Labour History Review

Labour's Challenge to Capital in Fiat: The Influence of Southern Immigrants in a Changing Industrial Culture

Labour History Review (1996), 61, (1), 71–101.

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For an analysis of Italy's low wage, export-led post-war economy see, for example, D. Sassoon, Contemporary Italy: Politics, Economy and Society Since 1945, 1991. Google Scholar

A. Accornero, La Parabola del Sindacato, Bologna, 1992, p. 37. La Parabola del Sindacato 37 Google Scholar

For a comparison of the different outcomes of late-sixties, radicalism in France and Italy see M. Salvati, ‘May 1968 and the Hot Autumn of 1969: The Responses of Two Ruling Classes’ in S. Berger, A. Hirschman, C. Maier (eds.), Organizing Interests in Western Europe: Pluralism, Corporatism and the Transformation of Politics, Cambridge, 1981. See also P. Lange, G. Ross, M. Vannicelli, Unions, Change and Crisis: French and Italian Union Strategy and the Political Economy, 1945-1980, 1982. Salvati's explanation of the different outcomes of the two movements centres on the inability of the Christian Democratic ‘system of power’ to oppose unions frontally and the DC's strenuous defence of traditional supporting interest outside of large private employers. Whilst concurring with analyses pointing to the relative weakness of modern Italian capitalism, this paper emphasises, rather, the relative strength of the Italian labour movement. Organizing Interests in Western Europe: Pluralism, Corporatism and the Transformation of Politics Google Scholar

For the best known elaboration of ‘post-material values’ see R. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, Princeton, 1977. The Silent Revolution Google Scholar

L. Parlanti, ‘Da Valletta a Piazza Statuto’, Primo Maggio, nos. 9/10, Winter 1977/78. ‘Da Valletta a Piazza Statuto’ Primo Maggio Google Scholar

For further explanation of these terms and their use see A. Accornero, ‘II Sindacato negli Anni della Guerra Fredda (1949-1956)’ in A. Accornero, A. Bonaccini, P. Boni, L. De Carlini (eds.), Sindacato e Lotto, di Classe (1944-1974), Milan, 1974, p. 28. Sindacato e Lotto, di Classe (1944-1974) 28 Google Scholar

A. Accornero, Gli Anni Cinquanta in Fabbrica: con un Diario di Commissione Interna, Rome, 1973, p. 315. Gli Anni Cinquanta in Fabbrica: con un Diario di Commissione Interna 315 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

E. Pugno, S. Garavini, Gli Anni Duri alia FIAT, Turin, 1974, p. 72. Gli Anni Duri alia FIAT 72 Google Scholar

P. Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy, 1990, p. 192. Google Scholar

A. Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks, 1971, p. 132. Google Scholar

P. Spriano, Storia del Partito Communista Italiano, vol. 5, Turin, 1975, p. 425. Storia del Partito Communista Italiano 5 425 Google Scholar

G. Vacca, Saggio su Togliatti, Bari, 1974, cited in I 30 anni della CGIL (1944-1974), Rome, 1975, p. 125. Saggio su Togliatti Google Scholar

Vacca, Saggio. Google Scholar

English language literature on the ‘Italian road to socialism’ and its international context includes: F. Claudin, The Communist Movement: From Comintern to Cominform, 1975; D. L. M. Blackmer, Unity in Diversify: Italian Communism and the Communist World, 1968; J. Braunthal, History of the International: World Socialism 1943-1968, 1980. Google Scholar

See, for example, L. Lanzardo, Classe Operaia e Partito Comunista alla FIAT, Turin, 1974, p. 19. The PCI denounced the ‘political limits of this new vanguard’ pointing to its overly generic aspiration to socialism and tendency to spontaneous movements of revolt. Classe Operaia e Partito Comunista alla FIAT 19 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

For evidence of worker resistance to the Taylorian methods being introduced in Fiat, and the Party's difficulties in getting these methods accepted by its factory militants, see Lanzardo, Classe Operaia, especially pp. 120-39. Google Scholar

