MAPPING RIGHTWING EXTREMISM (FIGHTING FOR WHAT'S LEFT)
curated by Orfeas Skutelis and Branka Curcic
"The Continuing Appeal of NATIONALISM"
Nationalism was proclaimed dead several times during the present century:
- after the first world war, when the last empires of Europe, the Austrian and the Turkish, were broken up into self~determined nations, and no deprived nationalists remained, except the Zionists;
- after the Bolshevik coup d'etat, when it was said that the bourgeoisie's struggles for self-determination were henceforth superseded by struggles of workingmen, who had no country;
- after the military defeat of Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany, when the genocidal corollaries of nationalism had been exhibited for all to see, when it was thought that nationalism as creed and as practice was permanently discredited.
Filip Markovinović "The Army and Me", 2005
Yet forty years after the military defeat of Fascists and National Socialists, we can see that nationalism did not only survive but was born again, underwent a revival. Nationalism has been revived not only by the so-called right, but also and primarily by the so-called left. After the national socialist war, nationalism ceased to be confined to conservatives, became the creed and practice of revolutionaries, and proved itself to be the only revolutionary creed that actually worked.
Leftist or revolutionary nationalists insist that their nationalism has nothing in common with the nationalism of fascists and national socialists, that theirs is a nationalism of the oppressed, that it offers personal as well as cultural liberation.
Fredy Perlman, "The Continuing Appeal of NATIONALISM", 1985
These video works are gathered through the open competition organized by New Media Center_kuda.org. This call for submission of works is continuation/a second phase of the project that started with the workshop of the same title “Mapping Rightwing Extremism” that was held in August 2004 in Novi Sad. Workshop gathered young people from Brandenburg, Germany and several independent organizations from Novi Sad, which have gotten to know each other and exchange some experiences during the five days of workshops, street action, public debate and screening.
The background of defining and initiating the project “Mapping Rightwing Extremism” are series of political and social excesses in the last year, especially among the youth in Serbia and Montenegro, induced by the last 15 years of wars, ethnic conflicts, migrations, social insecurity. These incidents were based on nationality of the actors and their mutual non-tolerance, which in general had significantly defined present living environment, especially for the young people in Serbia and Montenegro. It seems that historical controversy concerning the term “nationalism” has found its embodiment in this country, where its direct connection to ethnic tensions, wars and political conflicts could easily be seen.
This call for submission of short films is attempt to investigate what could be creative response to the difficult political and social situation, because in Serbia and Montenegro and particularly in Vojvodina the problem of increasing ethnic and political conflicts is not being dealt with on institutional, political, educational level or through any structural programs. Also, during the years of information and cultural isolation, creative cultural initiatives were self-referenced and disconnected from the complex political situation.
September 2004, in Serbia and its northern province – Vojvodina, was marked by parliamentary and local political elections. After ten years of democratic oriented government in Novi Sad, which is the capital of Vojvodina and the second biggest city in Serbia and Montenegro, extreme right-winged political party known as the Radical Party wins recent elections and together with representatives of several other more conservative right parties forms very regressive city government.
After the WW II Vojvodina was a often used as a positive example of tolerance, because in this multicultural environment lived numerous national minorities, including Hungarian communities, Croats, Slovaks, Romanians, Roma, Albanians, Muslims, etc. which today make around 45% of the population. These facts were misused during the last 15 years depending on the changes in the political climate, which then greatly influenced the atmosphere of cultural diversity that was additionally endangered with the wars in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990-ties. With the massive migration of mostly Serbian refugees from Croatia and Bosnia political, demographic and cultural climate has also changed. The number of people living in Novi Sad today almost doubled and it went from 250.000 people in the beginning of 1980-ties to around 400.000 people today. Simultaneously, the level of tolerance and respect towards other ethnic, national and religious groups drastically decreased and is on a very low level today which is clearly reflected through the growing number of ethnic and political conflicts.
