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Desperation

It is high time we had mass opposition that was responsible, using the internet and democratic expression in the street

While the new Italian government was being formed, a lone gunman, an unemployed man, started shooting at the police on guard outside parliament. Under arrest, he explained that his real target was the politicians - the "caste," as they are called in Italy. Soon afterward, during the Mayday marches, the extreme left used his picture on placards as an example worthy of imitation.

Mainstream Europe sang the praises of the new coalition government in Italy, led by a Christian Democrat with the blessing of the aged president Napolitano, who compared it to the "historic compromise" proposed in the 1970s by the moderate Euro-communist Berlinguer. However, Berlusconi is not Aldo Moro, but a man who for two decades has put on a perpetual show of demagogy, corruption and immorality public and private, and of misgovernment, until the EU obliged him to resign in 2011. The failure of the left, both in votes and in subsequent willpower, thwarted Bersani's hopes of getting Berlusconi off the scene for good. Now the cavaliere is again calling the shots, deploying a squad of rightwing hardliners in a Cabinet whose nucleus he controls, including a reactionary reforms minister, who is pro-death penalty and anti-euthanasia, and who will propose Berlusconi himself to head the Reforms Commission. It is time for honest judges to fear for their jobs, homosexuals to wait for better days, and desperation to soar, in the face of the surrender of the left.

It is time for honest judges to fear for their jobs, homosexuals to wait for better days, and desperation to soar

As Hollande's brief rally peters out, the neoliberal right rules supreme in Europe under the iron leadership of Merkel. Rajoy is an eager disciple, obedient to demands for cutbacks, who views unperturbed the social collapse resulting from the breakage of established economic balances, and the consequent plunge of demand and employment. As in Italy, a growing desperation grips our country, apparent mainly in the form of the suicides of victims evicted from their homes, though also in protests that get ever more bitter. Meanwhile, violence breaks out here and there. This is a problem in the escrache protests as seen in Spain, which are fine when they stay within the law, but dangerous if they drift in the direction of lynchings, or the doorstep demos that the Cuban regime uses to intimidate dissidents.

We are witnessing a process of radicalization. Our homegrown caricature of Thatcher, Esperanza Aguirre, proposes to drain the state of its functions (except the police); and Gallardón, having bankrupted the city of Madrid as mayor, is now about to whittle away at the abortion law in the name of his own religious fundamentalism. As for leftist protest, the people calling for an attack on Congress - overestimating their rather meager crowd-drawing capacity - are proposing a homegrown version of Bakunin ("besiege, burn, occupy" is their slogan) and calling for maximum violence. The university scene, too, has experienced another quantum leap, going beyond mere boycott of this or that lecturer judged to be rightwing, with the blessing of all the little Chávezes who flourish in that habitat. "Informational" picket lines are becoming intimidating and punitive.

It is high time we had mass opposition that was responsible, using the internet and democratic expression in the street, while distancing itself from active minorities who act as wreckers not of a caste, but of democracy itself. And focusing on specific objectives. Beppe Grillo serves as an example of what not to do. Instead of supporting the left, in spite of all he had in common with them, he sank Bersani, thus rendering Berlusconi inevitable. Anti-system rules supreme. Instead of fluid democracy, he runs a personal dictatorship over a flock of followers, and incites extreme outbursts of desperation with apocalyptic harangues against representative democracy. This is the flame that lights the fuse among people who are losing everything.