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FIAT Strike in “Hot Autumn” of '69 Turin, Italy

Friday, November 14, 2008
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph Avenue (at 65th Street), Oakland
(510) 595-7417

Wheelchair accessible

Red & Black and Mouvement Communiste present this talk, to be followed by discussion, on:

Fiat in the hands of the workers: The “Hot Autumn” of 1969 in Turin

This presentation is based on Mouvement Communiste's 2005 French translation of the book of the same name (LA FIAT aux mains des ouvriers. L’automne chaud de 1969 à Turin by Diego Giachette and Marco Scavino, written in Italian in 1999). Since many of details of the 1968-1969 period of workers struggles in Italy are little known, this account will situate the wildcat strikes at the FIAT Mirafiori factory from May '69 through the "Hot Autumn" of that year within the context of the massive wave of rebellion that shook the entire country and which continued, with various levels of intensity, for the following 10 years. Where the French general strike in May-June '68 only officially lasted 13 days, the strike wave in Italy crippled industry for nearly 2 years. In 1969 alone 300,000,000 hours of work time were lost due to strikes (compare with the all-time record in the U.S. in 1946, when 116,000,000 hours were lost), perhaps the greatest period of mass-based class struggle ever.

Italy experienced massive reconstruction after World War II with large-scale migrations of the unskilled, often peasants, from the south to work in the factories of the north. As industry grew so did cities like Turin, but chronic housing shortages continued to plague workers. The Hot Autumn was sparked at FIAT's Mirafiori plant in Turin as the class struggle spilled past the factory gates as workers coordinated movements for self-reduction; in September '69 FIAT workers refused to pay for the trams and buses, as well as going into stores to demand 30, 40 & 50% reductions in prices, backed only by showing their factory ID badges. They squatted houses, formed neighborhood committees that self-reduced their rents, occupied government offices, and thousands of workers collectively burned their electricity bills. The social wildcat moved from factories to universities, from working class districts to the entire social terrain. Young workers made demands for more pay with less work; massive worker-student assemblies made unconditional demands for "workers' power" and even began to question the nature of work itself. The government and the unions were helpless in stopping these new forms of working class offensive.

The state's secret service responded with its strategy of tension which reached its first climax in the killing of 16 people and wounding of 87 in a bombing attack at Piazza Fontana in Milan on December 12, 1969. Yet the struggles continued throughout the 1970s and resulted in many inspiring examples of working class self-organization in the struggle against capital. Presentation to be followed by questions and answers.
Added to the calendar on Fri, Sep 19, 2008 1:57PM
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