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LA STAMPA

After Brexit And Trump, Wave Of Rebellion Triumphs In Italy

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his constitutional reform referendum are victims of a massive movement of popular discontent, now more global than ever.

'No' supporters protesting in Rome on Nov. 27
"No" supporters protesting in Rome on Nov. 27
Maurizio Molinari*

-Editorial-

TURIN — With massive voter turnout and runaway victory of the "No" camp, Sunday's referendum has revealed the existence in Italy of a kind of popular rebellion that has rejected Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, his proposed constitutional reforms, and the establishment government. The referendum proposal became a touchstone for this protest movement, which had first appeared during last spring's municipal elections that, among other results, saw political outsiders win the mayor offices of Rome and Turin.

Still, any attempt to reduce the expression of this collective discontent — which was registered in every geographic region — as a sign of support for this or that political force would be a serious error.

The "No" votes came from struggling middle-class families, victims of the economic crisis, without hopes of prosperity and well-being for their children and grandchildren. They were the young people unable to find jobs, the working-class who feel threatened by migrants and employees whose salaries simply no longer suffice.

Such a popular uprising is the expression of the same discomfort that produced the Brexit vote in Britain and sent Donald Trump toward the White House. Now it has raised its voice for the first time on the continent, and in a founding country of the European Union.

The immediate resignation of Renzi makes it clear that his successors must come with definite answers to the crisis at the origin of the middle-class protest. Italy needs a new welfare for families facing hardships, a it needs a recipe to reignite economic growth and a formula for integrating migrants. The longer these questions are left unanswered, the wider the protest movement will grow, which could trigger a domino effect of unpredictable consequences. To relaunch Italy, a new government is simply not enough: The popular rebellion must be respected, and its demands must be met.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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