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The working class goes to hell: economic issues in post-World War II Italian cinema.

1. Prologue in the Factories

What is, in theological terms, the reverse of a miracle? What is, in economic terms, the reverse of an "economic miracle"? As today's Italy faces the danger of economic implosion, and with it, the reversal of almost half a century of progress, the country is now confronted with the very real danger of losing the relief it thought to have found from centuries of poverty, backwardness and emigration. In this process, a protracted recent period of governmental corruption and mismanagement of resources, mixed in with a cheerful dosis of plain buffoonery, have of course played an indispensable pernicious role; but they were not the root cause of the decline. There must clearly be more at stake than a series of electoral "wrong choices" if since the end of the Second World War, Italy, having first gone from backwardness to development, has now reverted again to something uncannily suggesting backwardness redux. Granted, the cycles of history appear to have a habit periodically to come and go; or rather, it would seem, first they go and then they come back--usually, to pretty much the same place from which they had originally left. Thus, in principle there is nothing especially new in the whole process as we see it unfold in today's Italy. And yet, such tides and ebbs usually take centuries to play themselves out in full; one is therefore inevitably puzzled as to how the present negative phase could work its effects through the Italian polity in the "mere" span of about two decades, less than the time of a human generation. How could things go so horribly wrong, so fast?

This is both an Italian history and a global one.

Capitalism, especially in its laissez-faire ("classic," "liberal," and more recently, "neo-classic," "neo-liberal") variant, has long been known for both its unethical, or non-ethical, system of values (pace Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759), and on the side of pragmatics, its instability. On both accounts, though focusing especially on the latter, Marx and Engels famously scrutinized capitalism's recurrent crises, stating a truth unspeakable to capitalists, but otherwise fairly obvious. This is the truth that--as, one generation ago, Minsky wryly summarized the issue--capitalism is affected by "a basic flaw: the system has problems with capital" (Minsky, "Back from the Brink," 1988, 28). (1) Notably, the point that most gripped Marx's and Engels's attention was the issue of overproduction, that is, the system's ever-looming incapacity adequately to clear the merchandises produced. What will happen, Marx and Engels asked, when so much will be produced that not enough takers will be available (willing or, more to the point, able) to buy the merchandise accumulated by the uncontrollable capitalistic mechanism?

During Marx's life and, later, well into the age of imperialism, the next question then became to explain by what devices, in the teeth of all theoretical odds, capitalism could possibly continue to manage standing tall, as it variously did in a number of diverse countries. Lenin's, and Luxembourg's, reply was that the by no means miraculous, in fact quite predictable mechanism giving it an ever-renewed lease of life was its unstoppable incorporation into its machinery of more and more "virgin soil" captured across the globe. New sources of supply and new markets/outlets, so Lenin and Luxembourg argued, kept feeding it and, in return, absorbing its production, thus seemingly postponing forever the day of the reckoning. That day would come (as, quite punctually, it did at the time of the two World Wars) when the imperialist powers, having run out of empty global spaces to occupy, would clash with each other at their mutual borders. At that point inter-imperial wars were bound to ensue, forcing capitalism to reveal, by a circuitous but inevitable path, its own inherently destructive nature. (2) There is little need for further elaboration here on the remarkable extent to which the weak, underdeveloped Italian State was an active player in the imperialist game--except to point out, perhaps, that in desperately pursuing, come what may, the gunboat race for reasons of prestige, the Italian ruling class of that period mistook the means for the goal, and thus ended up grabbing at great cost "virgin soils" that neither supplied much, nor took much Italian production in return.

After the First World War the booming, speculative, quintessentially laissez-faire "roaring" 1920s quickly gave way to the spectacular bust of 1929, and a few lesser ones in the 1930s (Lowenstein, What's Wrong with Wall Street, 1988). We all know about the Great Depression, of course, but its main features bear reiterating; first, it was, then already, an excess of unfettered speculation that brought about the global system's collapse (how short are human beings', or, at any rate capitalists', memories); and second, in its mutually reinforcing vicious spiral of overproduction and insufficient purchasing power, the Great Depression was a perfect "Marxian" crisis. But the capitalists of the time clearly did not know Marx, and they were unable to play Marx on the keyboards of their poorly tempered claviers.

