Autonomism (also authonomous Marxism or autonomist Marxism) is a set of anti-authoritarian left-wing political and social movements and theories.[1][2][3] As a theoretical system, it first emerged in Italy in the 1960s from workerist (operaismo) communism. Later, post-Marxist and anarchist tendencies became significant after influence from the Situationists, the failure of Italian far-left movements in the 1970s, and the emergence of a number of important theorists including Antonio Negri, who had contributed to the 1969 founding of Potere Operaio, as well as Mario Tronti, Paolo Virno and Franco "Bifo" Berardi.

Georgy Katsiaficas summarizes the forms of autonomous movements saying that "In contrast to the centralized decisions and hierarchical authority structures of modern institutions, autonomous social movements involve people directly in decisions affecting their everyday lives. They seek to expand democracy and to help individuals break free of political structures and behavior patterns imposed from the outside."[4] As such this has involved a call for the independence of social movements from political parties[5] in a revolutionary perspective which seeks to create a practical political alternative to both authoritarian socialism and contemporary representative democracy.[6]

Autonomism influenced the German and Dutch Autonomen, the worldwide social centre movement, and today is influential in Italy, France, and to a lesser extent the English-speaking countries. Those who describe themselves as autonomists now vary from Marxists to anarchists.


The term autonomia/Autonome is composed out of two Greek words: αὐτο- auto- "self" and νόμος nomos, "law", hence when combined understood to mean "one who gives oneself one's own law". Autonomy, in this sense, is not independence. While independence refers to an autarchic kind of life, separated from the community, autonomy refers to life in society but by one's own rule. Though the notion of autonomism was alien to the ancient Greeks, the concept is indirectly endorsed by Aristotle, who stated that only beasts or gods could be independent and live apart from the polis ("community"), while Kant defined the Enlightenment by autonomy of thought and the famous "Sapere aude" ("dare to know").

The Marxist Autonomist theory

Unlike other forms of Marxism, autonomist Marxism emphasises the ability of the working class to force changes to the organization of the capitalist system independent of the state, trade unions or political parties. Autonomists are less concerned with party political organization than are other Marxists, focusing instead on self-organized action outside of traditional organizational structures. Autonomist Marxism is thus a "bottom-up" theory: it draws attention to activities that autonomists see as everyday working-class resistance to capitalism, such as absenteeism, slow working, socialization in the workplace, sabotage, and other subversive activities.

Like other Marxists, autonomists see class struggle as being of central importance. However, autonomists have a broader definition of the working class than do other Marxists: as well as wage-earning workers (both white collar and blue collar), autonomists also include in this category the unwaged (students, the unemployed, homemakers, etc.), who are traditionally deprived of any form of union representation.

Early theorists (such as Mario Tronti, Antonio Negri, Sergio Bologna, and Paolo Virno) developed notions of "immaterial" and "social labour" that extended the Marxist concept of labour to all society. They suggested that modern society's wealth was produced by unaccountable collective work, and that only a little of this was redistributed to the workers in the form of wages. Other Italian autonomists—particularly feminists, such as Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Silvia Federici—emphasised the importance of feminism and the value of unpaid female labour to capitalist society.

A scholar of the movement, Michael Ryan, writes that

Autonomy, as a movement and as a theory, opposes the notion that capitalism is an irrational system which can be made rational through planning. Instead, it assumes the workers' viewpoint, privileging their activity as the lever of revolutionary passage as that which alone can construct a communist society. Economics is seen as being entirely political; economic relations are direct political relations of force between class subjects. And it is in the economic category of the social worker, not in an alienated political form like the party, that the initiative for political change resides.[7]

Italian autonomism

AntonioNegri SeminarioInternacionalMundo
Antonio Negri, a leading theorist of Italian autonomism

Autonomist Marxism—referred to in Italy as operaismo, which translates literally as "workerism"—first appeared in Italy in the early 1960s. Arguably, the emergence of early autonomism can be traced to the dissatisfaction of automotive workers in Turin with their union, which reached an agreement with FIAT. The disillusionment of these workers with their organised representation, along with the resultant riots (in particular the 1962 riots by FIAT workers in Turin, "fatti di Piazza Statuto"), were critical factors in the development of a theory of self-organised labour representation outside the scope of traditional representatives such as trade unions.

