|This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (February 2009)|
Potere Operaio ("Workers' Power") was a radical left-wing Italian political group, active between 1968 and 1973. (It shouldn't be confused with "Potere Operaio Pisano" which was one of the components of a competing "revolutionary" group, Lotta Continua.) Among the group's leaders were Antonio ('Toni') Negri, Nanni Balestrini, Franco Piperno, Oreste Scalzone and Valerio Morucci, who led its clandestine armed wing. It was part of the "workerist" movement (operaismo), leading to the later development of the Autonomist movement.
Potere Operaio's main sphere of operations was in factories, especially big factories in the industrial North, and publishing newspapers and leaflets. It sought to base its Marxist theory on the everyday life of supposedly revolutionary factory workers.
Potere Operaio officially ceased to exist on 3 June 1973. Most of its core members went on to be involved in Autonomia Operaia, signalling the shift from operaismo to autonomism. Some of the leaders later drifted towards more radical groups such as the Red Brigades, including Morucci and Adriana Faranda, who took part in the Moro murder. Negri was arrested in the late 1970s, accused of being the leader of the Red Brigades, before being cleared of charges. Oreste Scalzone also was arrested, in connection with violent acts.