At least in the streets, the opposition is strong, and it is making its presence felt. You could see it in Turin at the No TAV manifestation, organized by those who have studied and understood the excessive costs, both environmental and financial, of the TAV project, designed 30 years ago, which is by itself reason enough to consign it to a museum of modernistic artifacts.
This was the opposition in its best form, featuring a cross-section of all categories, with participants both young and old, fueled by a long-running struggle and nourished by the fact that their movement did not isolate itself into a small ideological region, and instead drew strength from a continued accumulation of research and a critical look on a world that is burning up the planet at the altar of GDP.
Grillo himself did not attend, and the 5 Stars (who should be forcefully defending their stand in what is one of their historic battles) were few, alongside the mayors, standard bearers and various forces of the left. It was a broad front, with clear ideas, and, most importantly, with a strong faith that could be summed up by their slogan “Noi c’eravamo, ci siamo e ci saremo” (“We were here, we are here, and we will be here”).
On the opposite side, the “GDP party,” which had started off the series of demonstrations in Turin (and occupied the front pages of many newspapers) with their Yes TAV march and then with the plaintive showing by the Confindustria, took up residence yesterday in another square, Piazza del Popolo—the most beautiful square in Rome—where an event was organized to give the floor to the “great leader,” Salvini himself, ready to trot out all the tropes in his arsenal (father, mother, crucifix, nativity scene, and majestic descent from the Heavens included).
His supporters filled up the square in front of the massive stage and applauded the Lega ministers, followed by the party leader himself, who, in a speech brimming with invocations of “the Good Lord” and “common sense” (the expressions he repeated most often), performed an exercise in humility, asking the people to love him with all his flaws—of course, after listing all the miracles his government has supposedly achieved.
Perhaps the President of the Piedmont Region, Mr. Chiamparino, was right when he said that Saturday, in Turin and Rome, one part of the government was demonstrating against the other. This is partly true, but not the whole story—he should have also added that, if we look at who was there in each of the two squares, we can see that the left was on one side and the right on the other.