o f the Organized Autonomy - albeit
for a brief period - to ca rry forward a p rog ram me that matched t h e deve l o p i ng
c l ass compos i t i o n . T h e re l a t i o n between t h es e a u t o n o m i s t fact i o n s and t h e w i d e r
M ovement w a s on a p a r w i t h t h e relation between t h e a n a rc h i s t g ro u p s a n d t h e
m a s s e s i n t h e Sorbo n n e i n M ay '68. The a b i l ity to match c lass com pos i t i o n w i t h
t h e p o l i t i c a l p rog ram m e means t h e a b i l ity to p ractice t h e a r t of p o l i t i c s ( o r , m o re
often, p l a i n good s e nse), i n order to p u l l toget h e r t h e va n g u a rd a n d t h e average,
t h e org a n i sation and the Moveme nt.

B u t i nstead, with i n c red i b l e speed, t h e hoary o l d q u est i o n s started com i n g out:


should t h e organ i sat i o n , w i t h i t s p rog ra m m e a n d i t s plans, march over t h e corpse
of t h e M ovement; s h o u l d t h e p rog ram m e be external to and cou nte rposed to the
com pos i t i o n of t h e c l as s ? The echoes of t h e c l ashes i n Bologna had h a rd l y d ied
away when every o n e w h i pped out t h e i r Len i n masks from beh i n d t h e i r backs - i n
part i c u l a r t h e Workers' Autonomy (Au t o n o m i a Operaia) tendency i n t h e N ort h .

56
Meanw h i le, in t h e actual s t ru g g l e , i m portant t h i n gs were h a p pen i n g . The cu rrent
i n t e rpretat i o n s of t h e m (bot h t hose of t h e D P t e n d e n cy a n d t hose of the
Autonomy tendency) a re e i t h e r wrong , or only half r i g h t . Part i c u l arly as regards
t h e i n ternal m e c h a n i c s of t h e eve n t s of Bologna.

T h e main prob l e m b r i n g i n g about this split between c l a s s compos i t i o n a n d the


p rog ra m m e i s t h e q uest i o n of t h e "com bat party" (partito comba tten te). W he n
some f ract io n s of t h e Orga n i sed A u tonomy decide to force t h e p a c e on t h i s f ro n t
(with considerable internal d ifferences between those w h o base themselves on t h e
n e e d for sel f-defence, and t h ose w h o arg u e for a q u a l itat ive advance i n o rg a n i sa
t i o n), not o n l y does the D P front rebu i ld i t s e l f ( M i l a n provides one exa m p l e of
t h is), b u t a l s o we find w i d e s p read and i n c reas i n g res istance on t h e part of t h ose
" l i be rtar i a n " e l e m e n t s w h o d o not accept a re- i n t rod u c t i o n of vo l u ntarist prac
t i ce s .

I t was no a c c i d e n t t h a t i t fe l l to factions of t h e Org a n i sed Autonomy to l ead t h e


f i rst p hase of t h e s t r u g g l e s . T h e i r i n i t i a l h e g e m o n y o v e r t h e M o v e m e n t d e rived
from t h e i r havi ng u nd e rstood and a n t i c i pated the forms of p o l i t i c a l behaviou r t h a t
were c h a racteri s t i c of t h e new c l a s s compos i t i o n ; f rom t h e a b i l ity to read parts of
the programme within the masses themselves ; i n other words, k n ow i n g how to
present t h e m s e l ves not as a " p rivate" t h i n g , b u t as a " s oc i a l " e x p ress i o n , a
tendency of a g row i n g move m e n t , rat h e r t h a n a choice w h o l l y confi ned w i t h i n t h e
log i c of t h e self-re p rod u c t i o n of a pol i t i c a l g ro u p . T h e deve l o p i n g c r i t i q u e of t h e
t rad i t i o n a l f o r m s of pol i t i c s ( i n part i c u l a r of t h e " p a rty f o r m " ) has sharpened t h e
se n s i b i l it ies of c o m rades i n t o a n a l most n e u ro t i c a b i l ity to i nt u i t when part i c u l a r
c h o i ces a n d act i o n s f u n c t i o n " f o r a l l " and w h e n t h ey a r e o n l y private and per
s o n a l . Forc i n g t h e pace on t h e q u es t i o n of t h e "com bat party" has set i n motion
all t hese mec h a n i s m s , a n d has opened u p more contrad i c t i o n s w i t h i n t h e Move
m e n t t h a n it has in the State a p parat u s ! But t h e n t h i s is p rec isely t h e p o i n t : w i t h
t h i s cyc l e of s t r u g g l e s , t h e State-form has u ndergone a n evo l u t i o n . I t i s perfectly
c lear t h at it has been p roceed i n g f u l l-t i l t a l o n g t h e road of u n i f y i n g t h e " party
syste m " , and that law and order has been the m a i n t rack a l o n g w h i c h t h i s p ro
cess of u n i f icat ion has passed . H owever, w i t h i n t h e " p a rty system " t h e re have
been d i f ferent a p p roaches (or perhaps a d iv i s i o n of roles?) on how to p roceed
w i t h a s t ren g t h e n i n g of the State-form.

P RACTICAL T h e C h r i s t i a n Democrats h ave taken t h e crude l i ne of p o l i s h i n g up exist i n g


EXPE RIMENTS p r i v i leges of t h e forces of l a w a n d order (pol ice l a w s of arrest etc), as wel l as i n
IN A NEW t rod u c i n g new ru l es and reg u l a t i o n s . T h e effect of t h i s is to confer t h e w h o l e
STATE FORM o pera t i o n of deterrence onto t h e repressive ap parat u s w i t h t h e i nt e n t i o n t hat, h av
i n g d e a l t w i t h the "autonom i s t s " , t hey w i l l t h e n be a b l e to m ove a g a i n st the w i d e r
movement of oppos i t i o n . Certa i n ly t h e DC has sti l l d o n e t h i s after d u e c o n s u lta
t i o n w i t h the other p a rt i e s ( i . e . , respect i n g the r u l e s of t h e i r j o i n t p roject, and ac
cept i n g the i nevi t a b l e d e l ays and d i s c u s s i o n s a r i s i ng), but nevert h e l ess, the DC
st i l l bases i t s e l f on t h e State as an apparatu s : a separate m ac h i ne, a " s p e c i a l
body", to be u sed as a means of repres s i o n i n g iven emergency c i rc u m stances,
a n d i n t h e m ea n t i m e it l eaves t h e "daily repress i o n " to t h e cap i t a l ist form of com
m an d over t h e factory a n d over d i s s e m i nated labour.

The Com m u n ist Party i n Bologna, on t h e other hand, has deve l oped a n d ex
peri mented p ract i c a l l y with a more mat u re State-form, a form w h i c h i s m o re i n
l i ne w i t h mass soc i a l -d e m oc racy i n a period o f t r a n s i t i o n . A State-form i n w h i c h i t
is the masses themselves who act a s judge a n d jury, j u d g i n g w h o i s deviant and
w h o i s not, w h o i s p rod u c t ive and w h o i s not, w h o i s soc i a l ly d a n g e ro u s a n d w h o
i s n o t . N ow it i s to be t h e factory m a s s meet i n g that ex p e l s the extre m i st: t h e
m a s s tenants' meet i n g t h a t d e c i d e s to e x p e l t h e y o u n g hoo l i g a n ; and t h e col l ege
asse m b l y to expel t h e ' u ndes i ra b l e ' student with h i s pistol and i ron bar. Of
cou rse, t h e i nstances I a m t h i n k i n g of have been extreme cases - b u t t h e fact
that t h i s State-form i s being t r i ed o u t on the " a u to n o m ists" as g u i nea pigs d oes
not lessen t h e m a rg i na l i s i n g pote n t i a l of such a State-form w i t h i n a framework of
deve l o p i n g austerity, of the " p o l i t i c s of sacr i f i ce" and of m o n ey b e i n g g iven h a n d
o v e r f i st to capita l i st enterprises. Once you h ave t h e c o l lective act i n g as j u d g e
and j u ry, t h e n t h e i n s t i t u t i o n a l forces of t h e l a w (wigs and robes, e t c ) h a v e o n l y a
rat i fy i n g f u n c t i o n : t h ey take d e l i very of t h e hostage, t h e t u mor that has been
d riven o u t of t h e otherwise healthy body. The State-form a p pears as a kind of i m
m u n i s i n g p rocess of c i v i l society. T h i s is a h u g e step forward - it is a m o m e n t of
"socia l i sation of t h e State," w h i c h wou l d be i n n ovative were it not h a p pe n i n g
w i t h i n a framework of a f reez i n g of t h e c lass power balance, w i t h a restoration o f
capita l i st control at a l l leve l s , and a general a m n esty f o r a l l t h e c ri m i n a l s , past
and p resen t , b e l o n g i n g to t h e apparatus of c l i e n t i s m , corru p t i o n and rep ress i o n .
At the level of power-i n s t i t u t i o n s it i s u n d o u bted ly a f u rt h e r e l e m e n t c o n t r i b u t i n g
to the sticki ness of t h e s i t u a t i o n , b u t at t h e same t i m e we m u st u nderstand i t s
" p rogressive" c h a racter. I t transcends t w o aspects of t h e p resent State-form: i t s
aspect as a " party system " , and its aspect as a b u rea u c rat i c-repressive ap
parat u s , bot h of w h i c h a re separate from a n d host i l e to c i v i l society. I t is a n in
f i n itely more advanced form, a form w h i c h , among other t h i ng s , has no n eed to
break u p t h e p rese n t i n s t i t u t i o n a l apparat u s o r p u rge it by s u bst i t u t i n g more
democ rat ic person n e l . . . . This State-form does m o re t h a n that. I t overt u rns the
re l at i o n s h i p between c i v i l society and t h e a p pa rat u s . I t a p p ro p r i ates t h e
q u a l i tative f u n c t i o n of t h e j u d i c i a ry, and leaves t h e ap parat u s w i t h t h e q u a n
t itat ive tra n s l a t i o n , i n terms of t h e penalties to be i m posed . H e n ceforth it is c i v i l
society, t h e co l l ectivity, w h i c h f ixes the n o r m a n d form u l ates t h e sentence, w h i l e
t h e ap parat u s i s l e f t w i t h t h e tec h n i c a l t a s k of p u n i s h ment.

A ll this presen ts enormous problems for the legitima tion of politica l a c tions, in
asmuch as organisa tion is obliged to measure itself day by day again s t the new
composition of the class; and must find its political progra mme only in the
beha viour of the class and not in some set of s ta tu tes; and thus must pra ctice,
not political clandes tinity, but its opposite. Those who practice techn ical
c landest i n ity g e n e ra l l y d o not even see t h i s State-form. They cont i n u e to relate to
t h e State ap paratuses, a n d by foc u s s i n g a l l t h e i r atte n t i o n on them, t hey then f i n d
t h e m s e l ves separated f ro m t h e mass move m e n t . O n t h e other h a n d , t hose w h o
c h oose politica l c l a n d e s t i n ity - ie refusal t o seek o r crea te a base for criticism
and legitima tion of a c tions - not o n l y u ndergo t h a t same segregat i o n from t h e
m a s s move m e n t , b u t are a l so s m a s h ed by t h e a pparat u s , because t h ey d o not
have the defences and the weapons possessed by t h ose in tec h n i c a l c l a ndest i n i
ty.

N ow w h i l e it i s true that the PCI has p roposed (and i n some i nstances put i nto ef
fect) t h i s new, m o re advanced form of the State, as a n ex p e r i m e n t , in act u a l fact
it has osc i l l ated between t h i s type of " p o l i t i c a l p reve n t i o n " of s u bversive
behav i o u r a n d a c o m pete delegation of repres s i o n to t h e State apparat u s . In my
own o p i n i o n , t h e f i rst o p t i o n has carried far more w e i g h t , a n d i n this sense I f i n d

58
t i resome and a l s o i n correct t h e references that a r e p resen t l y be i n g made to "a
new Prag u e " or " a new C h i l e " . B u t what we must c l arify i s t h e extent to w h i c h
t h i s propos i t i o n of a "soc i a l " State-form has m e t a n d w i l l meet res istance a n d
ref u s a l at t h e va r i o u s leve l s of t h e present c lass com pos i t i o n .

Leav i n g a s i d e t h e res istance t h a t i t h a s m e t even a m o n g part i c u l ar sectors of t h e


j u d i c i ary i t s e l f ( i e i n a frac t i o n of t h e a p parat u s i t s e l f), i t has bee n a l l owed to pass
at t h e a verage l evel of c l ass c o m p os i t i o n ( I u nd e r l i n e a verage). N o t only becau s e
i t a i m s to t r a n s f e r to c i v i l s o c i e t y o n l y some ( i n c i d e n ta l l y , t h e m o s t od i o u s)
p rerogat ives of t h e State and not other more attractive o n e s ( l i ke control of
resou rces, for exa m p l e). B u t a l s o beca use it d e l udes i t s e l f i n t o i m ag i n i ng that i t
can i nject peo p l e w i t h a n abst ract sense of t h e S t a t e , w hereas i n f a c t t h e State
t h at peo p l e u nderstand i s this State - ie a State of g iven power relations and
va l u e systems th at t h e work i n g c lass started to u n h i ng e in 1 969, and w h i c h t h e
" p a rty system " , w i t h t h e c r i s i s , has not o n l y s u cceeded i n sett i n g b a c k o n its feet,
but has a l so taken over as its own. The State-form i s not a j u ri d i c a l p r i n c i p le, nor
a n abstract norm, b u t a formation that i s h i storica l l y d e t e r m i nate.

TOWA R D S A The t h eo ry that t h e U n iversity has f u nctioned as a point of aggregation for the
MOBI LISATION O F M ovement runs a l o n g s i d e a t h eo ry rega rd i n g t h e f i g u re of t h e u n e m p l oyed in
THE ENTIRE MASS tellectual (or rather the intellectual unemployed), who has been taken, uncritically,
OF DISSEMINATED as the most representative figure of the movement . The theory is that the exclusion
LABO U R of t h e i nt e l l ec t u a l u n e m p l oyed from t h e l a b o u r market p u t s t h e m on a par w i t h
o t h e r m a rg i n a l i sed sectors, for w h o m t h e i nt e l lect u a l u n e m p l oyed t h e n a c t as a
voice. I have a l ready stated my c o m p l ete d i sagreement w i t h t h i s k i n d of i nter
p retat i o n . The U n iversity was taken by t h e c u rrent c l ass c o m pos i t i o n as a poi n t of
a g g regation, m o re tor reasons of the p o l i t i c a l forms of the s t ru g g l e ( i e for certa i n
l ev el s o f violence a n d power) t h a n f o r t h e fact t h at i t i s a factory p rod u c i n g
e m p l oyed i n t e l lect u a l s ; i t w a s taken u p becau s e i t p u t a n e n d to t h i s p rocess o f
t h e m a rg i na l isation of d e m a n d s , s u bject ive behaviou rs a n d o rg a n isation. B u t once
agai n we m u s t go beyond t h e U n iversity, both as a base for t h e M ovement a n d as
a point of a g g regat i o n , i n ord e r to i d e n t i fy t h e c h a n n e l s t h a t can bring about a
m o bi l i sation of t h e e n t i re mass of d issemi nated labou r - ie i n order to prov i d e a
way i n t o t h e factory th at p rod u ces relat ive s u r p l u s v a l u e . For t h i s reason I have
taken p a i n s t o e m p ha s i s e the q uestion of p recarious labor, together w i t h i h e
system of decentra l i sa t i o n of p rod u c t i o n , a n d t h a t soc i a l a rea w h e re t h e p ro-
tected system of trade u n io n " g u a rantees" a n d cond i t i o n s has entered i nto c r i s i s .
I n o r d e r to m a k e t h i s t ra n s i t i o n i t i s v i t a l that we f i rst rej ect t h e " rhetoric of pover
ty" - moral p rotests on beh a l f of t h e poor. I nstead, we s h o u l d once agai n ask
o u rse lves whether i t i s poss i b l e to t h i n k i n terms of " m a s s obj e c t i ves" of t h e type
which c h a racterized t h e a n t i - a u t horitari a n i s m of 1 968 (t h e F I AT workers' demand
for "G rade 2 for a l l " , w h i c h led i nto t h e e g a l i t a r i a n i s m of t h e d e m a n d s p u t for
ward i n the Hot A u t u m n of 1 969).

S u ch a proposal c a n not be s i m p l y written off as a step backwards in col l ec t i ve


barga i n i ng , that wou l d prepare t h e g rou nd for a new soc i a l contract between t h e
Government and t h e u n ions. I t wou l d be absu rd to rej ect it o u t of ha n d , for t h e
s i m p l e reason th at s u c h n e w objectives wou l d carry w i t h i n t h e m t h e represen
tative weight of the i n f i n i te po l i t i c a l creativity t h at has e m e rged in t hese past few
years. Rather, the b i g g e r p rob l e m i s how we are g o i n g to f i n d the p o i n t w h e re
s u c h a p roject can be a p p l ied - in short, to c h oose t h e " new M i ra f i o r i s " o u t of
all t h e vari ous " d r i v i n g sectors" of t h e so-ca l led tert i a ry sector. M ore s p ec i f i c a l l y ,
o u t of t hose sectors w h i c h f u nction as a c o n n ect i n g l i n k between t h e p rod u c t i o n
of abso l u t e s u r p l u s va l u e and t h e p rod u c t i o n o f relative s u r p l u s va l u e - l i ke, for
exa m p l e , t h e cyc l e of t r a n s portat i o n . M o reover, even t h e s i m p l e exten s i o n of t h e
r i g i d ity of l a b o u r (even i n its f o r m as a system of t rade u n ion g uaran t i s m) t o
la voro nero, s u b c o n t racted work, e t c , wou l d h ave t h e effect of f o rc i n g t h e factory
stru g g l e to take a l e a p forward. I n s hort, we are l ook i n g for t h e soc i a l c h a n n e l s
w h ereby we cou l d b reak t h e e n c i rc lement t h a t i s c u rre n t l y u n d e r w a y , a n d p reve n t
the M ovement d i s pe rs i n g i t s e l f i nto a t h o u s a n d decentra l i sed m o m e n t s of strug
gle - a new, l o n g P u rgatory of endemic s t ru g g l es. We have to f i nd somet h i n g
w h i c h c a n f u n c t i o n i n t h e s a m e way a s t h e stri kes over p e n s i o n s a n d t h e stri kes
over wage-zones d i d , in re l a t i o n to the workers' cyc l e of stru g g l es in 1 968-69.

T h i s a p p roach w i l l be branded as "econo m i c " and " c o l lective barga i n i n g i s m " by


a l l and s u n d ry. It w i l l be accused of lack of i m a g i na t i o n , in p u tt i n g f o rward
mechan i s m s that a re dead a n d bu ried. B u t let's move g e n t l y . The State-form
w h i c h p resents itse l f today has its ori g i n s i n the ideology of t h e c r i s i s a n d i n t h e
au sterity prog ram m e that t h i s has brou g h t a b o u t . The ideology has provided t h e
g r o u n d s for estab l i s h i n g t h e n e w , t i g hter re l a t i o n s between t h e part ies. I t i s t h e
h i storica l bas i s of t h e H i storic Compromise. I t i s t h e j u s t i f ication of t h e parties'
powers of m a rg i n a l i s a t i o n . To s u cceed in overt h row i n g all this wou l d be no s m a l l
matter. I t wou l d m e a n , n o t a ret u r n to t h e o l d c o n f l i c t u a l f o r m of t h e m e d i a t i o n s
of t h e party system , b u t rest o r i n g t h e c o n f l i c t between t h e " g rass roots" a n d t h e
new relationship between a socialised State-form and the production o f capital .
A l l t h e more so, s i nce J i m m y Carter's i m pe r i a l i s m - u n l i ke t h e obtuse accoun
tants of t h e I M F - h a s u n d e rstood that i n Italy t h e system of value a n d
.
behaviou rs to w h i c h t h e combi nation of a u sterity measu res and law a n d o r d e r h a s
t o b e applied, i s stronger than i t appears . And therefore it's a good investment to
re l ease h u g e a m o u n t s of m o n ey ( t h i s is Carter's c u rrent i n c l i nation), a n d i nject
huge amounts of " c o m mand-money" t h ro u g h t h e big, p r i vate, i nternat i o n a l bank
i n g system . Let u s start to t u rn t h i s com m a n d i nto m o n ey-as-money - to
t ransform this measu re of power-over-ot hers'-l abou r i nto power-over-ou r-ow n
needs, power over our own spaces of org a n i sa t i o n and c u l t u re, a d r i v i n g - s p r i n g for
t h e new deve l o p m e n t of a new c l ass compos i t i o n . I t is time that we take back
from the " p a rty syste m " t h e i r res i d u a l power over t h e reprod u c t i o n of t h e c l asses,
so that we can start to determ i n e this reprod u c t i o n f ro m t h e base, in such a way
as to g u a ra ntee the va l u e-systems a n d the p o l i t i c a l behav i o u rs that the new c l ass
compos i t i o n has l e g i t i mated i n t h e stru g g les of t hese past m o n t h s .

Transla ted by Red Notes

1 . See H. B r a n d , "The M y t h of t h e C a p i t a l Shortage", i n Dissen t, S u m m e r 1 976.


2 . Federal Rese rve B a n k of N e w York Monthly Revie w, October 1 976.
3. Peter D r u c ker, The Unseen Revolu tion: How Pension Fund Socialism Came to A merica , Lon
don, 1 976.
4. See B . Sacc h i , II Problema de/le A bitazioni, dalla Casa a l Territorio, Polytec h n i c F a c u l t y of
A r c h i tect u re , M i l a n 1 976-77.

1 1 12 Genoa hous i n g proj ect


i ll3 Executive mem bers of the Italian Communist Party (Au g ust 26, 1 964): (l eft to r i g ht)
G i rogio Amendola; Marlo A l i cata; M a l ro Scocc i marro; Lu i g i Longo; G i ancarlo Paj etta; and
Pietro l n g rao
1 1/4 M L-62 1 -4/22175- M I LA N , Italy: General view of P l azza Duomo (Duomo Square) d u ri n g today's
anti-fasc ist mass ra l ly; in background the fascade of Duomo C h u rc h

60
i l/5 Andreotti tomb Video/photo: Seth Tile!
i l/6 Arrested hospital workers, Polyc l l n lcal Hospital, Rome
i l/7 Chemical plant worker; Ottana, Sard i n i a
i l/8 C R O 1 729468 ROM E: Luciano Lams, leader of t h e Com m u n i st-led General Confederat ion
of Italian Labor (CG I L), add resses h u n d reds of pl acard-carry i n g stri kers i n St. John's Sq uare
here Feb. 3 as the Eternal City is h i t by a second general strike in 77 days, seri ously d i s ru p
t i n g normal l i fe for some 2.7 m i l l i o n I n habitants and thousands of touri sts. The strike was call
ed by Com m u n ist, Catholic and Soc i a l i st-led u n i ons to dramatize the prob lems of the Rome
work i n g m a n - u nemployment. 213172
i l/1 0 Paol o Tomass i n i , victim of Rome's Spec ial Squadron 212177
i l/1 1 SOP 091 402 D EATH COUCH SANTIAGO: This is the couch where Pres. Salvador Al lende
of Chile reported ly shot and k i l led h i mself during the coup d'etat i n the Pres idential Palace
here Sept. 1 1 (UPI) 9/1 5173
Dom i n ation a nd
S a bot a g e

Ton i N eg ri

To n i N e g r i , arrested on A p r i l 7, 1 979, w rote


Dominio e Sabo taggio s h o r t l y after the
emergence of the " M ov e m e n t of '77". T h i s
pam p h l et w a s w r i t t e n i n S w i tze r l a n d w h e re
N e g r i , a l ready accused of b e i n g t h e
i d e o l o g i s t of t h e M ov e m e n t , had taken
refuge. We present h e re c h apters 2 & 3 w h i c h
s y n t h e s i ze h i s m e t h od o l o g i c a l a p p roach t o
the d y n a m i c s of t h e new c l ass compos i t i o n .

P A R E N T H ESIS When I t heorise a n i ndependence of the p rocess of proletarian sel fva lorisation,
N0. 1 : and when I exa m i n e t h e poss i b i l ity of i t s h av i n g a n i nternal d i a lect i c of con
O N M ET H O D t i n u o u s recom post i o n between structural f u n c t i o n s and attac k i n g f u n c t i o n s , I a m
bound to d raw cert a i n methodolog i c a l conc l u s i ons. F i rst, i t seems to m e f u n
damental to consider t h e tot a l ity of t h e p rocess of proletarian self-va iorisation as
a lterna tive to, a n d rad i c a l l y different f ro m , t h e total ity of t h e process of c a p i t a l i s t
p rod u c t i o n and rep rod u c t i o n . I rea l ise that I a m exaggerat i n g t h e pos i t i o n , a n d
overs i m p l if y i n g its c o m p lexity. B u t I also know that t h i s " i ntens ive road " , t h i s
rad ic al break w i t h t h e total ity of c a p i ta l i st deve l o p m e n t , i s a f u n d a m e n t a l ex
perience of the move m e n t as i t stands today.

Today the process of cons titu ting class independence is first and foremost a pro
cess of separa tion.

I a m e m p h as i s i n g t h i s forced separat ion in order to c l a rify t h e overa l l mean


i n g lessness of a c a p i t a l ist world w i t h i n which I find myself const i t u ted i n non
i ndependent form, in t h e form of e xp l o i tat i o n . I thus refuse to accept t h e recom
pos i t io n a l d i al e c t i c s of c a p i t a l ; I aff i r m in sectar i a n m a n n e r my own separateness,
my own independence, t h e d i f fere n t ness of m y c o n s t i t u t i o n . As H . J . Kra h l
u n derstood ( i n h i s book Cons titution a n d Class Consciousness - a book w h i c h ,

62
w i t h t h e pas s i n g of t h e years, becomes i nc reas i n g l y i m portant), t h e tota l ity of
c l a s s consciousness is f i rst a n d foremost an i nt e n s ive cond i t i o n , a process of i n
t e n s i f i cation of class s e l f - i d e n t i t y as a p rod uct ive be i n g , w h i c h destroys t h e rela
t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e tota l ity of the c a p i t a l i s t system.

Work i n g class sel f-valorisation i s f i rs t and foremost de-struct u ration of the e n e m y


totality, t a k e n to a p o i n t of exc l u s ivity i n t h e s e l f-recog n i t i o n of t h e c l a s s ' s col lec
t ive i ndependence. For my own part, I d o not see t h e h i story of class con
s c i o u s n es s in a Lu kacs i a n sense, as some f u t u re a l l-embrac i n g reco m p os i t i o n ; o n
t h e contrary, I s e e i t as a m o m e n t of i nt e n s ive root i n g w i t h i n my o w n
separateness. I am other - as a l so i s t h e movement of t h a t c o l l ect ive p rax i s
w i t h i n w h i c h I move. I b e l o n g to t h e other movemen t o f t h e work i n g c l a s s . O f
cou rse, I am aware of a l l t h e c r i t i c i s m s that c o u l d be leve l led at t h i s pos i t i o n f r o m
a t rad i t i o n a l M a rx i s t viewpoi n t . For my own part , I h a v e t h e sense of h av i n g p l a c
ed myself at t h e extreme l i m it s of mean i n g i n a p o l i t i c a l c l ass debate. B u t a n y o n e
w h o c o m e s w i t h accusat i o n s , p ress i n g m e w i t h c r i t i c i s m a n d tel l i ng m e that I am
w ro n g , m u s t , i n t u r n , accept t h e respo n s i b i l ity of b e i n g a part i c i pa n t i n t h e
m o n s t ro s i t i tes we h a v e seen i n t h e development of " s oc i a l i s m " - w i t h its i l l ic i t
d ea l i n g s w i t h t h e m o s t d is g u s t i n g resu l ts of t h e c a p i t a l i s t m o d e of prod u c t i o n . I t
i s o n l y b y recog n i s i n g mysel f as other, o n l y b y i n s i s t i n g o n t h e fact of m y
d i f ferent-ness as a rad i c a l tota l ity t h a t I h ave t h e poss i b i l ity a n d t h e h o p e of a
renew a l .

F u rt h e rmore, i n my i n s i stence o n t h i s rad i c a l method o l o g i c a l r u p t u re I am i n good


company. The con tinuity of the history of the working class revolutionary move
ment is t h e history of the discon tinuity of tha t movement, t h e h i story of t h e
rad i c a l r u pt u res th at h a v e c h a racterised i t . The revo l u t i o n a ry work i n g class move
ment is con t i n u a l ly bei n g reborn from a v i rg i n mother. The hacks of cont i n u ity are
st i l l a l ive a n d well in the H istory I ns t i t utes of t h e labour movement. But l u c k i ly
m i l itant h istoriography is u nd e rg o i n g a renaissance too, s p u rred by t h e ex
perience of the r u pt u res in o u r present movement - and in our h i story-writ i n g we
are now confident enou g h to present the notion of the "other workers'
move m e n t " . Thus t h e method o l o g i c a l p reco n d i t i o n of a n i n it i a l rad i c a l r u p t u re
(wh i c h we consider f u n d a m e n t a l for any renewal of t h e soc i a l p ract ice of t h e p ro
letariat) is e m p i ri c a l l y corroborated by a n ext e n s i ve d o c u mentation ( l i m i ted,
perhaps, i n scale, b u t remark a b l e i n i t s i nt e n s i ty). W h e n Karl-H e i nz Roth (Die
A ndere Arbeiterbewegung - "The Other Workers' M ovement", s h ort ly to be
p u b l i shed by C S E Books), or G i se l a Bock (La Formazione dell'Operaio Massa negli
USA - "The Formati o n of t h e M a ss Worker in t h e USA" - Feltri n e l l i , M i lano, 1 976)
t e l l the form i d a b l e story of how t h e work i n g class in s t r u g g l e has con t i n u a l l y
destroyed i t s o w n t rad i t i o n a l org a n i sa t i o n s , t h ey a re certa i n ly n o t a n i mated b y a
s p i ri t of iconoclasm: rather, t h ey are h i g h l i g h t i n g t h e rad i c a l , i rred u c i b l e d i fferent
ness of t h e revo l u t ionary movement. This i s a pers pective w h i c h cou l d a l s o p ro
v i d e u s w i t h a feel for other h i storical revo l u t i o n a ry experiences of the proletariat
- experiences that h ave proved victorious and h ave (therefore) been betrayed and
destroyed.

So, I must assume t h i s rad i c a l "otherness" as a method o l o g i c a l preco n d i t i o n of


the s u bvers ive case we are a rg u i ng - namely t h e p roject of proletarian self
valorisat i o n . But what about t h e rel at i o n s h i p with t h e tota l ity of h i story, t h e rela
t i o n s h i p with t h e tota l i ty of the system? H ere I must now face up to the second
method o l o g i c a l conseq u e n c e of my a s s u m p t i o n : my rela tionship with the totality
of c a p i t a l i s t deve l o p m e n t , w i t h t h e total ity of h i storical deve l o p m e n t , i s
g uaranteed s o l e l y by t h e force of destructuration t h a t t h e movement determ i nes,
by t h e g lobal sabotage of t h e h istory of c a p i t a l that t h e movement enacts. There
is o n l y one way that I c a n read t h e h istory of c a p i t a l - as t h e h i story of a con
t i n u ity of operat i o n s of s e lf-re-estab l i s h ment that capital a n d i t s State have to set
in mot i o n in ord e r to counter t h e conti n u o u s breakdown process , t h e permanent
p rovoca t i on-towards-separat i o n that t h e real move m e n t brings about. The present
sta te of things is built upon a con tinuity of destruction, of abolition, of
transcendence tha t the real movement brings about. I d e f i n e myself by separat i n g
mysel f from t h e tota l i ty; I d e f i n e t h e tota l i ty as other t h a n me - as a n e t w h i c h i s
cast over t h e cont i n u ity of t h e h i storical sabotage t h a t t h e c l a s s operates.

63
And t h u s (here is t h e t h i rd methodolog i c a l i m p l ication) - t h e re is no homology,
no poss i b l e i m med i ate translata b i l ity of l a n g u ages, of l o g i c s , of s i g ns, between
t h e rea l i ty of the movement as I experience i t and the overa l l framework of
capital ist deve l o p m e n t , with its contents a n d its objectives.

Let u s now pause and consider t h e q uestion from another a n g l e . The f u ndamental
p o i n t , however you look at t h e q u es t i o n , i s obviously still t h e nexus between t h e
p rocess of sel f-va l orisation and its effects i n destruct u ration. I h a v e t a k e n t h i s
n e x u s to extremes, a n d I have d e f i n e d i t as separat i o n . B a s i n g myse l f o n t h e ex
perience of the move m e n t , I have st ressed f i rst and foremost the s u bjective e l e
ment. I f I now a p p roach t h e q uest ion from t h e objective p o i n t of view - t h e v i ew
p o i n t of the C r i s i s-State (Sta to-cris1), the pos i t i o n is n o d ifferent. W h e n the State,
faced with t h e c r i s i s in the f u n c t i o n i n g of the law of va l u e , attem pts to rei m pose
that law by force, m ed i a t i n g its own rel a t i o n to capital in relation to the com mod i
ty form, i t reg i sters u po n itse l f , i n effect, t h e c r i s i s of all h o m o l o g o u s f u n c t i o n s .
Force d o e s not s u bstitute for va l ue, b u t provides a s u rrogate for its form.

The law of va l u e m ay be forc i b l y re i n t rod uced, i n s p i te of t h e c r i s i s of t h a t law,


a n d its operat i o n s may be i m posed i n m od i f i ed form - b u t this does not remove
the void of s i g n i f i ca t i o n s that Power i s forced to reg ister. The C r i s i s-State i s a
power w h i c h l ives i n a vac u u m of s i g n i f i c a t i o n s , a void, a l o g i c of force/ l o g i c
w h i c h is itself destruct u red. T h i s l o g i c , t h i s c ri t i c a l f o r m , i s a " d a rk n i g h t i n w h i c h
a l l c o w s a re w h i t e " : i n other words, the mea n i n g of t h e w h o l e i s not i n a n y way
p rovided by the perfect connection of the parts. The State' s i nvest ment in t h e
tota l ity i s p u re l y negat ive, i n t e r m s of mea n i n g . The r u l e of tot a l a l i en a t i o n i s t h e
o n ly poss i b l e c o n t e n t of t h i s project, The tot a l ity i s a v o i d , i s struct u red as
destruct u ra t i o n , as a rad ic al lack of val u e . Thus i t becomes clear what we mean
i n this case by a l a c k of homology. All t h e elements of t h e w h o l e are u n ified i n a
technical sense; t hey o n l y h a n g toget h e r i n t h e i r m u t u a l u n t ra n s latab i l i ty ; o n l y i n
t h e form o f a forced relat ions h i p . So, from a n objective viewpo i n t too, t h e system
can be seen - must be seen - as destructu red.

H owever, w h i l e our cons ideration of the o bj e c t i ve aspect of the s i t u a t i o n confi rms


our analysis of t h e s u bjective aspect, t h e objective aspect has neither t h e same
logical ext e n s i o n n o r t h e capacity to s u bs t i t u t e for t h e s u bject ive. O n e c a n n ot
m ove f ro m t h e u nderstand i n g of destruct u ra t i o n as an effect, to t h e i d e n t i f icat i o n
of the p rocess of s e l f-va lorisation as t h e c a u s e . T h i s i s part i c u l a r l y c l e a r i n t h e
a n a l y t i c p r i n c i p les of M ic h e l Foucau l t ( a n d i n part i c u l a r h i s met h od o l o g i c a l t reat
ment in La Volante de Sa voir), w h i c h have cau g h t my atte n t i o n because of t h e
w a y t h ey s t ra i n a f t e r a notion of p rod uctivity, a c reativity of an u n kn o w n q ua n t i t y
l ocated beyon d t h e cog n i t ive horizon .

T h i s i s a l so c l e a r - a n d , f u rthermore, scanda l o u s - i n t h e v a r i o u s s u r re p t i t i o u s
attempts that are b e i n g made to rei m pose a s e n se of conc l u s iveness o n t h i s
destructu red h o r i z o n . (These attempts, be t hey h u m a n i s t i c i n i n s p i ra t i o n , o r c o n
ceived i n t e r m s of Wille z u r Macht, d o n o n e t h eless start from a correct percept i o n
of t h e b l i n d object ivity of t h e deve l o p m e n t of c a p i t a l ' s system . Regard i n g Cac
c i a r i ' s Krisis - F e l t r i ne l l i , M i la n 1 977 - see m y review in Nos. 1 55-1 56 of
A u t-A u t). But t h i s s u rrept i t i o u s ly-related h o m o l ogy t h i s " revo l u t i o n from above" I n
t h e absence o f rad i c a l s i g n i f icance - c a n b e seen clearly, i n t h e l i g h t o f what we
h ave said, for w h a t i t i s - a fraud.

The above considerations lead me now to c o n fi rm my ori g i na l hypothes i s of t h e


preva lence of t h e subjec tive i n t h e ex p l a n a t i o n of t h e p resent-day d i a lectic of
capita l . Tak i n g t h e s u bjective viewpo i n t to extremes does not negate i t s
methodo l o g i c a l va l id ity. R a t h e r , i t confi rms a n d e x t e n d s i t . I t perm its me, i n t h e
a rt i c u l at i o n between s e l f-valorisation a n d destruct u ra t i o n , to avoi d b o t h
premat u re red u c t i v i s t forec losu res of t h e problem (because i n f a c t i t i s t he p ro
d u ctivity of t h e proletarian s u bject that s t r u c t u res t h e destruct u ra t i o n , ie negative
l y deter m i nes its own o p posite); a n d , on the other h a n d , tota l i s i n g d i a lect i c a l ex
tensions of the d is c l os u re, because, in t h i s case, t h e re are no l o n g e r any
homologous f u n c t i o n s .

64
We a re not suggest i n g that methodology i n any sense resolves t h e problems that
face u s (a l t h o u g h a correct f ra m i n g of t h e solution i s g reat l y fac i l i tated). We know
that t h e methodolog i c a l hypothesis req u i res c o n f i r m a t i o n from c l ass analysis. It
i s only t h e t heoret ica l-po l i t i c a l deter m i nation of t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e work i n g
c l ass t h a t c a n offer a s o u n d bas i s f o r a method o l o g i c a l hypothes i s s u c h as o u rs .
And i n f a c t t h e f o l l o w i n g m e t h o d o l o g i c a l a p p rox i ma t i o n s , w i t h o u t prete n d i n g to
be exhaustive, c o n f i r m our i n i t i a l method o l o g i c a l assu m pt i o n that, today, the
estab l i s h m e n t of work i n g class i ndependence takes p l ace f i rst and foremost i n its
separat i o n . B u t separa tion i n this i n st a n ce means breaking the capita l rela tion.
Separat i o n a l so means that, havi n g reac h ed the h i g hest p o i n t of soc i a l isation, t h e
work i n g class b reaks t h e la ws of the socia l media tion of c a p i t a l . M a rx i n Capital
Vol . I I , 1 , ca l l s for "another mode of i n q u i ry" in the a n a l y s i s of the metamorphoses
of overa l l soc i a l capita l . Is t h i s to be a l o g i c of separat i o n ? Is it to be a
Dars tellung b u i l t on carry i n g to extre m i ty t h i s i ndependent proletarian s u bjectivity
b u i l t on t h e move ments of proletarian sel f-va l o r i sation as s u c h ?

I t h i n k t hat t hese q u es t i o n s are i m portant for t h e f u rt h e r deve l o p m e n t of t h i s


essay. H owever, before g o i n g f u rt her, t h ey c a n be f u rt h e r a rt i c u l ated at a formal
a n d method o l o g i c a l l eve l , i n order to constitute a f ramework for the e n s u i n g
debate. Let u s l o o k m o re c losely. As I have s a i d , t h e separateness of t h e p ro
leta r i a n s u bject i s o rg a n i sed in the d i a lect i c between s e l f-va l o r i s i n g p rod uctivity
a n d f u n c t i o n s of destructu rat i o n . I know, h owever, that this d i a lectic does not p ro
d u c e effects of h o m o l ogy and of tota l i sat i o n , because i t i s a d i a lectic of separa
t i o n . B u t , eq u a l l y necessar i l y , it is i n herent in t h e c o m p lexity of the events t h a t
are b e i n g determ i ned . H ow? In part i c u lar, h ow d oes t h i s a rt i c u l a t i o n of a separate
s u bj ect relate to t h e const i t u t i o n of capita l ist d o m i n a t i o n ? Seco n d l y and con
versel y , how p rec isely does the const i t u t ive p rocess of the col lective s u bjectivi ty
proceed, in a l l its rad ica l i ty and i ntensity?

In s h o rt , wha t a re the la ws tha t govern (a l be i t in a s i t u a t i o n of separateness, of


lack of any h o m o l ogy) the para llel and opposed processes of the Sta te-form and
of proletarian se/f-valorisa tion?

B u t i n def i n i n g t h e problems we can now add a cou p l e of f u rt h e r notes - f i rst i n


re l a t i o n t o t h e se/f-valorisa tion/des tructura tion nexus. I n t h e h i story o f soc i a l i s t
t h o u g h t and practi ce, t h e sense of p ro letar i a n sel f-va l o r i s a t i o n has o f t e n b e e n ex
p ressed w i t h ori g i n a l i n tensity. (If G ra m s c i ' s teach i ngs can be reta i ned i n any
u s ef u l sense today, i t i s certa i n ly in t h i s regard). But i s never ex p ressed in terms
of separateness - rather i t is a l ways expressed i n a d i a lectical sense i n re lation to
t h e tota l ity. Rec i p rocat i o n takes t h e p l ace of oppos i t i o n . In t h e soc ial-anarc h ist
t rad i t i o n this rec i p rocity, this corres pondence, has been p l ayed out i n terms of
t h e d i a lectic between c e n t ra l i sation and dece n t ra l i s a t i o n . T h u s it is not d i f f i c u l t ,
i n a c r i t i q u e th at starts w i t h M a rx and stretches t h ro u g h to Foucau l t ' s ed i t i o n o f
t h e Pa nopticon, to d e m o n s t rate t h e perfect c o m p at i b i l ity of Pro u d h o n and Ben
tham. B u t this c o m p at i b i l i ty a l so exists in t h e t rad i t i o n of " s c i e n t i f i c soc i a l i s m "
- t h i s t i me n o t extens ive (between centra l isation and decentra l isation), b u t i nten
sive (between t h e g e n e ra l work i n g c lass i n terest and t h e general i n t e rests of
society, between soc i a l i s m a n d democ racy). This compat i b i l ity, of t h e p rocess of
sel f-va lorisation w i t h the prod uct ive struct u rat i o n of society, is a myth. I t i s not
Proud h o n a n d B e n t h a m , b u t Rousseau a n d Sta l i n who are t h e fathers of t h i s
m u ch- l oved syn t h e s i s . Perso n a l ly, I have n o t i m e f o r t h e so-cal l ed " nouveaux
p h i l osophes ' ' , b u t I m u st say I a m rat h e r d i sconcerted w h e n I see representat ives
of the h i storical parties of t h e work i n g c l ass, who have a lways been e n a m o u red
of t h e l i n k between rat i o n a l i s m and prod u c t ive Sta l i n i s m , i n s u l t i n g t hese you n g
p h i losophers for havi n g d rawn atten t i o n to t h i s " myst i fy i n g connect i o n . "

I n s h o rt , t hey a re add ress i n g t h e m s e l ves to a problem w h i c h no l o n g e r has a n y


r e a l basis. C l ass s e l f-va l o r i s a t i o n h a s not h i n g t o do w i t h t h e struct u ration o f
c a p i t a l . B u t i t has a l o t to do w i t h i t s de-st r u ct u ra t i o n . T h e w h o l e c a p i t a l i s t
deve l o p m e n t , e v e r s i n c e t h e work i n g class reached its present h i g h l e v e l of com
pos i t i o n , has been not h i n g other than t h e obverse, a reaction to, a f o l l o w i n g - i n
t he-footsteps-of p ro l etarian sel f-va l o risat i o n - a repeated operat ion of s e l f
p rotec t i o n , of rec u p e rat i o n , of adj u s t m e n t i n re l a t i o n to t h e effects of self
va l o r i sat i o n , which are effects of sabotage of t h e c a p i t a l mac h i ne. Tro n t i i s cor
rect i n h i s latest utterance th a t t h e modern State is t h e p o l i t i c a l form of t h e
autonomy of t h e work i n g c lass. B u t correct i n w h a t sense? I n t h e s e n s e - for
h i m too, with his reva m ped "soc i a l i s m " - of compat i b i l ity and converg e n ce? Not
at a l l , c o m rade: h e re the methodol ogy of the critique of politica l economy h a s to
be mod i f ied, tak i n g as i t s start i n g point proletarian sel f-va lorisat i o n , i t s
separateness, a n d t h e e f f e c t s of sabotage t h a t i t determ i nes. I n part i c u l a r i t i s
w i t h i n this perspective th at we m u s t f r a m e o u r a n a l y s i s of t h e State-form.

I f o u r a n a l y s i s of t h e n e x u s between sel f-va l o r i s a t i o n and State s t r u ct u re leads u s


a l o n g a p a t h of c a u s a l i t y t h a t i s negative a n d destruct u r i n g , t h e s i t u a t i o n i s d i f
ferent when we come to consider o u r m e t h od o l o g i c a l a p p roach to the nexus of
self-va lorisa tion with itself, i n its separateness. H ere we s h a l l have to stress and
adeq uately analyse t h e s y n c h ronous d i m e n s i o n s of t h e p rocess. B u t h e re, too,
t h e re can be no recou rse to models of "cont i n u ity", to f u n c t i o n a l determ i n a t i o n s :
What can be said s t ra i g h t a w a y - becau s e i t const i t u tes t h e h e a r t a n d
s u bstance of t h e m e t h o d o l o g i c a l proposi t i o n i t s e l f - i s t h at t h e separateness o f
p r o l e t a r i a n self-valorisa tion i t s e l f a ppears a s discon tinuity, as a conj o i n i n g of
leaps and i n novat i o n s . The method of soc i a l t ra n sformation that derives from t h e
sel f-va l o r i s i n g separateness of t h e proletariat has not h i n g i n c o m m o n w i t h t h e
homolog ies of rat i o n a l i s t or h i storicist p rog ress i v i s m . Proletarian sel f-va l o r i s a t i o n
i s t h e p o w e r to w i t h d raw from exchange va l u e a n d t h e a b i l ity to rea p p ro p r i a te t h e
world of use va l u es . The h o m o l og i es of p rog res s i v i s m re late to exc h a n g e val u e .
The r u p t u re and recog n i t i o n of t h e c l ass's own i n d ependent p rod uct ive force,
removes any poss i b i l ity of a resol u t ive d i a l e c t i c . The d i a lectical pos i t ivity of
method i n t h e separateness of proletarian sel f-va l o risation i s wholly a n d s o l e l y in
novative.

T H E FO R M O F H a v i n g ou t l i ned ou r p o l e m i c a l methodolog i c a l p re m i ses, we can now start o n the


T H E DOMINATION s u bstance of the matter. Fac i n g u s stands the State; among u s - and sometimes
w i t h i n u s - stands t h e form of t h e d o m i n a t i o n . To stru g g l e means t hat we m u s t
recog n i s e t h e m o n s t ro u s n a t u re of t h e p o w e r t h at s t a n d s fac i n g u s , recog n i s e i t
w i t h t h e same i m med i ate c l arity and on t h e s a m e l e v e l as we have s e e n t h e rela
t i o n s h i p between s e l f-va l ori sat i o n a n d destructuration. N ow, this monstrous
na ture of po wer is the effect of our sabotage; i t is t h e negat ive res u l t of our ac
tions: "Crime," says M a rx, " t h ro u g h its consta n t l y new methods of attack o n p ro
perty, consta n t l y c a l l s i n t o bei n g new methods of defence, and t h u s i s as p rod uc
t ive as stri kes are i n re l a t i o n to t h e i nven t i o n of mac h i nery " . (K. M a rx , Theories of
Surplus Va lue)

T h i s is no paradox - M a rx does not l i ke t h e p a radox l a b e l , not even in t h e case

66
of M a n d evi l le ' s Fable of the Bees ; t h i s p l ea s u re he l eaves to the " p h i l i s t i n e
a p o l o g i sts of t h e b o u r g e o i s s ch oo l " . I t i s , rat her, a k e y to u nd e rstan d i ng . I n p o i n t
of f a c t , t h e m o r e we sabotag e t h e State and t h e m o re we g ive ex p res s i o n to t h e
s e l f-va l o r i sat i o n/destruct u ra t i o n n e x u s , t h e m o r e t h e r u l es g overn i n g t h e develop
m e n t of cap i t a l ' s State-system become feroci o u s , monstrous a n d i rrat i o n a l . So
now let u s l ook at how t h e State a n d t h e system of soc i a l d o m i n at i o n res pond to
t h e soc i a l sabotage w h i c h res u l t s from self-va l o r i s a t i o n , a n d let u s l oo k at the
logic th at t hey express - a logic w h i c h i s i nterna l ly coherent, b u t w h i c h i s
n o n e t h e l ess negat ive; a l o g i c o f destructuration w h i c h can never be s u b l i mated,
b u t only p rec i p i t ated f u rt her.

C a p i t a l ' s cont i n u a l restructu rat i o n i s its response to work i n g c l ass sabotage.


Res tructura tion is the empty, but effica cious, con ten t of the Sta te-form. E m pty,
becau se it lacks any rat i o n a l i t y save that accred ited by worki n g c l ass sabotage;
efficacious, because t h e form of t h e rest ructu rat i o n i s c o m m a n d . But bou rgeo i s
eco n o m y 's c r i t i c a l consc i o u sness i s o b l iged to f i l l t h e vac u u m of its own p rocess
by s p read i n g a wafer-t h i n ( rec u pe rated and myst i f ied) f o r m a l rat i o na l i ty, over the
t i m i ng s set by work i n g c l ass and proletarian stru g g l es. Let us look at how it p ro
ceeds.

W i t h i n t h e c r i t i c a l consc i o u s n ess of bou rgeoi s p o l i t i c a l economy, t h e evo l u t i o n o f


t h e l og i c of c o m m a n d h a s taken p l ace i n at l e a s t t h ree d i st i nct p h ases, f o l l o w i n g
o n t h e g reat C r i s i s of t h e 1 930s. E a c h one of t hese p hases i s m a t c h e d by a par
t i c u l a r q u a l ity a n d i ntensity of work i n g c l ass a n d p ro l e t a r i a n stru g g les. E lsewhere
( i n t h e a rt i c l e p u b l ished i n Operai e Sta to ("Workers a n d t h e State", Felt r l ne l l i ,
M i l a n 1 972) I have i n d icated t h e f u n d a m e n t a l c haracte r i s t i cs o f t h e Keynesian
epoch . In that epoch, control of the work i n g c lass s t ru g g l e was to be a c h i eved i n
g lo bal terms. Keynes rep l ied to t h e format i o n a n d t h e s t r u g g les of t h e mass
worker with a n overal l b a l a n c i n g - i n p rog ressive terms - of s u p p l y and de
m a n d . But Keynes based h i m se l f o n a p o l i t ical propos i t i o n that was p u re and
general - h e had stressed the overal l trend. But when the t rend comes i n to con
t rad i c t i o n with the act u a l prog ress of t h e cyc l e (because work i n g c l ass conf l i c
t u a l ity d oes not respect f i n a l i sed eq u i l i b r i a), t h e Key n e s i a n State goes i n to c r i s i s .
W h o c o m m a n d s t h e c r i s i s ? T h e Keynesian-bred p o l i t i c i a n s t ry to i nvent a
" p o l i t i c a l trade cyc l e " , t ry to form " i ntermed iate reg i me s " etc: i n p ract ice, control
i s l i t t l e by l it t l e s l i pp i n g o u t of their h a n d s - t h e contro l -d i me n s i o n no l o n g e r
m a t c h e s t h e d i m e n s i o n s of p ro l etarian and work i n g c l ass conf l i c t u a l ity. A second
phase opens. A l o n g s i d e the t heoret i c a l " p rog resses" that l ead S raffa and h i s i l k
to a d i sso l u t ion of t h e a g g regate categories o f Cap i t a l , m o re concretely we can
observe th at t h e work i n g c l ass stru g g l e has a cont i n u i t y t h a t is d iscont i n uo u s ,

/.
I

- /,
and that t h e a p parent c o n t i n u ity of t h e s t ru g g l e is t h e outcome of an i n f i n i te
series of i nd i v i d u a l c r i s is-po i n t s . The econ o m i c and po l i t i c a l s c i ences of restruc
t u ration m u s t take acco u n t of t h i s . I t is no l o n g e r poss i b l e to i nvent i n d et e r m i nate
macro-eco n o m i c eq u i l i b r i a w h i c h a re i ndependent of s h o rt-ru n variat i o n s and i n
dependent of t h e m i c ro-econom ic components w h i c h a re variable w i t h i n t h e u n
foreseea b l e t i m i n g determ i ned b y t h e s t r u g g l e s of t h e col lect ive worker. Based on
t h i s necess ity, we now see t h e formation of t h e State-as-Cr i s i s , t h e C r i s i s-State
(Stato-cris1), on the fo l l o w i n g l i nes: to d ivide up the overa l l t h ru s t of t h e work i n g
c l ass; to control i t f ro m w i t h i n the mecha n i s m s of its o w n accu m u l a t i o n ; a n d t o
fo rest a l l i t , b y attac k i n g it i n i t s c l ass compos i t i o n . Keynes' b road eq u i l i br i a a re
rep l aced by an i n t e r n a l operat ion of deco m p o s i t i o n , w i t h i n t h e c l ass, i n an attack
that is p rec isely o r i e n tated towards dea l i n g with s i n g l e a n d part i c u l a r c l ass c r i s i s
p o i n t s - a m ic r o p h y s i c s of p o l i t i c a l eco n o m y . " T h e l o n g-term t rend i s n ot h i n g
other t h a n a c o m p o n e n t - w h i c h a l ters s l o w l y - of a c h a i n of s h o rt-term s i t u a
t i o n s " . . . . " i t is not an i ndependent e n t i t y " . ( M i c h a e l Ka l e c k i , i n Trend and
Business Cycles Reconsidered, i n Economic Journal, J u l y 1968, p p 263 seq.). Thus
it becomes i m po s s i b l e to p rod uce a model of deve l o p ment u n less i t takes ex p l i c i t
acco u n t of t h e i n terru p t i o n s that occ u r i n t h e p rocess of p rod u c t i o n a n d reprod uc
tion, and thus a fresh f o u n d a t i o n i s laid for a t h eo ry of deve l o p m e n t based o n the
t heory of cyc l i c a l f l u ct u a t i o n s , i ncorporat i n g t h e d y n a m i c s that occ u r at a
m i c roeco n o m i c leve l .

A l o n g phase of bou rgeo i s eco n o m i c t h eory n o w deve l o p s a ro u n d t hese p r e m ises.


M i chael Kalecki i s the lead i n g l ig h t i n t h i s movement (see Joan R o b i n s o n i n New
York Review of Books , M a rc h 4, 1 976 - a n d in part i c u l a r George R . Feiwee l , The
In tellectua l Capita l of M. Kalecki, Knoxv i l l e , Ten n essee, 1 975). B u t t h i s t heory a l so
f a l l s s hort. C r i s i s-State t h eo ry i s , after a l l , a reformis t theory. It faces u p to t h e
emerg i n g p rod u c t i v i t y of the m a s s worker, a n d t r i e s to c o n s t r u c t a n " e c o n o m y of
o l i g o p o l ies" - o n two fronts: on t h e o n e hand t h e c a p i ta l i st e n t re p re n e u r o l i go po
ly, and on the ot h e r h a n d the work i n g c l ass-t rade u n io n o l i g o p o l y in the factory
( M . Kalecki, " C l as s S t r u g g l e and t h e D i s t r i b u t i o n of N a t i o n a l I ncome", i n Kyklos
XXIV. 1 971 . pp 1 seq.) B u t in the mea n t i me, the s t ru g g l e has advanced; t h e action
of t h e mass worker h a s g rad u a l l y laid s i e g e to t h e w h o l e of society. We now see
the worker deve l o p i n g as a "soc i a l " worker - even (and part i c u l arly) i f s t i l l re
m a i n i n g a "work p l ace worker" . The worker res p o n d s to t h e C r i s i s-State even m o re
v i o l e n t l y t h a n prev i o u s l y to t h e State-as- P l a n n e r (Sta to-piano). I f t h i s latter went
i n to crisis beca u s e of its i n a b i l ity to c o n t ro l t h e q u a n t it ies of work i n g c l ass de
m a n d , t h e Crisis-Sta te i s forced i nto a n i nt e r n a l self-c r i t i c i s m of what i s now a
soc i a l l y i n escapab l e (and i m mediately efficac i o u s) exte n s i o n of work i n g c l ass ac
t i o n . The C r i s i s-State i s not o n l y a State-form that i s refor m i s t to its roots - i t is
a l so, and above a l l , a State-form that i s st i l l l i n ked in to the d i m e n s i o n s of d i rect
p rod u c t i o n , to factory c o m m a n d over l iv i n g l a b o u r. But when work i n g c l ass
sabotage extends to i n vest t h e whole of society, t h e e n t i re mech a n i s m of c i rc u l a
t i o n , forc i n g agg regate soc i a l c a p i t a l i n t o a c o n f rontat i o n over t h e ru les g overn i ng
t h e reprod u c t i o n of t h e syste m , at that same moment t h e c o n s c i o u s ness of
bou rgeois p o l i t i c a l economy - which had act u a l ly been conso l i d at i n g itself up to
that point - goes i nto a f u rth e r stage of c r i s i s and d i s i nteg rat i o n .

I t i s i n terest i n g to n o t e t h e format i o n of a third phase of t h eo ret i c a l deve l o p me n t


i n the p o l i t i c a l eco n o m y of t h e Keynesian epoch. I t i s i n t h e p rocess of format i o n
today, and d raws o n t h e elements of c r i s i s i n t h e prev i o u s s c h e m a s . I n p a rt i c u l a r
it tries to operate i n a m o r e genera l i sed w a y o n t h e soc i a l movements of t h e
work i n g c l ass. I t s c e n tral a r e n a of i n terest i s t h e q u es t i o n of circula tion . T h e s i m
p l e t ra n s i t i o n from g lo b a l c o n t ro l of p rod u c t i o n ( Keynes), to d y n a m i c c o n t r o l of
p rod u c t i o n (Kalecki) i s i n s u f f i c i e n t . The prob l e m i s that of t h e f u n c t i o n a l control
of c i rc u l a t i o n , of t h e dynamic nex u s l i n k i n g p rod u c t i o n a n d rep rod u c t i o n . A n d
h e re t h e p rob l e m of time becomes fu n d a m e n t a l . Keynes n e v e r concerned h i m s e l f
w i t h t h e t e m p o r a l determ i n a t i o n of eq u i l i br i a a n d seco n d a ry eq u i l i br i a . K a l e c k i , on
t h e other h a n d , s t ressed t h e necessity of determ i n i ng Key nes i a n i s m v i a t h e
redef i n i t i o n of p h e n o m e n a w i t h i n i nd i v i d u a l " t i m e u n it s " . A n d n o w , today, t h e
t e m p o r a l d i m e n s i o n i s b e i n g extended to t h e w h o l e of t h e p rocess. I n a n a l y t i c
t e r m s , t h e n e w a p p roach i s a s o r t of Ei nstei n i a n t h eory of re l a t i v i ty : i t i nvolves t h e

68
i n sert ion of another d i m e n s i o n of a n a l y s i s , i n order to re l a t i v i se t h e contents of
that a n a y l s i s . But t h i s i s i ndeed a strange k i n d of relativity: i t i s above a l l a
relativity of time, t h e red u c t i o n of t i m e to an indifference of command. I n p rac
t i c a l p o l i t i c a l terms we h ave a n a n a l y t i c mec h a n i s m w h i c h ass u m es c i rc u l a t i o n
t i me as a terra i n of both theory a n d contro l . The tota l ity of c i rc u l at i o n - t i m e i s
d rawn i nto t h e eco n o m i c a n a l y s i s ; t h e tota l i ty of c i rc u l a t i o n -t i m e i s to be contro l l
ed b y econom i c po l i cy: t h e hypothes i s of t h e s i m u l t a n e i ty of f u n c t i o n s a n d o pera
t i o n s w i t h i n the cycle i s not assu med in advance and abst ract (a l a neo-c l a s s i cs),
but operat i o n a l and p o l i t i c a l (a l a M i lton F r i ed m a n and h i s monetarist bed fe l l ows).
The Kaleckian i n terru p t i o n s of the s h o rt cycle a re s t i l l m e d i a t i o n s between the
t re n d and t h e overa l l cycle: h e re science does not become separated in i t s ap
p l i c a t i o n , does not waste i t s efforts i n forecas t i n g , b u t i nt e n s i f ies its a n a l y s i s o n
every m o m e n t , every t ran s i t i o n . I t i s a p h y s i c s of e l e me n t a ry part i c l es - and
science stands watc h f u l , l i ke a p o l i ceman, over everyt h i n g .

I t i s n o t t h e M a rx i s t s ' j o b to observe t h a t t h e temporal d i m e n s i o n i s decis ive i n


t h e re l a t i o n between c i rc u l a t i o n a n d rep rod u c t i o n , a n d i n general w i t h i n t h e rel a
t i o n as it i m p i nges on t h e c l as s s t r u g g l e in t h e s p h e re of rep rod u c t i o n ( a l t ho u g h
G eoff Kay d raws atte n t i o n t o t h e problem i n h i s very u s ef u l Developmen t and
Underdevelopment, M a c m i l la n , Lon d o n , 1 975). I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that t h e problem
i s arising a g a i n . Rather, what i s s u rp r i s i n g i s t h e fact t h a t t h e propos i t i o n arouses
so m u c h pass i o n . The p h i loso p h e rs a re we l l aware of t h e problems assoc i ated
w i t h the d i m e n s i o n of t i m e : i n f i n it e l y s u b-d i v i s i b l e and i n f i n i t e l y extendable. So
how s h o u l d we g rasp t h e a n a l y t i c p ropos i t i o n in operat i o n a l terms; how are we to
c o n c retise t h e p o l i t i c a l p roject? I t i s not our j o b to a n swer t h i s : s u f f i ce it to d raw
atten t i o n to the i ndeterm i n ateness of the p roject. Rather, our task i s to note how
the process of des tructura tion within the logic of politica l economy i s tak i n g a
f u rt h e r step forward. (See, a p ropos, the f i n e essay by A. G raz i a n i , i n t rod u c i n g R.
Convenevo l e ' s book La Dinam ica de/ Sa lario Rela tivo ("The Dy n a m i c of the
Relat ive Wage"), rep u b l i s hed i n Quaderni Pia cen tini, N o .64, p p 1 1 3 seq.). In its
anx iety to keep u p w i t h t h e p rocess of work i n g c lass attack a g a i n st t h e g e n e ra l
d i me n s i o n s of ex p l o i tat i o n , bou rgeois po l i t ic a l eco nomy s t r i p s even t h e ap
pearance of coherence from i t s logic, and forces itself i nto t h e role of a tec h n i c a l
i n s t r u m e n t a g a i n st t h e e m e r g e n c e of t h e destruct u r i n g p o w e r of t h e work i n g
c l as s ; i t exte n d s i t s e l f over t h e i nd e f i n i t e d i scon t i n u ity of t h e movement of self
valorisation. State rest r u c t u r a t i o n becomes i n c reas i n g l y a n i nd i sc ri m i nate s u cces
sion of act i o n s of contro l , a tec h n i c a l a p pa rat u s that i s effective, but w h i c h has
l ost a l l measu re, a l l i n ternal reference- p o i n t s , a l l i nt e r n a l coherent l o g i c .

