It is not strange that Jean-Jacques Rousseau landed in the new Italian politics thanks to an entrepreneur in the field of digital marketing strategies. Gianroberto Casaleggio projected the 5 Star Movement (M5S), which he founded with the comedian Beppe Grillo, as a disruptive innovation that sought to lead the electoral market by marketing a new way of doing politics based on the use of network technologies. The fact that the instrument used to finally materialize the infrastructure of this project was called the Rousseau Platform is explained by the confluence of what Laclau described as the “logic of populism” and what publicists call the “technique of naming ”. Experts repeat that it is essential not to name a product until the brand strategy has been defined. The strategy of the M5S, which wanted to take advantage of the discontent over the policies applied under the pretext of the 2008 crisis, consisted of disguising the fact that it was building a party by pretending that it was building a movement that expressed the will of the people. And the name of Rousseau, a symbolic champion of popular sovereignty and of the mechanisms to prevent parliamentarians or the government from usurping it, fitted like a glove to the image that was wanted to be given of the system that was offered as a medium/message for this expression.
The Rousseau Platform was, from 2016 to 2021, the digital instrument of the 5 Star Movement
The Rousseau Platform, which was presented the day Gianroberto Casaleggio died, was, from 2016 to 2021, the digital instrument of the M5S and registered citizens elected candidates and leaders, decided government alliances, expelled dissidents and voted on bills. It was advertised as a tool for direct democracy fulfilling what had been a science fiction hypothesis. But its operation was plebiscitary and those registered could not govern the platform democratically because its management and the sovereign power to decide what and how was asked were in the hands of a private body, the Associazione Rousseau, directed by Davide Casaleggio, son of Gianroberto, who He also chairs the company Cassaleggio e Associati, an expert in algorithmically controlling the moods of the networks, which intended to move this political body like a puppet. The conflict of interest between the sovereign of the platform and the elected leaders of the M5S put an end to the drill. And Rousseau is no longer the platform of the movement. But, for a few days, in a disturbing metamorphosis, the blog of the association that managed it offers, as if it were an Ouija, the possibility of communicating with the spirit of its inventor, the late Gianroberto, through a chat based on artificial intelligence, a new disruptive technology that allows the discourse on decision-making and good governance to shift from a model focused on the relationship between politicians and citizens to one absorbed in the relationship between humans and machines.