On the Eviction of Volksbühne
Translated by Kelly Mulvaney
We are stunned that the Senator of Culture and the Theatre Director actually called for eviction of the Volksbühne, it shows the deeply authoritarian character of both and of their concept of culture.
The basic stroke of their actions is neoliberal: discursively a politics of ultimatum, but behind the curtain, in the actual structures, repressive and hierarchical. The artists, whose rehearsal conditions were to be secured by police, should urgently once express if this occurrence took place in their name.
More importantly however – and therefore all the more pathetically – is the fact that with this act, an occurrence was to be destroyed and criminalized that we see as a rare chance: for a space like the Volksbühne to be “collectively” organized for a week and held open for events, discussions and parties, was a magnificent process, and it gave all who were there and were able to take some time an idea of the possibility of cultural empowerment. The “insolence” with which the occupants (or performers) have since been charged in the press is unfitting insofar as they held themselves back repeatedly and fundamentally included everyone who was there in all decision-making. That such discussions did not simply fail in capriciousness or arbitrariness is to be attributed to discussion tools that are anarchist and grassroots-democratic in the best sense, and which have already been internalized by many.
To remove this process with police force discredits the new “leadership” of the Volksbühne as well as its “superior” in the Senate. Dialogue must be taken up again, there must be a solution in which the Volksbühne opens itself to this process.
Against the public allegation made by the Senate, the negotiation process was in no way abandoned by the occupant-performers on Wednesday, and the offer to take over the green salon plus the pavilion was also not rejected. On the contrary: In the presence of employees of the Senator of Culture and the Volksbühne the discussion process was adjourned until the following evening.
The eviction gave more support to precisely that mood in which the interruption of order, of works and names has, for a long time already, no longer been tolerated, and where that which does not let itself be classified in the conventional register of security, visibility and output can only be reacted to with punishment and resentment. This occupation jolted the imperceptible of being-there – collectivity, transindividuality, reflection of the many – into public space. To see the next level of spark of this performativity would have been interesting. The escalation of a coming aesthetics from below, insisting on that which is so often sworn in theatres and pefrormances, to see the part with no portion, the multitude or the many act, never posed itself against the ongoing rehearsal work of the Volksbühne. The Rosa Luxemburg quotes over the freedom of the otherwise-performing were therefore unfounded from the beginning, especially from the side of those who do not think to place themselves in Rosa Luxemburg’s tradition. We support the performance and call on everyone to make its continuation possible.