[. . .T]he determination of rich and powerful people to manipulate the democratic process. This was once the central aim of P2, perhaps the most influential secret society ever established in postwar Europe.
P2 was ostensibly a harmless branch of the freemasons but there was nothing harmless about it. Its members included top bankers, business tycoons, media moguls, generals, judges and intelligence agents. They met in secret and plotted the gradual erosion of the hated system of democracy that from time to time threatened to exert some marginal control over Italian society.
One of P2's most influential members was Roberto Calvi, boss of the doomed Ambrosiano bank. In June 1982, Calvi's corpse was found hanging from scaffolding under Blackfriars Bridge. The City of London police concluded that the banker had committed suicide, though others were struck by the coincidences between the scene of his lurid death and certain well-known masonic symbols - a bridge, a ladder, some stones in the dead man's pocket, not to mention the frati neri (black friars), an ancient secret society from which P2 allegedly originated. At any rate, despite occasional successes, P2 never came near to overthrowing democracy, and not long after the death of Calvi, dissolved and vanished.
One of its most prominent members - no 1168 - was Silvio Berlusconi, who was so rich and owned so many television stations that he was able to form an entirely new legal political alliance, unattached to the parties of the old Italian democracy, and, with the help of former fascists and racists, to get the alliance elected to government.
There are such things as conspiracy theories, vast shadowy conspiracies in the dark involving connections between unconnected people. This is not a conspiracy theory. This is a set of documented connections and demonstrated memberships in a single movement with the aim of creating an Italy politically under the control of the right, closely associated with the United States, and dominated by the powerful. What do else do we see in early 21st century Italy but just this structure, managed by a man who was a scion of P2? P2 isn't a conspiracy. Rather, P2 is networking.