Archive for March, 2013

Democratic vitality in Italy

March 5, 2013

Direct Democracy on the Internet got its big break in the Italian election 25.02.13 by Movimento 5 stelle, M5S. The comedian Beppe Grillo and the financier Gianroberto Casaleggio describes M5S as a new form of politics that uses the Internet to consult voters directly. That the breakthrough occurred in Italy was no coincidence. The italian mix of modernity and corruption – the tradition, frustration and desire for change – was needed.

That M5S got 25 % of the votes means that the political system in Italy is changed. If the movement stick to their direct democratic principles, the political sardine tin can be opened and the contents will be analyzed sequence by sequence online. This openness prevents political corruption and means a great victory for democracy, provided that the other parties will cooperate with M5S. But Silvio Berlusconi and Pier Luigi Bersani has surely other plans. They have already begun to push Beppe Grillo to exercise power over M5S. "He needs to decide what to do, or we must all begin to pack up, including Grillo," Pier Luigi Bersani have said. In order to maintain control Mr Bersani will be presenting a political discourse that he wants M5S to approve.

The international media reactions are interesting. Beppe Grillo is portrayed as another Berlusconi populist. Media that normally celebrates democracy now heckles Italy for voting for another clown. But M5S is a democracy movement that should not be controlled by one person. Democratic decisions cannot be predicted if you don’t have total control, and then the decisions are no longer democratic! The free market is also impossible to predict but we still praise it for the ability to create growth. Market economy and politics influence each other; usually the more stable party must adapt to the other. With less predictable politics the market might be forced to calm down and take a long-term responsibility.