Transnational radicals: labour dissent and political activism in Detroit and Turin (1950-1970)

Pizzolato, Nicola (2011) Transnational radicals: labour dissent and political activism in Detroit and Turin (1950-1970). International Review of Social History, 56 (1). pp. 1-30. ISSN 0020-8590

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Abstract

This article investigates the entangled histories of radicals in Detroit and Turin who challenged capitalism in ways that departed from ‘‘orthodox’’ Marxism. Starting from the 1950s, small but influential groups of labour radicals, such as
Correspondence in Detroit and Quaderni Rossi in Turin, circulated ideas that questioned the Fordist system in a drastic way. These radicals saw the car factories
as laboratories for a possible ‘‘autonomist’’ working-class activity that could take over industrial production and overhaul the societal system. They criticized the
usefulness of the unions and urged workers to develop their own forms of collective organization. These links were rekindled during the intense working-class
mobilization of the late 1960s, when younger radicals would also engage in a dialogue across national boundaries that influenced each other’s interpretation of the local context. These transnational connections, well-known to contemporaries but ignored by historians, show how American events and debates were influenced by, and impinged on, distant countries, and how local activists imagined their
political identity as encompassing struggles occurring elsewhere.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Social protest, radicalism, working-class, social theory
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 10656
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Nico Pizzolato
Date Deposited: 29 May 2013 12:17
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2019 12:08
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/10656

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