Italy's two red years: 1919-1920

10:00am Saturday 19 August

About this session

After WW1, Italy underwent a period of revolutionary ferment — the two red years or ‘Biennio Rosso’. This period of mass strikes, factory occupations and confrontations with the state posed a challenge to Italian capitalism at a time when revolutions and workers councils were breaking out across mainland Europe.

The young Marxist Antonio Gramsci and his comrades from the revolutionary newspaper L’Ordine Nuovo covered the working class democracy on display in the occupied factories of Turin. They argued in face of opposition from both Socialist Party reformists and Bordiga’s ultra-left faction that the occupied workplace like the Russian soviet, could be the nucleus of socialism in Italy. 

This session will explore the tragedy of the Biennio Rosso and the lessons revolutionaries can draw from this period of revolution and counter-revolution.

Recommended Reading