mercoledì 3 settembre 2014

Obsolete Capitalism: The two sides of the five-starred cosmology: analogue & digital populism (pt. III - The Birth of Digital Populism)

The two sides of the five-starred cosmology: analogue & digital populism

As it is generally known, the five-starred cosmos features an interesting dual-axis core: Beppe Grillo and Gianroberto Casaleggio. The couple is de facto a novelty in the crowded, bon-vivant world of Italian politics. A duumvirate is in itself a relevant fact in the context of political organisation and leadership.9 Furthermore, the division of fields of intervention between the two 5SM leaders is equally worthy of note: Grillo is the cowboy interfacing between the physical world of electors and the digital one of data wizardry; Casaleggio is the architect of the mining, processing and storage of the huge mass of data, which are collected by the same computation means that are governing the World Wide Web. The traditional side of populism, which can be identified with the former comedian Beppe Grillo, will be defined as analogue populism; while the murkier side which have been conceived and organized by Gianroberto Casaleggio according to the functioning of networked cultures, will be defined as digital populism. Here lies the novelty of this movement: such digital populism does not align, if not loosely, with the political discourse of the various European Piratenpartei, in other words the newborn parties that convey idealized views on net cultures and practices.
The Five Star Movement exploits the Internet and its experiences in order to gain power and overcome the Italian society for its own authoritarian ends. The mixture of analogue and digital populism is truly effective and incisive. Gianroberto Casaleggio has had, since the very foundation of the movement, a strategic flair. He realised that the increased theoretical and scientific ability of the digital world is ineffective unless it is corroborated and supported by the more dynamic and functional impact of the analogue populism on everyday reality. In other words, the computational world needs the faciality10 of the capture apparatus of analogue populism, since the latter provides the switch that directs and organizes the input of raw metadata channels it and subsequently outputs it into the physical world. Grillo’s face is therefore the screen through which the algorithm becomes part of the tangible world.11 The 5SM may be seen as a political device, that is : input: casaleggio ———> output: grillo. (...)

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