M. Rossi-Doria, Riforma Agraria e Azione Meridionalista, Bologna, 1948. Riforma Agraria e Azione Meridionalista Google Scholar

S. Tarrow, Peasant Communism in Southern Italy, 1967, pp. 75-6, 293. Google Scholar

For a review of the literature on the DC system of power see G. F. Pasquino, ‘Recenti Trasformazioni nel Sistema di Potere della Democrazia Cristiana’ in L. Graziano and S. Tarrow (eds.), La Crisi Italiana, vol. II, Turin, 1978. La Crisi Italiana II Google Scholar

For an account of the pact between the landed classes and Piedmontese political power in the process of Unification see J. A. Davis, Conflict and Control: Law and Order in Nineteenth-Century Italy, 1988. Google Scholar

F. M. Snowden, Violence and Great Estates in the South of Italy: Apulia, 1900-1922, Cambridge, 1986, p. 71. Violence and Great Estates in the South of Italy: Apulia, 1900-1922 71 Google Scholar

S. Hellman, ‘Italy’ in M. Kesselman and J. Krieger (eds.), European Politics in Transition, Toronto, 1987, p. 326. European Politics in Transition 326 Google Scholar

Ginsborg, A History, p. 129. Google Scholar

Tarrow, Peasant Communism, p. 279. Google Scholar

G. Fofi, L'immigrazione Meridionale a Torino, Milan, 1975, p. 308. L'immigrazione Meridionale a Torino 308 Google Scholar

Following Ginsborg, A History, p. 30, latifondo is taken here as referring not just to the presence of big estates, but to the extensive existence of small proprietors working their own and/or rented land as well as seeking casual and seasonal work on the great estates. Google Scholar

G. Cingari, Stork della Calabria dall'Unita a Oggi, Bari, 1983, p. 315. Stork della Calabria dall'Unita a Oggi 315 Google Scholar

For an exception to this in Puglia see Snowden, Violence and Great Estates, chapter 10. Google Scholar

Tarrow, Peasant Communism, p. 283. Google Scholar

G. Gribaudi, ‘Mito dell'Eguaglianza e Individualismo: un Comune del Mezzogiorno’ in G. Chianese et al. (eds.), Italia 1945-1950: Conflitti e Trasformazioni Sociali, Milan, 1985, p. 480. Italia 1945-1950: Conflitti e Trasformazioni Sociali 480 Google Scholar

Letter of November 1946 in E. Ciconte, All'Assalto delle Terre del Latifondo - Comunisti e Movimento Contadino in Calabria (1943-1949), Milan, 1981. All'Assalto delle Terre del Latifondo - Comunisti e Movimento Contadino in Calabria (1943-1949) Google Scholar

Cited in Cronache Meridionali, Nos. 8-9, 1964, p. 108. Google Scholar

Cingari, Storia della Calabria, footnote p. 460. Google Scholar

Snowden, Violence and Great Estates, p. 114. Google Scholar

Snowden, Violence and Great Estates, p. 67. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Pugno and Garavini, Gli Anni Duri, p. 234. Google Scholar

E. Deaglio, La FIAT com'e, Milan, 1975, pp. 65-6. La FIAT com'e 65 6 Google Scholar

Pugno and Garavini, Gli Anni Duri, pp. 249, 241. Google Scholar

G. Bocca, Il Giorno, 27 February 1968. Google Scholar

La Rinascita, No. 3, 17 January 1969. Google Scholar

Mimeo, The Struggle in Italy, July 1972. Google Scholar

In an interview with L. Castellina, Il Manifesto, Nos. 2/3, July/August 1969. Google Scholar

Mimeo, Organising at FIAT, July /August 1974. Google Scholar

G. Guida, A. Bronzino and A. Germanetto, FIAT: Struttura Aziendale e Organizzazione dello Sfruttamento, Milan, 1974, p. 159. FIAT: Struttura Aziendale e Organizzazione dello Sfruttamento 159 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

M. Giovana, Torino: La Citta e i Signori FIAT, Milan, 1977, p. 153. Torino: La Citta e i Signori FIAT 153 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Ginsborg, A History, p. 252. Google Scholar

