Filippo Nogarin rides a bicycle

Newly elected Mayor Filippo Nogarin of Livorno, Italy (aka “Leghorn”) rides his bicycle away from the Town Hall after election results were announced on June 10, 2014.

Livorno remains the center of Red politics in Italy 90 years after the Italian communist party was founded there. Nogarin, who represents the populist / green / Eurosceptic “Five Star Movement” (Movimento Cinque Stelle), won with 53 percent of the vote to wrest power from the local center-left party machine which has retained control of local politics since World War 2.

Some consider The Five Star Movement to be the Italian ideological analog of the American Tea Party, with observers comparing party leader Beppe Grillo with fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

The “five stars” refers to the five key platforms of the party: public water, sustainable transport, sustainable development, connectivity, and environmentalism.

I’m trying to decide if it’s refreshing or disturbing to see sustainability and environmentalism as the defining platforms in a far right political party. This probably plays right into Dorothy Rabinowitz’s fears of a totalitarian, all-powerful bike lobby, but I, for one, welcome our new bike-riding Italian overlords.

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