The clavier of the British economist John Maynard Keynes did not suffer from the same handicap. And, while not a Marxist himself, Keynes implicitly--very implicitly, if truth be told--argued in favor of the stabilization of the workers' position in society, by rightly stressing that such a stabilization was needed as a prerequisite for the stabilization of capitalism itself. Out of Keynes's window, then, went laissez-faire capitalism, with the presumed omniscience of its markets' mythical "invisible hand," alongside other similarly favored loci of capitalist ideology. For Keynes, the path to a well-tempered actual practice of capitalism--never mind its "seldom or never satisfied" theoretical assumptions (General Theory, 1935, 378)--had to lead through the terrain of full, or almost full, employment. If, as was tragically the case during the 1930s, the markets of laissez-faire capitalism were unwilling or unable to create full employment, then the task of correcting that dysfunction could only fall to that most abominable among the capitalists' bogey-things, their loathed "big G": Government.

There was one obvious corollary to this policy suggestion, though: namely, that a government spendthrift and prodigal during the times of capitalism's breakdown would, once it had nursed the system back to health, have to become niggardly without delay and demand back its dues by both monetary and fiscal means. In so doing, it would "turn off the tap" it had previously thrown open, thus preventing the economy from "overheating" (economists do not seem to feel too uncomfortable with mixed or, indeed, contradictory metaphors)--and thereby, not-so-coincidentally, also accumulating the resources necessary to combat the next crisis. Only much later would it become crystal-clear (as I will have to discuss at a later, appropriate time) how indispensable it is for governments to comply with the prudent principle recommending such "counter-cyclical" action. That is to say, the stimulus extended by central Treasuries to a moribund economy in dire straits must then, for the sake of that country's long-term solvency, be compensated for by taking back (in jargon, "mopping up") the excess liquidity once the economy begins to expand again.

From the theoretical framework of Keynes's insistence on the pursuit of both full employment and long-term budgetary prudence, let us now fast-forward to the empirical world of industrial and labor relations in the Italy of the 1950s and 1960s.

2. Issues and Films of the Italian Industrial "Golden Age"

Most of the readers of this essay are unlikely to have had direct experience of factory floors in Italy during the 1950s and 1960s. Surely, they might have viewed documentaries on that subject, of which there are some excellent recent ones: for example Giovanna Gagliardo's Bellissime (2004), Francesca Comencini's In fabbrica (2007), or Simona Ercolani and Paolo Fattori's tragically striking La classe operaia va all'inferno (2008). But it seems probable that the most easily trodden way for my argument to proceed to its next stage will be to evoke situations and images made familiar, in our collective unconscious, by some famous feature films from decades ago that revolve around issues of factory life. Among these we must rank, if not Mario Monicelli's I compagni (1963), set in pre-World War I Turin (which, although it predates our time frame, must nevertheless be commended as a masterpiece), then certainly Luchino Visconti's Rocco e i suoi fratelli (1960): a film for which, considering the Alfa Romeo worker Ciro's exemplary role, the title Ciro e i suoi fratelli might really have been, in many respects, just as accurate. We have, furthermore, Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema (1968), with its interview of the workers-owners in the film's "Prologue/Epilogue Outside the Factory." And Elio Petri's archetypal La classe operaia va in paradiso (1971) of course stands out, featuring Lulu Massa, the victimized Massenmensch who in and by his own dehumanized behavior unwittingly duplicates the dehumanizing nature of the assembly line. Furthermore, in Vittorio De Sica's Una breve vacanza (1973) Florinda Bolkan, poor dubbing notwithstanding, offers us a convincing portrait of the first female factory worker cast in a protagonist role. These are all films that achieve great artistic and poetic results by what could be called a partial politicization: they do not envisage agitation or propaganda as such (although in Visconti's case it is quite clear that the director's heart beats on the left side), and yet--or perhaps precisely because of that--are able to shape a persuasive, moving argument about the plight of the social groups they depict. Such films are clearly the product of their own times: they portray the working class in the industrialized West (in the Italian context; Charlie Chaplin had already given the world his Modern Times in 1936) at the peak moment of modernity, as defined by the mechanized, large-scale rhythms spread by the industrial practices of Fordism and Taylorism.

