The IWW in Turin: ‘Militant history’, workers’ struggle and the crisis of Fordism in 1970s Italy

Pizzolato, Nicola ORCID logoORCID: (2017) The IWW in Turin: ‘Militant history’, workers’ struggle and the crisis of Fordism in 1970s Italy. International Labor and Working Class History, 91 . pp. 109-126. ISSN 0147-5479 [Article] (doi:10.1017/S0147547916000314)

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In 1970s Italy, the historical trajectory, tactics and goals of the International Workers of the World (IWW)—the American radical labour union active between 1905 and 1924—rose to renown, and references to the Wobblies appeared frequently in essays, journal articles, books and in contemporary debates of Italy’s own radical movement. The 1970s were, according to labour activist and historian Peppino Ortoleva, ‘probably the most famous episode of the American labour movement in Italy’.

Why was the history of the IWW so appealing to the Italian radical movement of the 1970s? In what political and social context were the Italians interrogating that history? What were its lessons for Italian working class activism? And what were the transnational connections that made it possible for the Italians to ‘love’ the Wobblies? This articles tries to answer these questions with specific reference to the historical context of the workers’ struggle at FIAT in Turin, both because of its importance in the history of the Italian labour and radical movement and because most of the actors behind the Italian reading of the IWW had cut their teeth in the workers’ strikes of Turin of the late 1960s and followed closely the company restructurings of the 1970s.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 21314
Notes on copyright: This is the accepted manuscript version. This article has been published in a revised form in International Labor and Working Class History. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © International Labor and Working-Class History, Inc. 2017
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Depositing User: Nico Pizzolato
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2017 16:32
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 20:58

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