5 Stars. 1 Leader.
Today the BBC website has posted an article “Parma testing ground for people politics in Italy” by Alan Johnston about the rise of the “Five stars” movement in Italy (you can read it by clicking here), especially in Parma where they’ve won the last election. Parma is an important town with more than 180,000 inhabitants and home of multinationals like Barilla and Parmalat (now owned by French company Lactalis).
I really love BBC news website, it’s my favourite source of online news (with Euronews), but this time I think they haven’t gone deep enough in that story. “Five stars” movement is something new only from a single point of view: they founded the movement online, that’s all about their new policies.
Apart from every bias or political orientation, their ideology is something that exist everywhere, it’s populism, and that’s could even be acceptable, their opinion on citizenship, their crazy economics theories (exit the euro and cut the debt by half, a debt that is for the most part in Italian hands and that a decision like this will make our economy collapse in 15 minutes or so, but that’s another story), their opinions on immigrants, on military decision, that’s all the same load of waffle that populists bandy around throughout Europe, they could call themselves “New dawn”, “Front Nationale” or “Five stars movement” it’s the same old story. In fact if the journalist would have gone deeper he could even notice that their attack to the mainstream parties are exactly the same as the ones Berlusconi made in mid 90s and that Northern League has done since its foundation.
If you think about the “Five stars” movement like the “Pirate party” because they are always talking about democracy, internet and similar, you’re wrong. The “Pirate party” is characterized by a strong democracy in its own structure while the “Five star” movement has only got an appearance of democracy, but dramatically lack of it in important matters.
That’s the point. What really disappoint me about this article, but there are dozens similar, is that to underline the news or the fact that they’re an online movement they forget to talk about what they really are, a movement where the leader cannot be changed. Because he is not officially the leader is a kind of mythological figure, that cannot be elected and cannot be removed. There is no chance of that on the very vague statue of the movement and there is no way to do it because he and one of his friends own the website, hearth of the movement. It’s like that boy who when we were young carry the ball and for this reason wanted to impose its rules, and if you wanted to play you had to accept that. We are talking of a totally undemocratic movement, it’s something that even a Lukashenko would be ashamed of. If you think that technically, also Berlusconi could be expelled from its own party and the same is true for the Northern League, you can understand what’s the point, and the danger, of this movement, lurk from the eyes of people with a good willingness but with not enough critical spirit, with a dictatorial structure they push populism to a dangerous level. It’s already happened that the supreme leader, the former comedian Beppe Grillo, overruled what its party members had decided online, with only the use of his power, that I repeat, can not be challenged in any way.
That’s the problem, there are no news in undemocratic movement that push its way during a crisis period in Europe, BBC should make Europe aware of the risks.
From my Italian point of view the “Five stars” movement its the biggest challenge to our stability as a democracy.