Certainly, those were conflictual times. Without the space to rehearse here anything more than the most basic signposts on the very winding road taken by Italian democracy after the Second World War, suffice it to say that the late 1960s saw a serious breakthrough in the working class's advancement of its economic and political position in the factory--an advancement which unfortunately, due to the State's manifest policy failure, went disgracefully unmatched in the concrete living conditions of working-class neighborhoods. Despite that conflict, the fact remains that the "factory films" of the Italian 1960s-70s portray what can be called an entire society's success story. We can no doubt say that, at that time, during two or three decades Italy, joining the newly re-built/re-industrialized West, enjoyed a very real chicken-and-egg virtuous circle of growing consumption, growing income, growing standards of living, growing profits ... and shrinking income inequality. The pie grew for all; but proportionally, it grew more for those who previously used to have nothing at all to eat.

Yet the conflict intrinsic to the ancient master-slave relationship, tweaked though it was into a new variant by modern industrial society, clearly endured. Its rich ambiguity was captured to perfection in a few "economico-revolutionary" verses thundered to his public by the revolutionist called Marat, a fictional character molded on the real historical Jean-Paul Marat, created in 1964 by the German dramatist Peter Weiss. This is the gist of Marat's/Weiss's Econ 101 course from the "Keynesian" mid-1960s:
   We are now told
   That workers should soon expect higher salaries:
   Why?
   Because that will lead to increased production
   And consequently to greater sales
   Which fatten the pockets of the entrepreneurs [...].

   Don't let yourselves be fooled [.] when they say
   That the conditions have now improved:
   Even if you no longer see poverty,
   Because poverty has been painted over,
   And if you earn money,
   And you can afford some of the things
   That the industries quack you into,
   And if it seems to you
   That your affluence is standing just outside your door--(79)/
   (80) Then all that is just a fabrication by those
   Who still have so much more than you do ...

      (Weiss, Marat/Sade 1964, 79-80; my translation) (3)


Even in an age so relatively golden for the working class, there were indeed a few flies in the global ointment. The first is the one whose presence Weiss's pseudo-Marat sharply denounces: Remember, if the likes of Henry Ford want you to be able to afford the very Model Ts that you yourselves make and assemble, this is not because they are philanthropists, but because they want their own businesses to keep growing and growing. You will become marginally better off in the process, but their real purpose is to enrich--greatly to enrich --themselves.

The second fly is not mentioned at all in the pseudo-Marat's political speech and is indeed more typical of the history of the Italian labor movement than it is of the German or the U.S. one. None of the advances achieved by the Italian working class over the decades was received as a gracious gift from the employers; on the contrary, they were all hard fought over and, as a matter of fact, ever bitterly resented by the workers' social counterpart.

As for the third fly in the hypocritically "altruistic" mechanisms of the industrial capitalism of the 1960s, its nature leads us to the very core of the issue already raised by Lenin and Luxembourg: that core is what today we call (as they did not) globalization. Any largesse such as the salaried workers of the industrialized West might have received--or wrought--from their employers in those early stages of the consumer society was directly premised on the ability of global (then, mostly US) monopoly capital to extract profit and rent from subordinate peripheral countries, producers of raw materials and labor, put at a strategic disadvantage by their unfavorable terms of trade (i.e.: the relative backwardness of their technology, finance, industry, military system, demography and/or political institutions caused them to be weak, and tautologically to remain so).

