News & Analysis
Italian Voters Reject Austerity, Too
Italians reject Monti's austerity in local vote ... A maverick comic who wants Italy to quit the euro made big gains in local elections on Monday while former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party lost heavily as voters joined a wave of anti-austerity anger across Europe and punished incumbent parties. The results, following the victory of French Socialist Francois Hollande and major losses for traditional big parties in Greece on Sunday, will add to pressure for European leaders to ease measures adopted to counter the financial crisis. Prime Minister Mario Monti was not in the race but for the two main parties that support his technocrat government in parliament, the centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the vote was the biggest barometer of support ahead of national elections next year. The 5 Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo, a shaggy-haired comedian whose caustic invective against the established parties has gained increasing resonance in the wake of a spate of corruption scandals, made some spectacular advances. – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: Austerity is collapsing and something new will come along ... or will it ... ?
Free-Market Analysis: The powers-that-be run the world's mainstream media and they are now spending a great deal of time reporting on the end of austerity in the EU.
Greece, Italy, Spain and even France have now rejected the concept that higher taxes, government trimming and a lower standard of living can make things right for the PIGS.
We can see this reportage above, from Reuters. Nobody is hiding anything. Reuters is a major elite mouthpiece. Obviously (or so it would seem), this is a message the powers-that-be want to proclaim.
Of course, given everything else that is going on, the news about Italy hasn't exactly been front-page fodder around the world. But, again, it's not being hidden either. Here's some more:
"Grillo has confirmed his political existence. He's the big winner," said Maurizio Pessato, vice president of polling company SWG. "The weakness of the PDL was confirmed, and perhaps it's the biggest loser of this vote."
Painful tax hikes, pension cuts and unpopular labour reforms have fuelled mounting opposition to Monti since he came to power last year with a mandate to save Italy from a Greek-style debt emergency. He has placed increasing emphasis on reforms to promote growth in his recent public comments.
More than 9 million people or some 20 percent of the electorate were eligible to vote in more than 900 towns and cities across Italy in the first significant election since Monti took office in November. The election of mayors and city councillors will have no direct impact on his ability to press on with the structural reforms he has promised to revive Italy's sickly economy and control its enormous public debt.
But with national elections due in 2013 and a fragmented political landscape in which all of the main parties are in some form of trouble, Monti's ability to push ahead with unpopular reforms could be limited.
The PDL, still struggling to re-establish its identity after the fall of its scandal-prone founder Berlusconi last year, is in particular trouble and could be tempted to rebel against unpopular measures such as a much-hated property tax.
"We support the Monti government but naturally we won't bind ourselves to vote for measures we don't agree with, that's absolutely logical," Berlusconi wrote on his Facebook page after the results. The PD said the vote was "a real political revolution" because the centre left was in pole position in almost all the large towns that voted.
The results across the board, according to Reuters, involved a rejection of the "technocrat" Monti's austerity plans. Just as in France and Greece, recently, the voters have spoken.
So where does that leave Europe?
Something will have to give, yes? The big banks are underwater and the big PIGS governments are no better off. The ECB is NOT printing enough money to "fix" Europe – and the Germans wouldn't let that happen anyway ...
The Germans have served notice on their leaders that they will not pay endlessly to salvage Europe, nor is it incumbent on them to do so.
Yesterday we wrote an article entitled "Biggest Question: Will Germany Adjust or Will Euro Die?"
We concluded: "It seems Europe is indeed at a tipping point. Its coherence and further consolidation shall be secured by the Germans' willingness to back a further consolidation of the EU as a way of ensuring the credibility of the euro. Time will tell. And these are tumultuous times ..."
In 24-hours, the times have grown no less tumultuous. Today is even more confused than yesterday. Italy has spoken, along with the rest of Southern Europe.
If the elites want to implement this regime of technocrats, we would argue they have a long way to go.
It's not working ... not right now.
There's simply not enough money around, or not enough willingness to spend it.
So ... as aficionados of directed history we return to the idea that what is being prepared for Europe is a special Hell in which nothing shall be resolved and everything shall grow steadily more miserable.
That's one way to "cook a frog" – and to strengthen the EU and euro ultimately. When people have had their lives thoroughly shattered, they shall give up power to further centralizing facilities and cease to struggle.
But in the age of what we call the Internet Reformation, we find that highly speculative as well. People don't seem in a surrendering mood to us – they seem increasingly angry and aware of their manipulation.
This brings us back to where we started. The Internet Reformation is a powerful societal impulse. It is one perhaps that the top elites didn't count on or expect.
Conclusion: The future is certainly not clear. The looking glass is cloudy. The New World Order – whatever that is – seems to hang in the balance.