Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm a co-signatory of a letter to the Guardian today from Artists of the Resistance, a newly-formed group that is part of Coalition of Resistance, a national body that is really gaining momentum. They've edited it a bit, so I reproduce the full version below.

You can read more about Artists of the Resistance, and find out how to sign up, here.

Artists of the Resistance

Len McCluskey calls for a "broad strike movement" to stop the coalition's "explicitly ideological" programme of cuts. (‘Unions Warn of Massive Wave of Strikes’, Guardian 19 December 2010) This will happen. Government cuts are decimating education, welfare, health, sports and the arts. We are told that they are as inevitable as the rain; that the only choice we have is between music classes for our kids or care for our elderly. We need both and do not accept that jobs, services and the quality of life have to be jettisoned for the greed of those who are asked to sacrifice nothing. Cutbacks in the arts mean that access will be limited to those who have the money to pay while many who work in the arts will lose their jobs. The closing of public libraries is the most obvious example. They are where literature, art and culture are available to everyone without charge. Some authorities are already selling them off, others are offering them to the ‘consumer’ on the principle of ‘if you want them buy them’. Massive increases in education fees and the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance are part of the same philosophy. Everything that is not immediately of use to the corporate agenda is to be placed on a ‘pay as you go’ principle. Meanwhile funding for theatre, film, music, dance and other arts projects is to return to the Victorian notion of finding patrons, drawn from the people and corporations who have their own agendas of how to define the arts. In the face of those who choose to exercise their power to destroy, we need to create. We urge all those who work in the arts to join us at 'Artists of the Resistance' in opposing the cuts.

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