In Serbia in 2004 was recorded more racist and nationalist assaults than in the last five years. In the first six months of 2004 official records count 44 assaults on ethnic base, 13 fights and 17 assaults on Roma people. Number of incidents in 2005 increased, and actors of these violent actions are mostly young people, grown up in isolation, war environment and in the time of social insecurity. Important thing in this context is the fact that 70% of student population of Serbia and Montenegro never travelled abroad. Verbal violence, suspiciousness and mistrust, national ghettoization - all support the atmosphere of awkwardness and intolerance in multiethnic Vojvodina and Novi Sad.
What is interesting is that the most of collected video works are reflecting on the form of militant right-wing extremism – fascism - that existed in the Second World War. We see this as consequence of contemporary misinterpretations of what could be detected today as neofascism and what is wrongly named as patriotism in Serbian society. Particularly now, when reinterpretation of “national tradition” presents ideological strategy of contemporary Serbian fascism.
New Media Center_kuda.org
Filip Markovinović "The Army and Me", 2005 (24 min)
The stories about the army and the adventures from the army are always the same, and, mainly, uninteresting. That's why I promised myself not to tell them. Instead of that, I made a film...
Bob Miloshevic "Algorythm", 2004 (6 min)
drops, bugs, pixels, scrambles and noises.
recycled video signals.
Brosko Prostran "Touching" 2004, (4:30 min)
Edited and directed by: Boško Prostran
Production: Akademski filmski centar Dom kulture "Studentski grad", 2004.
A touching video bedtime story.
Dragan Predojevic "Die Faksche Idee" (54 sec)
The absurdity of a bad idea.
We know from experience that the reality our leaders present us with does not always correspond to everyday life. One such phenomenon is right extremism which has perfidiously been sprouting in some segments of social life since the beginning of the last century. It is not surpising that some people who feel deprived see these ideas as justified, but, in fact, it reveals their deepest and darkest egocentricity.
In short, this phenomenon goes from populism, through cheap demagogy to sheer tyrany.
Although the ultimate aim is presented as common good, in the minds of the promoters this idea is something completely different.Today it is easy to recognize the perversity of these ideas because they are so obvious and they are directed towards the most sensitive layers of society ( the impoverished) who give them the necessary support.
In my work I tried to make the idea of extremism meaningless by dubbing the sound of Hitler's speech with pictures which have nothing to do with the ideas he presents in it, although his demagogy would not be jeopardized by any other meaningless picture. Hitler's speech has an emphasized rhytmical dinamics, with a strong emphases on the words «great idea» thus in this way he seems to hypnotize the crowd, while the real background is misery and great yearning for power.
Miroslav Jovic "The Triumph of the E-will", 2005 (2:20 min)
Short animated film "Triumph of E-will" shows, in a witty way, the thin line that lies between pacifism and fascism. Cheerful game of the fridge magnets shows, that only one sick mind using segregation is enough to bring the peaceful society to war. And, war brings to...
Mirjana Batinic "Identity: Balkans", 2005 (2:30 min)
The video refers to the subject: borders.
It represents the view of my position within the region that I live in - Balkans.
This is a selfportrait that shows intimate and everyday act: combing.
Starting point of similarity (my self - identitety: Balkans) is in entanglement.
Geographic borders of Balkan states become my hair.
Untangling the hair is to untangle my personal relationship towards Balkans.
Malden Marinkov "Déjà Vu" (9:40 min)
(Usti nad Labem, Zagreb, Istanbul, Iasi, Graz, Sofia, Holon, Novi Sad, 2005)
The video film was made as a reaction to the occurrence of anti-Semitic slogans in Serbia in the spring of 2005.
During the last ten years rightist extremism in the region of former Yugoslavia has been expanding. War horrors it caused in the past are well known. Today, when the killings and persecutions have stopped, it still exists threatening to regenerate its crimes covered with blood. The frightening occurrence of rightist extremism in any form and intensity is enough to induce immeasurable consequences.
Holding back and mitigating the memories of horrors and death that happened to mankind during the Second World War reduce the power to recognize and locate extreme phenomena and their continuous effects. Its estimation to catch and surprise us is perfidious and well thought-out. Being occupied with everyday pace and time distance from the past horrors does not give us the right to be indifferent. It is our sacred and moral duty to watch, identify and vigorously react.
The evil once seen cannot be erased by a forced removal from our “sight”. What was seen, as a warning, remains in our consciousness forever.