By Stevan Gajić
The Dark Corridors of Power
Misa Durkovic. Тамни коридори моћи. Krug Commerce, 2013. 246 pages.
A book was recently published in Belgrade by Dr Miša Đurković of the Institute of European Studies, entitled The Dark Corridors of Power. Although a serious scientific publication, it is clear and easily readable. That was the idea of the author: to present serious topic in a simple manner and it must be said that he managed that very well.
The book consists of eight chapters, thematically separated in key issues related to the ideological warehouse of the modern world, the elites who are promoting these themes and the ‘humanities’, which are largely in the service of these elites and justify their actions. The chapters are: (1) Conspirology and Political Theory, (2) (Geo)politics of Homosexuality, (3) Neo-Trotskyism and Infiltration Systems, (4) Destruction and Construction of a Nation: the Case of Montenegro, (5) How Serbia’s Elite was Created out of the Nomenclatura, (6) Violence of Children Against Their Parents: Impact of the Reform of Family Legislation, (7) Obesity as a Political and Theoretical Problem, and (8) Authoritarianism in Contemporary Political Theory and Practice. I will briefly describe what each chapter of the Đurković’s book is devoted to.
The entering chapter, Conspirology and Political Theory, is dedicated to the status of humanities in the modern (in fact Western, not only in strictly geographical sense) world, as well as in the intellectual provinces of the planet, that mimic the style and standards of the main research centres and universities around the world. The author underlines the seemingly self-evident fact – that not only formal institutions of political life are the centres of power and influence. There have always been, there are, and there will be informal vectors of power, which greatly promote certain political and economic goals.
The author starts with a question: what does political theory and political science in general tell about this? Then he immediately states that most of modern political science does not say anything. Instead, it is engaged in painless topics such as: normative political conceptions, or separated scientific topics which are divorced from the context and realities, therefore they never explain the whole picture. Such sterilised science, dealing with false dilemmas, according to Đurković, is a way to hide real problems and introduce the dictates of political correctness into academia. Due to the fact that normative science largely ignores and does not deal with the proper subjects of its own, according to the author, this place is now occupied by conspirology. Further, the author examines in detail the results of its research, i.e. explains who are the main carriers of the informal power in the world. Basically, says Đurković, they come from Anglo-Saxon world: these are secret government services, then the so-called deep state, informal groups of influential like-minded people etc., all of which use various informal ways of pursuing their goals. However, the main research question, that the author poses here, is: whether it is possible to separate scientific conspirology from popular conspiracy theories.
The second chapter, (Geo)politics of Homosexuality, is in my opinion, the most interesting part of the book. The author deals here with a very important topic. This issue is among most important issues in today’s globalized world, in fact the Western world, which creates discourse and standards of ‘civilization’s good manners’ for the rest of the planet. In a world where political correctness is the main source of (auto)censorship, a particular view of homosexuality, family and gender is being actively propagated, in fact that particular perception, became one of the ‘holy cows’ in the ideology of ‘human rights’ ever since the 1960’s, and Đurković dares to question it. Not only in the sense that he breaks taboos, however even a simple attempt to deal with this particular issue potentially puts the author personally in a difficult position if active citizens start to engage with his heretical book. Nevertheless, in the interests of science, the author came to the subject deliberately risking accusation of being politically incorrect, by the new kind of ‘mind police security officers’, inspectors of a distinctive style, in many ways similar to employees of the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s 1984. Đurković opens this part of the book, by saying that the issue of homosexuality is one of those burning political issues in many societies nowadays, including Serbian society, one that he comes from. Because of the gay pride parades and other public events in the new fashion of homosexuality and gender sensitisation, imported and financially supported from abroad, Serbian society enters high political tension whenever the issue is raised. The author provides vivid examples that illustrate how Serbian state has been forced to reform legislation in the spirit of ‘anti-discriminatory’ discourse, over a period of past 15 years, which is in fact an instrument of colonial style imposition of a new system of values upon the Serbian society.
In the activity of foreign institutions (such as the ‘Brussels Administration’), as well as the so called ‘civil society’, the author recognises direct pressure of foreign geopolitical factors on the country, and powerful social engineering attempts, aimed to radically change the cultural and moral code of the Serbian people. These changes of the system of values are imposed through a number of institutions, starting with new legislation, school curricula and promotion of homosexual themes in popular culture. This is also done through the externally-sponsored activities of civil society and via general public discourse changes, especially through ‘gay-friendly’ public policy and, above all, privately owned media. Đurković notes that homosexual themes began to emerge in pop culture in Yugoslavia in early 1980-ies and that they existed in Serbia during the 1990-ies, under Slobodan Milošević’s regime. Media that spearheaded promotion of gay culture was a privately owned television station TV Pink. Its owner Željko Mitrović, was a prominent member of the Yugoslav Left (YUL), a political party, that used to exist at the time. Thus, TV Pink actually belonged to YUL, that was lead by none other than Mira Marković, the wife of Serbia’s President Slobodan Milošević.
