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Promoting cultural diversity in Europe

The European idea is invigorated by its inspiring cultural diversity, a mostly peaceful coexistence of the European people that has been lasting for 70 years and an agreement on core values such as peace and liberty. The cultural cosmos of Europe has to be understood in terms of its transnational character. A mutual acceptance and esteem for the various cultural identities present in Europe is vital for a sustainable development of its economic and ecological role in the world. Culture and the arts are particularly qualified to foster cohesion within the European public and to bring the institutions and regulations necessary for a post-national Europe to life. The cultural politics of the Greens are based on an understanding of culture that frames it as an integral part of society, based on mutual respect and creative commitment.

We intend to increase investments in culture and arts all over Europe and to promote cultural exchange between Europe and the world. In the course of its eventful and often dramatic history, Europe has brought about a notion of culture that has affected and attracted people from regions extending far beyond its own borders. A high density of theatres, diverse music, fine arts and literature, museums, libraries, and architecture take ever new forms and give birth to new cultural reference points that materialise and reinvent themselves in our cities and communities while maintaining a sensitivity towards their trans-local histories and backgrounds. We intend to provide a European cultural policy that preserves the many regional cultures of its 500 million inhabitants. At the same time, we want to develop the idea of a shared culture that is based on a common reflexion of the European enlightenment, a shared memorial culture and practice as well as a curiosity for the cultural values among neighbours stimulated by the support of cultural projects across borders and in cooperation with other regions of the world. One of the central aspects of this endeavour is the remembrance and systematic analysis of Europe’s common colonial past. A lively cultural policy that permits and highlights diversity and innovation is an important foundation for the development and maintenance of democracy in Europe.

The great cultural variety within Europe does not immunise our society against right-wing and left-wing populism and new forms of nationalism. Far too often, antidemocratic groups are misusing cultural goods and customs when it serves their ends. On the other hand, culture also unites the forces of freedom under its banners. In many cases, actors from the cultural scene take initiative in favour of a united Europe, against extremist right-wing violence or for the protection of the rights of minorities and refugees.

We need Europe to focus more decidedly on the potential of culture as a core instrument for democratic development. We support a self-determined and independent cultural scene. In doing so, we want as many people as possible to be involved in the cultural discourse, to encourage mutual exchanges and the reflection of the values of others, to increase the diversity in cultural institutions and project funding and to guarantee gender justice. For excluded and socially disadvantaged people cultural participation has to be possible without difficulties. Moreover, it is a political responsibility to secure fair payments for creative work. Thus, the allocation of funds has to be carried out in transparent and just ways, giving also small and more diverse projects the chance to succeed in the application for grants. Due to the differently developed national funding systems within Europe the requirements for co-financing have to be improved in a way that considers different countries individually.

We will create conditions that entail adequate compensations for artists, their activities and works. Therefore, we recommend filling the “value gap” between creators, their labels and publishing houses and online platforms. This requires modern copyright laws and a labour market and social policy on the European and national level that corresponds with the needs of creative workers and artists.

We will support European films – above all regional productions – by advancing the ecological and social sustainability of film production, granting gender-neutral access to funding, and increasing the artistic quality and the distribution of European films. Further, we want to improve the conditions for the development of high-quality video games in Europe.

The Franco-German television network arte is an example for a transnational media collaboration that generates a European sense of belonging. We will support a European television channel that broadcasts productions in the different languages of the EU member states showing news on European politics, culture and economy, complemented with sports and entertainment to form a comprehensive programme that can be beneficial for mutual comprehension and emphasises that Europe is a continent of unity within diversity.

Voting GREEN means voting for

– investments in culture and arts all over Europe,

– the promotion of European cultural exchanges,

– the promotion of European films (in the European and international context),

– the promotion of European video game development.

Programme for the election to the European Parliament 2019, P. 175 – 177.
(Source: https://cms.gruene.de/uploads/documents/B90GRUENE_Europawahlprogramm_2019_barrierefrei.pdf)

Cultural politics of the Greens – positioning and self-conception

“Culture takes diverse forms across time and space. This diversity is embodied in the uniqueness and plurality of the identities of the groups and societies making up humankind. As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognised and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.” (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity of the UNESCO, 2001)

Culture is a common good and cultural participation a universal human right. In order to preserve and enhance this good, public institutions have to take action just as well as individuals. Our cultural policy operates in both centralised and decentralised ways, in a participatory and transparent manner. We stand up for cultural diversity. To strengthen it, we suggest establishing cultural policies that focus on innovation, participation and quality. Yet, culture does not have to have a purpose. Art is free.

