Blog 2: Italy’s Five Star movement



Reading: Italy’s web guru tastes power as new political movement goes viral _ World news _ The Guardian


Based on the videos and readings, what do you think are the potential for cyber space to facilitate political organizations in the 21st Century, you can outline the problems and future prospects of such politics


2 thoughts on “Blog 2: Italy’s Five Star movement

    Chester Hojnicki said:
    June 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    As seen in the case of Italy’s Five Star Movement, the internet can without a doubt play a role in facilitating political organizations when discontent in government reaches a certain point. However, I believe that there are major downfalls to such a phenomenon. The Five Star movement runs on a quazi-legitimate platform which consists of: anti-corruption, free access to internet and direct participation in government by citizens. However, the movement’s inability to be effective in parliament by refusing to form a coalition with the left and right parties, has ultimately created a political gridlock. Thus, this political gridlock entirely negates any sort of positive policy making that the country is in desperate need of. Two other points of concern regarding the movement are the party’s lack of transparency as well as its failure to focus on and prioritize other major problems such as the country’s massive debt which consists of 132% of the nation’s GDP. Thus, it is important to ask the question: “does internet-based policy making imply a greater degree of government transparency?”. In this case I believe that the internet has ultimately created a mirage in the form a movement that seeks to solve the public’s discontent with its government, without actually providing any real solution to the problem. The lack of transparency can largely be attributed to the movement’s lack of government experience, which seems to be a growing concern amongst its supporters and opposition alike. The movement’s leader, Beppe Grillo, lacks any political background and a number of his critics have described him as having fascist tendencies. I believe that this is one of the main problems with electing a party via the internet. Citizens desire a change so badly that they are in a way voting blindly for a movement that seems like the right choice without knowing all of the characteristics and priorities of the movement. With this in mind, I do believe that the internet can be used effectively in allowing for citizens of a state to be more involved with their government and it’s decision making process. In order for this to be done, there must be some change in regards to pre-existing political structures that allows for the desires of citizens to be more accurately represented. I feel that Beth Novak, in her talk on open-source government, has been able to provide the best possible way to achieve this goal. Novak makes it very clear that open government does not mean an entirely transparent government. However she believes that open government’s main priority should be on creating and fostering the relationship between civil society and government in regards to the control over information and how it is processed by the governing body. In the case of Italy, the discontent with the government had ultimately reached a point where the call for anti-establishment was genuine, but this is ludicrous as I believe a hierarchical structure is necessary for maintaining the health of a state. Novak discusses this and states that the next world superpower will be successful because of the combination between the hierarchy of institution and the innovative networks provided by the internet.

    Todd Moores said:
    June 10, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    In recent years, the political world has seen a growing use of online programs to help bring politicians and political parties closer to their constituents. Politicians have now began utilizing cyber networks like blogs, forums, and social media to spread their ideals to all viewers. This new component of politics was pioneered by Italy’s Five Star Movement, lead by comic Beppe Grillo. The Five Star Movement, or M5S, was founded in 2009 and ran on an anti-corruption and political transparency platform. European parties running on anti-establishment platforms have been rapidly growing in popularity and M5S has used that policy to become the largest single party voted into Italian parliament. Using cyber space, M5S was able to gain the attention of Italian citizens through a blog, created by Grillo, that became the seventh most popular blog in the world. The M5S blog has more that 255,000 members and has given their viewers a podium to voice their opinions, one of Grillo’s post generated 10,000 comments. The success of blogs come from their ability to create communities. M5S has been very success in build a large community with hundreds of thousands of members. Through the use of social media M5S leaders have been able to create local factions, that allow participant to coordinate rallies. These online programs, like social media and blogs, have given non-traditional parties the opportunity to rise up and gain supporters through the use of cyber space, and ultimately create change to the political structure.
    There are some issues that may plague these new cyber driven political parties down the line. A major issue that was highlighted in John Hooper’s article on the M5S party was constituent participation. The M5S held an online event to elect the movements parliamentary candidates, but of the 255,000 plus members only 31,612 (12.4%) registered to take part in the election process. Of that 31,612 members who registered to participate, just 20,252 members actually did so. Voter turnout is an issue that most countries and political parties must work through but a participation rate of 12.4% is a horrific number, especially for a party that is hoping to promote change in the current political system in place. In cases like this online platforms can give political parties a false sense of the true number of supporters the group has. Another issue that these growing parties face that run on discontent with the status quo, but lack an in-depth plain to run the government.
    In the future, I can only imagine that cyber space with become more and more involved in the political world. Online programs, like blogs, have allowed political organization to communicate more efficiently with their target audience and I do believe that the technology can only improve, thus increasing the efficiency of the communication. I believe that as more and more people develop computer proficiency the room for cyber space to facilitate political organization will only become more popular

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