However, the vicissitudes of the Vietnam war and of other colonial wars notwithstanding, there was no real crisis--no structural crisis--for capitalism during the three decades following the Second World War; the US-led system of monopoly capital could afford to be relatively generous toward its own, in any case pretty activist, working class (Baran and Sweezy, Monopoly Capital). In its own fortunate, privileged corner of the world, the West's working class could indeed--relatively speaking--"go to Heaven."

3. Deep into Italy's Decade of No Return

The 1970s saw the paroxysm of conflict between labor and capital in the industrialized world, especially in the countries that embodied capitalism's weakest link. Which of the two counterparts, labor or capital, would pay for the oil price shocks of, respectively, 1973 and 1979, and the stagflation they brought in their wake? How could, in the generalized cacophony of voices and behaviors, the never so appropriately termed "reaction-ary" wing of society reestablish and again enforce social obedience? These were the real, brutal terms of the problem at stake.

Italy, in particular, had to endure during what could be called the "long 1970s" (with the bombings from 1969, at Milan's Piazza Fontana, to 1980, at the Bologna train station) a long string of murderous terrorist attacks in public places. These bombings--unclaimed, but easily traced by investigating magistrates to extremist right-wing groups aided and abetted by the Italian State's secret services--amounted to a true systematic program of mass intimidation: everyone fall back into line, or else ... At the time too painful (and sensitive, and dangerous) a topic to be addressed directly in an investigative cinema of sorts--Pasolini was, after all, murdered in 1975--such a social tragedy can only barely be mapped out in the Italian cinema of the times, and if at all, then only via the proportionally scant indices it left in comic discourse. I am alluding, for example, to Mario Monicelli's Vogliamo i colonnelli (1973), and the collective work by Luigi Comencini, Nanni Loy, Luigi Magni, Mario Monicelli and Ettore Scola Signore e signori buonanotte (1976). Outside the comic genre, we have to wait for another full generation for the issue to be tackled. Among the recent films a good reconstruction of the period can be found in the "historical prologue" to Renato De Maria's La prima linea (2009) and in Marco Tullio Giordana's Romanzo di una strage (2012), whose soberness is, in contrast, sorely missed in Michele Placido's II grande sogno (2009).

Such terroristic tactics proved all the more successful in weakening Italy's post-Second World War democratic system because, equally and symmetrically, extremist left-wingers took in turn to their own arms (guns, rather than the neo-Fascists' bombs), and used them with murderous effectiveness to dispatch, inter multos alios, the prominent Christian Democrat politician Aldo Moro (1978). Moro was the only high-profile leader in Italy's ruling party of the times willing and able to try diluting the cronyism and technical incompetence typically associated with his own side--on which see Roberto Faenza's astonishingly surreal, yet only-too-real, documentary Forza Italia (1979)--by accepting the strategic, crisis-beating alliance with the Italian Communists proposed earlier in the decade by the then secretary of the PCI Enrico Berlinguer. (4)

And this was only the drama that could, at the time, be discerned on the surface; beneath that visible turmoil, the shifting of equally insidious invisible fault lines was decisively contributing to crack Italy's political foundations apart. During the same years, the secret Masonic lodge calling itself "P2" brought together a very large group (or "family") of bankers, army generals, politicians, journalists, industrialists and entrepreneurs, policemen and tax policemen (Guardie di Finanza), judges, aristocrats, developers and media tycoons (among whom one should note Silvio Berlusconi, card # 1816; Angelo Rizzoli; and Bruno Tassan Din, card # 1633) to hatch a collective, so-called "Plan of democratic re-birth." Such a plan aimed at establishing in Italy what, for all intents and purposes, amounted to an authoritarian presidential republic, modeled on De Gaulle's Fifth Republic in France, unfettered by the noxious niceties of parliamentary procedures and of socio-political checks and balances over individual (specifically, the Family's) economic might (all details in Flamigni, Dossier P2, 2008). (5)

In sum, in a very real sense the beginning of the 1980s marked a watershed moment, after which Italian democracy would never be the same again. By no coincidence, shortly after Moro's demise the baton of power passed on, for more than a decade, neither to the Christian Democrats nor to the Communists, but to the P2 Plan's favorite politician: the PSI strongman Bettino Craxi--a personal friend of the tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, and the godfather to Berlusconi's children.

