On Militant Democracy

Talk: Jan-Werner Müller

The idea of “militant democracy” refers to the need for democracies to defend themselves against those who seek to use the institutions of democracy to abolish democracy. The notion was developed in the 1930s and has experienced a major renaissance in recent years, against the backdrop of the much-discussed “crisis of democracy.” Its practical core used to be party bans and restrictions on free speech, but in a twenty-first century context new ideas – such as disqualifying individuals from running for office – have also been discussed. The idea has always been controversial, the main worry being that, in the process of defending itself, a democracy will already become authoritarian. The talk will address these dilemmas; there will be a discussion afterwards to see to what extent militant democracy should be applied in different countries today.

Conceived by the Kyiv Biennial and Biennale Warszawa from the East Europe Biennial Alliance, this special public program Armed Democracy, curated by Vasyl Cherepanyn within the 2nd edition of Biennale Warszawa, revolves around the concepts of imperialism, liberation, fascism, autocracy, revolution, and militarization in pursuit of the world to come on Europe’s burnt out land. The program is a first part of the series organized by the East Europe Biennial Alliance discussing Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and taking place in Warsaw, Prague, Kassel, and Riga over the summer and fall of 2022.

Online, admission free, in English, without translation