On September 20, 2018, an informal meeting of the EU heads of state and government will take place in Salzburg (Austria). This meeting is held in the context of the Austrian presidency of the Council of the European Union. The motto of the summit is „A Europe that protects“, and key points on the agenda include so-called „internal security“, the so-called „protection“ of the EU’s external borders, and so-called „cyber security“. We refuse to be deceived by the EU’s excessive use of euphemism. It is crystal-clear that the Salzburg summit will be a summit of authority: a pseudo-democratic spectacle of a bunch of assholes deciding about repressive policies that will boost their position in the struggle for economic and military power – at our expense. „Internal security“ means giving even more weapons of all kinds of those whose job it is to spy on us and arrest us. The „protection of the EU’s external borders“ is the militarized expulsion and deterrence of refugees and migrants. „Cyber security“ means digital control of our data and our actions.
Originally published by NoS20.
September 20 in Salzburg is just one of the events in the context of the Austrian presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July to 31 December 2018. Most of the meetings are scheduled in Vienna, some will take place elsewhere (Innsbruck, Graz, Linz). The summit on September 20 was originally to be held in Vienna, too. Later, it was transferred to Salzburg, following the initiative of the state governor of Salzburg, Wilfried Haslauer. Many thanks to Salzburg’s conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) for the future siege of our city by the forces of repression! We have manners: we will return the favour as we see fit.
„Protection of the EU’s external borders“
Policies of migration will be a key point on the agenda on September 20. In an insidious propagandistic move, people fleeing from war and hardship are portrayed as a security threat. But whose security is meant, and who is supposed to be protected from whom? Calls for an extended Frontex mandate and an increased number of deportations have a clear aim: the militarized expulsion and deterrence of people, who are fleeing from the devastations caused by power blocks such as the EU, who actively engage in the exploitation of the Global South. Politicians are vying with one another for the most absurd plans. To name just one example, Jens Spahn, the Health Minister (sic!) of the German conservative party (CDU) wants to see Frontex forces multiply from the current 1,500 to 100,000 in the future.
The portrayal of refugees as a security threat serves to legitimize policies of „internal security“, i.e. the increased arming of the state’s institutions for spying and repression. Sadly, governmental and non-governmental racist-nationalist projects have won over the minds of a considerable proportion of the population (not only) in Austria – with the result of people enthusiastically embracing policies that run against their own interests, believing that these measures will „protect“ them. For instance, the new Austrian Face-Veiling-Ban makes surveillance much easier by forcing each and every person on Austrian ground to present their face to the ubiquitous CCTV cameras at any time. This is hardly likely to foster the „peaceful coexistence“ mentioned in the preamble to the new law.
Another European trend is the increased arming and militarization of the police and the extension of their competences. The new Bavarian police law is a particularly scary example: police in the southern German state are supposed to receive secret service competences, „intelligent“ video technology and face recognition are going to be used, postal secrecy will be lifted, and the cops will be equipped with hand grenades.
The Austrian conservative chancellor Sebastian „Message Control“ Kurz has announced to take up the „struggle against internet giants such as Google and Facebook“. Of course, digital policies are not driven by the desire to protect the personal data of the EU’s subjects. Neither do they arise from a sincere outrage about the large-scale tax evasion practised by corporations. On the contrary, the driving force of such policies is the competition for technological hegemony among those in power and for the technological means to monitor our thoughts and actions. It has become common knowledge that companies such as Cambridge Analytica are partly responsible for the outcome of the Brexit referendum and Trump’s election to power. The raw material these companies used is the data expropriated from us. Brexit and Trump’s plans to install punitive tariffs are not exactly beneficial to the EU as an economic and geopolitical power bloc, erm, we meant to say: peace project. Now those in power in the EU have recognized the need to secure control over the technological apparatus, in order to remain a competitive force in the run for the most effective manipulation (e.g. look up „nudging“ in your newspeak dictionary). In this context, chancellor Kurz tellingly used the phrase „equality of weapons“.
Welcome to the (in)security zone!
According to press reports of April 2018, the state dinner on September 19 is likely to take place in Mirabell Palace, and the political meeting in the Mozarteum University. Thus, both relevant venues as well as the four hotels where the heads of state and government including their entourage will be staying for the summit will be in close proximity to each other (all in the inner city of Salzburg to the right of the river Salzach). Around these venues, a so-called „security zone“ is going to be installed – for us and fellow rebels it is more likely to be an insecurity zone. In mid-April, local press reported the planned use of drones „as one part of the security concept for the Austrian presidency of the EU council.“ Police drones will be hovering above our heads this autumn, spying on and filming each of our movements. When will they shoot at us?
The militarized siege of our city that is lying ahead seems like a consistent follow-up to local policies. Decades ago, homeless people were removed from the inner city during the posh Salzburg Festival, and a sectoral ban on begging was imposed on large parts of the inner city some years ago in order to get rid of the travelling poor, many of them Romani and Sinti people. These measures are supposed to make sure that the city’s wealthy conservative elite and paying tourists are spared the sight of the poverty caused by capitalism and nationalist-racist policies of expulsion. This is how Salzburg discriminates between wanted and unwanted guests.
We are calling all partisans of freedom and equality to come to Salzburg in mutual solidarity – let’s turn this inhumane paradigma upside down and demonstrate what is really unwanted: the oppression caused by white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, the nationalism feeding on antisemitic conspiracy theories, the positions of power that enable a system of inequality to live on.
We’ll see you on the streets on September 20!
Freedom for all prisoners of the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy!
We are ungovernable! Against state, capital and nation!