THE BLOG

Italians to Choose Between Ungovernability and Collective Removal

Italy has arrived at its "crucial" elections, ones that should provide reassurance to the international markets as to its stability, but which will not produce a reliable result. Between six candidates for prime minister in four major parties, the calculations indicate that Parliament will not be governable.

Are we surprised by this result? In truth, the only thing that is really surprising in this electoral campaign is the level of removal that, once again, we as a people are capable of.

We have forgotten, meanwhile, that our political system is in default. This collapse has been officially certified since the arrival of the technocratic government of Mario Monti in November 2011 -- a de facto commissioner of the country, and proof that the parties alone would not have known how to navigate the economic crisis. A year later, these same parties, despite having had more than enough time to fix the crisis, have not made a single institutional reform. We are, in fact, once again here to vote with the Porcellum (the Italian electoral law has been nicknamed "pigswill" by its main author).

At this point, Beppe Grillo, the comedian who created the Five Star Movement party, enters the playing field, a tsunami that has grown in proportion to the electorate's mistrust of the people in the system. At the roots of the consensus on Grillo, there are strong (and justified) feelings of disappointment and social suffering, and a great desire for change. And who can blame them?

But do the motivations of Grillo's supporters make the solutions he offers any more credible?

The second element removed from the electoral campaign is the crisis. The more the economic indicators predicted a longer and deeper crisis, the more we listened to easy promises.

Perhaps there is no need to dwell on the promises of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, of eliminating taxes and reimbursing taxes. It is telling, however, that former prime minister Mario Monti, who knows the cards well, at times himself resorted to comforting promises (he has promised that taxes could now be cut).

The most cautious was perhaps the Democratic Party -- probably due to its anticipated role in government. But even they made promises that will be hard to keep. The most difficult to keep, in my opinion -- as it involves its principal ally, the unions -- is to turn around the decline of heavy industry. A sector affected by a variety of ills -- the main one being the default of a capitalism that has not innovated or invested for years. These have very little to do with the recent crisis. Where and how to find substantial funds to jumpstart our economy in general remains a vague point in the party's plan that will get one of its men elected.

Then there is Grillo, from whom we have already heard the promise not only of jobs for everyone, but of jobs "that do not replace life," a concept of humanity that does not end with mere survival. Even on this point, how can one not agree? And how can one not understand the people in the street who celebrate this idea with euphoria? But is it a realistic promise? Is it possible to change the production model in midstream, pay fewer taxes, and find the funds necessary, punishing the corrupt, scrapping the old system and abandoning the euro? "The money is there," repeats Grillo. But the accounts do not confirm this.

The only truth that remains from this electoral campaign is that we are afraid. The end of the years of well-being, the impossibility of seeing a positive future for ourselves and our loved ones. And no matter how we choose to calm this fear -- by hatred for others, racism, violence, threats, or jail -- the truth that we need to accept is that the world has changed, and that we will no longer live as before.

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