In 1969, the operaismo approach was active mainly in two different groups: Lotta Continua, led by Adriano Sofri (which had a very significant Roman Catholic cultural matrix), and Potere Operaio, led by Antonio Negri, Franco Piperno, Oreste Scalzone, and Valerio Morucci. Mario Capanna was the charismatic leader of the Milan student movement, which had a more classical Marxist-Leninist approach.


Through translations made available by Danilo Montaldi and others, the Italian autonomists drew upon previous activist research in the United States by the Johnson–Forest Tendency and in France by the group Socialisme ou Barbarie. The Johnson-Forest Tendency had studied working-class life and struggles within the US auto industry, publishing pamphlets such as "The American Worker" (1947), "Punching Out" (1952), and "Union Committeemen and Wildcat Strikes" (1955). That work was translated into French by Socialisme ou Barbarie and published, serially, in their journal. They too began investigating and writing about what was going on inside workplaces, in their case inside both auto factories and insurance offices.

The journal Quaderni Rossi ("Red Notebooks"), produced between 1961 and 1965, and its successor Classe Operaia ("Working Class"), produced between 1963 and 1966, were also influential in the development of early autonomism. Raniero Panzieri, Mario Tronti, and Toni Negri were some primary collaborators.

Pirate radio stations also were a factor in spreading autonomist ideas. Bologna's Radio Alice was an example of such a station.

Direct action

Askatasuna torino
Askatasuna "autonomist" social center in Turin (2016)

The Italian student movement, including the Indiani Metropolitani (Metropolitan Indians), starting from 1966 with the murder of student Paolo Rossi by neo-fascists at Rome University, engaged in various direct action operations, including riots and occupations, along with more peaceful activities such as self-reduction, in which individuals refused to pay for such services and goods as public transport, electricity, gas, rent, and food. Several clashes occurred between students and the police during the occupations of universities in the winter of 1967–68, during the Fiat occupations, and in March 1968 in Rome during the Battle of Valle Giulia.

Indiani Metropolitani were a small faction active in the Italian far-left protest movement during 1976 and 1977, in the so-called "Years of Lead". The Indiani Metropolitani were the so-called 'creative' wing of the movement. Its adherents wore face-paint like the war-paint of Native Americans and dressed like hippies. The emphasis was on "stare insieme" (being together), spontaneity and the arts, especially music. The group was active in Rome, during the occupation of the university La Sapienza in 1977.

On 11 March 1977, riots took place in Bologna following the killing of student Francesco Lorusso by police.

Beginning in 1979, the state effectively prosecuted the autonomist movement, accusing it of protecting the Red Brigades, which had kidnapped and assassinated Aldo Moro. 12,000 far-left activists were detained; 600 fled the country, including 300 to France and 200 to South America.[8]

Tute bianche
Members of the Italian militant social movement Tute Bianche

Tute Bianche was a militant Italian social movement, active from 1994 to 2001. Activists covered their bodies with padding so as to resist the blows of police, to push through police lines, and to march together in large blocks for mutual protection during demonstrations. The tute bianche movement reached its apex during the anti-G8 protests in Genoa, in July 2001, with a turn-out of an estimated 10,000 protesters in a single "padded block", ironically after a collective decision to go without the white overalls. Shortly after Genoa the Ya Basta Association disbanded, with certain segments reforming into the "Disobbedienti" which literally means "Disobedients". This philosophy includes the occupation and creation of squatted self-managed social centers, anti-sexist activism, support for immigrant's rights and refugees seeking political asylum, as well as the process of walking together in large formations during demonstrations held in the streets, by force if necessary in case of clashes with police.

Central to the tute bianche movement was the Italian Ya Basta Association, a network of groups throughout Italy that was inspired by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation uprising in Chiapas in 1994. Ya Basta primarily originated in the "autonomist" social centers of Milan, particularly Centro Sociale Leoncavallo. These social centers grew out of the Italian Autonomia movement of the 1970 and 80s. The tute bianches have had international variations of one sort or another. For instance, in Britain a group calling itself WOMBLES adopted the tactics, even though the political orientation of WOMBLES differed from the Italian movement. In Spain, "Mono Blanco" was the preferred identifier. The first North American variant of the tute bianche, the NYC Ya Basta Collective (based in NYC) wore yellow overalls, rather than white.

