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Vive la révolution and the example of Lotta Continua: the circulation of ideas and practices between the left militant worlds of France and Italy following May '68

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This paper highlights a significant connection of radical ideas between France and Italy arising from the political and social upheavals, respectively of May '68 and the ‘hot autumn’ of 1969. Italian students' success in forging links with militant workers around the giant Fiat factories in Turin spurred a number of their French counterparts to visit and witness the strikes and workers' assemblies. The Mao-libertarian group Vive la Révolution was particularly inspired by the example of the student–worker collective Lotta Continua, lifting Italian slogans and imagery to adorn their publications. Italians had themselves rationalised the French May as an event of revolutionary potential, and assimilated much of the symbolism of the Paris uprising into their propaganda. Drawing on interviews conducted with both French and Italian ex-militants, as well as texts and images from their late 60s/early 70s publications, the article underlines the significance of international, indeed transnational, references in informing political ideas and practices, certainly for an important part of the European far left in this period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-328
Number of pages20
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

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