Our London launch event has at last been finalised and will happen on Friday 1 July at Limazulu. Thanks to the efforts of comrades in London, our talk will run as part of Militant Cinema, a short series of films around the Italian Workerist Movement, and will be followed by a screening of Il Posto and Gli uomini che mascalzoni. The full season runs from 25 June to 3 July, and looks brilliant.
Through allegory and pastiche the films expand and illustrate the ideas contained within the movement. First, that it is the working class who are the active agent within capitalism rather than capital, which is always reactive to the movements of the working class, subjugating and oppressing their innovations. Second, that Marx should be radically re-read beginning with works such as the ‘Grundrisse’ to reunderstand Marxism as a thoroughgoing materialism. Third, that the answer is for workers within a constantly shifting class structure to unite around the abolition of the system of wage labour, rather than agitate for more equity in its mediation. Rather than pass through a period of ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, communism could be established more immediately, through struggling for autonomy of the working class from capitalism, a capitalism whose continuation is contingent on their labour. Opposed to more traditional Leninist parties such as the PCI (Partito Comunista Italiano), workerist tactics of occupation, sabotage and the valorisation of the working class spilled into concern for the place of women’s work in the home, for ‘the social factory’ and the cooperative and hence proto-communist nature of working class life.
This eclectic group of films help trace the ideas of the movement and portray something of the social context in which it was born, promising a broad and colourful introduction to late 20th century Italy – a site of mass insurrection, violent struggle and state repression, with a legacy that has left the Italian political landscape with permanent and bloody scars