Lotta Continua ("continuous struggle", in Italian) was a far left extra-parliamentary organization in Italy. It was founded in autumn 1969 by a split in the student-worker movement of Turin, which had started militant activity at the universities and factories such as Fiat. The first issue of Lotta Continua's eponymous newspaper was published in November 1969, and publication continued until 1982 after the organization disbanded in 1976.
Lotta Continua focused on spreading radicalisation from students and youth to workers, and played a large role in setting up social centres. Its influence was greatest among recently-immigrated, young, unqualified workers in large factories, while the "traditional" working class kept its allegiance to the Italian Communist Party and the trade union movement.
Among the newspaper's enduring features was Roberto Zamarin's comic strip "Gasparazzo", which poignantly and humorously related the struggles of a worker at a Fiat plant.
The group's leadership included Adriano Sofri, Mauro Rostagno, Guido Viale, Giorgio Pietrostefani, Erri De Luca, Paolo Brogi and Marco Boato. Other notable contributors included Gad Lerner and Alexander Langer. Since Italian law required that every newspaper needed a professional journalist to act as its "responsible editor", for some time Pier Paolo Pasolini lent his name in order to allow Lotta Continua's publication.
At first a loose grouping with a focus on spontaneous action, it was centralised between 1972 and 1974, with its paper becoming a daily. As opportunities became more limited, it disbanded in 1976 after a national congress characterized by a severe ideological clash between male and female militants. At that time, Sofri and others embraced electoral politics, while some militants joined terrorist organizations, including Prima Linea and the Red Brigades. The newspaper was published until 1982.
During the 1980s, most of Lotta Continua 's representatives abandoned their original ideology. Marco Boato and Mimmo Pinto went to the Radical Party, others worked on TV (RAI or Fininvest) or in various newspapers. Many joined the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), supporting in particular Bettino Craxi's positions. Erri De Luca became a famous writer after joining various humanitarian organizations. Only a few of them, such as Marco Revelli or Fulvio Grimaldi, joined Rifondazione Comunista.
- On 17 May 1972 the Milan police commissioner, Luigi Calabresi, was killed. Adriano Sofri and Giorgio Pietrostefani, former leaders of Lotta Continua, were condemned to long prison sentences for organizing the murder, and Ovidio Bompressi and Leonardo Marino for carrying it out, after legal proceedings which were regarded as controversial. Ovidio Bompressi is one of the few political activists who has been pardoned (in May 2006) by Italian president Giorgio Napolitano (Democrats of the Left, DS) because of health reasons.
- On 1 October 1977, during a protest march in Turin, activists allegedly attacked a bar with Molotov cocktails. Roberto Crescenzio, a 23-year old student, died of burns sustained in this attack. Lotta Continua militants were accused of committing this attack, but were eventually cleared in court.
- Nicola Pizzolato, "Revolution in a Comic Strip: Gasparazzo and the Identity of Southern Migrants in Turin, 1969–1975," Humor and Social Protest, ed. Dennis Bos and Marjolein 't Hart (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
- Pasolini in tribunale (Italian)
- "Italy 1977-8: Living with an earthquake - Red Notes". Red Notes. n.d (late 70s). Retrieved 1 November 2012.