COMMISSION 14: Arts & Culture & Free Flow of Information in the Service of the People
The monopoly bourgeoisie intensifies its cultural offensive as it tries to recover from the world capitalist system’s deep crisis. They use the arts and media to hide the real hardships of the working people and obscure the real causes of the economic crisis. They wish to divert the people from the struggles against exploitation and oppression, and they violently suppress revolutionary and progressive movements worldwide.
Neoliberalism propagates colonial culture, consumerism, individualism and decadence on one hand, and destroys national and indigenous cultures on the other. The influx of foreign cultural goods undermines the rights and welfare of local cultural workers. Development aggression like liberalized mining and commercial developments destroy entire indigenous communities. The use of the colonial language as the official language and medium of instruction erodes the use of national and native languages.
The global media cartel of Microsoft, News Corp, Time Warner, Disney, Viacom among others control the flow of information through various media (films, publications, news outfits, internet, etc.) They peddle the free market ideology, conceal the role of US big banks in the global financial crisis and economic depression, manufacture justifications for the global war on terror and militarist interventions in sovereign nations, and downplay the current high tide of peoples’ democratic and liberation struggles.
The privatization and commercialization of education both in capitalist and backward countries paves the way for the firmer control and wider influence of big corporations on the objectives and curricula of educational institutions. The study of history, arts and humanities is being downgraded as optional subjects, and students are driven to take more globally marketable courses that big corporations need. US study grants and scholarships of government agencies (Fulbright, Smith-Mundt, AID) and corporate philanthropies (Ford, Rockefeller) are used to control and influence the thinking of technocrats, academics, mass media practitioners, artists and the intelligentsia in general. The monopoly bourgeoisie through policies on education ensures the production of a skilled but docile labor force for the global market.
Imperialist culture also thrives on backward and feudal culture. Media conglomerates, the church and religious sects and schools continue to promote backward traditionalism, mysticism and metaphysical ideas. They condone if not fuel religious bigotry, fatalism, racial discrimination, and even discriminatory systems such as the caste system.
The US Counterinsurgency Guide is directed at exerting an even more powerful influence over populations by mobilizing local media. Civil military operations in countries use films, songs, comics and other art forms to whip up anticommunist hysteria, redbait local dissidents and create an atmosphere of terror and fear. Post cold war anticommunist propaganda still lies within the bourgeois philosophical lines peddled in universities and through the media.
Journalism is limited by corporate dictates and the free flow of information is restricted. Advocates of alternative media are being prosecuted. Cultural workers who choose to organize at the grassroots level are harassed and tortured.
As the crisis of the world capitalist system worsens, peoples of the world advance in their democratic and national liberation struggles. There is a resurgence of the use of the arts and media in the service of the oppressed classes. Various art forms, media and the internet are widely used to complement mass actions and make messages more effective. Artists, writers and other cultural workers are directly involved in mass mobilizations, anti-imperialist propaganda work and international solidarity activities.
The Resistance Festival of Greece features concerts of contemporary music, traditional Mediterranean and Balkan sounds, blues, jazz and “world beat.” Artists use video, cartooning and animation in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinians like in the Freedom Flotilla II Campaign and Artists against Apartheid. In London, marches have a carnival feel with playing music, big screen TVs and performances in central parks. Social media is used as an alternative channel of information to promote mass actions like the case of “We Are All Khaled Said.” Artists and writers from various continents came together in the first International Conference of Progressive Culture and forged a unity to take a more active role in peoples’ struggles all over the world.
Artists, writers and cultural workers are part of the people oppressed by imperialism. Their struggle cannot be separated from the struggles of the oppressed peoples. The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) resolves to unite with progressive cultural workers who dedicate their talents and skills to the people.