G ood work i n g c lass t heory rej o i ces at t h i s . B u t , bei n g res po n s i b l e peo p l e , w e


m u s t recog n i se t h e e n o r m o u s w e i g h t of suffer i n g , of i n h u m a n i ty, of barba r i t i es
t h at a l l t h i s b r i n g s w i t h i t . T h i s revelat i o n of t h e i nternal void of cap i t a l i s t restruc
t u ration, this s u ccess ive se l f-dest r u c t i o n of t h e moments of capita l ist c o n t ro l , a n d
t h i s dissolu tion of theory into a technique of po wer, b r i n g c loser t h e f i n a l o u t
c o m e of t h e revo l u t i o na ry stru g g l e . B u t at t h e same t i m e it m a k e s it h a rd to en
d u re t h e harshness of t h e daily stru g g l e a n d t h e cruelty of capital's con t i n ued ex
istence. ( N ote that certai n theoret i c a l pos i t i o n s that exist w i t h i n t h e official labor
movement, and w h i c h have not h i n g to d o with M a rx i s m - such as t h e famous
t heory of t h e "autonomy of t h e p o l i t i c a l " - ape t h ese bou rgeo i s a f f i rmat i o n s).
And yet i t i s st i l l the action of t h e work i n g class that b r i n g s about t hese effects
- to t h e extent that the destructuring tendency of these struggles has a direct
effect on the very ra tionality of capitalis t res tructuring, and removes this ra tionali
ty, even i n i t s formal aspect, and l eaves us w i t h a whole that is destr u c t u red,
tec h n ical a n d rep ressive. The varied and c o m b i ned mod a l i ty of work i n g c l ass ac
t i o n is respected in every moment of the res t r u c t u ration of c a p i t a l : from the ac
t i o n s of the mass worker, and from t hose of the " s o c i a l " worker, arise effects that
a re th e n matched , i n t h e sense of a s u bseq u e n t rad ical destruc t u r i n g of t h e
e n e m y power.

Th u s i t i s n o acc i d en t that today the big forces of c a p i ta l i st refor m i s m h ave


adopted - at a world-wide level - a terroristic s tra tegy of sa vage defla tion (or
" d i s - i n f l a t i o n " , if you p refer). O n the bas i s of t h e experience of the fiscal crisis of
the A m ercan cities t h i s pol it i c a l l i ne has been correct l y descri bed as a
" re g ressive d i s t r i b u t i o n of i ncome, of weal t h a n d of power" (see t h e a r t i c les by
Robert Zev i n , a n d Roger A. A l c a l y and E l e n Bod i a n i n The Fiscal Crisis o f
A merican Cities , N e w York, 1 977).

The destru c t u red log i c of the economic compat i b i l i t ies m u st in fact be extended
downwards, to reach s i n g l e i n d i v i d u a l soc i a l g ro u ps, i n such a way as to destroy
any conso l i dation of proletarian sel f-val o r izat i o n . At every level . G e n e ral ized con
trol m u st be deepened a n d i nt e n s i f i e d , to act o n every point of l i n kage in the p ro
cess of reprod u c t i o n ; i t m u s t a l low the destr u c t i o n of every r i g i d ity; i t m u s t
f l u i d ity, i n a n e w m a n n er, t h e cyc l e of c a p i t a l i s t reprod u c t i o n . B u t - y o u s a y -
t h i s has a l ways h a pp e n ed ! T h i s is one of t h e laws of capital ! Certa i n ly . B u t what
makes t h e present s i t u a t i o n spec i f i c i s t h e depth, t h e i nt e n s i ty , t h e ext e n s i veness
of t h e control. Capital has been s u bjected to a c l ass p res s u re at t h e soc i a l leve l ,
w h i c h h a s d ef i n i t ively destruct u red i t s terms of reference. R i g ht down to t h e level
of factory-com m a n d (comando-impresa), c o m m a n d i s in c r i s i s . Restr u c t u rat i o n ,
at t h i s p o i n t , i s p u re form of d o m i n a t i o n . I t a i m s to be effective even at t h e level
of the i n d iv i d u a l u n i t of prod u c t i o n , the s i n g l e soc i a l g r o u p , the s i n g l e i n d iv i d u a l .
T h u s it i s n o a c c i d e n t that, act i n g at s u c h a d e p t h and w i t h i n s u c h m i c ro
econom i c d i me n s i o n s , State power is once aga i n , for the f i rst t i m e in several
decades, resu rrec t i n g the ideology of F reed o m !

At t h i s stage, t h e c a p i t a l ist determ i nation (whose a rt i c u lations atte m pt to fol low


the soc i a l emergence of the p rocesses of proletarian sel f-val orizat i o n , and w h i c h
h a s to face u p to t h e destructu rati o n effects that t hese e n g e n d e r), reach e s a h i g h
p o i n t of its l o g i c a l vacu i ty: here the reimposition of the la w of value within
restructura tion is violence, and is logically founded on criteria of indifference.
H owever, t h i s in n o sense d i m i n ishes the efflcacity of the p roject of rest r u c t ura
t i o n . The s p e c i f i c a t i o n of the i n d i fference starts from com m a n d . If t h e soc i a l
s t r u g g l e of t h e work i n g c l ass has d riven t h e c a p i t a l i s t b ra i n i nto a pos i t i o n of for
m a l i nd i fference, t h e n c a p i t a l i s t command t ries to spec i fy itself mate r i a l l y o n t h i s
poss i b i l ity. I t i s i m portant to e m phasize t h i s t ra n s i t i o n . I t i s i m po rtan t because
with it comes a f u ndamental s h i f t in t h e deve l o p m e n t of t h e contempora ry form of
t h e State. That very social-democra tic project, which s i nce t h e t i m e of Keynes has
been at t h e c e n t re of capital's i nterests w i t h i n t h e rest ru c t u r i n g p rocess, i s now
subsumed to the indifference of the poss i b i l it ies of c a p i t a l . This i s perhaps a
s p l e n d i d exa m p l e of how work i n g c l ass a n d proletarian self-val o r izat i o n has
destroyed a n i n stance of t h e enemy. The soc i a l -democra t i c p roject i s beg i n n i n g to
d i s i ntegrate, a n d from t h i s p o i n t of view, the e u p horia t hat i s acco m p a n y i n g the
present deve l o p m e n t of the var i o u s E u roco m m u n i s m s I s s l i g h t l y macabre.

70
So, c o n c rete l y spea k i n g , what is t h e center of t h e c a p i ta l ist rest r u c t u rat ion p ro
j ect today? H ow is the form of d o m i nation bei n g rea l ized ? The fact of c o m m a n d
o v e r l iv i n g labor t a k i n g t h e u pp e r hand o v e r t h e law of va l u e i s not somet h i n g
new: b u t wha t i s specific t o today 's res tructura tion i s the conjuncture of com
mand together with the indifference of the con ten ts of command, of its articula
tions. T h i s c a p i t a l ist conc l u s i o n d erives from t h e powerf u l soc i a l izat ion of t h e
revo l u t i o n a ry movement of t h e proletarian c l ass; it i s t h e obverse of t h is. I n t h i s
s i t u a t i o n , capita l ' s i n i t iat ive becomes reg ressive - i n o t h e r words, i t has to base
i t s e l f on a l o g i c that i s as e m pty as i t i s separate. Once a g a i n a premise w h i c h , to
u s , i s f u n d a m e n t a l - ie t h e separateness of t h e cycles of c a p i t a l and its State
form from the cyc l e of work i n g c l ass s e l f-va l o rizat i o n - i s veri f i e d . But at t h i s
p o i n t a w h o l e series of prob l e m s re-e merge. I n part i c u l ar, i f we w a n t to i d e n t i fy
not so m u c h t h e center, as t h e spec i f i c content of c a p i t a l ist rest ructu ra t i o n . T h i s
terri b l e v o i d a n d i n d i fference, t h i s terr i b l y w e a k and t h e same t i m e feroc i o u s
f reedo m of c a p i t a l - how is i t dete r m i ned today?

For the m o m e n t I know only one t h i n g , that from the work i n g c l ass poi nt of v i ew
- havi n g arrived at t h i s level of awareness - t h e effects of t h e destruct u ri n g ac
tion t hat I have set in m o t i o n f o rce m e to confront - in a destructive m a n n e r -
c a p i t a l ' s powers of stab i l izat i o n . And t h i s means, above a l l , confro n t i n g that
power which provides t h e b reed i n g g ro u n d for t h e m u l t i p l e i n d ifferent poss i b i l i t ies
of d o m i n a t i o n . Dest r u ct u ra t i o n of t h e enemy system i nvo lves the i m m e d i ate
necessity of attac k i n g and destab i l iz i n g its p o l i t i c a l reg i m e .

Tra n s la te d b y R e d N otes

i l/2-3 Photo: D. Cortez


A u tored uct ion
Movements
in Turin

Ed dy Cherk i /
Michel W i eviorka

To consider t h e new developments i n soc i a l s t ru g g l e w i t h i n Western E u rope s i nce


1 968, o n e m u st t u rn to I taly. The org a n izat ion of t h e Worker's M ovem e n t , often on
a mass scale, has a s s u med o r i g i n a l forms. U rb a n stru g g l es have led to org a n ized
u n i on and p o l i t i c a l n e i g h borhood act i o n s w i t h stakes t i ed to consu m p t i o n .

F r o m t h i s p o i n t of v i e w , t h e autored u c t i o n movement, w h i c h bega n i n T u r i n i n t h e


f a l l of 1 974, const i t u tes a deve l o p m e n t of t h e u tmost i m portance. A utored u c t i o n
is t h e act by w h i c h c o n s u mers, i n t h e a rea of c o n s u m p t i o n , and workers, i n t h e
a rea of p rod u c t i o n , take i t u p o n themselves t o red uce, at a collectively determ i ned
leve l , t h e price of p u b l ic services, h o u s i n g , electricity; or i n t h e factory, t h e rate of
p rod u c t i vity.

THE ITALIAN A bove a n d beyond the " c lassica l " forms of econ o m i c crisis a n d t h e bankru ptcy
C RISIS (or rat h e r absence) of the I t a l i a n govern m e n t ' s eco n o m i c p o l i cy , t h e most
e n l i g h tened sectors of the tec h n oc racy a n d certa i n leaders of the l a rg e I t a l i a n
monopo l i es (suc h as A g n e l l i , F I AT), centered arou nd Car l i , pres i d e n t of t h e I t a l i a n
b a n k , propose a n d , i n J u n e 1 974, c o m p e l t h e gove r n m e n t to accept a p l a n o f
reform, t h e C a r l i P l a n . Fou nded on t h e fu n d a m e n t a l hypothesis of t h e t a c i t s u p
port of t h e l .C . P . , or at least its n e u t ra l ity, t h i s p l a n proposes two esse n t i a l objec-

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t i ves. On t h e one h a n d , rest r u c t u r i n g t h e p rod u c t i o n (divers i f ication of some i n
d u st r i a l sectors, notably t h e automob i l e i n d u st ry, form u l ation of a n u c lear energy
prog ram) a n d , on t h e other hand, red u c i n g , i n t h e a rea of con s u m pt i o n , p u b l i c ex
pend i t u res - i n part i c u l ar, c u rb i n g t h e prod u c t i o n of c o l l ect ive too l s a n d a r
rangements (eq u i pements c o l lecti fs). On a m o re general leve l . t h e Carl i P l a n seeks
to p l ace t h e b u rden of the I t a l i a n eco n o m i c reform on the work i n g c l asses by
red u c i n g i nternal d e m a n d , t h u s h o u s e h o l d consu m p t i o n . Concretely, the govern
m e n t ' s p r i n c i p l e of " f a i r p r i c i n g " of p u b l i c services e n ta i l s a massive price i n
c rease i n transpo rta t i o n , e l e c t r i c i ty, telephone, h e a l t h c a re a n d h o u s i n g . I n J u ly ,
b e s i d e s a f e w amend ments p roposed by the l .C . P . , t h e Assem b l y a p p roved t h i s
p r o g r a m w i t h i n c reases exceed i n g 5 0 per c e n t .

T H E RISE The a p p l icat ion of t h e Carl i P l a n pres u p poses a c l i mate of soc i a l p e a c e a n d t h e


OF SOCIA L absence of workers' stru g g l e s . H owever, i n t h e p a s t f e w years, soc i a l stru g g les
ST R U G GLE are on t h e rise. Classical forms of action have been s i g n i f i c a n t l y s u p p l e m e n ted by
less conve n t i o n a l forms: sabotag i n g prod u c t i o n , sequeste r i n g leaders, l owe r i n g
p roductivity, contro l l i n g t h e r a t e of p rod u c t i o n , a n d m a s s i ve absentee i s m . T h i s
movement e x presses at one a n d t h e s a m e t i m e t h e rebe l l i on of t h e I t a l i a n work i n g
c l ass and its p u g n a c i o u s ness.

T h e meta l l u rg i c a l u n i o n s (the F . L . M .) a n d various g ro u p s of t h e extreme left (" Lot


ta Cont i n u a " , "Ava n g u a r d i a O p e ra i a " , and later " I I M a n i festo") take a n active role
i n this movement. Between 1 968 and 1 975 forms of d i rect action reap pear o n t h e
batt l e g rou n d of u rban s t ru g g les, t h ey a r e esse n t i a l l y centered a ro u n d t h e prob l e m
of h o u s i n g . T h e h o m e l e s s t a k e over em pty h o uses. P u b l i c h o u s i n g tenants
a u tored uce rents or res ist evi c t i o n . These struggles are i l l e ga l , massive a n d often
violent.

Mas s ive stru g g l es: i n I t a l y between 1 969 and 1 975, twenty-t housand h a b i t a t i o n s
a re " s q u atterized " . Rent a u t o red u c t i o n w a s t h e f i rst form of act i o n ; t h e p o l i t i c a l
obj e c t i ve was to l i m i t rents to 1 0 % of one's s a l a ry .

T h e s e v i o l e n t stru g g les c a n n ot be isolated from t h e c l i mate of soc i a l and p o l ice


v i o lence w h i c h rei g n s in I ta l y . The most dramatic e p i sode occu red i n t h e San
Bas i l i o n e i g h borhood ( i n t h e s u b u rbs of Rome). In Septem ber of 1 974, a m i l itant of
t h e extreme left was k i l led d u ri n g a c lash between police and s q u atters.

I t i s d i f f i c u l t to esta b l i s h a d i rect connection between u rban stru g g les and


workers' strugg les. I t is not easy to g rasp that t h e c a p i t a l i s t system i n general is
u nd e r attack i n both t h e areas of p rod u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n . The a u tored u c t i o n
movement i n Tu r i n strives i n to u n i te t h ro u g h a c o l l ec t i ve action t h e forces of p ro
d u c t i o n and t hose of c o n s u m p t i o n .

THE E a c h d a y , i n Tu r i n , te n s of t h o u sands of workers c o m m u t e (pendolarl). T h i s con


A UTO RE D U CTION s t i t u tes a forced exte n s i o n of t h e work day a n d a n i m portant f i n a n c i a l b u rd e n .
MOVEMENT AND
T H E P RICE O F Some b u s i n esses a l low t h e i r e m p l oyees t ravel e x p e n s e s ; others p rovide for t h e
T RANS PORTATION t r a n s portation for t h e i r w o r k force; b u t often , as i s t h e c a s e of F I AT, transporta
t i o n costs a re d i rectly born by the workers.
'
In the s u m m e r and f a l l of 1 974, t h e d e c i s i o n of two p rivate transportat ion com
p a n i es to i n c rease t h e i r fares by 20% to 50 % cau sed a n i m med i ate react i o n on
t h e part of t h e workers.

T h e f i rst react ions are spontaneous, u n o rg a n ized : b u ses a re b l oc ked at P i n e ro l lo,


a n i m portant g a t h e r i n g p o i n t of R ivalta a n d M i rafiori workers, some delegations
head towards m u n i c i pa l i t ies a n d the reg i o n a l govern m e n t , some t racts are
d i s t r i b uted. A l l of t h i s c h a n g es l i t t l e to the i n c rease. The R ivalta FLM decides to
take i n h a n d t h e organization of t h e stru g g l e on t h e basis of a u t o red u c t i o n : the
week l y trans portat ion pass m u st be p u rchased at the old p rice. This d e c i s i o n
f o l l ows a brief po l i t ic al d e b a t e . Ref u s i n g a l l pay m e n t i s p ract ica l l y not consid ered
a n d , for a very good reason: the trans portat i o n c o m p a n ies wou l d s i m p l y stop r u n -

73
n i n g t h e i r b u ses. I n each bu s , d e l egates, are d e s i g nated to gather s u b s c r i p t i o n s
at t h e o l d price i n exchange for a rece i p t p re p a red by t h e u n i o n s . The m o n ey col
l ected i s t h e n t u rned over to t h e companies.1

The s m a l lest c o m p a n ies refuse t h e money , t h e n q u i c k l y reverse this d e c i s i o n .


They t h reaten to c u rt a i l certa i n l i nes i n reta l i a t i o n . Worker's d e m o n s t rat i o n s and
p ressu re from F IAT leads t h e reg i o n a l gove r n m e n t to demand that t h e concerned
compan ies accept s u s p e n s i o n of t h e i r c u rt a i l m e n t s and operate b u ses at t h e old
price u n t i l a n a g reement with t h e u n io n s i s reached.

The fact that a direct a c tion res u l ted i n s u c h rap i d s u ccess i s of u t most i m por
tance, i f o n l y on the level of the debate w i t h i n the u n ions and leftist organ iza
tions.

We are no l o n g e r i n t h e fa ctory, i n t h e p rod u c t i o n a r e a i t s e l f , b u t rat h e r at t h e


j u n c t i o n of t h e factory a n d t h e n e i g h borhood or tow n . T h i s foreshadows t h e
d evelopment of p o p u l a r strugg les at t h e l e v e l of consu m p t i o n , w i t h o u t y e t p resen
t i n g t h e most c haracter i s t i c traits ( p l u ri-c l a ss i s m , d i f f i c u l ty in relat i n g to factory
strugg les). Last a n d above a l l , t h i s form of s truggle const i t u tes a b reak from tradi
tional p ract i ce.

A utored u c t i o n was not p ract iced by i s o lated m i l itants: i t was organ ized , a n d t h i s
i s a f u n d a m e n t a l p o i n t , b y u n i o n s w h i c h b ro u g h t t h e i r active s u p po rt a n d
s i m u l t aneous l y i m posed a coherent l i n e of act i o n . S u c h a pos i t i o n wou l d have
been u n t h i n ka b l e a few years earlier: it s t ro n g ly s u g g ests a breakt h ro u g h , of cer
t a i n t hemes of the extreme left. We s h o u l d , h owever, assess the scope of t h i s
breakt h rou g h : t h e a u tored u c t i o n of reg i o n a l t ra n s p o rtat i o n h a s a l ways been a
local ized p h e n o m e n o n i nvol v i n g merely t h e m ac h i nery of local meta l l u rg i ca l
u n ions, f o r a set o bj e c t i ve. At no t i me w a s it a q u es t i o n o f genera l iz i n g t h e m ove
ment on a n a t i o n a l scale. The movement on e l ectricity, i n s t i gated by the p rovi n
cial leaders h i p of the F L M w i l l g ive a new d i m e n s i o n to a u t o red u c t i o n , its t r u l y
m a s s c h aracter.

THE Tak i n g adva ntage o f the s u m me r and in t h e context of t h El, Carli P l a n , t h e g overn
AUTO R E D U CTION ment, at t h e beg i n n i n g of J u ly , decides to i n c rease t h e electricity rates. This i n
OF ELECTRICITY c rease a n t i c i pates an e n t i re series of comparable measu res a n d , as a resu l t , con
s t i t u tes a p o l i t i c a l test for t h e a u t h o r i t i es. They w i l l be a b l e to i m pose t h e f o l l ow
i n g i n c reases (te l e p h o ne, p u b l i c transportat i o n , etc.) a l l t h e more q u i c k l y a n d eas i
l y i f t h e react i o n to their f i rst d e c i s i o n is weak a n d i ndecis ive. Th!: u n i o n s m ust
act, a n d act fast.

In a n eco n o m i c c r i s i s , the s truggle in the fa c tory cannot serve a s a ba sis of


mobiliza tion for meeting demands rela ted to consump tion. The u n i o n s of t h e
C . l . S . L . - electricity, u s i n g t h e exam p l e of t h e reg i o n a l transportat ion movement,
th e n p ropose to i n i t iate a n a u t o red u c t i o n . W i l l t h e b i l l s that t h e c u stomers receive
be red uced by 50 % or, more rad i c a l ly, w i l l a ref u s a l to pay the b i l l s be organ ized ?

I n fact, t h i s last s o l u t i o n risks b e i n g t u rned a g a i nst t h ose w h o use i t : var i o u s past


experiences have f a i led. In add i t i o n , this form of s truggle does n o t oblige the
workers to organize themselves. S i m p l y asked to not set t l e t h e i r b i l l s , t h e workers
rem a i n pass ive.

A u tored u c i n g the e l e c t r i c i ty rates s i g n i f ies the c u stomers' d i sag reem e n t w i t h t h e


u n i l ateral d e c i s i o n t a k e n b y t h e gove r n m e n t i n J u ly . D i rect a c t i o n s h o u l d f o rce t h e
gove r n m e n t to n e g o t i a t e and t h e reby determ i ne, t h e l eve l of d e m a n d s arou n d
w h i c h negociat i o n s c a n t a k e p l ace. The U n i o n m e m bers s e t t h i s leve l at 50 % o f
t h e new e l e c t r i c i t y rates.

The u n ion m e m bers t h u s i nsti l l a n i l le g a l d i m e n s i o n of " c i v i l d i sobed ience" to the


action. In i n i t i a t i n g t h i s s t r u g g l e , t h e u n i o n s p lay a determ i n i n g rol e . From t h e ear
ly days, t h e e l e c t r i c i ty u n io n s d e c l a red that t h ey wou l d ref u se to t u rn off t h e e l ec
t r i c i ty in the apart m e n t b u i l d i ng s p ract i c i n g a u tored u c t i o n no matter what.

74
M o reover, t hey were ready to warn the tenants so t h a t a m o b i l iza t i o n to p reve n t
e l e c t r i c i t y f r o m bei n g t u rned off be u n leashed. The i m portant f a c t to n o t e is t h e
r o l e of a worker's u n i on i n i n it i a t i n g s t ru g g l es o u t s i d e of t h e factory. The workers '
unions have come to somewh a t replace parties or political organiza tions.

U n io n i n i t iat ive can o n ly be u nd e rstood i f one c o n s i ders the re l a t i o n s of power


between the l oca l/reg i o n a l level and the n a t i o n a l level of the confederat i o n s . I n
deed, t h e re is a spec i f i c context of u n i o n i s m i n Tu r i n . T h e u n i o n s of T u r i n , CG I L,
C I S L, U I L, a n d t h e u n ion of F L M u n ions are relatively a u tonomous i n re l a t i o n t o
t h e i r n a t i o n a l leaders h i p .

T h e CG I L i n T u r i n , d i rect l y t i ed to t h e l .C . P. on t h e n a t i o n a l leve l , is s i t u ated t o t h e


l eft of i t s nat i o n a l leaders h i p ; C I S L i s a n " o p e n " u n i o n i n w h i c h m i l itants of t h e
extreme l e f t defend t h e i r p o l i t i c a l i d eas and obta i n p os i t i o n s of res pons i b i l ity o n
t h e reg i o n a l l eve l .

T h i s wou ld n o t b e t h e case e l sew h e re, notably i n M i l a n w h e re t h e u n i o n s ' reg i o n a l


leaders h i p , has c u rbed t h e a u t o red u c t i o n movement on e l ec t r i c i ty i n i t iated by ex
t re m e leftist g ro u p s , o r a l s o at N a p les w h e re the a u t o red u c t i o n movement is m o re
spontaneous and u nc o n n ected w i t h any u n ion i n it i at ive.

The active s u p port of t h e u n i o n i n i t iative by t h e e n t i re extreme left in T u r i n con


s t i t utes a n i m portant p o i n t ; the movement wou l d never h ave been able to organ ize
the n e i g h borhoods in the C . P. and the extreme left, w i t h the d i fferent g rass root
n e i g h borhood organ izat i o n s , had not s u p po rted the u n i o n ' s i n i t iat ive.

The a c t u a l s t r u g g l e w i l l u nf o l d in two stages. In t h e f i rst stage, a c a m pa i g n to col


l ect s i g nat u res of com m i t m e n t to t h e a utored uc t i o n pos i t i o n i s i n i t i ated in t h e
factories, t h e n very q u i c k l y , i n t h e n e i g h borhoods. W h y t h i s c a m p a i g n ? Beca us e i t
i s necessary to m ove f a s t a n d g ive a mass d i me n s i o n to t h e s t ru g g l e . The pet i t i o n
a l lows t h e u n leas h i n g of a n i m med i ate a n d col lect ive a c t i o n : t h e s i g n e r has c o m
m i tted h i ms e l f to pay i n g o n l y h a l f price a n d to send i n g to t h e ad m i n i s t rat i o n ,
t o g e t h e r w i t h h i s pay m e n t , a l e t t e r i n w h i c h he ex p l a i n s t hat he i s act i n g i n accor
d a n c e w i t h t h e d i rections of t h e u n i o n s i n T u r i n : C I S L , CG I L a n d U I L.

The second p h ase deals w i t h t h e a c t u a l sett l i ng of b i l l s . At t h i s stage, t h e e l ec


t r i c i t y u n i ons i ntervene, as expected, by f u r n i s h i n g a c o m p l ete acco u n t of t h e
d a t e s w h e n t h e b i l l s w e r e m a i l e d , n e i g h borhood by n e i g h borhood. As a res u l t of
t h i s acco u n t i n g , the g rass root organ izat i o n s set up p i ckets in front of certa i n
post o f f i ces a n d d i s t r i b u t e t o t h e workers a leaflet w h i c h ex p l a i n s t h e methods of

It
au tored u c t i o n . T h e workers settle t h e a u t o red u ced b i l l s by u s i n g d rafts prepared
by the u n i o n s or the s t ru g g l e com m i ttees.

In T u r i n , and in P i e d m o n t , w i t h i n a few weeks, about 1 50,000 fam i l ies t h u s


au tored uced t h e i r e l ec t r i c ity b i l l . F o r t h e m o s t part, t h ese are work i n g c l ass
f a m i l ies a n d also f a m i l ies of t h e petty bourgeo i s i e - t h e famous m i d d l e
c l asses - a n d t hey c o n f e r o n t h i s m a s s stru g g l e a rea l p l u ri-classic d i m e n s i o n .
H owever, t h e move m e n t u n d e r t h i s massive form rem a i n s very d i s t i n c t l y l i m ited t o
P i ed mont.

In t h e rest of I ta l y , t here w i l l be several tens of t h o u sands of a u tored u c ed b i l l s , in


Taranto, Varese, M i l a n a n d Rome. For M i l a n a n d Rome, t h e non-exte n s i o n of t h e
movement i s d i re c t l y l i n ked to t h e " c u rb" i m posed b y t h e leaders h i p of t h e n a
t i o n a l u n i o n s (and i n d i rect l y b y t h e p o l i t i c a l p a rt i es, i n part i c u l a r t h e l . C. P.). I n
M i l a n , t h e i s o lated extreme left, nonetheless, s u cceds i n red u c i n g a ro u n d 1 0,000
b i l ls.

The conj u n c t i o n of a l e f t i st u n i o n i s m re l a t i v e l y a u t o n o m o u s i n re lat i o n s h i p to t h e


confederat i o n s , of a n extreme l e f t c a p a b l e of p u t t i n g p ressu re o n t h e u n io n s and
o n t h e g rass root organ iza t i o n s f u n c t i o n i n g at t h e n e i g h borhood leve l , a n d t h e
local s u p po rt of t h e l .C . P . : t h e s i t u at i o n i n T u r i n favored t h e deve l o p me n t of t h i s
movement.

B u t t h e spec i f i c c h a racter of t h e u n io n ' s po l i t i c a l situation i n Turin i s a l so at t h e


r o o t of its i s o l a t i o n : i f t h e moveme n t i n Tu r i n has i n s t igated movements of a
s i m i l a r type i n I ta l y , as w e l l as an i m portant debate, it has never been a b l e to
a m a l gam ate ideolog i c a l and p o l i t i c a l forces capable of i m po s i n g t h e a u tored uc
t i o n i n it iative as a form of action that t h e leaders of t h e national u n i o n s and t h e
parties cou l d rat i f y .

R a p i d l y p o l a rized by t h e host i l ity of t h e l .C . P . a n d t h e reservat i o n s of t h e u n i o n s '


leaders, t h e d e b a t e , o n t h e n a t i o n a l leve l , o p p oses s u p porters a n d o p p o n e n t s of
a u tored u c t i o n .

Wh e n t h e l .C . P . t a k e s a pos i t i o n o n t h e a u tored u c t i o n movement, i t d o e s so i n


o r d e r to c r i t icize t h e bold c h a racter of t h i s f o r m of s t r u g g l e , w h i c h I n n o w a y con
s t i t u tes a form of worki n g c l ass action (centra l thesis, a n d its var i a n t : workers
don't b reak t h e law). T h e only adeq uate form of worker stru g g l e i s t h e s t r i ke.
Other types of s t ru g g l e can o n l y be led a n d e x p l o i ted by the extreme left, e i t h e r
ex p l i c i t l y o r u n d e r i t s u n i on " cover" (the CSL i n T u r i n or M i lan).

The host i l ity of t h e l .C . P. i n re l a t i o n to t h e a u t o red u c t i o n m ove m e n t i s s u p p o rted


by a l i ne of a rg u me n t based on the not i o n of the State a n d of " p u b l i c service" :
a utoreduction and the ideology of civil disobedience tha t it can genera te on a
mass scale c o n t r i b u t e to accentuat i n g t h e State's d i s i nteg rat i o n a n d t h e c r i s i s of
its i ns t i t u t i o n s . In a p o l i t i ca l context w h e re any action of the r i g h t tends to
weaken t h e State ( th e s t rategy of " t e n s i o n " advocated by t h e I t a l i a n extreme
r i g ht), such a m ove m e n t , on t h e ideolog i c a l leve l , can only c o n t r i b u te f u rt h e r to its
weake n i n g .

There is no d o u bt t h a t a u t o red u c t i o n conta i n s t h e seeds of a s e r i o us c r i t i c i s m o f


a public service ( o r of a State) a l leged l y n e u t r a l , tec h n i ca l , serv i n g everyone,
without p o l i t i c a l o r i d e o l o g i c a l c o n n otat i o n s .

I n f a c t , t h e l .C . P . ' s w i l l i ng ness to manage t h e econ o m i c c r i s i s a rt i c u l ates, o n t h e


p o l i t i c a l leve l , t h e s tra tegy of t h e H istorical C o m p ro m i se.

The co- m a n a g e m e n t of t h e c r i s i s a n d t h e p a rt i c i pation i n power toget h e r with the


C h r i s t i a n Democrats can n o t be organized by the l .C. P. i n a context of i nc reased
soc i a l stru g g les. T h e g row i n g movement of c i v i l d i sobed i e n ce i s u nd o u bted l y l i n k
ed to t h e n eg l i gence of t h e eco n o m i c p o l icy of t h e I t a l i a n State, a n d to its
decomposition.

76
The strong ret icence of some con federat i o n s and t h e l . C . P . ' s d i s a g ree m e n t isolate
more a n d m o re t h e Turin m i l i t a n t s as t h e date of t h e second wave of a u tored uc
tion a p p roaches (the first bills a re expected in mid December).

The p o l i t i c a l context is m u c h l ess favora b l e t h a n at t h e beg i n n i ng of October. A


new center-left gove r n m e n t see m s ready to sett l e t h e q u est ion by t r y i n g to
negotiate as q u i c k l y as poss i b le. The econom i c c r i s i s i s at i t s s t rongest. Fiat has
j u st put a l a rg e part of i t s workers on tec h n i c a l u n e m p l oy m e n t .

The u n i on leaders beg i n negot iat i n g w i t h t h e gove r n m e n t i n t h i s context. The na


t i o n a l con federat i o n s are eager to set t l e the matter. In T u r i n a l s o m a n y fear t h e
ex h a u s t i o n of t h e move m e n t .

By s i g n i n g t h e a g reement, t h e u n i on con federat i o n s a c c e p t t h e repay m e n t of t h e


a u t o red u ced p a r t w h i c h exceed s t h e b a l a n ce ag reed u po n .

E a c h component of t h e move m e n t t h e n d raws i t s own c o n c l u s i o n s f rom t h e s t r u g


g le. A n i nternal d e b a t e o n t h e p o l i t i c a l perspec t i ves opened u p by t h i s t y p e o f
s t ru g g l e t a k e s t h e p l ace of t h e o p p o s i t i o n between t h e s u pporters of a u to red uc
tion a n d its opponents (t h e l . C . P.), or t h ose more ret i c e n t (t h e u n i o n s ' leaders).

CONCLUSION One can derive severa l p o l i t i c a l and t h eoret i c a l lessons from the a u t o red u ct i o n
movem e n t i n T u r i n .

The a u toreduction movemen t opens up the old a lterna tive between urban s trug
gles (secondary fron t), subordina ted to factory s truggles, and the a u tonomy, if n o t
t h e isola tion of urban s truggles led exclusively by t h e ex treme left. I t
d e m o n s t rates t h e poss i b i l i ty of a coord i nated s t r u g g l e , t h e f i rst c o n c rete ac
com p l i s h me n t of the t h eoret i c a l and p ract i c a l i n t u i t i o n s of extra-parl i a m e n t a ry
g ro u ps. I t is t h e workers ' unions w h o d e c i s i vely g u a ra nteed t h i s coord i nat i o n ,
beca use t hey t o o k t h e i n i t iat ive a n d c o n t r i b u ted org a n izat i o n a l s u p p o rt to t h e
move m e n t .

W i t h o u t t h e u n i o n i nterve n t i o n , t h e au tored u ct i o n move m e n t wou l d h ave rem a i ned


isolated. What are t h e cond i t i o n s w h i c h favored such a n i n terve n t i o n ? Th ree
essent i a l e l e m e n t s :

1 ) t h e spec i f i c ity of Turin, a working class city w hose l i fe sty l e is profou n d ly i n


f l u enced by F I AT, a n d t h e s t r u g g les w h i c h are cond u cted t h e re i n .

2 ) t h e strong t rad i t i o n of in terven tion on t h e nat i o n a l level i n soc i a l s t r u g g l es by

It
t h e I t a l i a n u n i o n s . I t is e x p ressed , for exa m p l e , i n t h e n a t i o n a l workers' stri kes o n
t h e p r o b l e m of h o u s i n g ( i n 1 969) o r i n t h e s u p port of t h e F L M for n u merous oc
c u pat ions of e m pty h o u ses.

The u n ions a re n o l o n g e r retre n ched i n a p o l i t ical-sy m b o l i c s u p port of t h e


Workers' M ovement i n u rban stru g g les. T h ey organ ize t h e m d i rectly on a precise
object ive. I nd i rect u n i o n i nterve n t i o n g i ves way in Turin to a d i rect i nvolvement i n
soc i a l stru g g les w h i c h perm it s a considerable enlargement o f t h e u rban m ove
ment.

F i n a l l y , t h e context of t h e eco n o m i c c r i s i s assu mes a f u n d a m e n t a l i m portance:


d u ri n g a period of overp rod u c t i o n , u ne m p l o y m e n t o r t h reatened u n e m p loyment,
the usual defenses of t h e work i n g c lass lose their sting; it becomes harder to en
force stri kes, a ref u s a l of reg u l ated work pace, t h e stru g g l e a g a i n st a n i n c rease in
p roductivity. To keep o n e ' s j o b a n d to defend s a l aries become t h e main t h ru s t of
factory strugg les. Attacked by both strong i n f l a t i o n and massive i n c reases i n
p u b l i c services, worker's salaries can not b e s u ccessf u l ly defended b y actions
within t h e factories. F i g h t i n g for s a l a ry i n c reases i s no l o n g e r sufficient, to de
fend one's t h reatened p u rc h a s i n g power req u i res strugg l i ng i n t h e area of con
s u m pt i o n .

The stru g g l e to defend o n e ' s p u rc h a s i n g p o w e r c a n be d evel o ped o n a m a s s


s c a l e . E m p l oyees, c i v i l servants (brea k i n g w i t h t h e ideology of p u b l i c service a s
" ne u t ra l " a n d exte r n a l to conf l i cts), teachers, etc. h a v e part i c i pated i n t h e a u to
red u c t i o n move m e n t o n e l e c t r i c i ty. A p l u ri c l a s s i s m cons tituted by the initia tive
of workers ' unions and on the basis of direct a c tion (au tored uction) was o n ly
prev i o u s l y p racticed by act ive m i norities. I t h a s n ow become o n e of t h e most i m
portant c h a racte r i s t i c s of t h i s s t ru g g le.

Autored u c t i o n a l most a lways d i rectly p u t s i n t o q u estion t h e State a n d p u b l i c i n


s t i t u t i o n s . Pop u l a r c o n t r o l of so-ca l l ed col l ective con s u m pt i o n , a " p o l i t i c a l " pric
i n g for p u b l i c services, goes a g a i n st t h e po l i cy of "fair p r i c i n g " p u t forth by the
Carl i Plan.

Autored u c t i o n i s much more d i f f i c u l t to apply i n t h e private sector. The repressive


ma chinery m o ves a t once to defend priva te property. Two exa m p l es: M a rx i st
Len i n ist m i l itants i n i t i ated a u t o red u c t i o n s o n products sold in s u permarkets i n
M i l a n . Res u l t : t h e p o l i c e i ntervened w i t h o u t d e l ay j a i l i n g t h e m i l itants. T h e second
exam p l e i s t h e occ u p a t i o n s of empty houses: t h e repress i o n i s rare l y i m m ed iate
or brutal when it i nv o l ves p u b l i c apart m e n t s . The occu pation of privately owned
h o u s i n g prom pted o n the contrary immedia te repress i o n .

Autored u c t i o n s d evel o p ped for t h e most part i n sectors c o n t ro l l ed by t h e State -


a State i n c r i s i s , i nc a p a b l e of manag i n g its own c o n t rad i c t i o n s . The deve l o p m e n t
of t h i s move m e n t cou l d o n ly accel e rate t h e d i s i ntegrat i o n of t h e State. I t s rei n
forcem e n t req u i red t h e i n terve n t i o n of an e n s e m b l e of forces concerned w i t h t h e
re-estab l i s h m e n t of e c o n o m i c order.

Tra nsla ted by Elizabeth A . Bowman

, . We a r e f a r removed f r o m what h a p pened at P a l e r m o , w h e re transportat i o n " a utored u c t i o n "


( c i t y bu ses) was p u t i nto m o t i o n by s t u d e n t s u s i n g far less l e g a l f o r m s of stru g g l e ( b l o c k i n g
the automat i c t i cket- p u n c hers).

i 1/1 -3 Photo: D . Cortez

78
It
F ro m
G u a ra n tee i s m
t o Arm ed
P o l i t i cs

O reste Sca l zo n e

O reste Scalzone, arrested on A p r i l 7, was one


of t h e leaders of t h e s t u d e n t ' s movement i n
Rome i n 1 968. Tog e t h e r w i t h Toni N e g r i a n d
F r a n c o Pi perno, h e a n i m ated Potere Operaio
("Workers Power") u n t i l i t s d i sso l u t i o n i n
1 973.

ADVANTAGES A N D A name can be g iven to the w e l l - k n i t web, to the sys tem of s truggles w h i c h has
D I SADVAN TAGES g iven l i fe to the strongest and most ext e n s i ve fabric of socia l coun terpo wer w h i c h
O F G U A RA N TEE I S M c a n be reca l led i n recent years i n t h e capita l i s t i c metropo l i s: guara n teeis m .

By t h e term " g u a ra n t e e i s m " i s meant a s a n c t i on-formal izat ion (sy n o n y m o u s w i t h


" f a i t acco m p l i ") of t h e w h o l e of t h e victories rea l ized b y proletarian s t r u g g les ( o n
t h e l e v e l of w a g e , w o rk in g c o n d i t i o n s , soc i a l servi ces).

The "sou l , " the b l o od l i ne of g u a ranteeism has been a total rigidity of the labor
fac tor (ei t h e r in the m a n - power m a rket p l ace or in the factory, in the organ izat i o n s
of prod u c t i on). The j u s t i f i cation and cont i n u at i o n of t h i s rigidity, w h i c h is f o u n d ed
on a n etwork of guara n tees (j ob sec u rity, l i m i ts p l aced on t h e " f reedom to
ex p l o i t , " exerc i s i n g of u n i o n r i g h t s , protec t i o n f rom d i s m i s s a l , p rotec t i o n from
transferra l of t h e worker) have const i t u ted the " le i t motif" of t h e s t ru g g l e of re
cent years.

What i s i nvolved i s a c o l l ec t i o n of soc i a l facts of g reat s i g n i f icance: the obses s i ve


i n s istence w i t h w h i c h even today - after years of p l a n ned c r i s i s , of pat i e n t u n io n
efforts at red i me n s i o n i n g a n d part i a l l y d i s m a n t l i n g t h i s state of a f f a i r s - t h e m e n
of t h e entrepre n e u r i a l c l ass i ns i s t u pon t h e i r g o a l of reass u m i n g f u l l p o w e r o f
m a n a g e m e n t o v e r a w o r k force rendered " ma l leable" once a g a i n , cau ses u s t o

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see how p rofou nd h ave been t h e mod i f icat i o n s which g u a rantee i s m has bro u g h t
to t h e eco n o m i c-soc i a l p i c t u re.

We cou l d perhaps describe the state of the power relat i o n s h i p s w h i c h was


estab l i s hed d u r i n g the heyday of g u arantee i s m as a dua lism ( i n formal) of socia l
po wers : on t h e one h a n d , t h e general move m e n t of socia l transforma tion - w h i c h
has been m a n i fest as a network of d a i l y m i c ro-beh a v i o r-u n i ts, as a d i saffect i o n f o r
t h e ru l es of t h e p reva i l i n g soc i a l f o r m and as i n s u bord i n a t i o n to m a n a g e m e n t ; on
t h e other h a n d , t h e pol i c i es - monetary, i n f l a t i o n a ry a n d fiscal, d e s i g ned to
res t r u c t u re t h e p rod uct ive a n d soc i a l systems w h i c h together h ave const i t u ted
the capita lis tic manipula tion of the crisis .

I t i s easy to see that s u c h a d u a l i s m can not last forever; at a certa i n p o i n t , t h e


s t a g n at i n g b a l a n c e of p o w e r col lapses. At a certa i n p o i n t i n t h e deve l o p m e n t of
the clash between c l asses, guaran teeism e n d s u p const i t u t i n g a restra i n t , a l i m i t
to t h e d eve l o p m e n t o f t h e general level of soc i a l a n t ag o n i s m . I t i s necessary,
t h e n , to take the i n i t i ative in brea k i n g the " s t a l e m a t e , " in order to g o beyond a
m e re s t ru g g l e of res istance. Escape from the realm of guaran teeism means
res ump tion of the offensive. That w i l l req u i re, i n ev i t a b l y , a p hase of po l i t i c a l con
f l i c t w i t h the majority of the " t rad i t i o n a l " work i n g-class sectors. For, i f i t i s t r u e
t h a t guaran teeism has expanded beyond t h e f ront i e r of t h e factory, i t i s l i ke w i s e
t r u e t h a t t h ere - i n t h e " c l a s s i c a l " a rea of s a l ary negot i a t i o n s - i t has repeated
ly shown i t s stre n g t h a n d i t s cont i n u ity.

T h e bas i c limita tion i n t h e s tra tegy of this move m e n t for soc i a l red ress and
g u arantee i s m l i es i n t h e fact t h at w h i l e i t cal l s i nto q u es t i o n t h e " f i xed p ropor
t i o n s " of s a l a r i e s , it does not c a l l i n t o q u est i o n wage sca les as such. In the s trug
gle for social redress and in con tract nego tia tions the work-force is not denied a s
such; ra ther, i t i s represented as such : t h i s c l a r i f i ca t i o n m u s t be m a d e - for ex
a m p l e - in order to u n derstand that bas i c i s s u e of I t a l i a n opera ismo ("worker
i s m ") in the S i x t i es , w h i c h was the s truggle over wage 1 .

G UA R A N T E E I S M Everyone can u l t i mately s e e t h at s t r u g g l e s of t h e " g u a ra n t i s t i c " k i n d (the s t ru g g l e


I M P L I ES T H E to defend and/or acq u i re a j o b i s t h e perfect exa m p l e) a l ways become more
DEFENSE OF minimal - even regressive, and for tha t very rea son, ineffective. The conserva tive
THE GIVEN and conserving content of t h ese s t r u g g l e s catches o u r eye.
C LASS M A K E - U P
Let u s c o n s i d e r the r i g i d ity of the worker, h i s or her p rotect ion f rom transferral. I t
i s certa i n ly an ex a m p l e of a s i g n i f i c a n t worker accom p l i s h me n t , a n d objective
sabotage of m a n a g e m e n t , of t h e cap i t a l i s t i c f reedo m to take advantage of t h e
" u se va l u e" of t h e work-force; b u t i t s va l i d ity l i es i n i t s p rov i s i o n a l , i m med iate
nat u re, i n i t s f u n c t i o n as a nega ting factor, as a block to t h e i n i t iat ive of t h e class
enemy. I t has mean i n g a n d revo l u t i o n a ry s t r e n g t h only i f i t i s t h e ins ta n taneous
ta ctica l decision of a stra tegic plan, which is tha t manifes t in the rifiuto def
la voro ( "refusal of work ' ) a n d t h e concrete rea l izat i o n of t h e separat ion between
the concept of work and t h e concept of production, real ized in a way rad i ca l l y
d i fferent f ro m t h e working form o f p rod u c t i ve h u ma n a c t i v i ty .

I n t h e m id d l e-of-t he-road i d e o l ogy of t h e move m e n t , on t h e other h a n d , t h e r i g i d i ty


comes to be u n d e rstood not as a " p reface , " as a p u re a n d s i m p l e ta ctica l pro
logue, b u t as a "thing of va lue in itself. " On t h e contrary, t h e d e m a n d for a n i m
m u t a b l e organ izat i o n of p rod u c t i o n i s - i n i t s e l f - a regressive u topia : t h e
m od i f i ca t i o n of t h e organ izat i o n of p rod u c t i o n , i n f a c t , a l ways has a n a m b i v a l e n t
content: and t h e refore a /so a content w h i c h i n c l ud e s l i berat ion f rom w o r k , red uc
tion of work t i me by means of red u c t i o n of necessary work. In t h e social syn
thesis w h i c h c a p i t a l consta n t l y rea l izes, t h i s capacity to i n corporate - part i a l l y
- t h e res u l t of s t r u g g l e s i s m a d e man i fest (t h i n k of t h e relat ion s h i p between t h e
rifiuto def la voro and tec h n o l o g i c a l i n nova t i on).

So t h e n , how can one adopt as a worker- p roletarian program of action t h e stagna


t i o n of all c h a n g e s , t h e stoppage of that " i ncessant revo l u t i o n i z i n g of itself"
w h i c h m a kes of c a p i ta l i s m "the most revo l u t i o n a ry system to h ave ap peared yet

81
on t h e stage of h i story?" H ow can one t h i n k t h at in p l ace of a s tra tegica lly
revolu tionary l i ne of action one can s u b s t i t u t e t h e w h i ms i c a l n o t i o n of " p reve n
t i ng c a p i t a l f ro m ext ract i n g relat ive s u r p l u s-va l u e (wa s n ' t that, after a l l , the c o n d i
t i o n for determ i n i n g t h e d rop i n t h e r a t e of p ro f i t?). H ow can one say no to " l abor
sav i n g " devices a n d not f i rst b r i n g u p t h e q u es t i o n of transformat i o n of
tech n o l o g i c a l i n n ovat ion i nto a red u c t i o n of total labor - t h a t i s to say, i n t o a n
acq u i s i t i o n of p a r t of t h e time saved from labor by each person?

I t becomes c l ea r t h a t guaran teeism (the defense of r i g i d ity, taken as t h e "stat u s


q u o " o f t h e tec h n i c a l c l ass make- u p , of t h e com pany work-day, of t h e "geography
of t h e work force") i s a d o u b l e-edged sword w h e n i t i s not u n d e rstood, to a
l i m ited deg ree, as a means of s truggle (a t r a n s i tory form of worker i n f l uence in
and on prod u c t i o n , in and on society) b u t is u n derstood , exc l u s ive l y , as a progra m
of act i o n , as a " po s i t ive" pla n .

T h i s i s no new assert i o n : a revo l u t ionary p o i n t of view can not c a l l for a n i m


mobi l i ty of t h e org a n izat ion of p rod u c t i o n a n d of class m a ke- u p - rat h e r, i t m u s t
k e e p c l ose w a t c h o n t h e a g g ressive e n e rgy of c a p i t a l , h u n t i t down, i n o r d e r t o
force c a p i t a l to t ra n sform i t s e l f , and t h e n be o n e s t e p ahead of i t , w a i t for i t a t
t h e n e w l y attained l e v e l of deve l o p m e n t and t h e re m a k e t h e attack.

The p roblem i s h o w to assure the continual decay of surplus-labor and h o w to get


s tuck a t the level of a resis tance s truggle against the reduction of necessary
labor. The answer comes from t h e a u t o n o m o u s f i g h t of rece n t years: "in the cla sh
between the capita lis tic a ttemp t to lim it necessary labor in order to increase
surplus-labor a s surplus-va lue, and the workers ' pra ctice of assuring themselves
more free time (be it time free for "leisure " or time in which to get richer) the
beha vior of the worker has preva iled over the production and re-production of the
companies. " ( P i p e rno: "On N o n-Worker Labor").

MORE ON THE T here a re other res i d u a l trends w h i c h a re part of t h e g u a ra n t i s t i c u n iverse. Above


RESI DUAL E F FECTS a l l . t hey take p l ace w i t h i n t h e social rea l m ; c o n s i d e r t h e f o l low i n g exa m p l es:
OF THE - t h e "art of making-do " (ei t h e r i n t h e m a rg i n a l - p a u p e r i s t i c vers i o n , or i n t h e "ap
"GUA RA N TISTIC propriat i n g " fas h i o n , w h i c h , i n t h e l o n g run, i s made known i n t h e form of the
UNI VERSE" take-it- if-you-need-it a c t i v i t i es of t h e " s m a l l f i g h t i n g g ro u p " mot ivated by its own
pa rt i c u l a r system of needs):
- th at brand of p e r m i s s s ive " red u c t i o n , " the w e l fare and democrat ic/leg a l itarian
type, based on t h e "right to l i fe, ' ' which, more a n d m o re, we see be i n g im
p l e me nted t hese days i n t h e rise i n gove r n m e n t e m p l oy m e n t .

I t i s a q u es t i o n of a n " a rt of m a ki ng-do" w h i c h i s soc i a l ized by means of i t s o w n


p rog ressive i n s t i t u t i o n a l izat i o n : t h e no-fa i l exams f r o m t h e democrat ic p rofessors
(bu t-for-heave n ' s-sake- l e t ' s-not-tal k-about-t he-gu aranteed-pass i ng-g rade- i s s u e); t h e
concession - somewhere between w e l f a r i s m a n d payoffs f r o m a new t y p e o f
po l i t ic al patronage - of f o r m s of "socially useless work" i n seve ral a reas o f
soc i a l services, e t c . There wou l d be not h i n g t o object to h e re, i f t h e i s s u e were i n
terpreted as a p ro l et a r i a n ex p l oitation of a l l t h e l o o p h o l e s i n t h e soc i a l f a b r i c , and
i f i t were to f u n c t i o n as a p ract i c a l criticism of s a l ary, as a form of " s o c i a l ized
tec h n i q ues of rea p p ro p r i a t i o n " ( even i f not q u i t e re i n terpreted and t ra n s l ated i n t o
a " new prod u c t i o n i nt e l l i g ence"); t h e re wou l d be not h i ng to object to, h owever,
o n l y on the cond i t i o n t h at the d i s g u i sed mot ivat i o n s of t h i s camou f l ag ed welfare
not be taken as s i n cere, o n l y on t h e cond i t i o n t h a t we not really bel i eve i n t h e
"socially useful" c h a racter of t h e spec i f i c c o n t e n t of one o r a n o t h e r activity. I t a l l
has to do, i n f a c t , w i t h b r i n g i n g to l i g h t t h e f a c t t h a t t hese act i v i t i e s - w h e n t hey
take p l ace - c o n s t i t u t e m i n i ma l , m o l ec u l a r p i vot-po i n t s w i t h i n t h e f u n c t i o n i n g
system of t h e S t a t e ; i n t h i s s e n s e , t hey arrive at t h e p o i n t of b e i n g t h e m ec h a n i s m
t h ro u g h w h i c h m ax i m u m " pa rt i c i pa t i o n " ( o f a p p a re n t rea p p ro pr i a t i o n , o n society's
part, of t h e f u n c t i o n i n g e l ements of t h e State- M a c h i ne) coincides i n rea l i ty w i t h
max i m u m "soc i a l izat i o n , " or b reak i n g d o w n ( " ca p i l l a rizat ion") of m a n a g e m e n t , or
sub-s u m pt i o n w i t h i n t h e diffuse Sta te of t h e i ns t i t u t i o n s of "soc i a l self- govern m e n t . "

O n t h e other s i d e of t h e a rg u m e n t l i es t h e s t r e n g t h of an unprejudiced c o n s i d e ra
t i o n of welfare, of p u b l i c assistance tied to t h e e m e rg i ng needs of society, and

82
not concent rated on t h e i n f i n ite s p l i t t i n g of t h e soc i a l proletarian body, not t i ed to
t h e s i m u l taneous stren g t h e n i n g of t h e system of parties.

I t i s a q u est i o n of i nt rod u c i n g guaran teed wage as a device t h at w i l l halt t h e f l uc


t u a t i o n - between neo-paras i t i s m and "proletarianiza tio n " - w h i c h p reva i l s
a m o n g s o many, a n d i n so m a n y s t rata o f soc i ety2.

Transla ted b y James Cascaito

I. The struggle over salary - the pivot-point of tha t which we from Potere Operaio c a l l e d
" revo l u t i o nary strategy of objectives" - has certa i n l y b e e n a form i d a b l e ve h i c l e of unity and
of self-identification of c l ass, has certa i n l y had a f u n c t i o n of destabilization of the "develop
ment mod e l " a n d , more genera l l y , of the ex i s t i n g pol i t i cal-soc i a l reg i me; b u t i t has not had -
nor c o u l d it have had - a resol u t i ve capacity for destru c t u r i n g the system.
The stre n g t h and - at the same time - the l i m i t s of the autonomous stru g g l e for redress of
the l ast decade i n Italy (and, i n part i c u l ar, the r i c h ness and the poverty of the u n forgettab l e
"trou bled a u t u m n " ) l i e i n t h i s a m b i g u i ty , i n t h i s re l a t i ve "compat i b i l i t y " - compat i b i lty w i t h
the pers i stence of the c a p i ta l i s t i c soc i a l f o r m as such - of a d y n a m i c s of stru g g l e w h i c h i s ,
rat her incompa tible w i t h any part i c u l a r form, w i t h any l evel of development determined by i t .
T h i s the source of the a m b i g u o u s dest i n y of a c o m p l ete h i stori cal a r c of stru g g l es: t h e i r
capac i ty to promote and to polarize c l ass autonomy and t h e i r s i m u l taneous i na b i l ity to b r i n g
i t to power.
In the S i x t ies, operaismo ("worker- i s m ") was what led to a theore t i c a l -prac t i c a l " break" con
s i s t i n g of the a f f i r m a t i o n that - o n the level of the post-Keynesian planned Sta te and o f the
operaio-massa ("mass worker") - the d i s t i n c t i o n between "econom i c stru g g l e " and " p o l i t i ca l
stru g g l e " i s be i n g red u ced to the p o i n t of van i s h i n g , and t h a t t h e re i s a d i rect conf l i ct bet
ween worker struggles and the Sta ta-Piano ("State-as- P l a n ner"). This l i ne of i n terpretat i o n is
correct only in as much as i t i s a part i a l affirmation. Today we must c o m p lete it: the
"econom i c " stru g g l e is, to t he very core, political (the veh i c l e, that i s , of con crete a n t i -State
consequences); it is not, howe ver, revolutionary (the veh i c l e , that is, of res o l u t i ve steps toward
destru c t u r i n g the system). Its l i m i ta t i o n , in fact, i s that i t reve a l s i ts e l f , in every case, u nder
the d o m i n a t i o n of money f l ow ; that i s , i t does not bri n g u p the q ue s t i o n of the f u ndamental
categories of p o l i t i c a l econo m i c s .
2.There i s a l s o - i n add i t i o n to t h e social residuality - a politica l residuality.
Residual is the ideology and the l i ne of action of the "oppos i t i o n , " w i t h its s q u a l i d ,
m i n i m a l i st i c , paras i t i c and s u ba l tern d i a l ec t i c .
E v e n the milita n t line of action c a n b e c o m e residual - i f i t d o e s not exert i t s e l f toward a
rad i c a l re-q u a l i f i cation of t h i n g s . H e re we cou l d def i n e the general l i m i tation of the m i l i ta n t
l i ne of act i o n : jus t a s wage has de-stabilized t h e economic "model, " but not broken down the
structure of the social form of capitalism - so too, the armed struggle, in itself, de-stabilizes
the regime, but does not break down the structure of the system. The risks for deteriora t i o n of
the m i l itant l i n e of action are, however, two: on the one hand, by becom i n g " ro u t i n e " and
endemic, i t may be red u ced to a "deviant soc i a l " phenomenon; o n the other hand, i t may be
set forth as war, as if a civil war were act u a l l y going o n .
I n e i t h e r case, t h a t " m i d d l e p o i n t " i s m i s s i n g - where the spec i f i c phases of the p ro b l e m are
u nderstood - that poi nt w h i c h we can c a l l armed politics.

i l/1 V i d eo/photo: Seth T i le!


I n t h e B eg i n n i n g
w a s G ra m sc i

H e n ri Webe r

The fol l ow i n g text repres e n t s a " c l assica l "


critique o f the I t a l i a n C o m m u ni st Party, I.e. a
crit i q u e addressed to t h e I C P from w i t h i n the
t rad i t i o n of t h e Worker's M ove m e n t .

I. T H E ITALIAN Accord i n g to a ru n n i n g joke i n t h e I t a l i a n left, I ta l y is t h e wor l d ' s f i rst cou n t ry to


STATE rea l ize M a rx ' s p red i c t i o n : the State has perished and c i v i l society i s n o n e the
worst for its d e m ise.

T h i s i s , of cou rse, merely a joke. The State i n Italy con t i n ues to be f i n e , f i t and
even f u rt h e r fort i f ie d . B u t c o n t ra ry to t h e F re n c h State, which has l o n g been
u n i f i ed a n d centra l ized , t h e I t a l i a n State has f o r b u t a cent u ry encom passed t h e
ma ny-thousand-headed p o p u l a t i o n s , so r i c h i n t rad i t i o n s a n d h i story. As
Longanesi ex p l a i ned, " I t a l y i s a col lection of f a m i l ies, not a State . " A n d D i d i e r
M otchane properly u nd e r l i nes t h i s pondero u s l y i m port a n t f a c t : " I t i s n o t t h e State
w h i c h fashioned the I t a l i a n conscie nce but rat h e r t h e C h u rc h , or better st i l l , t hat
soc i a l , m e n t a l , and p o l i t i c a l i ns t i t u t i o n w h i c h i s I t a l i a n Catho l i c i s m . . . The State,
that ideo l og ic al axis of French conscience . . . was never, n e i t h e r as i ns t i t u t i o n nor
as concept, t h e f o u n d a t i o n a n d t h e g u a ra ntee of soc i a l order in l ta l y . " 1

The h i storical d eb i l ity of t h e I t a l i a n State v i v i d l y ex p l a i n s t h e c o n s id e ra b l e i m por


tance of certa i n s u rvivors and a rc h a i s m s , espec i a l l y that of t h e patronage o r
c l ientage system ; as d i d t h e masters a n d patriarchs of o l d , t h e n e w notaries ( t h e
f u n ct i o na ry, t h e e n t re p re n e u r, t h e p riest, t h e secretary of t h e I t a l i a n Com m u n ist

84
Party), a l l t hose w h o i n a n y way partake of an iota of power, estab l i s h l i nes from
t h e o b l i g e r to t h e o b l i ged with their " base," a rel a t i o n of pers o n a l protec t i o n
s u bo rd i n a t i o n , dou b l i n g a n d transce n d i n g ad m i n i s t ra t ive- l e g a l re l a t i o n s . F rom t h i s
p rope n s i t y towards patronage, t h e C h ri s t i a n Democratic Party forged a system of
g ove r n m e n t : the C i v i l Service i s g l u tted w i t h its p roteges, havi ng obta i n ed t h e i r
pos i t i o n s i n payment f o r s e rvices rendered a n d i n token of p o l i t i c a l f i d e l i t y. Even
in the rare case i n w h i c h t h ese posts correspond to a rea l service, t h e pro m i sed
c l i e n t s regard t h e i r j o b as a n a n n u i t y m o re than as a n apostolate . . . Thus occurs
t h e p a radox of an u n d e r-ad m i n i stered c o u n t y with a behemoth bu rea u c racy, a n d a
deg ree of u n pa ra l l e l ed i n te rpenetration between t h e ru l i n g party a n d t h e State
m a c h i nery. T h e i n efficacy, t h e forma l i s m , the p a ras i t i s m , t h e corru p t i o n of t h i s
b u re a u c racy of t h e I t a l i a n State a r e t h e object of constant d e n u n c i a t i o n . A f rac
tion of the u p per m i d d l e c l ass view the cont rast between the p rog ress of I t a l i a n
economy a n d t h e a rc h a i c state of t h e State s t r u c t u res as t h e p r i n c i p a l cont rad i c
t i o n of modern I t a l y , t h e b a s i s of m a lgoverno.

In control for t h i rty years, the C h r i s t i a n Democratic Party i s f rayed to t h e w i re,


l a c k i n g i n both i m a g i n a t i o n a n d reso u rces, paralyzed by clan wa rfare, a n d a bove
a l l conce rned w i t h s u rv i v a l and t h u s d i rect i n g towards that end a p o l i t i c s that d a i
l y s i n ks t h e cou n t ry f u rt h e r i n t o c r i s i s .

A f f l i cted w i t h a n i n e f f i c i e n t a n d expa n d i n g b u re a u c racy, f i l led w i t h a demoral ized


and oft d i seased p o l i t i c a l p e rso n n e l , the I t a l i a n State i s a l so r u l ed by one of t h e
m o s t p a r l i a m e n t a ry Const i t u t i o n s of Eu rope - p roport i o n a l represe ntation ,
p ree m i nence of leg i s l a t ive power over exec u t ive power, a n d p rov i n c i a l a n d
reg i o n a l dece n t ra l izat i o n .

E v e n m o re t h a n w i t h F r a n c e ' s T h i rd a n d Fourth R e p u b l i c s , t h e s e i n s t i t u t i o n s ca rry


a p o l i t i c a l i m pact of g reat i m portance to the petty bou rgeois a n d the work i n g
c l ass. As l o n g as t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrats eas i l y i m posed t h e i r ideology o n t h e
masses, as l o n g as t h e eco n o m i c e x p a n s i o n p e r m i t t e d t h e f i n a n c i n g of a "consen
sus"; as l o n g as t h e C o l d W a r a n d t h e d iv i s i o n of t h e labor move m e n t kept t h e
wo rkers i n l i ne, t h e s t r o n g p a r l i m e n t a ry represe n t a t i o n of petty bou rgeois a n d
w o rk i n g c l ass i nterests cou n ted for l i t t l e . B u t w i t h t h e e m e rg i ng c r i s i s i n t h e
c le r i c a l ideology ( f o r exa m p l e t h e refere n d u m on d ivorce o r t h e abort i o n leg i s l a
t i on), t h e end of t h e l o n g period of eco n o m i c ex p a n s i o n , t h e rad i c a l izat ion of t h e
po pu l a r masses, t h e p a r l i me n t a ry natu re of t h e reg i m e c o n st i t u tes a n add i t i o n a l
c r i t i c a l factor for t h e r u l i n g c l ass.

T h e existent i n s t i t u t i o n s , w h ose democratic content was resto red and extended


i n t h e w h i rl w i n d s of " ra m p a n t M ay , " i n no way favor a c a p i t a l i s t solution to the
crisis: such a solution wou l d severe l y i nj u re t h e i nterests of t h e m i d d l e c l asses as
w e l l as t h ose of t h e w o rk i n g c l ass. T h e f e l t p resence of t hese fact i o n s at the
c e n t e r of t h e e l ected asse m b l ies effect ively p rec l u d e s this perspective.

T h e I t a l i a n p o l i t i c a l c r i s i s i s deve l o p i ng i n t h e context of a n ideolog i c a l crisis so


p rofound th at t h e ru l i n g c l e r i c a l- l i beral ideology is f u rt h e r a l i e n ated from t h e con
d i t i o n s a n d modes of e x i s t e n c e c reated by t h e wave of i n d u s t r i a l izat ion from the
years 1 950- 1 970.

