Marshall Plan Modernism: Italian Postwar Abstraction and the Beginnings of Autonomia
Conclusion: “Ready-Made Artist and Human Strike” or from Autonomy to Strike
The conclusion attempts to limn latent, nascent currents in culture originating from the fraught civil wars fought between labor and capital several decades ago, a war that the victor, capital, seems to have won, thereby permanently suppressing histories of the vanquished. So it would seem. But spectacular appearances are only ever part of our collective history. Our contemporary cultural landscape might be described as the belated and deferred legacy of the years of “permanent conflictuality” (1972–1977), the moment that began the present epoch in a crucible of restructuring that came to be known as globalization and, in Europe, as the tipping point marking the end of the Marshall Plan, an exemplary site of which was Italy in which tens of thousands of young workers drawn to the industrial north as cheap labor for capitalism’s acceleration were newly politicized. Internationally, this was a moment when the liminal figure—sometimes worker, sometimes student—opening onto feminism, queer activism, and activism on behalf of what was eventually known in broad academic discourse as the “multitude”—nonetheless seized the role of social antagonist and began to appear widely.