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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:48 PM

Huge political victory for occupiers, indignados, pirates, real democracy: Beppe Grillo in Italy

Last edited Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:23 PM - Edit history (1)

It's silly, but I have to type this up myself, since all the media are hellbent on NOT letting you know that Beppe Grillo and his 5 star movement were the winner in Italy's election.

The Guardian at least goes so far as to be clear he is the winner:

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.


But what you can hardly find, is his platform, and that's no wonder - the five stars represent:
publicly owned water,
better transport,
development (as in for example tackling poverty),
free internet access for all,
and environmentalism.

His message was "send the whole corrupt and out-of-touch bunch home". He is for more direct democracy and transparency and uses the internet as his platform. Oh, and I forget to mention he's totally against austerity policies as implemented now (on the backs of the common people) and wants a referendum on the Euro.

I wanted to learn more about the movement, but it's main site http://www.movimentocinquestelle.it/ is down. Too popular? He is of course derided as "a populist comedian", the most popular quip being "they always had clowns governing them, but now they elected one", but I'm thinking George Carlin then.

In short, he's close to Occupy Wall Street, the indignados (check out his rants) and the pirate parties that are springing up.
He comes out of NOWHERE and captures 25 % of the vote, with a rally attented by hundreds of thousands in Rome on the eve of the election. The centre-left coalition headed by Bersani seems to be making ouvertures to follow him in approving legislation on a case by case basis. Bersani has declared himself not the winner even though he got a majority in the House.

A major, major event imho. He's like the first political translation of OWS and he has now become a big thorn in the EU bankogarch side (or in my reading, in the neoliberal project).
You only have to check out how the press is dealing with his victory to know how important it is. Think Iceland jailing banksters and Ecuador striking odious debt & doing very well with the opposite of austerity.


end of public service announcement

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Reply Huge political victory for occupiers, indignados, pirates, real democracy: Beppe Grillo in Italy (Original post)
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 OP
Jackpine Radical Feb 2013 #1
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #4
Tom Rinaldo Feb 2013 #2
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #5
annabanana Feb 2013 #3
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #6
malaise Feb 2013 #7
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #8
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #9
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #10
brooklynite Feb 2013 #11
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #12
woo me with science Feb 2013 #13
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #14
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #16
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #15
BelgianMadCow Feb 2013 #17

Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:53 PM

1. Wow, thanks.

As they say, the revolution will not be televised.

It will, however, be tweeted.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:13 PM

4. I have seen verrry little in our belgian media - but there have been three calls from EU politicians

for the Italians to vote smarter and stay the (GoldmanSachsMonti) course already.

It's a leftist populist uprising in the EU's third largest economy, and the winner by vote bloc (Bersani's centre-left PD) doesn't look like he's going to just go for another round of elections (which would lead us to a Greece/Syriza scenario). This can get very interesting.
Of course, The Markets are not liking it one bit, with the stock exchange falling 5% and government bond interest rates up sharply.

Markets versus People.

Interesting times. I though the revolution was gonna start in Spain (well, it has, like you said, it's not televised. Last weekend there were hundreds of thousands in the streets in 60 cities in Spain (again) spurred on by the 15-M and PAH (anti-evection group)). But this election result is of another order. I really hope Beppe Grillo sticks to his principles, but I've got good hopes. He's not the leader, just the well-known spokesperson by the way.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:56 PM

2. I really appreciate the efforts you made to share all this with us

It's pretty damn exciting!

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:18 PM

5. His main site is up now, for me, but it's in italian only :-( His blog, on the other hand, is here

in english:
http://www.beppegrillo.it/en/

We’ll go into parliament and we won’t even think of messy deals or even teeny weeny messy deals. We’ll be an extraordinary force and we’ll do everything that we have said we’ll do in the election campaign. Citizen's income, let’s start by being alongside the most vulnerable: nobody must get left behind. Let’s start to use different words. There’ll be 150 of us inside and a few million outside. This has been exceptional. The first entity in absolute terms after just three and a bit years, without money, without ever having accepted the reimbursement of expenses. Now we’d be eligible to have 100 million. We’re not taking the money. We’re going on like that. Wait for us in Parliament.


Reducing representatives' pay from some 20.000 euro per month to 3000 is also on his list.

Thanks for the kind words, you're welcome. One fight!

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:10 PM

3. Thank you so much.. You can bet if Berlusconi won we'd be

hearing about it.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:11 AM

6. Indeed. Now, the result was played as "centre-left-centre-right deadlock"

whilst totally underrepresenting the REASON for that deadlock, namely the 5-star movement's huge success.
That was mentioned as an aside, but that seems to change now that centre-left has extented an olive branch. The president is now going to call for a meeting, Grillo will be there.
Grillo who himself will NOT be in parliament, because one of their rules is that anyone with a conviction cannot govern, and he has one for a traffic accident long ago. It's not about him, he's the conduit.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:53 AM

7. K & R

Important news

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:13 AM

8. He didn't come out of nowhere, though. He was a well-known comedian before getting into

 

politics, & his political activity & blogging made him even more famous.

Grillo maintains a blog (available in Italian, English, and Japanese) at beppegrillo.it which is updated daily. Comments to posts regularly top the thousands (in the Italian version). According to Technorati, the blog is ranked among the 10 most visited blogs in the world. In 2008, The Guardian ranked Grillo's blog among the world's most powerful blogs.

Grillo often receives letters of appreciation and support from prominent figures, such as Antonio Di Pietro (former Italian Minister of Infrastructures), Fausto Bertinotti (former President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies), Renzo Piano, and even Nobel Prize Winners like Dario Fo, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Dalai Lama, Muhammad Yunus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beppe_Grillo

Here's a DU post from an italian poster back in 2006.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=364x885580


Here's some spin from the UK's Mirror:

Italy stalemate: Dramatic election sees no overall winner and comedian land 25% of vote


Stock markets tumbled today with £20billion wiped off of London shares, after elections in Italy ended in deadlock.

