“Pockets of Resistance” in Padova

Hopeful Reflections on Italy’s Communist Refoundation Party

Italian culture is admired worldwide for its appreciation of la dolce vida — a slower enjoyment of life’s sweet and ordinary pleasures. This sits in tension with the breakneck speed of modern capitalism. This pace is, by design, so deliberately demanding that anti-capitalist sociologist Zygmunt Bauman describes modern capitalism as “liquid.” Bauman points out that capitalism, underpinned by interlocking structures of domination, ever increases the speed of modern life, thereby engulfing possibilities for more relational, slower ways of being. This leaves ordinary people “impotent to resist the business-inspired rules of action” and “open to the invasion and domination. . . of the determining role of the economy.” 1 So, in spite of the prevailing notion of la dolce vida, the welfare of Italian society is not immune to the consequences of modern capitalism. Even traditional Italian cultural touchstones of extended mealtimes, afternoon riposo, and community bonds are ever-threatened by the unregulated velocity of modern life. How can resistance sustain itself while contending with this breakneck pace? Anti-capitalist organizers here in Padova, Italy, would begin by extending a hand in friendship and perhaps even opening a bottle of wine.

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  1. Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity (Malden: Polity Press, 2000), 4, ↩︎