Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Beppe Grillo is the populist leader of Italy's second-largest political party, the Five Star Movement. (Photo: Liwax/flickr/cc)

Beppe: Nationalize Banks to Throw Off 'Anti-Democratic Straitjacket' of Eurozone

Populist comedian-turned-politician calls for Italy to exit the Euro

Deirdre Fulton

Longtime critic of the Eurozone's destructive commitment to austerity, Italian comedian-turned-political activist Beppe Grillo has launched what one news outlet called a "full-throated attack" on the single currency, saying his country should throw off that "anti-democratic straitjacket" by nationalizing its banks and taking a stronger stance against the demands of elite financial interests.

Grillo, who the Guardian says "transformed Italian politics when he launched his anti-establishment Five Star Movement in 2009," called for Italy to exit the Euro in order to guard against the threat of bankruptcy and German-imposed austerity.

In comments written at his blog, Grillo criticized Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras while comparing Germany's conduct during recent bailout negotiations to "explicit Nazism." He said that in the wake of the Greek crisis, Italy should be prepared to use its whopping debt as a weapon against foreign creditors.

The Guardian explains:

Grillo said Italy had to use its enormous €2tn (£1.4bn) debt as leverage against Germany, implying that the potential global damage of an Italian default would stop Germany from "interfering" with Italy’s "legitimate right" to convert its debt into another currency.

"It would be difficult to defend the interests of the Greek people worse than Tsipras did," Grillo wrote. "His refusal to exit the euro was his death sentence. He was convinced that he could break the marriage between the euro and austerity, but ended up delivering his country into Germany's hands, like a vassal."

In a separate interview this week with the Financial Times, Grillo said of the so-called Troika: "They don't care if they have to put tens of millions of people into hunger to balance an account, it's collateral damage. We've entrusted our lives to people who know nothing about life."

Responding to Grillo's comments, Open Europe's Vincenzo Scarpetta told the Guardian and Portuguese business daily Jornal de Negócios: "The Greek deal and negotiations have helped [Italy’s anti-euro parties] make the case that it is impossible to reform the euro from the inside."

In his blog post, Grillo also took a broad swipe at the U.S. trade agenda, suggesting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) "would turn Europe into a subject of the U.S. in the same way Europe had become a subject of Germany," according to the Guardian

As the Financial Times reports, the Five Star Movement "has been rising steadily in the polls since March" and currently enjoys the support of nearly 25 percent of Italian voters.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Analysis: 26 US Billionaires Paid Average Tax Rate of Just 4.8% in Recent Years

"When you include their untaxed wealth growth in the calculation, many billionaires pay almost nothing," said Frank Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness.

Jake Johnson ·


'We Were Expecting This,' Says Family After Israel Says No Criminal Probe Into Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

The development came as leading international artists called for "meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians."

Andrea Germanos ·


'I Simply Cannot Stand By': Jayapal Endorses Cisneros Against Anti-Abortion Incumbent Cuellar

"At a time when our reproductive freedoms are under attack by an extremist Supreme Court, we must elect pro-choice candidates that will fight to make sure abortion remains the law of the land."

Jake Johnson ·


Progressives Condemn DCCC Chair for 'Disgraceful' Self-Dealing in NY Primary Debacle

Sunrise NYC denounced Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's plan to run against progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones "and potentially sacrifice the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives in the process."

Kenny Stancil ·


In Telling Slip, George W. Bush Condemns the 'Unjustified and Brutal Invasion of Iraq'

"It's hard to get past the nihilistic evil of killing hundreds of thousands, making millions into refugees, and turning it into stand-up to defuse the awkwardness of your hypocrisy," responded one journalist.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo