Grillo’s success came to no surprise in the recent and latest Italian general elections a few weeks ago.
What was rather surprising was the amount of votes Berlusconi managed to gather, despite the tragic sequence of scandals where he is still involved…but that’s another story..!
Back to Grillo and his 5 Stars Movement, we cannot do much else now, other than waiting for what will happen next and who will lead a country in such delicate moment.
What I wanted to write here refers specifically to one aspect of Grillo’s success, in that he managed to gather an extraordinary consensus throughout Italy, which needs to be analyzed in time.
First thing that comes to the mind of the ones involved in the current Italian political debate is questioning if and how, Grillo’s movement is “political” enough or, if its winning point lays on a non-political approach, that appeals to a more vast heterogeneous crowd and that reaches to the guts of its audience.
Unfortunately I suspect the latter one is the most probable option.
Beppe Grillo, at ease in front of cheering crowds because of his past as a stand-up comedian, is not naive when it comes to convince and allure the masses due to his confidence and charisma. To be fair though, it is not that difficult to gather consensus, when the national political scene has proven to be weak and the world economy has collapsed, any “new” voice would sound a better alternative, however Grillo has shown a great ability in reaching out to an unexpectedly impressive audience.
But Grillo went even further! He didn’t only enjoy the fruits of a successful and up-to-date electoral campaign, but he managed to create an obedient and dedicate collective-clone of his image. Grillo supporters have found their new Messiah! The grillini love their leader, they blindly trust him and would go to any length to defend his Word…..Now..hang on a minute….are we talking about politics or religion here? ……Ah! YES! This is the point I intend to make. Grillo has not created a political “movement”, but virtually a religious one!
A political movement or party, to be as such, has to identify itself in one of the three ideological and policy-making areas, Left, Centre or Right. The 5SM has branded itself as a non-Left, non-Right and non-Centre movement, being as a result an amorphous entity of which any possible agenda, other than vaguely campaigning for honest and clean politics, would and could not have any clear content whatsoever.
Instead, the 5 Stars Movement tactics are secretive as in a cult, organized in a pyramidal structure like any monotheist religion and its strength relies on the visceral creed of the obedient followers, like any kind of spiritual association.
The Grillini even use the same words spoken by their leader, when they parrot his sermons, follow his mood in any direction and do not welcome any form of criticism, just like Scientology.
As for what regards the not-so-charming words used when Grillo publicly addresses journalists, like any in any religion, its leader fears uncontrolled exposure and need to ridicule and diminish the value of free press by labeling it as evil and unreliable.
Another example of how closer Grillo’s Movement is to a cult, as opposed to the political sphere, lays on the fact that inside his sect any pluralism of ideas and opinions has been swiftly amputated and got rid of, because ultimately, a good religious leader has to keep hold of power, not only by creating vague illusions of a brighter future, but s/he will have to instigate fear.