The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have provoked great uncertainty among state managers regarding the future of capitalism. But the perspective of capitalist reproduction is not the only one available to us.
The provisional hypotheses of 1972 appear to be less a ruptural betrayal than an experimental development (however controversial and contingent) in Tronti’s uniquely political theorizing of relations between workers’ struggle and capitalist development.
The relationship between Antonio Gramsci and operaismo, if occasionally mentioned, is rarely explicated. And if translations of Tronti’s 1960s writings have appeared in fragments, his prior formation has remained almost entirely obscured. These texts provide the reader with not only some of the ideas percolating in the mind of the young Tronti, but also a window into the prehistory of workerism: the tumultuous debates within the Italian left of the 1950s over the meanings of Marxism.
Ultimately the young Tronti determines that what is needed now is a Marxism as far from philosophy of praxis as from dialectical materialism, neither a subjectivist voluntarism nor an objectivist fatalism, neither a purely technical methodology of knowledge and human action nor a totalizing metaphysic, but a Marxism that is rigorous but not dogmatic, historical yet not historicist, political as well as theoretical.