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The Unite and Shine: For a Europe for the Many march in Berlin on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Photo: “Die Vielen” via Facebook.

Thousands March in Berlin for Artistic Freedom and European Solidarity

On Saturday, May 18, around five thousand people—including artist Wolfgang Tillmans, writer Ingo Schulze, and theater director Paweł Łysak—rallied in front of Berlin’s Volksbühne for “Unite and Shine: For a Europe for the Many,” a protest against the restriction of artistic freedom in the face of rising far-right nationalism in Germany and the European Union. The action coincided with another demonstration against nationalism, which moved from the Alexanderplatz to the Victory Column.

“It is not enough to be cosmopolitan and wave around a colorful EU flag,” Schulze told Monopol. “A glorification of the EU in its present structure and functioning is as narrow-minded and wrong as a return to the nation-state.”

Tillmans added: “What we are experiencing is a reactionary rebellion against a hundred years of social progress. After three and a half years of part-time dedication to activism, I’ve concluded that above all democracy comes down to electoral participation. What’s really necessary is mediating through the basic principle of one person, one voice.”

An event page created on Facebook calling for participants in “Unite and Shine” reads: “The right to asylum and freedom of movement are connected to artistic freedom—after all, art is not created within national borders. Like artistic freedom, the right to asylum is named in numerous national constitutions as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both are needed to ensure a Europe of the many, where everyone, also the many from non-European countries, can lead a dignified life. For a Europe of the many! Solidarity instead of privilege! Art remains free!”