The French autonome movement

In France, the Marxist group Socialisme ou Barbarie, led by philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, could be said to be one of the first autonomist groups. Socialisme ou Barbarie drew upon the activist research of the American Johnson-Forest Tendency inside US auto plants and carried out their own investigations into rank-and-file workers struggles, struggles that were autonomous of union or party leadership.

Also parallel to the work of the Johnson-Forest Tendency, Socialisme ou Barbarie harshly criticised the Communist regime in the USSR, which it considered a form of "bureaucratic capitalism" and not at all the socialism it claimed to be. Philosopher Jean-François Lyotard was also part of this movement.

However, the Italian influence of the operaismo movement was more directly felt in the creation of the review Matériaux pour l'intervention (1972–73) by Yann Moulier-Boutang, a French economist close to Toni Negri. This led in turn to the creation of the Camarades group (1974–78). Along with others, Moulier-Boutang joined the Centre International pour des Nouveaux Espaces de Liberté (CINEL), founded three years earlier by Félix Guattari, and assisted Italian activists accused of terrorism, of whom at least 300 fled to France.

The French autonome mouvement organised itself in the AGPA (Assemblée Parisienne des Groupes Autonomes, "Parisian Assembly of Autonome Groups"; 1977–78). Many tendencies were present in it, including the Camarades group led by Moulier-Boutang, members of the Organisation communiste libertaire, some people referring themselves to the "Desiring Autonomy" of Bob Nadoulek, but also squatters and street-wise people (including the groupe Marge). French autonomes supported captured Red Army Faction former members. Jean-Paul Sartre also intervened on the conditions for the detention of RAF detainees.

The militant group Action directe appeared in 1979 and carried out several violent direct actions. Action Directe claimed responsibility for the murders of Renault's CEO Georges Besse and General Audran. George Besse had been CEO of nuclear company Eurodif. Action Directe was dissolved in 1987.

In the 1980s, the autonomist movement underwent a deep crisis in Italy because of effective prosecution by the State, and was stronger in Germany than in France. It remained present in Parisian squats and in some riots (for example in 1980 near the Jussieu Campus in Paris, or in 1982 in the Ardennes department during anti-nuclear demonstrations). From 1986 to 1994 the French group "Comité des mal logés" occupied several buildings of the French national social housing authority to denounce the cruel lack of lodging for workers, they were several hundred and took their decisions in democratic assembly, with support from all autonomous groups of Paris, many of them were worked on the anti prison . In the 1980s, the French autonomists published the periodicals CAT Pages (1981–82), Rebelles (1981–93), Tout ! (1982–85), Molotov et Confetti (1984), Les Fossoyeurs du Vieux Monde, La Chôme (1984–85), and Contre (1987–89).

In the 1990s, the French autonomist movement was present in struggles led by unemployed people, with Travailleurs, Chômeurs, et Précaires en colère (TCP, "Angry Workers, Unemployed, and Marginalised people") and l'Assemblée générale des chômeurs de Jussieu ("General Assembly of Jussieu's unemployed people"). It was also involved in the alter-globalisation movement and above all in the solidarity with illegal foreigners (Collective Des Papiers pour tous ("Permits for all", 1996) and Collectif Anti-Expulsion (1998–2005)). Several autonomist journals date from this time: Quilombo (1988–93), Apache (1990–98), Tic-Tac (1995–97), Karoshi (1998–99), and Tiqqun (1999–2001).

From 19 to 28 July 2002, a No borders camp was made in Strasbourg to protest against anti-immigration policies, in particular inside the Schengen European space.

In 2003, autonomists came into conflict with the French Socialist Party (PS) during a demonstration that took place in the frame of the European Social Forum in Saint-Denis (Paris). At the end of December, hundreds of unemployed people helped themselves in the Bon Marché supermarket to be able to celebrate Christmas (an action called "autoréduction" (of prices) in French). French riot police (CRS) physically opposed the unemployed people inside the shop. Autonomes rioted during the spring 2006 protests against the CPE, and again after the 2007 presidential election when Nicolas Sarkozy was elected.

