"Italia, sveglia!" Basta con la Gerontocrazia!

"Italy, wake up!" Away with the Gerontocracy! (visual montage)

Tjebbe van Tijen
13 May 2013
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

With the death of Giulio Andreotti (1919-2013), an almost life long parliamentarian and political conspirator, and the election of Giorgio Napolitano, 88 this summer, for a second term of seven years as President of Italy, it is time for Italy to put an end to more than half a century of rule by old men and their clientelist networks. Geronto - old man - networks serve political aims and personal profits equally.

With political actors such as Silvio Berlusconi - who will be 77 in September - and Stefano Rodotá - the other candidate in the presidential election - turning 80 this month, Italy should wake up and put an end to this 'gerontocracy' that has hampered its development for so long.

They could take a hint from Pope Benedict XVI who after a 'papacy' of only eight years (2005-2013) rejected his life long power position and retired to become citizen Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger (1927-) once again.

As a new generation of politicians emerges, like Beppe Grillo (born in 1948) and Enrico Letta (the new Prime Minister, born in 1966), there is a chance for change, but only if women are also better represented in government positions and the political arena.

Clientelism still makes up the skeleton of Italy's brontosaurus politics. The shadow of Andreotti - a man who has dominated the Italian political scene since 1946 and is commonly known as Beelzebub, (a devilish angel) - needs to be dissipated first.

Berlusconi is only a bleak mirror image of Andreotti when it comes to corruption, embezzlement and behind the scene associations with all parts of the Italian ruling class, legal and illegal.

For further documentation on Italian Gerontocracy see: http://flic.kr/p/ehtjGv

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics of 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 protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this a chance to realign around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

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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