Occupation of the Factories: Italy, 1920, The

Occupation of the Factories: Italy, 1920, The

Regular price
$30.00
Sale price
$30.00
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price
per 

Paolo Spriano

From Introduction:  "In the 'Socialist Almanac' for 1921 there are some rare photographs of what the diligent compiler called 'the most striking episode in the struggle being fought in Italy between capital and labor': the occupation of the factories by the metalworkers in September 1920. These photographs recreate a legendary atmosphere; their images, bright or somber, register in the memory as the very symbol of the 'biennio rosso', the 'red two years' of the blazing aftermath of the First World War. It was power which was at stake in this conflict 'between capital and labour' and for most people, whether they feared it or hoped for it, revolution loomed as the natural and imminent outcome of the great social upheaval precipitated by the war, the Russian October, the profound crisis in which all the nations and peoples of Europe were struggling. In one photograph, before a closed gate emblazoned with the hammer and sickle, a red guard stands sentry, with helmet and fixed bayonet. In another, a red flag flies from the prow of a ship on the stocks, easily visible on its side the name under which the workers launched it: 'Lenin'. What happened in Italy in  September 1920 was in truth an exceptional event, and these images give us at least an immediate perception of it. To direct oneself to the atmosphere, the problems, the daily chronicle of the occupation  means also to liberate one's judgment from the clichés, the generalizations, the myths and the apocalyptic visions which have encrusted it. It was no accident when Gramsci, writing in one of his prison notebooks on the clamacteric moment of the biennio rosso, spoke of the 'great fear'. The emotions it evoked throughout the country were titanic: and not only at that moment, for, after decades, the occupation of the factories is still an obligatory point of reference in the social and political life of Italy."--Paolo Spriano, April 1964