martedì 16 settembre 2014

Obsolete Capitalism: All models are wrong: obsolete mass parties (Pt. XVI - The Birth of Digital Populism)

All models are wrong: obsolete mass parties

Casaleggio’s action of disintermediation addresses political parties first, which he considers as obsolete models of representation. The modern political party traces its roots back to the nineteenth-century and subsequently it affirmed itself within modern mass society in the twentieth century. This organisational model was then shaken - especially the one of the left- wing parties- by the decline of industry and the crisis of the working class. The Internet-savvy Casaleggio read George Box: ‘All models are wrong, but some are useful.’ But how wrong should such models be to be no longer needed? General elections are the benchmarks against which the usefulness of parties and the quality of the competing models are measured. Yet a further risk must be considered, that is, s the possible failure of the entire democratic system due to the collapse of these models. In addition to the post-1989 crisis, Italian political parties have been affected by the crisis resulting from the long-running and endemic corruption in Italian society: in 1992 Tangentopoli wiped out an entire ruling class. During these two crises the Italian political laboratory offered Forza Italia as a fresh party model: a marketing-oriented organisation, based on a hierarchical business model that makes full use of television as a communication medium and which has little local representation. Forza Italia’s target audience was the same as described in the previous passages on analogue populism: the post-bourgeois formless multitude that constitutes the majority of Italian society. The downfall of Silvio Berlusconi’s party was caused not only by the high corruption charges against him and his main collaborators, but also by the advent of the Internet and the subsequent diffusion of social networks, which displaced Berlusconi’s real source of power: television. New media killed the old media. As a matter of fact, Mr. Casaleggio believes that newspapers and television belong to the past and should be regarded as niche communication tools. The successful marketing experience of Forza Italia became obsolete in the short span of two decades. It is time for a fresh experiment: today Casaleggio Associati has the same role within the 5SM as Publitalia had within Berlusconi’s party: it provides a new l organizational model and communicative power in the digital era of the infosphere. However, times have radically changed since 1993–4 - the biennium of the development of a top-down corporate party’s analogue populist model. All models are wrong, and none are now useful. ‘They don’t have to settle for models at all’ affirms Chris Anderson: data will provide a (posteriori) model, as Google shows. (...)

Painting: Stelios Faitakis

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