*Struggles in Italy: the crisis of social movements within the economic and political crisis of the State*

*13.July at 6 p.m. *

Italy has early on expressed a fairly strong reaction to the economic
crisis and its social consequences in the form of a broad social movement
and that it was the stage of what was probably the first European
mobilization targeting crisis-related austerity measures. Once the movement
faded out, failing to reach its goals, many of the issues and claims it
arose were partly transferred at the level of institutional politics and
contribute now to its crisis. This is made evident by the recent rise of
“Movimento 5 Stelle”, led by the ex-comedian Beppe Grillo. On the other
hand, another part of the issues stemming from the movement have animated,
and still do, an endless array of small conflicts and controversies
scattered through the territory, and fuel the general and diffuse rage
against the political system. Groups and apparatuses of the
“extraparlamentary left” systematically try to intercept and organize such
conflictuality through forms that always present themselves as new – where
the only thing changing is how they are labeled – and that hold on less and
less.

While we will argue that the recent social movement in Italy failed in
reaching its declared objective of creating an Italian version of the
“Occupy Movement”, remaining silent over the last year and a half of
austerity measures, we will attempt to root such failures in the same
contradictions that are now expressed by the crisis of representative
politics. Our general hypothesis is that both these crisis (the one of the
movement and the one of representative politics) are on one hand part of a
crisis affecting a specific way of integration of the working class
mediated by the State, and on the other side part of the crisis affecting
the petit-bourgeoisie and the middle classes. The both, in turn, are to be
understood within the crisis of global overaccumulation of capital.

As concluding remarks, we will try to evaluate to what extent a new social
movement might be stemming out of the most recent and vigorous struggles
occurring in several sites within the Italian territory. Some of them are
expressing a determination able to overcome the shortcoming strategies of
parties and trade unions, demonstrating the ability to achieve some
successes. To what extent these struggles – mainly led by migrant workers –
will help social movements to go beyond their mistakes is in our view a
fundamental political question that asks for an appropriate practical
answer.