The US journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald recently wrote an article on The Intercept titled: “The greatest threat to free speech comes not from terrorism, but from those claiming to fight it”.
In the UK, during the Queen’s Speech the new measures included in the Counter Terrorism Bill have been announced and in Italy an anti-terrorism Decree has received parliamentary support in April.
But terrorism is not the only pretext taken by Western governments in order to pursue draconian law-making, sometimes it is just about dissent, as in the Spanish case with the Anti-Gag Law, criticised also by a group of UN experts.
Spain is one of the countries that have suffered most the Austerity practices and on the social front it experienced a massive rise of social protests, focused around the Indignados movement that inspired the whole set of Occupy movements.
Austerity has never been mentioned in the Italian debate until now, unlike asperity, a lighter word that also implies future perspectives of growth. The promise of a path of asperity leading to economic growth has been the ‘mantra’ of Mario Monti’s government, and Enrico Letta, the current prime minister has often stated that the strict time of asperity is now over.
The Italian public’s opinion on asperity is divided between a small group of supporters and widespread disapproval, and was mirrored in the impressive gains of the Freedom Party and Five Stars Movement in the last elections. Supporters of austerity such as Alesina and de Rugy stated that Monti’s government has chosen the wrong version of fiscal discipline which has led to excessive tax hikes and not to much needed cuts in public expenditure.