Extremist phenomena are becoming new normality of Montenegrin society

On the occasion of 9 November – the International Day against Fascism, Anti-Semitism – the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) warns leading political actors that retrograde and extremist expressions in Montenegrin society are becoming the new and dangerous normality. The responsibility for preventing reaching the red line of polarization and extremization of society rests primarily with political decision-makers.

The CCE assesses that the ongoing political and social crisis was especially intensified during the coronavirus pandemic, but also after the parliamentary elections, held in 2020, which did not bring the necessary stabilization. All this creates visible consequences for Montenegrin society. Hence, it is necessary to react urgently and comprehensively to limit further and far-reaching disturbances.

CCE reminds that in the past year, many social actors pointed to the rapid growth of extremist phenomena, but also that nothing has been done to suppress them or at least to initiate meaningful and inclusive dialogue concerning this issue.

A significant part of political subjects plays with extreme elements to secure influence, and ignore the fact that fascism easily mutates, adapts and comes in many forms. Unfortunately, certain religious organizations, primarily the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Montenegro, have adhered to an approach that divides society and radicalizes it, and in this, they are supported by some who make key state decisions.

Nowadays, there is no constructive discussion in Montenegro on controversial and sensitive issues, instead, they are automatically put into political and clerical-nationalist use. In parallel, we have either stop the building of an objective culture of remembrance, or its degradation and abuse.

The most noticeable degradation occurred on the public scene, where extremist claims and populist narratives have become the norm, while unfounded and aggressive confrontations with those who think differently have become the standard. There is no sphere of social action in which current politicians, or contenders for their positions, are not ready to provoke additional tension by ignoring facts, manipulating, stimulating national and religious hatred, misogyny and homophobia, all to distract the focus of citizens from the fact that a significant number of them do not have the capacity to solve the accumulated socio-economic problems.

The CCE also emphasizes that there are again attempts that anti-fascism, as a fundamental value of civil society, to be completely erased from public discourse. We just hope that this is not an introduction to the establishment of some new “values” quietly announced, which significantly undermine the anti-fascist foundations of Montenegrin society, and that key political actors will put social stability and sustainability ahead of personal and party interests.

International Day against Fascism, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia is marked all over Europe on 9 November, commemorating the Night of Broken Glass (German “Kristallnacht”), which took place in November 1938 in Nazi Germany, as a part of the systematic persecution of Jews, later called the Holocaust.

Miloš Vukanović, Advisor