In the second part of the chapter the author is trying to find actual causes and sources of this social engineering on a global scale. Đurković finds that promotion of homosexual discourse is neatly connected with a network established long time ago. This network of organisations, the so called ‘Round Table’, was established by a famous British imperialist figure Cecil Rhodes. Organisations such as The British Royal Institute of International Affairs, i.e. Chatham House, The Tavistock Institute (which is the creator of powerful discourses and a place where modern experimental psychology was founded), The Bilderberg Group, The Trilateral Commission, etc. The purpose of social engineering carried out by representatives of the world’s elite is changing and reconstructing the world in accordance with their needs. These needs are not only economic and geopolitical in their nature, but they are also value-oriented, according to author. In addition, besides this network of institutions created by the global elite, current officials of global forces are also personally actively involved in promotion of the new discourses. For example, the author reminds us of December 6th 2011 meeting of the UN Committee on Human Rights in Geneva. On that meeting the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay”; Given that the US under the auspices of the fictional principle of ‘humanitarian intervention’ already fought outside of its territory, i.e. it used direct military intervention in foreign countries without the approval of the UN Security Council for the sake of ‘human rights’, Đurković forecasts that we do not need much to wonder if in the future due to human rights violations in the area of sexual minorities’ rights US would invade some country. In the last part of this chapter Đurković chronologically shows, in detail, the appearance of a mechanism promoting gay discourse. He believes that it is introduced in a more or less violent and rapid fashion that aims to achieve a radical moral and institutional change into the fabric of a given society. The author also claims that this process is controlled and enforced from abroad. This is done by agents of foreign influence, which, as the author describes, work with passion almost equal to that of fanatical religious preachers, concentrated on trying to change the moral code and value system of domestic populations, against the interests and wishes of the people themselves.
In the third part of the book Neo-Trotskyism and Infiltration Systems, the author argues that Trotskyism and all its fruits—such as deliberate infiltration (entryism) in all possible structures, even in the ranks of the enemy, or the concept of permanent revolution—are far from being remnants of history. Instead, they are existing mechanisms of influence, and a way to change political reality in today’s world. Although liberalism (as the winner of the Cold War) is trying to show that there is no ideology anymore (Francis Fukuyama’s thesis about the end of history), it turns out that this is not the case. Ideologies do exist very much so, and they are still competing as in the past, however their style and aesthetics have changed. So, in an amazing historical twist, it turns out that Trotskyism—an extreme branch of communist ideology—found its supporters among the extreme American right wingers, among the so-called Neocons, gathered in the circle of George W. Bush. Expectedly, traditional US conservatives accuse neoconservatives of promoting Trotskyite ideology. They perceive the Neocons, as a kind of sect that used the Trotskyist technology of entryism to capture the Republican Party in the United States, placed their people everywhere, thus changing the discourse and transforming the Party’s nature. But because of their overwhelming dominance, the neocons do not consider it necessary to refute the allegations against themselves, Đurković argues. He believes that this phenomenon is not limited to the US. Having in mind entryism as one of the two major components of Leon Trotsky’s teaching, one should not be surprised that members of the transnational elite, such as Joschka Fischer, José Manuel Barroso or Javier Solana, use to be Trotskyites when they were young. Đurković skilfully demonstrated the way in which for decades the values and principles of Trotskyism has shaken the world and undermined long-established institutions and principles—such as sovereignty, balance of power in the world, or internal sovereignty of states—in the name of new content such as internationalism, ideology of human rights, economy of the Washington consensus, democracy, Western-type secularism, etc. Besides entryism that maybe never vanished, at the end of the 20th century we have to be particularly interested in the idea of permanent revolution. This is proven by the wave of so called velvet revolutions in Eastern Europe, which began in 1989, and afterwards captured even non-European part of the former Soviet camp, finally entering then the Arab world in the beginning of second decade of the 21st century. All these revolutions are colloquially called the colour revolutions and the phenomenon is associated with the name of theorist Gene Sharp. However, it is necessary to have in mind that this is all just rehashing of Trotsky’s ideas, which impressed Sharpe in his youth. Of course, the author also touched on the history of the promotion of Trotskyite ideas in Yugoslavia/Serbia, with special emphasis on the great 1968 student protest at the University of Belgrade.
