For years, Europe's young have grown increasingly furious as the euro crisis has robbed them of a future. The emergence of Beppe Grillo's party in Italy is one of the results -- and is just the latest indication that disgust towards European politics is widespread
Grillo is an Italian phenomenon, but his party's election results are an expression of the mounting rage and anxiety that is spreading throughout crisis-stricken Southern Europe. A new citizens' movement is taking shape, one that shares a mistrust of the established political system and a desire for more grassroots democracy. Only in Italy has it been democratically legitimized thus far.
These irate citizens are also united in anger against their own elite: politicians who have been tainted by party scandals and corruption, yet still remain in power or leaders who are seen as being the mere lackeys of Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Despite its name, Movimento 5 Stelle has long since ceased to be a movement. It has become a political party that is expected to take responsibility and make proposals for the formation of a government. During the campaign, it relied on a thin, 15-page platform.
The Grillini now have to prove that their country is not merely corrupt, indifferent and infiltrated by the Mafia. Ultimately, they could save Italy's image around the globe. They are the latest example of an uprising of the lost generation, that mass of people on Europe's periphery who are under the age of 40, desperate, unemployed and who have very little left to lose. The public outrage in Europe came to a boil in tent camps in Madrid's Puerta del Sol. It inspired the Occupy Wall Street activists. And it continued in Greece, where youth unemployment has reached 59.4 percent, and where there are no jobs and no economic recovery. =
Yet whereas the Greeks have not yet stirred up the old political system, the Grillini have found unexpected success. They were long underestimated in Italy, yet they long ago started having an effect. They have, for example, fundamentally shaken up the old party system, with its irreconcilable right-wing and left-wing factions. A new political class has emerged with them. Since the advent of the Grillini, Italians are debating Europe more than ever before, including their country's possible exit from the euro zone.
It must be terrifying for current bunch of European political leaders and Brussels eurocrats to watch the mounting anger, not only in southern Europe, but in other regions as well. In their hearts they must know that they have utterly failed, and that the day of reckoning cannot be far.