On 11 November 2008, the French police arrested ten people, including five living in a farmhouse on a hill overlooking Tarnac, and accused them of associating with a "terrorist enterprise" by sabotaging TGV's overhead lines. Nine out of ten were let go and only Julien Coupat, the alleged leader, remained in custody for about a year, charged with "directing a terrorist group" by the Paris Prosecutor's office.

The German Autonome movement in the 1970s and 1980s

In Germany, Autonome was used during the late 1970s to depict the most radical part of the political left.[9] These individuals participated in practically all actions of the social movements at the time, especially in demonstrations against nuclear energy plants (Brokdorf 1981, Wackersdorf 1986) and in actions against the construction of airport runways (Frankfurt 1976–86). The defense of squats against the police such as in Hamburg's Hafenstraße was also a major "task" for the "autonome" movement. The Dutch anarchist Autonomen movement from the 1960s also concentrated on squatting.

Tactics of the "Autonome" were usually militant, including the construction of barricades or throwing stones or molotov cocktails at the police. During their most powerful times in the early 1980s, on at least one occasion the police had to take flight.

Because of their outfit (heavy black clothing, ski masks, helmets), the "Autonome" were dubbed der schwarze Block by the German media, and in these tactics were similar to modern black blocs. In 1989, laws regarding demonstrations in Germany were changed, prohibiting the use of so-called "passive weaponry" such as helmets or padding and covering your face.

Today, the "autonome" scene in Germany is greatly reduced and concentrates mainly on anti-fascist actions, ecology, solidarity with refugees, and feminism. There are larger and more militant groups still in operation, such as in Switzerland or Italy.


The Autonomist Marxist and Autonomen movements provided inspiration to some on the revolutionary left in English-speaking countries, particularly among anarchists, many of whom have adopted autonomist tactics. Some English-speaking anarchists even describe themselves as Autonomists. The Italian operaismo movement also influenced Marxist academics such as Harry Cleaver, John Holloway, Steve Wright, and Nick Dyer-Witheford. In Denmark and Sweden, the word is used as a catch-all phrase for anarchists and the extra-parliamentary left in general, as was seen in the media coverage of the eviction of the Ungdomshuset squat in Copenhagen in March 2007.

See also

Autonomist thinkers

Movements and organizations

Autonomist publications



  1. ^ "Autonomism as a global social movement" by Patrick Cuninghame. WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society. Volume 13 (December 2010): 451–464. ISSN 1089-7011.
  2. ^ Georgy Katsiaficas. The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life, AK Press 2006
  3. ^ Autonomia: Post-Political Politics, ed. Sylvere Lotringer & Christian Marazzi. New York: Semiotext(e), 1980, 2007. ISBN 1-58435-053-9, ISBN 978-1-58435-053-8.
  4. ^ Georgy Katsiaficas. The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life. AK Press. 2006. pg. 6
  5. ^ Georgy Katsiaficas. The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life. AK Press. 2006. pg. 7
  6. ^ Georgy Katsiaficas. The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life. AK Press. 2006. pg. 8
  7. ^ Michael Ryan, "Translators' Introductions Part II," Antonio Negri, Marx beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse, New York: Autonomedia, 1991, p. xxx.
  8. ^ (in French)On the Autonomist movement
  9. ^ FIRE AND FLAMES: A History of the German Autonomist Movement by Geronimo. AK Press. 2012


