The following text has been shared by the crew behind the biggest non-commercial german festival. The describe very well the dangers and effects of COVID-19 in relation to culture, so i wanted to share it with you. Here you go:
In the space of just a few months, a virus has developed the potential to inflict lasting damage on all of our lives.
Our health is being defined as the most important public good we have as a society. As such, it is not only taking precedence over capitalist economic interests, but also any form of self-determined lifestyle. A state of emergency is now in place for an indefinite period of time, and nobody can or wants to say when and how it will be lifted or what will come after that.
Social distancing, quarantine and isolation are what are called for at this time to ensure that we don’t completely lose the battle against the virus. The measures taken so far have been more reactive than well thought through. Rules and guidelines change from one day to the next, and the success of the flatten the curve strategy is still more a hope than a certainty.
The healthcare systems of rich, industrialised nations, weakened by years of spending cuts, are now on the brink of collapse. The prospect of the capitalist system crashing has exposed its inherent weaknesses. The crisis is turning into a catastrophe, and the consequences are impossible to predict. Emerging economies and developing countries will be hit much harder than us. In the coming months many people will die there as they rely on poor to non-existent healthcare services, which lack ventilators.
Empathy for the weak and disadvantaged has a short half-life in this society. We’ve seen that already during the "refugee crisis". Unfortunately, the humanitarian disasters in Syria and Yemen, as well as the refugee situation on the external borders of Europe, rouse few emotions here these days.
The claim that in our affluent societies all lives have equal value was already shown to be a lie when it came to the decisions not to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean. Now that it comes to the economic survival and the preservation of the system, it seems likely that in the coming weeks further ethical and moral principles will also be thrown overboard as well.
A decisive question in the inevitable ethical conflict to come will be whether the protection of human life takes absolute precedence - whether all our other rights of freedom and of participation, as well as social and cultural rights, are unconditionally subordinate to it, or whether everyone has to accept that their lives are generally at risk.
In this context, it will above all be the so-called highly vulnerable groups that will be confronted with the terrible realisation that human lives are both precious and finite.
And what about us? Are we all just demoted to being spectators now?
We look on with concern as basic and civil rights are suspended and measures akin to the surveillance practices of dictatorial regimes become openly acceptable? All of this is happening without proper critical discussion. We don’t as much as protest as the dictates of Corona bring democracy to its knees, along with our freedoms and rights.
We’ve been sitting isolated at home in the hope that this pandemic will be over quickly and that we’ll be able to return to normal life. No one can say today how the coronavirus will change our society and our lives, and whether everything will ever be as it was, just a short time ago. We have grave doubts that this will be possible.
WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHT TO PARTY
Our desire for hedonistic self-determination and a rich cultural life has to now – without question – simply give way to the greater priority of people’s health. But the question remains as to how long it will have to be this way and for how long we are willing to accept it. It’s sadly not unreasonable to fear that festivals and club culture are the last things that politicians want to see return as part of their containment strategy.
The decision makers simply aren’t at all familiar with how we live or the values of our festival, club, and sub-culture. The shutdown of festival culture for a significant amount of time – which politicians have not by any means ruled out and may already be considering in private – would mean the end of a large part of our club and festival culture, and would permanently place unbearable restrictions on our lives and permanently dismantle a lot of the structures we’ve built up.
We won’t get back what is being taken away from us by this virus without fighting for it. We can’t just wait and see what happens. It has to be made clear to the decision makers that culture is a crucial part of life.
CULTURE IS OF SYSTEMIC IMPORTANCE!
It has to be made clear that we won’t accept that everything that doesn’t serve the economy, or the health services can simply be sacrificed in the fight against the virus.
It’s high time to have an open discussion about how we can not only save our healthcare system but also, beyond this crisis, how we can save our culture, civil rights, and our right to a life that is self-determined!
National borders, travel bans, travel restrictions within Germany only lead to borders in the minds of people and this will not defeat the virus.
Solidarity is the compassion of the people! If this crisis fundamentally changes society, then it’s up to all of us to make the best of it we can and save what is important to us.
The fight for our future has only just begun!
The Kuko Crew
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