The Autocratic Morality of the Catalonian Arts Council

(originally written in Catalan)

Last week I learned from “leaks” in the press about the grave crisis that gripped CoNCA (Catalonian Arts Council). Just a few months after its birth and after so much efforts and confrontations to renew the management model of the culture of Catalonia that seems shaken, and precisely because of internal issues.

Family photo. The day was approved the new Arts Council law
Family photo. The day was approved the new Arts Council law

By introducing this new model, many professionals of the culture engaged to develop new forms of organization to reverse so many limitations to democracy, particularly, in the Latin countries. Especially the cultural sector is highly influenced by political patronage, favoritism and lack of autonomy. The new model had to empowering artists and arts professionals to decide on public grants and development and dissemination policies of the arts.

The Arts Council model also represents a new way of taking decisions. This proposes a horizontal and participatory system where practicing professionals themselves act as experts. This “peer assessment” system aims for an operation of the Arts Councils more democratic avoiding one-person decisions.

Xavier Bru de Sala
The rejected President

The crisis of CoNCA, as discussed mostly the press, was due to the clash of the Council members against a president called “authoritarian” and “presidentialist” or “autocratic”. Its president Xavier Bru de Sala has been overwhelmingly rejected by 10 professionals in the arts and culture of long history and recognized career and this fact can’t be put aside acting the Catalan way: “dirty clothes clean at house”. No way, this issue is vital to advancing the democratic behavior of people and especially the cultural sector.

Today the problem of the credibility of our institutions is not so much the “laws” as “attitudes” of the people accommodated by hierarchical styles of clans. As if we needed the guidance of the authority to decide our fate without a fight. It is the contrary, are authoritarian impositions which leads us to have to fight.

The solution to the problem of CoNCA is obvious and so bravely taken from most of the members of the Arts Council. This man had to resign and make way for collective work. From now on the Council must continue working on issues of concern and reverse the crisis into an opportunity to go deeper into the model that is still virtually unknown in Spain.

It seems incredible that in a moment of human history in which we communicate and participate horizontally across global networks still have people (and others who support them) who do not understand that the world is moving in another direction. This authoritarian people should learn to demonstrate their leadership convincing of the goodness of their proposals and not imposing them using an outdated authoritarianism.

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