The anti-establishment movement that has taken hold across the West to combat globalist efforts reached new heights Sunday with the Prime Minister of Italy’s center-left Democratic Party announcing his intentions to resign his office. The final blow to Premier Matteo Renzi’s dream of a more centralized, technocratic government in Italy under the ever-expanding authority of Brussels came as the result of a crushing defeat to his constitutional reforms agenda.
The Sunday constitutional referendum in Italy was a historic double-digit defeat. Anti-establishment forces from both the left and right joined together to deliver a resounding no vote at the polls. The left-wing 5 Star Movement played a decisive role in the outcome, with youth now joining in protest across the country to demand the government respect the results of the referendum.
The rhetoric deployed by the protestors was eerily similar to that on display during Brexit’s Vote Leave campaign, and to some extent echoes the anti-establishment sentiment pulsing through America with the election of change agent Donald Trump. An anti-EU, anti-globalist, populist message has become the dominant theme of politics in 2016.
The protest began in the early evening when around 100 left-wing students gathered in the capital, demanding the Italian government respect the referendum result which saw Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resign after Italy voted against his proposed constitutional reforms.
Michele Sugarelli, 27, was one of the student leaders stopped by police before being arrested without charge.
She said: “Brexit was not a vote against Europe, it was a vote against the EU, which takes power from the people and makes decisions against their interest.
“We want the same thing. We want change in Italy and in Europe.
She added: “We want opportunity for young people, and we want the EU to finish.”
Some of the students delivered speeches condemning the EU before officers moved in, snatching banners and dragging leaders away.
We know from the experience of Greece and Egypt that when popular forces in smaller nations (though Italy is the third largest in the Eurozone) assert their right to be part of their democratic process, the market can exact a price. Investments can dry up, stock markets go down, currencies can crumble, tourism may slow, all to the detriment of the people who sought change. In a chilling opening from Foreign Policy magazine, Cameron Badi hints that by saying no to Renzi’s reforms, Italy may be reproached by the technocrats in Brussels and global financial elite.
Italians have voted down the grand changes Matteo Renzi envisioned, but can they live with no jobs, no growth, and no reforms?
It has become common for financial and political elites to shift money away from nations where people are politicized and choose to fight for their own political interests. They proved incapable of achieving this in Great Britain and America, where the economies improved after anti-establishment votes, but in Greece the experience was the exact opposite. Italy has a host of economic troubles to deal with, including debt that can be used as a political weapon through the Troika. Being the third largest economy in the Eurozone may not save them. A call for new elections where anti-establishment parties work together to achieve a new government may consolidate enough political power in Italy to make popular reforms that are also good for the economy. If not, a caretaker government would be called together that may ignores it’s responsibilities to the people of Italy. The politics of Italy may become more divisive and lead to a cycle of instability as a punishment for the referendum vote.
Its too soon to tell what the future has in store for Italy, but the referendum is a good sign that its joining with the anti-EU movement that may soon hit France and the Netherlands. Elections in those countries are the next to watch out for. Some suggest that only the downfall of Angela Merkel could end the EU experiment, but Germany is increasingly finding itself alone in the globalist corner of European affairs.