Much ink has been spilled in controversies over anti-Hegelianism in Italian operaismo. Hegelianism was to be found, first and foremost, in that ideology of the workers as a ‘universal class’, saturated with Kantian ethics in the era of the Second International, and with dialectical materialism in that of the Third. That image of the proletariat, which ‘by freeing itself frees all of humanity’, present in the nineteenth-century Marx, was shattered by Munch’s scream, after which followed the great breakdown of all forms in the early twentieth century. Here we are speaking of artistic avant-gardes, but also of scientific and philosophical ones, and the revolution of all other collective human forms, social, economic, political, under the tragic impact—1914!—of the first great European, and global, civil war. The tide of human progress—the belle époque—crashed against the wall of the worst massacre ever seen. But where danger is, deliverance also grows. Out of that inferno came the principle of hope: the most advanced revolutionary experiment ever launched. It was the Bolsheviks, alone and cursed, who made the leap; all that followed, in the course of their experiment, cannot cancel the gratitude which humanity owes for that heroic effort. One need not be a communist to understand this. And whoever does not understand—or does not want to understand—it is missing a part of the soul they need in order to exist and to act politically in this world. We had the good fortune to set out with this thought. We added the virtù of the ‘worker’s perspective’, and so began the intellectual adventure recounted here.

-Tronti - ‘Our Operaismo’

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