Diverse, humanistic, sustainable

Cultural politics aim to enable individuals to actively and creatively participate in the transformation of society and their own future. Therefore, we want to give rise to a cultural landscape that inspires people to experience other people, situations and objects from new perspectives. We want to empower them to make a difference developing a better world. The ideals of humanism, freedom and sustainability are the underpinnings of such cultural politics that interpret culture as a field of action in which all people can partake on the basis of their self-reflexion and by jointly shaping the social sculpture. This view exceeds a traditional notion of culture, as it adds the idea of relevance for society and of its creation by participation of its members. With our cultural programme we want to promote the experimentation with multidimensional perceptions, cognition, analysis, critical reflection and individual creativity. We believe that these exercises can improve the quality of our lives and the sensual aesthetic experiences that help to respond to other intellectual, scientific forms of knowledge by allowing to embed them emotionally. Value-oriented cultural politics prepare us for the countless major challenges of our time. They reinforce our democratic community and have the potential to be a part of the currently needed continuation of the enlightenment. In the present age of the Anthropocene human culture has a major influence on the ecology of the earth. This comes with great responsibility.

Innovative, high-value, broad effectiveness

The cultural policy of the Greens involves all the actors in the field of culture, including, but not limited to, public institutions, open groups and associations, private initiatives and companies. We want to make presumed boundaries less strict and more permeable. We consider projects and mediation offers that address new topics and make use of innovative formats to be driving forces and important indicators of the development of our society. Among the various actors we want to establish exchanges at eye level. Along with that, we advocate the emancipation of artistically infused sciences, of intensified cultural education and open spaces for cultural activities aside from established locations. We strive for lasting connections to culture that start with infancy, but do not stop after that – regardless of the personal residence, income, origin, age, gender, physical condition or identity.

Global, regional, integrative

Green cultural policy reflects the philosophy of “think global and act local”. The cultural programme of the Greens is conceptualised in a way that confronts people with global issues through art and culture, thereby allowing to relate them to their own lives and to see their personal experience and involvement in the context of a bigger picture. The concrete connection to the inhabited spaces of people can give them new impulses to shape their own environment. Motivation and strategies to inform and mediate incentivising local offers can encourage personal commitment and activity. Our cultural policy builds bridges between generations, diverse cultural and social groups. It relies on interactive projects and interventions able to reflect on distance, strangeness and alienation in manifold and communicative forms, allowing to see them in a new light.

Skilful, fair, social

Green cultural policy wants equity in the access of resources. Ideally, everyone should find stimulating cultural activities that are relevant to them within their local community. Primarily, we want to preserve cultural sites to make it possible for open cultural spaces to exist in the long-term.

We regard local cultural providers, established institutions, and the independent scene as relevant actors on the community level, we therefore want to give them more assistance and to support local productions and cultural services more decidedly than to date. Especially funded institutions should advance the efforts to integrate new target groups. The existing grants should be distributed according to democratic principles and funding decisions ought to be transparent while excessive bureaucratic obstacles should be avoided. We value the cooperation with initiatives, committees, organisations and other involved parties. In general, it is important to us that minimum fees, minimum social standards and equity in terms of social security are granted. This has yet to be fought for. Additionally, copyrights require legal protection that adequately responds to the modern conditions of media production and products. Good cultural politics recognise creativity, extend spaces for possibilities and allow creators to focus on their cultural work.

A diverse culture is an essential key for the realisation of humanistic values and true sustainability. In the words of Klaus Michael Meyer-Abich: “to be of reasonable nature and to contribute to natural history in ways other creatures do not, that is to say with culture, is indeed an unusual chance for humanity… to find its place in the world”.

Resolution of the BAG-Kultur, 1st of April 2017 in Osnabrück

(Source: https://gruene-bag-kultur.de/unsere-kulturpolitische-position-als-bag/)

Promoting culture diversity

Diverse art and culture are indispensable components of a vibrant democracy. Culture is far more than the output of professional artistic production. In an open society, culture is in motion and constantly undergoing changes. The GREENS therefore oppose all efforts to establish a hermetically sealed German “Leitkultur” or similar endeavours to prevail dominance by other societies or even companies. A culture can not be reduced to its boundaries or defined by the exclusion of others on behalf of an allegedly homogeneous “cultural identity”. Democratic societies depend on lively cultural exchange – they protect and pave the way for artistic freedom. Art is often provocative as it mirrors societal changes and creates novel ideas and visions. We as the GREENS will establish, preserve, and support cultural sites. It is self-explanatory to us that culture has to be independent from political or commercial paternalism. Art does not have to fulfil moral or commercial obligations.

Culture is a common good. In order to protect and enrich it, it is necessary for public institutions to take action while private involvement is required as well. We hence want to promote culture, support cultural workers, and protect the copyrights on original creative work. We consider a participatory and transparent public funding system to be a significant aspect of cultural development opportunities. It opens up creative spaces aside from a purely economically driven cultural production and marketing. With new financial structures we want to support German films, also if the production is not attached to television companies, – as well as innovative projects ranging from film studios, municipal theatres to the independent scene.