That epochal trauma, Italy's trauma at the dawn of the 1980s, is what Wilma Labate's "historical film" Signorinaeffe (2007) is, directly or indirectly, all about. Signorinaeffe can be considered historical in exactly the same terms in which we consider historical some nineteenth-century narratives ranging from Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, via Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris and Gogol''s Taras Bul'ba, to Tolstoy's War and Peace (and indeed, at least in some respects, Manzoni's I promessi sposi). Labate's film offers, in the foreground, a love story which is bound to make only limited sense in isolation and abstraction; that romance only acquires its full value within the greater context which it summarizes, condenses, and, as it were, duplicates in miniature.

Not a whole lot needs to be said about the details of the overall predictably conflictual love plot, in Labate's Signorinaeffe, between the politicized FIAT blue-collar worker Sergio and Emma, the attractive math student who aspires to rise, half a notch above assembly-line desperation, to the presumed privileged status of "employee" (impiegata, white-collar worker). Not much, that is, except that Emma's predicament, and her hesitation between Sergio and the sexually opportunistic middle-level manager Silvio--her boss in what amounts to a very early avatar of a computerized office--acts as the micro-image to a macro conflict. That macro conflict is clearly the one going on at the very same time in the huge FIAT Mirafiori factory in Turin, which contains everyone and swallows everyone daily.

Ostensibly, that macroscopic conflict is the one that pits FIAT's management against the blue collar workers' protracted, union-led strike for their political and economic rights. Again ostensibly--though not altogether truly, at least in the long term--that macroscopic conflict is about the unexpected and apparently spontaneous anti-strike march that was carried out through Turin, on October 14, 1980, by tens of thousands of foremen and white-collar employees: a first in a country that, during the previous two decades, had grown accustomed to countless demonstrations by blue collar workers downing their tools and students dropping their books, but had never before witnessed a conservative counter-demonstration pushing for the resumption of work at the time of a labor clash.

When, emboldened by such an unusual public show of support, FIAT's management imposes its own terms and starts up the assembly line again--no doubt to the great satisfaction of foreign politicians such as Ronald Reagan, eager to position the U.S. Federal government similarly on the occasion of the dispute with striking air traffic controllers (Aug 3-5, 1981), or Margaret Thatcher, spoiling for a fight against the striking labor unions in the British mining industry (March 1984-March 1985)--when FIAT's assembly line revs up again, we are invited to see in Emma's choice of going back to her quite literally calculating fiance a symbolic representation of the working class's political defeat. In fact, Signorinaeffe invites us to see in Emma's choice the symbolic beginning of an entirely new age: an age in which rapports of politico-economic power begin drastically to shift against labor, and in favor of capital.

So far, so accurate in historical perspective. But, as it turns out, this is not the entire truth to the film; nor, above all, to the great complexity of the events in 1980. As today we look at such facts from afar, with the perspectival advantage of distance, before we take leave of Labate's Signorinaeffe we can and must say, in a manner that would have been well-nigh impossible at the time, that Emma's and Sergio's failed love story symbolically marks the beginning not of a mere contingent reshuffling of power within FIAT (however pivotal the company might have been for the Italian economy of the time), but that it marks the beginning of a new economic age for the world at large. I am alluding to the transition from the age of industrial capitalism to the age of financial capitalism: a process that, in the subsequent thirty years, has brought about the destruction in Turin not only of most of the jobs like Sergio's, but also the wiping out of most of the jobs like Emma's ... and Silvio's. However much the latter two thought they won their battle against the likes of Sergio, that was not, or anyway not so simplistically, the case. Although none of the three realized this at the time, their interests were in fact aligned: with respect to the management and the owners, the three of them stood on the same side, not on opposite sides, of the economic watershed.

