What the Italian crisis is about: Democracy vs. Capitalism
This isn't the first time democracy and capitalism have clashed, but rarely has it been so obvious and with such high stakes. This is late stage capitalism, and the mask is off.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the anti-migrant Euroskeptic League on Tuesday blasted European Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger for saying markets would persuade Italians not to vote for the two populist parties....
League leader Matteo Salvini said: "They are without shame in Brussels. "The European budget commissioner, Germany's (Guenther) Oettinger, says that 'the markets will teach Italians to vote for the right thing'. If that isn't a threat...I'm not scared #Italiansfirst".
Fallout on the financial markets will prompt Italians not to vote for populist parties, Oettinger of Germany said Tuesday, according to an excerpt from a Deutsche Welle interview to be published tonight. "The negative development of the markets will lead Italians not to vote much longer for the populists," he reportedly said.
Is democracy subordinate to capitalism or not?
Politicians in Europe seem to think so.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has back-tracked and said, "it is up to the Italians and only them to decide the future of their country, and to no one else".
European Council President Donald Tusk said, "my appeal to all European institutions is please, respect the voters: we are here to serve them, not to lecture them".
Greece would disagree. Judging by how we've gotten to this crisis, Italians shouldn't believe it either.
On Sunday night, President Sergio Mattarella ended plans to form Western Europe's first populist government by vetoing their euroskeptic pick for economy minister. The president argued that Italy could not be perceived as entertaining an exit from the euro.
...Mattarella then asked Cottarelli to set up a non-political government to lead the country to another election.
Cottarelli, a former International Monetary Fund official, promised to quickly assemble a Cabinet.
What is being done here is a litmus test on Italian democracy, and that test would be administered by the capitalists. This was also repeatedly done in Greece, but only after Greece couldn't pay it's debts.
In Italy that litmus test is being applied, not to the finances of the country, but to its democratic sovereignty itself.
Nicola Nobile, lead economist at Oxford Economics, predicted the "the next elections could become a de facto referendum on Italy remaining in the eurozone."
If this situation wasn't already crystal clear, consider the back-story that begins seven years ago.
In October 2011, German chancellor Angela Merkel made a phone call to then Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, soon after which Napolitano grabbed an opportunity to replace Silvio Berlusconi with the unelected, Brussels-friendly technocrat Mario Monti. Although Merkel and Napolitano denied they had plotted to ease Berlusconi out, that's the impression that prevailed. The Economist unabashedly applauded Merkel for helping “get rid of clowns like Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.” Many Italians fumed, believing that Germany had violated their national sovereignty.
I never liked Berlusconi, and the Northern League scares me, but after these direct violations of their national sovereignty, I couldn't blame the Italian voters for voting for anyone who was committed to restoring their independence.