Rome sucks, Romans deserve it. An epitaph in favor of Mayor Ignazio Marino

One of the most interesting blogs in the last times I was living in Rome was “Roma fa schifo” (Rome sucks). Its mission is to highlight examples of degrade in public spaces without a clear political affiliation, at least at a first appearance. Rome to me really sucks and my point in this post is that people from Rome deserve it. Culture is the main cause: there is a widespread cognitive incapacity to grasp the importance of the “law whenever it doesn’t touch one’s contingent interest” (rights in contraposition to law, or general norma agendi). I consider to this regard this, sociologically speaking “lack of civicness”, a distinctive trait of Italian people. Rome, to this regard, is a cultural average in its geographical middle position. Maybe in the south it is even worse, maybe in the north it is a little better, but – believe me – Italians are all the same at any latitude.

I have already expressed my fears of Marino being pushed down the Tarpean Cliff by its own citizens, but in the last hours it looks that all is falling down. For the persons who may read these few sentences, I would like to summarize what Marino did:

  • He showed to be “the alien”, a person totally external to the sticky smelly messy corruption that the previous post-fascist mayor did. Official trials unveils possibly a “new Roman mafia”. People to large extent don’t like the alien, especially if the alien is going to touch the system. Italian, quoting Ennio Flaiano, love green-skin Martians. They would welcome him saying “Hey, a Martian!” and a few seconds later they would continue to do the same like nothing happened. Rome is told to be “an open city”. I realized that it is more anarchical than open-minded or liberal.
  • He not just ended the waste financial disaster, he implemented new systems, although actually things were changing even before (i.e. the compulsory recycling of food domestic waste). People hated and made prank of him.
  • He made the road to the Colosseo pedestrian, forever. This is so cool as completely unpopular. People say that when Marino says that he wants all the citizens to be allowed to visit the Colosseo as Mr. Obama did, Marino unveils his idiot inner soul. Sure… this people argue that to be able to pass from the Colosseo by car is good to lessen the traffic jam for the whole city. This argument is comic.
  • He showed honesty (something I frankly never believe totally in) and as a result people labeled him as the “honest but ineffective”
  • He started to be persecuted by newspapers, especially those funded by the “brick&mortar” industry because he ended any embeddedness to that system. The public opinion minimize this and believe in any allegation he got.
  • He cleaned up his own party that was not so much less implied to corruption
  • He is quite poor in communication (I love politician who are not good in public speaking!) and he is a target of any possible political accusation. To this regard PM Renzi is playing against him like a cat with a mouse, waiting only to get tired to hit him with the final mortal nail. Public opinion continues to see Renzi as a wicked probe, and Marino as an underdog. The example of him going to Philadelphia, US, to visit the Pope (who later said “I didn’t invite him!”) is unbelievable: how can a person not to realize that people will make laugh of you?!
  • His safety is seriously at risk, but public opinion condemn him for spending holidays abroad.
  • He made a real, but even insufficient, spending review, doing what exactly “the people” asked in a populist way in the last times: to cut, to cut and to cut any privileges to the political stiff class. Public opinion, by observing that this really was happening, remained uninterested. (I am not surprised: people condemn big inequalities in order to self justify one’s little ones, it’s a cognitive trick. Without the big thief, they feel phased out and can’t believe they couldn’t be any more little thieves. Many people prefer to be robbed of many public money but be allowed to rob few money…)

Like me, many friends of mine have my same position, but – knowing a little about Rome and its inhabitants – I’m afraid we are a minority. Marino looks like those politicians from Sicily who got murdered by mafia because they were against the mafia and at the same time were always a step backward to any threat. It is very sad to see that after many years the Italian public opinion is not so smart in detaching the importance to sustain a person, at least until the next natural election for the authentic and unique Capitol Hill.

For this reason I want to express publicly all my sympathetic vision (and, perhaps, political sympathy if he will be forced to resign) to Mr. Ignazio Marino, the dead-man walking whose beard doesn’t hide his sadness to feel lonely and scorn toward a massive public opinion that – I am sure – he considers as deficient people. Whatever may happen, Marino will remain my last and best Mayor in Rome. After having experienced the hyper-Catholic Rutelli, the radical chic Veltroni and the numb Alemanno, I’ll try to move my Italian address and its political rights to the home town, Florence.

