Factory Council Movement

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Factory Council Movement


a movement of Italian workers in favor of the creation of factory councils to act as organs of the proletariat’s struggle for power. Begun on the initiative of the Ordine Nuovo group, the movement took place during 1919 and 1920, under the conditions of a revolutionary upsurge. The tasks of the factory councils included not only defending the interests of labor but also establishing workers’ control over production and organizing the proletariat’s mass struggle for political power.

The first factory councils appeared at plants in Turin and rapidly acquired considerable influence. Their influence was particularly evident during the general political strike in northern and central Italy on Dec. 2–3, 1919. In March 1920 the metalworkers of Turin went on strike in defense of the rights of the factory councils against the attempts of the Confederation of Industrialists to abolish the councils; in April the entire proletariat of Turin joined the strike, along with 500,000 industrial and agricultural workers of the Piedmont region. The leaders of the Italian Socialist Party and the General Confederation of Labor refused to support the movement on a nationwide scale, however, and the strike ended in defeat. The rights of the factory councils were curtailed, and the councils were deprived of their control functions.

During the movement in September 1920 to take over the factories, the factory councils played a leading role, especially in Turin. After the fascists assumed power in 1922, however, the councils were dissolved.


Gramsci, A. Izbr. proizv., vol. 1. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from Italian.)
Togliatti, P. Izbr. stat’i i rechi, vol. 1. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from Italian).
Kobylianskii, K. V. Velikii Oktiabr’ i revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v Italii (1917–1921). Moscow, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.