Liberty and Discipline Gramsci and the Factory Council Movement

  • James Martin
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


The occupation of the factories by the Turin metalworkers in September 1920 represented the culmination of postwar working class unrest. The occupations, the final episode of the now fabled biennio rosso (two red years) of 1919–20, had a decisive impact on Gobetti, bringing him into proximity with a genuinely spontaneous working class politics and focusing his aspiration for renewal on a concrete historical subject. The occupations were defended theoretically by Ordine Nuovo and, in particular, by its twenty-nine-year-old communist coeditor, Antonio Gramsci, who, in its pages, outlined a theory of workplace democracy that envisaged the factories as the basis of a new workers’ state. Gobetti’s acquaintance with Gramsci and Ordine Nuovos project opened up a whole new horizon of possibilities, expanding his understanding of radical politics and encouraging him to transform his liberalism into what he understood as a revolutionary doctrine.


Trade Union Communist Party Factory Occupation Socialist Party Russian Revolution 
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  1. 1.
    For a historical account of the occupations, see Paolo Spriano, Loccupazione delle fabbriche, settembre 1920 (Turin: Einaudi, 1964), 159. The English translation is The Occupation of the Factories. Italy 1920, trans. Gwyn A. Williams (London: Pluto, 1975). See alsoGoogle Scholar
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© James Martin 2008

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