Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Italian elections 2013—Populism wins in Europe

The Italian elections are over and the biggest vote getter was Grillo's Five Star movement.  Naturally, the European "elites' are horrified—Grillo is certainly not one of them.  They call him a "populist"—something that crowd always does when someone who isn't of their club dares to advance political ideas.  They have spent years and millions to turn "populist" into a curse word.

Of course, the big problem is that the elites have fucked up—badly.  Their mismanagement of the economy is so wretched, they are damn lucky the rest of us have not started lynching them.  So we blog.  And make fun of them.  And shout in whatever way we can because we're too damn "civilized" to resort to violence.

Here is a sample of stories about the election from the Guardian.  They pretend they are these great and tolerant liberals, but when it comes to economics, they come down firmly on the side of the crooks in The City.  They are their classmates—in school and professional aspirations.  The historical Populists taught us that the opposite of Populism is elitism.  By self-definition, the Guardian is an elitist publication.  It's their business plan, after all.  (I have bolded the examples of Guardian's elitist biases in the clips below.)

So not only do they call Grillo a populist, they belittle his legitimate political gripes by calling him a clown, comparing him to a character in a children's book, and letting us know the Grillo's accomplishments aren't in pointing out the criminality of the "elites," but his effectiveness in mastering a new methods of communication (the medium is the message, ya know.)

As someone who blogs, I am VERY impressed by what Grillo has accomplished.  But let us NEVER forget that beneath his incredible gift for humor, his message is about as profound and serious as humans get.  I think his message is excellent—one can hope that honesty and a war on corruption will seriously damage the elites who rely on fraud to maintain their undeserved status. Whether this desire translates into a concrete program is another matter entirely—he's up against professionals at wrecking things.

Italy election sparks fresh fears for euro

Result projections point to a hung parliament as a former comedian leads the Five Star Movement to the national stage

John Hooper and Lizzy Davies in Rome
The Guardian, 25 February 2013

Italy threatened to pitch the eurozone into fresh turmoil on Monday night as the result of its general election pointed to a hung parliament and confirmed the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by a comedian-turned-politician, had exploded on to the national stage.

With almost all the votes counted, the centre-left had a lead in the race for the lower house, the chamber of deputies, where it would be assured an outright majority under electoral rules. It was also reckoned to have more seats in the senate, beating a resurgent right led by Silvio Berlusconi by a narrow margin. However, the figures and estimates given did not include the results of four overseas constituencies.

Neither right nor left had an outright majority in the upper house, where the balance will be held by Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement (M5S). Grillo has ruled out supporting either side in his drive to sweep away Italy's existing political parties and the cronyistic culture they support – a sentiment he appeared to reiterate after the countby insisting the M5S was not planning on "any stitch-ups, big or small" and lambasting Berlusconi's voters for committing "a crime against the galaxy".

In an audio message broadcast live online, Grillo said that, after his movement's "exceptional" results, the mainstream parties were "finished, and they know it". "We've started a war of generations … They've been there for 25 to 30 years and they've led this country to catastrophe," he said. "We will be an extraordinary force … We will be 110 inside [the parliament] and several million outside."

Exceeding even the most adventurous pre-electoral predictions, the M5S emerged as Italy's biggest single party in the chamber – a result that will send shockwaves through the eurozone and beyond. Grillo boasted it had achieved its prominence in the space of little more than three years, "with no money and no [state] funding." However, Grillo's movement lagged the two big alliances in the number of seats because it is running alone and not in a coalition.

The result indicated that fresh elections were a strong possibility and, at best, foreshadowed a weak government unable to pass the tough reforms Italy needs to enhance its grim economic prospects.

Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, appeared to signal that his party would attempt to form a government. "It is clear to everyone that a highly delicate situation is developing for the country," he was quoted by the Ansa news agency as saying. "We will manage the responsibility these elections have given us in the interest of Italy."

Gianfranco Fini, a former foreign minister whose party ran as part of outgoing prime minister Mario Monti's centrist alliance, said: "I think the worst is yet to come for Italy."

European leaders have been desperate to see a stable government in Italy, and are likely to be horrified at the triumph of populism in the eurozone's third biggest economy. more

Italian elections: Mario Monti's centrist alliance set for fourth place

Outgoing prime minister once called 'Super Mario' failed to shine during campaign, say analysts

Lizzy Davies in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Monday 25 February 2013

While the implications of the election results were mired in uncertainty on Monday night, one thing was abundantly clear: this was not good news for Mario Monti. The outgoing technocrat prime minister, once dubbed "Super Mario" for his prowess at the European commission, was super no longer. His centrist alliance seemed all but certain to come a poor fourth – to a comedian.

"What a disaster for Monti. A huge communications failure," was the verdict of Bill Emmott, the journalist whose damning documentary about Italy called Girlfriend in a Coma has been touring Italy in recent weeks. The Twitter handle of his film succinctly remarked: "Monti in a Coma. What a waste." A day before, Emmott, a former editor of the Economist, had tweeted that the 69-year-old was the "only choice" for the country. Italians, it seemed, did not agree.

Battered by 13 months of the technocrat government's austerity measures, many voters had grown to loathe Monti for – as they saw it – turning the screw on them with tax hikes when they were already struggling in a recession. more

Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement becomes Italy's election success story

Like Berlusconi in 1994, Grillo has succeeded by exploiting the most relevant medium of the day

John Hooper in Rome
guardian.co.uk, 25 February 2013

By any standards, and whatever happens, Beppe Grillo and the Five Star Movement (M5S) have emerged from Italy's general election as big winners.

Because of the way the electoral system works – favouring alliances Grillo shuns – the M5S will not be the overall victor. But projections suggested it could get more votes than any other party, and could hold the balance of power in the upper house, the Senate. "Honesty will be fashionable again," Grillo declared on Twitter, as the projections began to emerge.

But Grillo has so far refused to do deals with any other parties so small wonder markets and chancelleries view with alarm the progress of the man whose name translates as Joe – Beppe is a diminutive of Giuseppe, or Joseph – Cricket. It could scarcely be bettered as that of someone who has taken it on himself to recount uncomfortable truths, because that is also the role of the cricket in Italy's best-loved children's book, Pinocchio. more

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