“Culture is ordinary, and culture is everything, as Raymond Williams said. We deliberately use a wide definition of culture to ensure discussion and policy making is not just limited to the arts. Culture for us means all those cultural activities which express our beliefs, values, and interests and which we practise and appreciate collectively for our entertainment, exercise, and enlightenment. It includes all of the arts but also sport, the media, religion and other cultural activities.
Culture is essential to our well-being, health and happiness, and our personal and social development. Yet all around us it is being privatised, enclosed, and commercialised by a profit-seeking capitalist system which seeks to stifle its potential for nourishing and liberating us. In a class-divided society such as ours, the arts and other cultural activities often reflect and serve the needs of the dominant class to maintain and legitimise their power. But culture can also provide space for dissent. It can help us cope with and resist political domination and economic exploitation, imaginatively rekindle a sense of utopian possibility, and help transform the world.
The cultural struggle is linked to democratic and participatory economic and political struggles against an unequal, class-divided society and against the capitalist system which generates and sustains class divisions. We believe that a radical new socialist approach to policy making is needed across all areas of our culture to defend, democratise and renew our artistic, intellectual, physical and spiritual commons.
We believe the Movement for Cultural Democracy itself exemplifies an open, democratic and participatory approach to politics. We hope it provides the opportunity to develop, in both creative and critical ways, a comprehensive package of culture polices which will envision better, fairer ways of organising society and which will work for the many, not the few.”
Culture Matters Co-Operative.