The Magneti Marelli Workers Committee – The “Red Guard”


The Magneti Marelli Workers Committee – The “Red Guard”

Post by Shukaitis »

The Magneti Marelli Workers Committee – The “Red Guard” Tells Its Story (Milan, 1975-78)
Emilio Mentasti

In a large factory in Milan in the mid-70s, a few dozen workersorganized themselves against both the management and the unions inan autonomous Workers’ Political Committee. Soon, this “Red Guard” consisted of hundreds of workers fighting against layoffs andrelocation. The Committee did not stay shut up within the walls ofthe factory. It participated in numerous other struggles, such asstrikes and demonstrations, which were raging across the whole ofItaly. Crucially, it took part in attempts to unify the movementof workers’ committees on a regional level. And it alsoparticipated in the radical struggle against inflation, whereworkers refused to pay ever increasing prices. This movement ofautoreduction famously inspired Dario Fo’s play Can’t Pay? Won’tPay!

Magneti Marelli was not the only factory in Italy to createautonomous workers’ organizations, but its Committee served as areference for all the others because of its bold initiatives andits capacity to help workers in the surrounding smaller workplacesto benefit from its experience. Its exemplary fight was a vitalpart of the revolutionary struggle in Italy during the hot decade1968-1979, and one that still contains important lessons for classstruggle militants today.

Bio: Emilio Mentasti is a historian who has published severalbooks on the history and organization of the autonomous workersmovement in Italy.

PDF available freely online:

Ordering Information: Available direct from Minor Compositions nowfor the special price of £10.

Release to the book trade May 2021

Released by Minor Compositions, Colchester / Brooklyn / PortWatson
Minor Compositions is a series of interventions & provocationsdrawing from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and therevolutions of everyday life.

Stevphen Shukaitis
Autonomedia Editorial Collective