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

Resolution of Commission #14

There is a resurgence of the use of the arts and media in the service of the oppressed classes along with the advance of the peoples’ democratic and national liberation struggles.   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, organizing, international solidarity activities and in shaping a revolutionary culture. They are part of the people rising up against imperialism.

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.” Traditional poetry is being used as a strong weapon of protest in Egypt. Theater performers, musicians and writers in Mexico hold festivals conveying their people’s history and struggles. Artists in Palestine give workshops in various fields of arts as means of raising political consciousness and organizing, and they lead in the archiving of the history and struggles of their people.  Progressive theater, music, dance, literature and visual arts are integral in the people’s struggle in the Philippines.

Artists from various parts of the globe hold cultural caravans to small towns and communities in poor countries to bring the message of their peoples’ struggles. Film makers converged at the AgitProp International Film Festival on Peoples’ Struggles. Artists, cultural workers and media practitioners 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.

The monopoly bourgeoisie intensifies its cultural offensive and hegemony over the peoples’ consciousness.  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. They violently suppress revolutionary and progressive movements worldwide to preserve the status quo. They rob the people of their cultural identity.

Globalization and neoliberalism are anchored on the idea of a borderless world economy and the liberal dogma of “free market of goods and ideas”.  Liberalization of economies in particular allows the unhindered entry of consumer and cultural goods and services.  The “free market” is dominated by the monopolies and the free market ideology only serves as justification for imperialism’s continued dominance over nations and oppression of their peoples.

Neoliberalism propagates colonial culture, consumerism, individualism and greed, chauvinism, racism, patriarchy and decadence on one hand, and it commodifies and destroys national, indigenous and national minority cultures on the other.  The influx of foreign cultural goods undermines the rights and welfare of local cultural workers.  Neoliberalism and development aggression like liberalized mining and commercial developments destroy entire communities.  The use of the colonial language as the official language and medium of instruction erodes the use of national and indigenous languages.

The global media cartel of Microsoft, News Corp, Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, Packer, Murdoch, Thompson, General Electric among others control the flow of information and impose cultural hegemony through various media (movies, publications, news outfits, internet, cables, computer games etc.)   New media is also being monopolized (Google, Facebook, Apple) and they buy out traditional media outfits. This global media cartel peddles the free market ideology, conceal the role and true nature of big banks in the global financial crisis and economic depression, manufacture justifications and deceit 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 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 anti-people and anticommunist hysteria, redbait dissidents and create an atmosphere of terror and fear.  Post-cold war anti-people and anticommunist propaganda still lies within the bourgeois philosophical lines peddled in universities and through the media.

The privatization and commercialization of education 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 relegated as optional subjects, and students are driven to take more globally marketable courses that big corporations need.  Study grants and scholarships of government agencies and corporate philanthropies 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 colonial, reactionary and feudal culture.  Media conglomerates, the church and schools continue to promote backward traditionalism, mysticism and metaphysical ideas.  They condone if not fuel religious fundamentalism, fanaticism and bigotry, fatalism, racial discrimination, and even discriminatory systems such as the caste system. Some religious sects are used for counterinsurgency.

Journalism is controlled by corporations and the free flow of information is restricted. Censorship is still being enforced. Progressive media practitioners are being persecuted and killed.

Progressive artists are being arrested and kept in prison. Cultural workers who choose to organize at the grassroots level are harassed and tortured.

To combat the ideological dominance of imperialism, we should advance an anti-imperialist and progressive culture. There is a need for a cultural revolution in our struggle against imperialism. We members of the International League of Peoples Struggle therefore resolve to:

  1. Combat imperialist, reactionary and feudal culture, and advance anti-imperialist, pro-people and scientific culture. Promote progressive arts and literature.

  2. Counter imperialist deception, psychological warfare and counterrevolution propaganda.  Expose and oppose the US Counterinsurgency Guide.

  3. Oppose the suppression of freedom of information and artistic expression.

  4. Campaign against the liberalization of trade in cultural goods, and the privatization and commercialization of education.

  5. Uphold the rights and welfare of artists, cultural workers and media practitioners.

  6. Protect and promote indigenous and national minority cultures, as well as peoples’ right to self-determination.

  7. Reach out and organize more artists, cultural workers and media practitioners. Build an international network of progressive artists, cultural workers and media practitioners.

  8. Campaign for politically persecuted artists, cultural workers and media practitioners. Support the Free Ericson Acosta, Free Alan Jazmines, Justice for Melissa Roxas campaigns.

  9. Support the cultural and academic boycott of Israel as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign.

Specific resolutions:

Consolidate and expand the foundations laid down by the People’s Art Conference. Continue to lead and organize the International Conference on Progressive Culture. Initiate regional assemblies to integrate more artists and writers organizations into building an international platform of progressive artists and writers.

Promote artworks and literature that advance the rights and welfare of the people.  Make use of new media and technologies to highlight demands and complement calls for campaigns and mass actions.

Utilize the People’s Art website for public information, political education, sharing and archiving of progressive works and networking.

Advance education on progressive culture. Exchange and publish progressive works. Organize cultural exchanges between countries.

Assist the ILPS in its messaging and public information work. Look into the possibility of setting up ILPS TV, Radio and newswire as alternative news channels. [Note: Seek support from a Venezuelan participant.]

Put up the mechanisms to implement the functions of the Commission’s working committee and the Coordinating Committee of the ICPC.

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