I'm not very interested in the contents of this new "movement", just as I wasn't interested in the contents of the M5S. As I have said several times, political thought is a category of aesthetic thinking, so searching for content is useless. What should be noted, however, is different.
In recent years, "movement" continues to generate political phenomena. If I asked you what and how many "traditional parties" were born, the answer is that they were born, of course, but you don't even remember the name.
The truth is that the real news in today's Italian politics is the 'Fridays for Future' movement, which is not a party, the M5S is deflating when it behaves like a party, but it was the only novelty worthy of note in the last five years, and now this movement is added, the "Sardines".
The problem is not what Sardines believe or not. And it is not even the existence of an old party, the oldest in the political scene, which is the League. Being Italy a post-fascist (but not yet democratic) country, in 2020 we are still discussing fascism and anti-fascism: the content clearly does not exist, and to fight is the aesthetics of fascism against the aesthetics of anti-fascism.
The real problem is that even for a party like the Lega, or like the PD, getting popular participation is very difficult. The PD, even with the collaboration of the union, needs MONTHS to organize a mobilization. Ditto for the League, which has never managed to mobilize the squares, providing the leader with shitty figures.
On the contrary, it seems that impromptu movements, born on social media, are able to quickly reach impressive levels of mobilization. The reasons are many:
- The print. A mobilization announced for months is not news. On the contrary, something that appears from nothing and makes noise is news. Clearly, an impromptu movement that arrives and fills the squares attracts curiosity, so it promises good business to the press. A party that with the same words as always promises the same events as always, however, is not news.
- Social networks. The parties do not know how to use social media. You can talk to me about the "Salvini beast", but honestly all I see is a cross between fishing and clickbait. Nothing that can trigger street movements, at most it brings some keyboard warriors to insult some political adversary, better if a woman.
The question I now ask is simple:
But when it comes to politics, are "traditional" parties still useful for something?
We are talking about organizations that cost billions, they consume money at impressive speeds, and they are outclassed by … Topo Gigio who writes a thing on facebook and then likes it and then it becomes a movement and fill the squares and so they all talk about it?
Let's think. How long have we known about the elections in Emilia Romagna? How much time did the PD (and M5S) have for organizing some kind of contrast against Salvini's campaign? Months and months.
Now mr Sardina arrives, and we only talk about them.
The problem is this: the parties are not doing politics. The administrators are doing. But not politics.
If we look at the "new" themes of politics, we discover some interesting things:
- M5S has brought the theme of universal income into the political agenda.
- Greta Thunberg has brought the environmental theme into the political agenda.
- The "Sardines" are bringing the theme of opposition to populism on the political agenda.
Let me be clear: all three themes existed before. But none of them was on the agenda. In politics, a theme is on the agenda when it leads governments to make laws that go in the required direction. Before M5S there was talk of universal income, but they were parlor talk. For better or for worse (or in the organizational catastrophe that derives from it), he eventually entered the agenda precisely because of M5S.
In the same way, all the parties continued to say they were "green", but their political agenda was made up of that green that appeals to those who go on a picnic on Sunday. Blue sky, green fields and cows. The theme existed, but only after the mobilization due to Greta Thunberg did governments begin to make laws and treaties about it. The same is true of the opposition to populism: although all the parties have condemned it in words, ultimately what we see is that Berlusconi consecrates Salvini as the center-right leader, and the PD is in government with the M5S. The theme existed, but it was not on the agenda.
Now, taking a theme, or a topic, and taking it on the government agenda (or at least on the electoral agenda) is precisely the meaning of the term "doing politics". If I asked you which theme came RECENTLY on the agenda of government because of the "traditional" parties, your answer is that it was years since we heard that news was coming.
Of course, politicians went on TV to say this and that, but in the end that was the government's agenda. While the reaction of the parties, facing the league, is "whether we can ally with them or not", and the answer is always "never say never", suddenly someone arrives and throws a topic on the table: they must be stopped , and that's that. That square is not saying that "the League must be stopped but if Salvini changes tone then we will rule together, as happened with M5S". That square is saying that the League must be stopped AND BASTA.
