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Culture Against Austerity

05.02.2016 - 06:49
(updated: 06.06.2016 - 13:48)
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In the picture from left Omar Abdaleh (FiSahara)JP Väisänen (SKP-EL Executive Board) and Suohpanterror anonimous artist

Culture Against Austerity

Opening words

”Art as Tool for Resistance”



I am JP Väisänen, Chairman of the Communist Party of Finland, member of the European Left Executive Board but I am also conceptual artist and doing cultural politics in my home town Helsinki in the city board for culture and libraries.

Association Culturelle Joseph Jacquemotte

Wallonie –Brussels Federation

Communist Party of Wallonie

European Left

Thank You for this important event where culture is not the “song or dance” we hear inbetween the political talks – here the culture and the arts is in the topic.

Dear participants

Mining business, Fishing industry, New logistics routs, energy  are the four big issue that are big political issues  and four concrete reasons why in the north the Saami people and in the South the Sahrawi people are being oppressed by politics of the Austerity  and politics that have adapted to the logics of the capitalism.

As part of “Culture Against Austerity” two days debate I have been constructing workshop  to  hear perspectives how art is used as tool for resistance. In this debate we get at least two perspectives one from the north and other from the south. An don´t worry - Yes there will be the Central Europe present as well.

Morocco is occupying for 40 years territories of the Sahara Democratic Arab Republic.  Political elite in Finland does not show any real action to ratify ILO 169 agreement and the aboriginal rights of the Saami people in Finland.

I am happy to open here in European Left joint initiative a debate about the radical role of the culture, art and artists.

Can art function as tool for resistance? What are our concrete experiences? Can we learn something from the Suohpanterror radical art actions? What are the Sahrawi people’s experiences in defending their own culture in horrible situation of occupation of  the 40.

Dear Comrades

Cultural politicians,


I am sure You would not belive if I told You that Finland uses less than 1 percent of State budget for the arts and culture. It is getting even wors. The bourgeois government is fulfilling serious cuts in the Finnish educational system. Universities are run down. Yes we need to change the current balance of the politics. Yes Culture is needed Against Austerity!

I am sure You would not believe if I told You that in Finland at the social security services we - artists are easily considered to be private businessmen.  You have to be lucky to get any social security if you are an artist. In taxing artists work without any notably sales is considered as an expensive hobby.

We in the Communist party think that work generates prosperity and we  proposed radically in the last April parliamentary elections that working time has to be reduced to 6 hours a day and 30 hours a week, without cutting the employees’ pay.  This alternative reform would reduce unemployment. It would also give people time for self-development, for family life and social activity.

Now, neoliberal winners of the elections; the Center party, National Coalition party and the party of the True Finns propose with the initiative of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) to increase the weekly working time and there is a new law that makes almost everybody that used to be freelancer now a private entrepreneur –business man or business woman.

I ask - What makes us Finns and Europeans to want leaders that force us to work more with less salary? Marx has said that the basic and essential struggle is the struggle for better wages and the struggle for shorter working days.

To break the power of capital we need the joint power of the labor movement and civil society movements, we need class struggle. I am here to listen carefully and learn.  International class struggle done in Finland needs concrete ideas and collective strength that I wish to find from this Culture Against Austerity platform.

I think politicians can´t do this power change by themselves. We in my party say that a good society is constructed – not alone, but together with the progressive ones, who feel the need for change.

I wish this European Left seminar, happening or -  Action – Culture Against Austerity - shows us the possibilities culture, cultural workers, art and artists  have in constructing new spaces for progressive and radicals to meet, to dialogue and to make joint agreements – new plans to end the Austerity.

I can´t say how impressed I am to be able to bring the radicals of the north and the south to the same table to discuss art as tool for resistance.

From this radical platform here in Brussels we should make it clear and loud that Finnish Government has to ratify, sign the ILO 169 agreement on the northern aboriginals, the Saami, to their rights on language, culture and land.

From this radical platform we need to say it loud enough that Sahrawi people have right to their own country and culture. UNESCO has to be criticized on its one sided support on morroocanization of the Sahrawi culture. Moroccan occupation has to end.  Sahara Democratic Arab Republic has to have a new start to build own sovereign state and its own culture.



JP Väisänen