The Campaigner

The Campaigner

perpetuate the self-identity of a pathetic cazztsta, the searched first by the Red Guards, then by the

individual worker and militant must locate this identity Carabinieri standing at a distance.

in an apt symbol of defeat and suffering, crowned by The question of whether to work or not was decided by

death. Thus the tragedy of 1920, the sellout of the the Internal Commissions or Factory Councils in short

Resistance, the aborted mass-strike process of the late order. At the Turin Fiat Centro plant, the Council issued

1960's are all taken as signposts along the via crucis of this order on Sept. 1: "The Internal Commission of

the Italian workers' martyred journey to self-destruction, workers, in agreement with the Internal Commission of

Defeat after glorious defeat, they plod on, paying technicians, invites all workers to stay at their work

homage to the canonized saints of internationalism -- places continuing their jobs as in the past with reciprocal

Che, Allende, et al. -- with steadfast faith in their own respect. Workers! Show that even without the bosses'

boundless capacity for pain. Each left grouplet, where direction, you know how to perform your duties in the

possible, has its own martyr and otherwise shares certain accurate functioning of the shop. Your Internal

extreme cases of martyrdom with the PCI, as in the case Commission will look out for your interests and will call

of Gramsci. Death, the ultimate mortification, is the on you at the right moment." [26 ].

existential proof of life; mother-love depends on death. Thus production continued and 37 shiny Fiats rolled

off the lines daily (as opposed to 27 in the obstructionist

Ill. WHERE THE WORKERS ARE period and 67-8 in normal times). [27] And the workers

saw it as a smart move for one specific, scarcely

revolutionary reason: "This decision," recalls a worker

The ritual occupation sparked by the FIOM at the Aeronautica Ansaldo, "besides showing our selforder

at the end of August 1920 followed essentially the governing ["autogestione"] ability, turned out to be

same course throughout Italy, though opportune wise, because once the occupation was over, we were able

variations characterized particular "regional" to make them pay us for the work we did." [28 ]

peculiarities. On union orders, the Internal Total responsibility for "organizing production" in the

Commissions notified local bosses, who quickly left the factories fell to the Internal Commissions or Councils.

factories, taking white collar workers and women with Only in Turin was this managerial function fulfilled by a

them. The workers then locked themselves up inside the real Factory Council, as that was the only city in which

engine room of industry and proceeded to perform the the councils had been formed extensively; elsewhere, the

anarchosyndicalist masturbatory dance, work done in the factories was run by factory committees

Red flags were immediately hoisted onto poles outside made up of the old Internal Commission members or

the factory gates as well as on the rooftops. The newer members elected on a department basis, or elected

Muggiano shipyards in La Spezia, occupied by more from the FIOM [29], with the result that the Central

than 2,500 workers, sported red flags with Soviety Labor Councils continued to coordinate in lieu of a

Shipyard written on them, rippling in the wind; the centralized agency. No soviets ever appeared.

stage for the revolution had been set. In Turin Fiat plants the Factory Council ordered

Serious questions, as the workers at the Turin Ansaldo workers to work in 12-hour shifts, eight hours of work

plant soon realized, had to be decided. Should they work and four of rest [30 ]; in earlier stages of the development,

or not? How could they defend themselves? What would workers in a Sestri Ponente metallurgical plant had

they eat? Defense became the job of some workers reorganized shifts to prevent lockouts by making sure

dressed up for the occasion as Red Guards, who stood at that there would always be workers entering before

the entrances, guarding the factories and regulating the others left. Without the capitalists, a 24-hour day of full

comings and goings of workers and raw materials, plant utilization! [31 ] In every center the situation was

Thanks to the active solidarity of railroad workers, the similar, with workers toiling away in a nationwide localinflow

of raw materials was guaranteed. Although control effort, hoping and praying that after the party

workers had threatened to take over the means of was over, they would be rewarded for their responsible

transportation, this was not done.[24] As Alberto Fab- productivity.

bri, a worker active in the occupation, explains, "Their But it was Turin and especially Fiat that captured the

[the railroad workers'] attitude was coherent, because imagination of the workers everywhere as the symbol

they decided not to implicate state companies, which are somehow of the Italian revolution. One Bolognese

already an example of collective management (gestione worker recalls, "They told us that in Turin the workers

coUettiva) in the metalworkers' agitation."[25] So rail- were producing more by themselves than with the bosses.

road workers, believing that they already lived in a so- And we thought we had already made soviets, Bologna

cialist paradise, carted in raw materials and on leaving soviets." [32 ] Carla Gobetti at the Turin Gobetti

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