Operaism (or Workerism) was a current within Italian “Marxism” that was independent of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. It developed in the early to mid-1960s in the context of the magazines Quaderni Rossi and Classe Operaia.
A critique of labour, attempts to re-read Marx and the analysis of the labour and factory struggles taking place in the northern Italian industrial centres – in which the workerists intended to practically involve themselves – were at the core of its theoretical work. The operaists gained international attention from the early 1970s with large-scale and often long-lasting strikes in car factories. In West Germany, the operaist’ theories were adopted during the 1970s by militants associated with the magazines Autonomie and Autonomie (Neue Folge).