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Revolution from Above? Money and Class-Composition in Italian Operaismo

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Chapter Summary

The Italian-Marxist school of operaismo of the 1960s and 1970s is best known for its thematic of class-composition. This chapter examines critically the operaista debate concerning the relationship between money and class-struggle, above all in a period of dramatic social upheaval, economic crisis and 'stagflation'. Starting from the premise that an understanding of past struggles could throw important light on contemporary social conflict, Primo Maggio examined the experiences of earlier mass-movements against capital's dominion, from the Industrial Workers of the World to European revolutionary syndicalism and the communist movement of the 1920s. While Berti maintained his interest for the question of money, this now occurred within milieux and viewed from perspectives increasingly distant from those outlined in 'Money as Capital'. Karl Heinz Roth has called for the '"de-substantialisation" and dynamisation of our thinking, going beyond Marx, about the position of labour inside the economic field of the capitalist social formation'.

Keywords: capitalist social formation; class-composition; European revolutionary syndicalism; industrial workers; Money as Capital; operaista debate; Primo Maggio



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