Beppe Grillo and the Advent of Dotcom Politics
“It was quite clear: he was a madman,” said Grillo of his first meeting with Gianroberto Casaleggio, “mad with a new madness in which everything gets better thanks to the web …”
In a fast-moving narrative, John Hooper tells the story of how an unlikely partnership between a famous comedian and a retiring web consultant took Italian politics by storm.
Alien Landing describes how, in just over three years, their web-based political start up grew to become one of the most powerful forces in the affairs of a country of 60 million people. At the general election in Italy this year, the Five Star Movement won a quarter of the vote – more than Silvio Berlusconi’s party. Such is its weight in the new parliament that it was able to block the formation of a new government, paralyzing the politics of the nation for more than two months.
Hooper looks at the reasons behind the Five Star Movement’s giddying rise and highlights its revolutionary aspiration – to do away with parliamentary democracy in its current form and replace it with a new kind of direct democracy in which voters interact continuously with their elected representatives. He considers whether, like so many web ventures, it is doomed to failure — or whether it might be the forerunner of a digital transformation that will affect all our lives.