Il Manifesto, Nos. 2/3, July /August 1969. Google Scholar

In a speech of May 1969, quoted in D. Grisoni, H. Portelli, Le Lotte Operate in Italia dal 1960 al 1976, Milan, 1977, p. 123. Le Lotte Operate in Italia dal 1960 al 1976 123 Google Scholar

Linee e Strumenti di Contrattazione delle Condizioni Ambientali di Lavoro, FIOM policy document, Milan, 1968. Google Scholar

R. Gobbi, Gatto Selvaqqio, No. 0, reprinted in Classe Operaio, Complete Reprint 1964-1967. Google Scholar

A. Coppolo, Rinascita, 13 June 1969. Google Scholar

For comparison, see for example H. Beynon, Working for Ford, 1973. Google Scholar

In an interview with L. Castellina, Il Manifesto, No. 1, January 1970. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Inglehart, The Silent Revolution. Google Scholar

‘The Worker-Student Assemblies: Turin 1969’ in Working Class Autonomy and the Crisis, Red Notes/CSE Books, July 1979, p. 185. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

M. Marcelloni, ‘Urban Movements and Political Struggles in Italy’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 3, no. 2, June 1979, p. 258. ‘Urban Movements and Political Struggles in Italy’ International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 3 258 Google Scholar

For more analysis of the Consigli di Quartiere and their fate at the hands of the PCI see S. Hellman, Italian Communism in Transition: The Rise and Fall of the Historic Compromise in Turin, 1975-1980, Oxford, 1988, pp. 72-3. Italian Communism in Transition: The Rise and Fall of the Historic Compromise in Turin, 1975-1980 72 3 Google Scholar

La Stampa, 30 October 1969. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

La Stampa, 4 July 1969. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Financial Times, 4 September 1969. Google Scholar

La Classe, No. 5, 7 June 1969. Google Scholar

For details of the 1993 central agreement see European Industrial Relations Review, No. 236, September 1993. Google Scholar

Various authors, Con Marx alle Porte -i 37 Giorni della FIAT, Milan, 1980, pp. 41-2. Google Scholar

For an analysis of Italy's low wage, export-led post-war economy see, for example, D. Sassoon, Contemporary Italy: Politics, Economy and Society Since 1945, 1991. Google Scholar

A. Accornero, La Parabola del Sindacato, Bologna, 1992, p. 37. La Parabola del Sindacato 37 Google Scholar

For a comparison of the different outcomes of late-sixties, radicalism in France and Italy see M. Salvati, ‘May 1968 and the Hot Autumn of 1969: The Responses of Two Ruling Classes’ in S. Berger, A. Hirschman, C. Maier (eds.), Organizing Interests in Western Europe: Pluralism, Corporatism and the Transformation of Politics, Cambridge, 1981. See also P. Lange, G. Ross, M. Vannicelli, Unions, Change and Crisis: French and Italian Union Strategy and the Political Economy, 1945-1980, 1982. Salvati's explanation of the different outcomes of the two movements centres on the inability of the Christian Democratic ‘system of power’ to oppose unions frontally and the DC's strenuous defence of traditional supporting interest outside of large private employers. Whilst concurring with analyses pointing to the relative weakness of modern Italian capitalism, this paper emphasises, rather, the relative strength of the Italian labour movement. Organizing Interests in Western Europe: Pluralism, Corporatism and the Transformation of Politics Google Scholar

For the best known elaboration of ‘post-material values’ see R. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution, Princeton, 1977. The Silent Revolution Google Scholar

L. Parlanti, ‘Da Valletta a Piazza Statuto’, Primo Maggio, nos. 9/10, Winter 1977/78. ‘Da Valletta a Piazza Statuto’ Primo Maggio Google Scholar

For further explanation of these terms and their use see A. Accornero, ‘II Sindacato negli Anni della Guerra Fredda (1949-1956)’ in A. Accornero, A. Bonaccini, P. Boni, L. De Carlini (eds.), Sindacato e Lotto, di Classe (1944-1974), Milan, 1974, p. 28. Sindacato e Lotto, di Classe (1944-1974) 28 Google Scholar

