The Italian workers’ movement reached the peak of its powers in the early 1970s and the Communist Party achieved its highest ever vote in the 1976 election. By 1980 this process of expansion had reversed and a new phase of development in modern Italian history followed. In this lecture, Dr Matt Myers will explore the experiences of time and social memory of the Italian workers’ movement and Communist Party during this period of power and decline. It uses the Italian left to trace the politics of memory in a crucial transition moment in European history where the memory of fascism and the Resistance continued to shape perceptions of possible futures and historical repetition. Myers will show how complex social conflicts forced a historical revaluation of the social memory and collective experiences of time which had structured the workers’ movement’s previous identity, sense of purpose, and vision. Using previously unused or overlooked archival documentation uncovered during his fellowship at the BSR, the lecture foregrounds a range of forgotten or ignored voices of a generation of workers, trade unionists, and movement leaders after the early 1970s.
This event will be in English.
Image: Picket line at Fiat, Turin, 1980.
Dr Matt Myers is a Rome Fellow at the British School at Rome and Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Oxford.