David Broder on Italy’s decline

“In Gallino’s terms, the loss of collective hope -the belief that common actions can have a real bearing on political and economic decisions- has given rise to individual and atomised responses, characterised by disillusionment and despair. These have been the sentiments mobilised by both the Five Star Movement and the Lega, in turn planting their flags in former heartlands of the Left. The socialists used to speak of the ‘sun of the future’, the promise of tomorrow -a vision hard to imagine in the current climate. Deprived of a party of their own, the atomised masses have broken up into disempowered fragments, capable of sporadic signs of discontent but not to carry forth an alternative set of values, a vision of regeneration, a community built on collective pride. Italy does, indeed, have social conflict, but it is a war being fought from above, dismantling and disaggregating the historic conquests of the labour movement and driving an ever-harsher climate of resentment, division and disdain for the public sphere.”

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