  • "Autonomism as a global social movement" by Patrick Cuninghame The Journal of Labor and Society · 1089-7011 · Volume 13 · December 2010 · pp. 451–464
  • FIRE AND FLAMES: A History of the German Autonomist Movement by Geronimo. AK Press. 2012. ISBN 978-1-60486-097-9
  • (in French) L’Autonomie. Le mouvement autonome en France et en Italie, éditions Spartacus 1978
  • (in French) Autonomes, Jan Bucquoy and Jacques Santi, ANSALDI 1985
  • (in French) Action Directe. Du terrorisme français à l'euroterrorisme, Alain Hamon and Jean-Charles Marchand, SEUIL 1986
  • (in French) Paroles Directes. Légitimité, révolte et révolution : autour d'Action Directe, Loïc Debray, Jean-Pierre Duteuil, Philippe Godard, Henri Lefebvre, Catherine Régulier, Anne Sveva, Jacques Wajnsztejn, ACRATIE 1990
  • (in French) Un Traître chez les totos, Guy Dardel, ACTES SUD 1999 (novel)
  • (in French) Bac + 2 + crime : l'affaire Florence Rey, Frédéric Couderc, CASTELLS 1998
  • (in French) Italie 77. Le « Mouvement », les intellectuels, Fabrizio Calvi, SEUIL 1977
  • (in Italian) L'operaismo degli anni Sessanta. Da 'Quaderni rossi' a 'classe operaia', Giuseppe Trotta e Fabio Milana edd., DERIVEAPPRODI 2008
  • (in Italian) Una sparatoria tranquilla. Per una storia orale del '77, ODRADEK 1997
  • (in German) Die Autonomen, Thomas Schultze et Almut Gross, KONKRET LITERATUR 1997
  • (in German) Autonome in Bewegung, AG Grauwacke aus den ersten 23 Jahren, ASSOCIATION A 2003
  • (in English) The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life Georgy Katsiaficas, AK Press 2006
  • (in English) Negativity and Revolution: Adorno and Political Activism London: Pluto Press, 2009 John Holloway ed. with Fernando Matamoros & Sergio Tischler ISBN 978-0-7453-2836-2
  • (in English) Autonomia: Post-Political Politics, ed. Sylvere Lotringer & Christian Marazzi. New York: Semiotext(e), 1980, 2007. ISBN 1-58435-053-9, ISBN 978-1-58435-053-8.
  • (in English) Os Cangaceiros A Crime Called Freedom: The Writings of Os Cangaceiros (Volume One) Eberhardt Press 2006
  • (in English) Storming Heaven: Class composition and struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism, Steve Wright, University of Michigan Press ISBN 0-7453-1607-7
  • (in Greek) Νοέμβρης 73. Αυτοί οι αγώνες συνεχίζονται, δεν εξαγοράζονται, δεν δικαιώθηκαν, ed. Αυτόνομη Πρωτοβουλία Πολιτών. Athens 1983.
  • (in Greek) Αναμνήσεις, Άγης Στίνας, υψιλον, Αθήνα 1985
  • (in Greek) Το επαναστατικό πρόβλημα σήμερα, Κορνήλιος Καστοριάδης, υψιλον, Αθήνα 2000
  • (In English) The city is ours: Squatting and autonomous movements from the 1970s to the present. Ed. Bart van der Steen, Ask Katzeff, Leendert van Hoogenhuijze. PM press, 2014. ISBN 978-1604866834

External links



Antonio Negri

Antonio "Toni" Negri (born 1 August 1933) is an Italian Marxist sociologist and political philosopher, best known for his co-authorship of Empire and secondarily for his work on Spinoza.

Born in Padua, he became a political philosophy professor in his hometown university. Negri founded the Potere Operaio (Worker Power) group in 1969 and was a leading member of Autonomia Operaia. As one of the most popular theorists of Autonomism, he has published hugely influential books urging "revolutionary consciousness."

He was accused in the late 1970s of various charges including being the mastermind of the left-wing terrorist organization Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse or BR), involved in the May 1978 kidnapping of Aldo Moro, two-time Prime Minister of Italy, and leader of the Christian-Democrat Party, among others. He was wrongly suspected to have made a threatening phone call on behalf of the BR, but the court was unable to conclusively prove his ties. The question of Negri's complicity with left-wing extremism is a controversial subject. He was indicted on a number of charges, including "association and insurrection against the state" (a charge which was later dropped), and sentenced for involvement in two murders.

Negri fled to France where, protected by the Mitterrand doctrine, he taught at the Paris VIII (Vincennes) and the Collège international de philosophie, along with Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. In 1997, after a plea-bargain that reduced his prison time from 30 to 13 years, he returned to Italy to serve the end of his sentence. Many of his most influential books were published while he was behind bars. He now lives in Venice and Paris with his partner, the French philosopher Judith Revel.