The fourth part of the Đurković’s book, Destruction and Construction of a Nation: the Case of Montenegro, details the history of social engineering and artificial creation of new, unnatural nations. The principle of deconstruction of national identity and the creation of new (hybrid) national identities out of the fragments of old nations, is clearly explained stage by stage in this chapter. The author has plastically described and explained this process on the example of artificial construction of ‘Montenegrin nation’ from one part of Montenegrins. The paradox in this case is even greater having in mind that Montenegrins are traditionally extremely proud for being Serbs, calling Montenegro ‘Serbian Sparta’. Nevertheless, by a persistent and long-term campaign, supported from abroad, using the cultural, historical, linguistic, and religious fraud this social construction eventually gave certain results. This part of Đurković’s book should be particularly interesting to the Russian reader, bearing in mind that the theme is far from being a new one for the Russians. As we can see in the most recent case (Ukraine), the process of dividing the Russian nation is one of the most painful tendencies for Russian people and state nowadays. As it is widely known, for centuries, attempts (especially from the Vatican in the case of Ukrainians and Byelorussians) were made in order to create some new nations out of Russian ethnicity, ‘proving’ that supposedly these people have no relation to the Russian nation. The same methods were used to create separate nations out of Serbian on the basis of religious affiliation during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, in this process a particularly grim role was played by a number of Franciscan friars of the Roman Catholic Church. Today, in the examples of the (neo)Montenegrins and (neo)Ukrainians we can observe that this kind of social design can be quite a postmodern phenomenon. Today, it is on purely regional basis that new unnatural ethnic groups start to function as nations, so we can observe how even the bearers of the same religion, culture and language begin identifying themselves as something else.
The fifth and sixth chapters of Đurković’s book—How was Serbia’s Elite Created out of the Nomenclatura and Violence of Children Against Their Parents: Impact of the Reform of Family Legislation—are focused on Serbian society. In the fifth, the author tried to explain the system of nepotism and family-political-class foundations of transfer of power in different aspects of Serbian society. He illustrated that system with many examples of particular interest for Serbian readers. Post-Soviet residents would have been very familiar and interested in their own mechanisms. Here Đurković, in his style and with other categorical apparatus, deals with phenomena that Alena Ledeneva beautifully explained in her books Russia’s Economy of Favours and How Russia Really Works. The other part of the chapter describes specific biographies of famous people in Serbia and their carriers. However, this part would be more interesting to people who are familiar with the context in Serbia, as well as to Russian experts on Serbia, historians, diplomats and political scientists in the first place.
The sixth chapter phenomenologically describes and explains a variety of detailed examples regarding the growth of violence perpetrated by children against their parents. Most importantly, Đurković has clearly shown how the state promotes and incites this violence in postmodern spirit. Postmodernist legislation changes that took place in many countries (and more recently in Serbia, which is the case study for the author) increasingly involve the state into the realm of the family. The State is increasingly being involved into family life, that was once a private matter. This atmosphere is also helped by the media, most of which are owned by foreign capital in the Serbian case. The media, on the other hand, emphasises the need for meddling of state and society with family, while at the same time it brands family as a source of almost all forms of pathological behaviour. More and more the news displays extreme examples of pathological phenomena happening within families. In this way a completely new public image of family is being created. The family therefore ceases to be the mainstay and bulwark of human society and humans in the public image, and becomes a source of a variety of pathological phenomena. In other words, these extreme cases are so often displayed in the Media, so that the public starts believing they are not isolated and extreme events after all, but instead a dominant pattern of behaviour in families. This kind of reporting in turn creates an image of, what we would traditionally call a ‘normal family’ as a very bad place to be in, in the first place. Đurković stresses that family life is more and more a topic of regulation in Serbian legislation. In many Western countries, where the example of Sweden stands out, but also in other ‘transitional’ countries, there is a ‘roadmap’ which a country is advised to follow, by imposing more and more pressure on traditional family. Đurković concluded that in this Orwellian atmosphere family can protect itself from social influence and quite direct state violence, personified in family legislation, only by its inner strength.
