Antonio Gramsci 1919
Source: L'Ordine Nuovo, 13 September 1919;
Transcribed: by Michael Carley.
The engineering workshop Brevetti-Fiat — the largest in Italy — has established the council of factory commissars. It is the first concrete realization of a thesis put forward by “Ordine Nuovo”: the event, which has filled the souls of our worker comrades with enthusiasm and active fervour, belongs then, a little, also to us. The example will be quickly copied in the workshops of Turin: the working masses feel that they have begun the trying of a union experiment absolutely new in Italy, that they have found the possibility, with their own methods and their own ends as an oppressed and exploited class, of creating for themselves tools better suited to forming a perfect cohesion of the working class, the tools best suited to realizing, already, the self-government of the masses, of having begun, exactly as a worker from Brevetti said, the march “within” the revolution and no longer towards the revolution.
The formation of the council advanced with admirable rapidity and discipline, even though we are dealing with a first experience: proof of how the proletarian methods of delegation of functions are better in themselves than the bourgeoisie’s own parliamentary methods. Elections happen without the work of industrial production being interrupted, and even from this point of view the workers have shown the superiority of their systems over the bourgeois systems: the bourgeois elections are a festival of vanities, the triumph of demagogy, of the talking shop, of the lowest passions; the workshop elections happen simply as a reflex of work, between the great heaving breaths of the industrial apparatus of production, and the workers, who do not break their work of creation, keep the whole purity of their character, and their vote is also a production, it too is a moment of creative activity, because gathering in a few a necessary function of the social life of the individuals, gives a saving of energy, a harmonic and potent concentration of the efforts devoted to the aim of triumphing in the class struggle to reach the greatest end: the liberation of labour from the slavery of capital. All the workers, organized and unorganized, of Brevetti took part in the formation of the factory council (of 2000 workers only three or four abstentions are reported): the commissars turned out be elected from the organized (except one who resigned). The elections were held by section, and, in each section, by trade, so that each trade has its capable and competent commissars.
We list their names, the names of the first workers deputies elected directly by the proletarian mass, with its own methods, in its particular domain, the domain of labour:
TOOLING SECTION: Turning: Pacotto; Machines: Baudino; Adjustment: Micheletto: Maintenance: Aghemo.
TURNING SECTION: Griffa, Leone, Scicchetto, Norgia, Franco.
BRONZE SECTION: Turning: Garello, Ghisio; Milling: Fasce; Drills: Montano; Lathes: Bassi, De Prosperi, Canale.
ASSEMBLY PREPARATION SECTION: Tempering, Orecchia; Milling: Fracchia, Brusotto; Drills: Magnetti, Bodo; gear cutting: Tosatto.
BOILER (?) SECTION: Regis, Graziano.
FOUNDRY SECTION: Bertolone, Perone, Audino.
ADDITIONAL WORK SECTION: Testing: Etipe; Fasteners: Baldo; Reamers: Primo; Finishing: Castagno; Stores: Longhi.