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Grillo and the left in Italy

Steve Colatrella in Counterpunch:

Now, Grillo’s movement cannot be defined as “Left” or as “working class”. It is however, probably also unfair to call it Right wing. So the question is: what did people vote for in voting for this protest movement?

I think it is clear that they responded to two things: the vote for Grillo was a vote against all the existing parties first of all, against their monopoly not only on political power, but over everything – getting access to jobs, promotions, financing, everything.

Second Grillo’s program included the following measures:

1. unilateral default on the public debt

2. nationalization of the banks

3. a guaranteed “citizenship” income of 1000 euros a month ...

The vote for Grillo, in other words, exists in lieu of a serious left that says these things. (I went to hear Toni Negri speak the other day here in Padua, presenting the book version of his and Hardt’s non-manifesto of last year. He was interesting and I will send some further notes about that talk in the next day or two.)

This point is reinforced by the fact that the “far left” – at least among electoral parties – is now, in Italy, reduced to close to US Green Party levels – Nichi Vendola’s SEL – part of the larger coalition of the center-left got about 3% or less nationwide and the further left “Civil Revolution” coalition of Ingroia, despite polls showing it polling 4-5% which would have gained seats in parliament, ended up around 1%.

Sounds famiilar, at least the part about the left. (I always take the percentage of the population that thinks ObamaCare isn't good enough as a proxy for the left: 14%, same as the Tea Party by population, but no billionaire backing.) What we are getting from the left in the English-speaking press warns that M5S is quasi-fascist, but that sure doesn't look like a fascist prrogram to me (assuming it's reported accurately.)

Colatrella continues:

Now, Grillo’s movement cannot be defined as “Left” or as “working class”. It is however, probably also unfair to call it Right wing. So the question is: what did people vote for in voting for this protest movement?

I think it is clear that they responded to two things: the vote for Grillo was a vote against all the existing parties first of all, against their monopoly not only on political power, but over everything – getting access to jobs, promotions, financing, everything.

The role that Italian parties play in getting access seems quite different from the role they play in the US. So, interesting. Reminds me a bit of the access control in Thaland, which though not party-based, is all-pervasive.

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