Artists and cultural workers need reliable social security and improved earning opportunities in order to thrive. Therefore, among others, public funding programmes have to introduce binding minimum wages and minimum fees. We want to make sure that both creators and users mutually benefit and that publicly funded art and science are not dependent on profit-oriented, private investments in the first place.

We stand up for more cultural participation and education. Culture must be accessible to everyone. That is why people should have the opportunity to critically engage with media and culture from an early age on. We want to strengthen cultural education in schools and other cultural facilities. In this context, we also have to improve the working conditions for self-employed cultural workers. Further, our cultural heritages have to become more accessible to the public and we need to secure their conservation. The digitalisation and conservation of films is a key responsibility of our cultural policy and it has to be supported financially and institutionally.

Our confrontation with the past, especially the Shoa and National Socialism, has a lasting effect on our present times and future. A critical perspective on the historical agency of Germany, widespread narratives and public discourses about our past are the foundation for our fight against rightist thinking. The current authoritarian tendencies and the rise of political right-wing movements in Europe underline a necessity for such efforts. By supporting cultural projects and the provision of sufficient funding for memorial sites to develop educational opportunities that offer more differentiated perspectives we intend to encourage a contemporary memorial culture that also responds to a society that is shaped by immigration. We need new forms of memory to enter into a dialog over divisive issues and to discover and agree upon shared values. The cultural wealth of Germany has always prospered from intercultural exchange and openness. Isolation, instead, inhibits any creative development.

To this day, a critical revision of the NS era also remains incomplete once we consider looted art. With extensive revision and research we want to accomplish that looted assets are returned to previous rightful owners. At least in this matter we hope to do a little bit of justice – albeit belatedly – to the many people and their relatives that were supressed and affected by the terror of the NS regime. Additionally, the societal and scientific revision of the SED-dictatorship and support for its victims and disadvantaged people continues to be a major concern for us.

Lifelong participation is the bedrock of a shared culture. It requires active and barrier-free opportunities. Additionally the funding decisions in the cultural politics have to be comprehensible. We want a clear ex ante communication of the relevant criteria for the application for grants and transparent funding decisions. Together with cultural workers we want to develop and experiment with new funding formats, especially for the targeted support of small-scale projects. National cultural policy should not be limited to flagship and large-scale projects. Nor should it be exclusively tied to the context of great metropolitan cities – for us the support and funding of culture in decentralised and rural areas is at least equally important. In politically tense times, cooperation in the cultural field can be an effective way to build relationships and to evoke a sense of solidarity in Europe and the world. To allow actors in the cultural sphere in Germany to partake in funding programmes we can make use of well-tested models like the provision of seed money and matching funds, for instance to enable them to work more internationally. The GREEN Party will continue to enhance gender justice in the culture and media sector, which is not yet put into practice sufficiently in this field. The experience of and access to culture has to be open for everyone – regardless of the personal residence, income, origin, age, gender, physical condition or identity.

A positive design of digital working environments and more support for freelancers, creative and cultural workers

Digital working environments permit to organise work more flexibly and self-sufficiently. On the other hand they can become inexhaustible and extorting. In our view this makes the reconsideration and adjustments of labour protection legislation for the digital world necessary. Also, an update in terms of workers’ participation in digital enterprises is required. If a system of trust-based working hours constantly leads to overtime, employee representatives should be granted the right of codetermination in questions revolving around the working volume. Freelancers, cultural and creative workers appreciate entrepreneurial freedom, but often lack consistent financial coverage due to irregular and low income. We want to strengthen and secure them with minimum fees or income. At the same time we want to decrease the minimum contributions for optional unemployment insurances as well as the compulsory health and statutory nursing insurances. With a first step towards a ”citizen insurance” we want to integrate self-employed people, without other insurance, in the pension insurance. We want to maintain and improve the artists’ social insurance.

With a GREEN vote you are voting for this cultural issue:

Museums free of charge, improving access, promoting culture

We want to enable cultural participation independent of income, age and education. Moreover, we demand the support of culture across the whole range of its branches. Our museums accommodate diverse cultural heritages. In order to secure a basic provision with cultural we deem it appropriate and in the general interest to grant everyone free admission to all the permanent exhibitions of federal public museums. We want to strengthen participatory approaches in projects of cultural education by creating easier access to cultural sites, whether they operate in small niches or on larger scales. Further, we want to establish and experiment with model projects to discover new approaches towards the arts and culture and to make more participation possible. With the cultural funding programmes of the state we plan to support a widely varying cultural landscape, especially outside of the commercialised mainstream.

Bundestag Election Programme 2017, P. 152 – 154, 155.
(Source: https://www.gruene.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Dokumente/BUENDNIS_90_DIE_GRUENEN_Bundestagswahlprogramm_2017.pdf)

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