TEV-ÇAND: Opposing capitalism with communal development of culture

The Movement for Democratic Culture and Art (TEV-ÇAND) held its 7th Conference in Medya Defense Areas.

The Movement for Democratic Culture and Art (Tevgera Çand û Hunerê ya Demokratîk, TEV-ÇAND) has published the results of its 7th conference, which took place from 21 to 28 January in the guerrilla-controlled Medya Defense areas in South Kurdistan with the participation of 93 delegates.

The conference opened with a minute's silence for the martyrs of the revolution. After the election of the chair of the meeting, the perspectives of the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, on art and culture as well as a letter from the PKK General Secretariat were read out. Comprehensive plans and projects emerged from the work reports and discussions about the political agenda as well as criticism and self-criticism. During the conference, the inadequacies of the work of TEV-ÇAND that came to light in the process of building a democratic society were analysed and effective solutions were developed to correct them. During detailed discussions about the necessary activities, the delegates took important decisions. A new board has been elected, which will lead the work for the next two years.

Countering fascist forces with culture

The delegates showed their determination to support the offensive “End isolation, fascism, occupation: Time for freedom” through art and culture in an effective and creative way. Delegates added that in the 23rd year of the “international conspiracy” which led to the abduction of Abdullah Öcalan on 15 February 1999 it is essential to meet the challenges of the new times. The struggle for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan should move to the center of the work in the fields of art, culture and literature.

The victims of the Kurdish liberation struggle were remembered with deep gratitude and great respect. Above all Kasım Engin, Atakan Mahir, Zekî Şengalî, Delal Amed and Diyar Xerib as well as leading figures in TEV-ÇAND such as Sefkan, Mizgîn, Jinda, Hewlêr, Yekta, Rêzan, Berçem, Xelîl, Delila, Dilêr, Bawer, Daxistan Zerdeşt, Viyan, Ronî, Zanin, Fedakar, Welat, Arjîn, Ronahî, Bager and Rubar. “They brought us to where we are today,” said the final statement.

Resolutions and plans were made to keep the resistance and the lives of the martyrs in the fields of art and culture alive. Internationalist Michael Panser (Bager Nûjiyan) was declared by TEV-ÇAND to be a “symbol of the internationalist coexistence of peoples”, and Têkoşer Ereb to be the “artistic champion of the democratic nation”.

The conference final report continued: “Both in our region and in all four parts of our country, our art and cultural work in the context of war and recent developments has greater historical significance than ever before. The system of capitalist modernity tries to impose itself and to stay alive by legitimizing itself through art and culture. In Kurdistan, this method is used by the hegemonic states against the Kurds and the other peoples of the region. The colonial and genocidal forces are not only trying to reverse the successes of half a century of Kurdish freedom struggle with political and military genocide operations, nut they also want to achieve the total annihilation of the Kurdish people through cultural attacks. During the conference it was emphasized that a broad resistance against the colonial and fascist forces in the field of art and culture is necessary and that all artists, intellectuals, authors and writers working in this field now more than ever should defend the values ​​of freedom, equality and democracy and be united in the fight against fascism."

A revolutionary, democratic and communal understanding of art

In accordance with the ideas presented by Öcalan in his work “Defending the Kurds against cultural genocide”, TEV-ÇAND emphasized the place that the values ​​of Kurdish culture and the Kurds occupy in the culture of humanity, and underlined the need for cultural and artistic activities in Kurdistan as a unifying force between the peoples. “Everyone who is active in the field of art and culture would have to lead a radical and effective struggle against the view of the global system that is destroying art, its actors and its identity, and develop a work that is based on a revolutionary, democratic and communal Understanding of art and culture based.”

Social art versus capitalist consciousness

How the 50-year history of the struggle of the population, the guerrillas, women and political prisoners based on these values ​​could flow into cultural work was also extensively discussed at the seventh conference of TEV-ÇAND. Under the slogan "Socialism is the basis of existence of art, individualism kills art and its creators", the Kurdish cultural movement wants to oppose an art that uses individualism, populism and a "wrong understanding" of freedom to promote the ethics of society and its communal values destroyed.

“We have condemned all approaches to art that look down on our cultural values, that are far from work and ethics, and follow capitalist lack of culture. All these wrong approaches must be countered by a revolutionary and democratic culture and art consciousness based on the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan. Likewise, the philosophy of women's liberation must be represented in an active and organized way in the field of art in order to counter the patriarchal, statist and sexist consciousness. Art and culture play an important role in building a new society based on the leading role of women. In this and in all other areas an ideological struggle as well as the struggle for the freedom of the sexes and the class struggle must be waged."

The bombing of Kurdistan, the burning of the forests, the destruction of material and social values, and the occupation by colonial forces, in particular by the Turkish AKP / MHP government, represented for TEV-ÇAND a “concrete manifestation of this violation culture”. Participation in the revolutionary, democratic self-defense against this violation culture is the duty of everyone who says I am an artist. I am an intellectual. I am a democrat. I'm a woman. I am human."

Counter psychological warfare

The final report added: “The psychological warfare that attacks the Kurdish freedom struggle and the resistance of the guerrillas by trying to twist the truth with the help of television programs, series or the like must be actively countered in the field of art and culture in order for these attacks to come to nothing to let. In addition, TEV-ÇAND must take a more active role in carrying out joint works and activities with revolutionaries, democrats, intellectuals and artists from the Middle East and the rest of the world, including Kurdish culture, language and art to make known to other parts of the world.

Attempts to put traditional Kurdish music and art at the service of financial profit must be countered, as must the imitation of other music under the guise of 'modernization'. In order to preserve the richness of Kurdish music and its combative, social and liberal character, diverse academic and musical activities must be implemented."

Defend the culture and art of the democratic nation

According to TEV-ÇAND, there are attempts in Kurdistan to force the theater sector into passivity under the influence of postmodernism and pop culture. As a counter-offensive, the movement proposes an organized expansion of all activities in this area under the motto: "Every place where society acts is a stage."

The document said: “The capitalist system and the occupying states are producing thousands of films and series full of their culture of nationalism, sexism, violence, slavery and militarism in order to anchor this awareness in the population. The production of series and films that deal with a free life and a democratic society will be an important task for TEV-ÇAND in the years to come. That is why it was decided at our conference to set up a film workshop and expand film production and the training of actors.

Attempts to remove Kurdish dance from its origins must also be countered. That is why we call on everyone to cultivate folklore and carry it into the future. Kurdish poets, singers and artists have to be supported and a cultural and artistic commemoration has to be organized for those who have lost their lives. We have decided on various artistic activities to publicize and protect historical works. Among other things, it was decided to hold a second Kurdish cultural conference.

During the 7th TEV-ÇAND conference, various problems in the field of art and culture were addressed and important decisions were made in order to lead us to successful work. The perspective of our movement could be expanded in this area. It was decided to expand our struggle under the motto 'We will defend the culture and the arts of the democratic nation in the spirit of revolution'. With great dedication to the memory of our selfless martyrs, our conference came to a successful close at this important and critical time. In this sense, we call on all socialist and revolutionary workers in the field of art to unite in the struggle against the colonial, fascist forces."