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<nettime> the perfect storm of spaghetti politics.
Alex Foti on Sun, 3 Mar 2013 21:51:15 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> the perfect storm of spaghetti politics.


more out of sadness than anything else, i respond to the invitation of
german friends to explain wtf happened in the recent Italian general
elections.

Quick summary: monti and austerity lost, the mummy is back (oh
nooooo!), grillo, casaleggio and the 5-star movement won, but the
centerleft didn't lose by a whisker (and has absolute majority in the
lower house and a wafer-thin relative majority in the upper house).

Right now the government of Italy is unknown (it ain't the only
top job vacant in Rome - everything is pretty vacant;). Grillo is
constantly upping the ante and who knows at this stage whether the
5star MPs will give the external backing to bring a centerleft
government into life (as probably the majority of Italians want)
or whether a fateful Grosse Koalition is in the works (it'd be the
tombstone of the Democratic Party, militants are warning on social
networks). The left, split into two, fared very badly. Left Ecology
Freedom (SEL) brought the left back into parliament with 40 elected in
the lower house by virtue of being in the winning coalition, but it
only commands 3% of the vote.

Basically, Grillo has sucked in most of the left's and the northern
league's votes (except in Lombardy, where the green shirts win the
regional gov't - in the new Lombard Reich, Milan held fast and voted
centerleft while giving much less support to Grillo than elsewhere).
The young, precarious class voted 5Star in overwhelming numbers and
have rejuvenated Parliament. Entrepreneurs and professionals ruined
by the crisis also voted Grillo in droves. Salaried employees and
pensioners mostly voted PD. Bersani-led PD played the whole campaign
saying they were going to be the absolute winners and ended up looking
like the absolute losers, while Grillo filled up the piazzas of all
major cities. The left has virtually disappeared from spaghettiland.
What's next for it? Death or resurrection?

The 5-star movement is a centrist populist movement that has at the
top of the agenda the purification of spaghetti politics and the
cutting of its costs. It fuses online democratic participation and
organizing with charismatic leadership by the messiah, aka Beppe, and
the prophet, aka Casalecchio, who manages his web infrastructure and
is the ideologue of the movement. It is part of the occupy, indignada
m15 2011-201? revolutions, but is significantly less leftist than
both. It is very legalistic (it is web libertarian, but detests
rioting), demands a basic income and is euroskeptic. Environmental
concerns have been traditionally important, although much less during
the electoral campaign. Grillo has also talked of suspending foreign
debt payments. But on the issue of austerity, he doesn't seem to
understand the need for increasing spending, actually he seems to for
a different kind of financial rigor than monti's. I wonder what group
M5S will be part of in the European Parliament (in the non-group,
there are only nazis today).

What's left of the italian movement is kinda split on the issue
and there's a debate going on whether M5S is ours too or not (many
5stars have a leftist past) - Wu Ming attacked its leader as
reactionary, while Bifo thinks the M5S platform has many points the
movement has long stood for, e.g. basic income. Grillo has been
accused of being homophobic and mysoginist. He's also disparaged
Italy's much-persecuted roms. His biggest fault is to have talked to
neofascists bt saying that "antifascism doesn't concern him". That's
a point I can't tolerate, although it didn't stop 25% of Italians
giving him the vote (while another 25% voted for Mr B's cryptofascist
xenophobic promafia alliance). Leftists stand for antifascism and
antiracism. And for equality. On that score, the precarious have shown
to put more faith in Grillo than in Vendola (SEL's gay leader and the
left's only good orator, who also proposed basic income while speaking
of the United States of Europe as a social, as well as political,
imperative).

My take is that this is ground zero for the spaghetti left in all its
forms, institutional or not, and we have to restart from scratch,
building an online organization that decides on issues and selects
delegates of, for, and by the people of the left, one without
charismatic leaders, and can thus be competitive with Grillo. The
larger issue is what a leftist populism in Europe looks like.

In the meantime, see you in Brussels on March 14 for DEMOCRACY VS
EUROCRACY, for LIBERTY VS AUSTERITY - #14M

ciao,

lx



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