It has been seventy years since the first emergence of the operaismo communist current in Italy. Their advertisement of bottom-up resistance to capitalism through sabotage and workplace disobedience evidently appealed to anarchists and Marxists alike, as seen in the prominence of autonomist theorists like Negri and Hardt. Yet even with these intellectual heavyweights promulgating autonomist thought, the products of their labor are nowhere to be seen.

Since its conception, autonomism has entirely failed to prove itself as a legitimate means of accelerating the downfall of capitalism. In Italy, the autonomist left succeeded only in rallying the country against the whole of leftism. Today, the only semblance of leftism still persisting in Italy exists in the form of welfare capitalists and tame social-democrats. By antagonising the entire Italian population through political violence and terrorism, the autonomist movement imploded. Historically, autonomist movements have not succeeded in their stated goals, but instead turned public opinion against themselves.

Beyond empirical examples, the ideological misinterpretation of Marxist class struggle as individuals literally struggling is entirely inconsistent with the rest of Marxist ideology. Low-level action like workplace sabotage and indolence only slows the progression of capitalism. Marx himself said in his 1847 address to the Democratic Association in Brussels that the downfall of capitalism could be accelerated by promoting free trade and reducing capitalist inhibitors, as the nature of unfettered capitalism is of its own self-destruction. By slowing down the progression of capitalism through individual disruption, autonomists inadvertently prolong the existence of capitalism. The decentralized nature of this anti-capitalist resistance also lends itself to being easily crushed by the capitalists themselves. While noble in their resistance to Leninist-style "vanguard parties", who organize the spontaneous workers’ revolution the autonomists promise without any form of class organization? The "revolutionary party" should be the working class as a whole, but this does not mean that there cannot be any organization at all! It is simply a recognition that the revolution must be an international working class movement, rather than a bourgeois "revolutionary cadre" leading an ideological movemnt. The autonomists’ combined neglect of the role of crises and grossly degenerate interpretation of Marx’s theory of class struggle through the individual ensures that they will remain ideologically impotent. Autonomism

Ultimately, autonomism is a confused attempt to merge Western bourgeois individualism and Marxism, all while maintaining ease-of-access for the common member of the working class. Indeed, the appeal of autonomism towards the working class does not lie in ideological soundness or convincing rhetoric, but instead the ease at which any proletarian can laze around and claim to be adhering to autonomist thought. One can only hope that the autonomist movement will curb their bourgeois-inspired violence and anarchy before the forces of reaction, under the guise of maintaining the peace, violently stamp out revolution.