The com b i nation of ail of these e l e m e n t s in the context of an eco n o m i c c r i s i s so


severe th at Italy cou l d not even cou n t on its exports for h e l p, i g n ites a crisis in
t h e I t a l i a n State t h a t verges on para l y s i s : power d ec l a res itself u n a b l e to master
t h e s i t u a t i o n : t h e rate of i n f l a t i o n reaches 3 % per month (26 % per year); t h e l i re
experiences f ree fa l l ; t h e i m ba l a n ce in t h e b a l a n ce of payments cont i n ues to d i ve;
u ne m p l oy me n t attacks two m i l l i on workers, not yet cou n t i n g the " u n d e r
e m p l oyed . " C a p i t a l i n terests take f l i g h t in a l l d i rect i o n s , t h e postal a n d p u b l i c ser
vices f u n c t i o n poorly if at a l l , t h e t ra i n s are not on t i m e , a mysterious d i sease
s t r i kes at a l l s ma l l c h a n g e . . . T h e c i t izens feel each day t h at they are e n t e r i n g
deeper i n to a n i ne x t r i c a b l e c h aos. T h e ru l i n g c l a s s a p pears i nvolved i n an i rrever
s i b l e c o l l a pse. The l a b o r move m e n t , u n d e r the a r i st o c rat i c m i e n of Be r l i n g u er, ap
pears as the last recou rse.

85
T h u s , a period of soc i a l desta b i l izat i o n i n a u g u rated i n 1 968 by t h e so-ca l l ed " r u p
t u re of a l l b a l a n ces of system" p rese nt a l l t h e f u n d a m e n t a l c h a ract e r i s t i c s of a
pre-revo l u t i o n a ry s i t u a t i o n . On at l east two occas i o n s , i n 1 968-9 and 1 975-6, t h i s
p re- revo l u t i o n a ry set- u p coa lesced i n to a n a c u t e c r i s i s , c a p a b l e o f deepe n i n g i n to
a n i r revoca b l e d iv i s i o n of power i f a s i g n i f i c a n t fract i o n of the labor move m e n t
had acted a p p r o p r i a t e l y . U n fo r t u n a t e l y , i n both c a s e s , t h e I t a l i a n Com m u n i s t Par
ty (the l . C. P.) p l aced a l l of its p o l i t i c a l c l o u t b e h i n d the sta b i l izat i o n of the syste m .
As w i t h t h e p re- 1 9 1 4 Soc i a l -Democrat i c pa rty i n G e r m a n y , i t had s i m u l t a n e o u s l y
offered a p l atform f o r ex press i o n a n d n a t i o n a l central izat i o n to t h e res u rg e n t
work i n g-class, p a rt i a l l y adapt i n g i t s e l f to t h e i r a s p i ra t i o n s , as i t c h a n n e l ed t h i s
s u rge i n to t h e g o a l s of rat i o n a l izat i o n o f t h e estab l i s hed order. I t s reform i s t
po l i t i c s a p pea red as t h e su rest s u p port for t h e d ec l i n i n g power of t h e bou rgeo i s i e .

I n t h e l i g h t of t h e I t a l i a n exa m p l e , t h e l . C . P . ' s own p roposal can be reve rsed to


rea d : i t i s not true that the bou rgeo i s democracies of western E u rope a re i n
v u l n e ra b l e to revo l u t i o n a ry c r i ses. I t i s prec i s e l y t h e s t rategy of t h e l . C . P . , t h e l i n e
of " h i s t o r i c a l c o m p r o m i s e , " w h i c h i m pedes t h e d eve l o p m e n t of p re-revo l u t i o nary
s i t u a t i o n s i n to c h a ra c t e r i s t i c revo l u t i o n a ry ones ( s i t u a t i o n s of s p l i t power).

II. THE Of all t h e Com m u n i s t parties of western E u rope, t h e l . C . P . pu shed f i rst a n d f u r


STRATEGY O F t h est t h e move m e n t f o r autonomy as regards t h e State Party of t h e U . S . S . R . N o t a
"EU RO week passes w i t h o u t Unita denou n c i n g t h e repressive or a r b i t ra ry acts of t h e
COMMUNISM" Eastern cou n t r i e s , a n d t h e Party i t s e l f i s i nvolved i n a t re m e n d o u s p u b l i c debate
concern i n g t h e bases for t h e " a u t h o r i t a r i a n d e g e n erat i o n " of t h e soc i a l i s t cou n
tries a n d t h e m e a n s to avo i d i t s repet i t i o n in t h e West.

U n l i ke t h e French C o m m u n i s t Party, this a u t o n o m izat i o n does not stop at t h e


rep u d i a t i o n of t h e l a pses of " s oc i a l ist l e g a l i t y , " for i t i s beg i n n i n g to assert i t s e l f
as w e l l i n i n ternat i o n a l affa i rs, as s e e n by t h e l . C . P . ' s s t a n c e towards E u rope. F o r
exa m p l e , i n Berl i n g u e r ' s aston i s h i n g i n terview w i t h Corriere de/la Serra , d u ri n g t h e
e l ectoral ca m p a i g n of J u n e 1 976, I t a l y ' s m e m be rs h i p i n N ATO i s presented not as
i r revers i b l e m i sfort u ne b u t as a g u a ra n tee a g a i n s t t h e o n s l a u g h t of R u s s i a n tanks
i n t h e eve n t of a " Ro m a n s p r i n g . ' '

I f Sta l i n ist part i es a r e n a t i o n a l Com m u n ist parties abso l u tely s u bord i nated to t h e
ideolog i c a l , po l i t i c a l , m a t e r i a l a n d organ izat i o n a l p u rpose a n d p ract i c e of t h e
Soviet b u re a u c racy; parties w h i c h beca u s e of t h e i r s u bord i n a t i o n va l u e foremost
t h e defense of t h e i n terests of t h e Soviet State, as conceived by t h e sec reta riat of
t h e Com m u n ist Party of t h e Soviet U n i o n ; then c l early t h e l . C . P . , for a l l the
Sta l i n i st e l e m e n t s h e l dover from i t s past, i s not Sta l i n i s t .

NATIONAL As regards t h e S o v i e t U n i o n , a ut o n o m izat i o n i s adaptat i o n to both t h e n a t i o n a l


COMMUNISM bou rgeo i s i e a n d to i t s State: at t h e heart of I t a l i a n soc iety, t h e l . C . P . a s s u m e s a
f u n c t i o n a n a l o g o u s to t h at of t h e G e r m a n Soc i a l-Dem ocrats p r i o r to 1 9 1 4. As a
b u re a u c rat ic l a b o r pa rty it tries to rat i o n a l ize i n stead of revo l u t i o n ize t h e ex i s t i n g
society. Accord i n g to Rossana Rossa nda, i t s a m b i t i o n i s " t o transform a l l of I t a l y
i n to E m i l ia-Romag n a , " t h at i s , i n to a soc iety j o i n t l y d i rected by t h e l a b o r m ove
m en t and the bourgeo i s i e , w i t h i n the c o n f i nes of the p rese nt f ra mework.

The l . C . P . ' s desta l i n izat i o n thus res e m b l e s the p rocess of soc i a l -democrat izat i o n :
i f t h e Com m u n i s t b u re a u c racy has l o n g ass u m ed p r i n c i p a l l y a f u n c t i o n of med i a
t i o n between t h e i n t e rests of t h e I t a l i a n work i n g c l ass a n d t hose of t h e Soviet
bu rea u c racy (to t h e b e n e f i t of t h e latter), i t h e reafter assumes a f u n c t i o n of
med i a t i o n between t h e i n terests of t h e work i n g class a n d t h ose of the bou rgeo i s
State.

N o l o n g e r Sta l i n i st and not yet ( i f ever) Soc i a l - Democra t i c , t h e l . C . P . a p pears as a


worke rs-reform i s t p a rty w i t h Sta l i n i st o r i g i n s : a n a t i o n a l Com m u n i s t party.

I t s s t rategy reflects t h e spec i f i c i ty of i t s re l a t i o n s to t h e ru l i n g class, t h e


bou rgeo i s S t a t e a n d t h e masses.

86
IN THE To estab l i s h its concept of t h e " I ta l i a n road to soc i a l i s m , " t h e l . C . P. a p pea l s to
BEGINNING t h e a u t hority of G ra m s c i , for i n t h e Prison Diaries h e u nd e r l i nes t h e spec i f i c i t y of
WAS G RAMSCI t h e revo l u t i on i n t h e West as d i ffere n t i ated f rom t h e R u s s i a n October revo l u t i o n .

T h i s d i fference is based on t h e d i fference a m o n g soc i a l s t r u c t u res a n d p o l i t i c a l


s u perstruct u res. I n t h e W e s t , c a p i t a l ist deve l o p m e n t e n g e nd e rs a co m p l ex soc i a l
st rat i f i c a t i o n and organ izat i o n part i c u l a r to power: t h e ru l i n g c l ass re i g n s p r i m a ri
l y t h ro u g h consent rat h e r than coerc i o n . I t s power does not mate r i a l ize i n a n
a u t o c rat ic S t a t e th at ove r h a n g s a n d m ixes a b a r e l y s t r u ct u red s o c i e t y b u t rat h e r
i n a d emocrat ic S t a t e th at r e s t s on a dense n e t w o r k of s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s . T h e
W e s t e r n S t a t e i s not t h e s i n g u l a r l o c u s of a l l p o w e r b u t " a n a d v a n c e t r e n c h
be h i nd w h i c h stands a n act ive l i n e of fortresses a n d casemates . " W h i l e i n t h e
E a s t i t may be pos s i b l e to c o n q u e r and dest roy the S t a t e by mea n s of a revo l u
t i o n a ry e x p l o s i o n of t h e masses, i n t h e West, t h i s conq u est f i rst i nv ol ves t h e con
q u est of t h e "casemates" a n d " f o r t resses" o n which t h e State rests a n d w h i c h
represe nt t h e rea l defenses at t h e heart of bou rgeois society.

T h e soc i a l ist revo l u t i o n i s e n v i s i o n ed as a s l ow p rocess of t h e w o rk i n g c l as s ' s


ass u m pt i o n of hegemony after a p rot racted " w a r of pos i t i o n s " i n w h i c h t h e
" casemates" a n d " f o rt resses" a re bes i eged and overt h ro w n o n e by one: t h e i n
terve n t i o n of t h e workers' move m e n t at t h e heart of i n s t i t u t io n s , rec og n ized by
ever i n c reas i n g doses o f "soc i a l i st e le m e n t s " in the economy a n d society.

As t h e I t a l i a n com m u n ists read i l y a d m i t , t h i s e n t a i l s a m a n ifest rev i s i o n of the


M a rx i st-Le n i n ist a n a l y s i s of t h e democratic bourgeois State: t h e rep resentative
b o u r g e o i s democracy, no longer s i m p l y t h e p o l i t i c a l reg i m e most favora b l e to the
deve l o p m e n t of c l ass c o n s c i e n ce a n d workers' org a n izat i o n s , i s a l s o t h e reg i m e
u nd e r w h i c h t h e t ra n s i t i o n to soc i a l i s m can c o m e a b o u t by m e a n s of a series o f
mod i f i ca t i o n s .

At t h a t p o i n t , t h e t h re s h o l d i s c rossed a n d t h e soc i a l rea l i t i es c h a n g e : p o l i t i c a l


d e m ocracy ceases to be f o r m a l a n d becomes rea l . T h e ru l i n g m o d e of prod u c t i o n
ceases to be c a p i t a l i s t a n d becomes soc i a l i s t . T h e q u a n t i t y of " s oc i a l ist
e l e m e n t s " p ro g ressively i njected i n t o society is t ra n sformed i n q u a l ity.

THE HISTORICAL Accord i n g to E n r i c o Berl i n g u er, "The s t rategy of reform c a n advance only i f i t i s
COMPROMISE s u p p o rted by a s t rategy of a l l i a nces, w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e t h e decis ive c o n d i t i o n ; for
i f t h e a l l i a n ces of t h e w o rk i n g c l ass a re res t r i cted a n d i f t h e soc i a l base of t h e r u l
i n g g ro u p s expands, t h e very rea l izat ion of reforms, before or after, w i l l be i m
poss i b l e and t h e w h o l e po l i t i c a l s i t u at i o n w i l l rebou n d i n t o a tota l reversa l . "
T h e accord w i t h t h e Soc i a l - Democratic leaders h i p is i nd i s pe n s a b l e if t h e col lec
t ive action is to a t t a i n its widest scope. T h e d y n a m i c s of t h e s t ru g g l e w h i c h the
u n ited proleta r i a n front con t i n u a l l y i n vokes forces t h e ref o r m i s t masses to t h e left
and a l l ows for t h e u l t i mate obviation of t h e e a r l i e r a g reements.

J u st as s i m p l e d e n u n c i a t i o n can not destroy t h e Soc i a l-Democrats' grip o n i t s


organ ized m a s s e s , d i at r i be a n d confrontat i o n d o not a f f e c t t h e Socia l-Democrats'
h o l d over t h e Cat h o l i c masses. O n c e again o n e must fol low i n t h e footsteps of
the U n i ted F ro n t and p romote the u n i f ied act i o n of soc i a l i s t , com m u n i st a n d
Cat h o l i c workers. T h i s assumes a n accord a m o n g t h e org a n izat i o n s , t h e conc l u
s i o n to w h i c h - t h e H i storical Com p rom i s e - f i r m l y a n c hors t h e Cat h o l i c workers
i n t h e left, favors the deve l o p m e n t of t h e i r c l as s conscience, a n d e n h a nces t h e i r
receptivity to t h e l . C . P ' s l o g i c . F i n a l l y , i t exacerbates t h e c o n t rad i c t i o n s of C h ris
tian Democrats, d i s pe rs i n g t h e m into all d i re c t i o n s , i s o l at i n g t h e i r r i g h t , pa ralyz
i n g the w h o l e party in t h e face of t h e workers' i n i t iat ive.

Ill GRANDEUR AND The l .C . P . ' s s t rategy does have the benef i t of coherence. Does i t e m body a
POVE RTY O F " c reative a p p l i c a t i o n of M a rx i s t t h eo ry to t h e cond i t i o n s of western Eu rope," as
G RA D U A L I S M its part i s a n s c l a i m ? Does i t d e f i n e a " rea l i s t i c revo l u t i o n a ry l i ne " f o r the workers'
move m e n t ? O r i s i t i n stead t h e most recent a n d s o p h i s t icated avatar of g rad u a l ist
reform i s m , as t h e extreme left c l a i ms?

O n fou r esse n t i a l points, t h e revo l u t i o n a ry M a rx ist critique s t r i kes home.

CONCER N I N G THE G ra m s c i ' s view of t h e spec i f i c i ty of t h e revo l u t i on a ry p rocess i n t h e West i s part


M IS U S E O F of a general t h e o re t i c a l move m e n t , borne of t h e spec u l a t i o n of m e m bers of the
G RA M S C I Com m u n i s t I n ternat i o n a l concern i n g t h e fa i l u re of t h e revo l u t i o n a ry wave of
1 9 1 7-1 923 in E u rope.

T h e endorse m e n t by t h e 3rd a n d 4 t h I n ternat i o n a l of t h e " U n ited F ro n t , " i n many


ways c o n s t i t u tes a f i rst step towards t h e e l a borat i o n of a spec i f i c s t rategy f o r the
t rad i t i o n a l l y d e m o c rat i c , advanced c a p i t a l i st cou n t ries. A p rog ress w h i c h was
soon i nterrupted by t h e Sta l i n ist degenera t i o n a n d t h e n f o l l owed by mass ive
reg ress i o n .

G ramsci's co n t r i b u t i o n t a k e s p l ace i n s t r i d e w i t h t h i s e f f o r t of strateg i c re


orientation p r i o r to t h e g reat ice age.

This contri b u t i o n p roperly c l a r i f ies t h e e m p h a s i s on t h e d e c i s ive i m portance of


prepara tory work f o r the revo l u t i o n a ry s e i z u re of power: d i so rg a n izat i o n of the
bou rg e o i s h e g e m o n y ; e n d a n g e r i n g of the ru l i ng ideology; d i s l oc a t i o n of the con
servative block; p e n e t rat ion and, w here poss i b le, n e u t ra l izat i o n of t h e State
m a c h i n e ry ; aff i rm a t i o n of t h e work i n g c lass a n d i t s a l l ies as t h e cou n t ry ' s poten
tial leaders h i p, etc. H e d oes not exam i n e the revolu tionary conques t of power
itself.

T h e proleta r i a t ' s s t ru g g l e for h e g e m o n y const i t u tes a prepara t i o n for t h e revo l u


t i o na ry r u p t u re rat h e r t h a n t h e act u a l acco m p l i s h me n t of t h e revo l u t i o n ; i t
rep resents t h e con d i t i o n for a v i c t o r i o u s revo l u t io n b u t d o e s not stand i n for o n e .
I t opens d i rect l y o n t o t h e po l i t i c a l - m i l i t a ry s t ru g g l e w i t h t h e b o u r g e o i s S t a t e a n d
d o e s not avo id i t . I t forces t h e com m u n ist pa rty to prepare i t s e l f a n d t h e masses
for this confrontat i o n and does not absolve t h e m .

O n l y t h ro u g h s o m e f ra u d u l e n t a l c h emy c a n G ra m s c i a p p e a r as a theoret i c i a n o f
g rad u a l i s m , t h e st rate g i s t of t h e peace f u l road to soc i a l i s m , t h e c h a m p i o n of t h e
s n a i l ' s-pace acc u m u l a t i o n of reforms c reat i n g a n economy of revo l u t i o n .

THE As w i t h a l l g rad u a l i s t s t rateg ies, t h e l . C . P. s t rategy p resents o n l y t h e wea k p o i n t s


DISCONTI N U O U S of re nderi n g t h e c l ass s t r u g g l e abstract. C o n f ro n ted w i t h a f u l l b l o w n p o p u l a r
C HARACTER O F revo l t , t h e cap i t a l i s t b o u rg eo i s i e releases its b a l last, p u t s on a i rs , a n d avo i d s t h e
THE waves: as t h e late C h a i rm a n Mao e x p l a i n e d , t h ey re l i nq u i s h s p a c e to g a i n
C LASS STR U G G L E t i me.

88
Faced w i t h t h e State's i n a b i l i t y to c lean u p t h e mess i n t h e factories, t h e I t a l i a n
bourgeo i s i e reacts as d o a l l o t h e r bourgeo i s i e s : by t h e w i t h d rawal of i nvest m e n t s ,
t h e f l i g ht of c a p i t a l , and spec u l a t i o n a g a i n s t t h e lira . W h i c h for t h e workers
means at least mass ive u n e m p l o y m e n t , g a l l o p i n g i n f l a t i o n , seri a l ban kru ptcy a n d
g e n e ra l i n sta b i l i ty .

O n e does not n eed a f i n a n c i a l M a c h i ave l l i to orchestrate t hi s econo m i c c h aos:


t h e c a p i t a l i s t s , forced to res pect t h e " l aws of t h e market , " d o not i nvest w h e n
prof i t i s r i s k y a n d p l ace t h e i r c a p i t a l w h ere at l e a s t a moderate p rof i t i s assu red.

T h i s " s pontaneous behavior of econo m i c factors" c reates the cond i t i o n s for t h e


bourgeo i s i e ' s po l i t i c a l c o u n t e r-attack: for t h i s i t c a n cou n t o n t h e m a n i fo l d
coopera t i o n of t h e S t a t e mac h i nery: T h e l . C . P. i s correct i n e m p h a s i z i n g t h e i m
portance of t h e Democrat i c t h ru s t i n I ta l y : t h e org a n izat i o n of t h e pop u l a r masses
was n ever so w id e s p read n o r t h e presence of t h e workers' parties so p a l p a b l y felt
in t h e Parl i a m e n t a n d t h e l o c a l assem b l ies. But the elected assemblies are n o t a t
the core o f the modern Sta te.

I n I t a l y as e l sewhere (thou g h in fact a l i t t l e l ess t h a n a n y w h ere e l s e) t h e cen


t ra l izat i o n of capital has occu red i n t a n d e m with t h e s h i f t of rea l power f rom
Pa rl i a m e n t to t h e ad m i n i st rat i o n a n d i n g e n e r a l towards centers of d e c i s i o n
m a k i n g t hat a re safe from t h e d e m oc racy's s c ru t i n y .

We now t u r n to t h e s e c o n d erroneous p re s u p p os i t i o n of g rad u a l i s m : no m o r e t h a n


t h e bou rgeo i s i e c a n t o l e rate i nd ef i n i t e l y a n a l l i a nce of s t re n g t h i m ped i n g t h e ac
c u m u l a t i o n of cap i t a l , the w o rk i n g c lass, in its mass, c a n not m ob i l ize i t s e l f per
m a n e n t l y aro u n d obj e c t i ves as advanced as t h e org a n izat i o n of control, etc.

T h e " m o l ec u l a r process" of the con s t i t u t i o n of t h e proletariat as a pote n t i a l


hegem o n i c c l a s s n ever repres e n t s a d i f i n i t ive atta i n me n t : i f a period of extreme
soc i a l crisis s h o u l d arise, or t h e proletariat should fail to form u l ate a n d i m pose
its s o l u t i o n s , or the i n i t i a t ive s h o u l d revert to the ru l i n g c l ass, Trotsky's m o l ec u l a r
p rocess i s reversed . D i scou rag e m e n t , d e m o ra l izat i o n , a n d scept i c i s m seize t h e
l east advanced a m o n g t h e masses. Beneath t h e veneer of a soc i a l i s t ed u c a t i o n ,
t h e " o l d m a n " s l eeps , w i t h h i s d rives, h i s a n x i et ies, h i s a n c i e n t va l u es. T h e " M arx
ist" workers a re not i m m u n ized a g a i n s t a n overw h e l m i n g ret u r n of t h e i rrat i o n a l :
t h e m y st i q u e of t h e State o r race can s u bs u m e t h e soc i a l i s t con s c i e n ce, as oc
c u red in G e r m a n y in 1 933, I t a l y in 1 92 1 , a n d , to a lesser extent, France in 1 940
and 1 958.

T h ere is no reason t h i s i nvo l u t i o n cou l d not occ u r today.


SOC IALISM A N D The Marxist c r i t i q u e of t h e formal c h a racter of bourgeois d e m oc racy d oes not
DE MOCRACY stop at c o n s i de rat i o n s of t h e i neq u a l i t y of soc i a l c l asses before t h e l aw - i n e
q u a l ity that cou l d be corrected by compe nsatory measu res. Above a l l it is a
demonstrat i o n a n d c r i t i q u e of t h e p rocess by w h i c h t h e bou rgeo i s
State- representat i ve d e m oc racy i n c l u d e d - a t o m izes, tranq u i l izes, va m p i rizes t h e
soc i a l b o d y , st r i p p i n g i t e v e n of t h e capac i t ies f o r s e lf-ad m i n i s t rat i o n w h i c h i t
concea l s , to c o n c e n t rate a l l i t s power i n i t s d i ve rse m ec h a n i s m s .

The rea l izat i o n of t h e p r i n c i p les of t h e proletar i a n democracy - effect i ve c o n t ro l of


e l ected off i c i a l s s a n c t i o ned by their permanent revoca b i l ity, rotat i o n of e l ect ive
f u n c t i o n s , etc. - i m p l ies t h e g ro u n d i n g of p o l i t i c a l power in t h e a c t u a l col l ec
t i v i t ies: the b u s i ness and the n e i g h borhood c o m m u n ity; enforced f u n c t i o n a l u n i t s
i n w h i c h people recog n ize each o t h e r , a c t a n d l ive together, and t h u s can rea l l y
d e f i n e c o m m o n pos i t i o n s and make t h e m s t i c k .

For t h i s reason betwee n t h e p roleta r i a n democ racy and t h e b o u r g e o i s democracy


l i es not cont i n u i t y but i ns t i t u t i o n a l r u p t u re. The i ns t i t u t i o n s , the p roced u res, a n d
t h e person n e l w h o for centu ries served to d e po l i t ic ize society a re now i n ad eq u ate
to the red i ff u s i o n of power t h ro u g h o u t the soc i a l d o ma i n , for the d e m i se of t h e
State, t h e s e l f-org a n izat i o n of "associated p rod u cers."

To forego this r u p t u re in favor of t h e i n te g rat i o n of parl i a mentary cou n c i l s i s to


c h oose bou rgeoi s p a r l i a m e n t a r i s m i n stead of soc i a l i st d e m oc racy.

A COM P ROMISI N G The u to p i a n i s m of t h i s s t rategy i s rei n forced by i t s pol i t i c s of a l l i ances. One can
COM P R O M I SE ad m i t va r i o u s t h i n g s concern i n g t h e spec i f i c i t y of t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrats, i t s
t i es to t h e Catho l i c w o r l d and t h u s to t h e workers, b u t o n l y w i t h g reat d i ff i c u lty
cou l d one c l a i m th at t h e C h r i s t i a n Democra t i c Party represents a " m u l t i -c l ass
bloc," at t h e heart of w h i c h d i verse soc i a l c l asses a p pear on t h e same p l a n e .

I n rea l i ty, t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrats f o r m t h e p o l i t i c a l i nstru m e n t par exce l l e n c e o f


the u pper bou rgeo i s i e. As i n a l l parl i m e n t a ry d e m ocracies, t h i s bourgeo i s i e st rove
to en d ow i t s e l f w i t h a party of popu l a r s u pport. It d i d t h i s by adapt i n g to the t rad i
t i o n s a n d prej u d i ces of t h e I t a l i a n petty bourgeo i s i e and p ro l etariat, t h a t i s , to
Cat h o l i c t rad i t i o n s and prej u d ices. I t g rafted i t s e l f onto the Cat h o l i c movem e n t
t h ro u g h a g r e e m e n t a n d s y m b i o s i s w i t h t h e c l e r i c a l h ierarchy. The s u ccess of t h i s
operat i o n d i d n o t c reate a m u l t i - c lass party, rega rd less o f i t s bas i c heteroge n e i ty,
but a bourgeois p a rty with a mass base. The i nt e rests w h i c h t h e C h r i s t i a n
Democrats h a v e a l ways represented and defended a re t h o s e of t h e m a j o r I t a l i a n
c a p i t a l i n terests. The i nterests of t h e petty bourgeois and Cat h o l i c workers a re
not eq u a l l y represented a n d defended b u t systemat i ca l l y s u bord i nated to t h e
former, even i f t h e C h r i s t i a n Democ rat i c Party assu res i t s p op u l a r " c l i e n t s " t h e
scraps necessary to m a i n ta i n t h e conserva t i ve b l ock.

Today, t h e agg ravat i o n of t h e crisis of I t a l i a n c a p i t a l i s m s t r i p s t h e C h r i s t i a n


Democrat of h i s m e a n s of sedat i n g t h e petty b o u rgeo i s a n d pop u l ist base.
Pat ro nage reached i t s l i m its a n d then beg i ns to prod u c e cont rad i ctory effects.
The C h r i s t i a n Democrat i c Party has entered the age of d ec l i ne; p rog res s i v e l y,
large sectors of i t s base a re b reak i n g a n d f a l l i n g away.

Rather than seiz i n g the t i mes and actively s t r i v i n g to detach the Cat h o l i c masses
from the C h r i s t i a n D e m o c rat p o l i t i c i a n s who p l ace them in bondage to t h e
bou rgeo i s ie, t h e l . C . P. e n c l oses i t s e l f i n a stat i c a n a l y s i s , t reats i t s d i rectors a s
t h e l e g i t i mate spokespeo p l e of Cat h o l i c workers, a n d sees a n a l l i a n c e w i t h t hese
workers as m e re l y a u n i o n w i t h the party that served them u n t i l today for
parl i a mentary rep res e n t a t i o n but from w h i c h t h ey have beg u n to t u r n .

The l .C . P . ' s l i n e of H i st o r i c a l C o m p ro m i se, espec i a l l y , i s o f f s e t by a s u p p o rt


w i t h o u t s e r i o u s cou n te r p a rt i n t h e C h r i s t i a n D e mocrat i c gove r n m e n t , at t h e
p rec ise m o m e n t t h a t , u nd e r cover of a n " a usterity p l a n , " t h a t gove r n m e n t i s l a u n
c h i n g a n u n p recedented assa u l t on the workers' g a i ns.
From t h e re to say, with t h e I ta l i a n extreme left, that t h e H i storical Com p ro m i s e

90
acts l i ke a rej u venat i n g s p r i n g on t h e C h ri s t i a n Democrats, w h i l e t h e l . C . P . is f o rc
ed to p l ay the i g n o m i n i o u s u s u re r of I t a l i a n c a p i t a l , t h e re i s only o n e res ponse
poss i b l e , w h i c h m a n y party m i l i t a n t s are making at this m o m e n t .

T h e C h r i s t i a n Democratic P a r t y i s t h e p o l i t i c a l i nstru m e n t of t h e I t a l i a n u p per


bourgeoisie. Union with it can occur only on the lines of defending Ita lian
capita lism again s t the global crisis. I t i m p l ies t h e su bord i na t i o n of workers' i n
terests and a s p i ra t i o n s to t h e i m peratives of va l u a t i o n of c a p i t a l i n a n a l ready
d i l a p i dated i n ternat i o n a l context. T h i s means the workers sacrifice w i t h o u t
recom pense o t h e r t h a n that of rem a i n i n g t h e work i n g c l a s s of a c a p i ta l ist cou n t ry
w e l l ran ked in t h e i n ternat i o n a l d i v i s i o n of l a bor.

The s t rate g i c d e m a n d s c reated by the col lapse of the Sta l i n ist m o no l i t h , the ex
t rem ity of the c a p i t a l i s t c r i s i s , the s t ri k i n g i n e q u ivalence between neo-refo r m i s t
g rad u a l i s m and t h e revo l u t i on a ry pote n t i a l i t ies of t h e period req u i re a massive
work of e l a borat i o n . I t is at t h i s leve l , perhaps, that t h e E u ropean extreme left h a s
revea led m o s t c learly i t s own s hortco m i n g s . I t i s on t h i s p o i n t , a p pare n t l y , t h a t i t
w i l l d i rect i t s efforts.

Transla ted by Daniel Moshenberg

1 . D i d i e r Motchane, Preface to Workers' Struggles in Italy by D. G ri s o n i and H . Porte l l i .


2. E n r i c o Berl i n g uer, Reflections o n Italy after the events i n Chile. Rinascita, Oct. 9 , 1 973.
3. T h i s is p rec i s e l y the assert i o n of G i org i o A m e n d o l a , the secretary of the l . C . P . and a m aj o r
f i g u re of the r i g h t w i n g p a r t of the p a rty. I n a ra l ly i n g p i ece, p u b l i s hed i n September 1 976 u nder
the s u g g e s t i ve rubric of "Coherence a n d R i gor" and presented to t h e Central C o m m i ttee i n
October 1 976, A m e n d o l a attacks the w h i m s i c a l i ncoherence o f t h e Com m u n i sts l eaders h i p ,
a n d espec i a l l y the u n i o n i sts, who s u p port t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrat i c government i n Parl i a m e n t
w h i l e warri ng a g a i n s t ii in the factories. He a l s o las hes out at certa i n sectors of the work i n g
c l ass w h o b a l k a t t h e m e n t i o n of s a c r i f i ces: "When we t a l k of t h e necessary sacri f i ces that
t h e workers m u s t ag ree to in order to em erge from the crisis, i t wou l d be w ro n g , as i t hap
pens, to view those sac r i f i ces as 'conces s i o n s ' g i ve n to the c a p i ta l i sts and the govern ment o r
as the ' price' of some p retended co m m u n i st manoeuvre to enter at a l l c o s t s i nto the govern
ment. O n the contrary, t h e sacri f i ces are necessary in order to serve p r i m a r i l y t h e i n terests of
the work i n g c l ass by p u l l i ng the cou n t ry out of the c r i s i s : so that t h e you n g m i g h t f i nd e m p l oy
m e n t , for the betterme n t of the l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s of the peop l e , etc . . . . For t h i s reason it is i n
correct to demand s o m e equ i vale n t sacri f i ces i n exchange f o r t h e sac r i f i ces necessary t o t h e
effort at transform a t i o n . T h e c o u n terpart i s n o t somet h i n g t h a t t h e others ( t h e govern ment o r
the c a p i t a l i st bourgeo i s i e) c o u l d c o n c e d e but rather the rea l izat i o n of objec t i ves that concern
f i rst of all the workers: the wel fare of the c o u n t ry a n d the p u rs u i t of i t s progress. "

i ll1 I t a l i a n Com m u n i st leader E n r i c o Berl i nguer takes office


i ll2 Berl i ng u e r attends f u neral services for s l a i n A l d o M o ro, 1 978
i ll3 611 3179 R O M E : E n ri c o Berl i ng u e r cons u l t i n g documents s hort l y before the start of party
d i rectorate meet i n g 6/1 3. Com m u n i sts were b i g l osers in the I t a l i a n general e l e c t i o n s J u n e 3/4.
Wha t t he
Com m unists
Really Are

Censor

Who w rote t h i s ? Who is Censor? What is he


t ry i n g to s u g gest? Is he the worst of fasc i s t s
or the most e x t r e m e of com m u n i st s ? W h a t
a r e we to make of t h i s ? A l l we a r e w i l l i ng to
admit i s t h a t t h e same q uest i o ns p l ag ued t h e
Italian press when the book from which t h i s
a rt i c l e i s taken appeared i n 1 975 u n d e r t h e t i
t l e True Report on the L a s t Chance t o Sa ve
Capitalism in Italy. ( O h , we do know that
Censor was f o u n d in a S i t u a t i o n i s t g ro u p
w h e re he s a i d he was G i a n f ranco Sang u i net
t i .)

From now o n , t hey are over, t h ose seasons of games of verbal p rest i g e by w h i c h
o u r p o l i t i c a l trapeze a rt i sts measu red themse lves i n " p a ra l l e l converg ence" w i t h
t h e com m u n ists, offe r i n g t h e m w h a t w a s c a l l ed the "strategy of atte n t i o n , " a
w a i t i n g room of i nd ef i n ite d u ration before t h e H i storical Com p ro m i se; and w h i c h
t h e Pres ident of t h e Cou n c i l , t h e honorable M oro, defined, w i t h s u c h c a u t i o u s ness
that he was o b l i ged to walk on eggs, as "a sort of h a l f-way meet i n g , somet h i n g
new, w h i c h a t t h e s a m e t i me is and is n o t a relaxation o f t h e roles of t h e majority
and t h e oppos i t i o n , taking advantage of a d iversity w h i c h does not consist i n a
c h a n g e of t h e forces of d i rect i o n , b u t i n t h e mod i fy i n g ad d i t i o n of t h e com m u n ist
e l e m e n t to others . " MUCH ADO ABOUT N O T H I N G .

Among a l l t h ose p o l i t i c a l leaders w h o f o r m o n t h s have been reve l l i ng i n h ig h


f l o w n words to convoke the H i storical Com p ro m i se, no o n e has stated t h e pri n
cipal and s i m p lest truth on t h e q u e s t i o n : that t h e H istorical Compromise i s a
compromise, i n t h e t r u e sense of t h e term, solely for the communis ts, a n d ab
s o l u t e l y not for us; for us, t h i s accord w i t h the com m u n ists i s not even
" h istorica l " - u n less you want to cal l h i st o r i c a l every tactical act i o n w h i c h may
be found necessary to make t hose peo p l e work w h o d o not want to work. B u t i n
that case, a n d f o r want o f t h i s accord, h o w m a n y " h istorical d ut i e s " m u s t t h e

92
p o l i c e perform in front of t h e factories? Even t h e ex-M i n ister of Labor, t h e
soc i a l ist Berto l d i , c o n s i d e red by a m a n f rom t h e r i g h t , D o m e n i c o B a rto l i , as " a
s u bt l e i n terpreter of H e g e l i a n d i a lect i c s , " s a i d i t better t h a n a n y o n e e l s e a n d once
a n d for a l l : "We m u s t d e c i d e w h e t h e r we wish to g overn with t h e u n i o n s or w i t h
t h e g u n me n . "

For t h a t i s t h e c r u x of t h e p r o b l e m , w h i c h i s p o l i t i c a l as w e l l as eco n o m i c , s i nce,


t h r o u g h o u t t h e last few years, we wou l d h ave g a i ned a lot i n t h e c u rrency ex
c h a n g e i f w e had been able to use t h ree t i mes fewer g u n me n , b u t t h ree t i mes
m o re u n i on m e n . A l berto R o n c hey, w h o i s by far t h e best I t a l i a n e d i t o ri a l i s t ,
recen t l y w rote th at henceforth t h e g reatest econom i c p r ob l e m i s to convince peo
ple to work, and that i s true. At present i t i s no l o n g e r poss i b l e to let t h i n g s go
w h i l e a lways hoping t h a t t h e workers w i l l d e l ay their smoldering revolt " a l i t t l e
w h i le l o n g e r , " o r t h a t o u r i n d u stry w i l l get a new b rea t h of l i fe a n d reg a i n i t s v i g o r
a l t h o u g h c l a m o r i n g a n a rc h y re i g n s i n o u r factories, a n d a l l t h i s w h i le I t a l y t h rows
out, o n e after t h e other, its g overn m e n t s w h i c h last only a few months; govern
m e n t s w h i c h , m o reover, a re c o n s t a n t l y a n d solely e n g aged i n t h e t i t a n i c effort to
stay in p l ace a l i t t l e b i t l o n g e r than w ha t seems poss i b l e to them, d i s m i s s i n g a l l
q u es t i o n s , even t h e s m a l l est ones, becau s e they w o u l d b e e n o u g h to make t h e
g over n m e n t f a l l !

A n d w h o better t h a n t h e com m u n ists can today i n st i t u t e a period o f con


va l escence i n t h e co u n t ry , d u ri n g w h i c h t h e workers w i l l have to stop f i g h t i n g and
res u m e work i n g ? Who, better than a M i n ister of t h e I nt e r i o r l i ke G i org i o Amen
d o l a , cou l d weed o u t t h e d e l i q uency w h i c h has s p read to every l eve l , a n d make
t h e ag itators shut up, by good methods, or not so good ones? We must u nd ertake
l o n g -term gove r n m e n t a l act i o n , a n d to do so we must h ave a s o l i d and reso l u te
g over n m e n t : not accept i n g a " c o m p ro m i se" l i ke t h a t i n q u e s t i o n today i n rea l i ty
s i g n i f i es fata l l y c o m p ro m i s i n g , for ou rselves, the very e x i stence of tomorrows. Let
u s remember that n e u t ra l i ty, in s u c h a n affair, i s the d a u g hter of i rreso l u t i o n , a n d
t h a t "Irresolute princes, i n order t o flee presen t perils, m o s t often follo w this
neutra l pa th, and mo s t often collapse. " (Macchia velli) I n order not to see t h e rea l
peri l , we pretend to see an accord w i t h t h e P.C. I . as a peri l , and we f lee t h e m
bot h .

Fearf u l m i n d s m a y perhaps f i n d i n o u r proposa l s , even i f t h e y h ave to ad m i t they


a re otherwise correct a n d u s ef u l , t h e s l i g h t defect t h a t they appear prec i s e l y to
u nd e r p l ay the peri l o u s c h a racter w h i c h cou l d afterward arise from the fact of hav
ing p l aced a co m m u n i s t party in t h e heart of p o l i t i c a l power, at a cert a i n stage of
crisis w h e re o u r powers p rove i n c a p a b l e of m a k i n g t h e workers work. Quis
cus todia t cus todes ipsos ? ( " W h o w i l l g u a rd t h e g u a rd s t h e m s e lves?").

We wou l d a n swer t h at the o bj e c t i o n i s u n fou n d ed a n d t h a t fear i s a poor


c o u n s e l o r. F i rst of a l l , w e s h o u l d never fear f u t u re a n d h y p o t h e t i c a l peri l s at the
i n st a n t we a re d y i n g from a present and cert a i n d a n g e r ; a n d f u rt h e r m ore, we
s h o u l d n ever r i s k all o u r f o rt u n e w i t h o u t havi n g r i sked all o u r forces. Since the
present force of t h e Com m u n ist Party a n d t h e u n io n s i s a l ready serv i n g u s a n d i n
deed p roves to have b e e n o u r p r i n c i pa l s u p port s i nce A u t u m n , 1 969, a n d s i n c e i t s
effect h a s , h owever, rem a i ned u n t i l n o w q u ite i ns u f f i c i e n t to reverse t h e p rocess,
our i n terest i s d o u b t l ess to ga lvanize t ha t force with a l l u rgency, by offe r i n g i t t h e
m o s t c e n t ra l of a l l a p p l ic a t i o n p o i n t s i n society, t h a t i s , by i n t rod u c i n g i t i n t o t h e
c e n t e r of S t a t e power.

M o reover, the s u p posed f u t u re peri l s of t h i s com m u n ist part i c i pa t i o n i n t h e


govern m e n t , t h ese peri l s , we i n s i s t , d o not e x i s t a n y w h e re b u t i n t h e very s p here
of these i l l u s i o n s about t h e revo l u t i o n a ry tendency c o n s t i t u ted i n o u r society by
t h e Com m u n i st Party; a rt i f i c i a l l y w i d e- s p read i l l u s i o n s i n an era, h e n ceforth con
c l u d ed , w h e n t hey were usef u l for t h e defense of a w o r l d w h i c h today, t i mes hav
ing c h a n g ed , needs to be defended with t h e a s s i s t a n ce of t h ose same com
m u n ists. Only our p rese n t gove r n m e n t peo p l e , a s p i r i n g , d e s p i te their u n fort u nate
b a n k r u ptcy, to t h e a u t o n o m izat i o n of their own existence as s i m p l e de legates of
Italian society to its State administration, still pretend to consider as a real given

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of strateg i c reaso n i n g wh at - t h at s u p posed revo l u t i onary tendancy of t h e PCI
- has never been a n yt h i n g other than a n i d e o l o g i c a l " a rt i c l e of export" destined
for t h e people. Which makes t hese worn-out l eaders fall u nder this severe con
demnation: w h a t t h ey i n fact w a n t , w h e n t h e y c l i ng to their o l d spec i a l izat i o n ,
w h i l e a necessary m o d e r n i z a t i o n i m poses t h e i r " recyc l i ng , " i s not e v e n to p ro
l o n g , for t h e i r own l i m ited i n t erests, t h e apparent existence of t h e p rofess i o n they
s t i l l k n ow how to o perate, b u t i n d eed t h e existence of a profession they did not
know h o w to opera te.

T h e Troj a n H o rse is not to be feared except w h e n t h e re a re G reeks i n s i d e i t . The


Com m u n i st Party h a s assumed, a n d m u s t even ass u me again, a certa i n cos t u m e
to d i s g u i se i t s e l f a s a n enemy of o u r City, b u t it i s n o t an e n e m y o f o u r City; j u st
as it is not d i rected by U lysses. T h e I t a l i a n com m u n i st i n stead resem b l e s t h at
carpenter i n a l i o n ' s m a s k in A Midsummer Night's Dream, w h o m u st l et " h a l f h i s
face b e seen t h ro u g h t h e l i o n ' s neck," a n d w h o m u s t s a y to t h e spectators: " I
wou l d entreat y o u , not t o fear, not t o t re m b l e : m y l i fe for you rs. I f y o u t h i n k I
come h i t her as a l i o n , ii were p i ty of my l i fe: no, I am no s u c h t h i n g . . . "

And prec i s e l y because we d a re to ad m i t t h a t I t a l i a n workers, w h o h ave sworn to


t h e offens ive o f social war, are our e n e m ies, we know that t h e Com m u n ist Party
i s our s u p port. We c a n n o longer cont i n u e t o reass u re t h e cou n t ry w h i l e p reten
d i n g the opposite, bec a u s e we have reached t h e hour of t r u t h , when lies a re no
longer a n y u s e to u s , only force is.

W hatever t h e case may be, let u s not g o so f a r as to forget t h a t our parl ia m e n ta ry


majority has for a l o n g t i m e a l ready been based on t h e com m u n i st o p p o s i t i o n ,
a n d t h at t h e com m u n i st oppos i t i o n o p p oses t h e same t h i n g s t h e m a j o r i t y o p
p o s e s ; a n d , h owever, t h e e n t i re p o l i t i c a l l i fe o f t h e c o u n t ry i s as t h o u g h para l yzed
before the n i g h t m a re that the idea, for the C h r i s t i a n-Democrats, of ced i n g a few
m i n i stries to the c om m u n ists seems to be. Up u n t i l a rece n t period, t h i s C h r i s t i a n
Democrat i c att i t u d e f o u n d its sem i-rat i o n a l j u s t i f i c a t i on i n t h e n e c e s s i t y of m a i n
t a i n i n g t h e m o n o p o l y of p o w e r so as to cont i n u e to h i d e t h e way t h a t p o w e r h a d
b e e n ad m i n i stered, a n d some part i c u l a r f a c t s so sca n d a l o u s t h a t , i f t hey had
been k n o w n , would have bro u g h t about t h e i m m ed i ate c o l l a pse of t h e party; b u t
now t h a t t h ose f a c t s h ave l i t t l e b y l i t t l e come to be known t h ro u g h o u t t h e c o u n
t r y , even t h i s l a s t j u st i f i c a t i o n i s void. A n d i t i s t h e c o l l apse of I t a l y t h a t we m u s t
t ry to avo i d , i f we c a n .

And f u rt hermore, l e t u s a s k t h e q uest i o n , wha t i s t h e a lterna tive of w h i c h t h e


H i storical C o m p r o m i s e i s o n e of t h e t e r m s ? T h e other t e r m can be presented
t h u s l y : sooner or later we w i l l reac h a s i t u a t i o n i n w h i c h n e i t h e r the com m u n ists,
nor t h e u n io n s , n o r t h e forces of order, n o r t h e secret services w i l l be a b l e to
manage to hold back the workers from the b r i n k of a general i ns u rrec t i o n , all of
w hose conseq u e n ces can not eas i l y be f o reseen . If, in the best h y p o t h e s i s - and
we can o n l y see t w o -, t h i s i n s u rrect i o n does not becom e a c i v i l war p u re and
s i m p l e , that is, i f the com m u n ists s u cceed , in a second atte m p t , in t a k i n g t h e
re i ns, b y f i rst see m i n g to part i c i pate i n i t so as l ater to a s s u m e c o m m a n d , i t i s
e v i d e n t t h a t i n s u c h a s i t u a t i o n i t w i l l be u p t o Berl i n g u e r to i m pose h i s c o n d i
t i o n s , a n d h e w i l l not be d i s posed to s h a re t h e g ove r n m e n t w i t h u s ; b u t , rat her, o n
t h e i m petu s of t h e i n s u rrec t i o n a l move m e n t , t h e com m u n ists w i l l take o v e r t h e
State, i n t h e n a m e of t h e workers, to w h o m they w i l l t h e n a p p e a l to d e f e n d it. And
if, o n the contrary, a s seems more likely t o us, the credibility o f the Communist
Party with the workers Is found to be completely exhausted at the time of this in
s u rrec t i o n , w h i c h is o n l y a l l too foreseeab l e , i n s u c h a way t h a t t h e com m u n ist
a c t i o n of " recovery" of t h e i n s u rgents i nto t h e very ranks of t h e party p roves
useless or i m po s s i b l e , t h e n c i v i l war w i l l n o l o n g e r be avo i d a b l e , and the Com
m u n i s t Party, a m p u tated from i t s base, w h i c h w i l l i nevitably u n i te w i t h the revo l u
t i onaries, w i l l n o l o n g e r be of a n y use to u s . T h o s e a re t h e t w o variants t h at form
a n a l ternative w i t h t h e H i storical Compromise; tertium non da tur. ("the t h i rd i s ex
c l uded").

F i n a l l y let u s c o n c l ude. With t h e help of t h e Com m u n i st Party i n t h e g overn m e n t ,


e i t h e r we w i l l s u cceed i n sav i n g o u r d o m i n a t i o n , or we w i l l not s u cceed. I f we s u e-

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ceed, we w i l l t h row o u t t h e c o m m u n ists, at t h e same t i me as a large port i o n of
the present p o l i t i c a l perso n n e l , l i ke serva nts, w i t h the g reatest of ease. The com
m u n is ts t h e m se l ves a l ready o p e n l y ad m i t t h i s as a n a r t i c l e of t h e i r c o n t ract of
cooperat i o n ; a n d s i nce H erac l i t u s , we know that " a l l t hat c raw l s o n the earth i s
governed by b l ow s . " A n d i f w e d o not su cceed , n ot h i n g e l s e matters a n y m o re;
because everyo n e wou l d admit t h at i t would be t h e w o rst of Byza n t i n e d i s c u s
s i o n s , at t h e t i m e w h e n t h e T u r k is on t h e ramparts, to g u ess w h i c h t r o p h i e s
m i g h t h ave bee n w o n i n t h e G reen and B l u e c i rc u s , i n a w o r l d w h i c h w i l l have
c r u m b led.

Tra nsla ted by Richard G a rdner

i l/1 Photo: D. Cortez


T h e S t a t e of
S pect a c l e

G u y D e b o rd

T h i s t e x t , w r i t t e n by o n e of t h e l e a d e rs of t h e
I n t e r n a t i o n a l S i t u a t i o n i s t s , w a s p u b l i shed as
a n I n t ro d u c t i o n to t h e 4 t h I t a l i a n e d i t i o n of
his book, The Society of Specta cle.

It was up to t h e society of s pectac les to add j u st what I t h i n k t h i s book d i d n ' t


need : m o re w e i g h ty a n d conv i n c i n g p roofs a n d exam p l es. We have seen t h e
f a l s i f i cation gett i n g t h i cker, desce n d i n g to t h e fabrication of t h e m o s t t r i v i a l
t h i n g s , l i ke a sticky fog w h i c h acc u m u lates a t t h e g ro u n d l evel of a l l d a i l y l i fe. W e
h a v e s e e n a striv i n g for t h e absol u t e - as f a r as "telematic" madness - i n t h e
tec h n i ca l and p o l i c e c o n t ro l of men and n a t u r a l forces, a c o n t r o l w h ose errors
g row as fast as its m e t h od s . We have seen the State l ie, d eve l o p in i t s e l f and for
itself, h av i n g so c o m p l etely forgotten its c o n f l i c t i n g l i n ks w i t h t r u t h a n d
veri s i m i l it u d e that t h e very connections t h e m se lves can be d ro p ped a n d rep l aced
from hou r to h o u r . In the rece n t events s u rrou n d i n g the k i d n a p p i ng and execu t i o n
of A l d o M o ro, I ta l y had occas i o n to ref lect u po n t h i s tec h n i q u e at its most h i g h ly
developed p o i n t , w h i c h , however, w i l l soon be s u rpassed, e i t h e r h e re or e l sew h e re.
The vers ion g iven by I t a l i a n a u t h o r i t i es, made worse rat h e r than better by a h u n
d red s u cces s i ve t o u c h - u ps, w h i c h a l l c o m m e n tators have made it t h e i r d u t y to ad
mit in p u b l i c , has not been bel i eva b l e for one i nstant. I t was not i ntended to be
b e l i eved, but to sit a l o n e in a d i s p l ay window, to be forgotten afterwards, exac t l y
l i ke a b a d book.

It was a mytholog i c a l opera with g reat mac h i n a t i o n s , w h e re terrorist h e roes q u i c k-

96
l y c h a n g e i nto foxes to take p rey from t raps, i nto l i o n s w h o fear no o n e for as
long as t hey keep t h e i r prey, a n d i nto sheep so as not to cause t h e s l i g htest
h a rm f u l effect to t h e reg i m e w h i c h t hey pretend to defy. They tel l u s that t h ey a re
l u cky to be d e a l i n g w i t h t h e most i n com petent of p o l i ce f o rces, a n d t h at, bes i des,
t h ey have been able to i n f i l t rate t h e h i g h est ranks w i t h o u t a p ro b l e m . B u t this ex
p l a n a t i o n i s h a rd l y d i a lectica l . A sed i t i o u s org a n izat i o n that wou l d put some of its
m e m bers in contact w i t h the State sec u rity forces, u n less it had i n f i l t rated agents
years before i n ord e r to make s u re of their l oy a l t y w h e n t h e occa s i o n for their u se
a rose, s h o u l d expect that s o m et i mes i t s m a n i p u l ators be t h e m s el ves ma n i p u l ated .
T h u s t hey wou l d be d e p rived of that o l y m p i c assurance of i m p u n i ty w h i c h
c h a racterizes the R e d B ri g a d e ' s ch ief of staff. B u t t h e I t a l i a n State g o e s f u rt h e r,
w i t h t h e u n a n i mo u s a p p rova l of those w h o u p h o l d i t . Like any other State, i t
t h o u g ht of i n f i l t rat i n g a g e n t s of its s p ec i a l forces i n t o c l a ndest i n e terrorist net
works, w h e re t hey cou l d then be assu red of a swift a n d easy passage up to the
l eaders h i p , f i rst by gett i 119 r i d of t h e i r s u periors in the m a n n e r of M a l i novsk i , w h o
fooled even t h e s h rewd Len i n for t h e s a k e of t h e tza r i s t O k rana, o r l i ke Azev, w h o ,
once at t h e h ead of t h e "c o m bat organ izat i o n " of t h e revo l u t i o n a ry soc i a l i s t party,
p u shed his mastery to t h e point of havi n g t h e prime m i n ister Stoly Pine h i m s e l f
assassi nated. A s i n g l e u n fortu nate c o i n c i d e n ce c a m e to h i nd e r t h e g ood w i l l of
t h e State: i t s spec i a l forces were just t h e n d i ssolved. B u t a secret service u n t i l
n o w h a s never been d i ssolved i n t h e m a n n e r o f , say, a petro l e u m tanker's cargo i n
coastal waters, or a p o rt i o n o f modern i n d u st r i a l p rod u c t i o n i n Seveso. B y m a i n
t a i n i n g its record s , its s t o o l p i geons, its worki ng o p e ratives, it s i m p l y c h a n g ed i t s
n a m e . T h u s i n I t a l y t h e S . l . M . , o r Service of M i l i t a ry I n formation from t h e fascist
reg i m e , f a m o u s for its sabotages a n d i t s fore i g n assas s i n at i o n s , became t h e
S . l . D. , or Service of Defense I n formation u nd e r t h e C h ri s t i a n-Democrat i c reg i m e .
M o reover, w h e n a k i n d of robot doct r i n e of t h e Red B ri g a d e was p rogrammed o n a
c o m p u ter, d i s m a l caricat u re of what one m i g h t h ave t h o u g h t and d o n e if o n e had
wa nted to advocate t h e d i sa ppearance of t h e State, a s l i p of t h e computer - so
true i s it that t hese m a c h i nes depend on the u nc o n s c i o u s of t hose who feed in i n
formation - caused t h e s a m e acronym S . l . M . , t h i s t i m e d e s i g n at i n g t h e " I nterna
t i o n a l Society of M u lt i n a t i o n a l s , " to be attri b u ted to t h e s i n g l e pseudo-concept
repeated automat i c a l l y by the Red B r i g ade. This S . l . D . , " bathed i n I t a l i a n b l ood , "
m u st have been d i ssolved recen t l y because, as t h e State avows post fes tum , i t
was t h e o n e w h i c h s i n c e 1 969 c o m m itted, m o s t o f t e n b u t n o t a lways by bom b i n g ,
t h a t l o n g series of massacres w h i c h were att r i b u ted, accord i n g to t h e seaso n , t o
a n a rc h ist, n eo-fas c i s t , o r s i t u a t i o n i st. N ow t h a t t h e R e d B rigade does exac t l y t h e
same w o r k a n d for once at l e a s t w i t h a n operat i o n a l e f f i c i e ncy w h i c h i s q u ite
s u perior, obv i o u s l y S. l . D. c a n not combat it, s i nce it i s d i ssolved. In a secret s e r
vice wort h y of its name, i t s very d i s s o l u t i o n is secret. O n e can not t e l l t h e refore
what proport i o n of t h e total force was a l l owed a n h o n o r a b l e ret i re m e n t , w h at was
a l l otted to t h e Red B r i gade, or perhaps loaned to t h e Shah of I ra n to b u rn a movie
t heater i n Abad a n , a n d w h a t was d i sc reet l y exterm i nated by a State proba b l y i n
d i g na n t to learn that i t s i ns t r u c t i o n s were someti mes su rpassed. I n p o i n t of fact
we k n ow that t h e State w i l l never hesitate to k i l l B r u t u s ' sons to have its own
laws respected , s i nce i t s i n t r a n s i g e n t refu s a l to envisage even t h e most m i n i ma l
concession to save M oro f i n a l l y p roved that h e h a d a l l t h e f i rm v i rtues of
repu b l ican Rome.

I t a l i a n c a p i ta l i s m a n d t h e gove r n m e n t bu rea u c racy a re q u ite d iv i d ed o n t h e use of


the Sta l i n ists, a v i t a l b u t h i g h l y u ncert a i n q ue s t i o n . Certa i n modern sectors of
l a rg e private c a p i t a l are or w e re reso l u t e l y in favor of t h e m ; others, s u p ported by
many who m a n a g e t h e c a p i t a l of State s u p po rted b u s i nesses, are more host i l e.
H i g h l y ran ked State perso n n e l have a wide manoeuve r i n g autonomy, s i nce t h e
d e c i s i o n s of t h e capta i n s u rpass t h o s e of t h e o w n e r w h e n t h e s h i p i s s i n k i n g , b u t
t hey t h e m se l ves are d ivided i n o p i n i o n . The f u t u re of each c l i q u e d e p e n d s on t h e
m a n n e r i n w h i c h it w i l l be a b l e to i m pose its reasons, by prov i n g t h e m i n practice.
M oro bel i eved i n t h e H i storical Compromise, that i s to say, i n t h e capacity of the
Sta l i n ists to f i n a l l y break up t h e movement of revo l u t i o n a ry workers. Another
tendency, t h e one that i s at this m o m e n t i n a pos i t i o n to c o m m a n d t h e atten t i o n
of t h e c o m m a n d e r s of t h e Red B rigade d i d not be l i eve i n i t ; or at l e a s t deemed
that t h e Stal i n ists, for t h e few services that they cou l d re n d e r, and that they wi l l

97
render in any case, s h o u l d not be spared, t h a t it is necessary to beat t h e m harder
so that t hey d o not become too i n s o l e n t . We saw that this analysis was not
w i t h o u t va l u e s i nce, w i t h M o ro k i d nap ped as a n i n a u g u ra l affro n t to the H i storical
Compromise f i n a l l y m ad e authentic by a n act of parliament, t h e Sta l i n i s t party
cont i n u ed to p retend t o bel ieve i n the i nd e p e n d e nce of the Red B r i g a d e . T h ey kept
the prisoner a l ive as long as t h ey t h o u g h t they cou l d p ro l o n g the h u m i l i a t i o n and
d i scomfort of the f r i e n d s , who had to s u b m i t to b l a c k m a i l w h i l e p rete n d i n g n o b l y
not to u nderstand w hat t hese u n known barba r i a n s expected of t h e m . T h e a f f a i r
e n d ed a n y w a y as soon as t h e Sta l i n ists s howed t h e i r teet h , p u b l ic l y a l l u d i n g to
obsc u re manoeu v re s a n d M o ro d ied deceived. But act u a l l y , t h e Red B ri g a d e has
another f u n c t i o n , o f m o re general i n terest, w h i c h i s to d i sconcert o r d i sc red i t p ro
letarians who rea l ly r i s e a g a i n s t the State, and perhaps to one day e l i m i nate
some of t h e more d a n g e ro u s . This f u n c t i o n the Sta l i n i st s a p p rove, s i nce i t h e l p s
t h e m i n t h e i r d i f f i c u l t t a s k . T h e s i d e i n j u r i o u s to t h e m i s rest ra i ned by i n s i n u a
t i o n s crypt ica l l y m a d e i n p u b l i c at c r u c i a l m o m e n t s , and by prec ise t h reats voiced
i n t h e i r constant n e g o t i a t i o n s i n private w i t h the State power. T h e i r a r m o f d i ss u a
s i o n is t hat they c o u l d s u d d e n l y t e l l a l l t h at t h ey know about t h e Red B r i g ad e
from its i ncept i o n . B u t no one i s i g norant of t h e f a c t that t hey cou l d not u s e t h i s
weapon w i t h o u t brea k i n g t h e H i storical C o m p r o m i s e, a n d t h e refore t hey h o p e
s i ncerely t h a t t h ey c a n rem a i n as d i screet on t h i s s u bject as t hey were about t h e
d o i n g s of t h e S . l . D . i n i t s t i me. What wou l d b e c o m e of t h e Sta l i n ists i n a revo l u
t i o n ? We cont i n u e to u pset t h e m , b u t n o t t o o m u c h . W h e n , t e n m o n t h s a f t e r t h e
k i d n a p p i n g of M oro, t h e s a m e i nv i n c i b l e R e d B r i g ad e knocks d o w n a t rade- u n i o n
Sta l i n i s t for t h e f i rs t t i m e , t h e so c a l led Com m u n i s t Party reacts s o o n after, b u t
o n l y i n t h e rea l m of p rotoco l , by t h reate n i n g i t s a l l ies to force t h e m t h e reafter to
desig nate i t as a p a rty, a lways loyal and construct ive cert a i n ly, b u t w h i c h w i l l be
beside the m aj o r i t y and no l o n g e r on the side of the majority.

T h e keg a l ways s m e l l s of herri n g and a Sta l i n i s t w i l l a lways be i n his element


w h e rever one s m e l l s a n odor of secret c r i m e i n t h e State. Why should t h ey be of
fended by t h e a t m o s p h e re of d i s c u s s i o n at t h e top of t h e Italian State, with a
k n ife u p t h e i r s l eeves a n d a b o m b u nder t h e t a b l e? Was it not i n t h e s a m e sty l e
t h at t h ey took care of d ifferences a m o n g t h e m se l ves, f o r exam p l e , i n t h e cases o f
Kruschev and Beria, Kadar a n d Nagy, M a o a n d L i n Piao? A n d besides, t h e d i rec
tors of the I t a l i a n S ta l i n ist move m e n t became b u t c h e rs i n t h e i r you t h at the t i me
of t h e i r f i rst H i s t o r i c a l Compromise, w h e n t hey were c h a rged w i t h t h e ot h e r
e m p l oyees of " Ko m i n t e r n " w i t h c o u n t e r-revol u t i o n at t h e service of t h e
Democrat ic S pa n i s h R e p u b l i c i n 1 937. I t w a s t h e n t h a t t h e i r own R e d B r i g a d e k i d
n a p ped And res N i n a n d k i l l ed h i m i n a n o t h e r sec ret p r i s o n .

A n u m ber of I t a l i a n s a re very f a m i l i ar w i t h t h i s s a d ev idence, a n d m a n y m o r e


f o u n d out about i t r i g h t a w a y . B u t i t has not been p u b l i shed a n yw he re; t h e former
h ave no reason to, w h i l e t h e latter lack t h e m e a n s . At this stage i n t h e a n a l y s i s
t h e re a re g ro u n d s for evok i n g a " s p ectac u l a r " p o l i t i c s of terrori s m , a n d not, as i s
repeated by so m a n y j o u r n a l ists a n d p rofessors w i t h t h e f i nesse of t h e h i re l i ng ,
because terrorists a r e somet i mes moved b y t h e d e s i re to make u s speak of t h e m .
I t a l y e p i t o m izes t h e soc i a l contrad i c t i o n s of t h e w h o l e w o r l d , a n d t r i e s , i n a m a n
n e r we are fa m i l i ar w i t h , to a m a l g a mate i n a s i n g l e cou n t ry t h e repressive H o l y
A l l iance of c l ass power, bu rea u c ra t i c-tota l i t a r i a n a n d bourgeois, w h i c h a l ready
f u n c t i o n s ope n l y ac ross t h e face of t h e earth in a n econom i c a n d p o l i c e State
sol idarity; a l t h ou g h , of cou rse, not w i t h o u t some d i s c u s s i o n and sett l i ng of ac
counts i n t h e I t a l i a n m a n n e r. As t h e most advanced cou n t ry at t h e moment i n its
s l i d e toward a proletarian revo l u t i o n , I t a l y i s a l s o t h e most modern sort of
l a boratory for i n t e r n a t i o n a l c o u n t e r-revo l u t i o n . O t h e r g ove r n m e n t s com i n g out of
t h e old bourgeois d e m o c racy, " p re-spectac u l ar" i n nat u re, l ook on w i t h ad m i ration
at t h e Italian gove r n m e n t for t h e i m passiveness which i t can m a i n t a i n at t h e
t u m u l t u o u s c e n t e r of its degradation , a n d for t h e c a l m d i g n i ty w i t h w h i c h it s i t s i n
t h e m u d . I t i s a lesson w h i c h t hey w i l l h ave to a p p l y i n t h e i r o w n cou n t r i e s f o r a
l o n g t i m e to come.

