If you watch tv shows about Italian politics, you will see many politicians arguing or fiercely expressing their opinions, to the point you may think it is not a program of that type. Fiery and overheated discussions about politics may seem strange to you, but in Italy also ordinary people passionately express their opinions, especially if they have opposite ideologies.
In recent years, the country has often been politically associated to Berlusconi, who has been the prime minister of the country for several mandates, but the panorama is, in fact, quite varied and several types of Italian politician and political supporters can be identified.
Here are 10 widespread Italian stereotypical political characters you may come across…
Thanks to his demagogy and the first, high impact political campaigns he organized, Berlusconi managed to gain the affection of numerous Italians creating a new breed of political supporter, the Berlusconiano. Il Berlusconiano always praises Il Cavaliere, no matter if he does something wrong, no matter the pending trials where he is involved. Even when he gets sentenced, Berlusconi remains innocent to his supporters: it is the justice system to be negatively biased against him, who is simply the sacrificial victim of a large conspiracy.
Nella, Berlusconi’s biggest fan
Quello che vota a Sinistra (the left-wing supporter)
This category includes several sub-branches. First of all, we have the former communist: s/he still believe in the lotta di classe (the Marxist class struggle), even though the party proper no longer exists and its ideology has been largely surpassed. Very often, the former communist votes for PD, yet is profoundly unhappy with it, and considers entrepreneurs and higher social classes as exploiters.
Then, we have the intellettuale di sinistra, one of the most common left-wing supporters in the country. The left-wing intellectual dresses unusually, feels alternative and blindly believes to be intellectually above the rest. Easily mirroring habits typical of internationally recognisable hypsters, s/he likes indie movies, music and literature, hates multinationals and popular labels and is usually a supporter of all that is organic (and possibly vegan).
The most recent type of left-wing supporter is the one that does not really know what being in favor of sinistra means, but simply supports it because his/her parents, as well as all previous generations of the family, did. Often, this person is very much middle-class and has very openly bourgeois opinions and habits, yet, would keep definying him/herself as a left-wing supporter.
Do not talk about Italy to Northern League supporters: they will answer there is not such a thing. To them, who clearly live in a parallel universe very much distant from reality, Italy is not one country, but three: north, centre and south. Green clothes and accessories characterize the leghista, who aims at the scission of Italy: the north on one side, and the rest on the other. Padania (the northern regions) deserve independence from Roma Ladrona (Rome, the city that steals from the north) and Terronia (the southern regions), a place where nobody works and everyone is corrupted. They seem to forget, however, that Lega Nord itself has been tainted by several corruption scandals and that the majority of the defects they see in the people of the centre and the south of Italy are pretty widespread in the north, too.
Gli Anti- immigrazione
Perhaps it is due to the increasing economic crisis or to the decreasing job offer, but this type of Italian is more frequent today than it used to be.This category is against immigrants because they believe there is not enough space for everyone in the country and, as Italians are going through a difficult period, they should be given assistance first. The anti-immigranti, those against immigrants, believe that immigrants are ‘stealing’ jobs to Italians citizens, as they accept low wages and exhausting working conditions and hours. They are also convinced immigrants – especially when illegal– are granted priorities and facilitations not open to regular Italian citizens. What they appear to forget is that, more often than not, these people pick jobs young Italians, still convinced a three year degree is worth as much as doctorate, would never accept to do and, probably even more importantly, they forget how we Italians used to be immigrants ourselves. And not so long ago.
Il Separatista geografico (the geographical separatist)
Although most of the people belonging to this category support the Northern League and come, clearly enough, from the north of Italy, geographical separatists aim at the same type of separation, but often also come from the south. The idea of regional autonomy is, however, more strongly rooted and widespread in the north of the country and separatists are usually from the area of Padania, Lombardy or Veneto. Geographical separatists from the south would like to achieve independence as they argue that united Italy damaged them, and stole their artistic and cultural patrimony.
This is the most common political follower in the country, along with the Berlusconiano. This is a typology that emerged with power when Berlusconi was Prime Minister, but was already present at the time of his first political campaign. The anti-Berlusconi is not only concerned about Il Cavaliere’s national politics, but is also convinced he is an embarassement to the country and its people abroad.
Il Rivoluzionario e anarchico
The rivoluzionario e anarchico, the revolutionary and anarchist, is the type of Italian who would like to organize a people’s revolution against the Government and the entire political system to change the country. This political follower has, more often than not, no idea of what or who should lead Italy, and is unaware of what anarchy, or living in a truly anarchic state, really means.
This type of Italian does not want to talk about politics because s/he is fed up with the Italian political scenario and cannot conform with any of the parties, which are considered as not really representative of the country’s people.
Il Nostalgico (the Old Italy nostalgic)
Italians belonging to this group wish a return to the past and would like to abolish euro in favor of lira, as they consider the common currency responsible for the economic problems of the country. Linked to the issue of euro, there is the assumption that Italy should also not be part of Europe neither politically nor economically, as the presence of the European Union is considered the reason behind all problems the country has to face.
A recent entry in the Italian political supporters’ panorama, il Grillino supports Beppe Grillo, founder of the Movimento Cinque Stelle. S/he is against every political party and has the only aim to create havoc, dismiss every single politician in the country and choose a new governement among people who have hardly or never been involved in politics.
The problem with the M5S is blatant: it does not have a true program of action, most of its representatives are clueless to what a politician should do, and there is very little rationality to their actions and requests. Il Grillino is, fundamentally, a politically disilluded individual, who no longer trusts the political status quo in the country and has decided, as a consequence, to throw away his/her right to vote to support a mockery of a party. I Grillini have often the same attitudes as Beppe Grillo: they shout, they rail against all Italian politicians and protest continuously.
Edited: Francesca Bezzone