Classes and migrant workers
This chapter provides an overview of Italian economic development and offers a historical perspective of its integration in the world economy, its rapid industrialization and its consequences: prosperity and crises, growth and unequal development. It concentrates on the stratification of the population in terms of social classes. The chapter examines the distribution in terms of occupational sectors and provides a brief examination of emigration and the new immigrant underclass. Italian Communist Party defined the working class as the main protagonist of progressive social change. The Christian Democratic Party was said to rely on a mechanism of consensus in which the middle strata played the central and crucial role. The post-war period saw a massive emigration. But in Italy the southern immigrants were there with their families, their needs, their possibility of influencing political organizations and trade unions, in 1969, they were in the forefront of the events leading to the 'hot autumn'.