Tom Wetzel on the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, the Italian factory council movement of 1919-1920, and the anarcho-syndicalist advocacy of revolutionary unionism.
In a polemic against the syndicalists, Antonio Gramsci argued that the syndicalists were wrong in maintaining that unions were capable of being organs of workers' revolution. He said this confused a marketing organization of labor within capitalism -- the trade unions -- with an organization for running production in a socialized economy -- the workers councils.
Tom Wetzel details the Italian Factory Occupations of 1920, which matured beyond conventional trade unionism and at its height involved about 600,000 workers. This article was originally presented as a talk at the Conference on Workers' Self-Organization in St. Louis in 1988.
During the month of September, 1920, a widespread occupation of Italian factories by their workforces took place, which originated in the auto factories, steel mills and machine tool plants of the metal sector but spread out into many other industries -- cotton mills and hosiery firms, lignite mines, tire factories, breweries and distilleries, and steamships and warehouses in the port towns.
A short biography of Maurizio Garino, one of the leading anarchist animators of the Italian factory council movement.
Maurizio Garino was born in November 1892, the son of Michele and Nicoletta Chiglioni in Ploaghe, Sardinia.
In 1895 the family moved to Turin and in 1900 to Cassine. After elementary school and a short stay in a religious school Maurizio became an apprentice carpenter and then a pattern-maker mechanic.
A brief history of the Italian Biennio Rosso (two red years) and the mass factory occupations of 1920 where half a million workers ran their workplaces for themselves.
The reformist unions then negotiated an end to the conflicts, clearing the path for the fascist reaction - the Biennio Nero (two black years) of 1921-22.
Amadeo Bordiga's commentary on the Italian factory occupation movement in 1920 as well as his view for how the movement should move forward. We do not agree with it but reproduce it for reference.
The working-class disturbances of the past few days in Liguria have seen yet another example of a phenomenon that for some time now has been repeated with some frequency, and that deserves to be examined as a symptom of a new level of consciousness among the working masses.
Bordiga's contribution to communist theories of the role of the workers party in pushing forward workers councils as a method of class organisation.
We have now collected quite a lot of material concerned with proposals and initiatives for establishing Soviets in Italy, and we reserve to ourselves the right to expound the elements of the argument step by step. At this stage we wish to make a few preliminary observations of a general nature, to which we have already referred in our most recent issues.