Despite their inability to recognize this condition, Emma and Silvio, too, were defeated in 1980 as the white-collar employees that they were. They simply failed to see what was coming: the deindustrialization of the formerly advanced West. (6)

4. Since Reagan: Our Age of Viral Capitalism

In today's Italy, FIAT still exists, but as the shadow of its former self. It still creates bonuses for its managers and profits for the owners of its stock--some of the time--but it does so with merchandise produced, and sold, less in Italy than across the globe. FIAT is no longer an Italian and European giant: its management's and its unions' rhetoric notwithstanding, it is essentially no more than one of innumerable mid-sized international industrial brands. It could easily abandon its historical headquarters in Turin and set up shop anywhere else in the world. This, in any case, "The Company" ("l'Azienda," par excellence) regularly threatens to do, when it believes that such menaces will bring it an economic advantage in some bout of bargaining or other. (7) That the city of Turin is proving able, with today's FIAT weighing less heavily on it, to breathe more freely, and to look and feel less like a company dorm, is of course true, but largely beside the point for today's unemployed or underemployed Piedmontese (or for would-be future Piedmontese from other regions of Italy). With today's globalization-induced downsizing of FIAT, and of Turin, gone is also the peak age in the history of Italian industrialization.

What is to follow Italy's industrial age? Alas, events (especially after 2001) have already begun to provide an answer; and cinema (especially after 2001) has already provided us with abundant illustrations of that answer. And so it is that, as a scant consolation, watchers of Italian cinema can now point to entire new "sui generis genres." The first such fresh category can be said to line up films that deal with issues related to the recently established jobless society: for example, Francesca Comencini's Mobbing/Mi piace lavorare (2003), Silvio Soldini's Giorni e nuvole (2006), and Gianni Amelio's La stella che non c'e (2006). A productive possible label for yet another grouping seems to be that of the sub-employed society, a society based on precarious, short-term and/or parttime work. Among the best champions of such a sad group one could probably include Eugenio Cappuccio's Volevo solo dormirle addosso (2004), Paolo Virzi's Tutta la vita davanti (2008), and Massimo Venier's Generazione mille Euro (2009), among others.

To be sure, this sorry outcome from the "00s" years has been long in the making. It is an outcome that had already been developing in Italian society during the 1980s (the historic ILVA steel mill at Bagnoli, to mention but one emblematic case, was shut down in 1990), the decade when Ronald Reagan's deficit-induced "voodoo economics" dramatically shifted the accumulation of profit, in the West, from the industrial sector to the financial one.

The trend toward asset-inflationary "financialization" continued through the 1990s, via the successive bubbles of post-Communist euphoria; Germany's, and Europe's, dreadfully expensive re-unification; and the dotcom craze. It even accelerated through the 2000s, characterized by the discrete but cumulatively devastating steps of China's accession to the WTO; the globalization of production; the debauching of the US dollar to pay for George Bush's wars; the world-wide housing bubble of the 2000s; and the usual attendant parasitical phenomena, well-known to economic historians, of wildly leveraged speculation, gambling with debt, and plain crookedness. Through all of the above, no one in charge of the capitalist levers of power thought it worthwhile for the common good to match dollars with sense.

Hence the current economic collapse of most Western societies, infected by what Bauman acutely calls a form of "viral capitalism" (Capitale parassitario 6). (8) This is an illness aptly described by Panara (echoing Spengler's century-old classic on "The Twilight of the West"--Spengler 1918, 1922) as the present time's "disease of the West" (Panara 2010). But viral capitalism is today's history, and I will have to elaborate elsewhere in more specific detail on this post-Reaganite phase of our ailment.