Sardines are not a worrying phenomenon only for the League: they are a worrying phenomenon also for PD and M5S: once "the people" brings a theme to the agenda by squares, it is difficult to remove it from there. Think of M5S: after all appealing to the squares and the people, after the squares mobilize against the League, they could really redo a yellow-green government.
Who says that the Sardines are a problem for the League, forget how they are for M5S which the "sacred square" (+ sacred Network) says does not ally with the League, and for the same PD, which is exceeded by the anti-populist side.
It would have been very different, and much more reassuring for everyone, if the Sardines had been a movement linked to PD. Because if they had been, then it could have been said that the PD was campaigning and had learned to use social media. But things are not like this: even taking out the conspiracy theory and saying that behind the scenes there is the PD, the problem is exhausted by asking "but what consent does a party have to hide to take people to the streets?" .
The problem posed by all the movements of the last 5 years is precisely this:
- Politics are MUCH more than parties, bringing issues that were previously undervalued to the government's agenda.
- They don't want to have left, and when they try to be, the result is collapse, like M5S.
The question, therefore, is the following:
What are the parties for today?
If they no longer bring new topics on the political agenda (all the PD and Lega issues have been the same for 40 years now. They are "historical" themes. And they NEVER really go on the government's agenda because if they get there , the parties would no longer have anything to talk about), the parties do not do politics.
And that these parties fail to bring anything new to the agenda is clear. We can say everything about the M5S (and I have always had an opinion more than bad), but you owe it to a discussion on the subject of universal income. Otherwise it would have been a bar talk. And I can doubt Fridays4Future as much as I want, but if someone is making laws against plastic and really discussing it (including economic effects), you owe it to them.
As things are, it seems that the parties have abdicated politics to give themselves to financial administration, or a little more. If they no longer bring new ideas to the political agenda, they are of no use.
After all, is it possible that all the thousands of PD people have never had the idea of organizing a flashmob? The answer is probably no. Because the PD is now a party of old people, and if he still has the vices I remember the "young man" who proposes the flashmob you hear that "people would not understand". Because when a politician does not understand something, not understanding is always "the people" (and when a politician does not know how to use a technology, to not know how to use it is always the old woman of 73 years ).
Does the League know how to organize flash mobs? Uhm … Luca Sissiboi Morisi is probably a decent clickbaiter, he has developed some doxing techniques online, but I don't think he is capable of organizing anything operational. Moreover, he defines himself a "digital philosopher", and usually those who use the word "philosopher" to define themselves are not capable of making a shit that is really operational: "you will not expect results from a philosopher, true "?
Calenda or Renzi can organize a flashmob? Probably, if there was an App for their iPhone, like iPhlashMob, then they would know how to do it: as you know, Apple knows how to use any idiot.
Of course, both the PD and the League propose themselves to the masses for their "experience", and this must be read in the financial sense of the term. But the financial administration of the public administration is a technical matter for accountants. Although "I have good accountants" may be ONE reason to vote for a party, it is certainly not a substantial part of the political agenda.
And so, we are faced with the umpteenth "movement", in a political history in which every movement, by the mere fact of existing, always says the same thing:
"Existing parties have obsolete ideas, no new ideas, or no idea at all. As such, they cannot give anything good to those who have new ideas and ideas to discuss. "
And so, there is a risk that the next decade will be the decade of the extinction of political parties. After all, if in six days you can organize a movement, six months of electoral campaign are useless, and the organizations behind these campaigns are expensive and obsolete.
I don't know what will be later, but if really new parties are not born, I doubt that the current political parties still endure much. Sooner or later, after the influencers the flashmobbers will arrive, and once you understand how to monetize the flashmob thing, the parties will find themselves in the conditions in which:
- They no longer know how to influence public opinion because influencers are more professional in doing so.
- They no longer know how to mobilize public opinion because a new category, flash mobiles, will outclass them.
What will be left then?
Oh, let's be clear, I'm not saying that "movements are the future": if they have already happened, they are the past. But if the past already says that the parties are outdated, I really don't see how they can come back into vogue in the future.
The truth is that the "movements", as well as the flashmob, clearly show for whom the bell tolls.