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I predict a RAIot

13 April 2006

by Nabeelah Shabbir 

I’m surprised that Berlusconi’s media corporation didn’t bring a 20-million-euro lawsuit on dictionaries worldwide to try and get the meaning of the word ‘satire’ erased, re-evaluated and enforced.

Warning - Delayed Reaction post.

On the same day as Berlusconi’s 'ousting' (don't hold your breath), I finally got the chance to see some of Sabina Guzzanti’s ‘gratuitous vulgarity’ in BBC4’s ‘Viva Zapatero: Storyville - Berlusconi Rules, OK?’ last night.

Her defiant documentary gave more than just a revealing insight into her personal view of neo-fascist-Berlusconi tricks, as we followed the comedienne on the warpath. Her satirical show was banned after just one episode on the (state owned) RAI channel.

Amusing moments - when the suited and booted network director tried to smack Guzzanti on the wrist by hinting at what an embarrassment she must be to her important Senator father. In their eyes, she was just a naughty little child who indulged in too big a bite of satire-cake. What was left? To berate her for flouting daddy Paolo’s position in Berlusconi’s ex-government, as a sidestep around justifying the show’s ban.

The documentary was powerful in places, such as where it practically canonised other censored Italian artists. Their names rolled off commentator’s tongues – ‘Biagi-Santoro-Luttazi-Tagliafico-Rossi etcetera etcetera etcetera’ – as if the two times table were being recited. I wonder if Italy’s position in the Freedom House country ratings will finally stop multiplying up the charts anytime soon.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

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Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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