In the 1970s, parts of the operaist movement continued its development under the term Autonomia. Their aim was to extend the sphere of antagonisms and struggle in factories to the whole of society.

This led them to shift their focus from the Fordist “mass worker” to “collective worker”. Autonomia was part of the “1977 movement” in Italy. The movement was particularly important among students, young unemployed people and workers in precarious employment and it was based at universities and in the large cities of North Italy. In Germany, a left-wing radical movement known as the Autonomen established itself and based its ideas on Autonomia and (neo-)anarchist and operaist positions. The Autonomen rarely linked their views to the classical workers’ movement, however, and unlike Autonomia, as an autonomous social movement and subculture, they had very few links to the classical working class.