Platform Za KRUH (For BREAD) and Initiative Enough with the cuts!
In the current situation of endangered public health due to the COVID-19 epidemic and consequential ban of all public events, we face a crisis that will push most of the cultural workers to the brink of existence. Many of us are already living from day to day, without regular income, without real economic, social and health security – in fact, with no clear future.
The state of emergency has exposed all the fragility and unsustainability of cultural production within existing framework of project financing, as well as precarious and underpaid conditions in which our work has been carried out. At the same time, it was a motivation to rethink, imagine and demand a world where art and culture, just like public education, healthcare or housing, as well as sustainable environment and security during old age are not opportunities for profit, but basic preconditions for living.
Therefore, we are joining the list of demands that were sent to the Ministry of Culture by Croatian Freelance Artists’ Association, professional associations and independent artists and producers initiatives, in which they seeks state intervention and measures of support for independent artists and all precarious cultural producers, which are indispensable for the entire sector to get through a crisis and continue its work.
To the Ministry of Culture we are directing the following requests:
• Acknowledge all canceled programs as held and accordingly, approve all incurred costs, i.e. enable paying all the workers who were involved in the preparation of the program and whose work must not remain unpaid (from authors, contractors, technicians and designers to administrators). Postponing programs is not the solution: it will put an extra burden on the cultural workers and artists, and it means even more unpaid work, while not covering their costs of living during current situation.
• In case of program delay – if artist or worker agrees to it and assesses that program can adequately be executed at a later date – enable the payment of the fees in advance (at least 80%).
• Acknowledge costs of organizing program as the regular production cost, amounting to a minimum of 30% of total support. The salary for the work on the organization of the program must be treated as a direct cost of the program, since without this work it would not exist!
• To support all artists, cultural workers and organizations during the time of crisis, not just the most exposed events. Everyone who produces culture must be paid for their work and have basic social security!
• In the event of postponing programs for latter part of the year (under conditions listed in second point), due to the probable lack of space, in cooperation with local governments and the Ministry of State Property, a pool of available spaces should be made available to organizations, associations, and freelance artists via accelerated and simplified procedure and free of charge, allowing them to carry out the activities
Considering that we do not want to focus on short-term measures, but instead recognize this crisis as the moment in which the true face of the system in which we work is revealed, we repeat some of the requests we have made last year as the Initiative Stop with the cuts! :
• We are demanding to stop the collapse of public funding for the culture and cultural activities. We are strongly opposed to the introduction of market logic and competition among artists and workers in cultural sector, as well as between cultural institutions and associations.
• We are demanding conditions under which artists and cultural workers can live from their work. We are looking for work and social protection. Enough with the shameful working conditions and insecure forms of work that are consequence of short-term and uncertain project based financing!
We also add:
• We demand that the universal basic income is urgently introduced during the state of emergency as a measure of protection for all cultural workers in precarious working conditions; but we also advocate for UBI to remain a measure of the continued protection of cultural production.
This is the way we, artists and cultural workers, express our solidarity with everyone affected by this crisis – precarious workers without security, whose jobs are directly threatened by the crisis; the unemployed, refugees, homeless people and other social groups whose existence is directly endangered during pandemic.
The fight for better and safer working conditions in cultural sector is not an isolated one – it is part of the wider struggle for everyone’s social rights!
Platform Za KRUH (For BREAD) and Initiative Enough with the Cuts!