Populism & indifference: the “Italy laboratory” and the M5S case

The speech by Raffaele Lauro, general secretary of Unimpresa

Similarities and differences, despite the complex diversity of historical, political and institutional contexts, have characterized the Italian phenomenon of the binomial populism & indifference, a true hereditary disease of our parliamentary democracy, which has crossed the entire national political and social history: from the Fascist period to the republic, from the second post-war period to the present day. A karst phenomenon that has resurfaced, at more or less long intervals, evoked, interpreted and ridden by personalities, often impromptu, with always demagogic connotations. Populism, indifference and radicalism, understood as anti-system, anti-cast, anti-political and anti-party movements, have always smelled and rode the distrust of ordinary people towards institutional failures and the failed electoral promises of the political class, accused, not a wrong, of familism, of nepotism, of patronage, of laxity, of incompetence, of corruption and, even, of mafia and criminal collusion. Distrust that often led to sudden electoral fortunes, followed, then, by subsequent collapses. Populist streaks & unsystematic indifference have also fueled separatist, sovereign, justicialist, rebellious and denier movements, the latter, especially in the last two years of pandemic and war, in an anti-European, anti-Western and anti-elite function. This political phenomenon, sometimes destabilizing, is associated with many personalities who, in the span of almost eighty years, range from Guglielmo Giannini to Beppe Grillo. Many political scientists have applied themselves in analyzing the similarities and differences of this phenomenon, defining, in conclusion, Italy "an original laboratory" of populism & indifference. The spread of this combination has also found, in the last five years, a powerful communicative multiplier on the web and in social media, transformed, not infrequently, into a jungle without rules and a fetid sewer of falsehood, spread by overdone demagogues. , serial haters and demented narcissists. Few scholars, however, have focused on the analysis of the root causes of the rise and fall of the elections, with different temporal parables, of these movements and their leadership.


The ongoing disintegration of the M5s, a harbinger of further splits and fragmentation, which will find its point of decline in the political elections of 2023, when it will risk, after the sensational success of 2018, of being permanently canceled from the national political scene, represents an emblematic case of that binomial, therefore worthy of a subsequent, more articulated reflection on the reasons for the three phases of the movement: the ascending phase, the trial phase and the decline phase. The reasons for the first, the rise, under the visionary leadership of Gianroberto Casaleggio and the histrionic one of Beppe Grillo , up to the electoral affirmation of 2018, as the party most represented in parliament. The reasons for the second, the proof, with the choice of Giuseppe Conte and his two governments , with opposing majorities, the lights and shadows of the so-called "pentastellate reforms", the comparison with reality and the limited ability to govern, moreover in a objectively difficult phase. The reasons for the third, the decline, with the advent of the Draghi government, the electoral failures, the fragility of Conte's leadership, and the increasingly bloody clash between the governist and the movementist soul, between Di Maio and Conte, ongoing. Clash with unpredictable outcomes, however destructive and accelerators of decline. The M5s that appears as the "new caste", in the fratricidal war for power, an end in itself. The finding of the betrayal of the expectations of renewal and transparency, by the voters who allowed themselves to be involved in the populist, indifferent and demagogic slogans of 2018.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/populismo-qualunquismo-il-laboratorio-italia-il-caso-m5s/ on Mon, 20 Jun 2022 14:29:28 +0000.