Translated by Ed Emery

A Memoir


Flapped Paperback
Publishes October 2024
Extent:  312 pages
Trim: 13 x 23 cm
Price: £30 / £10 (ebook)


I find it necessary to come to terms with Negri’s militant and intellectual career, described here with an honesty that must be recognized even if it disturbs us.

––Gad Lerner

It would be simplistic to consider Story of a Communist solely as the autobiography of Toni Negri. The story experienced in the first person is transfigured into the story of a generation of militants.

––Dario Gentili, Il Manifesto


The philosopher Antonio Negri was one of the preeminent thinkers of our time: his writings on class, socialism, and empire have had an enormous influence on contemporary political theory. His political activism and outspoken advocacy for the downtrodden also placed him at the centre of some of the most dramatic developments in recent Italian history. Story of a Communist—the first volume of Negri’s three-part autobiography—gives a fascinating account of his intellectual development and of the price he paid for living out his ideals.

Negri paints a vivid portrait of the ferment in which some of his most important arguments and ideas took shape, and he provides crucial context for an understanding of the operaismo movement and of the influence that it continues to exert. Story of a Communist is also a very personal work, however: it is a compelling and often moving narrative of a childhood overshadowed by Fascism, and of the ways in which Negri’s later political interventions were shaped by his profoundly important relationships with comrades and collaborators.

This first volume traces the author’s involvement with Left-wing politics in the post-war period, describing in fascinating detail his efforts to marry together his early intellectual work with his commitment to militant labour activism. It also provides an indispensable ground-level perspective on the increasingly repressive measures taken by the Italian government in response to the social movements 1960s and ’70s, with the narrative culminating in a riveting account of Negri’s own arrest in 1979 for alleged involvement in terrorist activities. This is, in short, a powerful record of an extraordinary life, and of the historical forces that shaped it.



ANTONIO NEGRI (1933–2023) was an Italian philosopher and political activist. Formerly a professor of philosophy at the University of Padua, he was a prominent figure in the left-wing operaismo movement in the 1960s and ’70s. He was best known for his writings on globalization—particularly the highly influential volume Empire (co-authored with Michael Hardt)—but he also wrote on subjects as various as Vladimir Lenin, Baruch Spinoza, and the Book of Job.

ED EMERY is an ethnomusicologist based at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has published translations from Arabic, French, Greek, Italian, and Spanish, including numerous works by Antonio Negri and the Nobel laureate Dario Fo.