Student revoution in italy Essay Example


Student Revolution


A wave of protest ranged in the 1960s and continued to intensify especially in both the capitalist states and the communist states. These movements were as a result of state oppression to its citizen. The movements majorly involved the worker and the students who believed they were subjected to violent state repression. All over the world the wave intensified resulting to social conflicts due to shootings, massacres and police crackdowns. Labor unions and students were behind the protests which were attributed to direct response to perceived injustices from their repressive governments. Italy however was not exempted from these movements which therefore astonishing period in the county’s history. The movement was unequalled due to its intensity as it cut across the whole country ranging from factories, universities, schools and the society in general. Therefore, the lengthy social violence in Italy was the weightiest and long lasting in Europe and came to be known as “Gli anni di piombo”.

Revolts of the students

The revolts of the students basically emerged due to the education reforms of the 1960s especially the introduction of compulsory secondary education which doubled the number of students in schools. The creation of mass education system in post primary opened doors for many especially the working class however it faced deficiencies such as classroom shortages, lack of text books and inadequate teachers training institutions. The number of students grew abnormally with some universities designed for a population of 5000 having as much as 60000 students. This was made even worse with few numbers of teachers who rarely attended lectures. The increased absenteeism of teachers was due to the fifty two hours of lectures per year obligations. Students were not given grants and hence spent most of their lecture time doing odd jobs for their sustenance (Faggioli,p.22)

Thus, overcrowded schools, shortage of teachers and lack of high status jobs were the baseline for the university students’ revolt. This was also attributed to the increased exaltation of the nuclear family and consumerism factor. Coherently the aspect of Catholicism and Marxism ideologies in the country provided subtle support to the protest. Though the two ideologies were not symmetrical they provided grounds to the students in solidarity and collective action in fight against social injustices such as individualism and consumerism. The university movements began in the autumn of 1967 with the likes of catholic institutions such as Trento and Milan. By the year 1968 the movement had spread the whole country with even the quietest university taking part in the fray. The students even changed their dressing behavior and at some points engaged in battles with policemen and torched vehicles.

1977 Movement

In august 1976 a government based on abstention of opposition parties and which was led by Giulio Andreott was formed. It was not inclusive of socialist and communist. Later the communist were involved in the government which was known as the government of solidarity. In the process there was a split between the Italian youth and the PCI. This was due to emerging crisis of unemployment both in the manual and intellectual sectors. Many young people joined the then crowded universities with fewer job after the education. This resulted to a youth movement across major cities in the country referred to as 1977 movement. This movement differed from the earlier movements as youth groups converted buildings to social centers. This resulted to a disillusioned generation due to prevalence of hard drugs. However the movement fizzled out later in the year.

The Red Brigades

After the 1977 movement, another movement by the name of the Red Brigades emerged. This action movement was labeled as the strategy of annihilation and it was discriminative aiming members of the profession and servants of the state. Their agenda was to destabilize the state by terrorizing the ruling elites and their supporters. Their target included the ruling party citing that their danger was the social democracy. The Red Brigades conducted many killings in the country and hence was denoted as a terrorist group. The group was responsible for murdering Aldo Moro, a renowned politician by then whose murder sparked a lot of demonstrations by trade unions. This led to hundreds of thousands people into the street in major cities in the country. Nonetheless, the terrorist threat group was astounded by oneness of political firmness and democratic state (Sundquist,p.8)


Therefore, in the 1960s Italy was characterized by social and political unrest that resulted to movements which were an expression of changes that were brought about by the industrialization not only in the country but also around the world. The massive movements of civil rights and union action meant to eradicate the long social, political and cultural repression. In that line, workers demanded good working conditions and better payments. This therefore resulted to emergence of strong unions movements that agitated for democracy in factories, work organizations decrease of health perils. The movements were in search of liberty to subjugation that people were imperiled. Therefore these movements sought to generate new channels of freedom in various sectors. These included women associations and workers’ rights.

The university movements were as a result of expressing disaffection with limited financial assistance that resulted to high drop-out cases. This was also due to influence by the values of western societies. The unrest in the country resulted by the blossoming of the mafias, youth formed groups that were politically controlled. This because these groups formed alliances with local parties thereby influencing the economic and the political arena. Some of these movements were strongly linked with politicians who were their center of power. The politicians used these movements to fulfill their political ambitions which some resulted to subsequent crimes (Bull,p.15)


In conclusion, the Italian experience of the social and political unrest resulted by industrialization and political inadequacies had a much wider corollary in comparison with other parts of the world. The movements affected the education sector with almost all universities taking part in this fray in their desperate need for reforms. Strong unions emerged in demand for better pay, reduction of health hazards and good working conditions. There were government crises and also terrorism by those mafia groups.


Bull, Anna Cento. Italian neofascism: the strategy of tension and the politics of nonreconciliation. Berghahn Books, 2012.

Faggioli, Massimo. «The New Elites of Italian Catholicism: 1968 and the New Catholic Movements.» The Catholic Historical Review 98.1 (2012): 18-40.

Sundquist, Major Victor H. «Political Terrorism: An Historical Case Study of the Italian Red Brigades.» Journal of Strategic Security 3.3 (2010): 5.