Transla ted by Wendy Greenberg & John Johns ton

98
i l/1 RO P-041 906-4/19/78-DUCH ESS LA KE, I taly: An army skier p robes a hole in the ice cover i n g
Duc hess Lake with h i s ski pole 4/1 9 after detonation s q u a d s bl asted the frozen l a k e . Frog men
are d ragg i ng the lake where the Red Bri gades gang say they d u m ped the body of ex-Pre m i er
Aldo Moro after h i s "execution". (UPI) (ITALY)
La m a
Sabachthan i

On February 1 7, 1 977, Luciano Lama, the


Com m u n ist u n i on leader entered the oc
cu p i ed Rome U n i vers i ty to " l ecture" the
students. H e was - none too g l oriously
-d riven off the campus. This is an eye
wit ness account of the event w hi ch broke
open the deep-rooted conflict between the
" new left" and the I t a l i a n Commun ist Party.

It was the morn i n g o f T h u rsday February 17, 1977 . The U n ivers i t y c a m p u s had
been occup ied for over a week by students, t h e u ne m p l oyed, t h e c o m rades. The
t a l l , severe- l ook i n g b u i l d i ng s , with their Fa s c i s t a rc h i tectu re, had been t ra nsform
ed . The white facade o f the Facu lty of Letters was covered with s l o g a n s and
wri t i n gs . One, w h i c h was vert i c a l a n d many yards h i g h , warned t h e c a p i ta l i st s and
rev i s i o n i sts that t hey would be " b u ried by a b u rst of l a u g hter". It was s i g ned
"Godere Opera i o " ("Workers' J oy") a n d " G o d i mento Studentesco" (St u d e n t s ' En
joyment)-a pun o n t h e o l d Potere Opera i o ('Workers' Power") a n d Movimento
Studentesco ("St u d e n t M ovement"). These writings were the work of t h e
Metropol it a n I n d ia n s , a non-org a n i sed c u l t u ra l movement of you n g c o m rades, who
t u rned t h e i r biting w i t a n d sarcasm o n t h e G overnment, the Com m u n i s t Party, and
even on revol u t i o n a ry " leader-f i g u res" w h o tried to assert their d o m i n a n ce over
the mass. The q u a l i t y o f t h i s new revo l u t i o n a ry movement was, in fact, t h a t the
mass ref used to be led in the t rad i t i o n a l style, from above. I t was, to a g reat ex
tent, s elf-d i rect i n g a n d sel f-org a n i s i n g .

D u r i n g the d ays a n d n i g ht s of the occ u p a t i o n , t h e e n t i re U n i vers ity seemed to be


a cont i n u ou s peo p l e ' s party a n d people's foru m . There were cont i n u i n g a n d
end less debates i n t h e vari o u s com m i s s i o n s ( t h e cou n te r- i n formation com m i ss i o n ,
the factory-and-com m u n i ty com m i s s i o n , t h e teach i ng-methods com m i ss i o n , the

1 00
wome n ' s c o m m i s s ion). There were a l s o t h e (often stormy) g e n e ra l asse m b l i es ,
w here t h e Movement decided i t s p o l i cies.

All t h e gates to t h e Cam p u s were g uarded by comrades, w h o took it i n turns, a n d


everyone who entered was f r i s ked a n d s c ru t i n ised, to g u a rd a g a i n s t p rovocateu rs .

The Government a n d t h e I C P d e c i ded to send L u c i a n o L a m a i n .

The d ay before, t h e Move m e n t ' s G e n e r a l Assem b l y had voted to a l low L a m a to


come in, a n d to avoi d p h y s i c a l v i o l ence, b u t to defeat him " p o l i t i c a l ly" (ie d rown
him o u t by boo i n g , w h i st l i n g , etc).

Lama came in at about 9 am, on a truck w h i ch was to be his p latform; it was


eq u i pped w i t h a powerf u l l o u d speaker system. H e was accom p a n i ed by h i s 200
I C P heavies (with Trade U n i o n "steward s " cards p i n ned to t h e i r j ackets) a n d
about 2,000 r e p s . a n d workers, hast i ly c a l led to t h e U n ivers ity by t h e U n i o n s , to
" l i berate i t from t h e Fasci s t s " .

I n t h e l a r g e open area of t h e C a m p u s where he was to s p e a k , L a m a f o u n d another


p l atform a l ready rigged u p , with a d u m m y of h i m s e l f on i t (co m p l ete w i t h h i s
f a m o u s p i pe). There w a s a b i g red c u t-out of a V a l e n t i n e ' s heart, w i t h a s l o g a n
p u n n i ng h i s name- " N es s u n o L'Ama" (Lama N o body . . . or N o body Loves H im).
A ro u n d t h i s p l atform t h e re was a band of Metro po l i t a n I nd i a n s . As Lama started
to speak, t h ey began c h a n t i n g : "Sacrif i c e s , Sacri f i c e s , We Want Sacri f i ces ! " (a
parody of the State's econom i c p o l i cy u ph e l d by the Com m u n ist Party). " B u i ld u s
M ore C h u rches a n d Fewer H o u s es ! " ( I taly h a s more c h u rc h e s t h a n a n y other
E u ropean c o u n t ry, a n d a c h ron i c hou s i n g sh o rtage). "We demand to work h a rd e r
a n d e a r n less ! "

T h i s i ro n y agg ravated t h e h u mou rless I C P heavies. About 10,000 c o m rades a n d


s t u d e n t s gathered. The A u t o n o m i sts started to p u t o n t h e i r masks.

I t wou l d be h a rd to say w h i c h side t h rew the f i rst stone. Cert a i n l y there was
p u s h i n g a n d s h ov i n g a n d exchanges of i ns u l t s which led u p to i t . V i o lence soon
broke o u t . Bricks, stones and bottles f lew t h ro u g h t h e a i r. Some Com m u n i s t Party
m e mbers received t reat m e n t (the n o n - I C P wou nd ed c o u l d not go to hospital for
fear of arrest).

The vast majority of those present, both workers and s t u d e n t s , d i d not take part
in the f i g h t i n g . They stood a ro u n d in g ro u p s . I met some reps. from a n e n g i neer
i n g factory. O n e s aid th at Lama was ' a s k i n g for i t ' . . . . H e had come to t h e
U n ivers ity to ' pou r w a t e r o n t h e f i re ' . A n o t h e r r e p . corrected h i m : ' N ot
water- g as ! ' Other workers were com p l a i n i n g that t h e U n i o n s had been very h i g h
h a n d ed i n r i n g i n g th em u p a n d tel l i n g them to come to t h e U n ivers ity, w i t h o u t a n y
ex p l a n a t i o n or d is c u s s i o n . A c l ea n i n g l a d y , w h o worked at t h e U n ivers ity Teac h i n g
H os p i t a l (a bad l y p a i d a n d overworked category ; a l so a n A u t o n o m i s t s t rong ho l d )
was heard to say: " T h e y o u g h t to s h oot h i m i n t h e m o u t h ! "

A woman, a member o f t h e Com m u n i st Party, told me: "These Autonom i st s rea l l y


a r e Fasci s t s - t hey have beaten u p workers ( i e I C P h eavies), a n d t h a t I c a n ' t ac
cept. "

After an hou r or so, Lama a n d t h e heavies retreated o u t s i d e t h e U n ivers ity, and a l l


t h e w i ndows of h i s t r u c k w e re smashed. I ns u l t s were exchanged over t h e rai l i ng s ,
w i t h e a c h s i d e c a l l i ng t h e other: " Fascists ! Fas c i s t s ! " (Th i s i s a dead l y i n s u l t o n
t h e I t a l i a n Left, a n d w i l l u s u a l l y start a f i g ht).

D u r i n g t h e afternoon, the riot-pol ice moved i nto the C a m p u s , and c l eared out a l l
t h e occ u p i e rs - w h o left b y a secondary e n t rance. About 1,000 Com m u n ist Party
m i l i t a n t s stood o u t s i d e and c l a p ped and cheered. The f o l l o w i n g day, a you n g I C P
lect u re r i n sociology at t h e U n ivers ity remarked: T h e p o l i c e were r i g h t to c l ea r t h e
U n ivers ity. There were n ' t a n y real s t u d e n t s i n t here, o n l y h i ppies, q u eers a n d peo
ple from the s l u m-d i s t r i c t s " .

The operat i o n was d u bbed " Li t t l e Pra g u e " by t h e s t u d e n t s .

101
P a i n te d
P o l i t i cs

M a u ri z i o
To re a l t a

I n t h e S p r i n g of ' 7 7 , i n t h e m i d s t of v i o l e n t
d e m o n s t r a t i o n s , n i h i l i s t i c h a p pe n i n g s were
staged in various c i t i es , e s p e c i a l l y B o l o g n a
a n d R o m e . The i r e x i s t e n ce was s h o r t- l i ved
but t h e i n ve n t i ve n e s s o f t h e M e t ropo l i t a n I n
d i a n s , t h e i r d i f f i d e n c e of rad i c a l r h e t o r i c ,
t h e i r u s e of s i m u l a t i o n a n d p a r o d y as
pol i t i c a l weapons were n o t forgotten by t h e
Move m e n t .

The term " M etropo l i t a n I nd i a n s " i s a n i nvented one. The p ress descri bes t h e m as
the i l l eg i t i mate c h i l d of a c l a ndest i n e mother and a t rad i t i o n a l M a rx i s t father. The
deta i led physical d e s c r i p t i o n presents them with m a rks pai nted on t h e i r faces as
a g ro u p whose d ec i s i o n s are not very t r u stworthy ( m o re than once t hey h ave
made arrangements for demonstrations that never occu rred) and w h i c h is u na b l e
to part i c i pate i n p u b l i c assem b l ies w i t h sen s i b l e s peec hes. The p ress conceal s
t h e fact that t hey h a b i t u a l l y break i nto shops a n d a p p ro p r i ate u se less goods
(record a l b u m s , l i q uor, s po rts clot hes). They a l so f req u e n t l y ap pear at t h e most
elegant movie t h eaters i n g ro u p s of about t h i rty peo p l e , n at u ra l l y after v i s i t i n g the
most expensive restau ran ts w h e re t hey obv i o u s l y did not pay.

The p ress often p refers to occupy itself with the m a rks o n t h e g ro u p ' s faces, w i t h
t h e i r s o n g s a n d d a n ces, w i t h t h e i r paradox i c a l s l og a n s , relegat i n g t h e "expropria
t i o n s " to t h e " s e m i - c l a n d e s t i n e i ndependents" w h o a re on t h e verge of acq u i ri n g
t h e c la ndest i n e c h a racter of t h e B u n ker.

The p ress has g ood reason to i nvent d i fferences a n d to be concerned . W hoever


p a i n t s h i s face tak i n g t h e m arks as an arbit rary c h a racterizat i o n of a f u t u re peo
ple; w hoever a p p r o p r i ates in a n exhaust ive way a l l poss i b l e terms and t reats
l a n g u ag e as a science of i m a g i n a ry s o l u t i o n s ; w h oever ref u ses to exp l a i n h i m s e l f

1 02
a n d , despite t h i s o m i s s i o n , does n ' t stop robb i n g , n o r i n fact engages i n a n y col
lective practice - such a person i s t h e agent of s u bvers i o n s which h ave g reat
s i g n i f i cance. Every e l e m e n t in the s u bvers i o n of a system m u s t be of a s u pe r i o r
l o g i c a l order.

Let u s t ry to get a n overview of t h e scene. T h e i n d u s t ry i n vo lved in t h e t ra n s m is


s i o n a n d e l aborat i o n of s i g n s i s ranked t h i rd i n t h e world on t h e bas i s of s a l e s .
C o n s i d e r a hypot h e s i s : t h e d i f f u s i o n of t h e s i g n as t h e general eq u iva l e n t of a l l
t h i ng s a n d t h e transfer of t h e prod u c t ive i n te l l i g e n ce t o m a c h i nes may i nvolve
some rad i c a l i n novat i o n s i n t h e soc i a l forms of l a n g u ag e and t h o u g h t and in t h e
f o r m s of l e g a l and j u ri d i c a l c o n t r o l . Consider t h i s f u rt h e r hypot h e s i s : t h e c reat i o n
of a soc i a l i n t e l l igence w h i c h has b e e n rendered u s e l e s s and polyva l e n t may have
g i ven rise to the soc i a l poss i b i l ity of s i m u l a t i o n or, better, to t h e prod u ct i o n of
s i g n s beyond the l aws g ove rn i n g property and the forms of control i n carn ated i n
signs.

We a re c o n v in ced t h a t t h i s e n t i re s i t u a t i o n i s c o n n ected w i t h t h e d eve l o p m e n t of


t h e u n foresee n , absurd a n d p a radox i c a l behavior that i s i m p roperly c a l led "the
p h enomenon of t h e M e t ropo l i tan I nd i a n s . "

S i nce a l l t h e " rea l contents" ( t h e referen t s of prod u c t i o n , affect, s i g n i f i c a t i o n )


th at b a l l asted t h e s i g n w i t h a k i n d of u s ef u l f o r c e of g ravity a re no l o n g e r effec
tively com m u n i cated, the s i g n s are now exchanged among t h e m s e lves w i t h o u t
a n y c o m merce w i t h some object i n rea l ity. For a soc i a l s u bject, on t h e other h a n d ,
a s u bject that i s d i ff u s e a n d fo rced i nto a re l a t i o n w i t h f l u ct u at i n g a n d i n d eter
m i nate wages (and t h e q u es t i o n of wages, by d ef i n it i o n , is t h e general referent of
a l l s i g n s), t h e " pa n g s of c o n s c i e n ce" a n d d i scou rses o n " p o l i t i c a l economy" are
c o m p l etel y u s e l ess; o n e c a n not s t ru g g l e against t ra n s i e n ce a n d d i spersion w i t h
t h e b l ows of p u rpose a n d c o n s c i e n ce .

T h u s t h e soc i a l cond i t i o n s o f s i m u l a t i o n a n d of t h e a r b i t ra ry come i nto bei n g :


t he re ari ses a soc i a l s u bject t h a t i s n o t red u c i b l e to o n e prec i s e i d e n t i ty, t h at ar
b i t rari ly i nvents o n e for i t s e l f a n d at t h e same t i m e h a n g s on t h e t h i n t h read of its
own p recar i o u s l a n g u ag e , s u spended between abso l u t e power and total a b s u rd i ty,
w a i t i n g w i t h o u t fear for some other determ i n ation of i d e n t i ty at its i n e l u c t a b l e
open i n g : th at of deris io n .

I f we i nves t i g ate th is deve l o p m e n t , m ov i n g from t h e M a rc h , 1 977 d e m o n strat i o n s


to a n i nterpretive model w h i c h s u cceeds i n comprehend i n g t h e m , i t w i l l not be d i f
f i c u l t for us to t race t h i s s e m a n t i c open m i ndedness, these m ec h a n i s m s of s i m u la
tion, to t h e h i g hest leve l s of formal l a n g u ages. The nonsense a rg u me n t i s t h e
basis of l o g i ca l , m a t h e m a t i c a l reaso n i n g and t h e const i t u t ive model of m u s i c a n d
t h e g a m e as we l l . The a n a l y s i s and i n t ro d u c t i o n of transg ress i ve and u n con
t ro l l a b l e variables i nto c o l l ec t i ve syste m s (wh i c h a re f i c t i o n a l and sympat h e t i c)
form p a rt of every good p roject i n t h e i n d u st ry of t h e spectac l e .

We hypothes ize, t h e n , t h e com i n g of a n e r a w h i c h replaces t h e bearers of t r u t h d i


v i d ed u n i o n s , p o l i t i c a l g ro u p s w i t h t h e i r i d e n t i fy i n g s i g n s and t h e i r b a n n e rs) w i t h
i n t e l l i g e n c e and s h rewd ness. T h i s e r a w i l l be based o n t h e soc i a l poss i b i l i t i es of
f a l sehood, on t h e tec h n o l o g i c a l poss i b i l i t i e s res u l t i n g from t h e destruction of
r u l es, on the f ree excha n g e of p rod u cts, s i m u l a t i o n , the game, t h e nonsense a r g u
m e n t , t h e d ream, m u s i c .

I f we n o w w a n t to retrace t h e steps t h a t l eg i t i m ize t h i s hyopthes i s i n t h e even t s


w h i c h h a v e a l ready occu rred , we m u st relate a few s c e n e s , as i n a f i l m , e v e n i f w e
a l l k n ow t h a t t h e b e s t g a g s c a n not be related. L e t u s beg i n w i t h a t i t l e :
"COSS/NO A SSA SIGA . " T h i s s l og a n w a s w r i t t e n i n C a m p o d e i F i o r i , a n d ii at
t r i butes the epith et " m u rderer" (assassino) to Cos s i g a , the M i n ister of the I nterior.
Yet w h at i s anathema h e re i s not t h e i ns u l t , b u t t h e a n a g r a m . S a u ss u re was r i g h t :
p o l i t i c a l economy h a s i t s own d i sco u rse, and t h e ve ry m u tation t h a t s t r i kes
l i n g u i s t i c s i g n s w h e n t h ey l ose their refe re n t i a l stat u s a l s o stri kes t h e categories
of political economy; t h e s a m e p rocess occu rs i n both d i re c t i o n s . In w r i t i n g , a n

1 03
anagrammatic s i g n h a s d i s pensed w i t h order: t h e poet i c p leas u re comes d i rect l y
f rom v i o l at i n g t h e f u n d a m e n t a l l a w s of h u m a n l a n g u age, f r o m s u bvert i n g t h e
d i s c i p l i n e of t h e i r v a l o r izat i o n . The a n a g ra m i n t h i s c a s e i s t h e mark of a n a n
tag o n i s t i c f o r m , a l a n g u ag e w i t h o u t e x p res s i o n , now beyond l a w s a n d t h e p u r
poses that l i n g u i s t i c s ass i g n s i t .

B u t let u s l eave t h e ex p l a nation of t h i s a n a g r a m m a t i c t i t l e to describe a few


scenes w h i c h , i n t h e i r b a l anced d i m e n s i o n a l i t y a n d i ne x p l i c a b l e s i l e n ce, a l l ud e to
fee l i n g s so v i o l e n t t h a t t hey b r u s h a g a i n st cert a i nty (as h a p p e n s i n every we l l
made f i l m) .

I ma g i n e t h e U n iversity of R o m e , a l ways seen f ro m above, w i t h a p e r i p h e ry w a l l


that detaches it f ro m t h e n e i g h bo rhood of S a n Lorenzo a n d e m p h a t i ca l l y
c h a racterizes it as a p l ace d e legated f o r i ns t i t u t i o n a l f u n c t i o n s . I ma g i n e t h e en
trance to t h e pat h s t h a t conso l i date t h e power of a huge truck, a port a b l e p l ace
d e l egated for w hoever has pret e n s i o n s to speak, even i n u n known l a n g uages; in
fact, t h e truck i s eq u i pped with powerf u l l o u d -s peakers, and i t i s f o l l owed by h u n
d reds of u n io n m e m be rs e n l i sted to m a i n ta i n l a w a n d order: it is t h e day f o r t h e
meet i n g of t h e C G L ' s secretary genera l 1 at t h e U n iversity of R o m e .

War i s a lways a n t i c i pated by t h e v i s u a l f u n c t i o n of t h e parade; i n f a c t , war i s t h e


coherent deve l o p m e n t of t h e parade. I n o u r c a s e , t h e a c t i o n w a s t h e i n t ro d u c t i o n
of " t h e u n ion l i ne at t h e u n ivers i ty " - terms t h a t a re p e r h a p s c a r e l e s s , b u t u n
dou bted l y c o n s i s t e n t .

I t i s a g a i n at t h e s e m a n t i c l eve l that t h e g ro u p ' s p rovocation organ izes t h e en


cou nter: t h e d a nc i n g M e t ropo l i tan I nd i a n s act u a l l y carry a hanged p u p pet of t h e
u n ion sec reta ry d an g l i n g before t h e m l i ke a d e s t royed i mage, a n d t h i s action
u n leashes t h e a n g e r o f t h e u n i o n ' s law-and-order g u ard . The esca l a t i o n of
weapons i s rat h e r s i n g u l a r: t h e M e t ropo l it a n I nd i a n s t h row bags f i l led with water;
t h e u n i o n i st s res po n d with t h e s p rays of f i re e x t i n g u i s hers. The I nd i a n s c h a rg e ,
d i s pers i n g a n d terroriz i n g t h e u n io n a p paratu s , l i tera l l y destroy i n g everyt h i n g ; b u t
t h ey d o n o t t a k e o v e r t h e p latform o n t h e t r u c k , a n d t hey do not s e i z e t h e
m i c rophone.

T h i s day w i l l l o n g be remem bered i n I t a l i a n p o l i t i c a l h i story; from t h a t day w i l l


g u s h rivers o f speeches o n t h e new needs o f t h e you t h f u l s t rata o f t h e pop u l a t i o n ;
on that day h u n d re d s of s e l f-c r i t i c a l and remorsef u l d i scou rses w i l l be m a d e , yet
o n l y the M etropo l i t a n I nd i a n s w i l l rema i n s i l e n t .

M a n y o t h e r t h i n g s h a p pened, t h e m o s t i m portan t of w h i c h were t h e attacks o n


t h e armories i n M arch ( t o s t e a l n o t m e r e l y g u n s , b u t ten n i s rac q u ets a n d f i s h i n g
rods as w e l l ) , t h e very v i o l e n t c lashes w i t h t h e c rowd , t h e arrests, a n d t h e a r m ed
i nterve n t i o n s . B u t t h e second i m portant scene i s not t h e batt l e . I t l ies p rec i s e l y i n
t h e p l ace o f d i scou rse.

Every p l ace d e l eg ated f o r p o l i t i c a l d i scou rse h a s a struct u re that i s q u ite s i m i l a r


to t h e Panopticon d e s c r i bed by M i c h e l Foucau l t i n Discipline and Punish. S u c h
p laces a re d es i g n ed w i t h a c e n t ra l p o i n t s i t u ated to m a i n t a i n t h e least d i stance
from t h e other p o i n t s a n d , at all events, to preserve t h e power of c o n t ro l l i n g with
o n e ' s gaze every o t h e r p o i n t of t h e p lace i n which one i s pos i t i o n e d . I t i s g e n e ra l l y
a q u es t i o n of h i g h p latforms ( s u c h as t h e t r u c k m e n t ioned earl i e r), l ocated i n c i r
c u l a r p l aces (sq u a res or h a l l s w i t h s l o p i n g t iers of seats).

In September, the M ovement of 77' or, i f you p refer, t h e M etropo l i t a n I nd i a n s


l a u n c h ed a m a s s meet i n g i n t h e c i ty of B o l o g n a . M o re t h a n a h u n d red t h o u sa n d
peo p l e responded to t h e ca l l . The s e c o n d p a rt of o u r s c ree n p lay on t h e
M e t ropo l i tan I nd i a n s i s concerned w i t h a n alyzi n g t h e s t r u ct u re of t h i s scene w i t h
t h e h u n d red t h o u s a n d extras.

The d i s po s i t i o n of m e n a n d t h i ng s i s a lways the resu l t of s t rateg ies for w a r and


contro l . M ost E u ropean c i t ies m a i n t a i n t h e a rc h i tecto n i c struct u re of m i l i t a ry

1 04
camps and med i eva l f o rt resses.

At t h e meet i n g i n September a g a i n s t repres s i o n , t h e re was a s u peri m po s i t i o n of


two g ro u p s of peo p l e and two d i fferent c i t ies of l a n g u a g e . One part of the M ove
m e n t chose as its own territory a c i rc u l a r l ocat i o n w i t h s l o p i n g seats t h a t s u r
rounded a central p l atform. I t was a s p orts arena, a p lace d e s i g n ated for a t h l e t i c
(agonis tiche) eve n t s (agonism ety m o l o g i ca l ly d erives from agon, t h e war s o n g t h a t
G reek c o m b a t a n t s s an g d ed i c a t i n g themselves to deat h . ) T h i s part of t h e M ove
m e n t , about 8000 peo p l e , was d iv i d ed and c l ashed a m o n g t h e m s elves, s m a s h i n g
c h a i rs over o n e a n o t h e r ' s heads a n d f a i l i n g to a r rive at a n y s o l u t i o n ( g e n e ra l ly , a
p o l i t i c a l s o l u t i o n is represented by a w r i t t e n m o t i o n a p proved by a majori ty).
A n o t h e r part of the M ovement, the majority, e n t e red the city, s l e e p i n g anywhere i n
t h e s t reets, u nd e r porticoes, c reat i n g a n e n o r m o u s c u rta i n , ex p l o i t i n g a few
u p r i g h t s c u l p t u res in a s m a l l s q u a re, convey i n g f u r n i t u re a n d c h a i rs o u t d oors,
c o n d u c t i n g d i s c u s s i o n s a n d s e m i nars in t h o u s a n d s of s m a l l g ro u p s , pas s i n g out
t h e l i t t l e i l l e g a l i t ies t h a t had been p rod u ced for t h e occa s i o n (fake t ra i n t i ckets,
d ru g s , keys to open t e l e p h o n e co i n boxes a n d t raff i c l i g h t s , etc.).

Thus a very i nterest i n g s i t u a t i o n was c reated . O n e part of t h e Movement s o u g h t


t h e esta b l i s h me n t - i n t h e o r d e r of s i g n s a n d d i scou rse - of a city fortress (t h e
s p o rt s arena), t h e " n ew" bas t i o n of t h e f u t u re peo p l e , i n rea l i ty t h e m a r k of a n o l d
pass i o n for c o l lect i n g i m ported practices. The majority or, rather, t h e rema i n i n g
p a rt of t h e M ovement chose n o t to est a b l i s h a city; they decided to cont i n u e be
i n g nomads, but at t h e same t i m e enter the city of the e n e m y ' s l a n g u a g e - a c i t y
t hat i s a l ways s t re n g t h e n i n g i t s f o r t i f i c a t i o n s - e v e n i f o n l y to rema i n s i l e n t , si t
tin g a ro u n d , s mo k in g, s l ee p i n g . We h ave t e r m e d t h e m n o m a d s , b u t perhaps i t i s
m o re correct to ca l l t h e m sop h i sts, i n a pos i t i o n to s i m u late, to e n t e r and l eave
the w a l l s , to master d iverse l a n g u a g es as the s i tu a t i o n d e m a n d s , in a pos i t i o n to
p l ay-act, f a l s ify, create p a radoxes, sabotage, a n d d i sappear once aga i n . T h i s type
of sophist i s a f i g u re w h o c a n i n tervene i n l a n g u ages with a n exact a n d d i st i nct
act i o n , without taking t h e m a s a despotic a n d u ny i e l d i n g tot a l ity. This gift i s of
cou rse not i n nate; i t i s a conseq u e n ce of the rel a t i o n to wages (wage s ' g e n e r a l
e q u ivalence w i t h t h e r e s t of t h i ng s , exact l y l i ke l a n g u age).

T h e M e t ropo l i tan I nd i a n s h ave stopped u s i n g the metaphor of wages, because


t h e i r enterprise i s n o l o n g e r prod u c i n g metaphors f o r i n st i t u t i o n s , b u t rat h e r effec
t i n g t h e meta m o r p h o s i s of t h e m . They wanted to c o m p e l I t a l i a n youth to reck o n
w i t h w a g e s , b u t a l so to f o rce t h e m a l l to rea l ize t h a t t h e M ovement i s t i red of
reckon i n g merely with m oney. A n d this break i n t h e scope of t h e s t r u g g l e i s at
o n c e a b reak i n l a n g u age a n d t h e forms of t h e e n c o u nter.
For a brief t i me, t h e i rreal ity, t h e d i s placement, t h e revo l u t i o n of ex i s t i n g rel a t i o n s
i s no l o n g e r t h e prerog a t i ve of capital and its acc u m u l ated i n te l l i gence. A n u n
foreseen vari a b l e has been c reated i n t h e I t a l i a n p o l i t i c a l scene: a soc i a l sector
w h i c h i s i l l e g a l m o re in its behavior than In i t s relation to wages, and w h i c h i s at
t h e same time not c la ndest i ne, even t h ou g h c landest i n e g ro u p s can f l oat around
w i t h i n i t . T h i s sector i n not red u ced a n d not red u c i b l e to t h e p rod uct ive o rder; i t i s
i ntersected a n d made l a byri n t h i ne so as to be ren d e red i nd ef i n a ble, b u t even
before t h i s , i t i s s u bjectively not o b l i g ated to any determ i nation of i d e n t ity.

We can foresee th at t h e forms of t h e organ izat i o n , correspo n d i n g to w h oever


l eaves his own d i s t i n ct i ve marks, w i l l not be precisely symbo l i c . Rather, t hey w i l l
b e a n d a re format i o n s w h i c h c a n b e constructed as t h e need a r ises a n d d isso lved
i m mediately after, not b o u n d to the criteria of p rofessiona l i s m , notw i t h st a n d i n g
a l l t h e Len i n i s m of t hose w h o b i d e t h e i r t i me. T h e i m med i ate steps to be taken by
t h ose t h e press has d u bbed t h e M e t ropo l i t a n I nd i a n s is t h e p rod u c t i o n of p rojects
in t h e f i e l d of s i m u l at i o n , f a l s i f icat i o n , a n d paradox. The program w h i c h g u ides
and w i l l g u i d e t h e M ovement aims at giving t h e i r p rojects t h e same prec i s i o n as a
k n i tted work, t h e same col lective part i c i pa t i o n as a common home, t h e same
rhyt h m i c breat h i n g as t h a t we f i nd in o u r own l ives and i n t h e p hases of o u r col
lect i ve study, t h e same ra n g e as o u r j o u rneys, t h e same organ izat i o n as our emo
t i o n a l relations, as a lways i l l e g a l b u t never c l a ndest i ne.

What i s left for u s to d o before conc l u d i n g i s f i n a l l y to forget about t h e


Metropo l itan I nd i a n s a n d o n c e agai n p reven t a M ovement f rom beco m i n g a fe t i s h ,
a hypostasi s , s hortc i rc u ited b y t h e med i a ' s d i ff u s i o n . There w i l l a lways be a n i ma l
reserves a n d I nd i a n reservat i o n s to conceal t h e fact t h a t t h e a n i ma l s a re dead,
a n d that we a re all I nd i a n s . There w i l l a lways be factories to conceal t h e fact that
p rod uction i s dead, a n d t hat i t i s everyw h e re a n d nowhere. We f o l l ow t h e momen
tum of o u r p rojects with o u r song a n d occ u py o u rse lves with other t h i n g s .

Transla ted by La wrence Venuti

I . L u c i a n o Lama i s t h e sec retary of t h e G e n e r a l Confederat i o n of W o r k e r s , c l ose to t h e I C P

i l/1 -2 Photos: Marion Scemama

1 06
T h e P ro l i fe ra t i o n
o f M a rg i n s

Fe l ix G u a tt a ri

Fel i x G u attar i , t h e a u t hor, together w i t h


G i l les Deleuze, of A n ti-Oedipus ( R i c hard
Seaver Books, 1 977), has taken an active part
in t h e defense of the i m pri soned I t a l i a n i n
t e l l ec t u a l s .

- I n teg rated world c a p i t a l i s m does not aim at a syste m a t i c a n d g e n e ra l ized


repress i o n of the workers, women, y o u t h , m i n o r i t ies . . . The means of p rod u c t i o n
on w h i c h i t rests w i l l i n d eed ca l l for a f l ex i b i l i t y i n relat i o n s h i ps of p rod u c t i o n a n d
i n soc i a l re l a t i o n s , a n d a m i n i m a l capacity to a d a p t to t h e new f o r m s of sens i b i l i
ty and to t h e new t y pes of h u m a n re lat i o n s h i ps w h i c h are " m ut at i n g " h e re a n d
t here ( i . e . e x p l o i t a t i o n by advert i s i n g of t h e " d i scoveries" of t h e m a rg i n a l s ,
relat ive t o l e ran c e w i t h regard to t h e zones of la issez-fa ire . . . . ) U nd e r t h e s e con d i
t i o n s , a s e m i -t o l e rated , s e m i - e n co u raged , a n d co-opted p rotest cou l d w e l l be a n
i n t r i n s i c p a r t of t h e s y s t e m .

- O t h e r forms of p rotest p rove, on t h e o t h e r h a n d , to be m u c h m o re d a n g e ro u s


to t h e e x t e n t th at t h ey t h reaten t h e esse n t i a l re l at i o n s h i ps on w h i c h t h i s system
i s based (t h e respect f o r work, f o r h ie rarchy, f o r State power, for t h e re l i g i o n of
cons u m pt i o n . . . ). It is i m poss i b l e to t race a c le a r and d ef i n i te b o u n d a ry between
t h e rec u pera b l e m a rg i n a l s a n d other types of m a rg i n a l i t i es o n the way to t r u l y
" m o l e c u l a r revo l u t i o n s . " T h e fron t i ers act u a l l y rem a i n b l u r red and u n s t a b l e both
i n t i me a n d in space. T h e rea l q u est i o n i s w h e t h e r this p h e n o m e n o n f i na l ly w i l l re
m a i n on the o u t s k i rts of soc iety - w hatever its scope - o r w h e t h e r it w i l l p u t i t

1 08
rad i c a l l y i n to q u estion . W h a t c h aracterizes t h e " m o l e c u l a r " h e re is t h e fact t h a t
th e Jines of fligh t m erge with th e objective lines of deterritoria liza tion of t h e
s y s tem a n d c reate a n i r revers i b l e asp i ra t i o n for new s paces of l i berty. ( A n exam
ple of one of t h ese l i nes of f l i g h t : t h e Free R a d i o s . T h e tec h no l o g i c a l evol u t i o n , in
p a rt i c u l a r t h e m i n i a t u rizat i o n of t ra n s m i tters and t h e fact t h at t he y can be
" t i n ke red with" by a m a t e u r s , meets a col lect ive a s p i rat i o n for a new means of ex
pres s i o n . )

- N u merous factors m u st be c o n s i d ered b o t h "objec t i ve l y " a n d on t h e l e v e l o f


new soc i a l p ract i ces, i n o r d e r to a p p reciate t h e poss i b i l i t ies for revo l u t i o n a ry
t ra n sformat i o n s d u r i n g t h e peri od to come:

- W i l l i nteg rated world c a p i t a l i s m s u cceed in fou n d i n g a soc i a l order accepted


by t h e g reatest n u m b e r of peo p l e and i m p l y i n g a n accen t u a t i o n of soc i a l s e g rega
tion? Ca p i t a l , in t h e West as in t h e East, i s not h i n g m o re than t h e c a p i t a l of
power, that is, a mode of s e m i o t izat i o n , of homogen izat i o n , and of t ra n s m i s s i o n
of va r i o u s f o r m s of power. ( Power over goods, over territories, power over work,
over s u bo rd i nates, t h e " i n fe r i o r s , " power over re lat ives, over t h e fam i l y, etc . . . )
O n l y t h e a p pearance of new ways of re l a t i n g to t h e world a n d to soc iety w i l l a l t e r
t h e i nd iv i d u a l ' s " l i b i d i n a l f i x a t i o n " to c a p i t a l a n d to i t s va r i o u s crysta l l izat i o n s o f
power. T h i s power can p reva i l o n l y to t h e extent t h a t a n overw h e l m i n g maj o r i ty o f
i n d i v i d u a l s n o t o n l y part i c i pate i n i t , b u t a l so u n consc i o u s l y ad h e re to i t . T h e
reversal of m o d e r n cap i ta l i s m i nvolves not o n l y t h e s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t materi a l b o n
d a g e a n d v i s i b l e forms of rep ress i o n , b u t a l s o , f r o m t h e o u t s e t , t h e crea t i o n o f
m a n y a l ternat ive set- u p s .

- For t h e last decade " batt l e l i nes" w i d e l y d if ferent f r o m t hose w h i c h p rev i o u s l y


c h a racterized t h e t rad i t i o n a l workers' movement h ave not ceased to m u l t i p l y : ( i m
m i g ra n t workers, s k i l led workers u n happy w i t h t h e k i n d of w o r k i m posed on t h e m ,
t h e u ne m p l oyed, over-ex p l o i ted wome n , ecolog i s t s , n a t i on a l i sts, m e n t a l pat i e n t s ,
homosex u a l s , t h e e l d e r l y , t h e y o u n g etc.). B u t w i l l t h e i r objectives become j u st
a n o t h e r " d e m a n d " accepta b l e to the system? O r w i l l vectors of molecu l a r revo l u
t i o n beg i n to p ro l i f e rate beh i n d t h e m ? ( U n l ocata b l e on t h e dom i n a n t coord i nates,
t h ey p rod u c e their own axes of reference, esta b l i s h u n d e r g rou n d , t ra n sve rsa l con
nections a m o n g t h e m se lves, a n d thus u nderm i n e o l d e r re l at i o n s h i ps to p rod u c
t i o n , society, t h e f a m i l y , t h e body, sex, t h e cosmos . . . )

- W i l l these m i c ro- revo l u t i o n s , t h ese p rofou n d exa m i n a t i o n s of t h e relat i o n s h i p s


w i t h i n soc iety o n l y rema i n d i v i ded i n to l i m i ted s p h e res of t h e soc i a l arena? O r w i l l
a new "soc i a l segmentat i o n " manage t o c o n n ect t h e m w i t h o u t i m po s i n g h i e rar
chy a n d seg reg a t i o n ? In s h o rt , w i l l a l l t hese m i c ro-revo l u t i o n s f i n a l l y i n i t i ate a rea l
revo l u t i o n ? W i l l th ey be a b l e to take c h a r g e of not o n l y local prob l e m s , b u t a l s o
ad m i n i s t rat ive larger eco n o m i c co n f i g u ra t i o n s ?

- A l l t h i s a m o u n t s to a s k i n g w h e t h e r we w i l l be a b l e to g o beyo nd t h e various
utopias of " re t u r n t o ' : Return to t h e sou rces, to n a t u re, to t ra nsc e n d e n ce . . . The
" obj ective" l i nes of dete r r i t o r i a l izat i o n are i rrevers i b l e. We m u s t make t h e best of
" p ro g ress" in s c i e n c e and t ec h n o l ogy, or not h i n g w i l l be poss i b l e, and world
c a p i ta l i s m w i l l always reg a i n t h e u p p e r h a n d . For i n stance, i t i s c l e a r t h a t , i n the
next few years, t h e s t r u g g l e for s e l f-dete r m i n a t i o n in Cors i ca, B r i t a n n y , e t c . , w i l l
not cease t o g a i n mome n t u m . I s n ' t t h i s a case o f " re t u rn to"? B u t w h a t i s a t
i s s u e h e re i s t h e p romot i o n o f a new Cors ica, a new B r i t a n n y , a s we l l a s a new
Sa rce l l es, a new Yve l i nes . . . S h a m e l e s s l y rew r i t i n g t h e past on t h e p l o t of an
open f u t u re. T h e d e m a n d s of t h e m i n o r i t i e s , for exa m p l e , as wel l as t hose of the
n a t i o n a l i sts, can be carri ers of a cert a i n type of State Power, a power of s u bj u ga
tion, t hat i s , a cap i t a l ist v i r u s .

- What w i l l be t h e f o r m of res istance of t h e m o re t rad i t i o n a l sectors w h i c h f i nd


t hemse lves s q u eezed by t h e p resent evo l u t i o n of i n teg rated world c a p i t a l i s m ? W i l l
t h e u n i o n a n d t h e trad i t i o n a l l e f t i s t part ies a l low t h e m se lves t o b e m a n i p u l ated
and co-opted i n def i n i t e l y by modern c a p i ta l i s m , or w i l l t hey u n d e rgo p rofou n d
transformations?

1 09
- It is i m poss i b l e to p red ict w hat form s of s truggle and organiza tion t h e revo l u
t i o n j u st beg i n n i n g w i l l a s s u m e i n t h e f u t u re. A l l a n swers re m a i n eq u a l l y o p e n
now . . .

- T h ey w i l l not be focused on q u a n t i ta t i ve objectives; they w i l l aga i n p u t i n to


q u est i o n t h e goals of work a n d t h e refore of l e i s u re time a n d of c u l t u re. They w i l l
a g a i n p u t i n to q u es t i o n t h e e n v i r o n m e n t , d a i l y l i fe, domestic l i fe, m a le-f e m a l e a n d
c h i l d -ad u l t relat i o n s h i ps, the concept i o n of t i m e , t h e mean i n g of l i fe . . .

- They w i l l not be focused s o l e l y o n the work i n g - i n d u st r i a l -q u a l i f ied-w h i te- m a l e


ad u l l c l asses. ( E n d of t h e m y t h of t h e Pou t i lof factory revo l u t i o n a r i e s , 1 9 1 7.) P ro
d u c t i o n today c a n i n n o way be i d e n t i f ied w i t h heavy i n d u s t ry. It makes use of
tool-mac h i nes as w e l l as c o m p u ters, soc i a l set u ps as w e l l as tech n i co-sc i e n t i f i c
k n ow-how. I t i s i n separable f r o m t h e mou l d i n g of t h e work-force, beg i n n i n g w i t h
c h i l d " l abor" f rom i t s earl iest years. I t l i ke w i s e i m p l ies t h e m a i n t e n a n c e ,
rep rod u c t i o n , a n d f o r m a t i o n capsu l e c o n s t i t u ted by t h e f a m i ly a n d i t s ad m i n i s t ra
t i o n , w h i c h i s in the p resent o p p ress ive cond i t i o n s , esse n t i a l l y the b u rd e n of
women . . .

- They w i l l not be focu sed o n l y on a n avant-g a rd e party conceived of as t h e


t h i n k i n g - s u bject of t h e s t ru g g l e and t h e m e a n s by w h i c h t h e w h o l e "of mass
move m e n t s " w i l l be o r i ented. T h ey w i l l be m u l t i -centered. Their d i fferent com
ponents w i l l in n o way be req u i red to ag ree o n everyt h i n g , o r to speak the same
stereot y p i c a l l a n g u age. Cont rad i c t i o n s , even i rred u c i b l e a n t ag o n i s m s , w i l l be
a l l owed to co-ex i s t . ( F o r exa m p l e , t h e spec i f i c point of view of w o m e n w i t h regard
to t h e m a l e-d o m i nated movements.) H e re c o n t rad i c t i o n does not paral yze a c t i o n ,
b u t p roves t h a t a s i n g u l a r pos i t i o n , a specific desire, i s p u t i n q u e s t i o n .

- T h ey w i l l not be focu sed on n a t i o n a l f rameworks. C lose to t h e most q u oti-


dian rea l i ty, they w i l l i n vo lve soc i a l g ro u p s w h i c h overflow all national b o u n d a r i e s .
Today every perspective of stru g g l e form u l ated o n l y w i t h i n a n a t i o n a l framwork
a n n u l s i t s e f f i cacy in advance. T h e most refo r m i st as well as t h e most revo l u
tionary parties and splinter groups (groupuscule) who specify their objective uni
q u e l y as t h e " s e i z u re of State po l i t i c a l power" c o n d e m n t h e m s e lves to
powerlessness. For i n s tan ce, the s o l u t i o n to the I t a l i a n p r o b l e m does not b e l o n g
to t h e soc i a l i sts, c o m m u n i s t s , o r a u t o n o m i s t s ! I t i m p l i es a move m e n t of s t ru g g l e
deve l o p i n g i n a m i n i m u m of fou r or f ive E u ropean c o u n t r i e s .

- T h e y w i l l not be focu sed o n a s i n g l e t heoret i c a l bod y . I t s d i fferent c o m p o n e n t s


w i l l each e l a borate, o n t h e i r own leve l , i n t h e i r ow n rhyt h m , t h e i r ow n modes o f
s e m i o t i za t i o n i n order to def i n e a n d o r i e n t t h e i r act i o n . H e re aga i n we f i n d t h e
w i t h e r i n g a w a y of o p p os i t i o n s between p rod u c t ive, s c i e n t i f i c , a n d c u l t u ra l l abor,
between m a n u a l and i n t e l lect u a l l abor.

- They w i l l ref u s e to separate exc h a n g e va l u e , use value a n d d es i re value. These


separat i o n s const i t u t e a n essen t i a l s u p port f o r power form a t i o n s c l osed i n u po n
t h e m se lves a n d for m i n g h i e ra rc h i es u p o n w h i c h c a p i ta l i s m a n d soc i a l se g regat i o n
a r e based .

- Soc i a l prod u ct i o n , u nd e r t h e control of c a p i t a l ist a n d tec h n oc rat i c " e l ites, " i s


m o re a n d m o re c u t off f rom t h e i n terests a n d d e s i res of i n d i v i d u a l s , a n d leads:

- to a system a t i c over-va l o r izat i o n of i nd u st r i e s w h i c h c o m p ro m i se t h e very


f u t u re of the h u m a n species (armaments race, n u c l e a r reac t i o n s . . . ),

- to a n u nd e r-est i ma t i o n of the esse n t ial u se-va l u es ( h u n g e r in the w o r l d , savi n g


t h e e n v i r o n m e n t . . . ),

- to t h e f l atte n i n g o u t a n d rep ress i o n of d e s i res in their s i n g u l a r i t y , t h a t i s , to


t h e loss of the m ea n i n g of l i fe.

1 10
U nd e r t hese cond i t i o n s , t h e p e rspective of revo l u t i o n a ry t ra n sformat i o n s , the col
l e c t i ve re-a p p r o p r i a t i o n of d a i l y l i fe, and a f u l l acknow l e d g e m e n t of d e s i res o n a l l
l ev el s o f society have become i n se p a ra b l e .

Tra n s lated by R i c ha rd G a r d n e r & Syb i l W a l k e r

i l/1 F e l i x G uattari I n " l ndeces" V i d eo/photo: Seth Tilet


D re a m e rs of a
S u cc e s s f u l L i fe

P a o l o V i rn o

Paolo V i rno, a m e m b e r of Metropoli, was ar


rested in J u ne , 1 979.

The prat ices and t h e l a n g u ages adopted by t h e M ovement seem to s u g g est an


a l ternate type of s o c i a l izat i o n , d i fferent t h a n t h a t based on t h e exch a n g e of
eq u iva l e n t v a l u e s . The "tec h n i ca l -sc i e n t i f i c i n t e l lect", "off-t he-books" l a bor, t h e
fem i n ist movem e n t , y o u n g proletarians, e t c . may be s e e n as parts - not red u c i b l e
to any w h o l e - of a composite prax i s i n w h i c h prod u c t i o n a n d e m a n c i pation are
i ntertw i ned. T h i s praxis cannot be u nderstood t h ro u g h a n i d e n t i ty p ri n c i p l e found
ed on categories of commod i ty. As far as soc i a l c h a n g e i s concerned, what
c o u n t s more a n d m ore i s not t h e c o m m o n l y accepted def i n it i o n of l abor force, b u t
rather a l l t h e aspects of t h e activity of t hese i nd iv i d u a l s w h o f i n d t h e m s e l ves i n
oppos i t i o n to t h a t d ef i n i t io n . W h a t c o u n t s i s t h e q u a l i tative c o n s i stency, p ro
f o u n d l y varied, of t h e i r "doi n g " . To u nd e rsta n d t h i s pro l i ferat i o n of t h e concrete
a n d t h e different w i t h i n soc i a l ized labor req u i res a conste l l a t i o n of materia l i s t i c
concepts w h i c h a r e tota l l y detached f r o m t h a t universality c h a racteris t i c of t h e
" g eneral eq u iva l e n t " a n d w h i c h a r e n o t u sed as t h e bases or s y n t h e s i z i n g
elements for t h e a c t u a l processes of l i berat i o n . T h u s i t i s t h e e m p i r i c a l
percept i b l e determ i n ateness of h u man l a b o r , t h e spec i f i c q u a l itative r i c h ness of
l abor's use va l u e , w h i c h const i t u tes a n a u t o n o m o u s and powerf u l means for
u nd e rsta n d i n g the tota l i ty of t h e p rod u ct i o n process. The d i rectly soc i a l d i men
s i o n of labor- w i t h i n which d i me n s i o n t h e re i s no f u rther d i s t i n c t i o n between
"complex" a n d " s i m p le" l a bor, t h o u g h the concept of i m med iate p rod u c t i o n is

112
m od i f i ed - makes of u s e va l u e, of p h y s i c a l ity, a criterion for u n dersta n d i n g w h i c h
i s n o t a t a l l retrog rade, b u t rather, i n the e n d , " post-G a l i l e a n " , t h a t i s to say, m o re
s i g n i f i ca n t th an t h e q u a n t i f i cation a n d t h e e q u iva l ent-as s i g n i n g w h i c h p reva i l i n
exchange system s .

M e n a n d w o m e n , factory workers and m a rg i n a l workers of every s pecies, t h e p a rt


l y e m p l oyed and the p a rt l y u ne m p l oyed , a l l derive from t h e i r a rt i c u l ated presence
w i t h i n the system of p rod u c t i o n a welter of i ns i g h t s , tec h n i q u es, and tastes t h a t
a re antag o n i s t i c to the ass i g n i ng of va l u e. Dr e a m e r s of a s u ccess f u l l i fe perceive
in t h e p rocess of labor t h e means to escape from t h e i r d ream l a n d ; i n the
t a n g i b l e-yet b l oc ked a n d i nc o m p lete- sepa rat i o n between p rod u c t i o n a n d the
a s s i g n i n g of value, t h ey perceive t h e p r i n c i p a l route for a d i a l ec t i c of l i berat i o n .
H owever, it h a p p e n s - a n d h e re one may t h i n k of t h e p a rabo l a t raced by t h e
" g reat d isorder" of 1 97 7 - t h at t h e n e w l e v e l atta i ned by t h e soc i a l izat ion of l a b o r
may not c o m e to be m a n i fested i n t h e m i l ie u f r o m w h i c h i t s p r a n g , that i s , i n t h e
p rod u c t i o n of material g o o d s a n d i n t h e s c i e n t i f i c a p pa rat u s needed for s u c h p ro
d u ct i o n ; labor a g i t a t i o n has not affected t h e forms of t h e p rod u c t i o n p rocess, and
has not been able to attack in a w i d e-ra n g i n g and s i g n i f i ca n t way t h e l i n k bet
ween the f u n c t i o n i n g of c a p i t a l i s t management and the f u n c t i o n i n g of coord i n a
t i o n as exerci sed by t h e " g e neral ized i n t e l l ec t " . O n e f i n d s - a n d o n e w i l l
d o u bt l ess f i n d for a l o n g t i m e t o come-a s t r i k i n g g a p between a move m e n t
w h i c h re-p rod uces i t s e l f d a i l y i n t h e p rocess of l a bor a n d t h e s e l f-ex p ress i o n o f
th at movement, w h i c h q u ite o f t e n i s s i t u ated " e l sewhere".

"OUT OF DELICACY The conseq uence of this " i m passe" i s that t h e ret h i n k i ng for p u r poses of eman
I HAVE FOR FEITE D c i pation of t h e re l at i o ns h i p between labor a n d soc i a l izat i o n , i nstead of a r r i v i n g at
MY LI FE" OR: THE a transformed a n d e n r i ched conception of p rod u c t i o n , g ives rise to an ext raor
PAIN F U L MYTH O F d i n ary b u rgeo n i n g of i d e o l ogy, the p r i n c i pa l c h a racter i s t i c of w h i c h i s a p i n i ng f o r
A "PU RE a " p u re " soc i a l izat i o n , d e t a c h e d from t h e s p here of material a c t i v i t y and by
SOCIALIZATION" d e s i g n not re lated to the h i storical forms by w h i c h n a t u re i s a p propriated. I f
bod ies cont i n u e t o b e meas u re d , t h e i r eq u ivalents determ i ned, i f they con t i n u e to
be mortified by t h e c a p i t a l - l abor exchange, t h e n t h e poss i b i l ity of reac h i n g a n o n
m u t i l ated soc i a l i za t i o n seems to l i e i n a n i n d e f i n ite e x p a n s i o n of i n terpers o n a l
re l at i o n s h i ps , brou g h t about t h ro u g h i nterac t i o n : a g i t a t i o n , behavior, need s ,
l a n g u ages.

Work and i nterac t i o n , or " i n s t r u m e n t a l act i o n " a n d "com m u n i cative act i o n " , are
seen - i n this c o n f u sed pot of idology-as two tota l ly separated poles, w i t h o u t
a n y rec i p rocal c o n n e c t i o n : on t h e o n e h a n d t h e p rax i s of l a bor, d i v i ded d o w n t h e
m id d l e b u t conceived u n d e r a s i n g l e head i n g as t h e i m pa rt i n g of va l u e ( a n d
t h u s - as far as t h e a c t i v i t y o f t h e i n d iv i d u a l i s concerned - tota l l y d e v o i d of rela
t i o n s h i ps, operat i n g as m o n o l og); on t h e other h a n d , f ree relat i o n s h i p s based o n
d ia log between peo p l e w h o g ra n t e a c h other " re c i p rocal recog n i t i o n " as bearers
of pet i t i o n s for e m a n c i p a t i o n . In s h o rt: in the rea l m of p rod u c t i o n , a sanct i o n i n g
of the u ncontested hegemony of exchange va l u e ; i n t h e rea l m of d i st r i b u t i o n on ly,
a red i s covery of u s e v a l u e .

I n f a c t , t h e d i st i nct ive as pect of t h i s fantasy-l a n d soc i a l ization i s a sort of " s t r u g


g l e for recog n i t i o n " on t h e part of u n h a p py m i nd s : u n rep ressed i n d ivid u a l ity m u st
be e m b raced w i t h a l l needs a n d desi res by other i nd i v i d u a l ities, if o n l y on t h e
letters-to-the-ed i t o r p a g e of t h e newspaper. A n t ag o n i s m i s de-mate r i a l ized a n d
constantly red uced to t h e past i m e of c r i t i c a l ref l e c t i o n on the i na u t h e n t i c ity of
d a i ly l i fe; in t h e backg rou n d l oo m s the a l l-powerf u l category of com mod ity-form
(the c r i s i s of w h i c h i s not perceived i n the rea l m of p rod u c t ion), w h i c h constra i n s
a n d i n h i b i t s rec i p rocal recog n i t i o n i n relat i o n s h i ps based o n d o m i n a t i o n . W h a t i s
req u i red f o r i n te ract ion between i n d i v i d u a l s to f l o w freely i s , i n rea l ity, t h e
m a i ntenance of t h a t u n ivers a l ity a n d e q u ivalence of va l u e s prom i sed b y t h e
system of e q u iva l e n t e x c h a n g e - b u t t hese prom i ses a re a l ways bet rayed by t h e
esse n t i a l i neq u ity of t h e se l l i n g and b u y i n g relat i o ns h i p w h i c h p reva i l s between
c a p i t a l and the labor force. In short, "pure " socia liza tion, which is irreleva n t or in
adequate in defining the praxis of labor, boils do wn to the demands for a "fair ex
change ", or one which will not make the warm-blooded in terior space of in-

1 13
dividuals seem worthless.

The point i s t h i s: i f o n e cannot detect i n t h e fabric of a g i t a t i o n t h e ready poss i b i l i


ty for a soc i a l izat i o n w h i c h is no l o n g e r reg u l ated by t h e market p l ace, b u t i n stead
based d i rectly on l a bor, taken as the possess i o n of the power and the s k i l l to pro
d u ce, or l a bor "as s u bj ectivity " - t h e n i t i s i nevitable that the re l at i o ns h i p bet
ween labor and soc i a l ization s h o u l d cont i n u e to be med iated by the d i s t r i b u t i o n
a s p e c t . A " j u s t " exch a n g e t h u s rep resen t s a f i n a l , twisted i l l us i o n t h a t t h e
abstract f o r m i n w h i c h wea l t h i s produced i s be i n g recon c i led to t h e d i s parate
n a t u res of i n d iv i d u a l s , who as p i re to a com m u n ication-c i rc u l a t i o n f reed from
d o m i nation rel a t i o n s h i ps. So there is no reason to be a s tonished tha t this version
of socia liza tion does n o t con templa te the use of violence: given tha t such
socia liza tion comes in to being a lready "separa te "- with agita tion and libera tion
campaigns constituting an a u tonomous universe-it does n o t even conceive the
need to define-precisely by means of violence- the separa tion between an
tinomical elemen ts present in production.

The ideology of libera tion, frozen in the purity of those guaran tees which have
been given to workers, is n o t capable of envisaging the degree of liberty which
can result from the use of violence as a function specific to the further s ocia liza
tion of labor.

NEEDS AN D A l so entwi ned i n t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n perspective a p pear to be " theories of n eeds " ,


I DEOLOGY. THE vari o u s l y construed w i t h i n t h e movement. W h a t i s a l most a l ways i g n o red i s t h e
HELLER CASE more or less c o m p lete lack of autonomy of t h e " system of needs " , t h a t i s t h e
dependence of t h e system on t h e h i storical f o r m of l a bor. T h i s overs i g h t i s f o u n d
e v e n i n t h e m o s t penet rat i n g a u t h o rs.

M s . H e l ler, for exa m p le - a n d t h e exam p l e i s s i g n i f icant beca use of t h e w e i g h t


w h i c h her t heses h ave carried w i t h o u r c o m ra d es - has detected , i n t h e vari o u s
con notat i o n s w i t h w h i c h M arx e m p l oys t h e term " need " , t h e c l ea r presence of a
" j u d g e m e n ta l " a p p roach i n eco n o m i c c r i t i q u es : accord i n g to H e l ler, act u a l "dete r
m i nations of va l u e " are at t h e bottom of t h e p r i n c i pa l Marxian categories. " I n h i s
works , " H e l l e r writes, " t h e p r i n c i p a l tendency i s to consider concepts of need a s
extra-econ o m i c , h i storical-p h i l osoph i c a l categories, t h a t i s , as a n t h ro p o l o g i c a l
categories of val ue , a n d as s u c h , not suscept i b l e to def i n i t i o n w i t h i n t h e
econ o m i c syst e m . " T h e s e needs, t h e n , prec i s e l y because t hey b u rst o u t of a n d
transcend t h e narrow b o u n daries of t h ose c o n c e p t s f o u n d i n p o l i t i c a l eco n o m ics,
constitute t h e foundations necessary for a s u perior organ izati o n of p rod u c t i o n .

B u t t h i s transcen d e n t a l conception of n e e d s , w h i c h become t h e true privi l eged


seat of s u bjectivity rega i ned, cannot help b u t pay t h e price of its e t h i c a l a n d an
t h ropolog i c a l ori g i n s. The system of bas i c needs, p reci s e l y because i t i s s i t u ated
in a space struct u ra l l y d i ffere n t than that occ u p i ed by the " real abstrac t i o n s " of
capita l i st society, becomes rat h e r i n effective as a means of c r i t i q u i n g from w it h i n
t h e f u l l wei g h t of econo m i c categories, a n d i nstead is l i m ited t o coex istence w i t h
these categories, bri n g i n g no s u bsta n t i a l c h a nges to t h e m .

H e l ler, u n l ike m a n y of h e r readers, caref u l l y refra i n s f r o m conf i n i ng t h e n e w needs


to some u nspec i f ied expansion of c o n s u m e r i s m a n d i n stead strives to read t h e m
i n rel a t i o n to a rec o n s i d e red a p p rec i a t i o n of t h e goal- a n d p l an n i ng-oriented
n a t u re of l a bor. N evert h e l ess, she cannot h e l p fee l i ng that t h e
" c o u n ter-econ o m y " , to w h i c h her w r i t i n g s i m p l i c i t l y refer, i n no w a y u nd e r m i nes
t h e u n iversa l l y preva i l i ng system of wage-ea r n i n g l a bor; rather, she l i m its herse l f
t o d ef i n i n g marg i n a l spaces w i t h i n w h i c h a renewed "system of e t h i c a l c o n d u c t "
can be c u l t u red. E t h i c a l M a rx i s m , e v e n i n t h e most u p-to-date vers i o n s , c a n not
avoi d paperi n g over t h e rel at i o n s h i p w h i c h exists between c r i t i q u e s of c a p i t a l is t i c
eco n o m i c f o r m s a n d t h e compos i t i o n of s u bjectivity, preferr i n g to cons i g n t h e l a t
ter to a " theory of v a l u e s " . M ore genera l l y , t h e p retense of ded u c i n g t h e
transformed form of l abor i n a "society of confederated p rod ucers" t h ro u g h stu
dying t h e a rt i c u l a t i o n a n d t h e q u a l ity of soci a l needs amounts to repeat i n g the
p o i n t of view fou n d in t h e g reat bourgeois ideolog ies and a p p l y i n g it to the

1 14
s p ec i f i c theme of t h e t ra n s i t io n to com m u n is m . Q u i t e early, Hegel and S m i t h
p o i n ted u n hesitat i n g l y to t h e i n f i n ite m u l t i p l ication a n d spec i f ication of needs a s
t h e d i s t i n ct ive tra i t of post-feu d a l society. T h u s t hey t u rned f rom t h e market p l ace
to l a bor: the o m n i present exc h a n g e of p rod ucts i s such that t h e i nd iv i d u a l no
l o n g e r works for his own concrete need, b u t for t h e abstract ion of a general ized
need; conseq u e n t l y labor too becomes abst ract and g e n e ra l ized. The q u a l ity of
t h e need cond i t i o n s the q u a l ity of t h e l a bor; t h e abst ract i o n of need is precu rsor
to the abstraction of l a bor; the modern form taken by the d is t r i b u t i o n of wea l t h
dete r m i nes, for H e g e l a n d S m i t h , t h e f o r m of t h e prod u ct ion of wea l t h .

From t h e beg i n n i ng , t h e a n t h ropology of need has c e l e b rated its r i t e s i n t h e d o


m a i n of d is t r i b u t i o n : t h i s fate h a s befal le n H e l l e r as wel l , for she l i m i ts h e rse l f to
c reat i n g a m i rror i mage of t h e classical f i g u re of " ho m o oecono m i c u s " , rep l a c i n g
t h i s c h a racter w i t h t h e eq u a l l y a n t h ropolog i c a l m o d e l of a n i nd i v i d u a l r i c h i n
rad ic al needs.

LABOR AND NEE DS: M arx, in f i x i n g t h e rel at i o n s h i p between needs a n d l a bor, reverses t h e order of t h e
TOWAR D A CRITI seq uence a n d locates t h e g e n e s i s of needs w i t h i n t h e s t r u ct u re of abstract l a bor:
QUE OF THE MOVE " I n a s m u c h as labor i s labor to earn wages a n d its i mm ed i ate goal i s m o n ey, a
MENT g e n e ra l wea l t h is set as i t s object and a i m . . . M oney as goal h e re becomes t h e
means for t h e g e n e r a l laboriosity. Peo p l e p rod uce g e n e r a l wea l t h so t hat t h e y can
gain possess io n s of i t s toke n . " I f t h e i m med iate goal of abstract labor i s not t h i s
o r t h a t part i c u l a r prod uct b u t rather " t h e general form of wea l t h " (money), t h e n i t
i s c l e a r that soc i a l needs n o l o n g e r represent e i t h e r t h e p o i n t of departu re or t h e
p o i n t of arrival f o r t h e p rocess of prod u c t i o n ; i n stead t h ey constitute a " m id d l e
t e r m " i n t h e route t ravel ed by " money as c a p i t a l " . N eeds t h e m se l ves a r e s e e n as
needs for a general e q u i va l e n t . A n d , g iven that t h i s g e n e ra l eq u ivalent is t h e
s p ec i f i c p rod u c t of p a i d l a bor, t h e " system of need s " necessar i l y t e n d s to
rep rod uce th at part i c u l a r l i n k between i n d i v i d u a l s a n d g e neral wea l t h w h i c h is
esta b l i s h ed p rec isely by t h e c a p i ta l i st form of labor. T h e refore: the needs of paid
labor consist in the reproduction of paid labor.