A. Accornero, Gli Anni Cinquanta in Fabbrica: con un Diario di Commissione Interna, Rome, 1973, p. 315. Gli Anni Cinquanta in Fabbrica: con un Diario di Commissione Interna 315 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

E. Pugno, S. Garavini, Gli Anni Duri alia FIAT, Turin, 1974, p. 72. Gli Anni Duri alia FIAT 72 Google Scholar

P. Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy, 1990, p. 192. Google Scholar

A. Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks, 1971, p. 132. Google Scholar

P. Spriano, Storia del Partito Communista Italiano, vol. 5, Turin, 1975, p. 425. Storia del Partito Communista Italiano 5 425 Google Scholar

G. Vacca, Saggio su Togliatti, Bari, 1974, cited in I 30 anni della CGIL (1944-1974), Rome, 1975, p. 125. Saggio su Togliatti Google Scholar

Vacca, Saggio. Google Scholar

English language literature on the ‘Italian road to socialism’ and its international context includes: F. Claudin, The Communist Movement: From Comintern to Cominform, 1975; D. L. M. Blackmer, Unity in Diversify: Italian Communism and the Communist World, 1968; J. Braunthal, History of the International: World Socialism 1943-1968, 1980. Google Scholar

See, for example, L. Lanzardo, Classe Operaia e Partito Comunista alla FIAT, Turin, 1974, p. 19. The PCI denounced the ‘political limits of this new vanguard’ pointing to its overly generic aspiration to socialism and tendency to spontaneous movements of revolt. Classe Operaia e Partito Comunista alla FIAT 19 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

For evidence of worker resistance to the Taylorian methods being introduced in Fiat, and the Party's difficulties in getting these methods accepted by its factory militants, see Lanzardo, Classe Operaia, especially pp. 120-39. Google Scholar

M. Rossi-Doria, Riforma Agraria e Azione Meridionalista, Bologna, 1948. Riforma Agraria e Azione Meridionalista Google Scholar

S. Tarrow, Peasant Communism in Southern Italy, 1967, pp. 75-6, 293. Google Scholar

For a review of the literature on the DC system of power see G. F. Pasquino, ‘Recenti Trasformazioni nel Sistema di Potere della Democrazia Cristiana’ in L. Graziano and S. Tarrow (eds.), La Crisi Italiana, vol. II, Turin, 1978. La Crisi Italiana II Google Scholar

For an account of the pact between the landed classes and Piedmontese political power in the process of Unification see J. A. Davis, Conflict and Control: Law and Order in Nineteenth-Century Italy, 1988. Google Scholar

F. M. Snowden, Violence and Great Estates in the South of Italy: Apulia, 1900-1922, Cambridge, 1986, p. 71. Violence and Great Estates in the South of Italy: Apulia, 1900-1922 71 Google Scholar

S. Hellman, ‘Italy’ in M. Kesselman and J. Krieger (eds.), European Politics in Transition, Toronto, 1987, p. 326. European Politics in Transition 326 Google Scholar

Ginsborg, A History, p. 129. Google Scholar

Tarrow, Peasant Communism, p. 279. Google Scholar

G. Fofi, L'immigrazione Meridionale a Torino, Milan, 1975, p. 308. L'immigrazione Meridionale a Torino 308 Google Scholar

Following Ginsborg, A History, p. 30, latifondo is taken here as referring not just to the presence of big estates, but to the extensive existence of small proprietors working their own and/or rented land as well as seeking casual and seasonal work on the great estates. Google Scholar

G. Cingari, Stork della Calabria dall'Unita a Oggi, Bari, 1983, p. 315. Stork della Calabria dall'Unita a Oggi 315 Google Scholar

For an exception to this in Puglia see Snowden, Violence and Great Estates, chapter 10. Google Scholar

Tarrow, Peasant Communism, p. 283. Google Scholar

G. Gribaudi, ‘Mito dell'Eguaglianza e Individualismo: un Comune del Mezzogiorno’ in G. Chianese et al. (eds.), Italia 1945-1950: Conflitti e Trasformazioni Sociali, Milan, 1985, p. 480. Italia 1945-1950: Conflitti e Trasformazioni Sociali 480 Google Scholar

