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A NEW GEOMETRY: PAOLO VIRNO AND AUTONOMIA

Fiat storage lot, Turin, Italy, 1974. Photo: AP/Raoul Fornezza

ITALY’S AUTONOMIA MOVEMENT was less a group of people or an organization to which one belonged than a milieu or network of spaces through which elements of the Italian “extreme” Left moved. Though in many areas of the country autonomia had its base in the student and women’s movements, what distinguished it was its deep roots in certain segments of the working class, in particular those who had emigrated from the south of the country, outside the Communist Party and trade union culture that was so dominant in the northern industrial cities. Not a party, autonomia was a form of struggle (a set of practices, a theoretical orientation). Because it never assumed a recognizable political contour, just who or what autonomia was has remained difficult to nail down. A recent reissue of Autonomia: Post-Political Politics, Semiotext(e)’s 1980 special issue on autonomia—a typically

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