The Dynamics of Radicalization: A Relational and Comparative Perspective

By Eitan Y. Alimi; Chares Demetriou et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
The Italian Extra-Parliamentary
Left Movement and Brigate
Rosse (1969–1978)

Every proletarian alternative to power is, from the beginning, political-military. The armed
struggle is the principal way to the class struggle
.

Renato Curcio, November 19691

Italy did not avoid the general wave of Left-wing contention that swept many western countries in the 1960s and 1970s. For the relatively young Italian democracy, in fact, the contention presented one of the most extensive, intensive, and sustained challenges to its base of power and legitimacy. As in other countries, the popular challenge was essentially an anti-authoritarian revolt, demanding more democratic decision-making, rejecting over-bureaucratization, and aiming for a more humanist understanding of politics. Initially led by students, who took to the streets in 1966, this wave of protest attracted workers in 1969 and formed what became known as the Extra-Parliamentary Left movement. Quickly politicized around a predominantly anti-capitalist agenda, the movement eventually led a contentious episode that was to last until the end of the 1970s. While its ability to mobilize support during this period of time waxed and waned, the movement unquestionably put its mark in the Leftwing political culture of the country in the tradition of Italian revolutionary socialism.

1. Collettivo Politico Metropolitano, “Lotta Sociale e Organizzazione nella Metropoli,” 1/1970.

-59-

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