Populism may manifest itself, once again, as a powerful force in the west. From the new world to the old, a crisis centered on conflicts of interest boils over. From the Brexit to Trump election, Italy is the next battleground against globalist centralization of power, with a major vote coming up this Sunday. The young face of resistance is a man, of only 30 years of age, named Luigi Di Maio. He has risen to challenge the center-left Democratic Party in Italy in what may be a repeat of Brexit.

There have been recent moves to amend the Italian constitution by shrinking the amount of representatives to 3/4ths and granting unprecedented power to a single executive authority. The amendment is so complicated that courses are being offered at $156/hour just to explain it. Recent polls have shown that the people may shout a resounding NO to this as it would effectively turn Italy into a two party system.

A Euromedia survey showed Di Maio with an approval rating of 30.6 percent compared to 27.2 percent for Renzi, the current incumbent. This makes Maio the most popular political leader in the running at the moment. So what movement has gained so much traction in Italy to possibly cause such an upset?

Five-Star Movement leader and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures during a rally in Turin, Italy February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino/File Photo
Five-Star Movement leader and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures during a rally in Turin, Italy February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino/File Photo

They call themselves “The Five Stars Movement”(M5S) and, according to some sources, this may be the most popular movement in Italy at the moment. Popular enough, in fact, to overtake the government if an election is held. This referendum will be the first test of that. Reuters’ categorization of the movement fit the persona of a powerful populist movement perfectly:

“M5S has no clear ideological identity. So, in the second round, left-wing voters support an M5S candidate rather than a right-wing one, and right-wing voters back an M5S candidate over a left-wing one.”

It was founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo in 2009, channeling popular anti-establishment dissent to take on corruption in government and to take away the perceived privileges of the public and private sector ‘elites’. The recent Trump victory only inspired them to now challenge the Prime Minister who has backtracked on his promise to resign and now clings to his seat. In response to Trumps election on his blog he wrote:

“It is those who dare, the obstinate, the barbarians who will take the world forward…”

The Effects Of This

Giovanni Orsina, a professor of politics at Luiss University in Rome, hinted Mr. Renzi will likely have to resign if he loses the vote as he personally fought hard to pass the legislation earlier in the year, but lacking a 2/3rds majority had to call the referendum. 

“If the ‘No’ vote wins, then we will have months of instability and that will worsen the situation in Europe. 2017 is already going to be a very difficult year, with elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany. A ‘No’ vote will make it even harder,” Professor Orsina told The Telegraph.

Investors are also nervous. 20 percent see Italy abandoning the Euro within the next year. The vote alone, if it is ‘no’, may cause political instability and likely panic financial markets in a ripple effect. Major banks in Italy, like the Monte dei Paschi, will have to deal with raising billions of dollars to protect themselves from being overwhelmed by bad debts on their books. That same uncertainty can be spread across the sector having an international effect of unknown proportions which could cause central banks to intervene in the case of a banking crisis.

The likelihood of a ‘No’ Vote

A vote of ‘No’ remains quite likely according to the latest polls. If this happens, then the populist Five Star Movement will sweep the elections, which are only a few short years away. Populism’s chance to prove itself in European politics is increased with every victory. First Britain, now Italy. France and Austria may be the next ones in the path of the wave of popular populism sweeping across western Europe. With new movements and figures riding the waves into office, the political landscape of the western world may be changing for better or worse.

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Joshua Heckathorn was born in Maryland and currently resides in North Carolina. A young outspoken advocate of free market capitalism, constitutional limited government, and individual rights. His objective he says is “I wish to promote a more free American society both economically as well as intellectually.” Articles of his have been reshared and praised by figures such as Radio host Joe Walsh and on the campaign site of former LP presidential candidate Austin Petersen.


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