Prof. dr Filip Kovačević is the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro (MNMNE), a civic organization that opposes the membership of Montenegro in military alliances, either in NATO (currently the policy of the Montenegrin government) or in the Russian-dominated block. Filip is on leave as associate professor at the University of Montenegro and now teaches at the University of San Francisco as adjunct professor. He is an expert on critical theory and geopolitics. This interview was conducted by Vladimir Unkovski-Korica (VUK), member of the Serbian group Marks21, and a historian and lecturer at the University of Glasgow.
VUK: How and why was the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro formed? What are the Movement’s goals, activities and methods?
Filip: The Movement for Neutrality was formed several years ago when a group of young Montenegrin public figures and intellectuals formally came together in a so-called non-governmental – in fact, anti-governmental – organization with the goal of promoting cultural dialogue, non-violence, peace and sustainable development in the world, with special emphasis on the importance of Montenegro’s military neutrality, thus making its own contribution to the establishment of international relations based on the principles of equality and solidarity. To date, the Movement’s members have organised dozens of actions, open forum discussions with experts, performances and gatherings throughout Montenegro. We have written more than one hundred press releases and newspaper columns. All this is documented on our website: http://mnmne.org/. I invite all those who reads these lines to visit our site and acquaint themselves with our activities.
VUK: What kinds of movements and organisations does the Movement co-operate with in Montenegro and internationally?
Filip: The Movement has an International Advisory Board that includes university professors of world renown such as Immanuel Wallerstein and Michael Parenti, the researcher and journalist Daniel Estulin, as well as the famous writers Marko Vidojković and Damir Nikšić. We have also received the direct support of Noam Chomsky and the former U.S. Congressman, Dennis Kucinich. The Movement’s members have participated in many round tables and conferences across Europe. We co-operate very closely with the European United Left parties in the European Parliament, and Die Linke MPs have been to visit us. In addition, in Russia and America, they know about us. Very recently, at an academic-activist conference in Hawaii, I presented a paper on the concrete activities of our Movement in deconstructing and overcoming NATO’s myth-making propaganda in Montenegro, which has been promoted for more than a decade by the ruling mafia-style, secret service elite in charge of the Montenegrin government. This paper will be published in the well-known left journal Socialism & Democracy at the start of next year.
VUK: You have published a book titled Marcuse in Podgorica: A Lecture Series. Do you think his ideas are essential for anti-war and peace activists?
Filip: In the context of the lecture series I have given for several years at the Center for Civic Education in Podgorica, I have published five books, one of which was dedicated to the ideas of Herbert Marcuse, especiallyEros and Civilization. Besides, I have been studying Marcuse’s ideas for twenty years, I am a member of the International Association that concerns itself with his work, and a few years ago, I published a detailed work in English on the reception of Marcuse’s books in Yugoslavia (Marcuse in Yugoslavia). As for the application of Marcuse’s ideas to the work of our Movement, this is primarily reflected in our commitment to all that is belittled and persecuted by the profiteering neo-liberal Establishment and brutally suppressed by the dominant ideology because it is not at the service of the global hegemony of the US military-industrial-
VUK: Do you have any messages for us in Serbia?
Filip: All of us from the former Yugoslavia are threatened by the same danger. The danger of being constantly set against one another by the Great Powers and thus kept in a state of permanent “combat readiness” that actually harms us the most. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last year talked about a “line of fire” in the Balkans. We must not let this warmongering discourse become a reality because it will destroy what little remains after the wars of the 1990s and the mafia-style devastation of the 2000s. That is why we need to unite and collaborate more and more, on an equal footing, and rebuild the political and social synergy which is the only guarantee that we will gain charge of our natural, economic, intellectual and all other resources now exploited by the malevolent outside forces.