An outcome of the decisive split within Quaderni Rossi (Red Notebooks, directed by Panzieri), Classe Operaia (Working Class), which began publishing in 1964, would become the main organ of Italian workerist research and theory. Its core included men (all men) who would become known as foundational actors in Italian autonomist thought: Mario Tronti, but also Romano Alquati, Massimo Cacciari, Sergio Bologna, Toni Negri and others. The journal lasted for three years (1964-1967) publishing a total of 12 issues (nine single issues and three double issues). DeriveApprodi has placed scans of all of the issues online, here.
This collection by Machina Libri – Milano contains an introduction from Antonio Negri (then imprisoned) as well as a preface by Augusto Zuliani, and includes reprints of 5 smaller associated publications: Gatto Selvaggio, Classe e Partito, Cronache Operaie, Il Potere Operaio, and Potere Operaio Porto Marghera (each of which have their own important histories, especially Gatto Selvaggio). The book contains reprints in black and white of the full set of Classe Operaia.
This collection contains no table of contents, so here is a listing of what’s inside of the copy we hold:
- Antonio Negri, introductory note (we’ve scanned and posted a copy here).
- Augusto Zuliani, note on the book’s inclusion of two Stalinist commentaries about Quaderni Rossi and Classe Operaia first published in Rinascita (we’ve scanned and posted a copy here).
- AA. “Agitazione e vuoto politico del gruppo di Classe operaia” from Rinascita (we’ve scanned and posted a copy here).
- Gatto Selvaggio: Giornale di lotta degli operai della Fiat a della Lancia (1963) (we’ve scanned and posted a copy here).
- Cronache Operaie (second issue, 15 October 1963) (we’ve scanned and posted a copy here).
- Classe Operaia issues 1964-1967 (copies available via the link above).
- Classe e Partito – Numero Unico (November 1966) (we’ve scanned and posted a copy here).
- Classe e Partito – Supplemento Al N. Unico (March 1967) (we’ve scanned and posted a copy here)
- Il Potere Operaio 1 (February 1966) & 2 (March 1967). Note: due to a printing error issue 1 of Il Potere Operaio says “1966” but was actually printed in 1967. (See Thirion (2016, p. 27, here).
- Potere Operaio: Giornale Politico Degli Operai de Porto Marghera (June 1967).
The reproduction of the 5 associated papers is important because they hold a central place in the split within Quaderni Rossi and the creation of Classe Operaia. Sergio Bologna explains:
Gatto Selvaggio (Wild Cat), in particular, caused great controversy within the Quaderni Rossi circle of militant intellectuals. The 1962 worker riots at Piazza Statuto – which lasted 3 days and resulted in more than a thousand arrests – and daily struggles on the factory floor raised urgent questions about the role of self-activity of workers and the mediating role of the PCI and unions (on this, see: Wright 2002, pp. 58-62 or online here). Gatto Selvaggio, issued in the spring of ’63, was an attempt, particularly by Romolo Gobbi and and Romano Alquati, to look at self-activity (e.g. sabotage and wildcats) in terms of their revolutionary potentials, or lack thereof. The essay “Nel Sabotaggio Continua La Lotta e Si Organizza L’Unita” (roughly, “In Sabotage the Struggle Continues and Unity is Organized”) would lead to Gobbi (who attached his name and contact information to the paper) to trial and subsequent conviction on charges of promoting sabotage.
Classe Operaia is founded in 1964:
Quaderni Rossi ceased publication in 1965.
Nicola Pizzolato (2013) gives a succinct take on what had occurred:
Our copy is missing the Rinascita piece critical of Quaderni Rossi (if anyone has a scan we’d be appreciative!) Unfortunately, we could not accurately scan the two issues of Il Potere Operaio or the issue of Potere Operaio Porto Maghera because the pages in the book are bound in such a way that the text is lost on the flip. We also could not locate them in online archives, but we suspect they are somewhere to be found the extensive Italian movement archives on the web.
We’ve been unable to find much information about the publisher Machina Libri – Milano. It appears to have been short-lived, with publications 1979-1981. Among their publications is Toni Negri’s 1980 book Politica di Classe: Il motore e la forma. Le cinque campagne di oggi. Augusto Zuliani was involved in more than one of their productions.
We purchased our copy of this book from a smaller seller in Italy. There are tears to the wraps and one article missing, but it’s a notably well-bound volume, so otherwise it has held up over the years. The logo for the press is printed on stickers placed on the book. The volume is rare in the trade. We could locate five institutional holdings (here and here), with none in North America.