In many countries across the world, great changes are happening. From America to Europe, and from Africa to the Middle East, people are taking to the streets and calling for more democracy.
We were in Italy, in Piazza San Giovanni in Rome, to witness one of these events. The MoVimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement), founded in 2009 by Beppe Grillo and Gianroberto Casaleggio, and made up of ordinary citizens, not politicians, is concluding its electoral campaign (its so-called ‘Tsunami Tour’), with a memorable rally in the Piazza.
Founder Grillo shouts, “What’s happening in Italy now hasn’t ever happened in the history of modern democracy. This is a democratic, non-violent revolution that is uprooting power and knocking down pyramids.”
There were 800,000 people in the Piazza, and more than 150,000 watching live online. It felt like we were amongst friends. The atmosphere was magical and full of positive energy. You could see the excitement on people’s faces – they knew that they were experiencing an important moment in their country’s history.
On the Movement’s blog, one person said, “I used to get pissed off about politicians putting other parties down, and excited when I heard words that gave me hope for a better society. It wasn’t just what Beppe said that made me feel that I was amongst friends and part of the kind of transition that happens once every 40-50 years. It was also seeing the attentive faces of the other people. They were focused, calm, and passionate, and two girls even had laughter in their eyes. If the eyes are the window to the soul, to me that signified happiness and real hope. It was an unforgettable day, something to tell my children and grandchildren about.”
That was the atmosphere in Piazza San Giovanni. It was participatory. It wanted change. It was warm, in spite of the cold and rainy night.
From the stage and from the crowd, words of peace resonated. Some people call them warrior words. But they spoke of community, honesty, participation, solidarity, and sustainability.
They say that people involved with the MoVimento 5 Stelle have a light in their eyes. We didn’t see it. What we did see was a light that illuminated the whole Piazza, and the whole of Italy.
“There is a new Italy waiting for us. It will be wonderful to be part of it.” (Beppe Grillo).
MoVimento 5 Stelle
The MoVimento 5 Stelle in the name represent the party’s five core beliefs: public water, sustainable transport, growth, connectivity and environmentalism.
The MoVimento 5 Stelle focuses on environmental and populist issues, and it promotes the direct participation of ordinary citizens in the management of public matters through a digital democracy.
With regards to economics, the Movement supports degrowth and the creation of “green” jobs. It rejects projects that are expensive or pollute the environment, and aspires overall to achieving a better quality of life and greater social justice.