Autonomia Operaia

Autonomia Operaia was an Italian leftist movement particularly active from 1976 to 1978. It took an important role in the autonomist movement in the 1970s, aside earlier organisations such as Potere Operaio, created after May 1968, and Lotta Continua.

Autonomism (political doctrine)

Autonomism is a political doctrine which supports acquiring or preserving political autonomy of a nation or a region. It is not necessarily opposed to federalism, and souverainism necessarily implies autonomism, but not vice versa.

Examples of autonomist parties include Union Nationale, Action démocratique du Québec and its successor Coalition Avenir Québec (Quebec) and then-recently Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta (Alberta) in Canada, New Macau Association in China (Macau), Parti progressiste martiniquais (Martinique) in France, Scottish National Party in the United Kingdom, Lega Nord in Italy (Northern Italy) and Popular Democratic Party in the United States (Puerto Rico).

Autonomism in Quebec

Quebec autonomism is a political belief that Quebec should seek to gain more political autonomy as a province, while remaining a part of the Canadian federation. The concept was first articulated by Maurice Duplessis and idea supported by the Quebec nationalist and conservative Union Nationale, Action démocratique du Québec and its successor Coalition Avenir Québec parties which believed in greater provincial autonomy of Quebec without granting independence from Canada. The only parties to support this beliefs is the Coalition Avenir Québec and Équipe Autonomiste.

Drawing inspiration from René Lévesque's "beau risque", and Robert Bourassa's work on the Meech Lake Accord and Charlottetown Accord, its goals are, in short:

Setting out the procedures for constitutional change

A sharing of jurisdictions between the federal government and Quebec

Framework for federal spending powers

Institutional reform

Reform of intergovernmental policiesIn a speech to delegates of the ADQ, party leader Mario Dumont, on May 8, 2006, Dumont said that Quebec should seek to re-open negotiations with the federal government over Quebec's status in Confederation, and should eventually ratify the Constitution of Canada.

Classless society

Classless society refers to a society in which no one is born into a social class. Such distinctions of wealth, income, education, culture, or social network might arise and would only be determined by individual experience and achievement in such a society.

Codere defines social class as a segment of the community, the members of which show a common social position in a hierarchical ranking. Codere suggest that a true class-organized society is one in which the hierarchy of prestige and status is divisible into groups each with its own social, economic, attitudinal and cultural characteristics and each having differential degrees of power in community decision. However class organised societies rarely follow this structure, suggesting that a classless society might be better.

Since determination of life outcome by birth class has proved historically difficult to avoid, advocates, such as anarchists, communists, etc. of a classless society propose various means to achieve and maintain it and attach varying degrees of importance to it as an end in their overall programs/philosophy.

Jewish Autonomism

Jewish Autonomism, not connected to the contemporary political movement autonomism, was a non-Zionist political movement and ideology that emerged in Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. One of its first and major proponents was the historian and activist Simon Dubnow. Jewish Autonomism is often referred to as "Dubnovism" or "folkism".

The Autonomists believed that the future survival of the Jews as a nation depends on their spiritual and cultural strength, in developing "spiritual nationhood" and in viability of Jewish diaspora as long as Jewish communities maintain self-rule and rejected assimilation. Autonomists often stressed the vitality of modern Yiddish culture. Various concepts of the Autonomism were adopted in the platforms of the Folkspartei, the Sejmists and socialist Jewish parties such as the Bund.

The movement's beliefs were similar to those of the Austro-Marxists who advocated national personal autonomy within the multinational Austro-Hungarian empire and cultural pluralists in America such as Randolph Bourne and Horace Kallen.

John Holloway (sociologist)

John Holloway (born 1947) is a lawyer, Marxist-oriented sociologist and philosopher, whose work is closely associated with the Zapatista movement in Mexico, his home since 1991. It has also been taken up by some intellectuals associated with the piqueteros in Argentina; the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement in South Africa and the Anti-Globalization Movement in Europe and North America. He is currently a professor at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of Puebla.

