Berlusconi Bye Bye?

Is this really the final end of the Berlusconi era, or just another pause for the Cavaliere to catch his breath?

Will he return on a fresh horse as the savior of an ever-crumbling Italy, as he has done repeatedly for the past 20 years? Will my Italian friends finally be able to travel abroad without a miasma of shame, and not be forced to explain to all what a bunga bunga orgy means? Will the numerous foreigners living and working in Italy, legal, clandestine, and semiclandestine, be able to face their children and say: we did the right thing to come here? Will they say: a new day dawns on the peninsula, the specter of crisis, gloom and crime has finally lifted! Work hard for your future!

These are open questions, and frightening questions today in Italy after yesterday's dramatic countdown, and Berlusconi's declaration that he will step down only after passing an emergency law on the Italian economic crisis. United Europe and its presses have closely followed the saga of the decadent emperor. They know that it was global economics and not his domestic scandals that pried the scepter from his hands.

Italians are wondering : whatever next? How badly off is the Italian political culture, which after all is to be blamed for many times that Berlusconi has managed to take and hold power? Where was the legitimate opposition, why were the counter-forces so weak? After the fall of Milosevic in Serbia, the deeply corrupted and dysfunctional state system was hard put to maintain any pretense of a normal government. Can Italy recover, and behave like a major G-7 power again? How is that possible?

Berlusconi was not a genocidal warmonger like Milosevic, but he inflicted years of steady ruination on Italian culture, health, education, research and reputation, not to mention state finance. Whoever comes in power after him will have to either clean cut with the past, or slowly purge the present. Either that, or just accelerate the collapse and scramble for the spoils, as Milosevic did.

What new, fresh faces may emerge from an Italy in moral and financial crisis? Young people without jobs, homes and children, a nation without funds or diplomatic credibility, a health care system without doctors and technology, brilliant students without no prospective but to flee elsewhere for careers, foreigners fighting for their basic human rights, women claiming back their long-fought victories of freedom and dignity.

Berlusconi was refused power by his own majority in the parliament. He loses little by resigning from a state so dysfunctional. Fear is in the air that he will create new elections, pose once again as the last-hope knight on horseback, and win over voters much as he did before. The Dignity people in Italy, together with Se non ora quando women's movement, anticipate a lot of activism and square action.

Berlusconi and the Italian power-structure seem to have an addictive relationship. Even mutual ruin cannot free them from one another. Sometimes I think that professional parties and politicians should be banned, to give anonymous alternative networks some chance to grow from scratch.

Italian stock markets are crumbling. Twitter messengers are raving. The daily press updates their websites by the hour. Italian TV comedians and stars are improvising political buffoonery like commedia dell'arte. Floods and rains are still drenching Italy, and even Pompeii, that victim of an ancient volcano, is a scene of the modern deluge.


  1. What I find very scary about this story is that it’s not the italian people who are going to kick out Berlusconi from the government: it’s ‘market forces’.

  2. Austerity is the wrong policy for Europe & Italy.  What works is Stimulus, if you remember your Keynesian theory, IE, a helicopter drop of billions of euros over Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland.

      1. But the solution is  still spending billions more to stimulate the economy, not austerity.  Austerity will only cause Greece & Italy to crash into a depression.  Which doesn’t mean you can get away with not re-paying  the debt.  WW2 spending ended the US depression, & that debt was repaid in the 50s & 60s.  We were able to repay it because the US economy was running full bore, due to the stimulus of the 40s.

  3. I wonder if the this is the Black Swan of the global economy. The Guardian posted an apt comment: Italy is too big to bail. In Rome today the mood was apocalyptic, not because of the prospect of Berlusconi’s departure (I’ll believe it when I see it), but the rapid deterioration of the system. I don’t know if the situation can be saved or fixed–and ultimately if this is how the global empire ends because of the domino effect it could have on the banking system. It would be quite ironic, really. I pass by the Colosseum every day thinking about the various empires and political systems that have come and gone in Rome’s 3,000 year history. But this one might really be it. At least they had a steady and predictable climate to rebuild with. Sorry to be so down, but things look pretty bad over here.

  4. Of course he’ll go. It’s not like he’s a dictator interested in perpetuating his own power or anything.

    Seriously though, it will give him more time to party.

  5. He reminds me of my 7 year old son … makes a huge mess in his room, then steps out and hopes someone else comes cleaning it up … and when that is underway, he shows up again … 

    I doubt we are done with Mr. Bunga Bunga yet. He / his party was briefly out of power in 2005 (if memory serves) .. but that lasted only 11 months or so … 

    What maddens me … with all that he has done, why is that guy not in prison??? Had I boinked a 17 year old in Italy, they would surely come after me …  He will have a nice ‘retirement’ with 11 hooker’s lined up in a good night … 

    1. Exactly. This fucking crook manages to stay in power until the country goes completely to shit and will suffer not the slightest consequences for it. That he was allowed to take it this far already is proof for the complete lack of dignity that is granted to the people of Italy. They are powerless to do anything but pick up the rubble left by this insane whoremongering criminal while he continues partying with his mafia cronies.

      And hey, over here in Austria politics are just as corrupt, it´s just not as concentrated on a single person or as openly visible.

  6. Odious debt.  The money they borrowed is fictitious.  It never existed to begin with.  It is all a con.  A fixed shell game.  Its time to call the 1% on these crappy scams and put an end to the out right theft of our world. 

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