"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

How do we work after coronavirus?

The pandemic has profoundly changed our working lives. Millions have lost their jobs; others have had no choice but to continue working at great risk to their health. Many more have shouldered extra unpaid labour such as childcare.

Work has also been redefined. Some workers are defined as 'essential' – but most of them are among the lowest-paid in our societies.

Could this be an opportunity?

Amid the crisis, there has been a rise in interest in radical ideas, from four-day weeks to universal basic income.

Join us on 5pm UK time on 20 August as we discuss whether the pandemic might finally be a moment for challenging our reliance on work.

In conversation:

Sarah Jaffe, journalist and author of 'Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone', due to be published next year.

Amelia Horgan, academic and author of 'Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism', also due to be published next year.

Chair: Alice Martin, advisory board member of Autonomy, a think tank dedicated to the future of work.

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