APPENDIX

Michele Serra, L'AMACA, La Repubblica, 24/11/2011

Con allegra perfidia, i due sindacalisti della Fiom Landini e Airaudo hanno sollecitato il governo a pretendere, per i ministeri, "auto italiane." Ben sapendo che, Maserati a parte, ben poco di ministeriale viene prodotto dalla Fiat da molti anni, e l'intera classe politica nazionale sarebbe dunque costretta a girare in Panda (o in Vespa, molto chic ma scomodo in inverno). Qualunque cosa si pensi di Marchionne e della complicata vertenza Fiat, questo e un punto decisivo: se Fiat e ancora una fabbrica di automobili, dove sono le nuove automobili? La mancanza, dopo il remake della Cinquecento, di nuovi modelli in grado di segnare il costume italiano (come Fiat ha fatto per quasi un secolo) e la prova provata di una fuga degli investimenti dalla fabbrica ad altri lidi, dal prodotto all'economia immateriale. Un ammainabandiera che rischia di far languire quel tanto o quel poco di tifo nazionalista che ancora si raccoglie attorno al glorioso marchio, e rende non solo plausibile, ma del tutto ragionevole la domanda del sindacato: scusate, ma dov'e il piano industriale? La speranza (paradossale) e che il mercato finanziario vada perfino peggio del mercato dell'auto, riportando in fabbrica almeno gli spiccioli ...

Michele Serra, L'AMACA, La Repubblica, 25/11/2011

Le facce e le voci, dalla Fiat di Termini Imerese che chiude e se ne va, sono di desolazione e di impotenza, quasi che perdere il lavoro sia una catastrofe naturale. C'e piu rabbia tra gli alluvionati che tra i licenziati, e questo e un portato dei tempi, un segno di quanto profonda sia stata la disfatta politica e culturale della sinistra, che voleva mettere la produzione al servizio degli uomini e non viceversa. E viceversa che ha vinto. Gli esseri umani, esattamente come scriveva Marx quasi duecento anni fa, sono una variabile del capitale. Tutti o quasi hanno coscienza, anche nel sindacato, anche tra gli operai, che l'alternativa sperimentata (il socialismo reale, l'economia statalizzata) e stata perfino peggiore, non solo piu inefficiente, anche piu inumana e oppressiva. Ma il problema resta: gigantesco, incombente, irrisolto. Uomini come ingranaggi, come pezzi da usare se servono, da accantonare quando non rendono abbastanza, come in "Tempi moderni" di Chaplin. Due secoli di lotte hanno strappato orari piu umani, salari meno miseri, diritti in fabbrica, ma non hanno potuto inventare o suggerire o imporre un modo di produzione in cui siano padroni gli esseri umani e non il capitale.

University of British Columbia

Works Cited

Baran, Paul, and Paul M. Sweezy. Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966.

Bauman, Zygmunt. Capitalismo parassitario. Trans. Fabio Galimberti. Roma: Laterza, 2009.

Flamigni, Sergio, ed. Dossier P2. Milan: Kaos edizioni, 2008.

Griseri, Paolo. "Tutta Mirafiori in cassa integrazione." La Repubblica (May 19, 2012).

Kemp, Tom. Theories of Imperialism. London: Dobson, 1967.

Keynes, John Maynard. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. 1935. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964.

Lowenstein, Louis. What's Wrong with Wall Street: Short-Term Gain and the Absentee Shareholder. Reading, Mass.: Addison Wesley, 1988.

Minsky, Hyman P. Stabilizing an Unstable Economy. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1986.

Minsky, Hyman P. Interview: "Back from the Brink." Challenge (Jan-Feb. 1988): 22-28.

Panara, Marco. La malattia dell'Occidente. Perche il lavoro non vale piu. Roma: Laterza, 2010.

Serra, Michele. "Con allegra perfidia ...": L'Amaca. La Repubblica (Nov. 24, 2011).

Serra, Michele. "Le facce e le voci ...": L'Amaca. La Repubblica (Nov. 25, 2011).

Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. 1759. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.