W h e n t h e accent is p laced e m ph a t i c a l l y on t h e antagon i s t i c i m m ed iacy of needs,


one loses sight prec i s e l y of t h at "expanded rep rod u c t i o n " of t h e p reva i l i n g soc i a l
relat i o n s h i ps , of t h e l a b o r force taken as goods, w h i c h i s i m p l i c i t i n t h e "system
of needs" th at has evolved from t h e abstract i o n of value. Thus one neg lects the
"coercion to repeat" w h i c h i s i n herent in t h e general eq u ivalent. Then t h e s m u g
a n d u na n a l y t i c a l adoption of o n e ' s o w n existent i a l rad i c a l ness - s i l e n t o r
vociferous, i t hardly matters- as a pole of i nevitable conf l ict c o m e s near to b e i n g
a labor of S i s y p h u s , a f l i g h t w h i c h "always a m o u n t s to a forced repet i t i o n of t h e

7
... -
. ..
..

t -

l .



state from w h i c h o n e f l e d . "

I n t h e same w a y , a s f a r as col lective processes a re concerned, t h e " A m e r i c a n iza


t i o n " of the behavior of non-work i n g class labor and the ext rem ist s t ru g g l es op
pos i n g i n d u st r i a l reform and defen d i n g the old c l ass organ izat i o n c a n be seen as
two from a m o n g t h e m a n y poss i b l e exa m ples of a " rad i c a l need i n g " in which is
i n scri bed a priori t h e reprod uc t i o n of d o m i n a t i o n . Other exam p l es: t h e forms of
agitation by w h i c h needs are m a n ifested come u nder d is c u s s i o n as a matter of
cou rse. I s it necessary to repeat that Carn i t i ' s h a rd-nosed brand of labor u n io n i s m
i s a hand-me-down f r o m t h e ru l i ng c lass? A n d that even t h e m o s t extreme forms
of agitation cannot redeem a content that i s s u baltern? That o n e can p re p a re
onese l f for f u l l e m p loyment, w h i l e st i l l b e i n g less advanced t h a n t h e y o u n g p ro
letarian who has m a n y jobs, a l l precarious, a l l i nterchangeable, and w h o wants
not h i n g to d o with a permanent pos i t i o n ?

T o rep resent t h e c o l lection of n e e d s w h i c h t h e movement ex h i b i t s a s a p l u ra l i s t i c ,


eve n l y-we i g h ted s e t of elements w i t h o u t h i e rarchy i s an i l l u s i o n t h a t has no
sense: t here is a lways h ie rarchy, a n d o n e m u s t find what t h e p r i n c i p l e i s t h a t
reg u l ates a n d c lass i f ies. To t h i s e n d , M a r x i a n a r g u ments s h ow c learly t h e
necessity of d i s c u s s i n g t h e theme of n e e d s i n t e r m s of t h e a l l- i m portant form
which labor activity assu mes. T h i s necessity p reva i l s whether t h e perpetu a t i o n of
capita l istic relat i o n s h i ps of prod u c t i o n o r t h e exact opposite i s bei n g c o n s i d e red .
E i t he r one or t h e other: e i t he r needs a re ordered by money and abstract l abor, o r
t hey a r e f i ltered a n d arranged i n a h i e rarchy i n accordance w i t h a l l t h e ram i f ica
tions of t h e soc i a l aspect of t h e labor process, w h i c h i s no l o n g e r measu ra b l e i n
terms of t h e l a w of va l u e . Obviously, to take t h e p rod uctivity of t h e "soc i a l i n
d i v i d u a l " a s a c r i t i c a l parameter f o r needs does n o t mean resort i n g to a n y very
idea l i s t i c " reg u l atory idea"; on t h e contra ry , w h a t organ izes t h e c h a i n of needs
here, e l evat i n g some and p u s h i n g others into the m a rg i n , i s not t h e f u t u re of the
utopian society, but t h e present rea l ity of a divided production in w h i c h t h e re ex
i sts, o n t h e materia l leve l , a d ifferent a n d h i g h l y efficacious coa l i t i o n of t h e forces
of p rod u c t i o n , a m o u n t i n g to a new p r i n c i p l e o f syn t h e s i s . In short: from the reality
of a broadened concep t of labor s tems a hierarchy of needs orien ted toward
emancipa tion, a hierarchy which is an tithetical to the one manda ted by the
general equiva len t.

THE SOCIAL I n t h e composite s t ru c t u re of t h e soc i a l work-day, in its i n homogeneous a n d


WORK- DAY, THE f rag mented a rt i c u l a t i o n , t i m e d o e s not p a s s eve n l y . T i m e i s not a l ways t h e e m pty
INDIVI DUAL, THE a n d abstract i ndex f o r assi g n i n g va l ue, a u n i t of meas u re in itse l f . The
BODY. s i m u ltaneous p rese n c e - a n d the rat h e r h a p h azard com b i nation - of work as
"coord i n a t i o n " a n d " s u pervi s i o n " , toget h e r w i t h e m b ryon i c elements of c o u n te r
economy, s u b m i s s i o n to t h e mach i n e or nomad i s m a m o n g m a n y a n d various
precarious activities, esta b l ishes a p l u ra l i s t i c percept i o n of t i m e , a d ivers i fied
percept ion deeply m arked by t h e "s pace" of t h e experience. U n re m u ne rated
soc i a l cooperat i o n , o r w h at l it t l e of i t i s fou n d today-and t h at see m i n g
somet h i n g of a fet i s h - as a potent aspect of h u ma n labor, restores to p rod u c t i o n
t i m e b o d y a n d q u a l ity, feel i n g and rel at i o n s h i p s , t h e pleas u re of u nd e rst a n d i n g
and t h e des i re to organ ize w i t h t h e g reatest poss i b l e tact i c a l i n te l l i g e n c e one's
own h atred. W i t h i n this " d i a c h ro n i c zone" of t h e work-day i s a l s o s i t u ated the
p ro b l e m of hedon i s m , of rea l ized h a p p i ness, of t h e restored power of t h e category
of t h e i n d iv i d u a l , beyond any ideolog i c a l parody of t h e s e l f .

I n t h e experience of p rod u c t i o n - as r i c h as i t i s c o n f l ict-ri d d e n - of a y o u n g


worker or a you n g e n g i n eer, i n that externa l ness of the part i c u l a r assig ned task,
in that i nternal ness w h e re t h e conscious ness of cooperation l ies, the pote n t i a l
" f u l l s i g n i ficance" o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l no l o n g e r a p pears as a n effect of t h e poverty
of soc i a l rel a t i o ns h i ps - as in preca pita l is t i c eco n o m i c organ izat i o n s - b u t rat h e r
the res u l t of t h e acknowledged u n iversal i ty o f t h ese rel a t i o n s h i ps . H a t red a n d
s c o r n at "work i n g u nd e r t h e b o s s " express t h e pot e n t i a l for an i m med i ate cor
respondence between t h e prod u c t i o n act ivity of t h e i n d i v i d u a l a n d t h a t of t h e
species; t h u s t h e poss i b i l ity for a n automat ized a p p ropriat i o n i n t h e exter n a l
rea l m a n d a f u l l a p p reciation of " i nternal n at u re " , t hat is, prec i s e l y of t h e i n -

116
d i v i d u a l a n d h i s or h e r body. I f cap i t a l i s t i c society c o n cea l s t h e connection bet
ween labor and n a t u re ("The b o u rgeoi s i e has good reason to att r i b u t e a s u per
n a t u r a l c reative force to l abor", as M a rx s a i d) - s u bs u m i n g t h e connection
beneath the r u b r i c of p rod uctive l a bor, i n which p rod u c t i v i ty i s somet h i n g p u re l y
soc i a l - o n t h e o t h e r h a n d t h e connection i s reh a b i l i tated i n " q u a l itat ive" t i me,
w h i c h i nf i l t rates t h e work-day, p o i n t i n g to t h e contrad i c t i o n s i n i t .

The natu ra l corporea l rea l i ty o f i n d ivid u a l , h i s o r h e r soc i a l ly e n r i ched s e n s e s , i n


stead of const i t u t i n g t h e ted i o u s a n d s u perf l uo u s e m p i r i c a l zone i n w h i c h va l u e i s
p ro d u ced, s u ggest a d i fferent criterion of prod u ctivity, n o longer based o n t h e
b l i nd necess ity of s e l f-preservat i o n or " t i me-sav i n g " , b u t rath e r o n t h e variegated
t i me of consci o u s p l a n n i n g act ivities.

Which, after all, i s what M arx a l l u d ed to w h e n h e spoke of t h e com poser of m u s i c


a n d t h e work of a rt as a n t i c i p a t i o n s i n terms of f o r m of p rod u c t i o n w i t h o u t
d o m i nation.

Transla ted by Jared Becker

i l/ 1 -2 " F i bonacci 1 202" Mario M e rz, 1 970. Sperone editore , Turi n


H eg e l
a nd the
Wo b b l i e s

E ri c A l l i ez

The experience of the I t a l i a n M ovement has


t h rown a new l i g h t on o n e of the most
o r i g i n a l forms of organization devel oped
w i t h i n the American proletarian movement at
the beg i n n i ng of t h i s c e n t u ry. The Wobb l i es
(I nternat i o n a l Workers of the World) were
mob i l e m i l itants w h o t r i ed to organ ize i m
m i g rant workers t h ro u g h o u t t h e coun try.

The State has been red u ced to a senseless mac h i n e that nevert h e less works; a
center-less mac h i n e that absorbs val ue-t i m e a n d s peaks t h e abstract l a n g ua g e of
mobi l i ty of labor, of work s p read t h ro u g h s pace a n d through dai l y l ife. The
m a rg i n s are at t h e center: at t h e center of t h e a ssi g n i n g of va l u e , at t h e center of
soc i a l ized prod u c t i o n . The Wobbly f i g u re re-emerges in t h e form of the fragmented
worker. A n ex p e r i e n c e l o n g - removed from i ns t i t u t i o n a l ized worker move m e n t s ap
pears to u s as the p resent-day form of organ izat i o n . The h o bo. H e g e l , at o n e
p o i n t , can n o l o n g e r ex p l a i n or u nderstand t h e f a c t that t h e lack of territor i a l ity
(of Power a n d of t h e i n s u bo rd i nate c l ass) i s not e q u iva l e n t to t h e territo r i a l i t y of
t h e I nd i v i d u a l , t h e State, Pol it ics, a n d t h e Po l i t i c a l Party. At that point, perhaps,
o n e may beg i n to g ra s p w hat route freedom a n d autonomy take w i t h i n t h e u rban
society.

T h e p rocess of ass i g n i n g va l u e comes o u t of the factory , expands every w h e re : i n


t h e city, i n u rban s pace, i n t h e home, a n d i n t h e existence of m i l l i o n s of w o rkers
a n d no n-work i n g workers such as t h e u ne m p loyed, m a rg i n a l s , d ru g-ad d icts, in the
p ro l i fe rat i o n of pa rt-t i m e a n d "off-the-books" work, a n d i n t h e i n f i n ite forms by
w h i c h t i m e ass i g n s v a l u e . What i s the proleta r i a n i n d iv i d u a l l i ke? Labor force
mob i l ity, t h e l ac k of p ro l etarian territo r i a l ity, the h i storical experience of the Wob-

118
b l i e s i n t h e '20 ' s a m o u n t to t ho u s a n d s u p o n t ho u s a n d s of m ob i l e workers w h o
move f rom o n e p a r t of t h e c o n t i n e n t to t h e o t h e r . An experience w h i c h tota l ly
escapes t h e t rad i t i o n a l i d e o l o g i c a l and organ izat i o n a l schemes of t h e M a rx i sts,
Len i n i sts, L i n kskom m u n i sts, a n d i n -factory u n i o n s . T h e Hegelian categories of
d i a lect i c s c a n n ot deal w i t h the rea l i ty of a soc i a l organ izat i o n of labor, t h e d i sa p
p e a r a n c e of t h e labori n g i n d i v i d u a l , nor t h e practi ces of a move m e n t w h i c h
ref uses t o b e red uced to t h e terri t o r i a l izat i o n of a party or p rog ra m . I t i s t r u e t ha t
t h e American rebe l l i o n s h ave n e v e r p rod u ced a form of c o n s c i o u s ness of soc i a l
rea l i ty as a l l-encom pass i n g as t h e H e g e l i a n - M a rx i s t d i a lect i c s , nor a f o r m o f
p o l i t i c a l p l a n n i n g as a l l-encom pass i n g as the i ns u rrec t i o n to c o n q u e r Power. A
weakness of t h e A m e r i c a n move m e n t , as is ex p l a i ned by t rad i t i o n a l M a rx i s m ,
w h i c h i n fact d i sregards t h e h i story o f t h i s u n orthodox move m e n t ; or i s i t rather
t h a t a rea l society in move m e n t cannot be red uced to t h e formal schemes of a n
a l l-encom pass i n g d es i g n ?

I t i s n o t b y c h a n ce i f today w e pose t h i s q u est i o n . T h e e n d of t h e factory as a


central place of exploitation; breaking up of leisure time, reassembled only in the
abstract con t i n u u m of V a l u e : i n I t a l y t h e C E N S 1 s 1 d i scovers t ha t t h e econom i c a l l y
s o u n d sectors a r e t hose w h e re t h e i rreg u l ars a n d the m a rg i na l s a re e m p loyed.
T h e factory becomes a sort of soc i a l w e l f a re f o r u n p roduct ive workers. I t i s evi
dent th at t h e form of organ i z a t i o n of America's w o rk i n g c l ass can only f u n c t i o n
as a d r i v i n g belt between t h e S t a t e and r a n k s of u n p rod uct ive workers w h o a r e
a lways a i ded, i ns u re d , a n d become, p a radox i c a l ly, parasites. The parasi tes, s u c h
as extrem i s t s , d r u g a d d i c t s , m a rg i na l s , a n d degenerates a r e t h e m o t o r of a p ro
d u c t ive u p-sw i n g . We dec l a re t h i s w i t h o u t the h a u g hty a t t i t u d e of a n e m p loyer,
b u t recog n ize i t s i m p l y as a p o l i t i c a l defeat. We were not a b l e to organ ize the
movement of t h e non-g u a ra nteed workers i nto a move m e n t of f reed o m , t h a t is,
m a k i n g i n tel l i gence a u t o n o m o u s as a p rod uct ive force. We were not able to make
a n autonomous force of t h e m o b i l i ty of l a bor a n d , espec i a l l y , of i n t e l l i g e n ce, the
i nvent ive power of t h e young proletariat and of t h e e d u cated yo u n g , w h o are the
carriers of tec h n ical-sc i e n t i f i c know-how. H ere l ies t h e prob l e m , a n d we s h o u l d
beg i n anew.

Transla ted by William Pagno tta

1. C E N S I S : Center for Soci o-ec o n o m i c S t u d i es (Rome).

1 19
Let ' s d o
J u s t i ce t o o u r
C o m ra d e P . 38

In Apri l of 1 977, a new e l e m e n t s u rfaced onto


the pol i t i ca l scene: c o m rade P.38. I t ap
peared at t h e time of t h e v i o l e n t c l ashes w i t h
the pol i ce i n Bolog n a a n d Rome. I t s i n trod uc
t i o n was i n tended to c h a l l e n g e the
c l andes t i n e n a t u re of t h e Red Brigade's
operat i o n s and encou rage i l l e g a l , but collec
tive , forms of act i o n .

There was a g reat n eed for t h i s , c o n s i d e r i n g t h e c o n f u s i o n re i n i n g among the


zea l o u s d i rectors of t h e d i s i nformation newspapers. Late l y , on several occas i o n s ,
we h a v e h eard t a l k of a p h antom "38 spec i a l " . We l l , t h i s w e a p o n no l o n g e r e x i s t s .
I t i s t h e prod uct of t h e perverse i m a g i n a t i o n of j o u r n a l ists w h o c o n f u se t h e
trademark of a p a rt i c u l a r w e a p o n (the W a l t h e r 3 8 , t h e n u m ber 38 referri n g to t h e
year of m a n u factu re) w i t h t h e 3 8 spec i a l , w h i c h i s not a p a rt i c u l a r w e a p o n o r
mod e l , b u t a c a l i ber, a n d , moreover, n o t a ca l i be r u sed i n s e m i a u t o m a t i c p i s t o l s
( l i ke t h e W a l t h e r), b u t i n revo lvers.

Let u s c l a ri f y t h e d i fference between revo lvers, s e m i automatic p i s t o l s , and


automatic weapo n s :

T h e revo lver i s c o m p r i s ed of a f ixed barre l , m o u nted on a m ec h a n i s m , a n d a


revo l v i n g cy l i nd e r w h i c h has d i fferent b reec hes for t h e cart r i d g e s .

Automatic weapons ( m ac h i n e g u ns) are those w hose f i r i n g , w h e n o n e k e e p s one's


f i n ger pressed on t h e lock, i s o n l y i nterru pted w h e n t h e re a re no more cartridges.

For sem i-a u t o m a t i c weapons, t h e cartridges, i n a n a u t o m a t i c loader, f i re o n e after

1 20
t h e other.

We s h o u l d c l a rify one point: w h i le, i n s e m i a u t o m a t i c pistols, t h e ej ect i o n of t h e


s h e l l occu rs at t h e m o m e n t one f i res, i n revo lvers, t h e s h e l l rem a i n s i n t h e
cy l i n d e r.

T h i s is the reason that t h e d i scovery of s h e l l s from 38-s pecial cart r i d g e s f i red by


assas s i n extre m i st s , as we h ave often t h e opport u n ity to read about, see m s to u s
c o m p letely i m poss i bl e .

I t m u s t be ad d e d that i f revolvers that can be l o a d e d w i t h 38-s pec i a l c a r t r i d g e s


are o n s a l e i n gu n stores, a n d t h us offered for t h e u s e of t h e M ovement, as i n
Rome or B o l o g n a , t h e same i s not true of p i s t o l s l i ke t h e W a l t h e r P. 3 8 , w h i c h i s
l o ad e d o n l y with 7.65 a n d 9 c a l i ber automatic cart r i d g es , s i nce t h e s a l e of t hese
weapons i s p ro h i b i ted in I ta l y ; t hey are o n ly fou n d o n t h e i n ternat i o n a l ma rkets. I t
i s e n o u g h t o say that p i s t o l s a re certa i n l y u n obta i na b l e f o r t h e modern proletariat
b a n d s , w h i c h , u n fo rt u nately, have not yet ach ieved enough mob i l ity to permit
t h e m to cross t h e borders a n d roam t h ro u g h t h e c a p i t a l s of E u rope.

If, in autonomous d e m o n strations, t h e "com rade P.38" i s m e n t i o ned , i t i s certa i n


l y n o t becau s e we a r e h i d i n g P.38's u nder o u r coats; b u t we m u s t observe t h a t
t h e re i s a s y m bo l i c aspect to t h i s , t h e a d m i s si o n t h a t t o d a y it i s necessary a n d
j u s t to carry arms. What i s o b v i o u s i s that t h ose w h o c o n s i d e r arm i n g t h e m selves
i n view of relatively c l ose p rospects d o not envision eq u i p p i n g t h e m s e l ves with a
6.35 Bernard e l l i .

D u r i n g t h e last war, t h e P.38 w a s t h e best pe rfected a n d most modern h a nd g u n


(t h e i ntrod u ct i o n o f t h e d o u b l e-ac t i o n mec h a n i s m w a s s i g n i f i c a n t i n t h i s regard).
That's w h e re i t gets its p rest ige. I t performed satisfacto r i l y on a l l f ro n t s and the
A f r i ka Korps was t h e o n l y o n e to com p l a i n of some j a m m i n g because of the s a n d :
w i t h t h i s i n m i nd , t h ey s l i g h t ly i n c reased the s p a c e between t h e stock, t h e h a m
m e r , a n d t h e barre l . T h e safety m ec h a n i s m p roved except i o n a l l y s o l i d .

T h e G e r m a n A r m y adopted t h e P.38, perfected Waffe n f a b r i k C a r l Walther, as t h e


stand a rd i s s u e p i stol beg i n n i n g i n 1 938 ( w h e n c e t h e p i s to l ' s name, 1 938 P.38).
=

They decided to use the W a l t h e r at the same t i m e as the P.08 (better k n o w n as


the L u g e r), t h e n to rep l ace the Luger with t h e P.38, because t h e latter was a
weapon better ada pted to mass p rod u c t i o n a n d less l i ke l y to b reak d o w n i n com
bat.

T h e m a n u fact u re of t h e P.38 began aga i n after t h e war, a n d today this weapon


s t i l l represe nts t h e best mec h a n i c a l system among d o u b l e-act i o n pistols, with a
cy l i n d e r w h i c h can even take h i g h-power cartridges.

T h a n k s to t h e dou b l e-act i o n firing m ec h a n i s m , w h e n t h e lock i s deact ivated , t h e


g u n i s cocked w h i l e it i s s t i l l i n a r e s t pos i t i o n ; w h i c h e n a b les t h e cartridge to be
bro u g h t into t h e barrel w i t h prec i s i o n as soon as the h a m mer i s p u l led back; t h e
f i rst s h o t can t h u s be f i red w i t h t h e g reatest speed, exact l y as i n a revo lver. F o r
f u rther e x p l a n a t i o n s , w e a d v i s e j o u r n a l ists a n d a l l i n terested p a r t i e s to add ress
t h e m se l ves to the Ch ief of Security Serv i ces1 E m i l i o S a nt i l l o, who has a reputa
tion as an expert i n t h e field a n d as a n i n fa l l i b le m a r k s m a n : beyond c l a r i f i c a t i o n
of a g e n e r a l natu re, he can ex p l a i n t h e operat ion of t h e C o l t Pyt h o n 3 5 7 ca l i be r
M ag n u m , w h i c h he a l ways carries on h i m .

Transla ted by Richa rd G a rdner

1 .The SOS, ex-reserve affai rs, ex-a nti -terrorism, i s a kind of I t a l i a n political anti-gang bri gade;
a soc i a l i st I t a l i a n deputy accu sed it, i n August 1 977, of having part i c i pated in the "strategy of
tension": assassi nation atte mpts, attempted govern ment overthrows.

1 21
N o n v i o l e n ce i n
B o l og n a

J ud ith M a l i na

N ow based i n Aome, the " Li v i n g Theater",


a n i m ated by J u l i a n Beck and J ud i th M a l i na,
has been tou r i n g I t a l y for the last few years.
These are frag ments from M a l i n a's un
p u b l i shed j o u r n a l .

J UNE 1 1 , 1 977 Early i n t h e m o r n i n g , we g o to the o f f i ces of the B o l o g n a Com u n e - to t h e


BOLOGNA c u l t u ra l w i n g of t h e c o m m u n i s t m u n i c i p a l gove r n m e n t .

M a rio, w h o g u ides u s t h ro u g h t h e b u reaucratic maze, c o m e s to get u s at o u r


hote l . H e t e l l s u s t h a t t h e Ques tura i s ref u s i n g perm i t s for t h e s i tes for T h e H o u s e
of War i n front of t h e Ca rabinieri, a n d T h e H o u s e of D e a t h i n front of t h e c h u rc h . .
H e' s a n a m i a b l e m a n of about 45, h a n d s o m e i n t h a t natty I t a l i a n m a n ner, i n for
m a l s u i t and t i e, a n d a l to get h e r i n t h e old-fa s h i oned style.

As we c ross t h e p iazza to t h e offices, we pass t h e corner u nd e r t h e portici w h e re


t h e h u n g e r-stri kers h ave c h a i ned t h e m se lves t o g e t h e r - i n s u p port of t h ose a r
rested at t h e c l o s i n g of Radio A lice - w h e re we had been made very w e l c o m e
a n d prom i sed ret u r n . T h e cause of t h e c l o s u re a n d arrests: t hey reported t h e re
cent street eve n t s , w i t h m i n u t e to m i n u t e news report i n g w h e re a n d w h e n t h e ac
t i o n s were t a k i n g p l ace. Te l e p h o n e c a l l s received from t h e s i tes of po l ice c o n f ro n
t a t i o n s w e r e t ra n s m i tted d i rect l y o n t o t h e a i r. T h i s made i t pos s i b l e for t h e
d e m o n s t rators to be i n c l ose com m u n i c a t i o n s w i t h each other, a n d for sym
path izers to a i d them, o r to ra l l y s u p port. They are c harged, h owever, with i n c i t i n g
to t h e a c t i o n s .

1 22
T h e p o l ice received a l l t h e i n fo r m a t i o n a l o n g w i t h t h e compagni - t ha t i s , i t was
a l ways public i n format i o n - i f a n yt h i n g was i n c i t i n g , i t was t h e act i o n s of t he
p o l i c e w h i c h were be i n g reported; of cou rse, t h ere's a deeper p r o b l e m , of w h i c h
w e ' re a l l a part - a n d t h ere's n o sense f o r t h e peo p l e i n j a i l to be t h e scapegoats
f o r our col l ect ive f a i l u re to p rovide peacef u l revo l u t i o na ry tact i c s t h a t work. In a
corner u nd e r t h e portici at t h e doorway of t h e M u n i c i p a l B u i ld i n g , t hey are l y i n g
o n t h e s i dewa l k on b l a n kets a n d s l ee p i n g bags. Posters a rou nd t h e m , t h e i r c h a i n s
v i s i b l e arou nd t h e i r a n k l es . . . We g reet e a c h other. I p r o m i s e we' l l ret u rn . B u t f o r
n o w , we m u s t g o w i t h t h e F u n c t i o n a ries a n d t h e O f f i c i a l s , t h e Po l i ce, t h e C h u rc h .

T h e o f f i ces o f t h e Comune a re i n a p a l azzo of s u m pt u o u s m u ra l s , works o f a rt,


vases, stat u a ry ; the g reat h a l l , w i t h s p l e n d i d w a l l s , cei l i n g , marble f l oo r has a
s t a i rway lead i n g to it t h a t i s made so t h a t t h e horses, too, can enter, f o r i n t he
o l d days, even t h e h o rses were Nobili a n d t h e p o m p o u s beasts e n t e red t h e h a l l s
of t h e i r masters' h o u ses. T h e assessore i s f r i e n d l y , bearded, you n g . . . w i l l i ng , b u t
worried. We m u s t g o t h e Ques tura . . .

Ac ross from t h e be/lo p a l azzo i s t h e w h i te m a r b l e f a s c i st-sty le b u i l d i n g of t h e


Questura . The capt a i n receives u s a m i d st h i s t ro p h i e s. H e ' s a s l eek m a n . I t ' s not
f o r h i m to decide w hat c a n h a p pe n o n the g r o u n d s of the p roperty of t h e
Carabinieri . . . o r t h e C h u rc h . . . We m u s t g o a n d a s k t h e m . J u l i a n s a y s , " M y A u n t
M i ri a m wou l d say, 'They ' re g iv i n g y o u t h e ru n-aro u n d . ' "

M a r i o rem a i n s i n t h e o u t e r o f f i c e - h i s po l i t i ca l re l at i o n s h i p - t h a t is to say, t h e
p o l i t i c a l relat i o ns h i p of t h e Comune w i t h t h e p o l i ce, i s t o o d e l i cate to d i s t u rb.

O n t h e way to t h e Cara binieri 's off i ces we talk, h e a n d I, of t h e prac t i c a l aspects


of t h e H i storic Com p ro m i s e. Such as we now confront. Mario ex p l a i n s how d i f-
f i c u l t it is - to keep the ba l ance w i t h a p o l i c e force t h a t ' s p o l i t ic a l ly host i l e . . .
" U n t i l . . . for now . . . " T h e y o u n g peo p l e are too a n x i o u s to move too q u i c k l y . . .

T h e Cara b i n i e r i are i n a p a l azzo. The c o l o n e l i n h i s a r m y k h a k i officer's o u t f i t , i s


not h i d i n g beh i nd a n y m o d e r n a r t . H e ' s got t h e framed p h o t o of t h e Pres i d e n t o f
t h e Repu b l i c a n d t h e capo of t h e Cara b i n i er i . . . H e k n o w s we' l l never get a n o k
f r o m R o m e as we l l as we d o - a n d we d o n ' t w a n t/n eed to s t i r u p t h e p r o b l e m s
t h a t w i l l e n s u e i f o u r doss i e r i s reexam i ned - o u r two ex p u l s i o n s f rom I ta l y , o u r
m a n y denuncie . . .

We g o t h e n w i t h M a r i o to t h e quartiere S a n R u f f i e l l o a n d w a l k a r o u n d t h e caser
m a . We f i n d a park i n g lot beh i n d i t , b u t c h oose rat h e r a spot i n front of some
stores dow n t h e st reet. We set t l e for i t , t h o u g h t h e 'funzionario ', as h e ca l l s
h i m s e l f s t i l l h a s t re p i d a t i o n s .

I n t h e eve n i n g we rehearse i n t h e w r i t i n g s a l o n of o u r h o t e l - a dark room w i t h


d e s k s a n d a n a i r s h a f t . T h e r e ' s a n o t e f ro m t h e compagni o n t h e h u n g e r s t i k e
d e l ivered to t h e hotel to m e a n d J u l i a n .

" W e are t h e com rades of R a d i o A l ice a n d t h e S t u d e n t M oveme n t . We a r e o n a


h u n g e r s t r i ke a n d a re c h a i ned i n P i azza M a g g i ore for t h e l i berat i o n of o u r com
rades i m p r i soned for t h e M arch events. We would l i ke to see you a n d speak w i t h
y o u . C o m e a n d see u s ton i g h t , o r better we w i l l c o m e to y o u r hote l . W h e n ?
W h e re? K i sses. (Th e C h a i ned)

T h e tasters are a s l ee p . We walk among t h e i r s leep i n g bags to read t h e posters


t hey h ave w r i t t e n :

3rd Day of Fast i n g .


T h ose i n j a i l a r e o n t h e i r 1 2t h !

J UNE 1 2, 1 977 A t noon i n t h e Pi azza M a g g i ore w e meet w i t h t h e h u n g e rers. O n e o f t h e i r p l acards


BOLOGNA read s ,

1 23
W h o is h u n g ry i s good.
W h o i s w e l l-fed i s bad.
It's better to be h u n g ry
t h a n to be r i c h .
- I r i s h s ay i n g

Stand i n g i n t h e i r c h a i n s , t h e y g a t h e r rou nd u s a n d te l l u s of t h e com p l ex en


cou n ters they h ave had in their d e f i a n c e of t h e p o l ice.

We g o i n t o a n e rvous rehea rsa l .

M a r i a Rosa a n d B i l l y fear that t h e p o l i c e h e re m a y f o l l ow t h e recent a w f u l p rece


dent of attac k i n g w i t h o u t warn i n g and u s i n g tear gas at m i n i m u m , o r worse, c l ob
beri n g and break i n g heads - or worst, at the extreme, u s i n g g u n s w i t h o u t warn
ing. The dead in seve ral c i t ies attest to this c u stom . . .

The l atest news a r r i ves h o u r by h o u r: t h e s t r i kers are movi n g to t h e Due Torri to


avo i d a con f l i c t w i t h the C h u rc h , w h i c h does n ' t w a n t t h e m in the path of today's
Corpus Domini p roces s i o n . They d o n ' t w a n t to rouse host i l ity of " t h e com m u n i t y "
and t h ey rat h e r re l u ct a n t l y make t h e con cess i o n . J u l i a n ' s praise of t h e i r w i l l
i n g ness t o u s e s u c h " s t rategy" re l i eves t h e i r sense of com p ro m i s e .

I t ' s strange th at t h ey have n ' t won t h e s u p port of " t h e com m u n i t y , " b u t as o n e


l o o k s at t h e v a s t P i azza M a g g i ore at n i g h t , a n d s e e s t h e h u n d reds ( m a y b e
1 500-2000 ton i g h t ! ) or t h o u s a n d s of you n g p e o p l e s i t t i n g o n t h e steps, g a t h e r i n g
rou n d g u i ta r s , d i sc u s s i o n g ro u p s , i d l e r s , t a l kers - a n d a l l m o re or l ess Freaks.
These aren't " Th e Com m u n i t y ; " in fact, w h a t we mean by co m m u n i t y i s j u st that:
A ll t h e peo p l e who aren 't t h ese peo p l e - who aren 't s t u d e n t s , p o l i t i c a l s , freaks,
f l ow e r k i d s , i d lers, tea heads, new worlders . . .

A n d t h e prej u d ice i s n ' t , I t h i n k , a g a i n s t t h e inca tena ti and t h e i r cause, b u t a g a i n s t


t h e w h o l e s p i r i t of t h e N ew W o r l d , w h i c h see m s to e n d a n g e r t h e i r dearest con
cepts of how a n d what we are a n d s h o u l d be.

The l atest news: the inca tena ti ret u rned to the p i azza, they were taken in by the
pol i ce, w h o took away t h e i r c h a i n s . Tomorrow t h e re w i l l be a d e m o n s t r a t i o n i n
P i azza M a g g iore. T h e p o l ice have g iven perm i s s i o n for i t t o go o n from s i x o ' c l ock
t i l l n i ne o ' c l ock. A n d t h ey have d e c i ded d ef i n i t e l y to c l e a r t h e p i azza at m i d n i g h t .

The d e m o n s t rat i o n i s , of c o u r s e , at t h e s a m e h o u r as o u r P u b l i c Acts. I s u g g est


that at the e n d of the Love House t h e Time S h a m a n a n n o u nce t hat i t i s now t i m e
t o p roceed t o Pi azza M a g g i o re t o part i c i pate i n t h e d e m o n s t rat i o n i n s o l i d a r i t y
w i t h t h e peo p l e of Rad i o A l ice w h o are i n j a i l , a n d that we t h e n p roceed i n p roces
s i o n , perhaps s i n g i n g ,

Cos ' e R a d i o A l i ce?


Cos'e l a l i berta d ' e s p ressione?
Cos ' e l a p r i g i one?
Cos ' e l a l i berta?

This b r i n g s u p a t e r r i f i c wave of fear . . . We' l l be s h ot i n the s t reets, w i t h o u t even


be i n g told to stop . . . they fear . . . Leroy a n d A n n ie a n d I say we won't be in the
p i azza at m i d n i g h t u nd e r t h reat of a police attack . . .

I n M e mory of F r a n cesco LoRu sso . . .

Late at n i g h t we hear: t h e p o l i c e ag ree to a l l o w t h e d e m o n s t ra t i o n to co n t i n u e t i l l


j u st before m i d n i g h t - t h e n they m a y take act i o n . T h e L i v i n g T h eatre, h owever, i s
not to perform i n t h e p i azza - i f we attempt to, t h ey w i l l m a k e arrests. I ' m per
sona l l y p repa red to do t h e H o u s e of t h e State w i t h new b l ood l i nes f o r some of
us.

1 24
J U N E 1 3, 1 977 M u c h ado t h i s m o r n i n g for t h e preparat i o n of t h e p l ay .
BOLOG N A
We e n t e r t h e po l i ce c a r a n d d rive t h e w h o l e route, p o i n t i n g o u t each s pot w h e re
we' l l perform. O n l y t h e C h u rc h p resents p r o b l e m s . T h ey w a n t us away i n a h i d d e n
p a rk i n g s pace; we wan t t h e C h u rc h as a b a c k d r o p . We settle for the s i d e e n
trance, w here a w o rk i n g c l a s s h i g h-rise w i t h perfect b a l c o n i e s for a new a u d i e n c e
adds to t h e u t i l i t y .

We ret u r n to t h e hote l . W h e n we emerge f ro m t h e c a r o n Pi azza F ra n k l i n


Rooseve l t , w h e re we n o rm a l l y park, w e s e e a n armed force of extraord i n a ry p ro
p o rt i o n s . The men a re not o n l y armed, but h o l d i n g m a c h i n e g u n s and r i f l e s at
a lert, carry i n g h e l mets a n d gas masks (?) a n d seem i n g to be m u stered for act i o n .
I t h i n k t h e re a re 5000 m e n ; A n n i e g u esses 1 0,000 - i n a n y case i t ' s f o r m i d a b l e .
l s h a w h i s pers, " I want to g o h o m e , " a n d c l i n gs to me. T h e way h o m e i s t h ro u g h
t h e a r m y . We w a l k i n a g ro u p , t a l k i n g together, as t h o u g h we d o n ' t s e e t h e m .

I t ' s e l even t h i rty as we e n t e r t h e p i azza w a l k i n g between l i n es of heav i ly a r m ed


m e n i n to a scene of i n nocent p l e a s u res. T h e re a re o n l y a few po l i ce scattered i n
t h e p i azza, o n l y a s m an y a s o n e w o u l d see o n a n o r m a l n i g ht i n s u m mer.

T h e rest of t h e scene i s a l most Parad i s i a l . T he re are peo p l e s i n g i n g , t a l k i n g , d a n c


i n g , p l a y i n g ba l l . . . A large w h i t e b a l l l i ke a peace d ove keeps f l i t t i n g i n a h u g e
a r c over t h e p i azza. The w o m e n t e n d aga i n towards s o f t s u m mer c l ot h es, a n d I n
d i a n c l oths, l i n e n s , f l owered s k i rts b r i g h t e n t h e scene. We a re ste p p i n g o u t of
j e a n s . . yet I n o t i c e sad l y h o w m a n y women are c u t t i n g off t h e i r l ovely h a i r -
_

yes, i t ' s j ust a n d r i g h t t hat I n o t i ce it here, i n t h e l i t t l e c i rc l e of l i g h t s u rro u nded


by a n armed force t h at cou l d , t h at m i g h t, t h a t stands ready to destroy t h e i r f e l i c i
ty at a n y m o m e n t .

S i n g , d a n ce a n d t h i n k of s u m me r d resses: t h i s i s not t h e death dance of A n


t i go n e ' s city, t h i s i s t h e dance of vita . . . yes. We g o u p o n t h e p l atform - J u l i a n ,
P i erre, A n n ie, T o m a n d I . . .

I look o u t across t h e p i azza - f ro m w h e re we are i t see m s f u l l , even to t h e por


t a l s of t h e Cat h e d ra l . T h e c h u rc h is h a l f-renewed , a n d t h e c l ea n ed m a r b l e g leams
p i n k i s h w h i te l i ke i n f a n t ' s skin, a n d t h e dark part seems l i ke a n evi l m i rror of its
s i n i s t e r . . . T h i s p o l a r i t y i s espec i a l ly keen h e re, because of this confronta t i o n ,
a n d I c a n ' t i ma g i n e t h a t t h e h e a rts of at l e a s t a f e w of t h e g ri m-faced sol d i ers
w e re n ' t moved by the i mage of good a n d evi l that the c o n t rast between the two
g ro u p s s p e l led o u t .
I ' l l remember t h e Pi azza M a g g i o re i n t h i s p a rt i c u l a r l ig h t .

Loo k i n g i n t o t h e faces of t h o u s a n d s of peo p l e w h o w a n ted to d e f y evi l w i t h o u t


violence . . . J u l i a n p r a i ses t h e m a n d tel l s t h e m t h e i r t h eatre i s better t h a n o u rs -
a n d yet they e x p ress d i sa p po i n t m e n t t h a t we' re not g o i n g to perform - P i e r re
spoke h i s d ra m a t i c d e s i g n a t i o n

. . . t h i s p i azza as t h e H o u s e of V i o l ence
this p i azza as t h e House o f H op e
th is i s t h e H o u se of O ur B ro t h e rs t h e p o l i c e . ..

t h i s is t h e H o u s e of O u r B rothers i n carcere . . .

I d i d n ' t get to h e a r t h e rest beca u s e a y o u n g w o m a n s a i d to m e , i n g e n u o u s l y h o r


rified by Pierre's i m p l i c a t i o n s : " B u t t h ey aren 't o u r brothers w h e n t h ey s hoot at
u s . . . " H o w cou l d I say i t s u c c i n c t l y? How can I answer her s u re l y e n o u g h and
q u i c k l y enou g h , the l o u d s peakers b l a r i n g , sta n d i n g o n the p l atform in the l i g ht.
Every o n e heari n g t h e M a rt i a l M u s i c .

The M a r t i a l M u s i c - S i l e n t l y W a i t i n g . Drow n i n g o u t a l l o u r sou n d . A n n i e takes


t h e m i c ro p h o n e and says some f i e ry words . . . There's a g reat orlogio t h a t ' s lit t i l l
m i d n i g h t i n decorative f lood l i g h t s . Everyon e ' s eyes t rave l u p t o i t o n c e i n a w h i l e .

Wh en o u r s p e e c h e s a re over, i t ' s a q uarter to 1 2. I prom ised l s ha, w h e n s h e w a s


f u l l of f e a r s , see i n g t h e f i re- ready c o p s a n d heari n g p a r a n o i d s t o r i e s , t h a t I 'd
ret u rn at 5 or 1 0 to m i d n i g h t . . . So I beg i n to m a k e my way toward t h e orlogio
w h e re t h e sleet to o u r hotel is con nected to t h e p i azza by a sort of piazzetta
w h e re t h e C a ra b i n i e r i a re m u stered. Here we s p e n d a few m i n utes - J u l i a n says:
They say t h ey are a l l leav i n g at m i d n i g h t , b u t I t h i n k every on e wants to stay
around as long as poss i b le.

A woman from the Partito Ra dicale i s t a l k i n g about n o n v i o l e n ce. I ' m g l ad to hear


it proc l a i med so l o u d l y . "Stano tte faremo Cenerentola ! " (To n i g h t we' l l p l ay
C i n d e re l l a) c ry t h e ex-inca tena ti . . We s i t on a l i t t l e stoop beh i n d t h e p o l i ce.
.

At 5 to 12 the p o l i c e l eave the piazzetta , except f o r o n e who stays to g u a rd some


off i c i a l ' s car . . . T h e o t h e rs retreat away from the p i azza.

I ret u rn to the h o t e l . We stand in the w i n d o w and h e a r at m i d n i g ht : a cou n t d o w n ,


a n d at z e r o - n o p o l i ce, n o a t t a c k . A s h o u t , as of victory , went u p a m o n g t h ose
w h o rem a i ned in t h e p i azza.

But the h u n g e r s t r i k e and the c h a i n i n g act i o n , t h a t ' s a l l over - t hey've w i ped o u t


t h e st reet t heatre, a n d t h e peo p l e of Rad i o A l ice a re st i l l i n j a i l s - i n d i fferent
j a i l s , i n fact, to s e p a rate one f ro m t h e other.

Show enough g u n s a n d you w o n ' t need to f i re a s h o t . . . H o w m a n y b u rned for


t h a t f a l se precept? I ' m sorry we d i d n ' t perform.

N o matter, it's all p a rt o f a somewhat l a g g a rd b u t u n f a i l i n g c u l t u ra l revo l u t i o n .

J U N E 1 4, 1 977 I n t h e even i n g w e h i e u s to R a d i o A l ice. I t looks q u ite t h e same as w h e n we w e n t


BOLOG N A t h e re l a s t , d e s p i t e t h e d ra m a t i c eve n t s t h a t h ave taken p l ace t h e re s i nce.

The p u b l i s hed tapes t h a t record t h e e n t ry of t h e armed pol ice i n to t h e stat i o n


w h i l e t h e broadcast c o n t i n u es l ive o n t h e a i r, "They are p o i n t i n g m ac h i n e g u n s at
u s . . . Our hands are i n t h e air; t hey are . . . " m a k e d ra m a of t h e l i t t l e room s .

H ere a r e t h e ex-inca tena ti i n t h e i r own e n v i r o n m e n t . The o n l y tec h n i c i a n left


a m o n g t h e m f l ed B o l o g n a yesterday, i n fear of t h e po l i ce terror, a n d n o n e of
those present a re f a m i l i a r e n o u g h with t h e t ec h n o l og y to run t h e sound e f f i c i e n t
l y , b u t t h ey brave l y m u d d l e t h r o u g h .

The t a l k i s l o n g a n d m ov i n g . M o v i n g bec a u s e w e are t a l k i n g w i t h peo p l e w hose

1 26
peacefu l att i t u d es a n d menta l i ty is evid e n t in a l l they say - more t h a n t h at, even
in how t h ey move, t h e i r e x p res s i o n s , t h e i r l a n g u ag e , t h e i r R e i c h i a n postu res -
n o n-agg ressive peop l e - b u t t h ey a re at t h e e n d of t h e i r tether. . . T h e m u rd e r of
Francesco LoRusso, the i ncarceration of t h e i r f e l low workers, t h e pol ice fears
t h at a re tan g i b l e i n t h e a i r, v i s i b l e i n t h e s t reet s , evident i n t h e b i t t e r i n g of t h e
sweet faces . . .

A l l t h at we say - a n d we say a l l t h at we k n ow - seems abstract to t h e m i n t h e i r


c o n c rete s i t u a t i o n .

Long a f t e r we are off t h e a i r - a f t e r m o r e t h a n an h o u r of t a l k - we go o n , t h e


s a m e as w h e n it w a s p u b l i c - searc h i n g f o r t h e poss i b i l ity t h a t we a l l w a n t , b u t
t h at t h ey c a n n o l o n g e r be l i eve i n .

J UNE 1 5, 1 977 I t w a s a good s h o w i n t h e P a lazzo d e l l o Sport. T h e p o l i c e were obvi o u s l y p retty


BOLOGNA u pt i g h t at t h e ou tset - f r i s k i n g everyone t h at c a m e i n a n d searc h i n g a l l hand
bags - t h u s c reat i n g t h e a t m o s p h e re of fear a n d t h e i n secu rity/d istru st/ . . . terror
t h at l ater led to t h e f racas . . . Even t h e A ssessore a l/a Cultura was f r i s ked , fee l i n g
rather s t ra n g e t h a t t h i s s h o u l d h a p pen to h i m at a c u l t u ra l event t h at he was
s p o n sori n g , b u t . . . I sat, as u s u a l , i n t h e c i rc l e , fac i n g t h e door a n d t h e a g i t a t i o n
of t h e u n i formed pol ice was a l most d i st ract i n g .

G reat consternation i n t h e Tortu re scene a m o n g t h e m . . .

B u t a l l went w e l l a n d I was i n a good t a l k w i t h two peo p l e i nterested i n s t u d y i n g


a u toges t i o n w i t h i n a state-c o n t ro l led sc h oo l . . . I noticed C h r i s C reatore s i t t i n g at
the ex it/entrance rap p i n g w i t h s o l d iers and the p o l i c e . . . I hear S i b i l l a s u d d e n l y
s h r i e k i n g . . . we look u p - s h e ' s screa m i n g w i t h M a l c o l m i n her arms - a c i rc l e
of p o l ice aro u n d C h r i s ; t h e y a re l i f t i n g h i m rat h e r b r uta l ly a n d carry i n g h i m o f f . . .

I see l s h a ru n towards t h e m - soon a l l of u s come ru n n i n g . . .

At f i rs t , we o n l y d e m a n d to k n o w w h a t ' s h a p p e n i n g , b u t get n o c i v i l answer. A


p l a i n c l ot h es capo is d i rect i n g t h e activity of t h e p o l ice, w h o res pond l i ke
m a r i onettes. A general s h o u t i n g a n d c o n f u s i o n of p rotest resu l t s , a n d t h e more
we a re noisy, t h e m o re a g g ressively t h e p o l ice h a n d l e C h r i s . . .

We learn later that t h e o ri g i n o f t h e d i f f i c u l t y was a d e m a n d by t h e po l i ce t h a t


C h r i s i d e n t i f y h i ms e l f a n d h e d id n ' t do that, perhaps i n t h e m i staken b e l i e f t h at
o u r i d e n t i ty is part of o u r r i g h t of p r i vacy i n t h e face of t h e p o l i c e . . .
Alas a n d a l a c k ! O u r i d e n t i t y belongs to t h e m a n d we m u s t g i ve it t h e m w h e n t h ey
d e m a n d it.

T h ey ca rry him a-ways a n d t h e n p u t him down. H e sq u i rms under t h e heavy g ra s p ,


and t h e stre n g t h of h is Tai-C h i -t ra i ned bod y, a n d h i s you t h f u l vigor t h a t defies
c u rt a i l me n t makes i t very h a rd for t h e m to ca rry h i m .

A n d h e s h o u ts . A n d I s h o u t a n d J u l i a n s h o u t s .

T h e capo orders h i m p i c ked u p a g a i n . We p roceed a n o t h e r f e w f e e t from t h e


stad i u m i n t o t h e h a l l way that e n c i rc l es i t . J u l i a n l o u d l y d e m a n d s from t h e capo
w h at has h a p pe n ed - t h e capo says h e wou l d n ' t g ive h i s n a m e and adds ag
g ressive l y , " A n d what's your name?" A n d J u l i a n s h o u t s back. "My name i s J u l i a n
Beck, a n d I a m a s k i n g y o u w h a t h a p pe n ed here." T h e capo orders t h e m e n to take
Chris up ag a i n . We g o d o wn t h e h a l l ; I ' m s h o u t i n g l i t t l e moral lectu res about the
n a t u re of v i o l e n c e t hat nobody wants to h e a r . . .

l s h a comes s h ri e k i n g a l o n g t h e h a l lway to J u l i a n , i n t o h i s a r m s - t h e n o u t a g a i n ,
a n d to m e , c ry i n g I w a n t to g o h o m e . . .

O u t i n t h e ra i n , o u r bare feet i n t h e p u d d les, I stand t h e re w i t h t h e LOVE a n d


A N A RC H I S M t e x t s i n m y h a n d s . . . Try i n g to t a k e l s h a to t h e d ress i n g roo m , r u n
n i n g b a c k i n t o t h e f ray a f t e r h e r .

T h e y brusq u e l y t h row C h r i s i n t o a p o l i ce car . . .

Tom tries to get i n to h i m (why do we d o s u c h t h i n g s?) a n d t h e n mad l y t h rows


h i m s e l f on top of the c a r - twice, he does t h i s . . . And I shout at the p o l i c e for
bei ng a bad exa m p l e for lsha w h o scream s w h e n a second con t i n g e n t arrives w i t h
s h i e l d s a n d h e l mets a n d cocks t h e i r r i f l e s , " T h ey ' re p u t t i n g bullets i n t h e i r g u n s ! "
The cops d rive away w i t h C h r i s . A l l t h e pol i ce l eave. We're stand i n g t h ere t o o u r
a n k les i n ra i n water o n a dark s t reet.

Rehas h . B l ame. P l a n s . Sel f-rep roac h . Spec u l a t i o n s . Not yet a n a l y s i s . C h r i s w i l l


have t o stay i n overn i g h t f o r a n "in terroga torio " i n t h e morn i n g . . .

J u l i a n a n d I feel we s h o u l d have h a n d led i t better. I t cou ld h ave g o n e d o w n


cal mer. I t h i n k i t was o n l y beca use we w e re o n t h e h i g h w a v e of t h e performance,
o u r th eatric al e n e rg y s t i l l pote n t .

J U N E 1 6, 1 977 C h r i s c a n ' t be " i n terrogated" - heard - t i l l t o m o rrow. We t ry, b u t i t ' s " N o" a l l
BOLOG N A t h e way.

We perform w i t h o u t C h r i s . Leroy' s t h e V i ct i m . T h e re are no police v i s i b l e at the


Sports Palace at a l l .

I h a d asked t h e M a y o r i f i t were i n t h e i r power t o stop t h e p o l i c e from f r i s k i ng


everyone as th ey c am e i n , a practice we had n ever e n c o u n te red a n y w he re a n d
w h i c h set u p a n a t m o s p here of t e r r o r a n d be l l i cosity. B u t not e v e n o n e cop
t o n i g h t . . . P l a i n c l ot he s m e n every w h e re.

Rad io A l ice opens t h e p l ay, with a flute s o l o e n t e r i n g t h e open i n g m e d i t a t i o n ,


f o l l owed by a l e t t e r f ro m A l ice to t h e Livi n g w h i c h i s a l ove letter. R e a d a l o u d i n
t h e concentrat i o n of t h e ope n i n g m e d i t a t i o n i t ' s very mov i n g a n d s e t s a s a d ,
s weet a m b i e nce for t h e performance w h i c h goes w e l l .

J U N E 1 7, 1 979 C h r i s i s s t i l l i ns i d e . W e h e a r h e ' s been beaten u p .


BO LOG N A

W e have o n e of t h ose i n tense c o m p a ny t a l ks , t h e k i n d t h a t a l most a l ways f o l lows


g ro u p action i n w h i c h t h e re a re arrests. Q u est i o n s : Were o u r actions n o n v i o l e n t ?
What i s , i n pract ice, n o n v i o l e n t res i s t a n ce?

1 28
O n t h e s t reet we a re stop ped several t i mes a n d as ked about Chris. Late i n t h e day
we hear th at h e was, in fact, p retty bad l y beate n . After t h e a r rest, he was taken to
the h o s p i t a l - s t i tches in his head - t h e p o l i c e say that he beat h i s own head
a g a i n s t t h e wa l l ! And t h e Resto def Carlino p r i n t s t h i s ! L 'Unita assumes t hat he
was v i o l e n t . Manifesto a n d Lo tta Con tinua s u p port u s . . .

I n t h e afternoon we go to t h e Q u a rt i e re M azz i n i , w h e re we meet w i t h a g ro u p for


a n " a n i mat i o n ; " even as we t ry to set dates, t h e m a n from t h e Party tries to put
up obstacles th at are i rr i t at i n g l y stupid - and we' re f r u s t rated by his flak - b u t
J u l i a n s a y s everyone saw t h i s d u m b tact i c ( I ' m not s u re).

A meet i n g on the p i azza - a w o m a n speak i n g a rd e n t l y , but b l u rred by a f i erce


sou n d syste m . I t ' s a Part i t o R a d i c a l e meet i n g about abort i o n , and i t has c a l led
o u t t r u c k l oads of t h e d i fferent ar m ed forces w h o are pa rked at each entrance to
the p i azza - t h e army, the Carab i n i e r i , t h e V i g i l i U rban i , the Questu ra . . .

We s i p o u r ca ffe freddo i n t h e s u n , c a l m l y s u rro u n d ed by t h i s armed m i g h t , hear


i n g t h e voice of a w o m a n , t e l l i n g passersby t h e news of o u r j a i led compagno.

J U N E 20, 1 979 M u c h consternat i o n in the c o m p a n y that C h r i s i s not rel eased t h i s morn i n g , and
B O LOG N A t h e y ' re say i ng tomorrow, maybe - maybe a few days - U g h !

Everyone s u g gests d i fferent t a c t i c s . Fears o f a b u s t i f w e act d ramat i c a l l y . Fears


of Ex p u l s i on i f t h e re ' s a bust. T h e re' l l be a meet i n g about i t ton i g h t , after t h e
P u b l i c Acts.

A good performance in s u n s h i n e in t h e M azz i n i quartiere. P i erre makes a fantast i c


B l ood Speech a b o u t K i m Sek J o n g - o r p h a n ed by t h e A m e r i c a n A r m y , adopted
by A m e r i c a n s w h o re-named h i m Chris C reatore, i m p risoned by t h e Bolognese
p o l i c e. . .

i l/ 1 -3 Photo: M atthew G e l l er, 1 979


R a d i o A l i ce
F ree R a d i o

C o l l ec t i ve
A/T rave rs o

After the eve nts of M a rc h 1 977, Radio A lice


became the symbol of the f ree rad ios. It was
e m i tted from B o l o g n a , one of the stron g h o l d s
of the I C P and the ex p l i c i t showcase for the
H i storical C o m p rom i s e .

A DI RTY When t h e accu s a t i o n of obsce n ity was f l u n g at u s , we were a l it t l e d i scon certed .


LAN G UAG E We had t h o u g h t about many poss i b l e accu sat i o n s : p i rate stat i o n , u nd e r m i n e rs,
FOR T H E com m u n i sts, s u bversives, b u t we did not a n t i c i pate this one. B u t that's n at u ra l
MOVEMENT a n d p roper. Language, w h e n i t i s f reed from t h e s u b l i ma t i o n s w h i c h red uce i i t o
t h e code a n d makes d e s i re a n d t h e body speak, i s obscene ( l itera l ly: obscene).

The body, sexuality, the desire to sleep in the morning, the liberation from labor,
t h e pos s i b i l ity to be overw h e l m ed , to make o n e s e l f u n p roduct ive and open to tac
t i le, u ncod i f i ed com m u n i c a t i o n : a l l t h i s has for c e n t u ries been h i d d e n , s u bmerged,
denied, u nstated. Vade Retro, Satanas.

The blackmail of poverty, the d is c ipl i ne of labor, hierarchical order, sacrifice,


fat h e r l a n d , fam i ly, g e n e r a l i n terests, soc i a l i st b l ac k ma i l , part i c i pa t i o n : a l l that
s t i f l ed t h e voice of t h e body. All o u r t i me, forever a n d a l ways, devoted to l a bor.
E i g h t h o u rs of work, two hou rs of t rave l , and, afterward , rest , t e l evi s i o n , a n d d i n
n e r w i t h t h e fam i ly.

Everyt h i n g which i s not confi ned w i t h i n t h e l i m i t s of that order i s obscene. Out


s i d e i t s me l l s l i ke s h i t .

1 30
All t h e " u nstated" i s e m e rg i ng : from t h e Chan ts de Ma ldoror to t h e strugg l e s for
red u c i n g t h e work-day. I t speaks i n t h e Paris Com m u ne a n d i n Art a u d ' s poetry, i t
speaks i n S u rrea l i s m a n d i n t h e F re n c h M a y , i n t h e I t a l i a n A u t u m n a n d i n i m
mediate l i berat i o n ; it s peaks across t h e separate orders of t h e l a n g u a g e of
rebe l l i o n . Des i re i s g iven a voice, a n d for them, i t i s obscene.

T H E VOICE A l ice l ooks arou n d , p l ay s , j u m ps, wastes time i n t h e midst of papers i l l u m i nated
O F THOSE by t h e s u n , runs ahead, sett les d o w n e l se w h e re.
P U S H E D ASI D E
And yet every t h i n g f u n c t i o n s in the order of d i scou rse.

D i scou rse c o n n ects, ex p l a i n s , a l lows no i nterru p t i o n s , organ izes, part i c i pates,


re p r i m a n d s . . .

Like an in vita tion to ta lk with you about your work where they don 't give you
a nything to ea t.

S i lence.

T h e s u bject has c h a n ged .

Pant, h i ss , d o n ' t t h i n k y o u ' re r i g ht .

T h e s i l e n ce, t h e u nc a n n y , t h e " u nstated , " t h a t w h i c h rema i n s to be s a i d , ,


frig htens.

I n t h e p rog ra m , so m a n y d e n s e head i n g s , as d e n s e a s i n a newspaper . . . A h a l f


h o u r w i t h you r Carlo . . . Cheek to c h eek w i t h f o l k s . . . A l l t h at J azz . . . 1 , 2, 3
o ' c lock b u l l et i n .

A lice hisses, yells, con templa tes, in terrupts herself, pulls.

Go tell him tha t it's spring.

We have received a t e l e p h o n e ca l l from t h e Tec h n o l o g i c a l I n s t i t u te: "We h ave oc


c u p ied t h e p res i d e n t ' s o f f i c e a n d we a re ca l l i n g f ro m h i s p h o n e , l i sten how he
ye l l s . . . H e w a n ted to i m pose u p o n u s a vote by a s h o w of h a n d s a n d t h e n h e ' d
s h ove it u p o u r ass."

I t 's better tha t way.

T h e d i sco u rse of order's d e s i re for power

or the power of d es i re a g a i n s t the order of d i scou rse.

Radio for the p a rt i c i pa n t s

or rad i o for t h e u ncan ny?

In t h e f i rst case t h e l a n g u ag e i s u n ivoc a l : t h e a n n o u n c e r ' s , w h o a n nou nces that


the eve n t has happened. They talk about somet h i ng w h i c h means somet h i n g e l s e
a n d can t h e refore n e v e r be c a p t u red becau s e i t i s over.

A mirror.

I n t h i s sense, attempts at i m i t a t i o n are pathet i ca l ly r i d i c u l o u s : d i a l ects a n d ac


cents are not t o l e rated. In the second case somet h i n g con t i n ues to f l ee from
l a n g uage. T h i s i s m a n i fest in o u t b u rsts of l a u g hter, words in s u s p e n s i o n , t h e
w o r d w h i c h c a n n ot be fou n d a n d w h i c h ref uses to c h a n g e i n to a n o t h e r o n e , stam
mering, s i l ence.

Well, "let's talk about the uncanny. "

131
O n e c a n n ot pass from o n e d i scou rse to a n o t h e r (from i n s i d e I t a l i a n Rad i o to out
s i d e I t a l i a n Rad i o).

T h e s u bject c h a n ges? T h e new s u bject i s col l ective a n d does not s peak.

O r speaks when i t wants to.

S i lence: a h o l e .

Let ' s a l low h o l es to g row, let's not f e a r o r i f i ce s , l e t ' s f a l l i n to t h e m a n d p a s s on


e l sewhere.

Wonderland.

A n ot h e r d i rect p h o n e ca l l :

"We are workers o n s t r i ke, we w a n t you to p l ay some m u s i c a n d we w a n t t o t a l k


to y o u a b o u t t h e 35 hou r week, i t ' s t i m e t h e y t a l ked a b o u t t h a t i n c o n t ract s . "

A n o t h e r d i rect p h o n e ca l l :

" D i rty com m u n i st s , we' re g o i n g t o make y o u pay dearly f o r t h i s rad i o s t a t i o n , we


k n ow who you a r e . "

A n o t h e r d i rect o n e :

"We are from t h e a n t i-fascist co m m i ttee of t h e R izzo l i H o s p i t a l , d o n ' t w o r ry abou t


a n yt h i n g , a n d c a l l u s if somet h i n g h a p p e n s , we are h e re n i g h t and d a y . "

B reak t h e cycle of t h e v a l o r i z a t i o n of c a p i t a l i n t h e process of c i rc u l a t i o n of t h e


s i g n-va l u e ( n o m o re a p p ro p r i a t i o n of m e rc h a n d i s e to i n terrupt t h e A - M - A ' . c y c l e ,
b u t a savage s t r i ke i n t h e c i rc u l a t i o n of t h e s i n g l e s i g n-va l u e A-A').

I n terrupt t h e l a n g u a g e of m ac h i nes, of t h e work-et h i c, of p rod u c t i v i ty .

" A n i nv i t a t i o n not to get u p t h i s morn i n g , to s t a y i n b e d w i t h someo n e , to make


m u s i c a l i n s t r u m e n t s a n d war devices for you rse l f . "

G RAY, O BTUSE, G ray a re t h e coats of t h e c o p s w h o have i m p ri s o n ed com rade B i fo, g ray a r e t h e i r


DA N G E R O U S i nstruments o f death . G ray i s t h e prison where he h a s been locked u p , g ray are the
bed room com m u n i t i es, g ray are t h e s t reets of t h e b u s i ness d i s t r i c t . Obtuse i s the
constable w h o h o l d s in his hand t h e hoods of his c o l l ea g u es w h o ru m m a g e
t h rou g h t h e c o m r a d e ' s effects, o b t u s e are t h e pol ice w h o for t h ree m o n t h s record
ed the p h o n e c a l l s (what are we havi n g for d i n ne r today? l e t ' s get together on
t h i s), obtuse i s t e l ev i s i o n . Dangerous are t h e o r g a n s of rep res s i o n , d a n g e ro u s
beca use of t h e l atest s u bmac h i n e g u n m o d e l , d a ngerous i s t h e j u d g e w h o arrests
f i rst then looks for p roof. Dangerous are t h e roads and sq u a res i n fested w i t h the
angels of death of a system a l ways m o re m i n o r i t a r i a n , d a n g erous a re t h e fac
tories a n d t h e s h i py a r d s , d a n gerous to decide w h e t h e r or not to let a c h i l d see the
l i g h t of day.

G ray, obtuse, d a n g er o u s , they w a n t to i m pose t h e i r scale o n t h e world: g ray, ob


tuse, d a n g erous.

The tota l i t a r i a n soc i ety of capital l ives o n t h e monotonous repet i t i o n of t h e ex is


tant. I t serves t h e o w n e rs , t h e cops, t h e j u d g e s . N o n e of t h e m are i n d i s p e n s a b l e
to t h e struct u re th ey s e rve.

They make a l i fe of s h i t t h e only model of l i fe poss i b le.

But communism is young and bea utiful.

COMMUNIQUE No. 2 - f rom t h e San G i ova n n i in M o n t e P r i s o n , 3120176. T h ey a r-

1 32
rested me on t h e f i ftee n t h , s u b m a c h i ne g u n s i n h a n d , i n t h e h o u s e w h e re I was
s l eep i n g with my com rades. F i rst t h ey accu sed m e of b e l o n g i n g to t h e Red
B r i g ades. In t h e s pace of two days this accusat i o n becam e so r i d i c u l o u s t hat t hey
had to i nvent a n o t h e r one. So t h ey accu sed me of be i n g the ideolog i c a l o r g a n i z e r
of a n i n c red i b l e series of c r i m i n a l p l ots com m i tted i n B o l o g n e i n t h e last f e w
months.

N o t t h e s l i g htest b i t of p roof of t h e s e s u bvers ive act i v i t i es t h a t were s u p posed t o


h ave b e e n m i n e e x i s t s . T h ey are t ry i n g to g ive a reco g n i z a b l e appearance to t h e
i n c o m p re h e n s i b l e ( f o r Power) cou rse of l i berat i o n located i n t h e space o f
separ/Act i o n , of i g n o r/Ac t i o n w h i c h constructs l i berat i n g s paces a n d moments of
c o l l ect ive t ra n s format i o n of e x i stence.

B u t then l et t h e m say i t c l e a r l y :

The practice of happiness i s subversive when it becomes collective.

