13 Arts and culture and the free flow of information in the service of the people

Final Resolution for Workshop 13
Approved by the Plenary of the ILPS First International Assembly
25-27 May 2001
Zutphen, The Netherlands

Arts and culture and the free flow of information in the service of the people, and in defense of the rights of artists, creative writers, journalists and other cultural workers

Culture, the arts, and the mass media are arenas of intense struggle between the forces of progress and social liberation and reaction. Monopoly capital and the ruling elites in each country impose their dominance in culture through the control of media, the flow of information and the institutions of culture and the arts by means of which they prop up backward, feudal, individualist, patriarchal and racist cultures.

The unrelenting role of the market under the polices of imperialist globalization has intensified this domination through the commodification of the arts and culture, the global monopoly of media, and the global homogenization of culture by multinational corporations. This has resulted in the rapid erosion of national and indigenous cultures. Furthermore, particular globalist policies such as privatization and liberalization enforced by the WTO exacerbates this situation by opening up media, culture and the arts to greater monopoly capitalist trade and investment.

Thus the development of an arts and culture that genuinely expresses the needs and interests of the people continues to be severely hampered by imperialist and elite control of the ruling local and international institutions of cultural and artistic production. Cultural initiatives that are liberating and which threaten the status quo are marginalized or violently repressed. Artistic freedom is severely limited and in some societies completely non-existent.

The free flow of information cannot be said to be a reality, whether within each country or internationally, since facts, ideas and perspectives that run contrary to the interests of the status quo are not allowed to spread freely. This silencing is achieved through the dominance of media monopolies and the ideological marginalization of alternative sources of information. Mass media workers are forced to survive under this regime and those of them who seek to disseminate the truth are either marginalized, silenced, or killed.

Culture, the arts and the free flow of information are crucial to the struggle to achieve freedom, democracy and social transformation, the revolutionizing of consciousness and the elimination of unjust and oppressive social structures. The advance in the people’s struggles has also meant the flourishing of a vibrant people’s culture and arts in various fields as an important aspect of their lives and their achievements.

Further, the struggles of all the world’s peoples in the pursuance of a genuine people’s culture and art are deeply intertwined and have become even more so due to the global nature and scope of the dominant institutions of cultural and artistic control, production and dissemination.

We hereby resolve to:-

  1. Smash the dominance of imperialist, reactionary and backward culture and arts in every arena where we may encounter them.

  2. End the stranglehold on the free flow of information by the local and international elites. Promote channels for the direct flow of information among people’s movements independent of monopoly media.

  3. Advance and promote the flowering of the people’s culture and arts. To promote the progressive and liberative aspects of diverse cultures and ways of life combined with respect for and assertion of the rights of peoples and nations to cultural self-determination.

  4. Promote the rights, welfare and interests of people’s artists, writers and mass media workers to promote their professional development and support their struggles against marginalization and repression. To engage in international campaigns to spread information and create international pressure regarding concrete instances of censorship, deportation, torture and imprisonment of artists and mass media workers.

  5. Develop people’s movements, organizations and institutions in the arts nationally and internationally and promote and introduce works and writings by individual artists, organizations and liberation movements, both past and present, which can contribute to the enrichment of peoples’ struggle the world over.

  6. Develop people’s movements, collective actions, projects, organizations, partnerships and venues for cultural exchange and discussion that would contribute both to the pursuance of the particular struggles for a people’s culture and arts in each nation and to the growth of an international movement for a liberative culture and arts of all the world’s exploited and oppressed.

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