Spengler, Oswald. Der Untergang des Abendlandes (The Twilight of the West). Wiesbaden: Marix Verlag, 2007. [Vol. 1. Vienna: Braumuller, 1918; vol. 2. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1922.]

Weiss, Peter. Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean-Paul Marats ... Frankfut am Main: Suhrkamp, 1964.

FILMOGRAPHY

Amelio, Gianni. La stella che non c'e (2006).

Bellocchio, Marco. Buongiorno, notte (2003).

Cappuccio, Eugenio. Volevo solo dormirle addosso (2004).

Chaplin, Charlie. Modern Times (1936).

Comencini, Francesca. Mobbing/Mi piace lavorare (2003).

Comencini, Francesca. In fabbrica (2007).

Comencini, Luigi, Nanni Loy, Luigi Magni, Mario Monicelli, and Ettore Scola. Signore e signori buonanotte (1976).

De Maria, Renato. La prima linea (2009).

De Sica, Vittorio. Una breve vacanza (1973).

Ercolani, Simona, and Paolo Fattori. La classe operaia va all'inferno (2008).

Faenza, Roberto. Forza Italia (1979).

Ferrara, Giuseppe. Il caso Moro (1986).

Gagliardo, Giovanna. Bellissime (2004).

Giordana, Marco Tullio. Romanzo di una strage (2012).

Grimaldi, Aurelio. Se ci sara luce sara bellissimo. Moro: Un'altra storia (2004).

Labate, Wilma. Signorinaeffe (2007).

Martinelli, Renzo. Piazza delle Cinque lune (2003).

Monicelli, Mario. I compagni (1963).

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(1) See also Minsky's landmark book Stabilizing an Unstable Economy.

(2) On Luxembourg and Lenin, see Kemp.

(3) "Es heisst jetzt/Die Arbeiter hatten bald hohere Lohne zu erwarten/Warum/weil mit einer gesteigerten Produktion gerechnet wird/und folglich mit grosserem Umsatz/der die Taschen der Unternehmer dick macht [...]//Lasst euch nicht tauschen [...] wenn es heisst/dass die Zustande sich jetzt gebessert haben/Auch wenn ihr die Not nicht mehr seht/weil die Not ubertuncht ist/und wenn ihr Geld verdient/und euch was leisten konnt von dem/was die Industrien euch andrehen/und es euch scheint/euer Wohlstand stande vor der Tur (79)/(80) so ist das nur eine Erfindung von denen/die immer noch viel mehr haben als ihr [...]."

(4) The trauma undergone by Italy at the time of Moro's murder has been since captured in at least four impressive, and utterly diverse, films: Giuseppe Ferrara's Il caso Moro (1986); Renzo Martinelli's Piazza delle Cinque lune (2003); Marco Bellocchio's Buongiorno, notte (2003); and Aurelio Grimaldi's Se ci sara luce sara bellissimo. Moro: un'altra storia (2004)--four films showing us just how deeply shaken Italian democracy was by the end of the 1969-1980 decade, decidedly her "decade of no return."

(5) Those curious to seek international aggravating circumstances to the secret plots bedeviling Italian society circa A.D. 1980 will no doubt find it instructive to consider that at that precise time the CIA was financing, in Poland, strikes led by the local Solidarnosc labor union (started in July 1980), while, for its part, the KGB was quite literally striking back by masterminding, through various middlemen, Mehmet Ali Agca's attempt, in Rome, on the life of the Polish pope John Paul II (May 13, 1981).

(6) This is true both in general and in the given context. For the most recent specifics about white collars at FIAT, see Griseri 2012.

(7) For recent downsizing developments at FIAT see, aside from financial dailies, also Serra, "Con allegra perfidia," 2011a, and "Le facce e le voci," 2011b.

(8) The translation of Bauman's work, listed in the works cited, gives no bibliographical indication about the original, not even which language the book has been translated from.
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Author:Testa, Carlo
Publication:Annali d'Italianistica
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:5677
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