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| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
“”Vote with your gut, not with your head!
|—Grillo campaign slogan|
The Italian free press during the Berlusconi years was the pits. A lot of RAI journalists and commentators got fired or moved around under his reign. It got to the point that people were looking to comedians to criticize him, which contributed to Grillo's rise. MS5 is a political movement headed by Grillo, a fascist comedian who is monetizing the populist momentum by posting clickbait and centralizing the internal debate on websites owned by "Casaleggio Associati", a marketing firm. (You know, Waldo, from Black Mirror?)
Five Star Movement
After a long career as a comedian, he led a political activism movement (V-Day, where V stands for "vaffanculo" — fuck off) in 2007 to protest against widespread corruption in Italian politics, tax evasion and the presence of people convicted of crimes in the Italian parliament.
In 2009, he gave birth to his own political party, the Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle — M5S); it is mainly characterized by a strong emphasis on direct democracy, anti-establishmentarism, environmentalism, and anti-globalization/euroscepticism.
Italy is currently facing its biggest political crisis since the birth of the Republic: a scandal-ridden right wing that wasn't able to reform itself after the downfall of Berlusconi; a left-wing struggling to find its place in history (also ridden with scandals); Lega Nord rebranding as an alt-right party; and a crazy post-factual, post-ideological populist party with no precedents in the western world.
To appoint a government in Italy, you need to gain the majority of votes in two chambers elected with different rules, in a political spectrum that has become tripolar. The 5 Star Movement doesn't do alliances, and Grillo rules it with an iron fist, so the center-left had to form a coalition with their natural enemy, Berlusconi, the guy they depicted as Satan for 20 years. They choose a Catholic moderate (Matteo Renzi) as coalition leader, with the task of fixing the election laws before going to new elections, but of course it didn't work. Renzi wasn't chosen by popular vote (because in Italy the government is not chosen by popular vote, but, as previously stated, "you need to gain the majority of votes in two chambers elected with different rules"), the economy never got the boost it needed to restore confidence, immigration became a huge problem, and he had to make several compromises due to the heterogeneous nature of his majority, ie. was forced to keep the old nepotistic oligarchy alive. Unable to change the constitution on his own, he had to go through a referendum, which Grillo campaigned against. The "No" campaign won by 9.11%, and Renzi stepped down as Prime Minister.
Strange political ride. The third-longest government in Italy's republican history lost its momentum and had to resign. Parliament is back to square one, the banks are nearing collapse, and Italy is more or less ungovernable.
After the parliamentary elections held the 4th March 2018 (with the lowest recorded turnout in the history of the Italian Republic) in which the Five Star Movement gained slightly more than 32% of the votes (at least 40% was needed to gain more than 50% of the seats in parliament), the M5S allied with the Lega (another populist party which gained slightly more than 17% of the votes, and was inside the right-wing coalition with Berlusconi's party Forza Italia and alt-right party Fratelli d'Italia), which quitted with the right-wing electoral coalition, thus creating what is now known as the Government of Change (Governo del Cambiamento), a fancy name for a multilateral populist government.
Relationship with the press
Grillo maintains a tight policy on the interviews that can be given by the movement's activists, affirming that the media often distorts their statements.
Pseudoscience and conspiracy theories
- Scheduled airings of ISIS beheads videos by the "grey eminences"
- Pinochet is better than Renzi
- We have never been on the moon
- Terrorist attacks (in Italy during the 70s) ordained by the secret "Bilderberry" (Bilderberg) group, CIA, secret services, etc.
- Gay conspiracy
- NWO is behind giving newborns their mother's surname
- A Saracen grain (Buckwheat) conspiracy. MS5 wanted to stop its importation because they thought that it came from the middle east, but it is actually grown in Italy. In Italian, it's called Saracen, after the civilization.
- Rigged European Elections
- Italians can avoid paying tax by going back to the Lira
- Bin Laden is alive and 9-11 was an inside job
- Mermaids really exist
- Renzi's PM appointment was a forgone conclusion: he participated on a TV quiz show when he was 19. How likely is it that a contestant on a TV show produced by Berlusconi will go on to become a PM?! Wake up sheeple!
You have to understand that most of their MPs have no political background. They are random people picked off the street who got elected because nobody was expecting them get this far, and many wanted to see more absurd and surrealistic, politic based, sit-com.
Grillo defined the link between HIV and AIDS to be "the biggest hoax of this century". He also refused to answer an open letter sent to him by the Italian League for Fight against AIDS (Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro l'Aids — LILA), asking him to review the latest studies on this subject.