O u r w i l l for h a p p i ness a n d l i be r a t i o n is t h e i r terror, a n d t h ey react by terro r i z i n g


u s w i t h p r i s o n , w h e n t h e repress i o n o f work, of t h e p a t r i a rc h a l fam i ly , a n d of sex
ism i s not e n o u g h .

B u t t h e n l e t t h e m say i t c l e a r l y :

T o conspire m e a n s t o brea the together.

A n d t hat is w h at we are accused of, t hey w a nt to p reve n t us from breat h i n g


because w e h ave refused to breathe i n i s o l a t i o n , i n t h e i r asphyxiat i n g p l aces o f
work, i n t h e i r i n d i v i d u a t i n g f a m i l i a l relat i o n s h i ps , i n t h e i r atom i z i n g h o u ses.

T h e re i s a crime I con fess I have c o m m i t ted:

I t i s t h e attack ag a i nst t h e separat i o n of l i fe and d e s i re, a g a i n s t sex i s m i n i n ter


i nd i v i d u a l relat i o n s h i ps , a g a i n s t t h e red u c t i o n of l i fe to t h e payment of a s a l a ry .

B u t t h e n let t h e m s a y i t c l ea r l y :

It i s dada tha t terrorizes t h e gra y, t h e ob tuse, t h e da ngerous.

G u ard i a n s of order a n d of the e x p l o i ta t i o n of poverty - f o r t h e m , the t ra n svers a l


w r i t i n g w h i c h r u n s t h r o u g h t h e separate orders a n d reu n i tes i s o l ated behaviors i s
not j u st obscene, any m o r e , i t i s a crime.
THE UNCANNY 15 Wha t makes me crazy is the uncanny. B i fo, Fontana, and M a rc h i a re i n prison.2
WHAT MAKES ME B i fo, Fontana, a n d M a rc h i are st i l l i n prison; Bifo, Fontana, a n d M a rc h i are a l ways
CRAZY in p r i s o n . There i s n ' t a s i n g l e comrade who d oes not ask me, "And w h at d o we do
now?" S i lence. A n d t h e y take advantage of o u r s i l e nce. A m o n t h h a s a l ready
passed . B u t it was l i ke a m o n t h i n t h e m i n d of someone w h o i s n ' t t h i n k i n g : an i n
stant. A m o n t h has a l ready passed s i nce t h e arrest of B i f o a n d we have not got
ten h i m o u t of t here. There i s no proof, it's a l l a p l o t , we know it. A n d now what
d o we do? A n d n o w what d o we do? We must d o somet h i n g , I want to do
somet h i n g , i t i s n ' t true t h at we are powerless before t h e monsters , the a n g e l s of
deat h , the g ray, the obt u se, the d a n g e rou s, I c a n not keep q u iet m u c h l o nger.

They have k i l led M ar i o Salvi3 i n Rome. S i l e n c e .

E i t her t h e p r i s o n m u st e x p l ode or my head m u st e x p l ode. Rad i o A l ice i s q u i e t , t h e


comrades a r e q u iet, they i n ve n t word s , t h e h a b i t u a l m a s k s . T h e y d o n ' t s p e a k a n d
t hey d o n ' t e v e n h a v e a n y i d e a s . Let hargy. We a re a l ready creat i n g t h e l i t t l e g het
to: we are or we a re not w i l d cats ru n n i n g t h ro u g h the tow n . Let ' s not g ive free
re i n to our j a i lers, s t r i ke the t i g er's heart every day, in eve ry way, accord i n g to o u r
d if ferences, a g a i n s t t h e sadness and t h e sol i t u d e of ce l l s of c o n f i n e m e n t , 2 4
h o u rs of a i r. T h i s i s a n i nvitat i o n to speak a n d to t h i n k, a n d i nv i t a t i o n to be
a lways p resen t in t h e s i t ua t i o n s in the town t h e n e i g h borhoods the s c h o o l s t h e
ba rracks t h e factories t h e roads, let's e x h a u s t t h e e n e m y , l e t ' s w e a r o u t t h e g i a n t
monster b y beat i n g i t a l l over its body. Let ' s not t a l k a b o u t d e s i res a n y m ore, l e t ' s
d e s i re: we a re d e s i r i n g mac h i nes, mac h i nes of war.

Transla ted by Richard Gardner


& Sybil Wa lker

1 . San V i t tore: a p r i s o n in M i l a n . San G i ov a n i in M o n te: a p r i s o n in B o l o g n e .


2 . Fontana, M a rc h i : B o l og nese s t u d e n t s t h ro w n i n j a i l .
3. M a r i o S a l v i w a s k i l l e d i n t h e v i c i n i t y of t h e j u d i c i a ry p r i s o n i n Rome a f t e r a motorcyc l i st
l a u n c h e d a M o l otov c o c k t a i l a g a i n s t t h e p r i s o n .

i l/ 1 Fel i x G u attari w i t h staff of Rad i o Allee Sept. 1 977 P h o t o M a r i o n Scemama


i l/2 Photo: D. Cortez

1 34
-v. .
,.,, '

"
T h e C i ty i n
t h e Fe m a l e
Gender

Lia M ag a l e

Lia M a g a l e i s a Roman fem i n i s t wri ter.

T h i s person a l and s u bject ive read i n g of some w r i t i n g s by women i s not, let i t be


c lear, a m i n i- h i s t o ry of "fem i n ist t h o u g h t , " nor t h e attempt to propose an a n a l y s i s
of t h e d i ffere n t t h eo r i e s c i rc u l a t i n g i n t h e M ovement. N o r i s i t t h e rec o n s t r u c t i o n ,
t h ro u g h t h e w o r d s of o t h e r women, of a speech of m i n e o n Roman fem i n i s m .
What is it then?

N ot h i n g m o r e t h a n s t a t e m e n t s , i m p ress i o n s , i t i n e ra ries w h i c h are, toget h e r w i t h


so many o t h e r s , memories, i n t h e memory of fem i n i s m , i n t h e memory of w o m e n
w h o h a v e l ived t h ro u g h s p l e n d i d a n d t i r i n g years of revo l t , rigor, i n t ra n s i g e n ce,
weakness. T h ey a re a l so my memories.

A n d t h e d i f f i c u l ty of c l a r i f y i n g a work t h a t revealed i t s e l f only i n act i o n , only when


concretely ex perienced, d u ri n g w h i c h "a l o t " a n d i t s opposite have been ex
perienced: s e l f-con t r o l i n s p i red by t h e d es i re f o r a n identity, a constant l oss i n the
absence of d e s i res. C o m m i t t i n g t h e sin of s p ea k i n g u nd e r t h e i n f l u en c e of
c u l t u ra l rem i n i scenses, a s y n t h e s i s reac hed by forget t i n g a n y l a n g u ag e . A body
l oved a n d hated in i t s i ncessant presence. D i f fe re n ces put i nto practice,
s i m i l a r i t i es l oved . Power refu sed, fou g h t even in i t s m i n i m a l creat i o n - recreat i o n ;
attract i o n for power. G u i l t y fee l i n g s , l oss of i n h i bi t i o n s . Sex u a l ity. Sex u a l i ty .

1 36
S u s p e n s i o n of sex u a l ity . Sed u c t i o n i n words, m ea n i n g , speech a n d t h e n f i n a l ly ,
w h y n o t , self-d i sc l o s u re .

A l l t h i s req u i red t h e creat i o n of a n o t h e r t i me. I t has b e e n s a i d : "Wo m a n ' s t i me i s


w o m a n ' s t i m e . " Tautolog i c a l , o r maybe a n o t h e r d i me n s i o n , w h e re t h e p rod u c t i o n
of mea n i n g d o e s not c o n s i s t of t h e p rod u c t i o n of e x c h a n g e va l u e , b u t p r i m a r i l y of
t h e ex p e r i m e n t a t i o n on o n e s e l f .

R E A D I N G O N ES E L F O n t h e cover of a n i s s u e of Differences, t h e magazi n e of t h e Roman col lectives,


I N MUSIC t he re i s a score by Schoenberg.

"The idea came u p a l most by c h a nce. We were pond e r i n g over t i me , on t h e m a n y


ty pes of woma n ' s t i me: o n work t i me a n d l ove t i m e , o n " f ree" t i m e a n d
" l i berated" t i me, on research t i me. O n e of u s p u t forward t h e idea of h av i n g a n
h o u r g l ass o n t h e cove r, a n a n c i e n t i n st r u m e n t of t i mekee p i n g . T h e n m u s i c a l t i m e
c a m e to m i n d , perhaps j u st by p l a y i n g o n words. Someone e l s e s u g gested p u tt i n g
t h e score of a S c h o n berg p i ece o n t h e cover, a p iece c a l led "A l l i n d u e t i m e . "
Later, we were n o t a b l e to t race t h at score. I n t h e m ea n t i m e we h a d started
d i sc u s s i n g S c h o n berg, w h o m some of u s l oved , some did not, and o t h e rs k n ew l i t
tle about. It seemed that the c o n t rast i n g read i n g s offered on S c h o n berg were re l e
vant to u s : t h e d ra m a of d i ss o l u t i o n of t o n a l i t y a n d t h e u l t i mate fa i l u re i n t h e at
tempt to construct a new m u s i c a l norm, said somebody. Ot hers did not ag ree.
Ato n a l ity and 1 2-tone m u s i c , breakdown of the old order and the i m poss i b i l ity of a
" s pontaneous" and non-pa i n f u l jou rney towards a new order of t h i n g s . . . "

(The w o m e n of t h e Center Col l ect ive).

A t i m e that i n vokes m u l t i p l i c i ty . . .

B E I N G I N TO U C H " T h e s u b j u g a t i o n of t h e fem i n i n e ( i n w o m a n , n a t u ra l l y , b u t a l s o i n m a n ) h a s p ro
WITH THE d u ced a body that i s n o l o n g e r posessed by desi res, but by the laws of market i n g ,
U N CO N S C I O U S b y a desi re t h a t does n o t e n t e r t h e body b u t i s bartered i n a g a m e t h a t red u ces
l i fe to eco n o m i c l aws w i t h death as its e n d . The d e s t r u c t i o n of the fem i n i ne i s t h e
t h read th at r u n s t h ro u g h a n d accom pa n i es t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f h u m a n ity, i t s
d i s i ntegration t h ro u g h i n h u ma n r o l e c o n s t ra i n t s , t h e c o l o n ization of existence, t h e
p a rce l izat i o n of t i me a n d s pace, t h e u p h o l d i n g of t h e p u rported objectivity of c o n
s c i o u s ness over t h e f l u x of t h e u nc o nsc i o us. T h e prog ressive separat ion
estrangement of t h e mascu l i n e from t h e fem i n i n e , a n d of t h e fe m i n i n e from itself
res u l t s i n t h e fictional appearance of woman on t h e scene; res u l ts in t h e d i sap
pearance of p l eas u re, w h i c h i s seen as fem i n i n e a n d n o n p roduct ive, rat h e r t h a n
econom i c a n d p rod uctive. W o m a n becomes t h e o p p o s i t e of somet h i n g e l s e , t h e
o p p o s i t e of a m a n , t h e refore a b e i n g t ha t c a n not e x i s t by herse l f . A move to h e l p
u s g o beyond t h e s t a g e of not-be i n g -f u l ly- rea l ized y e t no-longer-lac k i n g-somet h i n g
m u st b e t h e rejection o f t h e v i s i o n o f ou rselves as w o m e n - h o l e s , women
separated f rom o u r l ivable fem i n i ne, a n d t h e refore condem ned to t h e n o n l i v a b l e .
T h i s en tail s d i s r u pt i n g t h e u s u a l m a nne r of spea k i n g , n a rrat i n g , by means of i n
c i s ive, forcefu l frag m e n t s of d es i res, d re a m s , u n c o n s c i o u s states. I t e n t a i l s
refra i n i n g f r o m the w h i n i n g acco u n t s of o n e ' s m i sery, attac k i n g the mecha n i s m
t h a t n o t o n l y p rodu ces re p re s s i o n i n t h e u nc o n s c i o u s , b u t t h a t represses t h e u n
c o n s c i o u s i t s e l f . T h i s c a l l s f o r a p roj ect to resea rch t h e d i versity of wome n , not
t h e i r i d e n t ity. It e n t a i l s c a p s i z i n g t h e rea l i ty p r i n c i p l e a n d c o n s i d e r i n g desi res t h e
t r u e rea l i ty . . . "
( M a r i l i na)

But desi re, such a mag i c word, sometimes ex p resses itself i n a strange m a n ner,
as a " s u s p e n s i o n " of d e s i re.

"It i s not easy to t a l k about sex u a l i t y ; however, we s t u bborn l y s w i t c h f rom t h e


psychosomatic c o d e to t h e l i n g u i s t i c one h o p i n g to com p a re a g reater n u m be r o f
experiences. The o p pos i t i o n w o m a n - m a n , t h e a n c i e n t root of o u r d i sfra n c h i se
m e n t , of o u r obstru cted s e l f-assert i o n , i m p i n g e s o n o u r wo rkaday rea l ity, forc i n g
u s t o m a k e pai n f u l c h o ices, a n d , often, a p p rox i mate o n e s , cau s i n g t h e separat i o n

1 37
to a p pear h a rd and p r o b l e m a t i c . I n my l i fe, as a woman w h o l o n g ago rej ected t h e
role of rep rod u c er of t h e s p e c i e s , t h e a l i e n a t i o n of motherhood, w h o chose to b e
separated from m a n e v e n sex u a l l y , t h e sense of op p res s i o n cont i n u e s , leav i n g me
with rare moments of l u c i d ity, when I rea l ize t h a t my negative relat i o n s h i p w i t h
t h e w o r l d derives from t h e f a c t that I i n t rojected t h e l a w of " d o u t d e s , " i n produc
ing, i f even j u st a n i mage of myse l f , in order to show to myse l f that I exist.

So w h i l e t h e d rive to produce s t i l l l i n g e rs w i t h i n m e i n t h e form of a necess ity to


c reate, t h e a n n oyance a n d t h e f u t i l ity of a q u a n t i fy i n g test of myse l f d rive m e i n t o
a state of sex u a l " s u s p e n s i o n , " appare n t l y d e v o i d of n e e d s and d es i res, b u t
c r i t i c a l and active n o n e t h e less.

I do not know how o n e comes o u t of such a q u a n t i tative abstrac t i o n of l i fe. T h e


certai nty of a t h eo ry o r t h e acq u i s i t i o n of practice d o e s not rea s s u re me. I o n l y
k n ow that every t i m e I m ove a w a y from t h i s " s u s p e n s i o n , " my emot i o n s wane and
I becom e more aware of my o p p re s s i o n .
( B i anca)

Then o n e looks for a way beyond, for stepp i n g beyond o n e s e l f , for ways to use
t h e body as a b r i d g e .

UTOPIA, "The p l ea s u re I a m t a l k i n g about i s somet h i n g m o re t h a n p l eas u re; i t i s


PROBABLY somet h i n g i n e x c e s s of i t , not t h e satisfac t i o n of a desi re, b u t somet h i n g t h a t ex
ceeds the poss i b i l i t i e s t h at d e s i re had foresee n . Somet h i n g t h a t , start i n g from
tota l i ty, ends u p exceed i n g i t : a tota l i ty without rem a i nder, a sum without exc l u
s i o n , a p l ace w i t h n o l i m its . A sense of comblement, proba b l y , a sense of f u l l ness
that goes beyond t h a t of a cup a l ready fu l l to the brim. T h e copresence of a l l the
fu l l ness and e m p t i ness I am a b l e to fee l . I am. A relat i o n s h i p with myse l f t hat
works perfect ly. Ecstasy. One in t u n e w i t h the w h o l e , w i t h o u t the need of e x p l ana
t i o n . To get i n t o u c h w i t h t h e w h o l e w i t h o u t fee l i ng overpowered . My body oc
c u pies a space t h a t f e e l s r i g h t . I am my body. I t is a d u ra t i o n , t i m e d i s a p pears.
Deat h i s n o longer meas u ra b l e . I do not wonder any more i f I am rea l ized , f u l f i l led ,
if I corres pond to w h at I t h i n k I s h o u l d be. I am not any more at t h e p l a n n i n g
stage. Not a n abstract i d e n t ity, b u t existence, n o t a foc u s i n g b u t a d i ff u s i o n .
Everyt h i n g w i t h i n everyt h i ng e l se, everyw here, a l ways at t h e same t i m e . Comble
ment is not p l a n ned any more, it is not a g oa l to reac h , it is an excess, an extra . "

( T h e w o m e n of S t u d i o R i petta)

One may object: "What n a rc i s s i s m ! " Why not ! S i nce representation i s h i st ory ,
and w o m e n h a v e n e v e r b e e n h i story, b u t j u st " l e repos d u g u errier, " a warm l a p to
come back to, then w h y not start c reat i n g a c h a racter o u t of ou rselves !

L i t t l e comedy in o n e act:

" To Be or Not to Be"

After a whole day spent at t h e t e l evi s i o n center, p u shed from t h e f i rst f l oo r to the
secon d , then back a g a i n to t h e f i rst, g o i n g around i n c i rc l es and gett i n g n ot h i n g
acco m p l i shed, An to n e l l a a n d I d rove back d o w n t ow n .

S i nce Antone l l a i s a n g ry , and w h e n s h e i s , s h e u s u a l l y goes and l e t s i t o u t


t h ro u g h exerc ise, s h e does n ' t come a l o n g t o o u r meet i n g . S h e d ro p s m e of f , n o t
at t h e b u s stop, b u t o n t h e o p p o s i t e s i d e of t h e st reet, e v e n t h o u g h i t ' s ra i n i n g
cats and dogs. So I say to her: "Wat c h . I ' m g o i n g to act o u t o u r d e p ress i o n . " I get
off, c ross t h e street c a l m l y , then I stand u n d e r t h e stop s i g n , erect, at atte n t i o n ,
w i t h my h e a d h i g h , l i ke a h e ro i ne, a m idst t h e amazement of t h e bysta nders, w h o
are h u dd l i n g arou n d t h e i r u m b re l l a s , and t h o s e w i t h o u t on e , w h o stand f l at
a g a i n s t a bu i ld i n g to f i n d s h e lter. I feel bea u t i f u l , stand i n g on t h e c u rb , as t ho u g h
o n a s h i p ' s u pper d e c k . O u t of t h e corner of my e y e , I s e e Antone l l a l a u g h , g o i n t o
f i rst g e a r , a n d d rive away.

When I arrive at the meet i n g , soak i n g wet, M a r i n e l l a i s f r i g h tened: " W h at h a p pen-

1 38
ed?" I te l l her, s h e l a u g h s . I try to represe n t myself, a c t o u t t h e i n c o n s i st e n c i e s ,
c o n t rad i c t i o n s , h o w I p l ay, d e s i re, l a bor. I t ' s not e n o u g h f o r m e j u st to g ive a n
acco u n t of m y s e l f . B e h i n d t hat p o i n t i n g f i n g er, raised to accu se, I w a n t to h e a r
n o t o n l y " I heard you ! " b u t a l s o " I s a w you ! " Y e s , t h i s c h a racter of m i ne i s
p o s i t i v e l y po l i t i c a l . "
(Alessa n d ra)

TO G EO R G I A N A I n R o m e the Fem i n ist M o ve m e n t has a lways been g i ve n a p o l i t i c a l l a b e l , ap


propriately so f o r a M ovem e n t t h at negotiates f o r w o me n . Rome has been t h e
p l ace of t h e g reat d e m o n s t rat i o n s , o f t h e o c c u p at i o n of t h e Wome n ' s H o u se, o f
t h e o r g a n ized stru g g l e i n t h e h o s p i t a l s t o g u arantee t h e r i g h t to a b o r t . T h e
d e b a t e s w i t h i n t h e Move m e n t h ave a lways taken i n t o acc o u n t t h e prob l e m of t h e
" o u t s i d e , " t h e " o u t s i d e " m ean i n g t h e " i n s t i t u t i o n s , " " m a l e p o l i t ics," " t h e rel a t i o n
s h i p w i t h t h e o t h e r o p p ressed . " A n d i n Rome, m o re t h a n every w h e re e l se, w o m e n
brou g h t about t h e e r u p t i o n of major c o n t rad i c t i o n s w i t h i n t h e p a r t i e s of t h e e x
treme a n d i n s t i t u t i o n a l l e f t . I t i s h e re t h ey p a rt i c i pated i n t h e M ove m e n t ' s meet i n g
of 1 977. I t i s i n R o m e G i o r g i a n a M a s i , a t seventeen, d i ed o n M a rc h 1 2, 1 977,
assas s i n ated d u r i n g a protest march. H e r f e m i n i s t c o m rades cou l d just w r i te
poet i c words i n h e r m e m o ry , b u t t hey covered every w a l l w i t h t h e m , to keep t h e
m e m o ry a l ive .

. . . I F T H E OCTO B E R R EVOLUT I O N

H A D B E E N I N MAY

IF YOU WERE ST I LL A L I V E

I F I W E R E N OT I M POT E N T I N T H E FAC E O F Y O U R ASSASS I N AT I O N

I F M Y P E N W E R E A V I CTO R ' S W E A P O N

I F M Y F E A R EXPLO D E D I N T H E SQUAR ES

A COU RAG E B O R N O F T H E A N G E R STRA N G LE D IN M Y T H ROAT

I F H AV I N G K N OW N YOU WOU LD B ECO M E O U R STR E N G T H

I F T H E F LOW E R S W E G A V E

TO Y O U R C O U R A G E O U S LI F E I N O U R D EAT H

W O U L D AT LEAST B E CO M E W R EAT H S

I N T H E ST R U G G L E O F A L L U S WO M E N

I F. . .
IT W E R E NOT W O R D S T RY I N G TO A F F I R M LI F E

BUT L I F E I TS E L F , W I T H OUT A D D I N G M O R E .

ON POW E R , W e were t a l k i n g a b o u t p o l i t i cs, w h i c h a l s o i m p l ies organ izat i o n . Conseq u e n t l y ,


ITS R E F U SAL, t h e b i g p r o b l e m of p o w e r c a m e i n . T h e p o w e r of t h e oppos i t i o n m a n/w o m a n a n d
ITS V U L G A R I T I ES woma n/wo m a n .

" W h a t bothered m e m o s t was t h e c o nt i n uo u s repet i t i o n of " w e a r e h a l f , w e a r e


h a l f , we are h a l f . " A re w e h a l f o r d o we w a n t h a l f ? Are w e h a l f of t h e c l ea r ,
beau t i f u l , w i l d , b u t n ever conve n t i o n a l sky, o r d o w e w a n t to e a t o u r h a l f of t h e
c a k e h e re on eart h . I d o not w a n t h a l f of w h a t t h e re i s today, of t hose va l u es I
refuse a n d f i g h t . I w a n t t h e u n ity of t h e sky, eve n t h o u g h I a m o n l y h a l f t h e sky. I
do not ref u s e a n yt h i n g , I w a n t everyt h i n g . B u t I do not w a n t w hat e x i s t s a l ready , I
w a n t wh at I c reate, w h a t is c reated t h ro u g h s t r u g g l e . "
(Lia)

"If o n e g ra n t s t h e i n ev i t a b l e d istort i o n s faced in t a l k i n g about t h e vast


t h eoret i c a l , p ract i c a l a s p ects of t h e M ove m e n t , o n e c a n then s u m m arize in t h ree
f u n d a m e n t a l p o i n t s a l l the t h e m e s o n power: 1) a n a l y s i s of power and of t h e
powers of t h e m a l e society d i v ided i n c l asses; 2) a n a l y s i s of t h e power re l a t i o ns
c reated w i t h [ n t h e W o m e n ' s M ovement; 3) t h e e l a bo rat i o n of a l i berat i o n p l a n w i t h
reg a rd to power. I n o t h e r words, i n accord a n ce w i t h t h e f e m i n ist atte n t i o n p a i d t o
t h e k n o w n d y n a m i c f o rces i n t r i n s i c i n every h u m a n a g g regat i o n , a n d to i t s u s u a l
repet i t i o n of t h e Oed i p a l t r i a n g l e , w o m e n a r e s l ow l y i n ve s t i g a t i n g t h e p o w e r w i e l d
ed by t h e f a t h e r- m o t h e r s i d e , a n d t h e prospect, n o w st i l l u t o p i a n , of a soc i a l col
lective i nd e p e n d e n t f r o m t h e ru les of t h e Oed i p a l g a m e .

From t h e s t reets, t heoret i c a l a n d st rateg i c p r o b l e m s are t r a n s f e r red to t h e s m a l l


space o f l i t t l e g ro u p s a n d c o l l ect ives. Does t h e w o m e n ' s revo l t a i m at a g reater
acq u i s i t i o n of power o r at i t s total ref u s a l ? W i l l t h e obd u rate search for
" id e n t i t y , " t h e " new s u bject i v i s m , " bring about new i nd e p e n d e n c e , male and
female, a n d lead to the con seq u e n t d i sa ppearance of sex u a l roles, becau s e t hey
w i l l p rove useless? O r , o n the c o n t ra ry , w i l l i t become the soc i a l basis for a new
f e m a l e power?

A n a n a l y s i s of the s u bject ive i nt e n t i o n s of the M ove m e n t w i l l reve a l i t s a n t i


refor m i s t c h a racter: i n d i v i d u a l e m a n c i pa t i o n a n d e m a n c i pation a s a p o l i t i c a l p ro
g ra m are rej ected beca u s e c o n s i d e red an e xp r e ssi o n of i n teg rat i o n i s t s u bo rd i n a
t i o n a n d a sou rce of d iv i s i o n a m o n g w o m e n .

W i t h i n p o l i t i c a l c o l l ectives, a n d a l s o i n s m a l l c o n s c i o u s ness-ra i s i n g o r d e p t h
a n a l y s i s g ro u ps, t h e m a s c u l i n e a n d fem i n i ne roles, t h e m a t e r n a l a n d pater n a l
r o l e s recreate t h e m s e l ves t h ro u g h t h e i n t ricate i nt e r- re l a t i o n s h i ps of leaders h i p
a n d d e l e g at i o n , c o m p l i c i t y a n d d i scomfort t h a t emerge f ro m t h e p rog ressive
d i scovery of i nd i v i d u a l d i f ferences. As soon as t h e p o l i t i c a l d ef i n i t i o n of " id e n t i ty
agai n s t" col l a pses a n d t h e m a l e qua oppos i t i o n f u ses w i t h a h y p o t h e t i c a l " o u t
s i d e , " it is t h e i n s i d e of t h e col lective t h a t is t h reatened by a ref l ect i o n of t h e
m a l e-fem a l e b i po l a ri t y , u nd e r t h e g u ise of a g g ression-passivity. T h e w o m a n w h o
i s a b l e to t a k e t h e f lo o r m o r e eas i l y becomes, i n t h e M ovem e n t , a t y p i c a l f i g u re of
m a l e power. Power, i n fact, takes t h e form of a t e n d e n c y to exc l u d e someone d i f
ferent f ro m onese l f a n d to s o l i d i fy a col lect ive u sage i nto l i n g u i s t i c a n d i d e o l o g i c
norm. Word p o w e r i s t h e refore exerted by w o m e n w h o a p p e a r to be sex u a l l y
repressed a n d w i t h dependency needs.

S i nce t h e exerc i s e of power a l ways refers to a re l a t i on s h i p of sed u c t i o n and


t h e refore to rec i p ro c a l deplmdency, the reverse of " w o rd power" i s " s i l e n c e
power," s p r i n g i n g f ro m o l d fem i n i ne sed u c t ive g u i les (beauty, sweet ness, e m o
t i o n a l ity, i n s t i n c t i v ity). Anyway, w h a t fem i n i s m i nt u i t s is t hat t h e f i rst t y p e of
d o m i n a t i o n , w h i c h i s c o n s i d e red t h e more d a n g e ro u s becau s e ' mo re i n t rojected
a n d o m n i p rese n t , ' i s not less real than the sec o n d , s i nce i t too i s a d i st o rted a n d

1 40
p a rt i a l ref l e c t i o n of t h e rea l re l a t i o n s h i ps of power a c t i ve in t h e so-ca l l ed " o u t -
side."
( B i a n ca m a r i a)

W H AT O F T H E B I G A s p ec i a l date was N ovember 1 976. For t h e f i rst t i m e R o m a n women wou l d take


D E M O N ST RATI O N S? to the s t reets, not to c l a i m s o m et h i n g , b u t to make a d i rect a f f i rmat i o n of t h e i r
50,000 W O M E N p resence. Tog e t h e r t h ey wou l d c l a i m t h e n i g h t f o r t he m s e lves. T h i s d e m o n s t rat i o n
I N T H E ST R E ETS f o l lowed t h ree d a y s of debates, w h e n t h e d i scovered u n i t y of R o m a n fe m i n i s m
b e c a m e m a n i fest as a p rac t i c a l poss i b i l ity of c o l l ec t i ve w o r k . I n s h o rt: a h i g h
p o i n t o f t h e M ovem e n t . From t h at m o m e n t o n , we w o u l d b e fac i n g new probl e m s ,
b u t l e t ' s g o b a c k to t h e d e m o n s t rat i o n .

" Ro m a n fem i n i s t s m a rc h ed at n i g h t a g a i n s t v i o l e n ce. M a n y were heav i l y m a d e u p .


T h e g ro u p w e n t t h ro u g h t h e n e i g h bo r h ood of Staz i o n e Term i n i , R o m e ' s t ra i n ter
m i na l , a place f req u e n ted by t h e poorest p rost i t u tes, a p l ace of t h e most prof o u n d
a n d p u b l i c s u b m i s s i o n . M i m i c k i n g p rost i t u t i o n , t h e v i sceral a n d n i g h t l y fem i n i ne ,
c u t off from t h e aware n e s s o f i t s e l f , enacted, beh i n d t h e s c reen of u pt u rned
s i g n i f i ca t i o n , u nd e r i t s o w n eyes a n d t h ose of the m e n w a i t i n g in a m b u s h on t h e
s i d e w a l k s , t h e u s u a l ceremony of t h e come-o n . I n so d o i n g , t h e R o m a n fem i n i st s
e x p e r i e nced prost i t u t i o n , ' ret ravel l i n g ' t h e c ond i t i o n of t h e h a r e m .

A m a r c h i n t h e n i g ht. T h e w o m e n h o l l ered T h i rd-Wor l d come-ons, p res s i n g c l ose,


h u dd l i n g , bea r i n g torches. C l o t hes were u sed as a s ex u a l s i g n a l , a n e g a t i ve one
f o r the m e n w h o watched o n the s i dewa l ks , a p o s i t i ve o n e for t h e women.
Repossess i n g , c l a i m i n g p rost i t u t i o n , ' re t rave l l i n g ' our c on d i t i o n of sex u a l s i g n a l s ,
fac i n g t h e p rovoc a t i o n com i n g f ro m t h e s i d ew a l k , f r o m t h e ' o u t s i d e ' , m e a n t fac i n g
c o l l e c t i v e l y , p o l i t i c a l l y t h e t u n n e l of regress i o n . B e i n g w i t h o t h e r w o m e n , e x p e r i e n
c i n g aga i n t h e co n d i t i o n of i m p r i s o n me n t , t h e i n t i macy t h a t b l i nd s a n d d i v i des,
t h e i m poss i b l e com m u n i cat i o n of contact; g o i n g beyond t h e h i st o r i c a l r i t u a l i s m ,
t h e o b l i q u e e x p res s i o n (Ach i l l e s ' s l aves m o u r n ' u s i n g Pat roc l u s as a p retext/ each
h e r own sorrow'); p e n e t rat i n g d e l i berately t h e aphasia t hat t r i es to re medy its
s h o rtcom i n g s t h ro u g h body l a n g u ag e ; all t h i s m e a n s exper i m e n t i n g , in a con
s c i o u s a n d ex p l i c i t way, t h e i n ev i t a b l e , n o n - p r o g ra m m a t i c s o l i d a r i ty of t h e
regressive cond i t i o n . I t i s reg res s i o n w i t h a p rog ress ive va l u e t h at t h e Wom e n ' s
Move m e n t i n t roduces i n t h e p o l i t i c a l u n iverse."
( E l i sabetta)

As we were say i n g , s o m et h i n g h a d to c h a n g e . It i s the beg i n n i ng of the c l a s h bet


ween the women for the M o v e m e n t and t h ose who g ravitate toward A u t o n o m y .
T h e p r o b l e m o f v i o l e n ce, t h e h a nd l i n g of w o m e n ' s v i o l e n ce, t h e use of force
become d i v i s ive i s s u e s at every meet i n g . T h e M ovement loses i t s h o m o g e n e i ty
w i t h reg ard to t h e " o u t s i d e . " T h e new debate m u st deal w i t h terro r i s m , t h e armed
stru g g l e .

MY FAC E L ESS " I wou l d l i ke to beg i n by para p h ras i n g A rt a u d , by say i n g t h a t n ever m o re t h a n to


H O P ES day has t h e re been so m u c h talk about the State a n d p o l i t i c s, when it i s l i fe i t s e l f
that escapes u s . T h e re i s a strange para l l e l i s m between t h e general ized c o l l apse
of l i fe w h i c h i s at t h e core of t h e present d i s c o u ragement, a n d t he p r o b l e m of a
p o l i t i c a l cou rse of a c t i o n that never h a r m o n ized w i t h l i fe, a n d t hat i s i m posed o n
i t . T w o years a g o , w h e n we c a m e o u t , a l most e n masse, of t h e n ew- l e f t i s t
organ izat i o n s , we m o re o r less s a i d t h e s a m e t h i ng s . T o d a y we st i l l say t h a t we
must talk about l i fe, perhaps not a i m i n g at d i scove r i n g in the m idst of the d ay-to
day rea l i ty the e x i s t e n c e of that " fe m i n i ne i d e n t ity" that we carried/carry g l u ed to
o u r s k i n , w h i c h , o n e day, i n d ifferent t i mes, we d e f i ned as " w o m a n is beau t i f u l . "

B u t I d o n o t t h i n k t h a t to p roceed s t ra i g h t , t o have, i f we o n l y w a n t , hopes, w e


m u st p ref i g u re s o m et h i n g : o u r i d e n t i ty , t h e state, l i fe. After a l l , I d o n o t t h i n k t h a t
it i s ev en necessary t o program t h e m . I d o n o t t h i n k that ou r f u t u re p l a n n ed / p l a n
n a b l e i d e n t i ty i s a set of mosaic p ieces, a series of asse m b l ed l i t t l e victories. I d o
not bel ieve i n a n y f o r m of s u rvival o n e i s a b l e to come u p w h e n t h e n e e d arises.
Yet, most certa i n l y , I c o n s t a n t l y l ive with t h e f o r m s of s u rvival I make up as I g o
a l o n g . H o p e l ess? N o , h o p e i s t h e l ast to d i e , b u t I m u s t ad m i t t h a t these h o p e s of
m i ne are face less, a n d w h y not, t i m e l e s s.

N o th i n g i s more attac h ed to t h e past t h a n our i ma g i n a t i o n . M y past, everybody ' s


past, I o n l y accept i t as a learn i n g process. I categ o r i ca l l y reject it as nosta l g ia.
The nosta l g i a of t h ose w h o would rouse our affection for t h e state a n d e n c l ose us
i n organ izat i o n s , as women, workers, y o u n g people, fam i l ies, etc. The nosta l g i a
of t hose w h o w o u l d m u ster u s f o r a n armed s t ru g g l e and organ ize u s i n b r i g ades,
nuclei, l i nes.

A geometry that, to be s u re, rej ects a s e l f-tra n s pa rency made up of truths a n d c e r


t a i n t ies over that a c h i eved t h ro u g h t h e effort to k n ow oneself, t h e d i f f i c u l ty to e n
d u re t h e d i scovery of t h e n o n l i nearity of o u rse l ves, t h e d i scovery of o u r m u l t i p l i c i
t y , the effort exerted not to k i l l a n y p a r t of o u rselves.

The destru c t u r i n g of t h o u g h t c on cerned with f i n a l ity, i . e . p l a n n i n g , p rojec t i o n ,


world v i e w , seems to m e a n o b l i gatory step t o remove from ou rselves t h e w e i g h t
of ideology, a necessary s t e p to arrive at t h e p rocess of c reat i o n . For t h i s reaso n ,
we m u st l ive w i t h o u r c o n t i n u o u s i nv e n t i o n s of s u rviva l , w i t h o u t s t ro n g l y b e l i ev i n g
i n t h e m , b u t , at t h e s a m e t i m e , w i t h o u t t h e negativity of lett i n g o u rselve s merely
ex i st. Our face less h o pe s are t h e only poss i b i l i t y to know, l ove, a c k n o w l ed g e
ou rselves a n d t o be a b l e to l ove. M aybe I a m o n l y speak i n g of m y l i fe, b u t I w a n t
to speak of my l i fe. G o i n g b a c k to Arta u d , I w a n t to a d d t h a t today i t i s u n
t h i n k a b l e for u s w h o h ave u nd e rtaken a p h y s i c a l a n d cog n i t ive j o u r n ey t h at took
u s t h r o u g h facto r i e s , n e i g hborhoods, l o c a l a n d n a t i o n a l meet i n g s ; a j o u rney that
went o n inside u s , i n t h e u n ma s k i n g of our p e rs o n a l relat i o n s h i ps; we who con
cerned o u rselves with t h e p o l i t i c s of t h e g reat systems d o w n to t h e p o l i t ic s of
d i sh-was h i n g ; w e who a n a l yzed d y n a m i c forces a n d t h e s u bc o n s c i o u s , as I was
say i n g , it i s u n t h i n k a b l e for u s not to p l ace at the center of our a n a l y s i s l i fe i t s e l f ,
and not a n y l o n g e r " w h a t i s t h e r i g h t i d e n t i ty i n order to l ive." A ro u n d u s w e s e e
alternat ive s u rviva l tact ic s , i d e a l ized a n d i d e o l o g ized: from c reative w o r k e r s to
hero i n addicts, t o t hose w h o practice " t h e refu s a l of w o r k , " to t hose w h o c hoose
to be Com m u n i s t f i g hters. In the face of t h es e C h o i ces, a l l with c a p i t a l ' c ' ,
becau se, i n t h e e n d , t h e y k i l l a l l other poss i b l e c h o ices, how c a n w e t a l k about
t h e p o l i t i c a l crisis w i t h o u t t a l k i n g about our i deas o n l i fe ? "

E v e n a d e b a t e o n terro r i s m i s organ ized .

" F i rst I wou l d l i ke to a n a l yze t h e " po l i t i c a l " s i d e of terro r i s t act i o n , w h i c h comes


w i t h i n that catego ry of p o l i t i c a l s t rateg ies rejected by u s women: l o s s of c o n t ro l
o n t h e l ower leve l s , a b s o l ute d e l e g a t i o n , t o t a l a n d abso l u t e s p l i t of t h e p o l i t i c a l

1 42
from t h e private; a p o l i t i c a l cou rse of a c t i o n t h a t forces o n e to an e i t h e r/or s i t ua
t i o n - w i t h u s o r against u s . O n v i o lence, I wou l d l i ke to h e a r more concrete
d i sc u s s i o n s , w i t h o u t l a p s i n g in such abstrac t i o n s a s 'every t h i n g i s v i ol e n c e , '
' everybody prac tic es i t . ' N o r d o I c o n s i d e r i t r i g h t t h a t t h ose w h o reject t h e p l a n n
ed a n d spec i f i c t y p e of v i o l e n c e m u s t r i g h t a w a y be l a b e l ed pac i f ists. I a m n o t a
p a c i f i s t , but I bel i eve t h a t p o l i t i c a l c h o i ces m u s t be m a d e i n t h e p rese n t , now.
From a general h i sto ric al point of view, t h e re i s an enormous d i fference between
h o m i c ides a n d t h e p o l i t i c a l v i o l ence practi ced now, a n d a s i t u a t i o n of revo l u
t i o n a ry m a s s v i o l e n ce . We a r e f o rced to t h e u s u a l modes of s u rviva l : e i t h e r total
e m a n c i pa t i o n , tota l i d e n t i f icat i o n with man o r becom i n g s u p e r-em a n c i pated ter
rorists or s u per-e m a n c i pated women w i t h i n State i n s t i t u t i o n s , i n t h e m idst of t h e
u s u a l f o r m s of ' e m a rg i na t i o n . ' I t h i n k , t h e refore, t h a t i t i s v i t a l not to rema i n
s i l e n t , but to denou nce, as we h ave a l ways d o n e , even t h i s form of p h y s i c a l a n d
p o l i t i ca l v i o l e nce. S i nce p o l i t i c a l v i o lence i s d e n o u n ced nowadays b y t hose i n
power i n a g e n e r i c a n d ' i nstru m e n ta l ized ' m a n n e r, t o s e rve t h e i r p o l i t i c a l a i m s , on
l y we women can reiterate t h e c o n d e m n a t i o n of t h e var i o u s leve l s of v i o l e nce of
w h i c h t h e p h y s i c a l type i s j u st t h e tip of t h e iceberg. J u st as we have l earned t hat
rape i s a repressive weapon t u rned a g a i nst women, s i nce i t keeps fear a l ive, and
with i t h i g h l eve l s of moral a n d psych o l o g i c a l v i o l e n ce p racti ced o n women.

Let u s g o back, t h e refore, we women, to d e n o u n ce t h e leve l s of v i o l e n ce o n e


w a n t s to h ide, a n d o u r co m p l i c ity, t o o . Let ' s d e n o u n c e a l l t h a t t h ro u g h t h e c e n
t u ries has kept u s d ivided a n d i nc a p a b l e of rebe l l i n g ; t h e p r e s e n t attempt to
assert o u rse lves o n t h e level of e m a n c i p a t i o n , a level for w h i c h we don't possess
yet a plan a n d a f i g h t strategy. In fact we a re, o n the s u bject of e m a n c i p a t i o n ,
s t i l l d iv i d ed a n d s u bo rd i nate to m a n . I n t h e M ovement w e condem ned e m a n c i pa
t i o n a s a s i m p l e req uest of eq u a l ity to man, a n eq u a l ity that p roves to be f a l se,
becau se i t forces u s to be eq u a l to him i n work, sex u a l i t y , c h o i ce of va l u es, robb
i n g us of o u r i d e n t i t y . H owever c r i t i c i s m of e m a n c i p a t i o n h a s o n l y rema i ned
t h eoret i c a l , becau s e i t i s s t i l l to be t ra n s lated in a p ractice that wou l d h e l p h a n d l e
o u r i n d i v i d u a l re l at i o n s h i p w i t h w o r k , po l i t i c s , m a n .
(M ichi)

O n e m o re statement.

"To g i ve a n exa m p l e , I w i l l say t h at I have asked myself w h a t I wou l d do i f I met


a n ex-terrorist along t h e way a n d i f s h e n eeded help, i .e. a h o u se, a l it t l e affec
tion, someone to t r u s t , t h at i s . Wel l , I t h i n k I wou l d help h e r with g reat fear to
' m ake a new start , ' as t h e e x p ress i o n goes. Fear of what? To become part of t h e
p o l i t i c a l persec u t i o n t h a t h i t s anyone s u s pected of b e i n g a f e l low t ravel ler. T h e
f a c t i s t h a t , because of t h i s fear, I wou l d f a l l i n t o a pattern of behavior, t h a t as a
woman I k n ow w e l l , t h e o n e used by mothers w i t h t h e i r d a u g h ters w h e n t hey
cover up for t h e m w i t h father: 'I w i l l h e l p y o u , but you m u st g u a rantee t h a t you
w o n ' t get me in t ro u b l e . ' That a m o u n t s to be i n g a k i n d of father s u b s t i t u te, w h i c h
i n t h i s case i s t h e State. Worse, o n e becomes a moral a n d g u i l t- p rod u c i n g f i g u re.
Fine res u l t after so many years of stru g g l e when I p roc l a i med w i t h o t h e rs the
respect for d ivers i t y . T h e fact i s that, in t h e h y p o t h e t i c a l case I p u t f o rt h , the
d ivers i t y would be red u ced to n i l , i f not by m e o r t h e woman in q u e s t i o n , by the
log i c of terro r i s m i t s e l f : ' w i t h me o r a g a i n s t me.' U ndou bted l y terro r i s m must be
rej ected t h ro u g h words and act i o n s becau se i t does not p ropose but i m pose. B u t
I h ave m an y d o u b t s about t h e f a c t t ha t t h e f e m a l e presence i n terro r i s t organ iza
t i o n s i s tota l l y to be ascri bed to the s u bo rd i nate c h a racter of the women w h o
m a d e th at c h o i c e . B e h i n d i t , I be l i eve, t h e re i s a s u bject ive and object ive s i t u a
t i o n . I f I j u s t go back two years, t h e m e m o ry e merges of t h e b i g break a m o n g
women. Fem i n i sts c l e a r l y s p l i t f rom t h e s u p po rters of Autonomy, a b r e a k t h a t
ma rked a d i v i s i o n not o n l y between two ways of u ndersta n d i n g wome n ' s po l i t i c s,
b u t al s o between two g e n e rat i o n s . What has h a p pe n ed s i nce t h e n ? We h ave t a l k
ed so m u c h between e m a n c i pation a n d l i berat i o n . To be e m p h a t i c , between t h e
two w o r d s we p u t a d a s h , usef u l v i s u a l l y b u t too vag u e pract i ca l ly; p e r h a p s we
have to start from h e re to u nderstand w hat i s h a p pe n i n g among women now.

Emanc i pa t i o n , in our c o u n t ry , i m p l ies g o i n g t h ro u g h a po l i t i c a l organ izat i o n m u c h


more t h a n t h e j o b w o r l d . The ' d o u b l e m i l i t a n c y ' has been a spec i f i c a l l y I t a l i a n
p h e n o m e n o n , beca u s e i n t h e oppos i t i o n between e m a n c i pa t i o n a n d l i berat i o n , t h e
po l i t i c a l m i l i t a n cy i n t h e organ izat i o n s has b e e n f o r m a ny of u s t h e o n l y t h i n g
that saved u s f r o m d a n g l i n g i n t h e abyss t h at d iv i d ed u s f ro m l i berat i o n , i n t h e
a b s e n c e of a b r i d g e . N ow t h e q uestion a r i ses i f , i n t h e last two y e a r s , we have
gone a l l out to deve l o p a plan of a c t i o n that w i l l not systemat i c a l l y exc l u d e m a ny
women d i fferent f ro m u s because of age a n d soc i a l leve l . I f i r m l y be l i eve t h a t
fem i n i s m has t ra n sformed s o c i e t y , a n d I wou l d add , a l l women i n a n i r revers i b l e
m a n ner; however, I d o n o t be l i eve t h at o u r po l i t i cal st rateg ies h ave b e e n s u f f i
c i e n t l y mod i f ied by t h e com i n g on t h e scene of d i fferent fem i n i st leve l s . For t h i s
reason nowadays i t i s n o l o n g e r poss i b l e to d ef i ne a w o m a n as bei n g m o re
fe m i n i st t h a n a n o t h e r . T h e same p h e n o m e n o n of fem i n ist terro r i s m , i n fact, goes
back, in part, to the rad i c a l way in w h i c h w e d i sassoci ated ou rselves from every
kind of i ns t i t u t i o n a l p o l i t ics d u r i n g t h e last years.

When pol i t i ca l d i s i nteg ra t i o n i s g reat, i t i s h a rd to s i n g l e o u t t h e enemy w i t h


p rec i s i o n , s o t h a t o n e t u r n s to t h e most s y m bo l i c a n d ete r n a l enemy t h e re i s : t h e
State. I be l i eve i n stead t h a t fem i n i s m h a s s t i l l a l o t to s a y about t h e n at u re of l h !3
oppos i t i o n , a n d I a l s o be l ieve t ha t i t can be d e f i ned i n m o r e present t e r m s be h i nd
what d i s g u i s e t h e eternal enemy is h i d i n g . Accord i n g to me, t h i s m u s t be done
q u i c k l y , because i t i s a n i l l u s i on t h a t t h e t ho u s a n d s t rea m s t h a t form f e m i n i s m at
t h i s t i me w i l l a u t o m at i c a l l y become a s i n g l e g reat river. Some of these streams
a re a l ready beco m i n g b i g l a kes w h ere t h e c o n s c i o u s n ess of m a ny women
stag nates.
( M a n u e l a)

At t h i s p o i n t my m e m o ry becomes p resence. A n d i f o n e m u s t t a l k about p resence,


one must do so in a d i fferent m a n ner. The r i g h t side and t h e reverse of ou r h i story
are m i xed, a n d i f o n e remem bers the r i g h t s i d e a n y more, o n e speaks about it
more eas i ly , as t hese w r i t i n g s bear out. W i t h o u t doubt, i t i s t h e revers e - t h e
c h a n g e s , t h e sen s i b i l i t i es , t h e d y n a m i c forces - t h a t s e t s t h e p a c e , t h e ret u r n o f
poss i b i l i t y . So t h e n of t h e presence o n e w i l l s peak s o m e other t i me.

Transla ted by Vincenzo B uonocore

1 1/1 -4 Leisa Stroud Photos: D. Cortez

1 44
Read i n g makes me s ic k . I have a ton of
books here. But read i n g makes me sick. 1 95
days In j a i l . 1 96 days i n j a i l . 1 97 days. 1 98.
1 99. 200 days In jai l . H u rray, let's have a
dri nk. When I get out I ' m going to sett le on
one of Saturn's rings so nobody can ever
agai n break M Y BALLS ! ! ! 201 days in j a i l .
202 days I n j a i l . 203 days i n jai l . 204 days i n
j a i l a n d so o n . 205 days I n j a i l . 206 days I n
j a i l . 207 days i n j a i l . 208 days I n j a i l . And 209
da . . . wait a m i nute, the other day, my 206th
day In j ai l , was my b i rthday . . . FUCK . . . 2 1 0
days I n j a i l I hate y o u you make me sick. 2 1 1
days In j a i l . 2 1 2 days in j ai l . How w i l l t h i ngs
be when I get out? Normal? 213 days I n j a i l .
I 've learned h o w to sew. Yesterday I h a d sex
w i t h a man. F i rst I took It - then I gave It. I
couldn't j erk off any more, I ' d had enough of
that. He is very young. 2 1 4, 1 5, 1 6, 1 7, 1 8, 1 9,
220 days in j a i l . U h . 221 days in jai l . 222 days
in j a i l 223 days in j a i l 224 days in j a i l . 225
days in j a i l . 226 days in j a i l . Today t here are
some new arrivals. Three men sent u p for
armed robbery. A m u rderer. And a pu rse
snatcher. 227 days in j a i l . 228 days in j a i l .
229 days I n j ai l . 230 , 3 1 , 3 2 , 33, 34, 35, 36, 37,
38, 39 DAYS IN J A I L. 240 days, eight months
in jai l . Today I saw Daria. I saw her a month
ago too. The way she looks at me is d i fferent
from before . . . . I'm afra i d she doesn't l ove
me any more. 241 days in j a i l . D l l ng-sd l i ng .
It's n i ghtti me. They've woken me up.
ENOUGH WITH THAT FUCKI N G N O I S E . . .
l ' M H ERE . . . W H E R E DO YOU TH I N K l ' M
G O I N G ? . . . 242. Days i n j a i l . 243 days i n j a i l .
244 days I n j a i l and 245. Days l e s s to do i n
j a i l . U p your ass w i t h t h i s shit, I won't g ive
you the satisfaction of k i l l i ng you l i ke dogs
so you can beat me for the next 246 days I n
j a i l . 247 days i n jai l . 248 days i n jai l . 249 days
in j a i l . 250 days In j a i l . Tried speed, heroi n ,
acid, opi u m , g rass, and h a s h . U h . I n o n e
week. I 've put my h e a d o u t s i d e t h i s s h i tty
j a i l , they can't stop m e from doing
everything. My bra i n i s m i n e . . . I n jail. 251
days I n jail. 252 days I n jail. 253 days I n jail.
254 days I n jai l . 255, 6, 7, 8, 9, 260 days in
jail. SOLI N G , SOLI N G . I t 's ni g ht agai n . the
26 1 st n i g h t of the 26 1 st day I n j ai l . 263 days
in j a i l . 264 days In j a i l . 265 days in j a i l . I 'd
l i ke to sleep t h rough 500 days of freedom on
an I ceberg and I wou ldn ' t g i ve a fuck whether
I d i ed from pneu m o n i a . . . . 266 days i n j a i l ,
268 days i n jai l . 269. 260 days i n j a i l . 271 , 72,
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 280 days in j a i l . I ' m afrai d .
SOLITU D E I S A DARK ARMY O N T H E
HORIZON . . . . 281 d ays i n j a i l . Bum. 283 days
in jai l . Bum. 284 days in j a i l . Bum. 285 days
In j a i l . Bum. 286 days in j a i l . Bum. 287 days
in 288 days in, 289 days in JAI L. A i l a i l a i l a i l
a l l a l l a i l a i l . W h o remem bers anyt h i ng . . .
when I came . . . it m u st h ave been a - 290
d ays I n j a i l - Thursday. A Thu rsday in j ai l .
2 9 1 days I n j a i l . 293 days i n j a i l . 294 days i n
j a i l . That g u y i n t h e next cel l has f i n i s hed h i s
sentence. Lucky h i m . Ten years. M aybe I ' l l
make I I too. 295 days i n j a i l . U h . 296 days I n
j a i l 297 days, 98, 99. T H R E E H U N D R E D DAYS
IN JAI L. Was there a s u i c i d e last n i g ht? Ah,
3 Apri l 7 Arrests
Anatomy
of A u t o n o my

B i fo

Franco B e rard i , a l i as " B i fo " , was o n e of t h e


m a i n f i g u res of t h e M ov e m e n t of '77 i n
B o l o g n a . H e was a rrested a t t h a t t i m e u n d e r
t h e c harge of " s u bve rsive assoc i a t i o n " . We
asked B i fo to w r i t e t h e f o l l ow i n g presenta
tion on t h e context in w h i c h t h e M ovement
developed a n d t h e p ro b l e m s i t had to con
front u p to, a n d after, t h e A p r i l 7 arrests.

O n A p r i l 7, twenty-two m i l itants and i nt e l l ect u a l s f rom Pad ua, Rome, M i la n o a n d


Tor i n o w e r e a r rested . What t hey h a v e i n c o m m o n i s t h e i r part i c i pat i o n , u n t i l 1973,
in t h e g ro u p Workers' Power (Potere Operaio) w h i c h t h e n d i ssolved a n d became
an element i n the movement of A u tonomia . They were a rrested o n t h e c harge of
lead i n g t h e Red B r i gades, t h e strongest of terrorist organ izat i o n s i n Italy. A n d in
part i c u lar, t h ey are accu sed of d i rect i n g t h e k i d n a p p i n g and exec u t i o n of A l d o
M o ro, head of t h e govern i n g C h r i s t i a n Democrat ic party. There a re no g ro u n d s
a n d no p roof w hatsoever for t h ese c harges. A n d pract i c a l l y everyon e i n I ta l y w h o
has read a newspaper k n ows it. I t i s not o n l y f a l s e that t h e m i l itants of Autonomy
and t h e i ntel lectu a l s a r rested on A p r i l 7 d i rected t h e Red B rigades, b u t , i n fact,
t h e p o l i t ical a n d t heoret ical l i nes of t h e Red B r i gades d iverge d rast i c a l l y from
t hose of t h e i n d iv i d u a l s a rrested. Esse n t i a l l y w h a t i s clear i n all this opera t i o n i s
t h a t t h e p rosec u t i o n - a n d t h u s its sponso r i n g agency, t h e g ove r n m e n t - has
decided to make this g ro u p of i ntel lect u a l s pay for t h e last 10 years of mass
revo l u t i o n a ry stru g g l e i n Italy. The gove r n m e n t t h i n k s i t can s ucceed , a n d t h a t t h e
balance of p o w e r may be s h i fted d e c i s i v e l y to i t s advantage. B u t we can make n o
s e n s e at a l l of t h e a c t i o n s taken b y t h e gove r n m e n t d u ri n g t h e s e p a s t m o n t h s i f
we do n o t u nderstand at least s o m e t h i n g s a b o u t t h e pol i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n i n I t a l y ,
and about t h e I t a l i a n revo l u t i o n a ry movemen t:

1 48
F I RST: The c r i s i s of Cap i t a l i s m a n d of t h e I t a l i a n State s u bseq u e n t to t h e
workers' s t r u g g l e d u ri n g t h e S i x t ies.

S ECO N D: The H istorical C o m p rom ise, a n atte m p t to get beyond this crisis a n d to
d efeat t h e revo l u t i o n a ry movement.

T H I R D : The nove lty of t h e revo l u t i o n a ry move m e n t for A u tonomy w i t h respect to


t h e h i storical Soc i a l ist a n d M a rx i st Workers' Move m e n t ; i t s t h eoret i c a l ori g i n a l ity
a n d its po l i t ic al p rax is, as seen i n 1 977.

F O U R T H : The p rob l e m of the c i v i l war, and of the Red B rigades.

T h e experience of t h e revo l u t i on a ry movem e n t i n Italy, from 1 968 to 1 979, i s un


q u es t i o n a b l y t h e r i c hest a n d t h e most mean i n g f u l w i t h i n t h e c a p i t a l ist West. To
c o m p rehend t h e n ovel elements that this experience conta i n s we have to l ook at
t h e t heoret ic al a n d org a n izat i o n a l c u rrents t h a t come to a head i n Potere
Opera io - u nt i l 1 97 3 - a n d a re t h e n d i s persed and a rt i c u lated i n various org a n i za
t i o n a l forms w i t h i n "Workers' Autonomy" (A u tonomia Operaia).

It i s precisely because the p rog ress of the workers and of Autonomy const i t u tes
the most i nterest i n g a n d essent i a l e l e m e n t of the e n t i re revo l u t i o n a ry movem e n t
i n I ta l y d u ri n g t h e s e 1 2 y e a r s t h a t we s h o u l d c o n s i d e r t h e repressive i n i t iat ive o n
t h e part of t h e j u d i c i a ry i n Pad u a . I t i s t h e Pad u a n cou rt w h i c h w a s respo n s i b l e
for t h e arrest of m o s t of t h e m i l itants and i n t e l lect u a l s w h o took p a r t i n t h e move
m e n t . And the court's a c t i o n m u s t be seen as a real attempt at a f i n a l sol u t i o n , an
attack d i rected toward the e l i m i nation of t h ose forces t h a t const i t u te t h e
e l e me n ts of cont i n u ity i n t h e h i story of t h e revo l u t i o n a ry m ovement, t h ose forces
that h ave p rovided t h e catalyst for very s i g n i f icant theoret i c a l departu res.

I. In order to u nderstand the h i story of the last 1 0 years i n I ta l y , we m u s t start


w i t h t h e wave of c o n f l icts beg u n in 1 968 at u n ivers i t i es a n d at some factories
( M ontedison i n Porto m a r g h e ro, FAT M E in Rome, F I AT i n Tori no). S p read i n g t h e n ,
t h ro u g h o u t t h e f o l l o w i n g y e a r , i n the " t r o u b l e d a u t u m n " of 1 969, t he c o n f l i c t eve n
t u a l l y i nvo l ved a l l t h e I t a l i a n work i n g class i n stri kes, d e m o n st rations, take-overs,
and acts of sabotage. D u r i n g t hose two years of s t ru g g l e a d iv i s i o n occu red bet
ween t h e Left a n d t h e Workers' Movement. A n d in t h e fo l l ow i n g years t h is d i v i s i o n
produ ced a variety of organ izat i o n s to t h e left of t h e I t a l i a n Com m u n i st Pa r
t y - o u t s i d e t h e o f f i c i a l Workers' Movement, at t h e loca l leve l , and in t h e factories
and sc hoo l s .

D u rin g t h e same period, t h e g ro u p Workers' P o w e r (Po tere Operaio) was f o r m e d at


the n a t i o n a l l eve l ; i t was com posed of s m a l l e r g ro u p s a l ready in existence: t h e
Workers' Com m i ttee at Portomarghera, g ro u p s for workers' power i n Pad u a a n d
E m i l ia , a n d a p a r t of t h e s t u d e n t movements at R o m e a n d F l orence. I n
Septem ber, 1 969, t h e PO con so l i d ated i t s e l f a n d b e g a n p u b l i s h i n g a newspaper b y
t h e s a m e name.

But to u n derstand t h e p o l i t i c a l and t heoret i c a l ferment u nd e r l y i n g t h e c reat i o n of


t h e PO, we should f i rst of a l l say more about t h e new organ izat i o n a l exper i m e n t s
of 1 968 and 1 969, made b y t h e work i n g c l ass i n t h e larger factories of t h e N ort h .

F o r t h e present we seek t o i d e n t ify t h e conseq u e n ces w h i c h t h e c l ass stru g g l e


d u ri n g t hose years h a d f o r t h e cou n t ry ' s econ o m i c a n d i ns t i t u t i o n a l eq u i l i b r i u m .

T h e s t r u g g l e s of 1 968 had t h e i r g reatest effects i n t h e u n ivers i t y , w here t h e y were


waged ha nd-to- h a n d by the students and t h e you n g (as in most of the wor l d , t h e
W e s t i n part i c u l a r). T h e s e s t r u g g les forced a def i n i t ive c r i s i s for t h e p o l i t i c s of t h e
Center- Left ( a n a l l iance a m o n g t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrats a n d Soc i a l ists) w h i c h
t h ro u g h o u t t h e 60' s h a d m a d e poss i b l e a gove r n m e n t fou nded o n t h e pol icy o f
vag u e refor m .

T h e a n t i-a u t h o r i t a r i a n assa u l t by t h e M ovement of ' 6 8 made prob l e m s and t e n -

1 49
s i o n s emerge w h i c h t h e Center- Left cou l d not a b s o l u t e l y contro l . A n d i n a general
way t h e M ovement brou g h t t h e politics of t h e D. C . u n d e r accusat i o n - fo r being
part l y respon s i b l e f o r t h e d i ctators h i p of t h e bou rgeo i s i e i n I t a l i a n society a n d f o r
t h e n a t i o n ' s dependency on t h e C h u rch a n d a u t h o ritarian e l e m e n t s .

The I t a l i a n Com m u n ist Party, mea n w h i l e , m a i n t a i n ed a n essen t i a l l y a m b i g u o u s


l i n k to t h e move m e n t of t h e students a n d t h e y o u n g . W h i l e d i sa p p rovi n g of t h e i r
rad i ca l i s m , a n d d e s p i t e t h e c l a i m to A u t o n o m y f r o m w h i c h t h e move m e n t never
wavered, the PCI n o n e th e less saw a n opport u n ity, in t h e eve n t s of 1 968, f o r break
ing the C h r i s t i a n Democrat i c hegemony and p u s h i n g for a d is p l acement o f t h e
p o l i t i c a l b a l a n c e to t h e l eft.

N a t u ra l l y e n o u g h , t h e v a n g u a rd of workers w h o were orga n i z i n g i n t h e factories


had q u i te d i fferent a i m s . D u r i n g t h ose years, in fact, t h e worker's cause tended i n
creas i n g l y toward b a rg a i n i n g for eq u a l ity (eq u a l l y i n c reased salaries f o r everyone;
abo l i t i o n of p i ece-work a n d s a l a ry d i fferences; a bo l i t i o n of job c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s and
ag a i nst t h e i nterests of p rod u c t i o n (abo l i t i o n o f promot i o n by merit, of p rod u c t i o n
bonuses; rejection o f accelerated prod u c t i o n , e t c . ) . The c u m u lative e f f e c t of t h e
workers' d e m a n d s p rovoked a c r i s i s i n t h e eco n o m i c b a l a n c e o n w h i c h i n d u st r i a l
deve l o p m e n t , u n t i l t h e n , had depended: t h a t i s , t h e b a l a n c e between low salaries
and i ntensive e x p l o i ta t i o n of t h e labor force, a b a l a nce m a i n t a i ned by h i g h
u n e m p loyment a n d a l a rge labor s u p p ly. A n i m portant e l e m e n t i n t h e soc i a l scene
of that period was t h e i n i t iation of a n org a n izat i o n a l campaign among m i g ra n t
workers from t h e S o u t h . U n t i l t h e n these w o r k e r s had p rovided t h e mass-base for
contro l l i n g u n io n p ressu res i n t h e l a rge labor centers; however, between '68 and
'69, espec i a l l y i n To rin o , t hey became t h e mass-base at t h e forefro n t of t h e u n io n
st r u g g l e ( a n d t h e b a s e , t o o , f o r organ ized p o l i t i ca l revo l u t i on).