The seventh part of the book, Obesity as a Political and Theoretical Problem engages with an increasingly prominent phenomenon – a peculiar phenomenon of global epidemic of obesity, especially spreading in the developed world. Studies, Đurković says, showed that the problem began in mid-1980-ies, but from 1990-ies the percentage of obese people is continuously increasing. He made the connection between this phenomenon and the global victory of neo-liberalism. It turns out that the beginning of the epidemic of obesity coincides exactly with the collapse of communism, a system which emphasised physical health of the population, where a strong public health system existed as a basic right. Physical health of the population in communist societies was an important issue, to which it devoted a lot of time. This is obvious if we observe the policy of forming sport clubs, scout associations and mandatory military service in communist societies. Completely free market economy, which has won the global victory at the end of the 20th century, brought to heavy investment of multinational companies (junk-food manufacturers). These companies have the means to advertise unhealthy food, while healthy food increasingly becomes a privilege of the rich, who even began to differ physically from the poor. Đurković claims that such advertisings changed even the cognitive perception of the consumer, who—instead of looking at food as a basic need for survival—begins to look at it as a form of drug, i.e. solely as one of the sources of physical pleasure. At the same time the capitalist system leaves ordinary people with less and less time for leisure, so citizens lack time to prepare food for themselves and they are forced to rely on a large network of multinational fast food companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and the like. On the other hand, even the ideology of feminism, Đurković claims, is supported by such companies, because they have the interests in supporting it. Modern wave of feminism, according to Đurković, reduced the percentage of families with homemade food. The tricky advertising by major food industry directly emphasises that fast food will help women to break away from the chains of kitchen and emancipate. Obesity also coincides with the secularisation of society and removal of religion, as moral norms that have held back personal passions, such as gluttony, are no longer respected. In conclusion Đurković advises societies and states to seriously tackle the problem of obesity, if they want to stop the overall mental and physical decline of their population. His specific proposal is to start with limitation of destructive advertisement of fast food companies that should result in reduction of their negative impact on people and society.
The last part of the book, Authoritarianism in Contemporary Political Theory and Practice, is very interesting and to some extent it is indicative for the future of political theory and practice. In recent years, many countries are moving towards authoritarianism, first of all the US, after the terrorist attack in New York on September 11th 2001. They have adopted the so-called Patriot Act, which virtually eliminated many of the civil rights of the American Republic, such as the Bill of Rights of 1791. However, the author notes that despite a real interest in the practice of authoritarianism, and in this model of government, official political science pretends authoritarianism supposedly doesn’t exit and prefers to ignore the reality, operating as if Fukuyama’s world is still a valid paradigm. In the last chapter—returning to the subject of the first chapter of the book, i.e. inability of official normative science to respond to the needs of the time due to the dogma of political correctness—Đurković indicates that even if science does not dare to explain reality, it could not stop that reality. In describing this phenomenon, he points to a shocking tendency – political scientists are debating the economic aspects of the crisis, while simultaneously almost not touching upon the crisis of the concept of liberal democracy. If pure hedonism—advocated by the creators of the dominant discourse—is a dominant model, and if the European peoples physically die out in the reluctance to continue their families and their nations, Europe is in a state of decadence as well as ancient Rome was, at its final stages. Historical experience suggests that the way out of this situation is beyond the scope of democracy, Đurković adds. This is also consistent with the logic of Aristotle’s natural changes in political regimes, but this model does not suit dogmatic defenders of liberal democracy. While discussing authoritarianism, Đurković recalls its policy framework on the example of Robert Filmer’s 1680 book Patriarcha, or The Natural Power of Kings, which acts with the arguments in favour of authoritarianism, similar to the concept of Russian autocracy. Patriarcha was followed by a well-known polemical answer of one of the fathers of liberalism, John Locke in Two Treatises of Government. Đurković emphasises that throughout much of its history the mankind lived in authoritarianism and that other forms of government are relatively new for us. He reminds that the relationship between authoritarianism and democracy is a more complex one than from what it appears to be in ideal types: for example, the US as the largest liberal democracy has the institution of President, that bares much stronger levers of power than in the case of most European countries. The complexity of this relationship is most noticeable when liberal democracies are under a threat, such as war. In such situations, the institutions of democracy are often temporarily replaced by classical authoritarian models of government. But for how long this ‘state of emergency’ can last it is always questionable, notes Đurković.
Critics might say that Miša Đurković’s book is provocative, it can also be accused of being supportive of authoritarianism and destructive for the postmodern discourse, finally, some may even accuse him of violating political correctness and so on. Nevertheless, this is a book with a political opinion and it is a kind of a book that one can either violently hate or largely agree with. In any case, it is impossible to remain indifferent to it. The Dark Corridors of Power is a kind of revelation to the Serbian public, but it will also, not to a lesser extent, be interesting for a foreign reader. In this book Đurković questions the very essence of power and the very core of the global system in which modern man lives, awakens thought and leaves the readers feeling concerned for themselves, their loved ones and, dare I say it, the whole of humanity. With The Dark Corridors of Power Miša Đurković thematically joined a number of classical authors such as Curzio Malaparte and Carroll Quigley or contemporary Russian writers like Alexander Dugin, Alexander Prokhanov or Andrei Fursov.