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Justice and Freedom need Cultural Dialogue

Position Paper of the Executive Board - Resolution of the Boardmeeting

The first Congress of DIE LINKE in Germany took place inwhat can be called “the European year of intercultural talks.” Left members from East and West Germany have a diverse array of cultural traditions, from the European enlightenment to the worldwide social and cutural critique of global capitalism, from the sermon on the mount to political protests (such as “Ostermarsch”), from Bertolt Brecht to the dedicated vanguard and pop culture of today. DIE LINKE formulates the social question of the 21st century as a question of individual freedom in a just and open-ended society. This social question turns cultural when speculating the purpose and layout of one’s own life in a community.

As a result, the new LINKE has been standing in the middle of a cultural debate concerning the potential of its own plurality since its founding – as a part of a way to openly exchange and use information.

The development of DIE LINKE’s political profile creates a wide cultural definition that represents people’s different ways of life and the various forms of practical mental acquisition to the world in the midst of their political background. Therefore, intercultural talks, questions of equality, discoveries in the arts and sciences, educational and university policies, architecture and the building of cities, employment policies, and the advancement of regional economic development move into the middle of socio-political conflicts. These all have cultural dimensions as well. Through them we can discover our individual freedom in the purpose and layout of our own lives in a community.

The crucial questions of the cultural dimensions in technical and social structural development, the cultural consequences from exlusion as a result of poverty, the dominance of media quotas, and the challenges in the real socially and environmentally sustainable ways of life, cannot be confronted where culture is still seen as an additional part of the working class life. DIE LINKE fights for “Water and Knowledge” (Fausto Bertinotti) and against private monopolization. Current capitalism constantly continues to open up more nontangible public goods that somehow can only be acquired collectively and also subdue the laws of exchange.

DIE LINKE is setting up a broad promotion of cultural infrastructure in our society, an open institution for democratic development, unrestricted science, free art, and communication. In addition, DIE LINKE supports the preservation of the open promotion for art and culture, meaning: the conservation and expansion of socio-culture in local areas, the protection and developement of traditional and modern public cultural institutions, as well as the promotion of art and culture as a job and economic factor in traditional and modern forms. This goes especially for self-employed workers for small- and medium-sized companies.

In the coming elections, we will promote debates concerning federal and European perspectives on cultural politics. Copyright laws, television guidelines, movie promotions, cultural connections, cultural and scientific developments, they have all had structural and economical characteristics for a long time. Oftentimes, however, a concrete contention between the economic interests of large publishing houses and those of media companies stand behind the Council of Europe’s decisions.

DIE LINKE would like to emphasize that the convention for cultural diversity- which Germany ratified- is a document against the unlimited liberalization of cultural services. Cultural expression has become bound to free market relations. This bond was the historical base of democratization and internationalization, and the creation of mass cultural phenomena, which no has negative as well as positive sides . “Artwork in the time of technological reproduction capability“ is not only reflected in new mass cultural forms of communication such as film, pop music, and video. It has also produced new kinds of athstetic and cultural skills that are now a part of cultural development. Access to these new opportunities cannot be denied.

DIE LINKE supports the many diverse cultures in our country through the encouragement of the history and lifestyle of the indigenous minorities, such as the Sorbs (Wends), the Sinti and Romanies, the Friesian, and the Dutch.

The right to one’s own culture and the right to participate in society’s cultural communication in its different forms is, according to left cultural politics, a decisive starting point for the entire political profile of DIE LINKE, from Europe down to the local authorities. Through DIE LINKE’s first political convention, we have connected the challenge of enriching our own as well as society’s cultural dialogues using our planned debates with the continuation of building basic principles for future cultural politics of DIE LINKE.

In doing so, we tie together the cultural politics of DIE LINKE in other counties with that of the dedicated contributers to cultural politics from our Parlament factions. DIE LINKE can introduce different debate positions to topics such as: culture as a national objective, modern copyright laws, memorial politics on the pillars of free, democratic, European, and East and West German cultural traditions, preservation of the artists’ social welfare fund, the advancement of cultural infrastructure in local authorities, independent organisations, cultural development, the preservation of an open and broadly based cultural spectrum, and a promotion of creativity in cultural studies.

An open societal discussion often happens as a result of cultural and artistic production in cultural institutions such as exihibitions, theaters, festivals, protest norms, etc. These institutions bring together social and corporate conflicts and give them space and a way to express themselves. It is often through cultural debates that new options for the composition of the social and corporate changes can be worked out, that is, filled with thought and feeling, explored in depth, and tried out. We usually only think of the structural change of industrial regions, urban renewal in the east and west, the exploration of a new life and new employment, the youth’s perspective without the traditional work cycle, the structure of aging well, equality, and antirascism. All of these challenges have to be lived out as people wish to, thereby creating their culture.

Posessing the understanding to develop the cultural changes in our society also means to understand the transformations in political institutions, parties, and movements, and to take the layout of democratic processes in this digital age seriously. That is why DIE LINKE welcomes the founding of a cultural forum as well as a cultural department in the party executive. In the European Left party we wish to adopt a cultural dialogue worldwide. We want to carry out these dialogues with cultural experts and intellectuals, labor unions, as well as with philisophical and religious groups. Together, we can develop initiatives in which culture and left politics can successfully interact with one other.