Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The case for an Italian rebellion. Why it doesn’t happen. And what could happen, by Luca De Biase

The case for an Italian rebellion is not insane. I had the chance to speak with many foreign observers, recently, and I found that an Italian rebellion is considered a real option. (I will not quote their names, but if they want they can comment here).

An Italian rebellion? Other Mediterranean countries have done just so, lately. Tunisia and Egypt, for example, have chosen to rebel against their dictators and the world has appreciated. Considering the Italian political situation as a sort of authoritarian regime and thinking that it is not reformable through the normal democratic process, one is lead to think that the rebellion is the only possible solution.

In that mindset, if Italians rebel, they demonstrate their democratic will and maturity. If they don’t rebel, they show they are anything between accomplices and weak victims of the head of their government and his power system. If Italians will rebel, they will free themselves from the shame of accepting a very doubtful sort of democratic government, the consequences of which are dangerous for themselves and the world. That’s the option. But it is not happening.


Of course, assuming that Italy is not a real democracy and that it is not going to be reformed through a democratic process is a quite extreme vision of the Italian situation. Many Italians still think they are in a democracy and that next electoral opportunities will bring a new government to them. But many others think that they live in a regime, based on a non-democratic control over the media (i.e. television) by the head of the government.

The incredible series of scandals that involved the head of the government are linked to his political incapacity to manage the financial crisis, which makes Italy dangerous for the world’s financial stability. There is a general understanding about the fact that a change in government should be needed to solve some real Italian problems. The government has resisted all scandals by denying any problems and by acting as if all criticism was the enemy’s obscure maneuver. The majority in Parliament has been reinforced by an alliance with a dozen or more politicians that had been elected in one of the opposition’s parties and that have been convinced to change side using very controversial means. Many see the Italian political stall as a consequence of a lack of democracy in Italy. If nothing is done, Italy will lose its place in the euro system, causing tragic consequences to the world’s financial stability. Poverty will grow, desperation will rise, violence will diffuse.

Thus, as it has been said, a rebellion should be an option. Or isn’t it?

As seen from abroad if Italians don’t rebel, it may be that Italians are accepting the way their politicians work. If it was true, the international shame should be on them, too, and not only on their politicians. But listening to what Italians are thinking and doing is a bit more complicated. And maybe a learning experience.


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