In February 2020, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace developed a report on “Who and What Was and Wasn’t at the Munich Security Conference” – an yearly party attended by political, army, and business leaders and promoted on Twitter as “the world’s foremost forum for debate on international security”.
In accordance to the Carnegie dispatch, the “Who” at the 2020 meeting provided “a large amount of outdated white adult males amid the hundreds of invited attendees, but a whole lot of other persons too”. Between the “What” that allegedly wasn’t there, in the meantime, was the very topic of the conference itself: “Westlessness”, defined on the internet site of the European Council on Foreign Relations as the “growing uncertainty about the destiny of the transatlantic alliance” among Europe and the United States. In the Carnegie look at, Westlessness was fundamentally a nonissue in Munich presented the plain “persistence of a community of nations that sees itself as these kinds of, and that attaches present values to a unique shared history”.
Speedy ahead to the 58th Munich Safety Convention this calendar year, held February 18-20 at the city’s Bayerischer Hof lodge, and it appears that there is continue to a persistently “Westful” neighborhood of shared values – at least in phrases of determination to, like, white patriarchy.
While the event’s organisers took care to pressure that 45 p.c of the speakers have been feminine, a photograph of a CEO lunch at the conference indicates that “a whole lot of previous white men” are still jogging the display. The photo characteristics some 30 monochrome males seated about a very long white table with bottled water and wine (and no face masks, I could incorporate – so a great deal for “security”).
Dr Jennifer Cassidy, a diplomatic scholar at the College of Oxford, tweeted the graphic with the accompanying remark: “This is actuality. This is the place power lies. Wherever some of the most consequential selections are produced.” In a subsequent tweet, Cassidy reckoned that the “most numerous issue to materialize in that room” was that just one businessman was sporting an orange tie.
German politician Sawsan Chebli meanwhile tweeted that the photo was like some thing “from another world”. But it is actually a world we know quite perfectly.
In 2017, the Washington Post famous that, in the US, “men, and generally white men, dominate the organization world” – in addition to politics and academia. A complete 96 p.c of main executive positions at corporations on the S&P 500 inventory market place index, for case in point, ended up held by adult men – overwhelmingly white types.
And in the European Union, the European Institute for Gender Equality concluded in 2019 that an enhanced feminine presence in company boardrooms had “not translated into extra women in government hierarchies”: the preceding 12 months, girls had accounted for 17 % of senior executives and 7 per cent of CEOs.
Now, on the working day prior to the kick-off of the 2022 Munich Protection Convention, Germany declared that it would at last vote in favour of an EU proposal courting from 2012 – and until eventually now stymied – on “improving the gender harmony amid non-executive directors of organizations shown on inventory exchanges and associated measures”.
The Politico site quoted Robert Biedrón, the newly elected chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, as welcoming the information: “Fortunately, for the initially time in quite a few many years, we start off to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Biedrón, it bears underscoring, is a man – which undoubtedly does not disqualify him from caring about women’s legal rights but which could raise thoughts about, I dunno, “light”.
But to what extent does the imposition of gender quotas and “related measures” essentially effect the fact of the common man or woman residing in the existing context of “Westfulness”? When it arrives down to it, the cosmetic pursuit of gender and racial diversity does not alter the point that capitalism in its transatlantic iteration thrives on racist patriarchy – a condition of affairs that naturally does minor to endorse typical human “security”, neither in Munich nor outside of.
Contemplate an post in the Harvard Business enterprise Assessment by Victor Ray, assistant professor of sociology and African-American reports at the University of Iowa, who describes US organizations and academic institutions as “long-standing social constructions built and managed to prioritize whiteness”. Discrimination is institutionalised, and “white normativity [is] constructed into seemingly nonracial organizational expectations”. Involving 2012 and 2019, Ray writes, “black representation at the leading of organizational hierarchies” reduced from 6 to a few CEOs in Fortune 500 organizations.
What such capitalist hierarchies eventually guarantee, of training course, is ongoing tyranny by an elite minority – whose associates do not have to be 100-p.c-throughout-the-board white men in buy to propagate a procedure operate by, properly, white men. For instance, structurally speaking, US Vice President Kamala Harris is as great a white male as any in phrases of devotion to US company conquest and other kinds of imperial patriarchy. This irrespective of the modern evaluation from the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin: “European officials I spoke to in Munich ended up amazed by Harris herself, a exclusive determine between the primarily aged, White, male contingent at the party.”
US President and white man Joe Biden, for his portion, seems as the major endorser on the formal Munich Security Convention website: “Like no other global forum, Munich connects European leaders and thinkers with their friends from throughout the environment.” A 2018 Politico article specifies that Biden has been a “regular because 1980” at the convention – which, “held in a cramped, previous-globe lodge effectively previous its prime”, is touted as the spot where by the “world’s electric power brokers genuinely meet” and a “rite of winter” for the earth’s “true ‘globalist elites’”.
The unique guest list has also bundled previous US Secretary of Protection Donald Rumsfeld, who in 2003 utilised the forum to huffily current his circumstance for annihilating Iraq. As the New York Times Magazine put it: “To fail to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein, [Rumsfeld] argued, would be to fall short to learn the lesson of Munich” – a reference to the notorious 1938 Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler.
But back again to this year’s CEO lunch in Munich and a patriarchy that really should be very well previous its prime. There are all those who would argue that all that is essential in that lunchtime photograph is some superficial diversity – some girls and other pores and skin colors thrown in amid the bottled water and wine. What would actually be useful, on the other hand, is the overthrow of a transatlantic regime of racist and sexist domination that fuels economic and armed service brutality.
Because as it stands, the existing “lesson of Munich” is that, while you can normally set an orange tie on white male hegemony, it is however business as regular.
The sights expressed in this short article are the author’s own and do not essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.