Grillo defined vaccinations to be "useless", because the prevalence of infectious diseases like diphtheria and poliomyelitis are already declining, and "a mandatory mass vaccination program is a gift for Big Pharma, and it is the farthest possible thing from an appropriate approach." He also stated that vaccinations can cause autism to children; his claims were based on Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent research paper which falsely linked the MMR vaccine to the appearance of autism.
Grillo also talked about a supposed tomato plant modified with cod genes in order to make it resistant to cold temperatures, explaining how these tomatoes had caused 60 deaths from anaphylactic shocks. Both statements are false, the tomatoes Grillo talked about were developed in 1991 by DNA Plant Technology, but they were not commercialized because they were not resistant to cold temperatures, and potentially allergenic.
Internet and technology
At the end of his Time out show, in year 2000, he destroyed a personal computer after expressing his frustration at/general incompetence with computers. In the following years, he gradually changed his mind about technology, to the point that his blog is one of the most followed Italian blogs.
- Horowitz, Jason, "Spread of Fake News Provokes Anxiety in Italy", NYT 12.2.16.
- Jan Fleischhauer, "Beppe Grillo Is the Most Dangerous Man in Europe", Der Spiegel, 15 Mar 2013.
- Tom Mueller, "Beppe's Inferno", The New York Times, 4th Feb 2008.
- Donatella M. Viola (2015). "Italy". In Donatella M. Viola. Routledge Handbook of European Elections. Routledge. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-317-50363-7. https://books.google.com/books?id=7stgCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA113.
- Alec Charles (2013). Media/Democracy: A Comparative Study. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-4438-5008-7. https://books.google.com/books?id=_cowBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA77.
- John Foot (2014). Modern Italy. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 223–226. ISBN 978-1-137-04192-0. https://books.google.com/books?id=evwcBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA226.
- Emilie van Haute; Anika Gauja (2015). Party Members and Activists. Routledge. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-317-52432-8. https://books.google.com/books?id=XGChCAAAQBAJ&pg=PR18.
- Walter Kickert; Tiina Randma-Liiv (2015). Europe Managing the Crisis: The Politics of Fiscal Consolidation. Routledge. p. 263. ISBN 978-1-317-52570-7. https://books.google.com/books?id=OkLLCQAAQBAJ&pg=PA263.
- James Mackenzie, Raissa Kasolowsky, "'Tired' Grillo overhauls leadership of Italy's 5-Star Movement", Reuters, 29 Nov 2014.
- Lord John Eatwell; Mr Pascal Petit; Professor Terry McKinley (2014). Challenges for Europe in the World, 2030. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. p. 313. ISBN 978-1-4724-1925-5. https://books.google.com/books?id=EHWUBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA313.
- Professor Davide Torsello (2013). The New Environmentalism?: Civil Society and Corruption in the Enlarged EU. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-4094-9511-6.
- Tom Lansford (2013). Political Handbook of the World 2013. SAGE Publications. p. 716. ISBN 978-1-4522-5825-6. https://books.google.com/books?id=lUF1AwAAQBAJ&pg=PA716.
- Alessandro Gilioli, "L'intervista mai fatta a Beppe Grillo", L'Espresso, 9th Jan 2008.
- Valentina Arcovio, "Tutte le bufale scientifiche di Beppe Grillo", Wired, 18 May 2012.
- Doktor Debunker, "Beppe Grillo e la fratellanza fra grillini e complottismo", Giornalettismo, 12 Mar 2013.
- Emilio Carnevali, "Grillo e l'ossessione del complotto", MicroMega, 27 Mar 2013.
- Nonleggerlo, Di Wil, "Secrets and Chemtrails: The Long List of Those Who Plotted Grillini", l'espresso 9.26.16.
- Alessandra Cerioli, "Lettera aperta a Beppe Grillo. Perché l'Aids esiste", LILA - Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro l'Aids, 17 May 2012.
- "Vaccini si, vaccini no. Facciamo chiarezza", beppegrillo.it, 27 Oct 2015.
- Paolo Mieli, "Cinque Stelle, la malattia pericolosa dei complottisti anti-vaccini", Corriere della Sera, 22 Oct 2015.
- Maria Sorbi, "Grillo scatena il complottismo ma cavalca una ricerca-bufala", Il Giornale, 18 Oct 2015.
- Dario Bressanini, "L'OGM che non è mai esistito", La Repubblica, 13 Sept 2007.