Steve Wright interviewed on “Italian workerism and its enduring legacy”

“The failure of Potere Operaio to convince other revolutionaries that its goals and methods were suitable led ultimately not only to the group’s collapse, but also a rethinking of aspects of the workerist framework. Some people headed off to the mainstream left, following other workerists who had already embraced the notion of ‘the autonomy of the political’; many others were attracted to a new wave of worker extremism, in which ‘autonomist’ workplace collectives turned their backs on the far left groups and sought to carve out a new project based directly in factories and communities. The appearance of so-called ‘new social movements’, starting with the women’s movement, saw a section of Italian feminists draw upon their own earlier involvement in workerist politics as one means to understand the circumstances around them; it also (eventually) pushed many of their male counterparts to begin to address aspects of the politics of reproduction. Workerism as a branch of marxist theory connected to wider social struggles collapsed by the early 1980s, along with most of those struggles themselves – but it’s fair to say that it was already in crisis by the late 1970s, due to the seemingly growing complexity of revolutionary politics, which cast doubt over the certainties held a decade before.”