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Art creates a space to change the world

As creators of culture in Germany, we do not stand above things, but on ground from which the greatest state crimes in human history were committed. In this country, art has already been defamed as degenerate and culture has been abused for propaganda purposes across the board. Millions of people were murdered or went into exile, among them many artists.

Today, we understand art and cultural institutions as open spaces that belong to many. Our society is a plural assembly. Many different interests meet and thus find themselves in the in-between. Democracy must be renegotiated every day - but always under one condition: It is about everyone, about each individual as a being of many possibilities!

Right-wing populism, which attacks cultural institutions as actors of this social vision, is hostile to the art of the many. Right-wing groups and parties disrupt events, want to interfere with performance schedules, polemicize against the freedom of art, and work to renationalize culture.

Their contemptuous treatment of people on the run, of committed cultural workers, of all dissenters, reveals how they intend to deal with society as soon as the balance of power changes in their favor.

With the NRW Declaration of THE MANY, WE (over 300 associations, foundations, public institutions, independent cultural venues, artists and groups) have clearly articulated in 2018 the cohesion in art and culture as part of civil society against right-wing populist and nationalist currents. With the declaration, the art and culture actors of NRW are sending a socio-political signal that is intended to intervene in their own daily practice. Together we show, NRW and nationwide, attitude for diversity and respect. This work is never finished.

We as signatories counter right-wing populism and right-wing extremism with a clear stance:

  • We conduct an open, enlightening, critical dialogue about right-wing strategies. We shape the dialogue with contributors and the audience in the conviction that we have the mandate to further develop our society as a democratic one.
  • All signatories do not offer a podium for völkisch-nationalistic propaganda.
  • We reject the illegitimate attempts of right-wing nationalists to instrumentalize cultural events for their own purposes.
  • We join in solidarity with people who are being pushed further and further to the margins of society by right-wing extremist politics.
  • We confront our own structures and put them up for negotiation.

Racism is everyday life. Right-wing extremism is a symptom of it. This alliance does not only want to fight symptoms, but to work in depth. Therefore we deal with our own structures and put them up for negotiation. We have to open up the art and cultural spaces as well as our society so that we really become many!

Solidarity instead of privilege. It's about everyone. Art remains free!

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