Monday, March 06, 2006

Something other than Fascism

Paul Ginsborg in yesterday's Observer writing about Berlusconi:
"However, this is not Fascism. It is something else, still to find its name in political science. A new Fascist regime would receive short shrift in Italy today. The whole point of the sort of regime Berlusconi has tried to install is that it is based on formal political liberties, on continuing freedoms in everyday life, on spaces left open for opposition in the media system, even on satire aimed at the leader on his own television channels."

and then....
"On a global scale, Berlusconi is also not alone. There are many other figures in Latin American, Mediterranean and North American politics who resemble him in one or more ways - none more so than the present leader of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra. Behind Berlusconi there lurks a central and increasingly dramatic problem for democracy: the relationship between media and politics. Modern democracies have been very slow to see the dangers inherent in this relationship, and their collective myopia is reflected in limited and often reluctant regulatory procedures. Indeed, de-regulation has been the order of the day, often replacing a system of safeguards that had been introduced at an earlier date.

We now face a striking paradox - of much less control being exercised by the state at precisely a time when the media system has become much more powerful and all-intrusive. The result is to facilitate the connection of business interests, especially media interests, with the political sphere, and to increase the spaces for manipulation. Nobody knows this better than Silvio Berlusconi."

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