By James Lewis and Justine Aristea
Italian rabble-rouser Beppe Grillo (rhymes with Brillo) has the 10th most popular website in the world. For years he has whipped up big, angry crowds, and this week he offered a "tsunami" of demonstrations. This weekend comes the election, and poll results show that Grillo may receive a third of the youth vote. In a parliamentary system that could give him big power for years to come.
Nobody knows if Grillo is a fascist pretending to be a comedian, or a comedian pretending to be a fascist. Grillo may not know himself -- but when his party gets into the Italian parliament we will all find out.
Grillo's followers believe what he says, and they offer to beat you up if you question him.
Sane people in Italy are scared.
Beppe may be an agent of influence for the Iranian mullahs, as we pointed out last week.
On his blog Mr. Grillo shows a mischievous smile.
Which of the following do you believe?
1. High-flying jets spray mind-altering chemicals over Rome to drive Italians crazy. Those are the jet "chemtrails" you can see overhead.
2. A good bloodletting will purify your body and cure any disease. This is the word of God. But flu vaccines are dangerous.
3. The Islamic Development Bank gives away free money to deserving borrowers.
4. The Jews are a small, wandering minority of Arabs who stole the Holy Land from the others 2,500 years ago.
5. They now run the world through the Illuminati, the Masonic Lodges, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds.
6. The Jews are responsible for Italy's mess, because they own the banks that charge usurious interest rates.
7. The woman-hating mullahs in Iran represent ancient Persian civilization, the most advanced culture in the world.
8. Cancer chemotherapy is a Big Pharma conspiracy to kill patients.
9. GMO food will kill you, along with nanoparticles.
10. The Jews who run the world need to be "processed" en masse. Grillo supporters will not define "processed," but they love the idea. Whatever it means.
11. Beppe Grillo can save Italy by nationalizing the banks and cutting off trade to Europe. The fact that Italy is physically part of Europe is no impediment.
But Beppe Grillo is not --- repeat not --- a fascist. His followers will beat you up if you don't agree.
If you go along with all that, you're ready to join the Five Star Alliance in Italy.
Send in for your tinfoil hat!
In a parliamentary system even small parties can wield big power, because their votes can make or break governing coalitions. Hitler only received a plurality of German votes in 1938.
Nobody knows what Beppe Grillo really believes. But his followers will swear to those delusions.
Grillo may be a clown, but his popularity means that Italy is now open to crowd madness.
As history testifies, the madness of crowds has destroyed Italy before.
Later this weekend we will find out.