Federico Campagna recounts the history of Italian Autonomism on Resonance FM with Aaron Peters.
“Militant Cinema”, a short season of films exploring the themes and circumstances surrounding Workerism (Operaismo), a Marxist tendency within the Italian workers movement from the 1960s. 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 thorough going 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.
Novara RDio is a new weekly show that engages with political theory, current affairs and cultural debate. It is hosted by activist and graduate student Aaron Peters on Resonance FM. Discussion ranges from political aesthetics and activism to social history, locating these debates within a topical context relevant for the listener.
Speaking with activists, commentators, academics and the every day men and women who participate and inquire, the show seeks to offer interpretations neglected by the mainstream. Be it talking to a squatter and anthropologist about reform of squatting law or a student and artist about protests against cuts to higher education, the show aims to provide incisive and critical voices about power and social change.
2011 has already been a momentous year in politics both in Britain and the wider world. Despite an abundance of content surrounding such events, original analysis can be hard to find. Novara offers a critical alternative to the assumptions that animate mainstream discussion whilst remaining accesible and germane.
The first show looked at the Spanish town square occupations and the occupation of Tahrir square as networked ‘meme’ with journalist Ryan Gallagher and the arts/ politics collective DSG. The following week the second show discussed the antagonistic relationship between liberal and democratic demands within the context of the recent European protests, particularly Spain, with Guy Aitchison, of OurKingdom, and Matt Hall, UCL graduate.
The name ‘Novara’ is the name of the city where the seminal Italian Workerist film ‘The Working Class Goes to Heaven’ is set. Novara Kollektiv were part of the political movement known as “autonomism”, seeing labour, the working class and the acts of everyday people as the primary driver of human history, rather than capital.
Some of the guests you can look forward to over the following weeks include publisher and author Dan Hind, anarchist trade unionist Donnacha de Long, anthropologist David Graeber, author of ‘Chavs’ Owen Jones, academic Joss Hands and founder of Open Democracy and Charter 88 Anthony Barnett. Alongside them will be students, squatters, schoolkids and workers.
If you would like to get involved with the show - either by suggesting a topic or text for discussion or even coming on yourself - then please drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The show goes live every Tuesday from 2-3pm live on Resonance FM and is repeated on Fridays at 9pm. If in London you can catch it on radio at 104.4fm or online and worldwide here at the same time(s).
There is now a weekly show on ResonanceFM available online and on 104.4fm in London. There will be a weekly update of the show with an audiofil of the content as well as a synopsis and biographies of guests.
The show is broadcast on Tuesday’s from 2-3 pm and is available again on Friday evenings at 9pm.