Article: Stefan Vasilevski, Executive Director of Conservative.mk
Conservatives Global: newly established worldwide conservative network.
A recently conducted study in N. Macedonia by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) suggested that “85% of young people think that the country needs a leader with a firm hand”. The pro-left media seized upon the study and ferociously pushed misleading articles into the public consciousness, with titles like “there is a growing infection of conservatism throughout the youth”.
These types of articles are not at all accurate in their reporting of news, instead they focus on promoting the left-wing agenda. Their primary goal is to weaken center-right movements, by presenting them badly to the public. Therefore, they use the term “infection” to demonstrate that conservatism is a “disease” spreading among the Macedonian youth and that it must be eradicated at all costs before it destroys society.
Bojan Nikovski, a member of the student-run network Young Conservatives (part of the Conservative.mk umbrella), explains the pro-left media’s twisted narrative perfectly. He argues that the left-wing media is pushing the argument that ‘a leader with a firm hand’ is the same as a leader in authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. What they fail to recognize and accept is the new type of conservative politics that has emerged and is growing rapidly. That strong leadership does not automatically mean an authoritarian state. People are looking for an energetic, strong leader with personal integrity, free of the socialist mindset, and capable of defending the nation’s interest.
Macedonian conservatives need to expand and work as umbrella parties and should support conservative coalitions so that we can take the fight to the leftist agenda as a united front. Conservatives worldwide should follow the same approach.
This can be done by an expansion of conservative political activity, not just classical political party activism but also by building and investing more in political platforms and associations. From high level expert industry groups to student-run organizations and NGOs, conservatives must seek to create like-minded organizations that bind themselves to each area.
The Macedonian right-wing political spectrum is, quite incredibly, lacking in the field of think-tanks, institutes and policy creation. This is confirmed by a study which found that 90% of young people have never been part of a civic or non-governmental organization, or initiative.
PragerU and Turning Point USA are great examples of my belief in the need to reach out through different and traditional channels. PragerU’s website boasts that “with 3 billion views & counting, our videos are changing the conversation about American ideas”. In their 2019 annual report, 60% of PragerU viewers on YouTube were found to be under the age of 35. There is the same trend in N. Macedonia and our newly established centre-right political platform Conservative MK. Over 61% of our followers and viewers are also under the age of 35.
The classical political party activism in the left is failing across the world, in line with the disastrous results of their policies, but for decades, they have been investing and experimenting with different forms of politics; through NGOs, education, bureaucracy and, ironically enough, bankrolling large political platforms worldwide. Conservatives must realise this danger and we must respond in kind.
Finally, similarly to PragerU and its educational style of videos and publications, but with an ECR like structure, I hope to establish a strong Macedonian network. We, as a country, have failed to build strong relationships in the past and we hope to build a better bridge with our European and Atlantic partners. My goal is for conservative.mk to be part of the international conservative discussion; to contribute policies and ideas to worldwide political families, by sharing publications, studies and reports through platforms such as Conservatives Global, The Conservative Online and to give our domestic audience a proper conservative educational platform, based in N. Macedonia.