Letter of November 1946 in E. Ciconte, All'Assalto delle Terre del Latifondo - Comunisti e Movimento Contadino in Calabria (1943-1949), Milan, 1981. All'Assalto delle Terre del Latifondo - Comunisti e Movimento Contadino in Calabria (1943-1949) Google Scholar

Cited in Cronache Meridionali, Nos. 8-9, 1964, p. 108. Google Scholar

Cingari, Storia della Calabria, footnote p. 460. Google Scholar

Snowden, Violence and Great Estates, p. 114. Google Scholar

Snowden, Violence and Great Estates, p. 67. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Pugno and Garavini, Gli Anni Duri, p. 234. Google Scholar

E. Deaglio, La FIAT com'e, Milan, 1975, pp. 65-6. La FIAT com'e 65 6 Google Scholar

Pugno and Garavini, Gli Anni Duri, pp. 249, 241. Google Scholar

G. Bocca, Il Giorno, 27 February 1968. Google Scholar

La Rinascita, No. 3, 17 January 1969. Google Scholar

Mimeo, The Struggle in Italy, July 1972. Google Scholar

In an interview with L. Castellina, Il Manifesto, Nos. 2/3, July/August 1969. Google Scholar

Mimeo, Organising at FIAT, July /August 1974. Google Scholar

G. Guida, A. Bronzino and A. Germanetto, FIAT: Struttura Aziendale e Organizzazione dello Sfruttamento, Milan, 1974, p. 159. FIAT: Struttura Aziendale e Organizzazione dello Sfruttamento 159 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

M. Giovana, Torino: La Citta e i Signori FIAT, Milan, 1977, p. 153. Torino: La Citta e i Signori FIAT 153 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Ginsborg, A History, p. 252. Google Scholar

Il Manifesto, Nos. 2/3, July /August 1969. Google Scholar

In a speech of May 1969, quoted in D. Grisoni, H. Portelli, Le Lotte Operate in Italia dal 1960 al 1976, Milan, 1977, p. 123. Le Lotte Operate in Italia dal 1960 al 1976 123 Google Scholar

Linee e Strumenti di Contrattazione delle Condizioni Ambientali di Lavoro, FIOM policy document, Milan, 1968. Google Scholar

R. Gobbi, Gatto Selvaqqio, No. 0, reprinted in Classe Operaio, Complete Reprint 1964-1967. Google Scholar

A. Coppolo, Rinascita, 13 June 1969. Google Scholar

For comparison, see for example H. Beynon, Working for Ford, 1973. Google Scholar

In an interview with L. Castellina, Il Manifesto, No. 1, January 1970. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Inglehart, The Silent Revolution. Google Scholar

‘The Worker-Student Assemblies: Turin 1969’ in Working Class Autonomy and the Crisis, Red Notes/CSE Books, July 1979, p. 185. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

M. Marcelloni, ‘Urban Movements and Political Struggles in Italy’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 3, no. 2, June 1979, p. 258. ‘Urban Movements and Political Struggles in Italy’ International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 3 258 Google Scholar

For more analysis of the Consigli di Quartiere and their fate at the hands of the PCI see S. Hellman, Italian Communism in Transition: The Rise and Fall of the Historic Compromise in Turin, 1975-1980, Oxford, 1988, pp. 72-3. Italian Communism in Transition: The Rise and Fall of the Historic Compromise in Turin, 1975-1980 72 3 Google Scholar

La Stampa, 30 October 1969. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

La Stampa, 4 July 1969. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Financial Times, 4 September 1969. Google Scholar

La Classe, No. 5, 7 June 1969. Google Scholar

For details of the 1993 central agreement see European Industrial Relations Review, No. 236, September 1993. Google Scholar

Various authors, Con Marx alle Porte -i 37 Giorni della FIAT, Milan, 1980, pp. 41-2. Google Scholar

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Partridge, Hilary