Remembering Pirelli-Bicocca: memories and dreams of the 'Autunno Caldo'
Luca Rimoldi (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
Until the 1980s, the Bicocca area in Milan (Italy) has been a crucial site for industrial production. The large Pirelli plant occupied the entire area of this northern suburb employing around 12,000 people at its peak. It is right here, on the pavements of Viale Sarca – the main avenue of this neighbourhood – that the demonstrations and strikes of the so-called Autunno Caldo set out. Coordinated by the three major Italian trade unions Cisl (Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori), Uil (Unione Italiana del Lavoro), and Cgil (Confederazione Italiana Generale del Lavoro) Pirelli workers and employees struck and demonstrated demanding better pay and shorter working hours. Today Bicocca has become a 'technological integrated pole'. In place of the old Pirelli assembly plant, now stand the University of Milano Bicocca, the Theatre Arcimboldi, CNR, and Siemens Italia, among others. In this paper I present fragments of life histories of few trade union leaders and activists who worked at Pirelli between 1968 and 1969. These personal histories demonstrate that 'narrated time' gives meaning to a series of places that are radically different today. I will show that the 'future imagined' during the Autunno Caldo of labour unrest continues to have implications in the daily lives of those who took part in it. Thus the ongoing re-conceptualisation of the past and the future imagined in the past show the conflictual relationship between the imagination of these trade-unionists and their daily practices.
Recasting pasts and futures: imagination and belonging across generations in Europe