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New Political Actors in Europe: Beppe Grillo and the M5S

February 14, 2013

New social and political movements from radically different political positions are emerging across Europe using social media, posing a new challenge to existing political parties and structures. The Pirate Party in Germany and the Occupy movement are examples of movements that have employed social media to grow rapidly and create a significant political and social impact, all in the last three years.Beppe Grillo, the Italian comedian and blogger, is one of the first political figures to have embraced this change. He has used social media to communicate, recruit and organize, growing the Moviment 5 Stelle from practically nothing to a major political force in Italy in the space of three years, with it expected to play a crucial role in the 2013 Italian elections. His anti-establishment message has resonated with many against a backdrop of declining trust in political institutions, falling political party membership and ever-lower voter turnout.This report presents the results of a survey of 1,865 Facebook fans of Beppe Grillo and the Movimento 5 Stelle. It includes data on who they are, what they think, and what motivates them to shift from virtual to real-world activism. It also compares them with other similar parties in Western Europe and their attitudes to those of the Italian population. This report is the seventh in a series of country specific briefings about the online support of populist parties across Europe.

Populism in Europe: CasaPound in Italy

October 1, 2012

Nationalist populist parties and movements are growing in support throughout Europe. These groups are known for their opposition to immigration, their "anti-establishment" views and their concern with protecting national culture. Their rise in popularity has gone hand-in-hand with the advent of social media, and they are adept at using new technology to amplify their message, recruit and organize.One of the most difficult to classify of these groups is the neo-fascist political and cultural movement CasaPound. CasaPound emphasizes modes of direct activism (for example, organising street protests, demonstrative actions, political campaigns and street marches) over more formal methods of political engagement. Unlike other far-right movements and parties in Europe for which immigration is the key issue, CasaPound's policy positions cover a range of economic and social areas with its primary concern being the "housing right" for Italian citizens.This report presents the results of a survey of Facebook fans of CasaPound. It includes data on who they are, what they think, and what motivates them to shift from virtual to real-world activism. It also compares them with other similar parties in Western Europe, shedding light on their growing online support, and the relationship between their online and offline activities. This report is the sixth in a series of country specific briefings about the online support of populist parties in 12 European countries, based on a survey of 13,000 Facebook fans of these groups.

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