Libertarian Marxism

Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism, emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism and its derivatives, such as Stalinism, Ceaușism and Maoism. Libertarian Marxism is also often critical of reformist positions, such as those held by social democrats. Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France; emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state to mediate or aid its liberation. Along with anarchism, libertarian Marxism is one of the main currents of libertarian socialism.Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as council communism, De Leonism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, Lettrism/Situationism and workerism/autonomism and parts of the New Left. Libertarian Marxism has often had a strong influence on both post-left and social anarchists. Notable theorists of libertarian Marxism have included Anton Pannekoek, Raya Dunayevskaya, C. L. R. James, E. P. Thompson, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Negri, Cornelius Castoriadis, Maurice Brinton, Guy Debord, Daniel Guérin, Fredy Perlman, Ernesto Screpanti and Raoul Vaneigem.

Lotta Continua

Continuous Struggle (Italian: Lotta Continua, LC) was a far left extra-parliamentary organization in Italy. It was founded in autumn 1969 by a split in the student-worker movement of Turin, which had started militant activity at the universities and factories such as Fiat. The first issue of Lotta Continua's eponymous newspaper was published in November 1969, and publication continued until 1982 after the organization disbanded in 1976.

Michael Hardt

Michael Hardt (born 1960) is an American political philosopher and literary theorist. Hardt is best known for his book Empire, which was co-written with Antonio Negri. It has been praised by Slavoj Žižek as the "Communist Manifesto of the 21st Century".Hardt and Negri suggest that several forces which they see as dominating contemporary life, such as class oppression, globalization and the commodification of services (or production of affects), have the potential to spark social change of unprecedented dimensions. A sequel, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire was published in August 2004. It outlines an idea first propounded in Empire, which is that of the multitude as possible locus of a democratic movement of global proportions. The third and final part of the trilogy, Commonwealth, was published in 2009.

Open Marxism

Open Marxism is a school of thought which draws on libertarian socialist critiques of party communism and stresses the need for openness to praxis and history through an anti-positivist (dialectical) method grounded in the "practical reflexivity" of Karl Marx's own concepts. The "openness" in open Marxism also refers to a non-deterministic view of history in which the unpredictability of class struggle is foregrounded.The sources of open Marxism are many, from György Lukács' return to the philosophical roots of Marx's thinking to council communism and from anarchism to elements of Autonomism and situationism. Intellectual affinities with autonomist Marxism were especially strong and led to the creation of the journal The Commoner (2001–2012) following in the wake of previous open Marxist journals Arguments (1958–1962) and Common Sense (1987–1999). In the 1970s and 1980s, state-derivationist debates around the separation of the economic and the political under capitalism unfolded in the San Francisco-based working group Kapitalistate and the Conference of Socialist Economists journal Capital & Class, involving many of the theorists of Open Marxism and significantly influencing its theoretical development.Three volumes entitled Open Marxism were published by Pluto Press in the 1990s. Recent work by open Marxists has included a revaluation of Theodor W. Adorno. Those commonly associated with open Marxism include John Holloway, Simon Clarke, Werner Bonefeld, Ana C Dinerstein, Richard Gunn, Kosmas Psychopedis, Adrian Wilding, Peter Burnham, Mike Rooke, Hans-Georg Backhaus, Helmut Reichelt, Harry Cleaver, Johannes Agnoli, Kostas Axelos and Henri Lefebvre.

Pact for Autonomy

The Pact for Autonomy (Italian: Patto per l'Autonomia, Friulian: Pat pe Autonomie, Slovene: Pakt za Avtonomijo, German: Pakt für die Autonomie, PpA) is an autonomism political party in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which aims to defend the regional specialty and protect all linguistic minorities (Friulian, German and Slovenian).

Potere Operaio

Potere Operaio ("Workers' Power") was a radical left-wing Italian political group, active between 1967 and 1973. (It shouldn't be confused with "Potere Operaio Pisano" which was one of the components of a competing revolutionary group, Lotta Continua.) Among the group's leaders were Antonio ('Toni') Negri, Nanni Balestrini, Franco Piperno, Oreste Scalzone and Valerio Morucci, who led its clandestine armed wing. It was part of the "workerist" movement (operaismo), leading to the later development of the Autonomist movement.

Potere Operaio's main sphere of operations was in factories, especially big factories in the industrial North, and publishing newspapers and leaflets. It sought to base its Marxist theory on the everyday life of supposedly revolutionary factory workers.

