The Munich Security Conference
The Munich Security Conference proposes to be an institution of freedom, peace and security in the world. Each February (this year later, due to the coronavirus pandemic) it gathers leaders from around the globe; from business-circles, politics, the media, academia, the military and some non-governmental organisations, to discuss what its hosts understand to be the most pressing security issues of our time.
The rise of “Westlessness“
Last year the motto under which the leaders of the free world met was “Westlessness“; an obnoxious term used to represent the alleged loss of the West’s way in the world, its standing and credibility as a proponent of peace and general welfare in the international community.
An unwelcome development brought about in recent years by a surge of reactionary parties and figures in western countries; like ex-US-president Donald Trump, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Victor Orbán in Hungary, Marine-Le Pen in France, the alt-right movements that complement them in Germany, like the Alternative für Deutschland, The Golden Dawn in Greece, the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs in Austria, the Brexit-Party of Nigel Farage in Great-Britain; ugly out-growths, all of the same rot, plaguing those countries in the past few decades: Neoliberalism — the shuffling of wealth and power into the hands of a few multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy stock-holders — leaving most of the population cast aside and suffering the consequences.
Prompting responses that remind us of former times in history, when populations where disenfranchised and not given a voice by those who were in power, bringing them to vote in leaders who would promise them the world if only they followed their rule.
Overcoming “Westlessness“ – their way and ours
The leaders of the free world might not be happy to see these developments take place in recent years, they aren’t however prepared to give up easily on the West because of them. So they proclaim: “We are not neutral. We are not somewhere “in the middle“. We are and will continue to be part of the West!” (Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Defense Minister of Germany, describing Germany’s and Europe’s stance toward the problem of “Westlessness“ in her talk at the MSC 2020); stating Westernness as an idea, not as a region to be found on a map.
Everyone can be part of “the West“; and indeed the West would like everyone to be a part of it, if only they adhere to its principles. These are not the famous ones: democracy, freedom, general well-fare for all peoples, that one reads about in the press or academic articles on Western idealism or hears reverberating in the halls of the Bayerische Hof, where the Munich Security conference takes place every year (under heavy police protection to keep unwelcome visitors, like the general population, out).
These are the principles that indeed govern it: corporate and state interests, closely interlinked with each other; states being the most powerful servants of corporate power and corporations being the most dominant influence on states.
These are the forces, that in their all-too close marriage in the last decades in the Western world, have brought about much of the suffering which its leaders now allegedly lament: the rise of fascistic movements, an upsurge in reactionary sentiment among populations, a forgetfulness of historic patterns that have brought about some of the most horrendous forms of conduct ever to exist between human beings.
It is therefore that we cannot take seriously the proclamations of figure’s like Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to remain in the West; if being in the West means bringing about these atrocious forms and condoning the forces that bear them.
An Alternative Security Conference
If we wish to free ourselves from these bondages we must first of all free ourselves from the guises of freedom and equality, democracy and altruism, which the West casts over the world wherever its shadows run. It is from this need that our, DiEM25 Alternative Security Conference is born: to cast some light where these shadows have been thrown and to expose the powers that operate from within them.
It is this concern that leads us as a foreign policy group from within DiEM25, to set a counter-example to the yearly Munich Security Conference. To hand people an alternative view on security policy questions than the ones they hear or read about in the mainstream press and political discourse each day. To question the existing paradigms of security and to offer alternate ones in their place.
Is it, for instance, necessary that Europe build an army to defend itself? Against what security threats, one might ask, in the first place? Is a rise in arms production legitimate in the Western world today? Who are we defending ourselves against? Who is benefitting from the increase in arms sales? Who is hurt by weapons we sell to foreign countries engaged in conflicts, like the Saudi regime in the war in Yemen? Who are we, the West in general? What does the term even mean? Why is their security (meaning: that of everyone outside the West) less important than ours? How can states talk of security to their populations while at the same time letting the worst ever security crises -= with the climate crisis and the little-talked about but existent threat of nuclear war — unfold? What are we to make of such contradictions in state policy and the talks and speeches we are offered by our alleged leaders?
Join us to answer such and many other related questions from April 27 – 29 at the “Alternative Security Conference“. The event can be followed on DiEM25’s Youtube channel. More information about the conference.
We will begin with a session on general security questions on the Tuesday (27th), move on to more specific forms of human and other kinds of security later in the evening, continue with those on Wednesday (28th) and partly Thursday (29th), and finally end on a note about modern-day imperialism and it’s contemporary disguises on Thursday evening.
We invite you to the first ever Alternative Security Conference hosted by DiEM25! Join us when we try to expose the powers that reside in the dark and thereby take the first step in overcoming them!
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