The end of nations: the irrelevant 2015 national political elections in Portugal

The Portuguese National general elections are the main political event in the country. I have been waiting for it for a long time to understand better what Troika made and how the public opinion would have reacted to this, assuming, in a first moment, that something like Podemos, M5S or Syriza was boiling. Soon in 2013 I understood that Portugal is a very different country: no pride at all to challenge the Troika; all the efforts are devoted to show that they don’t need anyone and that they prefer to suffer rather than becoming exposed in the media like Greece has been so far. (Portugal would be the very next in the list, no doubts).

More recently, further details made me realize that there is low profile about politics in Portugal: few far-left parties ask for exiting the NATO, the Euro Currency and other silly positions. No posters are hanging in the streets and not a flyer fell in my hands. Few cars with megaphones passed through the streets, making me remember, for those sparse cases, the pics of the Italian politics in the 50s. Yesterday, I even saw a car horning with a flag (Socialist Party) like Italians do only after extremely important football games . This latter description is a little sad because looking at masses of people (supposedly you included) getting crazy for something is one thing; to see a lonely man is a completely different one.

Let’s see the main three candidates (I refer to RTP national public broadcasting): Passos Coelho (PSD, despite the name “social democrat” is a moderate right party), currently the PM; Paulo Portas, member of a by far third party and supposed to bring essential votes to the PSD through a list occasionally called “PAF” (“Portugal ahead”); Antonio Costa, secretary of the PS, the centre-left party.

Passos Coelho demonstrates better communication. He is skilful in chatting and gets a better position to talk (he was the last to be interviewed a few days ago) and a better mileage  (40+ minutes). His proposal for the solution of the bankruptcy of BES is smart. Smart in the sense that I see international capital ready to take some advantage from the situation as well as it sounds reasonable and respectable for the small savers. His main point is to let PS appear unrealistic. Not a single word about immigration: my understanding is that they don’t want immigrants, none. As a result, he doesn’t have to take a position over an issue that is considered far and of others. For instance, some well-educated people in Portugal joked more than once with me about the costs of immigrants for Italian and that THEY pay for it. “You?” I often reply. “I am paying and I am proud that my taxation goes to it”. Moreover Portugal, as a receiving balance country in terms of European Union strangely, can’t say that is paying something that is happening outside its borders.

Paulo Portas (somewhere in the middle) says Portugal has 9 centuries of history and nobody from abroad should teach them about how to rule the country, provided they learnt the lesson from former mistakes. This assumption is totally wrong and, I’m afraid, a little nationalistic. He as well let envisages the PS (center-left) as a disaster. Like for Passos Coelho, the comparison with Greece is extremely effective. At least, I may agree his point toward the immigrants: he claims the values of the Founders of European Union, Christians or Atheists whatsoever. Immigrants fleeing from war should be welcomed.

Antonio Costa (Partido Socialista) looks the unlucky Donald Duck of the situation. An unpleasant schedule, a disappointing journalist (the RTP one who was the same for the previous two candidates and clearly against him; he looks an employee of the establishment at a certain point) and substantially unable to deliver his message: investments are the solution; austerity is nothing but cruel and scarcely effective. As a matter of fact it looks that the mantra of stats and not-spoiled books are king nowadays. I myself agree too, but the point is: why the Socialist parties throughout Europe (not to mention the PSE itself) are totally incapable to escape from this current hegemonic rhetoric? Why don’t they change something in the way they propose solutions?

I like to choose and I always take decisions carefully and slowly, even though I later take almost always the same decisions. This is the case of political decisions, but it would be the same for ice-creams and pizzas (I am always the last to order the pizza and usually I take the Capricciosa…). In this case I must admit that the Portuguese elections didn’t light so much my attention and I wouldn’t take part of the elections. I dramatically feel in my skin the usefulessness of national elections that are dominated to a large extent by national cultural patterns and too little by ideologies. Europe, if dominated by nationalities, doesn’t go anywhere. Not anymore, and however when nations brought to something, this something was pretty bloody.

My point is hence very simple: to leave national elections with the organizations of welfare and fill the European election with greater political economy issues and stronger foreign affairs mandates. Easy to be implemented, isn’t it?!