U n q u es t i o n a b l y the c r i s i s over pol i t ical control of the p rod u c t i o n cycle, and t h u s


t h e econ o m i c c r i s i s of 1 970 as wel l , h ave t h e i r roots i n t h e stre n g t h a n d c o nt i n u ity
of this workers' s t ru g g l e , and in t h e considerable res u l t s a c h i eved by i t (ac ross
t h e-board s a l a ry h i kes w h i c h in 1 969 a l o n e , i nc reased labor costs by m o re t h a n
20 % , w i t h cont i n u e d w a g e pressu res i n t h e f o l l o w i n g years).

The d o m i n a n t p o l i t i c a l c l ass revealed its i n a b i l ity to deal w i t h t h i s s t ru g g l e . T h u s


th e re arose i n t hose y e a r s a p o l i cy - d i rected a n d s u pported by t h e D . C . - c a l led
t h e st rategy of t e n s i o n (s tra tegia def/a tensione). This p o l i cy a m o u n t s to the a r
t i f i c i a l c reat i o n of m o m e n t s of extreme t e n s i o n t h ro u g h s u c h means as i ncidents
p rovoked by fascist g ro u p s or by agents t h a t often have d i rect l i n k s to t h e govern
ment's Sec ret Service. The f i rst l a rge-sca l e act resu l t i n g from t h i s s t rategy was
t h e assa u l t on the A g r i c u l t u ra l B a n k of M i l a n o t hat k i l led 14 persons o n Dec. 1 2,
1 969- at t h e c u l m i na t i o n of t h e Workers' s t ru g g l e beg u n i n t h e " t ro u b l ed
a u t u m n . " The bombs were p l aced (the deed was d i s covered a n d d e n o u nced by
democratic forces, by g ro u p s on t h e extreme l e f t , a n d by a large n u m be r of m i l i
tant g ro u p s engaged in counter- i n te l l i ge nce) by a g ro u p of fascists c o n nected to
t h e Secret Service a n d p rotected by powerf u l C h r i s t i a n Democrats. But a n a r c h i s t s
w e r e a c c u s e d of t h e b o m b i n g , and t h e revo l u t io n a ry movement came u n d e r
v i o l e n t attack f r o m t h e p ress a n d t h e cou rts. I n t h e f o l l o w i n g years, t hese acts
were f req u e n t l y repeated : in every i n stance fascist cri mes were u sed as a n occa
sion to accuse the left of violence and to i n st i t u te repressive cou nter-measu res.

But t h e M ovem e n t was n e i t h e r broken n o r d riven back by the " s t rateg i a d e l l a ten
s i o n e . " In the years f o l l o w i n g 1 970, i t g rew in new sectors, a m o n g the youth a n d
students. A n d t h e M ovement g a i ned cont i n u ity t h ro u g h t h e format i o n of revol u
t i o n a ry organ izat i o n s w h i c h arose t h ro u g h o u t t h e cou n t ry. These q u i c k l y acq u i red
the capacity to m ob i l ize peo p l e , g a t h e r i n g the rem na n t s of the s t u d e n t movem e n t
of 1 968, and a seg m e n t of t h e workers reorg a n ized d u r i n g t h e s t ru g g l es of 1 969.
The strongest of t hese g ro u ps were " Lotta Con t i n u a " (part i c u l arly a m o n g Fiat
workers), "Ava n g u a rd i a Opera i a " (entrenched i n M i la n a m o n g workers i n large fac
tories and a m o n g s t u d ents), and f i n a l ly " Potere Operaio" - w h i c h was a major
p resence at Pad u a , in t h e factories of Port o m a rg h e ra, and at t h e U n i versity of
Rome.

1 50
These groups organized in factories, schools, and at the local level (promoting
political strikes, the occupation of schools, student demonstrations against the
government, and occupation of vacant houses by homeless proletarians - in
Rome and Milan especially) . They assumed a position of opposition to the Italian
Communist Party, which, after decades of Stalinist loyalty, was taking on the
characteristics of a social-democratic party and was condemning the most radical
working-class and student demonstrations in the name of unity with the middle
classes and in the name of a policy of legality and respect for the fundamental
rule of the capitalist order .

This position of opposition had already been manifest in 1968, when the P C I had
been criticized and superseded by the student movement . And again, in 1969, the
methods of the decisive struggle in the factories had been resisted by the P C I .
But the antagonism grew more acute and became a n open break when, i n 1973,
the P C I arrived at its choice of a Historical Compromise, that is, of an alliance
with the Christian Democrats, and of subordination to the will of Big Capital in
the name of economic revival .

Meanwhile other significant events took place that same year. The first was the
occupation of F I A T by thousands of young workers . Acting with complete
autonomy from union decision-making, they decided to occupy the factory and
set up barricades in order to impose their demands for significant wage increases
and reduced work loads . Revolutionary groups such as " Lotta Continua" and
" Potere Operaio" were a marginal presence in this occupation . Thus within the
takeover itself was contained the possibility of transcending those vanguard
organizations that had come near to assuming the role traditionally played by the
workers' movement: a role of authoritarian leadership, of bureaucratic intran
sigence in the face of the passions and the new types of needs expressed, above
all, by the young .

The workers had learned only too well to fend for themselves, and they began
organizing autonomously . At the same time, the first armed cells began to be
formed inside the factories (first in Milano and then in Torino and Genoa) . They
organized sabotage against machinery, disciplined foremen and guards, besieged
the rotten bosses - in short, they brought into being embryonic stages of a
workers' counter-power .

All of Italian society was affected by this extremely vast network of counter
insurgence . After it had broken owner's control, in the "troubled autumn" of 1969,
and assaulted the rule of low wages and intensive exploitation, it began to deal
directly with political problems - problems of po wer. But it is also true tha t the
problem of power rem a i ned an i n d isso l u b l e k n ot i n Italy, on the theoretical even
more than on the p o l itical level.

What the strugg les d u ri n g all those years act u a l l y amou nted to was a rejection of
the wage-ea r n i n g syste m , and a rejection of t h at ex p l o itation w h i c h transforms
h u man l ife i nto a work i n g death on cred it, forc i n g people to sel l their own l ives i n
exchange for t h e i r wages. A n d t h i s rej ection w h i c h entered i nto the soc i a l t h i n k
i n g of a cu ltura l ly advan ced proletariat conti n u a l ly better edu cated and endowed
with an ever i n c reas i n g tec h n ical and scienti f i c ex pertise - evolved i nto the very
real issues of power and l i beration.

Labor's rejection of work ex pressed itse l f i n m a ny ways: the red uction of the work
week to 40 hou rs: the r i g ht to rest periods and control over prod uction ti me; the
i m position of a cou nter-power i nsi d e factories; the rejection of the ideology of
prod uction; and crit i c i s m of the methodology of ex p l o itat i o n . But a more p ress i n g
need exerted its elf with i n t h e stru gg le; that of transform i n g these objections i nto
a p rogram for the l i beration of ex isting energ ies, i nto a p rogram of self
organ ization of the p rod uction process and of the ent i re social cycle of prod u c
tion and consu m pt i o n . I n t h i s lay the poss i b i l ity for a l i beration of repressed
workers.

D u r i n g those years the utopia of workers' l i beration was a mass ive d r i v i n g force, a
power for organ izat i o n and for cal l s to act i o n . But the ideolog ical baggage of
trad itional M a rx i s m cont i n u es to be borne not o n l y by the off i c i a l Workers' M ove
ment (prima rily that of the PCI) but by the newer g roups of the revol uti onary left
as wel l . As an ideology based on socia l i s m - a n d t h u s on a form of organ ized
soc i a l ex p l o itation that i s al l the more r i g i d in its d o m i n ation of worki n g l i fe
trad itional M a rx i s m cou ld not conta i n the forcef u l energy a nd , above a l l , the
rad ical i s m which t h e movement d i s p l ayed.

At this poi nt, the groups on the revo l utionary l eft itse l f entered a critical period of
their own, and their forms of organ ization, from the bottom up, began to d i vest
themselves of t h e i r own tra p p i ngs. As a new rad i c a l i s m expressed itse l f among
the pro l etariat, espec i a l l y among the y o u n g , these g roups beg an an i n exorable
process of b u reaucratization by which they became the s m a l l a p pendages of the
off i c i a l reform-oriented Workers Movement. They partici pated i n elections, d i stan
c i n g themselves from tactics that cou ld not be recon c i led with the old modes of
making pol i cy. T h i s new process of rad ical ization in w h i c h Power itse l f was
brought under d i s c u s s i o n , was a l ready at work in the occupation of Mirafiori
( F I AT) w h i c h took p l ace in March and Apri l of 1 973. It is u nd e n i a b l e that the only
ones to take cog n izance of the cou rse of t h i s transformation on both the
theoretical and political l evels, were the m i l itants of Workers' Power. In fact, the
PO decided, in M ay of ' 73, to d i ssolve, d i f f u s i n g itse l f t h roughout the c o m m i ttees,
c o l l ectives and base structu res w h i c h constitute the extensi ve network of
Autonomy.

T H E H ISTO RICAL II. I t was i n 1 973 that the PCI , g u ided by the lessons of the C h i lean ex-
COMPROMISE perience, worked out its so-ca l l ed policy of H i storical Comprom i se. The p o l i cy
was based on the h ypothesis that Italy c a n n ot be governed except by an i n stitu
tional ized pol itical accord between Com m u n i sts and C h r i stian Democrats. T h i s
political "about-face" w a s a l ready i m p l ied a t every p o i nt along the I ta l ian road to
soc i a l i s m and represented less a rad ical b reak with the trad ition of Tog l i atti ' s PC I
than a log ical devo l o p m ent of it. Yet the conseq uense of the"about-face" was the
f u rther exacerbat i o n of the r u pt u re between the off i c i a l Workers' M ovement (PCI
and U n ion) and the new g roups i n the factories and large cities, w h o were organ iz
ing at the g rou nd l eve l , conso l i d ati n g themselves and work i n g together for the
soc i a l and political rea l ization of Autonomy.

The d i s p utes between the PCI and the M ovement toward Autonomy became i n
creas i n g l y more v i o lent d u r i n g the f o l l ow i n g years, and i n 1 975 pari c u larly, when
Autonomy emerged as a true mass movement which u n ited young workers, the

1 52
u n e m p l oyed , students, and others l iv i ng on the marg i n s of soci ety. I n S p r i n g of
1 975, Autonomy was p u t to its f i rst test as comm ittee mem bers took on fascists
a n d p o l i ce i n a confron tation in Rome. The conf l i ct s p read to M i l an, where, i n m i d
Apri l , a you ng fasc ist w a s k i l l ed , as we l l as a m e m b e r of t h e "cara b i n ieri."
Thousands of young workers, m a i n ly from s m a l l factories, joined w i t h students
a n d u nemp loyed youth and p u t the i n ner c i ty u nder s iege, demonstrat i n g and
riot i ng. Other organ ized demonstrations occu rred i n Bologna, F lorence (where a
m a n was k i l led by pol i ce), Tor i n o, (where a worker at F I AT was k i l led by an armed
g u ard), and i n Na p les. These were heated days, i n w h i c h Autonomy had its f i rst
experiences among t h e masses.

The State recog n ized , at t h at p o i n t , its p r i n c i p a l ene my: A u tonomy rep resented a
new level of soc i a l orga n izat ion w h i c h no longer accepted t h e u n ion as a
med i a t i n g agent, no longer accepted the l i n e of the PCI and its strategy of com
p rom i se and acq u i escen ce.

The State rep l i ed to Autonomy's efforts d u r i n g t hat week in t h e severest man ner:
repression, t h e legal ization of pol ice vio lence, and t h e systemat ic use of arms in
p u b l i c confrontat ions. In M ay of 1 975, the Christian Democrats and their a l l ies in
the government passed a Parliamentary act called the Reale La w (Legge Reale). Its
terms provide that p o l i ce can s h oot any t i m e p u b l i c order is felt to be t h reatened.
F u rt hermore, ja i l sentences w o u l d be more severe for anyone fou nd in possess ion
of defensive weapons, s u c h as bottles, m o lotov cockt a i l s or hand kerc h iefs, ski
masks and hel mets t hat c o u l d mask faces i n demon strat io ns. The law was ex
p l ic i t l y d i rected against the you t h f u l proletariat who were orga n i z i n g w i t h i n t h e
r a n k s of Auto nomy. And i t w a s s u p ported b y every party, w i t h the exception of
t h e PCI , w h i c h feebly absta i ned from vot i ng. B u t the Com m u n i sts wou l d not op
pose the law and thereby endanger their i ntended accord with the Christian
Democrats.

The d ay the law was passed m a rked the beg i n n i ng of t h e most violent and b l oody
p h ase of the c l ass struggle i n I t a ly. Demonstrators, or t h e marg i nal and del i n
q ue n t elements i n genera l , bega n to be wounded or k i l led by police f i rearms.
C i t izens who did not come to a h a l t at pol ice b lockades, c h a nce passersby w h o
f o u n d t h emselves i n the p ress of a demonstrat i o n - t hey t o o m e t t h e i r d e a t h s b y
v i rt u e of a law "for t h e p u b l i c order. "

The revo l ut i o n ary left and Auto nomy had to pay the price for the i n c reased
v i o lence of the State and of the pol i ce. The casualty l i st w i t h i n the M ovement is
end less. It i s e n o u g h to m e n t i o n here Pietro Bruno ( 1 8 years o l d , m i l itant m e m ber
of " Lotta Conti n u a ' ' , w h o d i ed in the s p r i n g of '75); G i a n n i no Zi becch i (anti fasc i st
committee, k i l led i n May 1 975); Mario Salvi (worker for Autonomy, 2 1 years o l d ,
k i l led a t San Bas i l io, R o m e , duri ng a h o u s i n g occu pation i n October 1 976);
Francesco Loruzzo (23, " Lotta Conti n u a " , k i l led at Bologna, March 1 1 , 1 977);
G i org iana Masi ( k i l led i n Rome, May 1 2, 1 977, a fem i n ist l i n ked to " Lotta Con
t i n u a"). But these are only the most notable. I t is est i m ated that the vict i m s of the
" Legge Rea le" n u m bered 1 50 i n the period between May '75 and December '76.

If we w i s h to u nderstand the rise of "terro r i s m " , the formation of m i l itant


organ izations, the c h o i ce of c landest i n e armed warfare by a n ever g row i n g
n u mber o f proleta rian youth, t h e n w e cannot forget t h e ro le p l ayed b y the " Legge
Reale". Nor can we forget the ro le of that agg ravated and general v i o l e n ce
perpetrated by the State from the moment Autonomy appeared i n the factories
and streets of the cou ntry, as a soc i a l l y d i ffuse and po l it i c a l l y organ ized M ove
ment.

We a l so need to rem e m ber the other s ide, the pol icy of the off i c i a l Workers' M ove
ment (chiefly, the PCI): a policy that was f i rst of a l l dependent on the dec i s i o n s of
the Ch ristian Democrats, and s u bord i nate to the movement of repres s i o n . In add i
tion, t h i s pol icy sought to isolate the yout h f u l elements of Autonomy, caus i n g a
d iv i s i o n with i n the work i n g class and the p ro l etarian movement. The PCI became
a sort of political p o l i ce made u p of enforcers, spies and stooges.

In the f o l l ow i n g years, rather than being reso l ved t h rou g h the accord between the
Com m u n i sts and the C h ristian Democrats, the i n stitutional crisis i n Italy assu med
an i n c reas i n g ly d ramatic character. The i m poss i b i l ity of govern i n g the cou ntry
was h i g h l i g hted . The bas i c reason for the c r i s i s was the g row i n g d i stance bet
ween representative pol itical i n stitutions (parties, the Parl iament, and other struc
tu res of part i c i pation) and a popu l ation of hopeless young people. Autonomy was
at once a sym ptom and a cause of this d i stance.

In the political elections of 1 976 the PCI considerably i n c reased its vot i n g
strength, pos i n g a t h reat t o C h r i stian-Democratic power: the DC w a s no longer
g u a ra nteed a parl i a me nta ry majority with its trad itional a l l ies (centrist parties)
without either the a g reement or the neutra l ity of the Com m u n i sts. O n the other
hand, C h ristian-Democ ractic r u l e cou ld not be s u b stantiated by a Leftist majority
either, because the Left s i m p l y d i d not have the strength. Conv i n ced that it need
ed to q u icken the pace of an a l l iance with the DC, the PCI began in 1 976, to press
for the H i storical C o m p ro m i se. I t s u p ported the C h r i stian-Democrati c govern ment
without, however, ente r i n g i nto that governme nt. The situation, then, was paradox
i c a l : w h i l e the masses had s u p ported the PCI , bel iev i ng this was the best way to
p romote a pol icy of rad ica l change, the p o l icy of the H istorical Com p ro m ise end
ed u p bolste r i n g the totter i n g forces of the DC.

In terms of I ta l i a n society at large, this meant that workers had to pay for the
econom i c crisis (wh i c h cont i n ued to g row worse between 1 973 and 1 976, as a
resu lt of the o i l c r i s i s). The PCI and the u n i o ns exp l i c itly ass u m ed the task of for
c i n g the work i n g class to accept a policy of sacri f i ce, consumer restricti ons, and
red uced p u b l i c spend i n g . In the autu m n of 1 976, a few months after the elections,
the And reotti gove r n ment i nsti g ated an eco n o m i c offens ive against workers'
salaries, i n c reas i n g t h e prices of the most essent i a l good s - gasol i n e , bread ,
pasta, and serv i ces. The PCI and the u n io n s were u sed i n order to del iver t h i s
b l o w . Workers i n the large i n d u strial centers of the North reacted i n a wave o f
fu rious protests, l a u n c hed autonomously and agai nst t h e w i l l a n d i ntent i o n s o f
t h e u n ions: a t A l fa-Romeo, a t F I AT, a t ITALI S I D E R , and el sewhere, t h e y waged i n
dependent stri kes. B u t the " c r u n c h " passed: l iv i n g conditions worsened n otably
for workers; their faith i n the u n ions c o l l a psed . And f rom that time, rejection of
the forms and d i rect i o n s of u n ion organ izat i o n i n c reased. What i s m o re, the p o l i c y
of " s a c r i f i c e " w h i c h cut cons u m ption and p u b l i c spend i n g and p romoted worker
lay-offs, rebou nded back on those who were e m p l oyed . I t prod u ced a constantly
g row i n g u n e m p loyment rate, w h i c h at the beg i n n i n g of 1 977 reached a n u n
p recedented f i g u re ( 1 , 700,000 off i c i a l ly; i n rea l ity more than 2 m i l l ion).

1 54
T H E ORI G I NALITY Ill. F in a lly we arrive a t 1 977. The poi nt of arriva l , i n m a ny respects, of ten
O F AUTON O M Y years of class stru g g l e . The point of arrival for the student strug g l e beg u n in '68,
for the workers' stru g g l e of '69. It i s the moment at w h i c h a l l the f u ndamental
contrad ictions acc u m u l ate a n d exp lode, provoki n g a p rofo u n d crisis for State con
trol over soci ety, for party a n d u n io n control over the m asses of youth. But at the
sa m e ti me, the revolutionary movement prod u ced its most m at u re form of ex p res
s i o n , in w h i c h a f u l ly art i c u l ated n eed is ex pressed for a com m u n is m that i s the
d i rect tra n s l ation of proletaria n society, without any necess ity for external or
ideological organ ization. The M ovement of '77 represents, i n all its aspects
soc i a l , p o l itical and c u ltu ral-the moment of c u l m i nati on in the asce n d i n g p h ase
of the c lass stru g g l e i n Italy. B u t for the very reason that it i s fra u g ht with con
trad ictions, and for the very reason that it poses with u n relenting u rgency the
q uestion of the tra n s ition to com m u n i s m , the year 1 977 i s , for everyone, a
def i n itive test. I ta l ian soc iety has been tested by ten years of u n i nterru pted soc i a l
conf l i ct. T h e masses are d i s i l l u sioned and t i red o f the p o l itics of the offi c i a l
Workers' M ovement, of reforms and of com p ro m i se. N ow t h e y await a rad i ca l l y
n e w perspective that w i l l abandon a n d su rpass t h e o l d categories o f p o l itical i n
stitutions, a perspective that w i l l at the same t i m e p rod uce a workable program
for s u persed i n g capita l i s m . Such a prog ram wou ld h ave to be i n novative com
pared with the Soviet type of social ist experience, w h i c h i s authoritarian,
b u reaucrati c , and based o n a new soc i a l ized form of labor exploitat i o n . The in
novation i s awa ited everywhere, but the hopef u l expectation can eas i l y turn i nto
passivity and d i s i l l u s i o n ment if s i g n s of someth i n g new do not emerge.

The M ovement of '77 gathers together the new p roletarian strata: young p ro
letarians in the b i g cities who refuse to devote their w h o l e l ives to salaried labor,
w h o refuse any kind of work at al l . The u ne m p loyed w h o issue from the schools
o r u n ivers ities as possessors of a h i g h level of tec h n ical-scient i f i c knowledge, are
compel led to waste t h e i r p rod u ctive potent i a l , or not use it at a l l . The forms of
soc i a l behavior, of cu ltural i d entity that these strata prod uce isolate them from
the pol itical trad ition; rather than s peak of marg i n a l l i v i n g (emarginazione), we
can ta l k at this p o i nt of self-d i rected marg i na l l iv i n g . The cu ltural revol ution of
1 968, w h i c h u pset forms of behavior, va l ues, h u m a n re lat i o ns h i ps, sexu a l relation
s h i ps , the re latio n s h i p to cou ntry and to the home, has ended by c reat i n g a soc i a l
strat u m that i s reca l c itrant before the notions of salaried work, f ixed residence,
a n d f i xed pos ition of work.

M o reover, the enormous tec h n i cal-scient i f i c and inte l l ectu a l potential that the
education of the masses has p rodu ced - a potential w h i c h fermented on contact
with the p rocess of mass sel f-ed u cation that the revo l ut i onary movement has
represented for 10 years - a l l this renders even more i n s u pportab l e that contrad ic
lion of capita l i s m , accord i n g to w h i c h , as tec h n ological and scient i f i c capacities
i ncrease, i ntel lectu a l a n d c reative energ ies a re wasted, w h i le the poss i b i l ities for
i n n ovations i n prod uction are s u p p ressed so t h at the ex i st i n g labor organ ization
and the organ izat i o n of knowledge crucial to labor's f u n cti o n i n g are not d i stu rb
ed. Cu ltural transformation, mass c reativity, and refusal of work are the d o m i nant
themes of the Movement of '77. But o n l y with d if f i c u lty cou ld the M ovement suc
ceed in orga n iz i n g a l l that potential constituted by the i ntel l ectu a l energy,
,echn ica l-sc ienti f i c expertise a n d i n n ovative e ne rgy that the young-pro l etarian
strata possess. The enormous rich ness that t h e M ovement of '77 ex p resses cou ld
not su cceed i n f i n d i n g a formal program and positive organ izat i o n . This i s
because o f capita l i st rep ress i o n , b u t a l s o bec a u se o f t h e i n ab i l ity of t h e revo l u
tion ary movement t o adj u st w i t h rap i d ity i t s i nterpretive categories a n d i t s p rac
tices to the rea l ity of a mature, post-socia l i st p ro l etariat.

All d u ri n g 1 976, new forms of organ izat i o n s - c o n n ected with Autonomy, but
rel ated to all as pects of col lective l i fe and c u l t u ral identity- were being esta b l i s h
ed . The rejection of the f a m i l y and of i n d iv i d u a l i s m had found a form of organ iza
tion in the experience of proletarian youth assoc iations. These assoc i ations were
com m u nes set up by s q u atters in certa i n neig h borhoods of big cities; young pro
letarians t h u s organ ized territoria l ly and experi mented w ith forms of col lective
l i fe-i n-transformat i o n .

The storm that the fem i n i st movement provoked i n ma le-female relations and t h e
su bseq uent ex p l o s i o n of homosex u a l col lectives t h u s found a territory i n w h i c h to
conso l i d ate, in w h i c h to transform the custom s of l i v i n g , s l eep i n g , eat i n g , s mok
i n g . In the same period, the movement for f ree rad i o spread widely. In every c ity,
n e i g h borhood and v i l lage the young proleta r i a ns, together with students and com
m u n ications workers, used the occas ion of a l e g i s l ative vac u u m (the resu lt of
w h i c h was t h at the State monopoly on i nformat i o n lapsed and was not rep l aced
by any other sort of reg u l ation) to g i ve l i fe to a network of s m a l l " w i l d cat" sta
tions. The rad io stat i o n s were operated with l u c k and very l ittle money, but they
cou ld cover a territorial s pace adeq uate for the organ izational forms a n d com
m u n i cation needs of the emerg i n g proletarian strata. This was a tru ly revo l u
tionary fact: w ith f ree rad io it w a s poss i b l e t o com m u n i cate rap i d l y the dec i s ions
and appoi ntments of revo l ution ary organ izat i o n s or base organ izations. Through
t h i s channel c i rc u lated an u n i nterru pted f l ood of music and words, a f l ood of
transformations on the symbo l i c , perceptive a n d i m a g i n ative p l a nes. This f l ood
entered every house, and anyone cou ld i nterven e in the f l ow , te l e p h o n i n g , i nter
rupt i n g , add i n g , co rrect i n g . The des i g n , the d ream of the artistic ava nt-garde-to
bridge the separat i o n between artistic com m u n i cation and revol utionary transfor
mation or s u bversive p ractice- became i n t h i s experience a rea l ity. The brief, hap
py experience of Rad i o A l ice- w h i c h from February 1 976 to March 1 977 tra n s m it
ted from Bolog n a - re m a i n s the symbol of t h i s period, of that u n forgettab l e year
of experi mentation and acc u m u l ation of i ntel l ectu a l , organ izati o n a l , pol itical, and
creative energ ies.

The year 1 976 i s a l s o the year of the g reat concert-festivals of proletar i a n youth: a
last wave of pop m u s i c , w h i c h arrived i n Italy f i ve or six years l ater than i n the
U . S . or G reat Brita i n , but which fou nd here a n extremely fert i l e c u ltural terra i n .
T h e sweet s o u n d of pop i m med iately combi ned w i t h a certa i n d i m e nsi o n of mass
cu ltural transformat i o n . It became the constituent element i n a v i s i o n of the
"soft" cu ltural a n d soc i a l revo lution.

The hars h n ess of org a n izational l ife i n the Workers' Autonomy was u n ited and
merged with the sweet experiences of c u ltural transformation a n d the easy f low
of i n format i o n . Lam b ro Park, 1 976, in M i lano: 1 8,000 proletarian youths performed
a g i gantic sun dance, the l i kes of w h i c h had never been seen before-then foug ht
with pol ice for several h o u rs.

The autu m n of 1 976 saw an explosion i n the movement toward "auto n o m o u s


pri ce-sett i n g " (autoreduzione). T e n s of thousands of young people, organ ized i n
assoc iations of proletarian y o u t h , c a m e i n from the s u b u rbs of M i lano, Rome a n d

156
Bologna, laid s i ege to the city centers, confi scated merc h a n d i se f rom l u x u ry
shops, "autonomously red u ced " t h e prices of movies, t h eaters and restau rants
(that is, they paid what their pol i t i cs req u i red -a t h i rd or a fourth of the u su al
p rice). B u t t h e f i nal test of t h e movement toward "autonomous pri ce-set t i n g " was
a violent clas h , a foreru n ner of the violence that would ex plode in 1 977: the battle
of La Scala, on December 7, 1 976.

La Scala i s the bou rgeois t h eater of M ilano. Decem ber 7 marks the i n a u g u ration
of t h e new season , t h e "open i n g n i g ht" gala. B u t young M ilanese proletarians
said that they would not perm i t t h e M ila n bou rgeois to stage this yearly p rovoca
t i o n w i t h its pomp, f i n e ry and 80,000-l i re t i c kets. They declared war on the M ilan
b o u rgeois and t h e i r fest ival. The government accepted the c h allenge, and
t h o u sands of police i n battle formation defended La Scala. H o u rs and h o u rs of
conflict, 300 i m prisoned, doze n s arrested , 7 g ravely wounded. The you t h m ove
ment reflected for a m o n t h on t h i s battle and on its catastro p h i c outcome. B u t
only i n order to be better prepared the n e x t t i me.

The next time was i n February of 1 977.

The struggles that ex ploded in 1 977 were com pletely o u t of proport i o n to what oc
casioned them: t hey began w i t h a small u n iversity c a m p a i g n against a Christian
Democrat i c " reform " . On Febru ary 3, the fasc ists wounded a student i n Rome,
and t h e u n ivers ity was s u bseq u ently occ u p ied. F i rst i n Rome, Palermo, and
N a ples, th en i n Florence a n d Torino, f i n ally i n Bolog na. The occu pation of the
u n ivers i t ies was a pretext: t h e acad e m i c i ns t i t u t i o n s were occ u p ied not only by
students, but by young workers who worked in small factories, and had no other
possi bility for organ izat ion and concerted act i o n . Then t h e re were the
u ne m ployed , t h ose w h o lived i n t h e c i ty outskirts, t h e j uven ile del i n q uents, the
d i se n f ra n c h i sed . . . U n ivers ity com m u n i t ies became general q u a rters for a wave of
social struggle that had as a f u ndamental theme the refu s al of the capitalist
orga n izat ion of work, the reject i o n of that system w h i c h generates exploitation
and u ne m ployment as t h e two poles of socialized work. " All work for less [t i m e]"
became the watchword for t h i s wave of stru ggle of young p roletarians-a g ro u p
h eterogeneous from t h e p o i n t of view of prod uctivity, b u t homogeneous from t h e
p o i n t of view o f cult u re. "All work f o r less" i s a watchword w h i c h h a s not h i ng t o
do w i t h q uest ions s u c h a s " t h e r i g h t t o a j o b " , or t h e r i g h t to a full- t i m e pos i t i o n .
W o r k i s necessary evil-or at least rema i n s so for a h i stori cal period t hat we w i s h
event u ally to s u rpass and ext i n g u i s h w i t h collect ive force. W h a t we w a n t i s to ap
ply, totally and coherently, t h e e nerg ies and t h e potential that exist for a soc i aliz
ed i ntelligence, for a general i n t ellect. We want to make possi ble a general red uc-
t i o n in work i n g t i me and we want to transform t h e organ izat ion of work i n s u c h a
way that an autonomous organization of sectors of prod uct ive exper i m e ntal
organ izat ion may become possi ble. These sectors would g ive rise to experimental
forms of prod u c t i o n in w h i c h the object of worker cooperat ion would not be profit,
but the red uction of necessary work, the i n telligent applicat ion of tec h n ical and
scient i f i c knowled ge, and i n novat i o n .

T h i s prog ram actu ally ex isted a m o n g the you n g proletarian soc ial st rata that i n
February 1 977 f illed t h e c i t ies w i t h t h e i r demonstrations.

The cultu ral transformat ion and the rej ection of p reva ili ng values that t h e cultu ral
experience of '76 (rad io stat ions, assoc i a t i o n s , jou rnals, " g rass roots poetry") had
accu m ulated , ex ploded with a wave of a n t i - i n s t i t u t i onal c reat ivity. The c r i t i q u e of
power i s the c r i t i q u e of t h e lang uage of power. On the 1 7t h of February, the criti
q u e of power, t h e critique of rep resentative i n s t i t u t i ons, and the cri t i q u e of i ns t i t u
tional lan g u age w e r e u n i ted i n a u n iq u e act i o n . 7000 young proletarians w h o ( a
f a c t w i t h o u t precede n t i n the Movement's h i story i n Italy) ex pelled , w i t h u ncon
trollable rage and f u ry, the most i m portant f i g u re among I tali a n labor leaders, Lu
ciano Lama, secretary of CG I L and ex ponent of PC I , from a lect u re h all at the
U n ivers ity of Rome, w h e re he was delivering a policy statement. The PCI accu sed
the young p roleta r i a n s of being "enem ies of the work i n g class" and t r i ed to d ivide
them f rom factory workers. B u t this move d i d not succeed; no factory s u pported
the g reat u n ion leader. I nstead , the young workers of the Nort hern factories ex
pressed sympathy for the you ng proletarians of Rome who had expelled Lama.
The split between t h e PCI and the M ovement reached its apex at this period, and
w ill li kely never be rep a i red. On the 1 7t h of February a mass sector of t h e I talian
proletariat was li berated with violence from socialist trad itions, both Stali n i s t and
reformist. The autonomy of the movement had been assu red , i n the con
sciou sness and i n t h e organ izat ion of ever-g row i n g strata. And the stage was be
i n g set for the i n s u rrec t i o n of March.

M a rch of 1 977 was t h e moment of g reatest i ntensity i n the ex plos ion of t h e strug
gle for autonomy. The social strata that were mobilized i n this m o n t h were the
you ng u nem ployed i n t ellectuals, toget her w i t h "off-the-books labor a n d seasonal
workers ' - t hat is, all sectors of i rreg ular or m a rg i nal workers. At the same t i me,
M a rch was the moment of the g reatest tension and d istance between the new
movement for autonomy and the Com m u n ist Party. The act of ex pell i n g Lama
from the U n ivers i ty of Rome establis hed a precedent from w h i c h the people at t h e
Un ivers ity of Bolog n a p roceeded i n the d a y s of M a rc h . The occ u pation of t h e e n
t i re u n ivers ity z o n e by h u ge n u m bers of young p roletarians com i n g from every
area was t ransformed i nto a true i n s u rrection w h e n on March 2, a youth was killed
by police. B u t Bolo g n a is also the c i ty in w h i c h the PCI has always been strong;
the local govern men t i s a leftist coalition and bosses and organ izat i o ns of the
Workers' M ovement collaborate to e n s u re soc i al peace. The exploitation of y o u n g
workers i n Bologna i s controlled by a network of little bosses and b u rea u c rats,
often l i n ked with t h e Com m u n ist Party. In brief: Bolog na i s t h e city of t h e realized
H i stori cal Com p ro m i se. And for that reason (as well as for the reasons of t h e
Movements' ext raord i n a ry creat ive vi tality) t h e Bologna experience ma rked a mo
ment of absolutely cent ral pol i t i cal i m portance.

The ext raord i n a ry v i olence of the days i n March, t h e mass follow i n g attracted by
the Movement, and the rad i cal nat u re of its objectives created a crisis for the
city's H i storical C o m p ro m ise by offeri ng evidence of the government's i n a b ility to
fu nction as an i n strument of cont rol over vast p roletarian sectors.

For ten days, two large c i t ies (Bolog na and Rome) were in the hands of the M ove
men t - i n very violent conflict in Rome on March 7; on the 2nd and the 1 2t h of
M arc h i n Bolog n a . O n the 1 2t h , Rome was t h e t h eater for a six-hour battle in
w h i c h tens of t h o u s a n d s of youths were engaged, wh ile 1 00,000 f iled by i n
demonstrat i o n s . A n d t h e n i n t h e follow i n g days a t Bolog na t h e Movement i nvaded
the c i ty . The I tali a n bou rgeo i s i e recog n ized at t h i s t i m e the seri ous danger t hat its
des i g n for i n s t i t u t i onal order faced, and saw that the PCl's ability to g u aran tee

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order had been u nd e r m i n e d . Consequent ly, the PCI lost c red ibi l ity bot h as the
g ove r n i n g pa rty, and beca u se i t had let con t ro l of so vast a movement s l i p away
f rom i t. The State was forced to resort to brutal rep ression: h u n d reds of arrests i n
Bologna, a n d t h e n the u n leas h i n g of a ca m p a i g n o f repression a l l over I t a l y that
st ruck most heav i ly at g ro u p s that worked on t h e cu l t u ra l level: rad ios, jou rn a l s ,
publ i s h i n g hou ses, and bookstores w e r e closed and searched.

But the M ovement was not broken: in M i lano, T u r i n , and then once more in Rome
the mass demonstrat ions co n t i n ued. The s u m me r beg an w i t h a violent
polem ic- i n s p i red by an appeal lau nched by F rench i ntel l ect u a l s aga i n st the
repress i o n - o n the repressive n at u re of the H i storica l Com p ro m i se as an i ns t i t u
t i o n a l des i g n for the e l i m i na t i o n of all d i ssent.

A l so at t hat t i me, t h e re beg an i n I t a ly (and here the M ovement was be h i n d the


t i mes) a crit ical analysis of social i s m of the Sta l i n i st type (of w h ich, i n the last
a n aly s i s , the PCI i s only a variant). On t h e stre n g t h of t h eoretical ref lect i o n s
devel o ped i n F ra nce b y t hose such as Fouca u l t , Deleuze, and G u attari ( a more
c r i t i c a l and doubtful reception was g iven to the Nouvea u x P h i losophes, w h o were
too removed from any concrete experience w i t h the crit i q u e of i n s t i t u t ions and
with class stru g g l e), and a new front was opened i n t h e strug gle against the
State. Thus new forms of tota l i t a r i a n i s m were seen develo p i n g as the h i storical
left was assi m i l ated by t h e ap parat u s of power. And so t h e critique of the i n s t i t u
t i o n alized Workers' Movement acq u i red a n e w connotat i o n : accord i n g to t h e PC I ,
all t h e years after '68 had been marked b y g a i n s f o r soc i al de mocratic a n d refo r
m ist causes. B u t now one beg a n to d i scover that soc i a l democracy, even t h o u g h
i n t rod uci n g n e w elements i nto t h e com m u n i s t worker movement trad i t i on of t h e
T h i rd I nternat i o n a l , w a s not n ecessarily i n cont rad ict ion w i t h tota l itarian, v i o l e n t
a n d Sta l i n ist t r e n d s . I n fact, t h e two as pects w e r e m ixed i n the PCI , w h ich h a d
become a com ponent of bou rgeoisie democracy b y aban d o n i n g every t y p e o f
violence against t h e exist i n g o r d e r and at the s a m e t i me a violent force o f
total i t a r i a n i s m against t h e revo l u t ionary movement.

Conf ronted w i t h the wave of repression t hat followed t h e events of M a rch, and
m i nd f ul of the d iscu s s i o n that h ad deve l oped on the nat u re of t h e State after t he
H i storical Com promise, t h e Bolog na movement set forth a p roposa l for a Conve n
tion to be held at the end of September. At the Conve n t i o n , all com ponents of the
M ovemen t i n I taly could come together, along with all t h e E u ropean i n tel l ect u a l s
or pol i t ical g ro u ps t h a t were i n terested i n t h e I talian revol u t i o n as a fore r u n n e r o f
t h i n g s to come. The September Convention w a s the g reat opport u n i ty - m i ssed ,
h owever-for the Movement to overcome its pu rely negat ive, destruct ive connota
t i o n s , and form ulate a p rog rammatic pos i t i o n for the autonomous organ izat ion of
a rea l society a g a i n s t t h e State, an a u t o n o m o u s organ izat i o n of soc i a l , i n tel lec
t u a l , a n d p rod u c t ive energ i es that m i g ht m a ke poss i b le a p rog ressive l i be ra t i o n o f
l ives f r o m s a l a ried w o r k . U nfortunately, t h e Conve n t i o n t u r n ed i nto a reu n i o n
a g a i n s t rep ress i o n , a n d t h i s g reatly red uced t h e t h eoret i c a l i m portance a n d t h e
poss i b i l i ties of t h i s p e ri o d . N o n et h e less, 70,000 peop le were p resent at t h e con
ve n t i o n and t h e atte n t i o n of t h e whole I t a l i a n p ro letariat (as we l l as t h a t of vast
n u m bers of i n t e l l e c t u a l s all over Eu rope) was d i rected toward t h e Convent i o n . But
t h e gatheri n g c o n c l u ded w i t h o u t p rod u c i n g a n y d i rect i o n for t h e f u t u re, a n y new
p rog ram, a n d w i t h o u t advan c i n g t h e Move m e n t . I n stead i t was rest r i cted to hear
i n g tales of rep ress i o n a n d t h e n def i n i n g , i n negat ive terms, its react i o n . A l o n g
p h ase of c r i s i s had beg u n for t h e M ovement, a c r i s i s that i nvolved d i s p e rs i o n ,
d i sorg a n izat i o n a n d above a l l , t h e l a c k of p ros pects.

CIVIL WAR: I V . U p to t h i s p o i n t , we h ave c o m p l etely i g no red t h e problem - abso l u te l y central


THE RED BRIGADES to t h e a n a l y s i s of c l a s s stru g g l e i n I t a l y - of terro r i s m . Armed s t ru g g l e was a
form of a g i t at i o n t h at g rew eve r larger after a certa i n p o i n t , a n d f i n a l l y became
preponderant in September 1977. The problem of terro r i s m p robably c a n n ot be
d i ssoci ated from the w h o l e c o m p lex of experie nces c o n n ected w i t h the M ove
m e n t ' s organ izat i o n in factories and in society.

O n t h e other h a n d i t i s a l so t r u e t h at t h e e n t i re rap i d analysis we h ave made of


t h e most s i g n i f i c a n t moments of t h e c l ass s t r u g g l e i n t h i s decade rem a i n s i n
c o m p lete a n d s potty. We have neg lected, on p u rpose, an a n a l y s i s of t h e re l a t i o n
s h i p between t h e m ass movement a n d c l a n d est i ne org a n izat i o n s o r armed ac
t i o n s . The reaso n for t h i s om i s s i o n i s t h at we wou ld l i ke, w i t h i n the fra mework of
our necessa r i l y s i m p l i f i ed " h istory", to v i ew the experiences of t h e armed stru g g l e
as a symptomat i c fact, as a symptom of t h e p r o b l e m s not resolved by t h e mass
m ovement.

T h i s i s certa i n ly a va l i d enough viewpo i n t today. In rece n t years, t h e armed strug


g l e has m o re a n d m ore assu med a "terro r i s t " con notat i o n ; no l o n g e r w i t h i n the
mass m ove m e n t , i t has c o m p letely rep l aced t h e M ovement and occ u p ies all t h e
ava i l a b l e space.

T h e f i rst a n d most i m portant armed organ izat i o n in Italy - t h e Red B r i g ades -


was born o u t of t h e wo rkers' stru g g l e i n t h e f i rst years of t h e ?O's. The m i l i t a n t s
of t h e R e d B r i g ades c o m e from t h e large f a c t o r i e s i n M i la n , T u r i n , a n d G e n oa. T h e
f i rst a r m e d act i o n s ( th e k i d n a p p i n g of m a n agers of factories, together w i t h acts
of sabotage) were l i n ked to t h e workers' s t ru g g l e a g a i n s t t h e factory h ierarchy.
B u t after t h ese f i rs t act i o n s (1971, 1972), the Red B r i g ades evolved rap i d l y toward
a s t rategy of f ro n t a l , " po l i t i c a l " - i n t h e worst, most abst ract sense of t h e term
- o p p os i t i o n to t h e State. From this point t h ey began to behave l i ke a n actu a l
party, w h o s e act i o n s a n d object ives a r e n e i t h e r rel ated to, n or d e p e n d e n t o n , t h e
t i mes a n d o n t h e forms of t h e m a s s s t r u g g l e . I n t h i s n e w p hase t h e B r i gades
reached a c r i t i c a l p o i n t , at w h i c h t h e extreme " M L" ( M a rx i st-Le n i n i s t in t h e most
dogmatic a n d ava nt-garde sen se) types of t h i n k i n g p reva i l ed in t h e f i g h t i n g
organ izat i o n . M o reover, t h e t heoret ical-po l i t i c a l grou n d i n g of t h e m i l i t a n t s i n t h e
B r i g ades i s d i s t i n c t l y Sta l i n ist. Part of t h e i r backg ro u n d , espec i a l ly t h e i r soc i a l
c o n text ( t h e factori es) comes f r o m t h e " ha rd " Sta l i n i st base of t h e Com m u n ist
Party. The soc i a l contexts of t h e B r i g ades - even m o re t h a n their s e l ect i o n of a
c l a n de s t i n e modus operandi - set t h e m apart from oth ers eve n as early as 1974;
by 1977, t h e d ifferences between the evo l v i n g M ovement for A u t o n o m y a n d t h e
B r i g ades had become even g reater.

The h i g hest p o i n t in the career of the Red B r i gades was the k i d n ap p i n g a n d


m u rder of A l d o M o ro, P res i d e n t of t h e D C . T h e s e events t o o k p l ace at a t i me
w h e n t h e Move m e n t fou nd i t s e l f i n a state of c r i s i s and i m mo b i l izat i o n , l a rg e l y
because of t h e " f a i l u re" of t h e S e p t e m b e r Conve n t i o n . I t was p recisely t h e i m
m o b i l izat i o n i n d u ced by t h e Conve n t i o n t ha t led ever larger sectors of t h e M ove
ment, espec i a l ly t h ose h a rassed by repressive measu res, to c h oose a c l andest i n e
l i fe. M a n y o t h e r f i g h t i n g organ izat i o n s s m a l l e r t h a n t h e R e d B r i g ades were form
ed. These s m a l l e r o r g a n izat i o n s had object i ves t h at were c l osely l i n ked to soc i a l

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s t ru g g l es (acts of sabotage, b u r n i n g of e m p l oyment offi ces), w h i l e t h e act i o n s of
t h e Red B r i g ades had an effect a l m ost exc l u s ively p o l i t i c a l , d i rected as t hey were
at t h e DC or at t h e head q u a rters of the maj o r i t y party.

The q uest i o n of t h e " a rmed s t r u g g l e " g ave b i rt h i n t hese years to a n u mber of


d u b i o u s t h eses, whether w i t h i n the M ovement, in the press, o r in p ropaganda
e m i tted by t h e fo rces of t h e reg ime. Terro r i s m came to be c o n s i d ered a d i rect ex
p re s s i o n of the forms of s t ru g g l e of the Movement. The M oveme n t has certa i n l y
ex p ressed a n d practiced forms of v i o l e n t stru g g le, w h e n v i o lence represented a
necessary means for t h e defense of organ izat i o n a l levels (ta k i n g to t h e street s ,
occ u p y i n g b u i l d i n gs, p i cket i n g), b u t i t h as a l ways refused to s e e t h e m i l i t a ry
organ izat i o n as an a u t o n o m o u s p o l i t i c a l body, or as an " a rmed party. " The
stre n g t h of t h e Red B r i g ades i s thus d i rect ly proport i o n a l to t h e weakness of the
M ovement. A n d so, as t h e repress i o n of t h e reg i m e we i g h s m o re heav i l y o n t h e
M ovement, t h e p o w e r of t h e a r m ed o r g a n i z a t i o n i nc reases. O n t h e other h a n d , w e
m u s t a l so recog n ize t h at , beg i n n i n g i n t h e S p r i n g of ' 7 7 , w h e n t h e stre n g t h of t h e
m a s s movement brou g h t about a c r i s i s for i n s t i t u t i o n a l eq u i l i b r i u m a n d t h e
H i storical C o m p rom i se, t h e S t a t e u n d ertook to recon s t r u c t its stab i l ity a n d i n
s t i t u t i o n a l eq u i l i br i u m on t he b a s i s of t h e op p os i t i o n to terro r i s m . T h e po l i cy of
" n at i o n a l u n ity" - am o u n t i n g to a re i n forceme n t of t h e C h ristia n-Democrat i c
gove r n m e n t (always a f rag i l e majori ty) w i t h u nc r i t i c a l s u p port f r o m t h e P C I - was
adopted as a n emergency measure in t h e face of the Red B r i gades' assau l t . A n d
o n t h e s a m e d a y t h a t M oro w a s k i d n a p ped t h e P C I d e c i d e d to s u p port a D C
gove r n m e n t t hat w a s c o m p letely u nacceptable. For t h i s s t rategy the PCI p a i d , w i t h
its e lectoral l osses i n J u n e , 1 979. B u t t h i s i s of l it t l e i n terest. W h a t i s i n te rest i n g
i s t h at terro r i s m c reated a s i t u a t i o n o f c r i s i s f o r t h e revo l u t i o n a ry movement, o r
rat h e r i n serted i t s e l f i n to a p re-ex i st i n g c r i s i s of t h e Move m e n t . A n d t h u s i n sert i n g
i ts e l f, i t accen t u ated a n d c o n s o l id ated t h e c r i s i s , rei nforc i n g t h e repress i o n from
t h e o n e s i d e a n d , o n t h e o t h e r side, rest rict i n g t h e revo l u t i o nary p rocess t o a
pathway w i t h o u t egress, w i t h o u t a l ternative routes.

T h i s said, t h e n , we have t o rec o g n ize that the exte n s i o n of t h e armed stru g g l e


a n d t h e g reat i m pact of armed terrorist act i o n ( t o be d i ff e re n t i ated f r o m a p ract ice
of mass v i o l e n ce j u s t i f ied by t h e n eeds of t he p ro letariat) a re d i rectly l i n ked to
that crisis i n t h e M ovement w h i c h evolved after '77. We can say t ha t armed ter
rorist act i o n i s a sym p to m of t h e revo l u t i o na ry m ove m e n t ' s inab i l ity to p u t a p ro
g ra m i nto effect, as we l l as a sym ptom of the M ove m e n t ' s c u l t u ra l i m pove r i s h
ment.

A f t e r ' 7 7 , a n d espec i a l ly a f t e r t h e M o ro affa i r, sectors o f A u t o n o m y bega n t o


rea l ize a l l t h i s . A n d h e re o u r study m u s t beco m e more com p lex, if we w i s h to
c o m p rehend t h e most recent period of I t a l i a n h i st o ry, that i s , t h e even t s of A p r i l 7,
1979.

I n '77 t h e pos i t i o n s taken by t h e M ovement on t h e armed s t ru g g l e were i m p recise.


The e n t i re M ovement had r i g h t l y refused to condemn (as t h e b o u rgeois reg i me
a n d its parties req u ested) mass v i o l e nce. The M arch i n s u rrect i o n had been a v i r
t u a l ex p losion i nvo l v i n g tens of t h o usands of p ro letarians a n d you n g people, and
that level of violence was an i nevitable stage w h i c h gave to t h e M ovement t h e
maneuver i n g r o o m a l ways d e n i ed i t by t h e i ns t i t u t i on s . B u t o n t h e s u bject of ter
rorist action the d e bate was a lways more c o n f u sed. All the c om p on e n t s of t h e
Movement recog n ized t h e proletarian a n d revo l u t i o n a ry o r i g i ns of t h e f i g h t i n g for
m ati o n s (a few i d iots act u a l l y sou g h t to exco m m u n i cate t h e armed formations, o r
to declare t h e m agents of fore i g n secret services o r of reac t i o n a ry g ro u p s - b u t
everyone knows t h at t h e m i l itants i n t hese format i o n s a r e com rades w h o come
o u t of agitation i n factories o r in t h e s l u m s , out of experien ces we all h a d in
t hose years). So t h e problem was p u t in terms of " leg i t i mat izat i o n . "

W i t h i n t h e M oveme n t , t here a re t w o o p i n i o n s o n t h i s q uest i o n of " l e g i t i macy".


O n e fact i o n c o n s i d e rs a rmed c la n d est i n e act i o n as a s i m p l e "exte n s i o n " of mass
v i o l ence, an "exte n s i o n " of proletarian rest iveness at t h e legal l i m i t s i m posed by
c a p i ta l i s m . But others d e m u r, c l a i m i n g that t h i s o u t l ook u nderes t i mates (in t h e
n a m e of spontaneous sympathy) t h e ractical c o n t rad i c t i o n between a u t o n o m o u s
behavio r o n t h e part of p roletarian s t rata (who a re t h e bearers of a pote n t i a l for
l i berat ion) a n d t h e Stal i n i st p o l i t ics, or even State- l i ke behavior, of t h e B . R .

Pos i t i o n s o n t h e leg i t i macy of terro r i s m d i ffer w i t h i n t h e various c o m p o n e n t s o f


t h e Movement. The B o l o g n a movement ( t h e so-ca l led " c reat ive w i n g " ) recog n ized
w i t h o u t hes i t a t i o n t h e c o n t rad i c t i o n between terro r i s m and the mass movement.
The com m i ttees of A u t o n o m o u s Workers (Autonomia Operaia) at Rome (the
"Volsc i ") forcef u l ly c r i t i c ized t h e politics of t h e Red Bri gades, w h i le o t h e r groups
m a i n ta i ned more problematic p os i t i o n i n order to avoid l u m p i n g together ter
ror i s m a n d t h e most rad i c al practi ces of t h e M ove m e n t . B u t w h i l e t h e
" ideolog i c al " d i sc u s s i o n of terrorism cont i n u e d , peo p l e l o s t s i g h t o f terrorism a s
spectacle, of i t s capacity to occ u py p ro g ressively more s p a c e o n t h e stage-set o f
c l ass s t ru g g le. A n d w h e n t h i s aspect of terro r i s m w a s c o n s i dered (after t h e M o ro
k i d n a p p i ng) a new o p e rat i o n beg a n : o n e d i d n o t attempt to c o n d e m n or exorcise
terro r i s m (as the g reat b o u rgeois j o u r n a l ists d i d , a n d beh i n d t hem the l i t t l e j o u r
n a l ists of Lotta Con tinua), nor even to s u p port it i n order to g a i n somet h i n g f rom
i t . I n stead , one s o u g h t to s u persede i t . Su persed i n g terro r i s m became the t r ue
problem for t h e revo l u t i o n a ry movement. G iven t h at com bat format i o n s
represented a p rod u c t of a fact i o n w h i c h t h e M ovement had n o t b e e n a b l e to
s u persede, i t was necessary to s u persede this fact ion a n d i t s terrori s t i c
m a n i festat i o n s . I t was n ecessary to e n g a g e onese l f i n t h i s effort. We can s a y t h at
t h e i ntel lect u a l a n d m i l i t a n t seg ments of A u tonomy were concerned after t h e
d e a t h of M o ro w i t h f i n d i n g m e t h o d s of s u p e rsed i n g terro r i s m . Su persed i n g ter
ror i s m did not mean beco m i n g i n volved in the N az i exterm i nation that the s u p e r
p o l icemen ( l i ke General D a l l a C h iesa, p l e n i pote n t i a ry of t h e a n t i -terrorists) t ried to
effect w i t h d ragnets, w i t h i n d iscri m i nate a rres t s , w i t h corru p t i o n a n d stool
p i geons, w i t h torture and i nternment camps. I n stead, s u pe rsed i n g terrori s m meant
c reati n g a f o u n d a t ion for pac i f i cation a n d for t h e recons t r u c t i o n of con d i t ions
needed for t h e c l ass s t r u g g le. To pac i fy obviou s l y meant to remove t h e obstac le
const i t u ted by t h e m o re t h a n o n e t housand pol it i c a l p r i sone rs. L i berat i o n , t h e n , of
t h e pol i t ical deta i n ees, a l o n g w i t h am nesty, e l i m i na t i o n of t h e c a m p s , a n d
d i s m issal of D a l l a C h iesa. A l l t hese a re objectives of pac i fication o r i g i n at i n g
w i t h i n t h e M ovem e n t , objec tives t h a t t h e pol i t i c a l p l a n ners o f A u t o n o m y w a n t to
make i n t o t h e a i m s of a mass i n it iative c a p a b l e of sett i n g up t h e con d i t ions for a
res u m pt i o n of t h e c l a s s s t ru g g l e i n a s t rateg i c a l l y a u t o n o m o u s form, no l o n g er
determi ned by t h e d i f f i c u l t s t ra i t s of a c i v i l war.

B u t s u d d e n l y , just when t h e poss i b i l ity of s u persed i ng terrorism began to be


perceived a n d beg a n t o mat u re, State repress i o n i ntervened with all t h e power
that i t cou l d put i nt o the f i e l d . We have rea c h ed the events of A p r i l 7.

162
T h e d es i re of t h e S t a t e to e l i m i nate every attem p t at s u p e rsed i n g terror i s m
b e c a m e y e t c l earer w h e n t h e e d i tors of Metropo/i w e r e a rrested a n d t h e p u b l i ca
t ion s u p pressed. Metropoli in fact is a j o u r n a l d evoted s p ec i f i c a l l y to the goa l of
s u rpass i ng terror i s m and recon s t r u ct i n g a u tonomo u s con d i t ions for t h e c l ass
struggle.

T H E SEVENTH F o r q u i t e some t i m e to come, t h e revo l u t ionary movem e n t w i l l h ave t o deal w i t h


O F APRIL t he actions t a k e n by t h e S t a t e on A p r i l 7. E v e n beyond t h e q uestion of l i berat i n g
A R R ESTS t h e comrades w ho were arrested, some f u n d a m e n t a l doubts h ave been raised,
a n d the poss i b i l i t y of making a t r a n s i t ion to a new e poc h i n t h e p rocess of l i bera
t ion f rom c a p i t a l ist dom i nat ion has been j eopard ized in a d ramat i c way.

To d ivest onese l f of t h ese last ten years a n d at t h e same t i m e to u n cover t h e con


t i n u i t y i n herent in the p rocess of l i berat ion - t h ese a re two a pp a re n t l y cont rad ic
tory moves, b u t moves w h i c h m ust be effected s i m u l ta n eou s l y . This i s t h e p ro
b l e m fac i n g us at t h e momen t . B u t the act ions of t h e gove r n m e n t were a i med at
re n d e r i n g any t r a n s i t ion i m poss i b l e .

T H E S I M U LAT I O N I n t h e c a m p a i g n w h i c h t h e power struct u re has l a u n c h ed a g a i nst A u tonomy,


O F POWER, every t h i n g i s false: not t h i s or t h at deta i l , not t h i s or that assert ion, b u t
T H E POW E R everyt h i n g - t he evidence, t h e p roof, t h e c i rc u m stances. Everyt h i ng i s f a l s e , a n d
O F S I M U LATI O N t h e power stru ctu re k nows i t , e v e n d e c l a res it. I t i s of no i m portance to t h e power
s t r u ct u res w h e t h e r somet h i n g i s t r u e of not . This i s t h e s p i ri t beh i n d t h e govern
ment operat ion. The deterrent power of the operation l ies in i t s capacity to
u n leash a violent cam p a i g n of i m mense p roport ions, a c a m p a i g n based on
S I M U LATI O N . The rea l operat i ves of the offens ive are not the j u dges, but t h e
p ress, t h e T V , a n d t h e Performance. T h u s t h e offe n s ive i s beyond pol i t ics, freed
f i n a l l y f rom any rema i n i ng l i n k to t r u t h , l i berated from a n y corres pondence w i t h
act u a l i ty. S i m u late an i n f i n ite n u m ber o f war scenarios a n d p roject t he m on t h e
s c reen of t h e m a s s i m a g i n a t i on - t h i s i s t h e strategy. F o r i n t r u t h i t i s i n t hat ter
r i tory of t h e i m a g i nat ion t h a t t h e rea l war i s be i n g fou g h t . On one s i d e of t h e bat
tle i s D i s s u asion (the i n f i n ite power of the State, the a l l-see i n g eye, t h e a l l
know i n g b ra i n , t h e a l l- i m ag i n i n g m i nd), on t h e ot h e r is L i beration of t h e c reat ive
energ i es of a p roletariat w hose i n t e l lect u a l poten t i a l i s i m mense, but w hose con
d i t ions of mater i a l existence a re c ra m ped a n d m i se ra b l e . This i s the real con
t rad i c t i o n , the real war.

So; the Perform ance of A p r i l 7 h a s s how n t h a t t h e power s t r u ct u re can win t h e


w a r today by i nvad i n g t h e rea l m of t h e i m a g i nation. A n d , h a v i n g con q u e red t h e
rea l m of t h e i m ag i nation, t h e power struct u res n o w r u n ram pa n t , demonstrat i n g a
violence t h a t has no p reced e n t s , a n d a r rogance t h a t is tota l it a r i a n .
THE PARALYSIS H ow can o n e deny t h a t t h e power stru c t u re "seems" to h ave w o n ? H a s n ' t i t , after
OF ORGANIZED a l l , with that stroke of s i m u l a t i o n , a rrogated to itself t h e r i g h t to p u t a n e n t i re
AUTONOMY decade on t r i a l ? It has set i t s e l f u p as a t r i a l j u d g e . A n d so t h e decade of
egal itari a n i s m a n d s o l i d a rity, t h e decade of c o l l ec t i v izat i o n a n d reject i o n of work
a re now on t r i a l . W h a t better i n t rod u c t i o n , w h a t better p re m i se to a " ba c k l a s h "
that p ro m i ses a ret u r n to n o r m a l prod u c t i o n , to t h e u s u a l , d ay-to-day v i o l e n c e that
occu rs i n t h e fam i l y a n d on t h e j ob ?

Meanw h i le, as t h e power struct u re p repares t o t ry o u r e n t i re d e c a d e as c r i m i n a l ,


su bversive a n d p a ra n o i d -wel l , here we s e e t h e forces t h a t represen t t h e e x i st i n g
M ovem e n t u n a b l e t o u nd erstand t h e mea n i n g of t h i s O perat i o n S i m u l a t i o n l a u n c h
ed by t h e p o w e r s t r u c t u re, u n a b l e to u ndersta n d anyth i n g i n f a c t , a n d u n a b l e to
react i n any way.

So i t goes for Organ ized Autonomy. I t s p a ra l y s i s i s com p lete. As of A p r i l 7 i t has


been s h u n ted into t h e Wax M u se u m of pol i t i c s . In the face of t h e power s t r u c t u re,
i n t h e face of t h a t g a m e of m i rrors which i s S i m u l a t i o n , t h e good l i t t l e bad boys
of Autonomy h ave rep l ied w i t h the conv i c t i o n t hat t h e i r p a rty (w i t h a l l i t s h o l y ,
etern al p r i c i p les s u c h as "active absten t i o n " . . . ) can match t h e State reg i me n t for
reg i me n t. B u t t h e State o perates o n a h u n d red bat t l e f i e l d s , w h i le t h e p a rty of
Autonomy c a n n ot even operate o n that s i n g l e f i e l d i t has c h osen for i t se l f - t h e
st reets a re off l i m i ts, a n d for t h ose i n capable of t h i n k i n g i n any t e r m s b u t st reet
c a m p a i g n s , the s t reets t h e m se l ves h ave becom e u n u s a b l e . Those w h o w a nt to
res p o n d to the s i m u l a t i o n -f i l led power s t ru c t u res w i t h the power ( b u t d oes it ex
ist?) of t r u t h and of c o u n te r- i nformat i o n w i l l f i nd t h e i r words t u r n i n g t o d u s t i n
their mouths.

INTELLECTUALS , L e t u s a l so exa m i n e t h ose w h ose b u s i ness i t i s to be concerned a b o u t g u a ra ntees


LEGALITY AND of f reed o m . The i n tel lec t u a l s - yes, even they seek to reaf f i r m t h e i r role by seek
LEGITIMACY ing out the " t r u t h " . Take a look at w h at U m berto Eco has to say in the A p r i l 22
ed i t i o n of La Repubblica . After havi n g sou g h t the " t r u t h " for h a l f a page, u s i n g
methods worthy of a d etect ive n ove l , he a n n o u nces t h a t t h e bou n da ry between
lega l i ty a n d i l l e g a l ity can s h ift depend i n g o n the m o m e n t , o n the c i rc u m st a n ces.
Power rel at i o n s h i p s , h e says. O f cou rse ! It's t r u e : legal i ty i s determ i ned by the
power re l at i o n s h i p s t h a t obta i n between o l d a n d new, between t h e l i berat i o n of
t h e poss i b l e a n d the d i ctators h i p of t h e p resent. T h e g reater t h e stre n g t h of that
M ovement w h i c h stra i n s to l i berate t h e poss i b i l i t ies c o m p ressed w i t h i n t h e p re
sent, the fart h e r t h e b o u ndaries of legal ity w i l l be p u s hed. Because l e g a l i t y is o n l y
t h e sanct i o n i n g ( b y stru c t u res, b y j u dges, by t h e p o l i ce) of t h e p resen t state of af
f a i rs , of the p rese n t ' s r i g h t to s u p p ress the energ ies, the c reat ivity and the i nven
t ive powers of t h e proletarian segment of society. G ood t h i n k i n g , Eco. Except t h at
t h e peo p l e w h o set t h ose b o u ndaries of l e g a l ity a re peo p l e ( l i ke Eco) w h o write for
La Repubblica . A n d t h e peo p l e w h o decide w h e re t h e bou n da r i es should be
s h i fted a re tru t h-seekers of Eco's i l k - a s if i t were poss i b l e to cont i n u e w i t h that
att i t u d e of t h e e n t o m o l o g ist which h e shows, t h e a t t i t u d e of someone exa m i n i n g
h i storical p rocesses, s t ru g g l es , programs, pass i o n s a n d defeats a s t h o u g h t hey
were nat u ra l p h e n o m e n a , as t h o u g h w i t h i n t h e m were not the p u lsat i o n of a s u b
jective i nt e n s i ty a n d t h e poss i b i l ity for a d i s r u p t i o n a n d overt h row of t h e e n t i re
scenario. Today, after t h e eve n t s of A p r i l 7, it is t h e power struct u re w h i c h
s i m u l ates t h e scenerio i n w h i c h power re l at i o n s h i p s a r e determ i ned. T h e t r u t h
determ i nes n ot h i n g .

