Analysis. An event in memory of Gianroberto Casaleggio has been announced, but it has already become a focal point for the disagreements within the Five Star Movement, including Rousseau and the two-term limit.

Honoring Casaleggio without mentioning his platform, Rousseau

The Rousseau platform still has a bad reputation among some of the parliamentarians of the Five Star Movement, and Giuseppe Conte, as he spoke about his two ideas for the re-foundation of the Five Star Movement, reiterated the need to maintain some form of digital democracy, without ever mentioning the site managed by Davide Casaleggio.

But the Five Stars risk being trapped in these perplexities, in the meanders of unclear circumstances and postponed decisions. Until a few days ago, Casaleggio was in difficulty and on the defensive. Now he is trying to re-launch himself. The fifth edition of Sum, an event organized by the association named after his father Gianroberto, will be a way to present the deep intertwining between the world of the Milanese entrepreneur and that of Grillo’s followers. It will take place from April 12, the day of the fifth anniversary of the death of Casaleggio Sr., obviously in a virtual format. Every day during the week, videos will be published dedicated to the ideas of Gianroberto, “collecting testimonies, memories and anecdotes collected from friends and people who have found inspiration in his ideas.”

According to the rumors floating around on the testimonials, it seems difficult that the M5S can really get rid of the technological role and political legacy of the Casaleggios. There will be the co-founder Beppe Grillo, and together with him Antonio Di Pietro, who was the first, with his party, to experiment the consultancy of Casaleggio Associates.

Alessandro Di Battista will appear, who announced his exit from the M5S in the aftermath of the confidence vote for the Draghi government, but who, according to numerous testimonies, has decided to sit on the sidelines and consider whether to try to return for a second term in parliament.

Rocco Casalino will also speak, the spokesman of Giuseppe Conte, who is resettling with his team after moving from the Palazzo Chigi to the top of the M5S, now being renewed by the former Prime Minister who has become party leader.

And one also expects the presence of the Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, a thorn in the side of the agreement between the M5S and the Democratic Party in view of the next administrative elections in the fall, which, according to the plan by Conte and Enrico Letta, will measure the firepower of the alliance between the center-left and M5S—and the relative weights of the parties to the majority agreement.

Technically, this event in memory of Gianroberto Casaleggio has nothing to do with the activities that the Rousseau platform has been trying to put in place for months. But it is impossible not to notice that on the occasion of April 12, Davide Casaleggio will launch the “National Day of Participation and Digital Citizenship” in order to “raise awareness among citizens about the importance of active participation and the use of digital technology to exercise their rights.” It is no coincidence that the M5S parliamentarians who are lobbying for the maintenance of the two-term limit and who have maintained a relationship with Casaleggio are striking a reassuring tone: “The relationship between M5S and Rousseau will be strengthened, we just need to agree on some details.”

All of this represents a warning for Conte: decisions not taken and issues procrastinated on are opening gaps and leaving spaces within an M5S that must find certainty and reference points. The same thing is taking place on the subject of term limits. The taboo position in favor of an exception to the limit that Grillo himself has reiterated as a priority is beginning to come out.

One example is the article in Corriere della Sera by the undersecretary of infrastructure, Giancarlo Cancelleri: “We can’t say ‘Goodbye and thank you’ to someone like Di Maio.” It is precisely the ex-foreign minister who is the elephant in the room in this discussion. He did not speak last Thursday, at the meeting with Giuseppe Conte, because of the time quotas on speaking. He has always supported the need for the new leadership, and accepted the green turn suddenly announced by Grillo. But what would he do if the M5S decided to renew its entire ruling class?

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your weekly briefing of progressive news.

You have Successfully Subscribed!