“If I were to say one thing to Beppe? I’d tell him that I totally agree with his critiques about the political class to which, however I’d also add the one concerned with public and private top managers. Starting with Paolo Scaroni, who is the chief of the biggest Italian public company, ENI, after having been found guilty twice, was able to adjust the terms of the sentences twice.”
Giulietto Chiesa has his own idea about Beppe Grillo’s V-Day. The one by the comedian from Genoa “isn’t the cure but it’s a symptom. We’re witnessing the end of the liberal democracy. The reaction to this epochal event might also have virulent forms, not necessarily negative ones. Grillo’s initiative has an extreme, radical and even dramatic form, it can’t be dismissed as anti-politics though.”
The end of the liberal democracy: fine, but what has Grillo got to do with it?
“It’s clear that Grillo also puts forward proposals that, considered one by one, might be questionable. But the aspect we all should discuss is different: he has broken a pattern. The pattern of these years, in which politics and democracy can’t be relied upon anymore by the public opinion, is grounded on a both simple and tragic assumption: that there’s no longer any politics.”
Politics that becomes handmaiden of economy has produced the apocalyptic Grillo. Is that what you mean?
“We’ve been repeatedly told in these years that we should follow the orders which stem from an inevitable necessity. Economic accounts were provided to us as irrefutable truths; the social security retirement crisis, which is a colossal deception, has been touted as one of these ineluctable necessities. A bitter pill that we’re supposed to swallow without asking others or ourselves too many questions. There’s no more room left for politics in a situation in which no alternative exists. Since the political class, in consideration of the necessities of economics, has stopped doing politics and has turned into an interchangeable oligarchy, it’s clear that the necessity for a break comes to the fore. How do you fight oligarchy? By getting yourself co-opted? Not at all! There’s only one way to fight it: to break it.”
If it’s true that politics is surrounded, and sometimes directed, by lobbies, it’s likewise true that there are irreducible forces opposing this handmaid’s role. The Italian Communist Party, regarding the cost of politics, is carrying out a non-demagogic struggle against privilege…
“If this political class—or sectors of it--, which I still trust somewhat, namely the institutional left which sets itself on the left of Donald Duck-Veltroni, if these forces still have some energies, it’s time they wake up! It’s up to them, rather than Grillo, to avoid the dangers the democracy today is running up against. It can’t be stated that Grillo bears the responsibilities of possible degenerating processes that his initiative might give rise to. On the contrary, who is accountable is that democratic part of the political class and of the intelligentsia who lacks the courage to furnish answers and to radically renew itself.”
According to Prodi, “the Italian society isn’t any better than its political class.” A heavy and bitter judgement. Do you agree?
“The statement is terrible but true. So, a second consideration follows: where else to start renovating if not from the head, from a political class who may have the courage to clean up its own home? And then, there’s another aspect we need to take act on: the total symbiosis between the system of the media and political power. We have been able to observe just how the major newspapers reacted so rabidly to Grillo’s words. We Italians finance the information system with 700 million euros each year, most of which are destined to the mainstream press: Corriere della Sera, Repubblica, Sole 24 Ore. They make a great fuss about the parties’ newspapers getting public money but nobody utters one single world when it’s the main dailies who are pocketing it.”
70% of TV-news viewers have television alone as their means of political information. What role do blogs, and the internet on the whole, play ? What’s needed are citizens who look, talk, criticize and confront each other. Let’s go back to Gramsci, who is unmatchable. The parties, as described by him, are the expression of social interests. A democracy without parties entails that there are no interests fighting each other. But this is a colossal mystification.”
“The web is a great tool of political organization but not yet one of information. For the large majority of the population, television and press will be still dominant for the next twenty years, those in which the planet’s fate will be decided. Information is in the hands of power, which holds it tight. No wonder Veltroni’s first statement was just the one about the RAI (Italian State-owned television). The proposal of abolishing the board of directors in order to replace it with a single manager is nothing but the announcement of the RAI’s privatization and the definitive commercialization of information.”
There are those who want people to believe that politics will be renovated through the birth of the Democratic Party….
“I can’t see any palingenesis coming. Indeed, I’m flabbergasted that, even in the leftist camp, there are people asserting that Veltroni is the best interlocutor possible. He’s the political manager chosen by the middle-class and the lobbies for the worst of the normalization operations of this country.”
Grillo said he means to get rid of parties. Is a democracy without parties possible?
“The 1948 Constitution has outlined an advanced democracy which remains a very considerable model. I can see no alternative to party-grounded democracy. Yet the ones we have aren’t any longer parties as the founding fathers intended them to be. These parties are the expression of private interests, of the oligarchy. The web and the blogs can’t replace them. On the contrary, there are risks that the blog may turn into an extremely authoritarian tool. The leader launches an idea and the blog users, in most cases, do nothing but repeat what the leader has said or else they say things of no importance.
Original article published on 29th September 2007
About the author
Diego Traversa and Mary Rizzo are members of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.
URL of this article on Tlaxcala: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=3816&lg=en