The recent general election in Italy reflected the continental collapse of support for political parties that seem to the electorate to represent the European establishment. This has been particularly punishing for social democratic parties, which appear to be concerned only with limiting the damage of free market globalisation on workers and their communities. In their stead, European voters are seeking political representation that will challenge the status quo – movements of the left, right and even the centre, which can portray themselves as radical and decisive.
The main winners of the Italian election, the catch-all Five Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing Lega, both campaigned on an anti-establishment, radical change platform. Yet the manifestos of both parties were in large parts vague and what sort of programme an M5S or Lega-led government would pursue is still unknown. Since the election, both parties have evolved their positions in efforts to bolster their chances of forming a government. As DiEM25 member, Lorenzo Marsili, has written, “the collapse of traditional parties is welcome and long overdue”, but it remains to be seen where this takes us.
Though M5S and Lega might massage their rhetoric for mass appeal, there is profound danger for Italy and Europe lurking in their proposals. Indeed, not all promises should be believed, not all roads lead to a fairer society, and not all new solutions are better solutions.
In Naples on March 10, DiEM25 launched Europe’s first transnational list. The agenda is workable and clear: a pan-European Green New Deal. DiEM25 will work to disobey a failed status quo and constructively rebuild a democratic Europeanist project. Our movement is participatory, democratic, radical and organised. Now is not the time to wait and see how government develops in Italy or elsewhere in Europe. Join a local DiEM25 collective today and build the progressive Europe of tomorrow.
Owen is a member of the DiEM25 movement, currently based in Beirut.
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