[ESP traducción en comentarios]
Since the collapse of the US housing bubble in 2008, a global economic crisis has enveloped the world, striking different countries with varying intensity. Yet everywhere the attempts to solve the crisis have been the same: enormous sums of public money used to rescue a failing financial sector and a crisis-prone economic system, and restore corporate profits; harsh austerity measures and cuts to the public sector; a tremendous loss of pensions, homes, savings and jobs; and above all: a political consensus to leave both the structural causes and the most responsible persons untouched. The crisis has also revealed an embarrassing fact about our so-called enlightened democracies: they no longer work. Whether through the technocratic governments installed in Greece and Italy or the dictates of the Bundesbank, democracy has been suspended in order to do what is deemed necessary for a return to a model of economic growth that does not serve the interests of the majority.
If the effects of the crisis have been global, so too has resistance against the crisis management of national and international governance. From Tunisia to Egypt to Israel, from Greece to Spain, from Germany to the UK, and from Chile to the United States, major popular movements have formed around a common consensus: the people will not pay for a crisis they didn’t cause. Nor will we accept the continuation of the failed policies that led to this crisis: deregulation of financial markets, privatization of public utilities, increasingly precarious employment, and an economic growth obsession that is incompatible with life on a finite planet. And we are ready to go further: to call into question our near-religious faith that the capitalist market system can create a stable and sustainable economy that allows everyone to participate. Despite the unprecedented level of material wealth in the world today, our socio-economic structures prevent us from equally enjoying its gains, instead creating crises, asymmetries of power and cutting off billions from even the essential means to survive.
As people from many different countries and backgrounds, we are coming together as occupiers, indignad@s, outraged. Since the early moments of our movement, we decided to take responsibility for our lives and future. Thus, governments and corporations do not represent us. Politicians do not represent us. The media does not represent us. Individuals do not represent us. We are not representable. We believe in and practice horizontal, collaborative ways of working and developing our positions and actions.
In contrast to the corruption and unaccountability of corporate and political elites, we openly acknowledge the difficulties of democracy, even as we work together to find genuine solutions to the crisis. We believe that real democracy and an inclusive economic system are worth fighting for. We also believe that many people all over the world share our anger and discontent, as well as our conviction that there are alternatives.
Now it is time to act.
We have chosen to participate in the 7th Berlin Biennale for many reasons, some personal, some collectively shared. Above all, the KunstWerke provides us with a space to bring together participants from different countries around the world, to share our experiences from the last year and build new connections to bring our movements forward. The next two months will be a collective experiment, as we work together to transform the gallery hall into a space where we can discuss both political questions and organizational strategies, grow through public interaction, and engage in various forms of activism, from creative actions to mass demonstrations.
Even as we come together during the Biennale, the right to public assembly is being threatened, both by the police and through legislative changes. Water cannons in Chile, tear gas in Oakland and police batons in Spain have been deployed against people raising their voice. The simple act of coming together in public to discuss our future is no longer possible in our famed democracies. The European Union is currently building task forces and legal frameworks to suppress the social uprisings that we saw in Greece or Spain more effectively, and more silently. Across Northern Africa, from Tunisia to Egypt to Syria, violent state repression has cost many people their lives. The gallery provides us with a temporary safe haven to engage in the work of political change, but the real struggle takes place in the streets.
This is not an art project or a publicity stunt, nor is it a substitute for the occupation of public space. Although we may be in a gallery in Berlin, we are not a static movement on display. We are part of larger actions unfolding across the planet. In the United States, Occupy Wall Street has called for a general strike on May 1st, a call that will be answered enthusiastically in cities across North America and Europe. Following a year after the emergence of the movement in Spain on 15M, May 12 will be another major day of international demonstrations. In Berlin, demonstrations growing out of neighborhood assemblies will converge from five different points of the city, building an Agora at Alexanderplatz to serve as a two-week hub for networking and an exchange of ideas. On May 16 to 19, a broad international coalition will travel to Frankfurt for Blockupy, an action to blockade the European Central Bank and demand an end to the undemocratic crisis regime of the European Union. Like these major actions, the occupied Berlin Biennale is only a step in the long process of building a successful movement for social, economic and environmental justice. We invite you to join us.