There are fears of a fresh Eurozone crisis after the result in which the anti-austerity movement fronted by stand-up comic Beppe Grillo won 25% of the vote - denying the centre-left Democrats a chance to form a working government. Experts said the result left the country almost ungovernable...He cannot pass legislation without the backing in both houses...

The dramatic result wiped £20billion off London shares today - with Milan, Frankfurt and Paris stock markets all falling even further. Without any party able to deliver the austerity cuts and reforms demanded by Berlin and Brussels, the eurozone could slip back into crisis.

Mr Grillo won support after campaigning for a return to the lira and a referendum on Italy’s EU membership. He also promised not to do any back-room deals with other parties to keep them in power.

Comic leader Mr Grillo predicted that even if his socialist rival was able to put together a government, it would barely last until the summer.

Italy has already suffered six years of austerity and cutbacks - pushing the country into a depression. Mr Monti forced through draconian austerity measures – mostly tax increases – to comply with EU demands. The economy will have shrunk by almost a tenth from its peak by 2014. The youth jobless rate has reached 37%.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/italy-election-deadlock-comedian-beppe-1732547

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:35 AM

9. Thanks for the added info! Stiglitz is one of the contributors to his blog,

a good sign. I also found this documentary about Grillo from the excellent Tegenlicht:
It's in italian with dutch subtitles, unfortunately (well I speak dutch but I'm guessing not many on DU do )
http://tegenlicht.vpro.nl/afleveringen/2010-2011/aanval-op-europa/toekomst-europa-Beppe-grillo.html

The way I see it, if Beppe stays true to the ideas, Italy's borrowing costs will go through the roof and the question of an italian bailout will be upon us. Then, I'd hope they reject such a bailout but rather start withna thorough inspection of the debt (see Ecuador).

Because the essential predicament is as follows: the banksters crashed the world economy, governments socialized their loss, and now we are supposed to (false dichotomy) either cut the welfare state to "live within our means" or continue to spend and borrow. I say their is a third way - examine the debt, and let the jubilee come. First, repudiate the debt and then balance spending by closing offshores and corporation tax loopholes. That will hurt the perpetrators. Yes,it will also hurt things like pension funds. Nothing a decent society with its priorities straight can't compensate for.

Time to let the system go bust, and THEN decide what we the people deem worthy of saving. I hope the italian election result leads to this. I hope I don't sound too cynical, I'll actually lose a lot of money myself in such a scheme, but it's time we all learned about the greater good, and the commons. It's what Grillo is about as far as I can tell.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 07:43 AM

10. here's how the democrats at Slate are spinning it:

 

Vote for the Italian Comic!

Why the rise of Italy’s Beppe Grillo proves political change comes from crazy people, not centrists.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/02/beppe_grillo_s_political_rise_the_italian_comic_s_success_is_the_most_recent.html

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 07:56 AM

11. UNREC

I HATE posts that talk about how "all the media" is hiding something. I've had no problem finding out that 5 Star has upended the political process in Italy:


NY Times: Comedian’s Blog Morphs Into Major Political Force in Italy

Bloomberg: Italy Confronts Vacuum as Leaders Seek to Avoid Election

Reuters: Italy parties seek way out of election stalemate

Barre Montpellier Times Argus: Early results point to Italy vote gridlock

Now maybe it's not being covered more because Grillo won't actually work with anyone else, and therefore threatens to force Italy into NEW new elections.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:03 AM

12. Update: Grillo has refused to form any kind of alliance with centre-left PD of Bersani

so he does seem not on any path to compromise. He says the 5-star movement will vote on a case-by-case basis in accordance with their platform. People are interpreting it in part as him pushing for a coalition Bersani-Berlusconi (which would then fail and lead to new elections with an even bigger win), but that has been ruled out by the junior partner in Bersani's alliance, the SEL.

Gridlock indeed. Then again, Belgium had no government for 500 days and we're still here.

The Guardian "eurozone crisis blog" has the news.

Italy's bond auctions went reasonably well today, but it would seem the bonds were bought "by 2 large domestic players" ie italian banks...

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:11 PM

14. Good. The uprising needs to spread to Greece and Spain, and then across the water.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:28 PM

16. Did you hear about the 23F (23rd of feb) "sea of citizens" protest in Spain?

600.000 doctors, teachers, miners, etc in 60 cities against austerity, called for by the 15M-movement (the indignados=OWS EU) and the PAH - platform against evictions, amongst others. Here is a recount: http://eskup.elpais.com/*ep_manifestacion_23f_2013#2
just copy the entire link, doesn't seem to work otherwise.


Also in the last week:
In Greece, a national strike with a 100.000 rally in Athens.
In Bulgary, the government stepped down after enduring anti-austerity protests.
In Belgium, there were 40.000 demonstrators at a rally against austerity by the unions.

Why not so much happens in the UK, I really don't understand tbh. Reading the Guardian economic blog, enough people are aware and pissed, but action is something else of course.

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:55 PM

15. K&R. Thanks for posting. n/t

 

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Response to BelgianMadCow (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:41 PM

17. Here is a brilliant write-up on the 5 star movement, at Naked Capitalism

(a blog I'd recommend, at least if your blood pressure can deal with knowing about the ongoing bank shenanigans)
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/02/invia-i-pagliacci-ci-devono-essere-pagliacci-extended-play.html

There were, however, clear signs of the Five Star Movement’s growing popularity in a series of late rallies Mr. Grillo called his #TsunamiTour in appeals to his nearly one million Twitter followers, which culminated in a final campaign appearance attended by an estimated 800,000 in Rome.

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