by Marco Malaguti

Different countries, different neuroses. If Italy's national monomania is covid, Germany, on the other hand, has climate change or, more specifically, the climate crisis (Klimakrise). As mentioned earlier, ecological millenarianism has a privileged base here, perhaps its most important stronghold on European soil. In no nation on the old continent does extremist ecologism enjoy such a strong social consensus which, as we have already illustrated, is rooted in a broad and ancient cultural background.

To each his own millenarianism

Blessed by the media, which in addition to relaunching their themes often directly advertise their deeds by sharing their videos from social spaces, prominent movements of extremist environmentalism such as Ende Gelände and Letzte Generation ("Last Generation") have rapidly risen to prominence in the youth political scene, surpassing in popularity even Greta Thunberg's far more structured Fridays for Future, which has instead evolved in an increasingly political and institutional direction. Many of these activists, moreover, are not newcomers, but rather veterans of long seasons of struggle in far-left movements such as Antifaschistische Aktion ("Anti-Fascist Action") or LGBT-related militant entities.

One need only flip through a German newspaper or tune in to a TV news program to re-experience, in green sauce, the same nightmare that Italy endured and partially still endures with covid-19. The climate crisis is everywhere. Plentiful and alarmed editorials are urging policy to emit less and less CO2 (in the meantime that nuclear power plants are being shut down and new coal-fired ones are being opened in an anti-Russian move) while climatologists, meteorologists and other "experts" have achieved an all-pervasiveness that only members of Italy's "Technical-Scientific Committee" had enjoyed.

Anyone who has friends or acquaintances beyond the Alps will be able to verify how, for example, a large part of the German population is fully aware of the current drought situation in our peninsula and better informed about it than about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The media and the fear orchestra

The media's relentless focus on weather phenomena also has its origins overseas. Accustomed to extreme events such as ruinous hurricanes, colossal tornadoes, blizzards, and sandstorms, the US citizens are understandably very attentive to anything climate-related, and the media, as a matter of course, responds to the demand by creating a more than adequate supply, with even entire television channels devoted to meteorology.

However, in Europe in general and in Germany in particular, reporting for what concerns such events (but also very normal phenomena) is becoming increasingly anxiogenic and terroristic. Temperatures of 30-32 degrees Celsius in the middle of summer are enough to unleash TV crews, who travel far and wide in the Federal Republic hunting for suffering trees and flower beds close to withering. Weather forecast maps turn yellow, orange, red, and purple, so much so that the viewer has the distinct perception that the country is burning, when perhaps temperatures are no higher than thirty-five degrees and without significantly affecting Germany's water supply. But reason can do little against the shrieking, sentimental and exquisitely distressing communication of the media, and the oil stain of Angst expands.

The tidal wave of anxiety

Italy, a country almost bordering the Bundesrepublik and deeply connected to its market, is highly exposed to the contagion - to use terms now popular among us - of the ecologist obsession. Accomplice also to the high number of young Italians, both students and more or less permanent emigrants, residing in the German country, tones and modes of ecological protest are slowly but gradually overflowing south of the Alps as well. Letzte Generation in particular has succeeded in taking root in Italy in a very rapid manner.

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The green extremist movement founded in Berlin less than a year ago (the inception dates back to last September) has established itself in Milan and Rome and is in the process of expanding to other cities in the Center-North. The group still appears to be consolidating - one only has to access their website (in which a German translation for the "donation" page is significantly available) to realize this - but we are undoubtedly not talking about an exclusively media or telematic phenomenon. There have been already six blockades of the Grande Raccordo Anulare around the Italian capital that the movement has conducted, to which another is being added in the ring road of Milan; but the activists declare that they do not want to stop here, especially since the Police, at least for now, seem particularly benevolent towards them.

Double standards

The memory cannot but run to last fall's Trieste dock strike, when the no-greenpass strikers led by Stefano Puzzer, falsely accused of blocking the port (which in fact never ceased operations) were cleared with water cannons. Thus it cannot help but run back to the now distant - but not so far - northern cattle ranchers' protest of 1999, when twenty-six ranchers from the Veneto region then militating under the Herculine Cow banner were arrested for the same offense.

How can we not also think of the measure that for months banned no-pass protests in Italy's city centers, exiling them de facto to desolate suburbs or even the open countryside on the grounds that they "hurt the city economy"? Perhaps blocking beltways and highways around the country's major financial and industrial hubs is, instead, good for the economy?

We will await a response from the politicians, who, for now, do not comment, or if they do, they certainly do not employ the solicitous early 20th-century tones used during the no vax witch hunt. Just as in Berlin, where the authorities when they do not minimize openly support, in Italy we witness everything but condemnation. One gets the impression, once again, that even this silence actually says a great deal about how organic these would-be rebels actually are to the Draghi agenda narrative.

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Research fellow at the Machiavelli Center. A philosophy scholar, he has been working for years on the topic of the revaluation of nihilism and the great German Romantic philosophy.