Potere Operaio officially ceased to exist on 3 June 1973. Most of its core members went on to be involved in Autonomia Operaia, signalling the shift from operaismo to autonomism. Some of the leaders later drifted towards more radical groups such as the Red Brigades, including Morucci and Adriana Faranda, who took part in the Moro murder. Negri was arrested in the late 1970s, accused of being the leader of the Red Brigades, before being cleared of charges. Oreste Scalzone also was arrested, in connection with violent acts.

Refusal of work

Refusal of work is behavior in which a person refuses regular employment.As actual behavior, with or without a political or philosophical program, it has been practiced by various subcultures and individuals. Radical political positions have openly advocated refusal of work. From within Marxism it has been advocated by Paul Lafargue and the Italian workerist/autonomists (e.g. Antonio Negri, Mario Tronti), the French ultra-left (e.g. Échanges et Mouvement); and within anarchism (especially Bob Black and the post-left anarchy tendency).

Regionalism (politics)

In politics, regionalism is a political ideology focusing on the "development of a political or social system based on one or more" regions and/or the national, normative or economic interests of a specific region, group of regions or another subnational entity, gaining strength from or aiming to strengthen the "consciousness of and loyalty to a distinct region with a homogeneous population", similarly to nationalism. More specifically, "regionalism refers to three distinct elements: movements demanding territorial autonomy within unitary states; the organization of the central state on a regional basis for the delivery of its policies including regional development policies; political decentralization and regional autonomy".Regions may be delineated by administrative divisions, culture, language and religion, among others.

Regionalists aim at increasing the political power and influence available to all or some residents of a region. Their demands occur in "strong" forms, such as sovereignty, separatism, secession and independence, as well as more moderate campaigns for greater autonomy (such as states' rights, decentralization or devolution). Strictly, regionalists favour confederations over unitary nation states with strong central governments. They may, however, embrace intermediate forms of federalism.

Proponents of regionalism usually claim that strengthening the governing bodies and political powers within a region, at the expense of a central government, will benefit local populations by improving regional or local economies, in terms of better fiscal responsibility, regional development, allocation of resources, implementation of local policies and plans, competitiveness among regions and, ultimately, the whole country, consistent with the principle of subsidiarity.

Silvia Federici

Silvia Federici (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsilvja fedeˈriːtʃi]; born 1942, Parma, Italy) is an Italian-American scholar, teacher, and activist from the radical autonomist feminist Marxist tradition. She is a professor emerita and Teaching Fellow at Hofstra University, where she was a social science professor. She worked as a teacher in Nigeria for many years, is also the co-founder of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, and is a member of the Midnight Notes Collective.

The personal is political

The personal is political, also termed The private is political, is a political argument used as a rallying slogan of student movement and second-wave feminism from the late 1960s. It underscored the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. In the context of the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s, it was a challenge to the nuclear family and family values. The phrase has been repeatedly described as a defining characterization of second-wave feminism, radical feminism, women's studies, or feminism in general.The phrase was popularized by the publication of a 1969 essay by feminist Carol Hanisch under the title "The Personal is Political" in 1970, but she disavows authorship of the phrase. According to Kerry Burch, Shulamith Firestone, Robin Morgan, and other feminists given credit for originating the phrase have also declined authorship. "Instead," Burch writes, "they cite millions of women in public and private conversations as the phrase's collective authors." Gloria Steinem has likened claiming authorship of the phrase to claiming authorship of "World War II."The phrase has heavily figured in Black Feminism, such as "A Black Feminist Statement" by the Combahee River Collective, Audre Lorde's essay "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House", and the anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Gloria E. Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga. More broadly, as Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw observes: "This process of recognizing as social and systemic what was formerly perceived as isolated and individual has also characterized the identity politics of African Americans, other people of color, and gays and lesbians, among others."

Tute Bianche

Tute Bianche was a militant Italian social movement, active from 1994 to 2001.

Activists covered their bodies with padding so as to resist the blows of police, to push through police lines, and to march together in large blocks for mutual protection during demonstrations.


Workerism is a political theory that emphasizes the importance of, or glorifies, the working class. Workerism, or operaismo, was of particular significance in Italian left politics.

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