Mario Tronti | Our Operaismo

  While most political forms and traditions of the European left cross-pollinated freely across national boundaries, the Italian operaismo of the 1960s was largely a sui generis experience in its time. Credited with a significant intellectual impact at home—transforming Italian sociology, through its project of worker inquiries, and yielding a heady if evanescent crop of theoretical journals: Quaderni rossi, Classe operaia, Angelus Novus, Contropiano—it had less immediate reverberation abroad than the larger current around Il Manifesto, whose cultural breadth and political consistency was of a different order. A condition for operaismo’s existence was the dramatic industrial expansion of the 1950s, within a culture already deeply coloured by two mass…

Alberto Toscano | Mayakovsky at Mirafori: Operaismo and the Negation of Poetry

  Though many of the watchwords and guiding axioms of Italian operaismo and its successors have percolated into critical discourse on aesthetic production, and multiple analyses of its intersections with visual art and architecture in the 1960 and 1970s have been advanced, little has been made of its specific approach to the question of poetics. This chapter aims partially to correct this tendency by exploring the arguments about the unhappy marriage between avant-garde poetry and communist politics sketched out in some interventions by the key literary critic and historian in the collective of militant intellectuals that made up ‘classic’ operaismo,…