UTOPIA, O r take t h e case of L u i g i Barz i n i , w h o o n A p r i l 1 0, o n t h e front page of t h e Cor


MESSIANISM, riere de/la Sera , d e f i n e s t h e c o m rades a rrested on A p r i l 7 as M e ss i a n i c v i s ionaries
BREAKDOWN OR w h o p rov i d e a n i rrat i o n a l movement with a p rog ram that consta n t l y feeds t h e u t o
BARBARISM p i a n i m p u lses of t h e masses of you n g peo p l e , w h o w o u l d otherwise be scattered ,
desperate or res i g n e d . W e l l t h a t ' s true e n o u g h . B u t that obst i nate a n g e r w i t h
w h i c h revo l u t i o na ry t h i n k i n g i n I ta l y h a s n o u r i shed t h e d e s i res a n d w a n t s of t h e
masses of prolet a r i a n s a n d y o u t h h a s n ot h i n g i rrat i o n a l about i t . I t i s t h e rea l ity
of t h e s o c i a l c o n t rad i c t i o n s in u rban areas, t h e d ra m a t i c rea l ity of t h e c o n t radic
t i o n between m a n a n d n a t u re, which i s t h e rad i c a l e l e m e n t - not our w a n t s . I t i s
rea l ity w h i c h s e t s before u s t h e c h o i ce between u t o p i a a n d barba r i s m , between a

164
b re ak d o w n of t h e p resent system a n d t h e p e rm a n e n t t h reat of destruct i o n ,
ecocatastro p h e a n d psychocatastrophe. A n d t h e c h o i c e w i l l have to be made very
s o o n , very q u i c k l y . The acce l e r a t i o n of pace in u rb a n a reas, the mad i n h u m a n ity
Of rel at i o n s h i p s between p eo p l e , t h e h a l l u c i natory q u a l i t y Of every form Of e x p res
s i o n and every form of e x i s te n c e , and the i n c rease in m i l i t a r izat i o n - a l l t hese
deve l o p me n t s co m b i n e to set a n u rg e n t c h o i ce before revo l u t i o n a ries: b reakd own
o r b arba r i s m . A n d even i f t h e poss i b i l it i es for a breakdo w n were very l i m ited, even
i f every t h i n g were tend i n g in a d i re c t i o n o p p osed to t h e poss i b i l ity of l i berat i n g
h u m a n i t y ' s tec h n i c a l , s c i e n t i f i c , c reative a n d i nventive e n ergies f ro m t h e destruc
t ive d o m i n a t i o n of c a p i ta l i s m and ecocatastrophe, even i f t h e idea of l i berat i n g
these poten t i a l s were a u t o p i a n o n e - we l l , eve n s o , t h e o n l y rea l i s t i c c h o i ce
w o u l d be revo l u t i o n . I f we are i nt e rested i n l ife, t h e n o n l y revo l u t i o n i s a rea l i s t i c
a l ternat ive.

T H E NON T h e s i t u a t i o n in I ta l y p rovides a social laboratory of exc e p t i o n a l i nterest, both


CENTERED fro m t he p o i n t of v i ew of c a p i ta l i st d o m i n a t i o n a n d f r om t h e revo l u t i o nary p o i n t of
FORM OF T H E v i e w . T h e most i m porta n t fact for u ndersta n d i n g t h e p resent s i t u a t i o n i s t h a t cen
POWER t ra l ized a n d c o h e re n t forms o f c o n t ro l over t h e soc i a l sector have c om e to a n e n d ,
ST R U CT U R E A N D a n d t h u s t h e soci ety a n d t he forces w h i c h c i rc u late i n t h e soc i a l sector a r e n o
P R O D U CT I O N l o n g e r g ove r n a b l e b y p o l i t i c s .

T h e r e a l mystery of t h e I t a l i a n s i t u ta t i o n i s how a n a p p a ra t u s of d o m i n a t i o n over


s o c i a l bei n g s c a n be m a i n t a i n e d by a f u n c t i o n i n g w h i c h m u s t deal w i t h and
o r g a n ize t h e most varied and c o n t ra d i ctory types of behavior i m a g i n a b l e . The rea l
p r o b l e m is how t h e f u n c t i o n i n g of d o m i n a t i o n a n d t h e c a p i t a l i st system ' s
ass i g n i n g -of-va l u e can be esta b l i s h ed by m e a n s of u nf o c u sed con f l i ct . T he re i s a
t h read of f u n c t i o n i n g w h i c h ru n s t h ro u g h d i sco n t i n u i t y , frag mentat i o n a n d c o n
f l i c t . T h e q u e s t i o n i s how c a n t h e l a b o r m a rket c o n t i n u e t o f u n c t i o n , w h e n a n
e n o r m o u s q u a n t i t y of s u r p l u s-va l u e i s p ro d u ced b y a seg m e n t of t he l a b o r force
w h i c h i s p o l i t i c a l l y a n d c u l t u ra l ly i n s u bord i nate, extre m e l y f l ex i b l e in terms of its
m ob i l ity, u n w i l l i n g to accept the f ixed a r ra n g e m e n t of s a l a r i ed o u t p u t , a n d o b l ig e d
t o accept a re l a t i ve l y h i g h r a t e of c o n f i sc a t i o n of t h e s u r p l u s v a l u e p rod u c e d . The
marriage of i n s u bo rd i n a t i o n a n d p rod u c t i v i t y , of c o n f l i c t a n d f u n c t i o n i n g , i s t he
p o i n t of departure for a new a l l i a n c e between c a p i t a l i s t i c deve l o p m e n t a n d t h e
p r o l e t a r i a n l i be ra t i o n move m e n t . T h i s a l l i a n ce p rovi d es t h e o n l y poss i b l e m e a n s
of res o l v i n g t h e p resent c r i s i s , t h e o n ly w a y i n w h i c h c o n d i t i o n s for a p rod u c t ive
a u t o n o m y , rat her than a n oss i f i ed s u bo rd i n a t i o n , c a n be esta b l i s hed.

T h e p resent s i t u a t i o n - i n w h i c h a tota l iz i n g f u n c t i o n i n g exists w i t h o u t t h e tota l


i t y , and in w h i c h power exists w i t h o u t a govern m e n t - h a s in fact seen power p re
sent i t s e l f as m e re tact i c s , as " d ay-by-day p o l i t i c s ' ' , c a p a b l e of f u n c t i o n i n g o n l y

I
u nd e r t h at g u ise. T h e f u nction i n g of t h i s type of pol i t i c s is not g u i d ed by a ny
coh e re n t strateg i c p l a n n i n g , b u t by a g a m e of i nt e r n a l s e l f-reg u l a t i o n . To o ppose
t h i s mec h a n i s m of s e l f-reg u l ation ( i n w h i c h the off i c i a l d e c l a rations and the an
nou nced strateg i e s are o n l y s i m u lations of tact i c a l scena rios t hat c a n not act u a l l y
con t rol t h e forces t h ey s u m mon u p) - to op pose t h i s mec h a n i s m o f s e l f-reg u l ation
by offe r i n g a cohere n t a lternat ive s t rategy - a s Organ ized A u tonomy h a s sou g h t
t o do- o n l y amou n t s t o rema i n i n g e n s n a red i n a g a m e , t h e r u l es o f w h i c h n o n e of
the p l ayers can m a k e operat i ve. So: t h e re is n o s t rategy, no c r i terion of t r u t h i n
tact i c s . B u t t h e re i s a poi n t o f contac t - at least o n t h e tac t i c a l leve l - between
t h e p roletar i a t ' s i m port u nate d es i re for l i beration f rom the s lavery of work a n d
c a p i t a l i s m ' s i n terests i n i nc reas i n g t h e rel a t i ve rate o f s u r p l u s-va l u e a n d i n c reas
i n g soc i a l p rod u c t i v i ty . It i s at t h i s poi n t of contact that one can occasion a l l y
break t h e power o f t h a t Dom i nation w h i c h w i s hes t o foresta l l A u tonomy, w h i c h
rest ra i n s t h e i nt e l lect u a l energ i es o f t h e p roletariat, w h i c h orga n izes K n ow ledge
a n d K now-how in a f u n ct i o n a l d es i g n a i med at r e p rod u c i n g t h e form of C a p i t a l
a n d t h e f o r m o f V a l u e , so t h a t t h e road to t h e l i beration o f l i fe f rom w o r k i s
c losed off, so t h a t t h e pote n t i a l cont a i ned i n t h e i n tel l i gence a n d a c t i v i ty o f t h e
i n d iv i d u a l i s h e l d i n c h eck, w h i l e h e i s com p e l l ed to de- i n d i v i d u a l ize h i m s e l f a n d
s u b m i t to bei n g m a d e i n to Abstract Work.

THE INDETER T h u s we stand before the paradox of a dom i n at ion w h i c h i s exerc ised w i t hout a n y
Ml NACY gove r n m e n t , a con t rol l i ng o f t h e s y s t e m w i t ho u t a govern i n g of t h e syst e m . W h e n
OF LAW AND THE a s y s t e m becomes very com p l ex a n d h a s n u m e rous i n d ep e n d e n t va r i a b l e s , t h e n
SELF-REGULATION t h e a d a g e " a n e m pty m i n d i s a n open m i n d " seems to a p p l y . I t i s t h e absence o f
OF THE IMAGINARY " p l a n n i n g " w h i c h m a kes t h e s y s t e m con t ro l l a b l e . The " f u l l wei g h t " of a n a r
t i c u l ated p l a n t e n d s to polarize soc i ety by m a k i n g peo p l e erect " wa l l s of j u d ge
m e n t " . In com p lex systems pol arization is e l i m i nated and the m e a n s of reg u lation
tend to be i n confor m i ty with t h e i ndeter m i nacy of t h e syste m . This rule of t h u m b
p reva i l s even on i d eolog i c a l a n d j u d i c i a l level s . S o l e t u s exa m i n e o n c e a g a i n t h a t
j ud i c i a l cam p a i g n l a u n c h ed on t h e 7th o f A p r i l .

T h e "castle" o f accusat ions b u i l t u p h a s no " f o u n d a t ion " . B u t t h i s i s exactly what


t h e g ove r n m e n t actions were des i g ned to s how: " j u st i ce" revea l s i t s l a c k of foun
dation i n " l aw" i n a way that i s nearly obsce n e . O n l y i n this manner can " j u st i ce"
enter i n to a " c r i me-acc u s a t i o n " re lation s h i p with soc i a l be i ng s that a re very d i f
ferent from one a nother.

I l l u m i n at i n g for t h e s t u d y of this p h enomenon a re t h e reve l a t i o n s of certa i n i n


te l l ect u a l s who wou l d h ave u s be l i eve t hey were o n c e " p l a n t s " w i t h i n t h e M ove
m e n t . C o n s i d e r som e of the more d i g n i f i ed con fessions: " Forg ive me i f I i n s i st on
t h i s p o i n t , but that version of " Potere O peraio" ( i . e . , the Ven eto- E m i l i a n b r a n c h to
w h i c h Cacc i a r i belonged) has not h i n g at a l l to do w i t h t h e version w h i c h a rose
after 1968. " (Cacc i a r i , in an i n terview g ra n ted to Repubbfica , 10/4/79). Or t h i s : " I
h a d my last pol i t i c a l d i sc u ssion w i t h N e g r i more t h a n t e n years a g o. . . S i nce that
time I h ave n ' t seen h i m . . . " (Asor Rosa, i n La Repubblica 24/4/79). You k now t h e
say i n g - " Peop le bet ray t h e m se l ves " ! A n d t h i s i s t h e mec h a n i s m w h i c h t h e forces
of " j u st i ce" want to set in mot ion: i n d i v i d u a l s m u s t a u tonomou s l y come to feel a
need to ex c u l pate t h e m se lves , or a need to s e p a rate t h e m s e l ves f rom t h e accu sed
in order to savor the " p l eas u re of havi n g s u rv i ved " - to borrow a p h rase f rom
Canett i .

T h e l a w ' s l a c k o f fou ndat ions becomes stri k i n g l y a p parent w h e n t h e " l aw" l ives i n
a state o f " e m e rg e n c y " , w h e n i t becomes a " j u d i c i a l emergency m e a s u r e " . B u t
emergency m e a n s a c u t-off o f rat ion a l i ty; t h u s t h e hyp e m u s t s how i t s e l f a s
hype- i t can o n l y be effective i f i t i s lived as hype. The " l aw" fee l s t h e n eed t o
m a k e i t s e l f i n determ i n ate i n order t o b e a b l e to p rosec ute a l l t hose b e i n g s w h o
a re dete r m i ned by soc iety, i n ord e r t o con t rol every determ i nation.

The i ndete r m i nacy of t h e " l aw" i n fact amou n t s to the i n determ i n acy of soc i a l
types: w h a t , after a l l , i s t h e t y p i c a l revo l u t i o n a ry o f tod ay? T h i s i ndeter m i nate
" l a w ' ' , i n s p i te of a p pearan ces a n d i n spite of t h e p r i ce that has been p a i d by the
va n g u a rd movem e n t s , i s not i ntent on hou n d i n g t hese movem e n t s ( i f i t were, then

166
the " law" w o u l d be a q u i t e determ i n ate t h i n g , w o u l d have f o u n d at i o n s - t h i s i s
t h e p os i t i o n o f t h e PCI), b u t rat h e r d i rects i t s atte n t i o n s toward i n determ i n ate
e l e m e n t s . An American researc her w rote in a recent a n a l y s i s of the p h e n o m e n o n
of terro r i s m t h at " t h e ' m oral sens i b i l it y' of t h e n o r m a l c i t izen i s not very d i fferent
form t h at of t h e terro r i s t " (J a n Schrei ber), s i n ce, in a c o m p lex system in w h i c h
" med i a t i o n " a s a struct u re h a s f a i led, every g r o u p , d o w n to t h e level o f t h e i n
d i v i d u a l , t e n d s to def i ne i t s e l f a u t o n o m o u s l y , and not s e e i t s e l f i n re l a t i o n t o
" o t h e rs". I n a s i m i l a r ve i n , B r i a n J e n k i n s h a s d e f i ned terro r i s m as t h e " i nstru m e n t
for g a i n i n g pol i t i cal object i ves t h at have b e e n s e t a u t o n o m o u s l y . " The i ndeter
m i nacy of t h e " l aw" se rves as a means for p u rsu i n g soc i a l be i n g s w h o
a u t o n o m o u s l y def i n e t h e m selves to t h e e x t e n t that t h ey are no l o n g e r i d e n t i f i a b l e
by t h e i r soc i a l "stat u s " . To " p rosecute" soc i a l be i n g s t h u s m e a n s t h at t h e l a w
m u s t m a k e i t s e l f " i m-persona l " to s u c h a d e g ree that i t becomes a sy m bo l i c
re p resenta t i o n , a perform a n ce o r spectacle o f accusat i o n a n d t r i a l . Rather t h a n
p rosec ute p r i vate c i t ize n s , i t a i m s at p rosec u t i n g sy m bo l i c f i g u res, prod ucts of a
col lective i ma g i n a t i o n ; t h e G u i lty Party i s a p rod uct of everyone's i ma g i nat i o n . At
t h i s level of abstract i o n of be i n g s , t h e law can no l o n g e r s u sta i n i t s e l f and h as
need for abstrac t i o n s p ro m u l gated by the mass med i a . I n determ i n acy req u i res a
re lat i o n s h i p w i t h t h e mass med i a - o n ly t h e n can t h e " t h eater of cruelty" be
staged .

The law t u rn s i nto a com b i nat i o n of emergency and mass med i a , exists i n t h e
form of e m e r g e n c y as i t b e c o m e s i d e n t i f ied w i t h t h e mass med i a , i s t h e o n e i n v i r
t u e of be i n g t h e other.

Cou rt a c t i o n operates in t h e rea l m of cont i n g e n c ies not only because i t i s a


system of tactics w h i c h s h i fts t h e bou n d a r i es of lega l i ty accord i n g to i nd iv i d u a l
c i rc u mstances-as U m berto E c o assert s - b u t a l s o because today every bou n d a ry
i s o u t s i d e t h e scope of c l a s s i c a l l y cod i f ied law, because t h ere is no l o n g e r any
point in p rosec u t i n g " p r i vate" beings. What matters i s not so much t h e outcome
of t h e c o u rt act i o n , b u t rat h e r t h e symbo l i c t r i a l set in motion t h ro u g h t h e mass
med i a . And t h e object i ve of c o u rt act i o n i s not so much t h e m a i ntenance of order,
b u t rat her t h e i m m ed iate c reat i o n of a col lective recog n i t i o n of t h e
" bou n d a r i es " - a recog n i t i o n t hat can be created only w h e n d i sorder p reva i l s.
T h e re is no m o re " perso n a l " p e n a l izat i o n , o n ly sy m bo l i c p e n a l izat i o n . The trad i
t i o n a l t r i a l i n t h e cou rtroom has become i rrel eva nt i n t h e face of t h e i ma g i nary
t r i a l s ( i . e . , e n acted by t h e i m a g i n a t i o n) staged by t h e mass m ed i a . What c a n n ot be
p e n a l ized in p h y s i c a l terms i s i n stead penal ized by m e a n s of a u n iversal
sacri f i c i a l rite, that is, t h e sy m b o l i c t r i a l s w h i c h t h e mass med i a stage in t h e i m
a g i nat i o n o f t h e co l l ec t i v i t y . I t i s t h e i m a g i n a t i o n w h i c h i s act u a l l y o n t r i a l . The
t r i a l is a i med at c reat i n g cert a i n a t t i t u d es a n d i n s i g hts, at forc i n g i ndeterm i n ate
soc i a l b e i n g s to ass u m e , a u t o n o m o u s l y and of t h e i r own acccord , a n i d e n t ity
defi ned for t h e m by t h e cou rts.

To t h i s end, lexica l items from N e g r i ' s texts and i d eas h ave been put o n t r i a l ; it i s
of n o i nterest wh ose lexicon it i s - ra ther, it i s t h e l e x i c o n , t h e i d eas of t h e i m
a g i nary soc i a l be i n g w h i c h have been c h a rged . The p rosec u t i o n is not seek i n g a
s i n g l e g u i lty party, b u t rath e r t h e G u i l t y Party- t h e col l ective i m a g i n a t i o n of t h e
G u i lty Party. The d e c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d constru c t i o n of texts and l e x i c o n are f u nc
t i o n a l e l ements in t h e esta b l i s h m e n t of t h e lex i c a l and l i n g u i s t i c G u i l t y Party. I t is
not acc i d e n t a l t h at U m berto Eco fee l s t h e need to use a m b i g u i t i es i n his a r t i c l e .
Put t i n g w o r d s o n t r i a l i s not poss i b l e i n t h e c o u rtroom; it i s done i n stead i n t h e
m a s s med ia a n d i n t h e symbo l i c p rocess.

CON CLUSIONS H a v i n g come t h i s far, we now need to construct an operat i o n a l s y n t h e s i s w h i c h is


capa b l e of overt u r n i n g t h e p rem i ses w h i c h t h e power struct u re i m posed by i t s ac
tions of A p r i l 7 (as we l l as all t h e other p r e m i ses which t h e power s t r u ct u re h as
i m posed in rece n t t i m es). The g o a l w h i c h the revo l u t i o na ry e l e m e n t has been
seek i n g to atta i n ( m o re o r less c o n s c i o u s ly) in recent years i s the l i be rat i o n of
that potent i a l for a u t o n o m y which has been p ropagated in society by t h e efforts
of t h e p rese n t form of organ ized Autonomy. This goal i s eq u iva l e n t to t h e aim of
u n derta k i n g a passage from the 1970' s to the 1980 ' s wh i le m a i n ta i n i n g struct u ra l
c o n d i t i o n s t h at e n s u re t h e l i berat i o n of l i fe f r o m l a b o r a n d t h a t avo i d t h e l o g i c o f
exterm i n a t i o n a n d ecodest ruct i o n prom u l gated b y N u c l ea r A g e c a p i t a l i s m .

The offe n s i ve u nd e rtaken by t h e power struct u re d u r i n g recent m o n t h s i s d i rected


at maki n g t h i s passage i m poss i b le- that is, i t i s a i med at restor i n g the i n i t i a t ive
to the State w h i l e p reve n t i n g t h e cont i n ued e x i st e n ce of t h e struct u ra l cond i t i o n s
needed for revo l u t i o n .

Power exerc ised w i t h o u t an attempt to govern accepts a very h i g h level of con


f l i c t. T h u s t h e power s t r u c t u re has learned to s u rvive on a d i scont i n u o u s terra i n ,
reconst ruct i n g t h e c o nt i n u ity of its f u n c t i o n i n g across t h i s d i scon t i n u ity. Revo l u
t i o n a ry i m p u lses are perm i tted to o perate i n every soc i a l m i l ie u , i n every type of
p rod u c t i o n f u n c t i o n except for t h at f u n d a m e n t a l f u n c t i o n w h i c h i s t h e fu n c t i o n
const i t u ted by K n ow ledge. Prese n t u rban society may i n f a c t be conceived a s
med ieval f i e f d o m s : h i g hway m e n a n d m a d m e n can r o a m about see k i n g booty o r i n
d u l g i n g i n f i t s of i n s a n i ty , b u t o n l y i f t hey s t a y i n t h e c o u n t ryside, i n t h e desert
p l aces and in the wood s , a n d d o not come onto the manor g rou n d s . The m a n o r i n
t h e metropo l i s o f t h e 1980' s i s t h e p l ace w h e re Knowledge i s p rod uced, t h e
tec h n o l o g i c a l heart of p rod u c t i o n . T h e access routes t o t h i s m a n o r a re c l os e l y
g u arded, w h i l e i n t h e streets a n d homes of t h e metropo l i s, anyt h i n g g oes.

The center of t h e soc i a l organ izat i o n l ies in t h a t zone w h e re Knowledge i s p ro


d u ced and f u n c t i o n s . B u t it wou l d be s i m p l i s t i c to conc l ude that t h e revo l u t i o n
t herefore needs to s u b s t i t u t e a Len i n i st seizu re of Knowledge f o r a Len i n i st
seizu re of t h e State. T h e p rob l e m i s i n rea l i ty much more com p l i cated , s i nce not
only t h e propert ies a n d use of K n o w l edge, b u t also its struct u re, a re determ i ned
by its c a p i ta l i s t i c f u n c t i o n i n g . And the p rocess of overt u r n i n g t h e f u n c t io n i n g of
Knowledge (today K n ow l ed g e f u n c t i o n s to c ont r ol and to ass i g n va l u e, but w i t h i n
i t l i es t h e poss i b i l i t y f o r a self-tra n sformat i o n i nto a n i n f i n it e l y p rod uct ive f o rce
capa b l e of p rog res s i v e l y f ree i n g seg ments of s oc i a l ex istence from the con
stra i nts of work) - t h i s p rocess of overt u r n i n g i s l i n ked to a repeated , l o n g-term
(perhaps extre m e l y l o ng-term) d i s l ocat i o n of the modes, t h e p roced u res a n d the
i n struments of t h e p rod u ct i o n of Knowledge (a passage from t h e power s t r u c t u re
to an a u t o n o m o u s s o c i a l arrangement). A n d o n l y t h i s l o n g p rocess of repeated
d i s l ocat i o n a n d a p p ro p r i a t i o n of the modes and i ns t r u m e n t s of the p rod u c t i o n of
Knowledge w i l l be a b l e to mod ify the e p i stemo l og i c a l , and t h u s the operative,
struct u re of K n o w l e d ge .

B u t t h e forms a n d t h e p o l i t ics i nvolved i n t h i s p rocess a re sti l l e n t i re l y u n known


to u s . That i s to say, we have not e l aborated a n y t h eory of " t ra n s i t i o n " (to use

1 68
t hat h o r r i b l e a n d i m p recise word). The o n l y t h eory of power and t ra n s i t i o n that we
possess, t h e t h eory to w h i c h we m u st consta n t l y refer- perhaps i n order to
deviate from i t , t h o u g h a l ways rema i n i n g i n some ways e n t ra p ped w i t h i n i t - i s the
Len i n ist one. Essent i a l l y , t h e Le n i n ist t h eory can be form u l ated as fo l l ows: the
p ro l etariat m u s t take possess i o n of t h e State, b olster t h e m a c h i nery of t h e State
and the d o m i n a t i o n of the State's w i l l over soci ety in order to abo l i s h cap i t a l i s m
( o n l y afterward w i l l t h e ext i n c t i o n of t h e State be poss i b l e) . W e have h a d t h e
d ream of rea l iz i n g t h i s p r o g r a m o n o u r m i nd s for fifty years n o w , f r o m t h e t i me o f
"war com m u n i s m " , from t h e t i m e of t h e N E P, t h rou g h t h e period of Sta l i n i s m , u p
to t h e C h i nese experience, u p to t h e awf u l rea l i ty of p resen t-day soc i a l i s m .
C a p i ta l i s m h a s been n e i t h e r abo l i s hed n o r transformed, b u t rat her h a s become
o s s i f i e d , i n a s m u c h as t h e State, w h i c h o u g h t to i n carnate t h e w i l l to su persede,
has i n stead been noth i n g m o re than t h e re i f i ca t i o n of t h ose re lat i o n s h i ps of p ro
d u c t i o n i n heri ted from c a p i ta l i s m . I n other words, the State has represented a
terrori st-sty l e forced reca p i t u l a t i o n of t h e ex i s t i n g modes of prod u c t i o n , a t h rottl
ing of every poss i b l e m ove toward autonomy i n t h e soc i a l system.

Thus t h e time now see ms ripe to form u l ate a n h y p o t h e s i s concern i n g t h e " t r a n s i


t i o n " . The hypothesis w h i c h we advance as t h e p rem ise for f u rt h e r t h eoret i c a l
work i s a n e x ac t reversa l of Len i n ' s theory. That i s, we s e e k to re ify an " i g nor
act i o n " toward t h e State" ( " i g n o ract i o n " : adapted from t h e German igno rak
t ion - a n act i o n w h i c h i g n o res, d oes not recog n ize t h ose formal b o u n d aries w h i c h
t h e State i m p oses), to re ify a n a bo l i t i o n o f t h e mec h a n i s m of State control a n d t o
reify a p o l i t i c a l formal izat i o n of t h e a l l iance between m o b i l e strata of t h e labor
fo rce a n d dynamic c a p i ta l i s m , between c a p i ta l i s t i c , post- i n d u st r i a l , electro n i c
deve l op m e n t a n d proletarian i n s u bo rd i n a t i o n to t h e w o r k e t h i c . I t i s i n terest i n g
t hat at p rese n t re newed atte n t i o n i s be i n g g i ven to neo- l i berta r i a n hypot heses i n
econ o m ics. T h e i n terest t h a t m a n y revo l u t i o nary M a rx ists h ave m a n i fested for
eco n o m i c hypotheses of neo- l i berta rian tendency t h u s becomes u n derst a n d a b l e .

ON THE Revo l u t i o nary t h i n k i n g m u st focus its c r i t i c a l ski l l on t h e problem of tran s i t i o n , i f


TRANSITION o n l y to l i q u idate and s u persede t h e concept. As L. B e r t i has s a i d , t h e concept of
" t ra n s i t i o n " and t h e system of categories w h i c h it i nvolves can " p rod u ce" a rea l
scena r i o - can p rod uce a v i s i o n of t h e revo l u t i o n a ry p rocess w h i c h gets i n t h e
w a y of l i berat i o n . D ivest i n g onese l f of t h i s concept m e a n s d i vest i n g onese l f of a
p ract ice a n d an ideolog i c a l p rojec t i o n , a n d t h u s , i n t h e e n d , d ivest i n g oneself of
a n effect of rea l ity. Free i n g o n e s e lf of t h e idea that c a p i ta l i s m and com m u n i s m
a re systems w h i c h s u cceed each o t h e r i n a d i a c h ro n i c s c h e m e a m o u n t s to
recog n iz i n g that i n a revo l u t i o n from t h e apex of c a p i ta l i s m l i es t h e only poss i b i l i
ty for a M ovem e n t of A u t o n o m y from c a p i t a l ist d o m i n a t i o n . T h i s M ove ment of
Autonomy i nvolves l i berat i o n f ro m work, a n d s u p p ress i o n of t h e general formal
con d i t i o n s of c a p i t a l ist d o m i n a t i o n . The b reakdown of this d o m i n a t i o n can t h u s
b e conceived ( a n d p u t i n to effect) a s a s u bject ive mode ( i n t h e M ovement toward
Autonomy) of a p rocess in w h i c h c a p i t a l determ i n es t h e materi a l cond i t i o n s for
the reconst r u c t i o n , w i t h o u t rep rod u c i n g t h e formal cond i t i o n s of t h e prev i o u s
system . Separat i n g t h e material organ izat i o n of K n ow-how f r o m t h e form of V a l u e
t h e n becomes - not a n a t u ra l tendency, b u t t h e strateg i c objective, t h e p l a n o f
opera t i o n of t h e revo l u t io n a ry movement.

Transla ted by Jared Becker,


Richard Reid & Andrew Rosenbaum

i l/1 B0-1 -8/4 1 974-Bologna, Italy: A view of a wrecked car on the Rome-M u n i c h ltalicus Ex
press. After two ex plosions and a f i re i n a t u n nel through the Appen i n e M o u n t a i n s south of B . ,
Pol ice s a i d a t i m e-bo m b apparently expl oded i n a toi l ette, triggering a second b l a s t and t h e
f i re, w h i c h k i l led 1 2 persons a n d i n j u red more than 3 0 others. I n foreg rou nd 1 2 bod ies covered
w i t h sheets. (UPl/AN SA)
i l/2 M L-603-4/1 7/75- M I LA N , I taly: a priest bless i n g the body of G i a n n i Zi becc h i , 26, k i l led d u r
i n g the riots today in M i l a n . (UPI)
i l/3 Flat M i rafiori p l a n t , Turi n
i l/4 Pier Paolo Paso l i n i Photo A.F. P./Agence France-Presse
i l/5 Tables for 34 Persons, 1 974-75 Mario Merz I nstallation in an abandoned factory near Stutt
gart, G a l lery Hetzler & Ke l le r G m b H
i l/7 Photo: D. Cortez
i l /8-9 via Fani
il/10 Su per-8/photo: Seth T i l e!
i l/1 1 ROM 1 205 1 0 1 D R U M BEATERS R O M E : Len d i n g emphasis by pound i n g on metal drums,
stri k i n g metal workers stage a noisy demonstrat ion demanding h i g her wages and a 40-hour
week. More than 50,000 persons took part i n the b i g gest labor march of the year, N ov. 28.
Despite fears of p o l i ce authorities, the mani festat i o n was orderly. (UPI) 1 2/5/69

1 70
A p ri l 7 :
Re p re s s i o n
i n I ta l y

C a ri

The fo l l ow i n g analysis of the Apri l 7 opera


tion was written by the New York Com m i ttee
Agai nst Repress i o n In Italy.

O n April 7, 1 979 the police arrested about 20 people cla i m i n g that t h ey were
"dangerous terrorists" and ch a rg i ng one of t h e m , Ton i Negri, w i t h bei n g t h e
"secret leader" of t h e R e d Brigades. T h o s e arrested were neither u n derg rou n d ter
rorists cau g h t red - h a nded i n the act nor were t h ey found i n secret h ideouts w i t h
com pro m i s i n g docu ments. A l l the defendants have been openly active for many
years i n the polit ical movement of the ext ra-parliamentary left and c o m p r i se most
of the department of Pol i t i cal Science at t h e U n iversity of Pad u a as well as t h e
ed itorial s t a f f of two rad i cal magazi nes.

The accusat ions are extremely serious a n d some carry sentences of up to life im
prisonment. Here i s a s u m mary of t h e off i c i al c h a rges; n i ne of the defendants
face accusat io n s such as "cons p i r i n g to form a n d part i c i pate i n armed groups,"
carry i n g " i n s u rrec t i o n against the State" as well as "being respon s i ble for the
organ izat ion and leaders h i p of t h e Red B ridages . " F u rt hermore, all t h e defendants
are accu sed of " s u bvers i o n " for hav i n g organ ized and led a g ro u p called " Potere
Operaio" (d issolved i n 1 973 ! ) as well as other g roups related to " A u t o n o m i a
Opera i a . "

A POLITICAL Despite the g ravity of t h e ch a rges, the arrests were m a d e w i t h o u t any factu al i n
OPERATION cri m i nat i n g evi d e n ce. The accusat ions were m a i nly based u pon t h e w r i t i n g s of t h e

172
d efendants, who have been primarily charged for their politica l ideas. O t h e r
" e v i d e n c e " c o n s i s t s of t e l e p h o n e t a p e s , sec ret w i t n esses a n d i n formants. For ex
a m p le, the major "evidence' l i n k i n g N e g r i and the j o u rn a l ist N i cotri w i t h the M o ro
k i d n a p p i n g is a l leged p h o n e conversat i o n s between t h e two defendants a n d
m e m bers of t h e M o ro f a m i l y . N ocot r i w a s eve n t u a l l y f reed o n J u ly 7, a f t e r 3 m o n
t h s i n j a i l . A s for N e g r i , voice- p r i n t a n a l y s i s c on d ucted b o t h i n I t a l y a n d at t h e
U n ivers i t y of M i c h i g a n c l e a red h i m e nt i re l y of t h e c h a rge. The I t a l i a n p ress, so i n
s i stent on t h e t e l e p h o n e accusat i o n , h a rd l y m e n t i oned t h e res u l t s of t h e voi ce
p r i n t a n a l y s i s reac h ed in J u ly 1 979. Ton i Neg ri i s st i l l in p r i s o n .

O f u t m ost c o n c e r n is t h e v i o l a t i o n of t h e defe n d a n t ' s r i g h t to c o n s t r u c t t h e i r l e g a l


d efen se. The p rosec u t o r has i m p riso ned a n d i s o lated t h e m (w i t h o u t bai l), a n d o n l y
then has h e attem pted to c o n s t ruct h i s case. T h i s is a d a n gerous p reced e n t
(rem i n iscent of t h e W e s t G e r m a n Kon taktverbot) for i t m a kes i t i m poss i b l e for t h e
defense l awyers to d e f e n d t h e i r c l ients a g a i nst vag u e g e n e r a l c h a rges, s u p ported
o n l y by c o n t rad i ctory " e v i d e n c e . "

As La Repubblica states, concern i n g t h e arrest warra n t of N e g r i , i t is " 1 0 p a g e s


w i t h o u t a n y p roof . " W h at C a logero, t h e p rosec utor, c l a i m s to be " e v i d e n c e "
a g a i nst N e g r i s i m p l y refers to h i s i d eas a n d w r i t i n g s w h i c h h a v e b e e n ope n l y s o l d
i n bookstores for years. T h u s , u nder t h e pretense of defend i n g d e m oc racy, t h e
p rosec u to r has act u a l l y swept away t h e l a s t vest iges of t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s l e g a l
r i g hts, beg i n n i n g w i t h f reed o m of express i o n .

LAWS INHERITED T h e I t a l i a n State, w h i c h has ret a i ned t h e c ri m i na l l a w s of t h e fasc ist period ( i . e . ,


FROM FASCISM t h e Cod i c e Rocco, w h i c h m a kes i t poss i b l e to convict someone f o r having
" d a ngerous" o p i n ions) has rei nforced its fascist i n h e r i t a n ce by i n s t i t u t i n g t h e
" Le g g e Reale" i n 1 975. T h i s i s a b o d y of l a w s , p u rported l y a g a i nst terror i s m ,
w h i c h severe ly c u rta i l s person a l freedo m g iv i n g t h e p o l ice t h e r i g h t to s h oot i n
d iv i d u a l s w i t h o u t a n y l e g a l c o nseq u e n ces. I n t h e ref e re nd u m of 1 978, t h e C h ris
tian Democrats (CD) a n d t h e Com m u n i st Party ( I C P) j o i ned forces to su p p o rt the
" Le g g e Reale. " This coa l it i o n was a b l a t a n t attempt t o m u zzle t h e new emerg i n g
s o c i a l movements.

In I t a l y t h e re i s n o ba i l p roced u re a n d a defe n d a n t c a n be kept i n jail for up to 2


years before bei n g tried. I n t h e case of N e g r i a n d t h e o t hers, w h e re c h a rges a re
serious, p reve n t ive dete n t i o n is a l l owed for u p to 4 years. F u rther, if t h e defense
i s u n s u ccessf u l , they m u st rema i n in j a i l for 2 years before their a p pea l ; then, if
t hey l ose that a p p e a l after 2 m o re years, t h ey c a n g o before t h e S u p re m e Court.

T h e deep crisis w i t h i n t h e I t a l i a n p o l i t i c a l system e n a b l es t h e lead i n g part ies (the


C D a n d ICP coa l i t i o n ) t o l o o k f o r "scapegoats," t hereby d ivert i n g atte n t i o n from
the rea l problems. T h e ICP after its H i storical C o m p ro m i se w i t h t h e C h rist i a n
Democrats, has been e n c o u n t e r i n g i nc reas i n g d i s i l l u s i o n m e nt w i t h i n i t s ra n k a n d
f i l e , ev i d e nced by a record c o l l a pse i n members h i p a n d h eavy l osses i n t h e past
ad m i n is tra t ive elections. In response, t h e party has l a beled d i ssidents as e i t h e r
terrori sts o r fasc ists. T h u s, i t i s not a coi n c i dence t h a t Calogero, t h e p rosec u t o r i n
t h e recen t wave o f eve n t s , i s a I C P m e m ber. The Com m u n ist Party has w i l l i n g l y
p a raded i t s e l f a s t h e m a i n defender of l a w a n d order to g a i n res pecta b i l ity.

T h e ext ra-pa r l i a m e n ta ry left i s stro n g est a m o n g t h e s o c i a l strata w h i c h has trad i


t i o n a l l y s u p ported t h e c o m m u n i sts. I t w a s rei n forced by t h e I C P ' s dec i s i o n to a l l y
i t s e l f w i t h t h e C h r i s t i a n Dem o c rats a n d t h u s become a part of the State ap
parat u s .

WIDESPREAD T h e I C P , as we l l as t h e C h r i s t i a n Democrats, are c o n f ronted w i t h w i d e s p read


SOCIAL soc i a l d i sc o n te n t that h as been i n tens i f i ed by the s t i f f eco n o m i c measu res i n
DISCONTENT s t i t u ted i n t h e '?O's i n t h e n a m e of t h e e n e rgy c r i s i s ( l ayoffs, ra m pa n t i n f l a t i o n ,
e t c . ) . N ot o n l y h ave t h e workers refu sed to accept t h e c a l l for " restra i n t a n d
s a c r i f i c e , " but i n t h e m i dst o f t h e c r i s i s a m a s s wome n ' s move m e n t has e x p l od e d ,
w h i le m o re rec e n t l y i n 1 977 a new st u d e nt m ove m e n t has sw e p t both t h e s c h o o l s
a n d t h e u n ivers i t ies.

1 73
The I C P a n d t he C h r i s t i a n Democrats b l a m e t h e problems of t h e I t a l i a n soci ety o n
"terro r i s m " i nstead of a d m i t t i n g t h a t the c ri s i s i s a res u l t o f broad soc i a l p ro
b l e m s . H e n ce, t h e a t t e m p t to " c ri m i n a l ize" t h e extra-parl i a m e n ta ry left M ovement.
The search for " terrorists" has been a i med at t hose g ro u p s a n d activists w h o
have t heorized o n t h e new soc i a l p h e n o m e n a . I n part i c u lar, t h e m e m be rs o f
A u t o n o m y , a l o o s e network of g ro u p s , p u b l i ca t i o n s , rad ios, e t c . Accord i n g to t h e
p rosec u tor, A u t o n o m y i s a b reed i ng-g rou n d of terrorists. H e c l a i m s t h a t A u tonomy
and the Red Briga des a re one and the same. R epeated l y , in t h e i r w r i t i n g s , T o n i
N e g r i , O reste S c a l z o n e a n d t h e others h a v e seve r l y c r i t i c ized t h e act i o n s a n d
p o l i t i c a l pos i t i o n s of t h e R e d B r i g ades, w h o m t h ey have accu sed of bypass i n g t h e
M ovem e n t a n d d i s possess i n g i t of its r e a l s t re n g t h : m a s s mobiliza tion ins tead o f
individua l a c ts of terrorism.

Mass i m o Cacc i a r i , a n ICP m e m be r of t h e I t a l i a n Par l i a m e n t , w h o is f a m i l i a r w i t h


N e g r i ' s writ i ng s has c o n c l uded: " N oth i n g wou l d l e a d one to an e v e n t h eo ret i c a l
connection w i t h t h e Red Brigades." H e c o n t i n ues: "What is h a p p e n i n g i s t h e p l a n
ned vict i m izat i o n of a n e n t i re p o l i t i c a l M ove m e n t , t h a t of A u to n o m y , w h i c h can
have serious conseq u e n ces i f t h e attempt i s not c i rc u mscribed . "

Caccari i s n o t a n i s o l ated voice. M a n y scholars a n d i n t e l lectu a l s a s we l l as


various p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u ra l organ izat i o n s have p rotested t hese arrests. M i c h e l
Fouca u l t , F e l i x G uatta r i , Jean-Pa u l Sartre as w e l l as other m e m bers of t h e F r e n c h
i n tel lect u a l com m u n i t y h ave m a d e p u b l i c statem e n t s d e m a n d i n g t h e i m m ed i ate
rel ease of the p o l i t i c a l p r i so n e rs.

NO FACTUAL Seven m o n t h s after the a rrests , the m a g i s t rates st i l l refu s e to p rod u c e any d i rect
EVIDEN CE fact u a l evi d e n c e for t h e i r case. In t h e words of Pad u a Prosecu t o r C a l o gero: "To
i m ag i ne that a n i n ve s t i g a t i o n of t h i s type may q u i c k l y and d i rectly arrive at some
facts a n d evidence m a kes n o sense . . . . t h e re l a t i o n between a leader of a struc
t u re l i ke Autonomy i s hardly ever w i t h a crime, b u t w i t h the organ izati o n "
(L 'Espresso, J u ly 1 5, 1 979).

I n I ta l y no evidence is needed to p u t somebody in j a i l , the sheer suspicion o f


crime i s a lready a crime. I t a l y has never excel l ed i n its res pect for p o l i t i c a l l i ber
ties (the last t e n years offer an u n i nterru pted exa m p l e of h u s h - u p p o l i t i c a l scan
d a l s and frame-u ps) n ever has t h e State so ex p l i c i t l y u p he l d its d i s e n g a g e m e n t
from t h e leg i s l a t u re. Some j u rists refer t o t h e d i fference between t h e case of
Autonomy a n d t h e case b u i l t in 1 969 a g a i n s t the a n a rc h i st V a l p reda, accu sed at
t h e t i me of bom b i n g the P i azza Fontana (Va l p reda spent four yea rs in j a i l before it
was ' d i scovered ' that the fascists were respo n s i b l e for t h i s c r i m e).

W h i l e N ocotri was be i n g released , a new b l itz has taken place in Pad u a , w h e re


t h e m a g i s t rates have i s s u ed f i fteen j u d i c i a ry c o m m u n ications for "format i o n " or
" pa rt i c i pat i o n i n armed band."

AN ATTACK A m o n g t h e peo p l e w h o have recei ved t h e j u d i c i a ry com m u n icat i o n for " pa r t i c i pa


ON FEMINISM t i o n in armed b a n d " are Ferru c c i o G a m b i n o and M a r i a Rosa D a l l a Costa, two of
the o n l y t h ree teac h e rs from the Pad u a I ns t i t u t e for Po l i t i c a l S c i e n c e who h ave
not been a rrested . Ferruccio G a m b i n o teaches soc i o l o g y at t h e I ns t i t u t e s i nce
1 970. M a r i a Rosa Dalla Costa i s a w i d e l y k n o w n fem i n i s t , w h o for years has work
ed in t h e "Wages For H o u sework" m ove m e n t and i s the a u t h o r of m a n y fem i n ist
texts, i n c l u d i n g The Power o f Women a n d the Subversion o f the Community. 'I
can o n l y u nderstand this j u d i c i a ry com m u n i ca t i o n as a n attack o n fem i n is m . . . It
is t h e last act of a w i t c h -h u n t l a u n c hed s i n c e April 7 against t h e I ns t i t u t e w h e re I
work, as wel l as a g a i n s t many brothers a n d s i sters, i n t h e attempt to c ri m i na l ize
o u r c o n t r i b u t i o n t o s c i e n t i f i c research and t h e p o l i t i c a l debate. As far as I a m con
cerned, i t i s c l e a r t h a t this time t h e target i s "Wages for H o u sework, " for all t h a t
t h i s strategy i m p l ies i n terms of t h e s t r u g g les for a u t o n o m y , m o re m o n ey a n d l e s s
w o r k , that women h a v e made." Da l la C o s t a t o II Manifesto ( 1 317179).

A l isa del Re, a l so o p e n l y active in t h e W o me n ' s M ovement has been i n c r i m i nated


a n d i nves t i g ated by the j udges for "terrorist a c t i v i t ies" - a clear p roof t h a t the

1 74
scope of the April 7 o perat i o n goes beyond a n d has more a m b i t i o u s aims t h a n an
attack o n Autonomy.

A l isa d e l Re i s t h e author of Beyond Housework. W he n s h e was arrested she was


i l l a n d her health has deteriorated. So far every attem p t to obta i n her release o n
accou n t of h e r hea l t h has bee n frustrated. Del Re has b e e n s u bj ected to a harsh
jail d isc i p l i ne.

H e r i n terview to L 'Europeo i l l u st rates the type of "evidence" o n which the j udges


h ave so far based t h e c h a rges, a n d the type of t reat m e n t which i s rese rved for
women in I t a l i a n jails. Del Re explains that the " evid e n c e " p rod u ced by t h e p o l ice
i s a m a p fou n d in her possess i o n m arked w i t h some locat i o n s which were targets
of t h e Red B r i gades.

"As f a r as t h e topog ra p h i c map of Pad u a i s concerned . . . it was seized by the


p o l i ce in a raid o n my house in M a rc h 77 . . . I was i nterrogated in J u ne 77 and
stated i t be l o nged to my h u s b a n d . H e had u sed it i n J u ly 73 w he n he s u b s t i t u ted
for a doctor in Pad u a . S i nce h e d i d n ' t know the tow n , he m arked o n the map t h e
s t reets of h i s p a t i e n t s . The f u n n iest t h i n g i s that t h ey c o n nected t h i s map w i t h ac
t i o n s made in October 77 . . . M o reover, on the map are m arked about 1 80 streets.
The act i o n s that corresp o n d t o the m a rks o n the map are 2 o r 3. As for the t reat
ment I was g iven the day I was arrested and afterwards, I have the i m p ress i o n I
had been condem ned to death . . . W i t h s u s pected p n e u m o n i a I was brou g h t t o
t h e Venice j a i l on a m o t o r boat. Seven d a y s after, I w a s bro u g h t to Trieste and
t h rown in to a d a m p a n d c o l d ce l l (the Trieste jail d oes n o t h ave a n i n f i rmary).
After 15 days of con t i n u o u s req uests, I managed to get an X-ray c o n f i rm i n g
p n e u m o n i a i n t h e r i g h t l u n g . . . I n t h e view of t h e t reatm e n t I have received , i t i s
a n a c c i d e n t I h ave s u rvived . "

T H E PARTY T h e z e a l of t h e m a g i s t rates has reached the p o i n t of rai s i n g s u s p i c i o n s even


OF N EG OTIAT I O N a g a i n s t the Soc i a l ist Party ( I S P). The attempt to i nvolve the ISP has centered
arou n d the i n i t iatives i t took d u r i n g the M o ro k i d n a p p i n g . At that t i me, in the s p r
i n g of 78, the I S P was t h e core of t h e " party of negot i at i o n " (i.e. t h ose who were
in favor of dea l i n g w i t h the Red B r i g ades) and some of t h e i r m e mbers met some
A u t o n o m y people, beg i n n i n g w i t h Franco Pi perno, to c o n s u l t o n poss i b l e steps to
be taken i n t h e attempt to save M o ro's l i fe. These meet i n gs , now, o n e year later,
have raised t h e s u s p i c i o n of t h e m a g i s t rates, who h ave h i n ted that the I S P s u p
p o rts Autonomy a n d may even have contacts w i t h t h e Red B r i gades. S i n c e accu s
i n g an i ns t i t u t i o n a l party is a m o re d i f f i c u l t operat i o n t h a n j a i l i n g some m i l itants,
t h e m a g i s t rates h ave c o n d ucted their attacks o n t h e I S P from beh i n d the scenes,
often rely i n g o n t h e help of t h e p ress a n d a wel l-ca l c u l ated use of h i nts and
ru mors. The m a g i s t rates a re pres u ma b l y i nves t i g at i n g whether t h e I S P p rotected
Pi perno w h i l e h e was u n derg rou nd . I t i s a l so h i nted that the ISP f i n a nced t h e
resea rc h center CERPET (fo u nded b y Pi perno) a n d t h e refore i n d i rectly t h e
magaz i n e Me tropoli. F i n a l ly, evidence of t h e " s u s p i c i o u s relat i o n " between t h e
I S P a n d A u t o n o m y w o u l d be t h e f a c t that Pi perno teaches p h y s i cs at t h e U n ivers i
ty of Calabria in A rcacavata, w h ose d i rector i s G i acomo M a n c i n i , a h i g h ra n k i n g
member of t h e I S P .

THE PIPERNO Meanw h i le, t h e m a g i strates a n d t h e pol ice h ave d o n e t h e i r best to bu i ld t h e i mage
EXTRAVAGANZA of Pi perno as a d a n gerous cri m i n a l . T h e most " b ri l l i a n t " operat i o n a g a i n s t Pi per
no was t h e o n e o r g a n ized on A u g ust 1 7, 1 979. I n t h e late afternoon, a m a n arrived
at the V i areg g i o ra i l road stat i o n on the Rome-T u r i n o t ra i n . Two men o n the t ra i n
shou ted to a t r a n s i t p o l ice agent " he h a s g o n e d o w n t h a t way . " The a g e n t ran
after the m a n shoot i n g , but t h e man, shoot i n g as wel l , escaped in a car. The
I t a l i a n pol ice d e c l a red that the man was P i perno, a n d that he was armed and
da ngerous. The newspa pers head l i ned P i perno as a n " a rmed band i t . " The i nci
dent wou l d h ave been t h e best evidence of his "connection w i t h t h e a rmed strug
g l e . " U n fo rt u n ate l y P i perno was arrested a few h o u rs later i n a Paris cafe by I nter
p o l . He had been recog n i zed by a vacat i o n i n g member of t h e ICP. The party has
g o n e a long way i nto t ra n sform i n g its m e m bers i nto a l ternat ive p o l i ce. A warrant
of arrest with 46 c h a rges ra n g i n g from t h e M o ro k i l l i n g to traf f i c v i o l a t i o n s , was
sent by t h e Rome j ud ge s to t h e French m a g i s t rate, i n order to j u st i fy the req uest
for extrad i t i o n .

M o re t h a n 1 ,500 p o l i t ical p r i so ners a r e p rese n t l y b e i n g h e l d i n I ta l y . I n September,


1 979, a n appeal was s i g ned by a large n u m b e r of I t a l i a n i n tel lect u a l s arou n d a n d
w i t h i n t h e I C P . I t i n c l udes Bernardo Bertol u c c i , M a s i m o Cacc i a r i , U m berto Eco,
A l berto M o ra r i a , Leonardo Sciascia a n d M a r i o Tron t i . The Appeal d e m a n d s a n im
media te trial of the a ccused in order to p u t an end to t h e s p i ra l of a m b i g u ity a n d
defamat i o n f u e led by t h e med ia.

i l/1 A l i sa D e l Re (l eft), 1 976


i l/2 Rainer Fass b i n d e r (rig ht), 1 97 1 Photo: D i g ne M e l l e r Marcov i cz

176
Wo rke r i s t
Publ ications
a n d B i os

PUB LICAT I O N S Accord i n g to the m a g i s t rates cond u ct i n g t h e i n q uest a g a i n st t hose w h o were a r


rested on 7 Apri l , t h e p o l i t ical g ro u p Potere O peraio (Worke r's Power), w h i c h
emerged i n 1 969 a n d d i sbanded i n 1 974, w a s t h e p o i n t of depart u re for a l l t h e
developments d u r i n g t h e p a s t f i v e years, from O r g a n ized A u t o n o m y t o t h e R e d
Bri gades. U nd e r t h i s i n d ictment f a l l the m o s t d i ve rse peo p l e , m a n y of w h o m n o
l o n g e r have a n yt h i n g to d o w i t h the organ izat i o n s that a re p rosecuted today. I t i s
i n t h i s w a y that t h e I t a l i a n State t r i es to " f ac i l itate" its rep ressive op e rat i o n : a n y
k i n d of i nvolvement w i t h Potere O p e r a i o i s e n o u g h to p u t someone u nd e r i n d i ct
ment.

T h i s brief c h ro n o l ogy, c o m p i led for u s by Serg i o B o l o g n a , seeks to d e m o n s t rate


that the area of A u t o n o m y , both i n theoret i c a l terms a n d as a m i l i t a n t practice,
conta i n s p rofo u n d l y d i fferent tendenc ies d ist i n g u i shed by their c h o i ce of
thematics, researches, a n d theoret ical e l aborat i o n s .

1 961 Ran i e ro Panzieri f o u n d s Quaderni Rossi (Red No tebooks) w i t h t h e c o l laborat i o n o f


V i t t o r i o F o a , M a r i o Tro n t i , Ton i N e g r i , A l berto Asor R o s a , Romano A l q u at i ,
Romolo G o b b i , P i e r l u i g i Gasparotto, C l a u d i o G re p p i , R i t a d i Leo, Vittorio R i eser,
a n d Caspare de Caro. Foa is a n a t i o n a l off i c i a l of t h e Confederazione Generate

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ltaliana def La voro (Federa t i o n of I t a l i a n Trade U n i o n s), t h e u n i o n of t h e soc i a l
c o m m u n ist majority. The f i rst i s s u e is s u bseq u e n t l y p u b l i shed by t h e editoral
staff.

1 962 D u r i n g the metal workers' c o n t ract u a l strugg les, the e d i t o r i a l staff p u b l i shes a
series of p a m p h lets (News from Qua derni Rossi}, i n a d d i t i o n to the review.

1 963 T h e g ro u p ' s f i rst p o l i t i c a l c r i s i s occu rs: a majority of t h e e d i to rs wants to


organ ize local "workers' ed i t o r i a l staffs" a n d factory newspapers. Po tere Operaio
( M i la n , 1 May 1 963), Po tere Operaio di Porto Marghera ( Pad ua, May 1 963), Ga tto
Selvaggio (Wildca t) (Tu r i n , J u ne 1 963), Classe Opera ia (Working Cla ss) (Genoa,
J u ne 1 963) appear contemporaneously. These local newspape rs t ry to u n ite
themse lves u nder the head i n g Crona che Operaie (Labor News), a n d i n t h i s op e ra
t i o n t h e re i s a break w i t h Panzieri, R i eser and others.

1 964 I n J a n u ary, the rem a i n d e r of t h e ed i t o r i a l staff f o u n d s Classe Operaia w i t h


n u merous l o c a l e d i tors: Tro n t i , A s a r R o s a , Di Leo, a n d De C a r o a re i n Rome;
Negri, B i a n c h i n i , Ferra r i B ravo, a n d Cacc iari i n Pad u a ; Casparotto, Serg i o
B o l o g n a , Forn i , Bru natto, a n d Gobbi n i i n M i la n ; A l q u a t i a n d Gobbi i n T u r i n ; a nd
A r r i g hett i , G re p p i , Bert i , a n d Francov i c h in F l o re n ce.

1 966 Classe Operaia ceases p u b l i c a t i o n .

1 968 N e g r i , A s a r R o s a , Cac c i a r i , a n d Tro n t i f o u n d the review Con tropiano


(Coun terplan). I t lasts u n t i l 1 973. N e g r i l eaves after t h e second issue. In this year,
p a m p h lets are p u b l i shed by Linea di Massa (Ma ss 's Line) o n t h e party
c o m m i ttee's strugg les at P i rel l i a n d o n the organ izat i o n of the tec h n ic i a n s in t h e
State's petro l e u m i nd u st ry (S. D o n a t o M i l anese's c o m p a n ies).

1 969 On 1 M ay , La Classe a p pears. The e d i tors are N e g r i , P i perno, Scalzone, B o l o g n a ,


D ag h i n i , M a g n ag h i , Dal maviva a n d others. I n t h e s u m m e r of t h i s y e a r , there a r e
exte n s i ve stri kes at Fiat i n T u r i n , the worker-st u d e nt asse m b l y i s f o r m e d , a n d t h e
f i rst f l iers w i t h the t i t l e L o tta Con tinua a p pear. I n Septem ber, the f i rst i s s u e o f
Po tere Operaio, the newspaper of the organ izat i o n , a p pears.

1 970 In J a n u ary, the f i rst meet i n g of Potere Opera i o i s held at F l o rence, a n d a n a t i o n a l


secretariat com posed of N e g r i , P i perno, a n d Bolog n a i s formed. I n September,
Potere Opera i o holds i t s sec o n d meet i n g . The n a t i o n a l sec retariat i s A l berto
M a g n ag h i .

1 971 Potere Operaio h o l d s i t s t h i rd meet i n g i n September at Rome.

1 972 N eg r i a n d B o l o g n a ed i t t h e " M arxist Materials" series for t h e p u b l i s h e r Fe l t r i ne l l i ,


w h i c h p u b l ishes, a m o n g other t h i n g s , Workers a n d the Sta te, The Sta te and
Underdevelopmen t, The Multina tional Worker, The Other Labor Movement, and
Crisis and Labor Organiza tion.

1 973 T h e f i rst symptoms of the c r i s i s m a n i fest themselves accord i n g to two l i nes: t h e


f i rst i s represented by T o n i N e g r i ; t h e sec o n d by P i p e r n o , Scalzone, M a g n a g h i ,
D a l m aviva, M aron g i u , a n d others. N e g r i s u bseq u e n t l y breaks w i t h Potere Opera i o
a n d f o u n d s t h e review ROSSO (RED). I n September, t h e f i rst meet i n g of t h e
A u t o n o m o u s Workers' Asse m b l y i s h e l d . T h i s i s t h e p o i n t of departu re for
Workers' A u t o n o m y . Com rades from M i la n , Porto M a rg hera, F l o rence, B o l o g n a ,
R o m e , t h e col l ec t i ve of P o l yc l i n i c a n d of E n e l ( N a t i o n a l Company of E l ect r i c i ty)
are p rese n t . A l so in t h i s year, Serg i o Bolog n a f o u n d s Primo Maggio (May Day), a
review of m i l i t a n t h i story.

1 974 Potere Operaio d is b a n d s .

1 976 P i perno a n d S c a l z o n e f o u n d t h e review Linea d i Condo tta (Line of Conduct).

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1 977-78 A utonomia appears at Pad ua. The newspaper I Vo/sci The Volscians appears at
Rome.

1 978-79 Pi perno and Scalzone found Metropoli. Ton i Negri founds Magazzino.

B I OS

S E R G I O BOLOG N A Serg i o Bologna part i c i pated in Quaderni Rossi and Cronache Operaie in 1 964. He
fou nded Classe Operaia w i t h Tro n t i , Negri amd A l q u a t i . As a n e m p l oyee of O l i vet
t i , he part i c i pated in the f i rst attempts at u n i o n iz i n g the new w h ite c o l l a r workers
in electron ics and in data process i n g . In 1 966, he bega n teac h i n g at the U n ivers ity
of Trento. H e also c o n t r i b u ted to Quaderni Pia cen tini. At t h e end of ' 68 h e e d i ted
the f i rst two issues of L inea di Massa. W i t h N e g r i , Scalzone, P i perno, Dal maviva
and others, he fou nded La C/asse ( M ay 1 , 1 969). I n September 1 969 " Potere
Opera io " was founded; Bologna, Negri and Pi perno made up its f i rst n a t i o n a l
secretariat. I n N ovember of 1 970, he left " Potere Opera i o " because o f
d i sagreements o v e r t h e org a n i zation's g e n e r a l pol icy.

In 1 972, with Negri h e e d i ted t h e f i rst fou r vol u mes i n Feltri nel l i ' s " M arx i s t
M ateria ls " series. I n 1 973, he fou nded Primo Maggio, a review of m i l i t a n t h istory.
In 1 978-79, he s u pported t h e p o l i cy of ret u r n i n g to t h e worker's centra l ity, the
analysis of t h e l a rg e factories, a n d above all t o t h e prob lems of t h e workers i n t h e
ware transportat i o n sector. H e has contributed to L o tta Continua, II Manifes to, I I
Quotidiano dei La vora tori, t h e t h ree d a i l ies of t h e n e w I t a l i a n l e f t . F r o m 1 970 o n ,
he has been a p rofessor of t h e H istory of t h e Workers' M ovement at Pad u a , i n the
same depart m e n t with Negri and Ferrari B ravo.

A N TO N I O N E G R I Anton i o N e g r i , h av i n g left the I t a l i a n Soc i a l i s t Party, ed ited in 1 959 Progresso


Veneta. In 1 961 he part i c i pated in Quaderni Rossi and later led t h e s p l i t w i t h
R a n iero Panzieri w h i c h g ave r i s e to Potere Operaio d i Porto Marghera(1 963) a n d
Classe Opera ia ( 1 964). I n 1 968, toget her w i t h M a s s i m o Cacc i a r i , A l berto A s o r Rosa
and Mario Tro n t i , h e fou nded Contropiano. H e left the review after the f i rst two
issues. In 1 969 h e was one of the main f i g u res in the foundation of " Potere
Operaio." H e took c a re espec i a l l y of the i n ternati o n a l con nect i o ns of t h e
organ izat i o n , a n d forwarded the p u b l ication i n fore i g n l a n g u ages of I t a l i a n
workerist l i terat u re. H e w a s t h e national secretary of t h e organ izat i o n f r o m 1 970
to 1 973, the year of h i s ex pu l s i o n . From 1 973 to 1 974 he deve loped t h e t h eo ry of
the tra n s i t i o n f ro m the m ass-worker to the "soci a l ized worker, " in w h i c h the role
of the new soc i a l s u bjects becomes strateg i c a l l y i m portant. In 1 973, toget her w i t h
t h e o t h e r ex-mem bers of " Potere Opera i o " ( a m o n g t h e m G ia n f ranco P a n c i no) a n d
ex-mem bers of t h e " G ru p po G ra m sc i , " he fou n d ed t h e magaz i n e Rosso a n d t h e
organ izat ion of t h e same n a m e . I n 1 973 he a l s o fou nded, together w i t h E m i l io
Vesce and Franco Tom m e i , t h e journal Controinformazione i n w h i c h t h e Red
Brigades were also i n vo l ved. H e left the j o u r n a l after the f i rst issue.

Among Neg r i ' s n u mero u s writings are: Crisi de/lo Sta to-piano, Feltri n e l l i , 1 974;
Proletari e Sta to, Feltri n e l l i , 1 976; L a Forma Sta to, Feltri n e l l i , 1 977. H e i s co
author of Operai e Sta to, Feltri n e l l i , 1 976, and of Crisi e Organizazion e Operaia,
Feltri n e l l i , 1 974.

S i nce 1 976 he has been considered the t h eoret i c i a n of Autonomy. After A p r i l 7,


1 979, t h e date of h i s arrest, his p o l i t ical a u to-b i og raphy appeared w i t h the t i t l e
Dall'Operaio-Massa a ll'Operaio Sociale, M u l t i p l a Edizion i .

1 80
FRANCO P I P E R N O Franco Pi perno, hav i n g l e f t t h e I t a l i a n Com m u n ist Party, became one of t h e
lead i n g f i g u res i n t h e student movement i n Italy i n 1 964. Toget her w i t h O reste
Scalzone, h e led the u n i vers ity struggles in Rome in 1 968, for w h i c h he was a r
rested for several months. He also p l ayed an i m portan t role, toget her w i t h
A d r i a n o Sofri (leader of " Lotta Cont i n ua"), i n t h e format ion of t h e
worker-student's cou n c i l i n T u r i n , d u ri n g t h e w i l d-cat strugg les at F I AT i n t h e s u m
mer of 1 969. From 1 970 to its d i ss o l u t i o n , he w a s t h e m a i n f i g u re i n the org a n iza
t i o n a l stuct u re of " Potere Opera i o . " H e s u pported the central izat ion of t h e
pol i t